Stoke ended an awful run of four straight defeats by comfortably winning 3-1 against struggling Blackburn.
Rory Delap turned scorer rather than provider as he headed the opener from Jermaine Pennant's cross, before Glenn Whelan's double deflected rifling shot made it 2-0. Peter Crouch's tidy finish made sure Stoke were going to take all three points even though Ruben Rochina scored a wonderful consolation strike.
Stoke v Blackburn isn't really a game that stands out to you as you sit down on a Saturday morning with your cup of tea with the newspaper. But as many premier league games seem to be nowadays, Stoke v Blackburn bared massive importance for both sides. For Stoke it was important to get their season back on track after four straight defeats and many people were highlighting their impressive Europa League campaign as their failure in the Premiership.
As for Blackburn, its problems, problems, problems. Steve Kean's head has been called for the last three months due to the fact that he has won six games in 33 and rather than most owners would do and show the door to their manager, they have offered him a revised contract. The owners and Kean are certainly not the most favourite persons in the Lancashire region and it didn’t help with Blackburn's recent performance against Stoke.
The game seemed to be what I expected in the first half; boring football. That's something I rarely see in the premier league, but with Stoke keeping with their rigid set up of two pacey wingers and the two big strikers with Peter Crouch towering over everyone and the muscular presence Jon Walters we weren’t going expect anything different from Stoke. For Blackburn we didn't know what to expect a part from them to be on the wrong end of a result. The first 27 minutes was more about how many players Blackburn’s Steven N'Zonzi could wind up and how close he could get to receiving his second red card of his career.
The quality came in the 28th minute as Jermaine Pennant whipped in a superb free kick which Rory Delap latched onto and glanced it into the bottom corner. Blackburn did have a half chance before half time as the wicked left foot of Rochina hit the ball sweetly on the volley, but it lacked direction and power.
Blackburn came out a different side in the second half as Rochina's fancy foot work allowed him to set up the platform for Mauro Formica from five-yards but he kicked fresh air rather than the bright yellow ball. It was going to be another standard sorry Saturday afternoon for Steve Kean's men.
It certainly looked that way when Glen Whelan doubled the Potters lead as the Irishmen hit a fierce shot goal bound, but it was diverted away from Blackburn goalkeeper Paul Robinson via deflections off Scott Dann and Jason Lowe.
Stoke's third came shortly after as Marc Wilson's long ball gave us the chance to see another performance of Blackburn's bad defending show as it caused them to flap around at the back. It also allowed Crouch to bustle his way through to slide home the finish 18 minutes from time.
Rochina produced a touch of magic on the 86th minute for his goal as he drilled the ball in to Thomas Sorensen's top corner who had been part of the stadium attendance for the majority of the game.
The win sees Stoke go into the top half and it will be interesting to see how they react next weekend against Everton seeing as they have lost every game on the back of a Europa League game. But for Blackburn and Kean it’s more doom and gloom around Ewood Park as it makes it their eighth defeat and leaves them very much in trouble.
Overall Blackburn's defensive performance deserved a 3-1 score line and Kean must be counting his lucky stars to still be in a job by the end of November. It might not be a happy new year for Kean if he doesn't get results against Swansea, Sunderland, West Brom and Bolton.