Match Preview: Blackburn @ Manchester City

Micah Richards advances the ball against Blackburn last year. (Alex Livesy - Getty Images)

Fresh off a disappointing loss to Sunderland and the international break, Manchester City welcome Blackburn Rovers to Eastlands for a match which is trickier than at first glance. 

City sit in 8th place with 4 points; while Blackburn are in 14th with 3 points. The Lancashire side fell to Arsenal in their last Premier League match, but have beaten Everton

Analysis, projected lineups, and a match prediction after the jump. 

City

Projected Lineup

Per Roberto Mancini's XI against Sunderland. There's an outside chance that new signing Jerome Boateng could debut, however, which would probably mean the exit of Joleon Lescott. Mario Balotelli, Wayne Bridge, and Aleksandr Kolarov remain out of action.

Hart
Lescott - Kompany  - Toure - Richards
de Jong - Barry
A.Johnson - Y.Toure -  Milner
  Tevez

In goal

New England no. 1 and City player of the month Joe Hart. Hart has been on a run of spectacular form of late, keeping 4 clean sheets at club level (his lone goal allowed was a penalty from Darren Bent); and has recently taken hold of England's top goalkeeping spot. Is a new contract in his future? We'll see, but there's no doubt that Joe Hart has become one of Manchester City's most valuable assets. 

Keys to the match

  • Finish well. Despite the three goal outburst against Liverpool, Manchester City still have trouble putting the ball in the back of the net. They failed to score against Spurs and Sunderland, and the problems were magnified by a horrific miss from captain Carlos Tevez at the Stadium of Light. 
  • You hate to blame a loss on one person, but Micah Richards' tackle of Darren Bent in the late stages of the Sunderland match was truly reckless. Discipline first for the members of City's back line, and everything else should fall into place.

Blackburn

Projected Lineup

Sam Allardyce lined his squad up against Arsenal as follows:

Robinson
Givet - Nelsen  - Samba - Salgado
Pedersen - Grella - Jones
E. Diouf
Kalinic - M. Diouf
 

In goal

30 year old Paul Robinson, who just recently retired from international football after a fairly successful run which saw him earn 41 caps for England. Interesting note on Robinson: he's scored two goals in his career, including this amazing free kick on current Manchester United goaltender Ben Foster.

Prediction

In the end, Blackburn are not much different than Sunderland. City needs to not play down to their opponents, but keep the pressure on. Do this, and the gap in talent will be proven quickly. Fool around, however, and Blackburn boast the capability to make the Blues pay; as did the Black Cats. If Manchester City can dominate possession, then look for a 2-1 win. 

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