Match Focus: Blackburn Rovers


With the Transfer Window now shut, the season is well and truly underway. Both sides had disappointing starts to the season, suffering defeat to Barnsley and Charlton respectively. Both teams will be looking to bounce back this weekend at Craven Cottage.

Head-To-Head Stats

  • 91 Meetings in all competitions, Fulham have won 28. lost 38 and drawn 25 times.
  • However, Fulham have only won 2 of the last 8 meetings.
  • The last meeting with Rovers was 14th March 2017, Cyriac scored his only Fulham goal in a 2-2 draw.
  • 7 players who were in that squad that day are still with us – Ream, Cairney, Johansen, McDonald, Kebano, Odoi and Bettinelli.
  • There hasn’t been a goalless draw between the two sides since 1983, 38 matches have been played in that time.
  • All League meetings have been in the top two divisions.
  • The teams have never met in the League Cup.

Last 8 Meetings

  • 14/03/2017 – Fulham 2-2 Blackburn Rovers
  • 27/08/2016 – Blackburn Rovers 0-1 Fulham
  • 16/02/2016 – Blackburn Rovers 3-0 Fulham
  • 13/09/2015 – Fulham 2-1 Blackburn Rovers
  • 31/01/2015 – Blackburn Rovers 2-1 Fulham
  • 20/09/2014 – Fulham 0-1 Blackburn Rovers
  • 14/01/2012 – Blackburn Rovers 3-1 Fulham
  • 11/09/2011 – Fulham 1-1 Blackburn Rovers

Players in Common

Image: Sky Sports

Damien Duff

Despite spells with Newcastle and Chelsea in between, Damien Duff made the majority of his career appearances for Blackburn Rovers and Fulham. From the list of players that we share in common below, Duff is the most synonymous with both sets of fans. The Irish winger came through the Rovers academy making his debut in the Premier League against Leicester City in May 1997, 8 days after Micky Adams’ Fulham celebrated promotion to the third tier in Cambridge.

Duff’s role in the Blackburn first team grew from then on as he became a fan favourite and the wonder kid every pundit was raving about. He started against us in that famous game away to Blackburn when Sean Davis scored the winner and as we marched into the Premier League, with Blackburn finishing behind us as runners-up. The following season he won his first piece of silverware, lifting the League Cup in a 2-1 win over Spurs. Although he was just 24 years old when he signed for an ambitious Chelsea revamped by the arrival of Roman Abramovic. It’s arguable that Blackburn fans saw Duff at his very best and that’s saying something considering how special he was for us!

Blackburn Appearances – 214
Blackburn Goals – 35

His legacy at Fulham is also special. Now a very experienced pro within the game, Duff signed for Roy Hodgson ahead of the clubs famous Europa League campaign. He hit the ground running with an assist for Bobby Zamora against Amker Perm after 30 seconds of his debut as a substitute and remained a guaranteed starter throughout his debut season. He scored some great goals for the Whites and will always be remembered for his attitude, passion and love for Craven Cottage as well as being one of the legends who started the Europa League final in 2010. Duff made 698 appearances for club and country but never spent a single day out on loan. He was simply too good for any club to give away.

Fulham Appearances – 173
Fulham Goals – 22

Plus – Peter Baah, Viv Busby, Tom Cairney, Andy Cole, Chris Coleman, Damien Duff, Dickson Etuhu, Tony Finnigan, Shefki Kuqi, Billy McKinlay, Danny Murphy, Ian Pearce & Ryan Tunnicliffe.

Blackburn Stats (2018/19)

  • Blackburn had a poor away record last season winning only 6 out of their 23 away games and losing 12.
  • They only kept 4 Clean Sheets on the road and 12 overall.
  • On average they scored every 65 minutes (32) and conceded every 43 minutes (48) in away games.
  • They would go into half-time winning away 39% of the time and would be losing at half time 43% of the time.
  • Blackburn Scored first in 43% of away matches and led at half time in 30% of them, however, they scored more away goals in the second half of matches last season (56%).
  • Of their 6 away wins, only 1 of those wins came against a team in the top half (Nottingham Forest).
  • Fulham are most likely to concede in the last 10 minutes based on Blackburn’s goals last season.
  • Fulham are also most likely to score in the last 15 minutes based on when Blackburn conceded the most.

