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Blackburn: 2011 Team Preview | EPL Betting Odds

English Premier League – Blackburn 2011 Preview

The Blackburn Rovers had a dreadful season in 2010, finishing 11-17-10. A lot of people credit the clubs collapse to the recent acquisition of the team by Indian poultry company Venky’s Limited, and critics are blaming the new owners for many fans having flown the coop.

Odds to win the 2011-12 Premiership outright 2500/1

However, looking more closely, one will find a lot of reasons as to why the team struggled to maintain a 15th place finish, just three away from the drop zone.

Part of that could be blamed on the sides inability to adjust to new boss Steve Kean’s game plan.

Kean replaced manager Sam Allerdyce who was sacked midseason in favor of his assistant, and failed to get the team to rally after their manager’s departure.

Looking ahead though, the team hasn’t spent a whole lot of money this summer to bolster their roster, and with a few exceptions, they will most likely remain the same team from the last year.

Too bad for a side who already missed the transfer window in acquiring a suitable replacement for departing defender Phil Jones who had a somewhat breakout year last season for the Rovers, signing on with Manchester United back in July.

Without Jones, the team still holds up a fairly decent backline, and their keeper, Paul Robinson, is considered one of the better net minders in the league. Robinson finished the league season conceded 55 goals in 36 games, saving 115 balls. [ad-3678122]

The team’s midfield is perhaps their strongest area, and a trio of young promising players in David Hoilett, Martin Olsson and Steven Nzonzi will see a lot of action this season.

Hoilett was the most productive for the team last year in terms of offensive production, but Olsson is considered a defensive midfielder, netting just two goals last season in 25 league games. Olsson’s strongest phase of his game though comes from the set pieces, producing sweeping free kicks for his team. His is also an aggressive sort, racking up a team-high 39 fouls in 2010.

Meanwhile, Nzonzi is perhaps the most promising player on the entire roster. And while the 22-year-old scored just a single goal in 13 league games last season, many predict for him to end up being the star of the Rovers before his career reaches its midway point.

Even with a blossoming midfield to set the table, the side’s biggest question mark will still be its offensive front. The options there are very limited, and they will need to find a clear-cut number-one scorer if they are to have any chance to succeed this season.

The team did add Scottish striker David Goodwillie from Dundee United recently, and they are hoping that he can help carry the team to the next level of Premier League play. It will be interesting to see if one offensive player can turn a team’s fortunes around.

Matt’s Prediction:

I expect this to be another bumpy year for the Rovers, but the team has a very promising future. Unfortunately, that won’t equate to wins now, and that’s what everyone is expecting.

Stay clear from the Rovers for now, but in the future they could be a great dark horse pick because of their young talent.

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