Blackburn will look to pull off another huge upset by defeating Premier League leaders Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium. Rovers shockingly defeated Manchester United on New Year’s Eve and will be looking for another good result in Manchester on Saturday tea-time.
Steve Kean revealed this week that he employs a full-time bodyguard due to the discontented protests and groans from the Ewood Park crowd. If he can keep Rovers in the Premier League, Kean will have silenced those who criticised him heavily. A blistering first-half performance turned out to be enough against QPR two weeks ago in a 3-2 win, which erased the horrible memories of their 7-1 loss against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium the week before.
David Dunn is a doubt for the trip to Manchester with a thigh problem, but Junior Hoilett will be available despite being replaced against the West Londoners. Defender Jason Lowe begins his two-match ban following ten bookings this season and joins Gael Givet on the suspension list. Kean has also lost defender Chris Samba, who has completed a deal to Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala.
Rovers have been defiant against their pressure this season, but the biggest test of the season will be their trip to Eastlands. City have ridden their slight wobble in the league and pulled out a hard-fought victory thanks to Joleon Lescott’s second-half winner at Villa Park. Roberto Mancini’s men are still in the Europa League after their 6-1 aggregate win over Porto in the Europa League second round.
January loan signing David Pizarro opened his account for City on Wednesday and could be in line to make his first Premier League start against Rovers. The Chilean international impressed against the Europa League holders in midweek and there are reports of him making the deal permanent. Pizarro will face difficulty dislodging midfielders Gareth Barry and Yaya Toure in the City midfield and Toure is back following the African Cup of Nations.
The big news from the league leaders is the return of striker Carlos Tevez after his long absence from the side following arguments with Mancini. Tevez was back in training, but is not yet match-fit and will not be involved against Blackburn. The Argentinian apologised for his actions in recent months and Mancini has forgiven him, which could be ominous for the rest of the season. City already have three superb strikers in Mario Balotelli, Edin Dzeko and Sergio Aguero and Tevez’s return will be a magnificent addition.
City will be looking to avoid any upset and want to extend their lead to five points before second placed Manchester United face Norwich City at Carrow Road. Mancini’s side have a favourable run of fixtures before their Monday night showdown against Chelsea on March 19th and will want to start a winning run against Blackburn. Kean’s men have no pressure on them, which could allow them to cause problems with the dangerous Hoilett and top scorer Yakubu. However, City should have no worries and could put a fair few goals past Blackburn at the Etihad Stadium.
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