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Lee Dixon's tactical view

Blackburn may well have found a new role for David Dunn and are also profiting from the rapid improvement in striker Franco di Santo, which has given them an extra dimension in attack.

Dunn and Di Santo worked brilliantly together against Burnley, with the pair showing a real understanding - not least for Rovers' equaliser which was fashioned superbly and finished off in style.

Dunn has always been a really good player, but with him playing 'in the hole' he is showing he has the intelligence to hold great positions and make the team tick.

His sense of knowing where to be, and when, was perfectly illustrated by his goal as he stayed on the edge of the box, anticipating a lay-off.

And it was some lay-off by Di Santo, whose touch to divert Morten Gamst Pedersen's cross into Dunn's path was exquisite.

Those two will, rightly, take the plaudits for the goal, but it is important to note the contribution of others in creating the opportunity.

Franco Di Santo
Di Santo heads into an empty net to score his first Premier League goal

When a team employs a one-man forward line, which is essentially how Rovers were set up with Dunn supporting Di Santo, it is crucial that they provide plenty of support from elsewhere. And they did that really well.

Full-back Pascal Chimbonda took two Burnley players out of the game by continuing his overlapping run once he had laid the ball off to Pedersen, who then had space to deliver the cross which led to Dunn's goal.

Another aspect of the goal that may go unnoticed is how El-Hadji Diouf got himself into the box at the far post to take advantage had the cross been a longer one.

It was the advanced positioning of the supporting players that allowed Dunn to hold his position on the edge of the box.

Too often teams have only one player in the box and a cross is wasted, so it was essential that Diouf was coming in at the far post.

It meant that Dunn had a choice of whether to attack the ball or anticipate the ball coming to him.

When it did, he slotted the ball into the corner expertly.

Much should be made of the level of skill shown by Di Santo in his touch for the goal. He looks to have guile as well as being a target man - and maybe that is something Rovers have not always had.

The on-loan Chelsea forward also showed he is willing to run for lost causes, can hold the ball up and will defend right from the front.

That is the attitude that lifts team-mates - and the crowd - and I thought he had a very good game.

606: DEBATE
Rover-the-Top

It will be interesting to see if Chelsea recall him in January, given their transfer ban and the fact they will lose the likes of Dider Drogba to the African Cup of Nations.

That would be a major blow to Blackburn as Di Santo is starting to really come good.

As manager, Sam Allardyce pointed out after the game, there are four strikers going for one position at Rovers - as Dunn has made the deeper role his own.

Di Santo seems to be ahead of the pack - which includes Benni McCarthy and Jason Roberts - and that is huge credit to the 20-year-old Argentine's progress.

And his confidence will have been boosted after his goal against Burnley - his first in English football.

It may have been a gift, with a defensive mix-up handing him the chance to head into an empty net, but it was a goal that the best strikers score by being in the right place at the right time.

The performances of Dunn and Di Santo, and the way Rovers supported their front pair, were instrumental in taking them from a goal down to eventual victory in the Lancashire derby.

And it may just have kick-started Blackburn's season.

Lee Dixon was talking to BBC Sport's Ian Hughes.



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see also
Blackburn 3-2 Burnley
18 Oct 09 |  Premier League
Lee Dixon's tactical view
05 Oct 09 |  Premier League


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