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The Preview: Rovers v The Blues

Blackburn Rovers
Manchester City

Ewood Park

Saturday 15th August 2009

15:00 GMT+1

And so to business. English football will have more than one eye on events at Ewood this weekend. After all the hype, how will City perform?

Vital Quotes:

Mark Hughes:

'We have to address our away form, so why not start doing that on the first game of the season? A nice positive result would set the tone for all of our away games in the season.

'Last year we didn't do that - in many of the games we dictated possession and were in the ascendancy and then had a lapse, conceded, found teams prepared to defend what they had, and then found it difficult to break them down.

'It's about making sure, away from home, that we don't concede as readily as we did.'

Sam Allardyce:

'Everybody will expect success instantly at Manchester City, that's the pressure they have got to live with.

'For us it's about trying to spoil their party, being that they think that they can come to a place like Blackburn Rovers and beat us comfortably with that kind of spending.

'We're certainly going to go all out to make sure that's not the case.'

David Dunn:

'It is important we do our best and kick lumps out of them, fairly of course. That is what the manager will be asking from our lads.'

Blackburn Rovers Team News:

Rovers Transfer dealings:
IN: 9 OUT: 13

Rovers have problems over a number of players. It will be interesting to see how Big Sam addresses this. He has carried out sizeable squad rebuilding so it's likely his own side will have some gelling to do.

Treatment Table:

David Dunn: Thigh
Vince Grella, Paul Gallagher: Hamstring
Ryan Nelsen, Brett Emerton and Steven Reid: Knee

Player to watch: Benni McCarthy

With almost relentless ease, McCarthy is one of those players who always seems to do a job against City. New signings Steven N'Zonzi and Franco Di Santo will also have to be well shackled.

Manchester City Team News:

City Transfer Dealings:
IN: 7 OUT: 14

Quite seriously, City could well take the field at Ewood with players remaining from the 2008-2009 squad and er, Gareth Barry. Early team news monitored throughout the week at VMC indicates that a number of Blues are nursing knocks alongside players who are definitely sidelined.

Treatment Table:

Shay Given: Groin
Emmanuel Adebayor: Groin
Craig Bellamy: Knee
Carlos Tevez: Heel
Kolo Toure: Hip
Nedum Onuoha: Thigh

Definitely Out:

Vincent Kompany: Toe
Roque Santa Cruz: Knee operations rehab.
Michael Johnson: Post long term lay off knocks.

Player to watch: Martin Petrov

Rigsby didn't do himself any favours moaning about his first team prospects before a ball is kicked this season, but in pre season he has begun to show the kind of defence terrorising form he fired with before serious injury thwarted him last season. With City's striker options at risk of being restricted, the Flying Bulgar's pace could prove crucial.

Match Facts & Stats

The last 6 league meetings between Rovers and City saw 22 goals.

Blackburn won their last two opening day games whereas The Blues have secured only two opening day wins and they came away from home.

City's last away clean sheet was one year ago at Sunderland (0-3).

Aston Villa are the only side to have won at Ewood Park this year as Rovers haven't conceded at home in over 5 hours of football.

Ref Watch:

Mike Dean, The Wirral. 2008-2009 Record: Games: 44, Yellow Cards: 156 Red Cards: 12 City games reffed last season: City 1 Tottenham 2, West Ham 1 City 0, City 3 Blackburn 1

Match Prediction:

This is a tough assignment. Make no mistake about it. It will be all the tougher should the raft of injury concerns niggling at the City squad see all but a couple of our summer signings take the field. Should the majority of them make it however, I still believe we can win and win well on Saturday. I'm holding out for a performance not dissimilar to the Sven signings impact win at Upton Park a couple of season's ago. We must also bear in mind that the majority of Sparky's squad have had more time together and it's now time for the gaffer and players to start to deliver. Johnny On The Spot: Blackburn 1 CITY 3

Next Fixtures:

Wed 19 Aug 21:00 GMT+1 FC Barcelona v CITY - Friendly; Joan Gamper Trophy

Sat 22 Aug 15:00 GMT+1 CITY v Wolves - FA Premier League

Writer:Johnny Baguette
Date:Thursday August 13 2009
Time: 10:55PM


I read your report and stats, and in my humble opinion, it will be a win for us to the tune of 5-0. (maybe)
13/08/2009 23:00:00
Seamus is the paramount injury concern, imho.
Johnny Baguette
13/08/2009 23:30:00
I have full faith in Taylor should Given not make it. Unfortunately 98% of blues have already written him off despite him not even having a competitive game for us yet (shame on you).
14/08/2009 00:04:00
I don't doubt Taylor's credentials at all. If Shay makes it, then defensive continuity and familiarity will be maintained.
Johnny Baguette
14/08/2009 00:16:00
(That wasn't directed at you mate by the way it was just a general thing you just brought up the keepers is all :-))
14/08/2009 00:32:00
Not a bother, Goat! I figured as much. All power to our physio's these next 36 hours. We need to get some options out there! Ade's groin pull is said to be slight but has been persistent. Bell's knee problem doesn't seem to go away. I'm hoping Tevez's week of training mean's he'll be starting!
Johnny Baguette
14/08/2009 00:40:00
I'm thinking it will be a bit closer with us taking the points 2-1. God help us if we lose, the doomsayers will be writing us off and rubbishing us in the press. Lets hope the boys do the business on the pitch and silence those critics.
14/08/2009 05:50:00
BN, thats the thread inside, It really is a must win the first match and a good win at that or thread will be headed Hughes out, who comes in for Hughes, How long do we give him, all press ammo to disrupt City. I am sure though that any replacements will do the job for us at Ewood Park
Buzz Lightyear
14/08/2009 07:33:00
Hughes has a tough job preparing for this one, what with all the injuries, But that's when a good manager earns his corn
14/08/2009 15:48:00
So who is captain?
14/08/2009 23:11:00
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