Blackburn Rovers moved into the top half of the Championship table for the first time this season on Tuesday night, following their 1-0 win over Hull City at the KCOM Stadium.
It was Derrick Williams’ header midway through the second half that secured the three points for Tony Mowbray’s side, ensuring that Rovers followed up back-to-back league defeats with back-to-back league wins at the start of the season.
One man who caught the eye for Blackburn on Tuesday night was Stewart Downing, with the summer signing from Middlesbrough putting in an impressive performance to earn himself the man of the match award from Sky Sports.
So just how good was Downing for Blackburn on Tuesday?
Here, we’ve put the spotlight on the winger’s performance at the KCOM Stadium to find out.
Despite turning 35 over the course of the summer, Downing clearly still has it in him to compete at the top level, having come through 97 minutes against Hull on Tuesday, and looking at the stats, you can certainly see why Blackburn manager Tony Mowbray was so keen to keep him on the pitch for the duration of the game.
Throughout the course of the match, Downing evidently proved a big threat to Hull’s defence.
In what was a clear demonstration of Downing’s continuing ability to pose a danger with his crossing, it was his free-kick that expertly found Williams inside the Hull area, allowing the defender to flick the ball into the bottom corner of George Long’s net.
It wasn’t just the goal, however, where Downing’s delivery caused problems for the Tigers’ back line.
Having assisted five shots throughout the course of the match, the winger once again showed that he has the ability to create chances for his teammates with the quality of his passing and crossing into the area.
Add to that the fact that he made four crosses over the 90 minutes, and it seems that Downing is showing no signs of losing his desire to put balls into the area, and given the chances he is creating, you feel that is something Rovers will surely want to continue to exploit going forward.
As well as that, having completed no fewer than 37 passes on Tuesday night, it is evident that Downing was also able to help Blackburn to control the game during spells of possession, showing that he was not only in the side for the purposes of his supply.
That is a suggestion that is further enhanced by the fact that Downing appears to be finding his range in terms of shooting himself.
He may have only had two shots, but with one of those finding the target, and the other one coming back off the Hull post, it does seem as though Downing is getting closer to adding to the one goal he has already netted for Blackburn this season, in the Carabao Cup win over Oldham Athletic.
There were more than a few eyebrows raised amongst those of a Rovers persuasion when the signing of Downing was announced earlier in the summer. If he keeps putting in performances like this, however, there won’t be too many questioning the decision to keep him in the Blackburn starting XI.