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Blackburn Rovers vs. Manchester City

Ewood Park

Sunday 2 September 2007

15:00

Rovers v Man City

Sunday sees Premier League action return to Ewood Park as the infamous Sven Goran Eriksson brings his new look Manchester City side to Lancashire with their array of foreign imports and vast amounts of good fortune.

For both sides, this will be deemed a winnable game, but City fans will undoubtedly have illusions of grandeur heading into this tie after it was made apparent on Friday that they are the most disillusioned fans in England.

However, Eriksson will ensure his players don`t lose focus and bounce back from last week`s first Premiership defeat of the season against Arsenal, a team that Rovers matched toe for toe a few weeks previous.

It will also be the first time that Sven Goran Eriksson takes a team to Ewood Park following his acrimonious reversal on his word when he agreed a contract to become the new Rovers manager ten years ago.

That should add a little extra spice to this encounter as well as City`s determination to overturn the barrage of goals conceded to Rovers last season as three Blackburn wins amassed a total of nine goals.

Both sides have made impressive starts to their respective campaigns, Rovers going about their business quietly and modestly whereas City have been grabbing all the headlines following a run of three wins and three clean sheets, including that win against Manchester United.

Whereas last week was billed as a tough and closely fought contest against Everton, this one should be a lot more open with both sides having quality players to unlock defences at their disposal.

Vital Quotes:

Santa Cruz on the Hughes factor: "I had four or five clubs who were interested in me. I talked to some people, managers, and Mark Hughes made the difference. He told me his ideas. It was a simple decision after that. He said I would get the opportunity to play. And to learn.

'He said this team is competitive, but that I will only help to make it more competitive. I had a good feeling. I feel fit and strong. I feel like I can do everything now.
'

Hughes on squad options: 'I was able to rest a number of players against MyPa. Chris Samba was ill, but we are hoping he is going to be okay for the weekend so he comes back into the equation.

'Benni and Roque obviously are key players for us, as are Savage and Dunn as well. So I've got a lot of options and a lot of good players that I can call on.
'

Blackburn Rovers Team News:

Mark Hughes is set to recall a number of his rested stars for this clash with the Benni McCarthy and Roque Santa Cruz partnership set to re-ignite despite only being 75 minutes old.
Chris Samba has been struggling with illness all week but has a strong chance of returning for this game. If he is passed sufficiently fit he will likely replace Andre Ooijer in the centre of defence.

Rovers from: Friedel, Emerton, Samba, Nelsen, Ooijer, Warnock, Bentley, Dunn, Savage, Pedersen, Santa Cruz, McCarthy, Derbyshire, Roberts, Tugay, Mokoena, Rigters, Khizanishvili.

Player to watch: David Dunn

He has put in two consistently good displays in the middle of the park and another on Sunday will see Rovers create chances through the middle. Whereas City have Geovanni and Elano, Dunn needs to be Rovers creative spur in the middle of the park with Robbie Savage neutralising the opposition threat. It is going to be a hands on display in the engine room but Dun has been displaying all the abilities of doing this.

Manchester City Team News:

Like Rovers, City will bring back a number of first team players including the impressive and resolute defensive partnership of Micah Richards and Richard Dunne. The impressive early season form will see Geovanni return to the starting line-up should he shake off an illness.

Manchester City from: Schmeichel, Hart, Corluka, Onuoha, Sun, Richards, Dunne, Garrido, Ball, Fernandes, Geovanni, Hamann, Johnson, Ireland, Petrov, Elano, Bianchi, Corradi.

Player to watch: Micah Richards

The young international has been putting in performances at the centre of the defence that belies his age. He is quick, sharp, strong and dominant in the air. Rovers will have to focus as much of their attacking play away from him but in McCarthy and Santa Cruz, perhaps even Roberts, Rovers have physical, yet clever strikers who could give the youngster a run for his money.

Hughes may indeed decide to start with Roberts as a way of combating the presence of Richards.

Match Facts & Stats

Manchester City have only managed to score against Rovers twice since 2004.

City's only win in 12 Premier League matches against Rovers was by an odd goal in five triumph at Ewood Park on 25 August 2003, when Nicolas Anelka scored the winner in the 87th minute.

Matt Derbyshire appears to have a fetish for scoring against City after finding one in the league ties and one in the cup against them last season.

Rovers are one of only five teams still unbeaten in the Premiership. The others clubs are Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Newcastle.

Ref Watch:

Mike Dean will officiate this tie and he has already issued a sensational 21 yellow cards and a single red in his three games.

Match Prediction:

This will be a far more open game than last week`s draw against Everton and the previous match against Arsenal. Man City will try and play their counter attacking football but if Rovers can get an early goal to force them out then there is every chance Rovers can hurt them. Calls have been made by Rovers fans this week to see more first time shots at goal and it will be sensible to test Kasper Schmeichel early on because, despite his three clean sheets, he has at times looked a little suspect, especially on crosses. This is one of Rovers` strengths so Hughes will be keen to see David Bentley and Morten Gamst Pedersen (who got a brace in this fixture last season) deliver the goods for the forwards. Rovers to emerge victorious with a repeat of last season`s scoreline: 4-2

Next Fixtures:

Rovers travel to Stamford Bridge nest on Saturday 15 September




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The Journalist

Writer: Roversman Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Saturday September 1 2007

Time: 3:41PM

Your Comments

I think we will see a really entertaining game on Sunday and one that Rovers can win. It won't be easy as City have goals in them but I think Kasper is suspect and their luck and his, could run out on Sunday.
roversman
yeah i agree roversman he does not look comfortable at times nd we should try to exploit that! my mate is a city fan so i enjoyed last seasons triple win but they are a different team now but nothing i fear i reckon one or two nil to rovers with santa cruz givin a masterclass in the air!
durks de rover
I say we'll win 3-1
IsraeliRover
Not sure on score will definitely show where we are going this season, with a win definite top six but a draw wouldn't really be good enough for our ambitions, hopefully a win 2-1 Rovers!!!
roverjoy
you might just have too much for an overrated City side!
merlin
I think city will be very organised and MAY hold on for a point (that's what i'm hoping for anyway with spurs dropping points left, right, centre, backwards, forwards, up, down.....)
Phartman87
(btw like my use of caps lock MID sentence, HDM has tought me WELL :))
Phartman87
It adds EMPHASIS to a word doesn't it, so it LOOKS like I have dude lol!
Manchester City are a very good side now, Eriksson is a great club manager so he will look to keep it tight (and City look almost water-tight at the back.) However, I also think it will be a highly entertaining game and their will be goal, so I'll sat 3-2 Rovers.
Hughes Da Man
Nice article again, Roversman, I always look forward to these previews. Hey I'm a bit nervy about the amount of yellow cards this ref has given so far this year. Hopefully he doesn't have too much of an impact and calls it as he sees it, rather than going on past reputations.
Desert Kiwi
Cheers Desert. Yeah the ref could play a big role in today's game especially with the pre-conceptions of Rovers. Let's hope he doesn't flash his cards too often.
roversman
Gonna be an awesome game, cant wait till kick off 1 hour 20 min away. Should be exciting, 2-1 to rovers, Mccarthy to open his acount, samba to score also
sasman
1-0 to rovers, fantastic. Well at least i got Mccarthy opening his tally right, samba had a few chances, as did emo, gamst and roque
sasman
I got the win right, but not the score.
Good calls on the "influence" the referee would have on the game, sadly he did didn't he, the guys is a joke!
Hughes Da Man
 

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