Blackburn Rovers finished 8th in the recently concluded 2021-22 EFL Championship season, which was a vast improvement from the 2020-21 season where they finished 15th. Manager Tony Mowbray left the club upon the expiry of the contract. He helped the Rovers win promotion from EFL League One in 2017/18 and has consistently finished mid-table. Mowbray has now been replaced by former Danish striker, Jon Dahl Tomasson, in the dugout. The Dane previously managed the Swedish club, Malmö FF. With that in mind, let us take a look at what Tomasson needs to achieve in the 2022-23 season using performances from the 2021-22 season as a benchmark.
Blackburn Rovers ended the 2021-22 EFL Championship campaign in 8th place with a record of 19 wins, 12 draws and 15 losses and a goal difference of +9. According to xG, the Lancashire club should have netted 57 goals. However, they overachieved slightly by scoring 59 goals in the process (or 1.28 per game). While the performances of Ben Brereton Diaz certainly played a part as the Chilean man scored 22 times, he also received some support from the rest of his teammates, most notably Sam Gallagher. As per xG, Rovers ranked only 13th, but in terms of actual goals scored, they ranked slightly higher at 11th.
Defensively, Blackburn Rovers allowed 50 goals in the recently concluded campaign (or 1.09 per game). This is also slightly better than what xGA estimated. The metric predicted the Lancashire-based team to ship 53 times. Ranking-wise, Blackburn ranked 5th in the xGA, but came in at 8th in terms of actual goals conceded.
Joe Rothwell was Blackburn Rovers’ most successful threat creator, but he has been released by the club due to the expiry and non-renewal of his contract. So, Rovers will have to find a replacement for him quickly before the start of the next season. Most of Rothwell’s threat came from corners and free kicks. As a result, John Buckley was the most successful threat producer from open play for the Lancashire-based outfit. Most of Blackburn’s threat came from the right-hand side of the pitch.
Seen above is the shot map of Blackburn Rovers in the 2021-22 EFL Championship season, excluding the penalties. From inside the six-yard box, Rovers have missed a couple of chances. Had they capitalised on every opportunity that had with an xG of 0.5 or greater, they could have finished in the top six and challenged for promotion. Ben Brereton Diaz and Sam Gallagher accounted for more than half the team’s goals this campaign.
Tony Mowbray guided Blackburn Rovers to stability in the second tier of the English Football League system for four seasons. Now, the objective under Jon Dahl Tomasson will be to challenge for promotion on a consistent basis.