Blackburn Rovers - Manchester United Preview: Premier League leaders look to widen gap at top of table
Sir Alex Ferguson's team can go five points clear at the summit following Manchester City's draw with Sunderland, but defeat will consign the home side to the bottom three
By Oliver Platt
Lowe, Hanley, Dann, Martin Olsson
Formica, N'Zonzi, Pedersen, Marcus Olsson
Rafael, Ferdinand, Evans, Evra
Valencia, Carrick, Giggs, Young
Both Steve Kean and Sir Alex Ferguson could opt to stick with the starting line-ups they named last weekend.
David Dunn will be in contention for a place in the Blackburn team, potentially as a replacement for Mauro Formica.
Junior Hoilett and Yakubu are likely to hold on to their status as Kean's current preferred strike partnership.
Javier Hernandez will challenge Danny Welbeck for his place in the Manchester United attack and Paul Scholes could feature in midfield ahead of Ryan Giggs.
The game will come too soon for Nani, who has returned to training after an ankle injury, but Rio Ferdinand, who was substituted against Fulham, is fit to play.
||DID YOU KNOW?|
- Blackburn Rovers' probable starting line-up cost the club approximately £17.5 million in transfer fees. Manchester United's, in comparison, cost around £130m.
- The most expensive of those 11 Rovers players was Scott Dann, who cost £6m from Birmingham City.
- The two sides will be meeting for the 112th time on Monday night. Manchester United have won 50 of those matches, with Blackburn having emerged victorious 32 times.
- Blackburn have lost just two of the last nine encounters between the two clubs at Ewood Park.
- In their last meeting, on December 31, Rovers stunned United by winning 3-2 at Old Trafford. Four days later the Red Devils crashed again, at Newcastle - but they haven't lost again in the Premier League since then.
- The two clubs clashed for the first time in September 1892, with Blackburn edging a 4-3 win. In the first seven fixtures between the two teams, 35 goals were scored.
- Manchester United have the opportunity to go five points clear at the top of the Premier League table with a win after Sunderland held title rivals Manchester City to a 3-3 draw in Manchester on Saturday.
- If United were able to maintain that gap until their meeting with City on 30 April, they would require a victory to win the league at the Etihad Stadium.
- Antonio Valencia (pictured above right) trails only David Silva in the Premier League assist charts, despite having played 10 fewer matches than the Spaniard. Valencia has racked up 11 assists in 19 games.
How do you stay up to date with football when on the move? With http://m.goal.com – your best source for mobile coverage of the beautiful game.
|Sign up with William Hill for a free bet up to £25|
|Sign up with bet365 for a 100% deposit bonus up to £200|
|Sign up to Paddy Power for £250 in free bets|
Top 3 Predictions
Blackburn 0-3 Man Utd.
- 22.49 %
Blackburn 0-2 Man Utd.
- 14.3 %
Blackburn 1-3 Man Utd.
- 13.97 %
|England - Premier League (EPL)||Apr 2, 2012||Blackburn 0 - Man Utd. 2|
|England - Premier League (EPL)||Dec 31, 2011||Man Utd. 2 - Blackburn 3|
|England - Premier League (EPL)||May 14, 2011||Blackburn 1 - Man Utd. 1|
|England - Premier League (EPL)||Nov 27, 2010||Man Utd. 7 - Blackburn 1|
|England - Premier League (EPL)||Apr 11, 2010||Blackburn 0 - Man Utd. 0|
|Apr 18, 2014||Blackburn 0 - Yeovil Town Football Club 0||ENG2|
|Apr 12, 2014||Sheffield Wed 3 - Blackburn 3||ENG2|
|Apr 8, 2014||Blackburn 2 - QPR 0||ENG2|
|Apr 5, 2014||Blackburn 2 - Ipswich Town 0||ENG2|
|Apr 1, 2014||Blackburn 3 - Brighton 3||ENG2|
|1||David de Gea||Goalkeeper|
|14||Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez||Striker|
Junior Hoilett has been in inspired form lately, his combination of strong, intelligent running at opposition defences, astute positional play and eye for goal proving instrumental in Rovers' climb out of the bottom three. The United defence will need to keep him shackled and try to nullify the threat of his partnership with Yakubu.
As his outstanding record of assists confirms, Valencia is a potent weapon in United's attacking armoury, and with Ashley Young also influential on the opposite flank, Blackburn's defence is likely to find itself fully stretched. Valencia is currently enjoying a purple patch on the right, and United will look to him to continue in that positive vein at Ewood Park.
Manchester United have a poor recent record by their standards at Blackburn, winning just two of their last nine visits, and also lost unexpectedly to Steve Kean's side at Old Trafford on New Year's Eve. But they have been in imperious form domestically since mid-January, and will certainly be looking to exploit Manchester City's sudden frailty by extending their lead at the top of the table to five points. Although Rovers have produced some impressive results of their own lately, particularly at home, they may find the Red Devils just a little too hot to handle.
Times In BST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed