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Blackburn preview


Where and when:

City of Manchester Stadium, Saturday January 20th 2007.

Current form:

Both sides are in a good vein of form currently, with City on the back of a six game unbeaten run whilst Blackburn were unbeaten in four prior to defeat against Arsenal last weekend - and come in on the back of two impressive away victories where they have outscored opponents 7-1.

Games involving City have the second least number of goals, but impressively a points return of 1.58 per goal is the highest in the Premiership.

Although the last four games have been drawn at home, Blackburn haven't won at City since 1994.

Team news:
Joey Barton is suspended - and judging by his current form will be a huge loss. This should see Micah Richards pushed forward subject to the fitness of Nedum Onouha. Should Onouha not be fit it may see Sinclair, or even a recall for Didi Hamman - who played in the reserves this week.

David Dunn - having re-signed from Birmingham this week, could be set for a second debut, whilst David Bentley returns from suspension. Lucas Neill will be in the squad after Mark Hughes blocked a move to West Ham until a suitable replacement is found - having earlier agreed the deal with Liverpool that would have seen Steven Warnock move to Ewood Park.

Keys to the game:

It could be a niggly affair, as City have the most red cards this season, whilst Blackburn 'boast' the most yellow cards - although Phil Dowd is not a referee renowned for brandishing cards. City's midfield has gelled well over the past few games, and need to continue to create opportunities. Barton will be a big loss, and it may see Richards once again pushed into a midfield role.

Tugay will be an important factor in the Blackburn midfield, and despite his advancing years has the capability to pull the strings whilst Robbie Savage will play the spoiler role. For me though, it is important that Morten Gamst Pedersen is kept in check as he is a known goal scorer and much will go through him.

City link:

Paul Dickov - if fit, would have been going up against his former side.

Why City will win:
There is a confident air around the side, and we are taking a more patient approach in games which has helped against sides who come with a more defensive approach. Historical results are also with us so I expect the good run to continue.

Why City will lose:
I have no doubt that Blackburn will come with a point first and foremost in their minds and look to snatch an away goal. They are a resolute side and with pace up front have the capability to snatch a win.

Prediction:

City 1 Blackburn 0


Click here for a more in-depth betting guide to the weekends game.