Blackburn Club Focus – Record against top teams gives Rovers hope against Manchester City

Steve Kean will take his relegation-threatened Blackburn Rovers side to the Etihad Stadium this Saturday, with the knowledge that time is running out for the Lancashire outfit to clinch the points needed to survive in the Premier League. Rovers currently sit just one place above the relegation zone on goal difference, having collected 21 points with two-thirds of the season gone. With just 39 points still up for grabs and the Ewood Park side still 19 points short of the all-important 40-point mark, they will need to start racking up wins in the coming months.

While Rovers will be huge underdogs as they head into the game against league leaders Manchester City, Kean’s men cannot afford to treat this game as a ‘bonus’. There are just 13 league games to go – and a handful of them are against the so-called ‘bigger’ teams. Many people would suggest that given Rovers’ precarious position, they are in no position to prioritise the fixtures. Kean’s side will have to scrap for every point.

On paper, Rovers stand little chance of overcoming their big-spending opponents. Not only have the Sky Blues won every home game in the top-flight so far this term, but they have also scored a phenomenal 64 goals – more than any other side. Meanwhile, Rovers have shipped the most goals (56) in the Premier League this season. Safe to say that fans of the Lancashire club would prefer not to remember the crushing 4-0 defeat inflicted on them when City visited Ewood Park in October.

With that said, Rovers have enjoyed some memorable moments of their own so far this campaign, particularly against the bigger sides. Not only did Kean guide them to victory over Arsenal at home earlier this season, but they also managed to claim a well-deserved draw at Anfield, as well as a shock win over Manchester United at Old Trafford back in December. It would therefore be dangerous for Roberto Mancini’s stars to expect a win by simply turning up on Saturday.

Rovers’ chances of taking any points from City could be boosted by the possible return of skipper Chris Samba. The Congolese man mountain has not featured for the club for many weeks following speculation that he wanted a move away in the last transfer window. According to the Daily Mail, the influential centre-back, who had been a key player for Rovers both in defence and in attack earlier this season, could be in line for a welcome return at the Etihad. Further questions will be asked about Samba’s future at the club if he is not named in the squad.

See what the expert tipsters at OLBG are tipping on Man City v Blackburn

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