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'If It's Football, It's Vital'

Manchester City vs. Blackburn Rovers

Etihad Stadium

25/02/12

5:30pm

City Host Blackburn

Hovering perilously above the relegation zone, Blackburn lie in 17th place, level on points with relegation candidates Wolves in 18th.

Desperate to climb back up into safety, Steve Kean's side will prove tough opposition, as they did at Old Trafford by beating Manchester Utd 3-2 in a thoroughly entertaining encounter.

Roberto Mancini is well aware that the Lancashire club will not roll over and has called for concentration ahead of a game that could see City extend their lead at the top to 5 points.

Not only would this add extra pressure on their closest rivals, but it would also help the Citizens to close in on the record for the most consecutive wins at home in a season.

Can Roberto's record breakers rise to the challenge? Or will the distractions of Carlos Tevez or the courage of Blackburn see them falter?

Vital Quotes:

Roberto Mancini extolled the virtues of high concentration, stating: 'It is impossible to be complacent. Every game is like a Champions League final and for this reason we need good concentration.

'Now we have a game against Blackburn on Saturday and I think every game from now until the end will be difficult.

'When you play against a squad playing against relegation, it can be more difficult.

'Blackburn won away against Manchester United and we know they are a good team, they are strong on the counter-attack.

'They have been playing very well in the last two or three weeks. They are playing to get away from the bottom.'

Manchester City Team News:

With Richards suffering a knock in the 4-0 demolition of Porto on Wednesday, Pablo Zabaleta is likely to be reinstated into the starting 11.

Although Carlos Tevez has started training again at Carrington, it is highly unlikely we will see him turning out in a City shirt for at least two weeks, if at all.

Player to watch: Sergio Aguero

Confidence breeds success, and with Aguero currently brimming with it, expect some magic from the Argentine.

The former Athletico Madrid man has been sensational all season, not only for his impressive goal tally, but also for his unrivalled work rate when he has been struggling to find his groove.

With Chris Samba having departed for Russia, Blackburn's defence could be put to the sword if they are not at the top of their game.

Blackburn Rovers Team News:

Veteren defender Gael Givet is suspended, while David Dunn is certain to miss out after sustaining an injury.

Meanwhile, star defender Chris Samba has sealed a suprising 12m move to Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala, forcing Steve Keane to look for other defensive options.

Player to watch: Yakubu

'The Yak' is back, this time with Blackburn Rovers. The stocky striker's career has fluctuated wildly over recent years, but at Blackburn, he seems to have re-kindled his fine form and has been racking up goals like a man on a mission.

There is no doubt that his presence causes all sorts of problems for any defence, but like any striker coming up against City, they have the formidable task of getting past the likes of Vincent Kompany.

This could be his night, or a night to forget.

Match Facts & Stats

Blackburn have only won once at City's ground in the Premier League, all the way back in 2007.

The Blues have notched up an impressive 7 clean sheets in their last 10 Premier League games.

Match Prediction:

It's difficult to come to any other conclusion than a City win, but with the Old Trafford win in the backs of their minds, Rovers may just find a bit of form. With some added luck and a bit of complacency from City, this may just be one of those suprising results that reignites the title race. I think that Blackburn may just cause an upset tonight. Manchester City 1-1 Blackburn.

Next Fixtures:




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The journalist

Writer: Lincolnsmariner Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Saturday February 25 2012

Time: 12:19PM

 

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