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?
‘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.’
‘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.’
‘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.
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.
Shay Given: Groin
Emmanuel Adebayor: Groin
Craig Bellamy: Knee
Carlos Tevez: Heel
Kolo Toure: Hip
Nedum Onuoha: Thigh
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.
Mike Dean, The Wirral.
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
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
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