3:13pm Wednesday 28th July 2010
By Chris Flanagan
IF even Spain opt to play 4-5-1, with arguably the two best strikers in the world at their disposal, then Blackburn Rovers should not worry about having to play two up front this season.
The concept of the strike partnership has been a crowd pleaser for decades, but its flaws have been exposed.
Three of the last four at the World Cup played with just one up front, and England were so woeful that the cries of ‘4-4-2’ often heard from disgruntled Premier League fans across the country were replaced with the rather unusual demand for 4-5-1.
This journalist is no advocate of coping everything Spain do, but when the possession-hogging World Cup winners opt to play David Villa on the left wing and Fernando Torres in a lone striking role rather than simply pairing the two, you have to wonder why.
Rovers need a striker, of that there can be no doubt.
But that does not necessarily mean altering the system that has brought success – both to them last season and to Allardyce throughout his career.
The ability to score goals has to be the main prerequisite of any newcomer to Ewood Park.
But maybe the ideal solution is a player capable of making that impact either from a wider role or as a lone striker. Villa did it for Spain, although no-one expects Rovers to be able to afford players quite in that class.
When Allardyce signed Nicolas Anelka for Bolton, Kevin Davies moved to the right for 18 months. Davies is a target man and it should not have worked, but it did.
Changing to two up front takes Rovers into unfamiliar territory.
It is a tactical adjustment that could take some time, whether 3-5-2 or 4-4-2, and such a switch could leave them vulnerable to being outnumbered defensively – either on the flanks or in central midfield.
Allardyce’s way of setting up a side has been criticised over the years, by fans of both the opposition and his own team. But time has proved that it works. Rovers need a goalscorer, not a whole new way of playing.
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