Steve Kean’s Blackburn made it three wins in the last four to haul themselves out of the relegation mire. Once again it was the talents of Junior Hoilett and Yakubu that came good – providing further evidence of Blackburn’s firepower which seems set to preserve their Premier League status. Here’s the notes on last night’s Ewood encounter…
Playing alongside Steve N’Zonzi in a central midfield role, the Norwegian was a hugely influential force and produced the assist for Yakubu’s vital second goal. Gamst-Pedersen has now provided two goals and five assists in his last twelve league starts – a burst of form that has helped maintain a supply line to both Yakubu and Junior Hoilett.
Suspended for Gameweeks 22-24, the Nigerian’s returns had slowed of late. Last night’s goal was only his second in five games – a spell which has seen other low-to-mid price assets such as Fulham’s Pavel Pogrebnyak rise in popularity. At 5.9 in the Fantasy Premier League game, Yakubu still offers value and has proven himself fixture proof enough to ensure that he can be considered, even despite Blackburn’s tough short-term schedule (bol MUN wba LIV swa).
With a 5.5 price tag, Hoilett is the alternative to Yakubu as a Rovers attacking option. Whilst he’s spent much of the season in a wide role, a position that has appeared to hamper his Fantasy returns, Kean’s decision to bring Hoilett in-field in a direct support role to Yakubu appears to afforded the Canadian a greater involvement. His smart volley for the Rovers opener was his sixth of the campaign and, significantly, his third goal in two games. While Yakubu has the benefit of spot-kicks in his locker, Hoilett’s influence on Blackburn’s overall play is greater and, if he can maintain his newfound levels of goal threat, he could yet justify a punt as a third striker options.
Sunderland’s slipping form
The honeymoon period appears to be over for Martin O’Neill. While the results were dropping in, statistically the Black Cats were always producing few efforts on goal. That doubt has come to the fore in recent matches, with Stephane Sessegnon’s absence robbing them of a creative spark. Last night, O’Neill’s side mustered just three goal attempts – they have scored just four goals in their last six league games. Sessegnon’s return from suspension can’t come quick enough but there will be concern that, even with his presence, O’Neill’s side are struggling for a cutting edge. Sessegnon will be reinstalled for the visit of QPR at the weekend with O’Neill likely to drop Frazier Campbell back to the bench. Meanwhile, James McClean has now failed to notch a Fantasy return in his last four matches. Although he provided a strong supply of crosses last night, with other budget options flourishing, the left winger’s stock is now in decline. Sunderland badly need to find a higher gear against the R’s.