Manchester City v Blackburn
City Of Manchester Stadium
Saturday 2nd May 2009
Blackburn look to increase their bid for survival while City aim at climbing the table to clinch a heavily contested Europa League place in a bid to reinforce their high ambitions.
Mark Hughes is beginning to show signs that he is the right man for the job, a sentiment reiterated by the man himself in recent reports.
Hughes still has a lot of critics to win over but if he can guide the team to Europe then he will gain a large portion of skeptical supporters in his favour.
Now is not the time for on pitch capitulations, dressing room squabbles or dissident supporters. Seventh place requires a huge effort and success demands that the whole club stays strong and stays solid.
Manchester City keeper Shay Given spoke ahead of the clash with Blackburn, saying:'They are still scrapping for their lives, it will be a tough game. We saw their game against Wigan - there were a lot of long throws, free kicks and corners.
'Sam Allardyce is famous for being so precise in the emphasis he puts on set plays, and it is something we will have to be careful of. They did well against Wigan from set plays - they have some big guys and we know what their main weapons will be.'
'For us to get the three points away from home was a huge thing after beating West Brom.
'Now we have Blackburn this week. We have to keep this going - the confidence is pretty high at the moment, and that is such a big thing in football. We would love to finish in seventh to get back into Europe.'
Hughes commented on the fate of his former club Blackburn, stating: 'I know Blackburn very well from top to bottom and they cannot afford to go out of the Premier League. That would be a disaster.
'It has been a difficult season for them. They were an established top 10 club when I was there and this year they have not been able to hit those heights.
'Sam has come in and got them playing in a way that is helping them at the moment given their situation. They are getting points on the board.
'I still look out for their results. I had four good years there and enjoyed working with the people. They were a big part of the success I had there. It's a good club.'
Hughes' successor at Blackburn, Sam Allardyce said: 'Our last two away results against Liverpool and Stoke were not really acceptable.
'But hopefully we will take confidence from beating Wigan as we still need some points to make sure we are absolutely safe.'
Manchester City FC Team News:
Shaun Wright-Phillips is almost certainly going to miss this game while Micah Richards missed training due to injury and will be assessed before kickoff.
Daniel Sturridge has had another injury setback while Pablo Zabaleta is also expected to miss out.
The game could present a chance for a number of fringe players as City boss Mark Hughes looks to assess a number of players before the reshaping of the squad takes effect over the summer.
Player to watch: Robinho
The Brazilian has hit form in spectacular style. Two goals in two games is a statistic that I wouldn't bet against him breaking as he looks to add to his goal tally.
We have still not seen the best from the most expensive player in the premier league and I think he will have the time and freedom against Blackburn to give us a further glimpse of talents and what we can expect to see from him next season.
Blackburn Rovers Team News:
A big blow to Blackburn is that David Dunn will miss out the rest of the season after an operation on his Achilles.
January target Roque Santa Cruz remains sidelined with knee problems.
Player to watch: Benni McCarthy
While Blackburn have a number of dangerous players, the 31 year old South African international is Blackburn's top Premier League scorer with nine goals to his name.
McCarthy has scored a total of six times in the Premier League against Saturday's opponents Manchester City, this includes a goal in each of his last two appearances against City.
Match Facts & Stats
Blackburn Rovers go into this game 11 matches undefeated against Manchester City. The last two meetings between the two clubs ended in two 2-2 draws.
Shay Given will be facing a former club although he made only three appearances for Blackburn in the dawn of his career in 1997.
Mike Dean officiates this must win home game. Dean has overseen 27 games including two City defeats. He has shown a staggering 106 yellow cards and 8 reds which include Manchester City captain Richard Dunne and Gelson Fernandes. Lets hope for better luck in this game!
This game should determine whether or not Manchester City is the real deal. They must win against all of their remaining home games while getting some away points in order to snatch seventh place in the league. Mark Hughes' men have won 13 games this season, only one game less than Everton- unfortunately City has lost so many games rather than drawing them meaning their poor league position is a direct consequence. We are not as bad as our league position and I think we will prove it with a vital win. MCFC 2-1 Blackburn.
Away to Manchester United on Sunday 10th May 2009 at 1.30pm