The battle for Number 10

Villa looking at Toral?

Blues fans have grown to love Arsenal loanee Jon Toral but the Blues boss believes his decision to pick Diego Fabbrini and give him his first start since returning to the club was justified after the 1-0 victory over Bolton Wanderers last night.

With both being skilful players, they have different attributes. Jon Toral is a more forward thinking player, playing one-two’s with players around him and creating space for the wide-men. Fabbrini likes to take players on and run into that space. That is one reason why he took off Fabb for Toral to get more of a foothold in the middle of the park after taking the lead.

Not the best performance from Blues against the bottom team but Fabbrini produced the run and pass that gave Clayton Donaldson the winning goal and Gary Rowett stood by his decision to start the £1.5million man:

“It’s always a real challenge,” he admitted. “At this stage of the season you want to play the players who have been playing well for you.

“I spoke to Jon in the week and said he has been really good for us and he will have a massive part to play this season. “He’s certainly not going to be playing a supporting role.

“I toyed with a plan of getting them both on the pitch but I just felt we would be a little too open and don’t think we are quite at that part of the season yet where we need to gamble too much.

“And in some ways it paid off because Diego assisted for the goal and Jon came on and gave us a little bit more brightness in the latter part of the game.”


Rowett believed the moment of brilliance from the Italian was the turning point in the game as neither team came up with many opportunities on goal.

“I felt as a team we were struggling to get on the ball and keep the ball and felt that lack of composure was probably going to be the thing that cost us – if anything.

“It wasn’t down to anything other than we deciding to make a tactical change. I just wanted to get Cotts and Jon on the pitch to see if they could give us a bit of a lift and see if they could get us into better areas – which actually at times they did.”

Having both players battling for the number 10 spot, it can only make them better competing up until the end of the season. Last night’s bench was the strongest we have seen in years, it will be exciting to see how Rowett sets his team up in the remaining 13 games.

So all in all it was a big result in the battle for sixth and it puts Blues back into the mix after not playing at the weekend. Blues now look forward to another sold out away day against QPR on Saturday and we all know what happened last time the boys were in London…

Let us know your thoughts on last night’s game in the comment section below and don’t forget to look out for our matchday video coming soon to our YouTube channel!


  1. G, R was right to bring in fabbrini , if he doesn’t want to change the formation then do it on a regular basis ,start with fabbrini one game and work him hard , and bring toral on on 60 minutes and work him hard ,then swap them round the next , they are both quality players and both match winners , it will halve the bookings and injuries and give us a stronger consistent power at number 10 …


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