Blackburn V West Ham Head To Head

Matt Jansen Freddie Kanoute APPEARANCESMinutes on pitch709 216 GOAL ATTEMPTSGoals1 1 Goals/Shots ratio6% 9% SHOOTINGShots On Target10 3 Shooting Accuracy59% 27% PASSINGGoal Assists1 0 Passing Accuracy72% 65% DISCIPLINEFouls12 6 Offsides13 5 Yellow Cards0 0 Red Cards0 0 OPTA INDEX SCORE796 913 First Goalscorer Odds4/1 13/2 Secure, tax-free online betting with Matt Jansen Freddie Kanoute

It's the battle of the young guns on Saturday as Matt Jansen goes head-to-head with Frederic Kanoute at Ewood Park, but the contest will be as much about fitness as it will skill.

The latter has struggled with a nagging hamstring injury this term and has yet to get a full 90 minutes under his belt, while his opposite number has featured in all but 11 minutes of Blackburn's campaign.

Jansen appears to be on a maximum high after stating this week that he is an ideal candidate to solve the national team's Achilles heel - the infamous left-sided position. However, he stars as an out-and-out striker for Rovers, although he has yet to produce the goods this term.

The former Crystal Palace hitman notched his only league goal of the season at Portman Road and has so far weighed in with just a solitary assist for his colleagues. This is a poor return for a player that revels in attacking his opponents with pacy dribbles.

Indeed Jansen has embarked upon almost half-a-century of mazy runs in 2001-02, but has only beaten his man 58% of the time. However, he may fare better against a side that has attempted the fewest tackles in the top flight.

Kanoute has played only a third of Jansen's time on pitch this season, but he opened his account with a fine strike in the Hammers' 3-0 demolition of Newcastle. The Frenchman feels that he can quickly improve this tally given a better supply line from his team-mates: "Maybe some player on the wings can do some good crosses for me; as a striker you have to focus on goals, and you can't be everywhere."

On reflection the East End marksman has a valid point. West Ham have floated over the second-fewest number of crosses this term after Liverpool and less than a quarter of them have picked out a claret-and-blue shirt. 

However, he will have to improve his own shooting accuracy if he is to fire the Hammers away from the wrong end of the table and help kick-start their ailing season.

Mark Willis