ANALYSIS: Manchester City 5 vs 0 Blackburn Rovers

City progressed to the Fourth Round of the FA Cup in style with a 5 – 0 win over a really very impressive Blackburn team. Watford await following a second half goal fest. Here are a few thoughts from the game…

Contrasting Halves

Ahh, yes, that’s just the 99 goals so far this season then. On the evidence of the first half a bet on a 5 – 0 scoreline looked to be money down the drain. It was one of the worst halves of football played in front of the Etihad crowd for a fair while. A bad half is not disastrous in itself but when the pain is almost entirely self inflicted then it can become rather trying. Passes were misplaced, shots were blasted into unfeasibly high parts of the stadium, and the body language of the struggling players was discouraging. The biggest miss was, predictably, City’s outstanding trio of Silva, Nasri and Toure. Without the strange, football attracting gravity well those three create in between the opposition midfield and defence the team looked somewhat neutered when on the way to Paul Robinson’s goal, as if the players on the pitch weren’t entirely sure who should be starting an attack.

No player better sums up the dichotomy between the two halves than our old friend Edin Dzeko. Bad Dzeko was front and centre for the first 45 minutes, missing the goal many times in outrageous fashion and generally offering little to the team. Thankfully, Good Dzeko came out to play in the second half and bagged another two goals in the midst of the kind of all action display he has been putting in since New Year’s Day. Lee Dixon joked at full time that it was nice of Dzeko’s brother to come out and play in the second half, which nicely sums it up.

Navas and Milner both had yet another excellent game and proved once more why having two wingers who can cross the ball as well as they can is a very good idea. Navas in particular has a the ability to play the most perfectly accurate crosses you could ever ask for. It is as if modern defenders are used to the ball being crossed first time, so when Navas takes that half second to pick out his mark the defenders are put off for the moment it takes him to put it on someone’s head or directly into their path. The wings are becoming a happy place for City. It would be remiss to neglect Kolarov here who provided the kind of assist for Negredo’s second goal that makes you happy to be alive. Vision, intelligence, and precision, all in one neat ball. What else do you need?

Aguero

Sergio, it is wonderful to have you back. Please never leave us again.

His comrades have been putting on quite the show in recent weeks but there is no one else like him. Negredo and Dzeko are in superb goalscoring form, bagging two more each this evening, but we still need Aguero. The roar that accompanied his first appearance in about a month was truly heart warming. It wasn’t really a surprise to see him score with only his second touch of the ball. Because of course he did!

Blackburn

They were excellent for the entire game. It is always tempting to just concentrate on your own team, especially when they scored another five goals, but that would be doing a disservice to a Blackburn side who passed the ball with purpose and attacked with intent, time and time again. Even when 5 – 0 down Gary Bowyer and his Blackburn side didn’t give up on the game and continued to attack a weakened City defence. Every player knew his role and carried it out admirably, yet they were not afraid to experiment and adapt. Cairney in particular looked a very good, inventive player and is worth keeping an eye on.

Many teams have come to the Etihad this season and done nothing more than wet their pants and give up. Blackburn were not one of them. The recent past has been shambolic for them, but the future looks like it might not be quite as grim.

The Fourth Round is on the way and City have a busy few months full of exciting games ahead. It is hard to believe we are only half way through January.

Written by Alex Timperley

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3 comments on “ANALYSIS: Manchester City 5 vs 0 Blackburn Rovers
  1. Agree with everything you said. I grew up watching football to drool over. With the single exception of Colin Bell, we are better now than in those halcyon days that I never hoped to see again.

    Blackburn? What a superb perfomance. Good luck to them for the rest of the season (they did better than Arsenal when all’s said and done, and far more graciously – what a contrast with that disgusting excuse for a football team, Newcastle)…

  2. Those two quick goals either side of half time knocked Rovers back heavily, and the substitution of Robinson surely restricted their options in the second half.
    They do look a neat side, and you have to wonder what difference Rhodes may have made to them.
    You’re right, Alex, Cairney did look to have the ability to take his game to the next level. He could end up at one of the really top clubs in his next-but-one move.
    Glad to see a very competative price structure already issued by City for the 4th round.
    So much entertainment on offer, yet we’re still only in mid January, as you say!

    • Hi Graham,

      Following your prompt I had a look at the ticket prices for the Watford game and am very impressed! There will no doubt be comments in the style of “have to reduce your prices to fill the stadium…” etc, but it is so positive that fans who normally might not be able to afford it can go.

      R.E. Jordan Rhodes – it seems only a matter of time until a Premier League club realises he’s the real deal

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