JUST about the only thing being drawn in the Premier League this season are conclusions as to why the spoils have so far been so rarely shared.
Before Sunderland hosted Wolves yesterday there had been just four stalemates and perhaps the reason behind such a startling statistic was to be found at Ewood Park.
In past seasons, the natural default mode Blackburn would have adopted after the sending off of midfielder Vince Grella with a quarter of the contest remaining would be to mount a rearguard action in the hope of hanging onto a point.
Yet there was little evidence of such a conservative approach on Saturday, as despite their numerical disadvantage, they embodied the new gung-ho ethic that seems to have swept the top division.
Previously, David Dunn’s most prominent memory of facing Aston Villa was a rather unwanted contribution to the blooper genre after a spot of showboating sank without trace when playing for Birmingham in a second city derby.
That all changed with a swing of the boot with a minute left to seal a victory that was as memorable as it was unexpected when Grella departed for a second yellow card.
Without thought for holding onto what they had, the hosts set about clearly stunned opponents, wearing Villa down until Dunn was afforded an opportunity to beat his former Ewood Park team-mate Brad Friedel from the penalty spot after Richard Dunne’s handball.
“As an ex-Birmingham player, it’s always sweet to score against Villa,” he said. “I suppose it makes up for falling over against them a few years back. It was awful wasn’t it?
“It’s something I’ve got to live with and I’m sure my little boy will have it on a Christmas blooper video somewhere. The biggest blow is that I could have retired if I’d got royalties for every time it’s shown.”
With the first league goal Villa had conceded in over a month, defender Chris Samba gave the hosts a first-half foothold Grella’s foolhardy attempt to tackle James Milner appeared to have relinquished in return for what was assumed would be a 20-minute battle for survival. As it transpired, that could not have been further from the truth.
“With 10 men I’d have been happy with a point. Fortunately, the players thought different,” said Sam Allardyce.
For Stephen Warnock, facing his former club for the first time since moving to Villa Park last month, Blackburn’s relentless approach was all too familiar. “Blackburn did what they do best and they punished us,” the defender admitted.”
With Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United three of Rovers’ next four opponents, victory was especially welcome. The other fixture in that testing quartet? The visit of Burnley, a game already on the minds of all at Ewood Park. Dunn added: “They lose 5-0 and I score the winner here. That’s a good day.”
REFEREE: Mark Clattenburg (Tyne & Wear) & 6: Perhaps a little harsh with the penalty but spot on with the sending off.
MATCH RATING: **** How refreshing to see Blackburn refuse to settle for a point despite being reduced to 10 men.
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