Player Info

  • Attacking Midfielder Bradley Dack has been their key player for the last couple of seasons now. In 2018/19 he scored 18 and assisted 10.
  • Veteran Striker Danny Graham also provided an impressive 16 goals and 6 assists last season.
  • The clubs 3rd top scorer last year was centre-back Charlie Mulgrew who also averaged 1.2 interceptions and 4.3 clearances per game.
  • Goalkeeper David Raya played 41 games last year keeping 10 clean sheets and made 2.9 saves per game. However, he has since been sold to Brentford.
  • Centre-forward Adam Armstrong is also a threat, contributing 9 goals and assisting 5.
  • The average age of the squad is 24.
  • They have signed veteran winger Stewart Downing on a free transfer, Championship traveller Bradley Johnson on a free transfer, striker Sam Gallagher from Southampton for £5mill, loaned in keeper Christian Walton to replace the outgoing Raya and Tosin Adarabioyo on loan from Man City.

Battle to Watch

Aleksander Mitrovic vs Charlie Mulgrew: Mitro had difficulty in getting free from the young and athletic Barnsley defenders, but Mulgrew is a 33-year old Scottish international defender that is looking to lead his team to a clean sheet. Mitro is visibly hungry and it was a shame to see him so isolated, even popping up on the sides of the pitch to get involved against Barnsley. It will be important that Mitro gets back to hitting the target, then worry about sticking them in the back of the net. 

Opposition View (@Roverseas)

What are your expectations for 2019/20?

Despite a shaky start to the season last weekend against Charlton, I have hopes of a top-10 finish. We have the quality in midfield and up top to challenge in most games, but our defence will be our downfall… again.

What are your predictions for the top 6 and bottom 3 this season?

Not sure on the order but I have Leeds, Fulham, Derby, Stoke, Bristol City and West Brom scrapping it out.

As for the bottom 3, probably gonna regret this one. QPR, Sheffield Wednesday and Birmingham City.

What was the general view of Tom Cairney when he played for Rovers?

Loved Tom Cairney when he was here, I called him Biebs (he looked like a Justin Bieber impersonator) we never replaced him until Bradley Dack came along. However, its also nice to see him flourish since he left us, and I am actually a little surprised he’s still with Fulham.

How did you set up the team last season? Are you expecting it to be a similar style this time around?

This will be the 3rd season we have played the same formation. It would have been nice for a bit of a change, but it has worked for us to be fair. We play 4 at the back with 2 holding midfielders. An attacking midfield trio supporting one man up top.

Which positions are your strengths and weaknesses? 

We seem to have an excessive amount of midfield options, as well as attacking players, however, our defence is very, very weak. Hoping that will change by kick-off, but the outlook is not good.

How do you see the game panning out?

As for the match itself, I think Rovers will score, but at the moment I am thinking we will concede far too many to make this competitive. I am going for a 2-1 victory for Fulham, Rovers grabbing a late goal… hopefully by one of our strikers so they can get a bit of a confidence boost.

Predicted Lineup

(4-2-3-1) Walton; Bell, Lenihan, Adarabayio, Nyambe; Johnson, Travis; Armstrong, Dack, Downing; Graham.

Thanks to Dirk Copland from YouTube Channel Blackburn Roverseas for answering our questions. Check out their Fulham match preview video on YouTube.

Matt’s View

Both teams will be looking to respond after their “wake up call” on opening day. We are in somewhat better spirits since the announcing of Harry Arter’s loan, and one would hope he would be instantly starting against Blackburn. Blackburn come to Craven Cottage after their home loss to newly-promoted Charlton, their performance was lacking and offensive production resulted in multiple shots, with very few on target – sound familiar?
As the players have said, at least the wake-up call has come early, and it will hopefully resonate with the coaches too in understanding that toying with the lineup is unnecessary. Slot in the obvious choices of Knockaert and Arter, with the only question being our centre-back pairing of either Mawson and Ream or Mawson and Odoi. If we can sort that out, the floodgates should open, although I expect a nervous, but victorious performance.
Fulham 1-0 Blackburn.

Predicted Lineup