Blackburn v Hull: why Gomez can lift Rovers


Jordi Gomez –

There has always been one ‘Geordie’ in the hearts of Blackburn Rovers fans, and manager Paul Lambert will hope he has signed another. Jordi Gomez joins on loan from Sunderland and he is a player who could inject some much-needed creativity into this Rovers midfield.

At Middlesbrough, Lambert changed his system to accommodate Gomez. He switched from the 4-4-2 that he has tended to use to a 4-3-1-2, with the Spaniard in the hole behind his other signings, Danny Graham and Tony Watt. The 4-4-2, or at times 4-4-1-1, had become a touch stale and predictable, because none of the four midfielders had themuch freedom to push forward. Now, opposing centre-backs have to handle the diagonal runs of Graham and Watt whilst keeping an eye on Gomez, thus giving the team a new dimension.

Gomez was a stand-out performer at the Riverside and was key to a brighter display from the Lancashire outfit. Another player who has taken some credit is Darragh Lenihan. The Irishman has been a touch unlucky with injuries in recent seasons but his tenacity and aggression makes him a useful player to have in midfield, particularly against the top teams.

The team has a strong defensive structure at the moment and, with arguably one of the best centre-backs in the league in Grant Hanley, Rovers are difficult to score against. The addition of Gomez could take them to that next level and give them the flair and guile needed to unlock defences.

Hull have brought in Nick Powell on loan from Manchester United, to do a similar job. Powell enjoyed an impressive 13/14 season with Wigan but due to the competition at Old Trafford, he has not started a competitive match since August 2014, a League Cup game which saw the Red Devils lose 4-0 at MK Dons. Powell is not exactly a player who will be brimming with confidence and it may take some time for him to settle in and regain match sharpness.

The big question is what his arrival means for Mohamed Diame, who admitted a few weeks ago that he had not been performing at his best. The powerful playmaker has shown flashes of quality, scoring a superb solo goal against Charlton and getting an eye-catching assist for Abel Hernandez’s winner at QPR. The problem is that he has not delivered those moments often enough and now he has to up his game.

There are now four Hull players vying for two central attacking positions, if you exclude Shaun Maloney, who hopes to return from injury and Sone Aluko, who is more likely to be fielded on the right. The competition is there but a couple of their players have dipped in form, as the Tigers have not scored a goal from open play in 190 minutes of Championship football. There is potential for Blackburn to go on a good run now and this blog backs them to beat their South Yorkshire opponents.

Championship Predictions
Fixture Prediction
QPR v Fulham QPR have conceded just 1 goal in 4, results picking up 2-0
Blackburn v Hull Gomez and Watt will make an impact for Blackburn 2-1
Brighton v Bolton Brighton’s Knockaert has added skill and creativity 2-0
Bristol City v Ipswich Lee Johnson has doubters to convince at Ashton Gate 1-2
Charlton v Cardiff Cardiff have only won 2 games against the bottom 6 1-1
Derby v MK Dons Derby made a mistake sacking Paul Clement 1-1
Forest v Huddersfield Forest haven’t lost at home since 3rd October 2-1
Reading v Burnley Reading in poor form, Burnley hot on top 2’s heels 1-2
Rotherham v Birmingham Warnock no improvement on Neil Redfearn 1-2
Sheff Wed v Brentford Two attacking teams, an open game seems likely 3-2
Wolves v Preston Wolves without a win in 4, Preston strong at the back 0-0
Leeds v Middlesbrough Leeds running out of steam, Boro to get back on track 1-2
Last week… 2 perfect scores – Bolton 2-1 Rotherham, Leeds 0-1 Forest – 2 correct results