Edin Dzeko notched up his first Premier League goal for Manchester City, as the Citizens pushed on to hold onto a firm grasp of the 4th Champions League spot, whilst Blackburn were left shattered and in relegation trouble, despite a solid performance.
With Roque Santa Cruze inelegible to play, Kean sent out Roberts and Benjani, with Dunn filling in just behind the front 2.
Things did not look bright for Rovers from the outset. City dominated possession, at one stage early on, it was 78% to 22% in favour of the away team. A slice of fortune kept Rovers in the game early, with a spectacular David Silva volley crashing into the woodwork, whilst Balotelli’s sweetly struck free kick was well saved by Robinson.
City continued the early pressure, using the width of Johnson and Zabaleta, who were creating clean overlap’s with their respective fullbacks. The pressure was placed on Givet and Salgado, whilst Olsson and Emerton were doing their best to track back and assist. Barry was next to test the Rovers keeper, and whilst his header beat him, Salgado was there to clear off the line, Jones reacting fastest, poking the ball away from the incoming Balotelli.
Whilst City dominated the opening 25 minutes, Blackburn turned things around in the final 20. Phil Jones decided to force himself up the pitch, linking with Olsson down the left flank. However the young Rover was filthy with himself, after a superb run ended in him being forced over the goal line. Roberts was felled in the box, but with no luck, referee Marriner waved play on. Chris Samba went close, his header not swerving enough, floating past the far post.
0-0 Half Time
The second half started just as the first did, City dominated, moving the ball well and pinning Blackburn in their own half. Yaya Toure kept Robinson on his toes, tipping his header over for a corner. David Silva became more involved, his effort hitting the side netting.
It was the same on the other end, a delightful cross was flicked on by Roberts, with Olsson stretching out and volleying wide. The young Swede continued down the flank, another effort hitting the side netting. Ruben Rochina came on for Dunn, and instantly lit up the pitch with a nice bit of footwork and movement, earning a free kick, which Rovers failed to capitilise on. Kalinic earned a rare chance, replacing Benjani up front.
However multi million pound signing Edin Dzeko hurt Rovers on almost his first touch of the game. A stray shot was deflected by Phil Jones, the ball landing perfectly for the substitute, who calmly stroked it home from 10 yards, giving City a vital lead, and breaking the hearts of the Ewood Faithful.
Rovers went for it all, M B Diouf coming on for Givet, and Samba pushing up front. However Rovers just could not create a clear opportunity, with the best attempt being a powerful drive on goal by Olsson, well saved by Joe Hart, and Phil Jones heading over from 6 yards from a Rochina free kick.
A Couple of vital saves to keep Rovers in the game, but for once his long kicking game was not on song. Couldnt do much about the goal
Gael Givet 6
Nothing fancy from the Frenchman, should of secured his flank a bit tighter as City did find a bit of space
Phil Jones 7
Man of the Match
Chris Samba 6
The big man was up for the fight, just didnt impose himself as he normally does. Also had a few chances up the other end
Michel Salgado 6
More a 7 then a 6, but not enough to earn a 7…Looked in control at times, was overlapped at times. Did manage to create a threat in attack
Jermaine Jones 6
Tidy performance, going blow to blow with De Jong. Did what he had to do, forcing City wide rather than through the middle
Martin Olsson 7
Dangerous down the flank, a touch too greedy at times. Probably not use to having 2 men up front to cross the ball to!
Brett Emerton 7
Much better game from Brett. Couple of threatining crosses, however would be dissapointed by the free kick
David Dunn 6
For all the hard work and toil, the final touch is letting him down. Should of pulled the trigger instead of trying to thread the needle
Poor performance. Rovers needed an outlet, and he couldnt provide
Slightly better then Benjani, but still, couldnt create. Went down too often, for a man of his size and strength
20 minutes, a few good early touches then not much after wards
15 minutes, did not really get involved