With the Blackburn Rovers languishing in the bottom half of the Football League Championship table, the soccer club clearly needs some fresh blood and a new perspective to turn things around. On Sunday, November 15th, the soccer club announced that said "new perspective" will be provided by Paul Lambert. Lambert, was sacked at Aston Villa nine months ago, so as Blackburn Rovers appoint Paul Lambert we ask can he turn the clubs fortunes around?
A Challenge Awaits
In the story about his hiring on the Blackburn Rovers website, Lambert said he felt "refreshed" after his brief sabbatical from the soccer world, and that he was "looking forward to the challenge ahead."
"Challenge" was the correct word to describe the job that Lambert is inheriting with the Rovers. Sixteen weeks into the 2015 2016 Championship season, Blackburn have only won three of their games. In addition, the football club have picked up eight draws and five losses this season, for a point total of 17. They are currently ranked 16th out of the 24 Championship teams. The lukewarm performance resulted in the November 10th sacking of previous manager, Gary Bowyer.
Lambert's challenge, undoubtedly, will be to build the Blackburn Rovers back into a team worthy of playing top-flight football. The Rovers, of course, were one of the founding teams of the English Premier League and were consistent contenders in the league for the first few years. In 1994 1995, the Rovers even won a Premier League title-making them the only team outside of the "big four" (Manchester City, Manchester United, Arsenal, and Chelsea) to have ever won the EPL.
In recent years, though, the Rovers have dropped further than ever before from their glory days. Blackburn have been relegated from the Premier League twice since the division's inception, first in 1999 and more recently in 2012. The first time, they spent two seasons in the second-tier before returning to the Premier League and remaining there for a decade.
Since being relegated in 2012, though, the Rovers have not looked primed for promotion. In 2012 2013, they finished 17th in the Championship, and the two seasons since have seen the football club finishing eighth and ninth, respectively. In other words, Blackburn haven't been in danger of further relegation but haven't been jockeying for a return to the Premier League either.
With Lambert's arrival, the Blackburn Rovers have half the point total of the current league leaders-Hull City, with 34 points. Their lone advantage right now is that of the bottom 12 teams in the Championship right now, they have the best goal difference, +0. The Rovers have only conceded 15 goals this season, which is notable, given the fact that most of the bottom-half teams have allowed 20 or 30 apiece.
In other words, Lambert is inheriting a team that is decent defensively, but weak offensively. In their first 16 matches, the Rovers have only scored 15 goals as well, the sixth lowest tally of any team on the Championship table. 25-year-old forward Jordan Rhodes has scored eight of those goals, making him the clear lynchpin of the football team.
If Lambert is going to turn things around at Blackburn, he'll need to keep Rhodes strong while also getting more out of attackers like Nathan Delfouneso and Bengali-Fode Koita. The question is, can he do it?
Undoubtedly, Lambert brings a bulk of history and experience to the job at Blackburn-experience that his predecessor certainly didn't have. In addition to stints with Livingston, the Wycombe Wanderers, and Colchester United, Lambert helped Norwich City earn promotion into the Premier League in 2011 and was a part of Aston Villa's long-running avoidance of relegation.
The bad news for Rovers fans is that Lambert's Aston Villa teams often struggled, sometimes going weeks without a win or even a goal. Whether or not he's the right man to turn the Rovers' offensive troubles around, then, is in question.
The good news about Lambert, though, is that he's guided talented teams to promotions before. With Norwich City, he earned promotions in two consecutive seasons, making the move from the third tier to the Championship in 2010, and then quickly making the jump to the Premier League. Since Blackburn's biggest goal right now is a return to the top-flight division, Lambert just might be the right coach.
What do you think of Paul Lambert? Are you glad to see him take the Blackburn job? Or do you think there was a better person for the position? Pick up a Blackburn Rovers jersey 2015/16 from Soccer Box and find us on social media to share your thoughts on his hiring! You can find us on multiple social platforms including Facebook, Tumblr, and Google +.