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West Bromwich Albion
West Ham United
February 25, 2012
• Etihad Stadium, Manchester
Referee: M. Jones
• Attendance: 46782
M. Balotelli 30'
S. Agüero 52'
E. Džeko 81'
90' + 4'
FULL TIME: The whistle blows after three minutes added and it's mercy for Blackburn -- or are they even bothered? Nothing was expected from Rovers today and hence they offered as much. City are five points clear now and, on form, deserve to be. 3-0 is the final score and it was quite perfunctory.
90' + 2'
Can't take anything away from City who have spent the money on the right players and have unarguably the most robust team in England.
The match today was more an exhibition than a competition. It lacked vitality, urgency, and any sense of importance as Kean and Blackburn had no ambitions or ability to create a goal much less a threatening attack.
Milner comes in for Toure who made his first appearance for City today since January 2nd.
Who needs Tevez? All three strikers score for City today.
Assist Aleksandar Kolarov
Goal Edin Dzeko
Dzeko is the man to replace the Italian. His first touch of the match is a towering header past Robinson after an inch-perfect cross from Kolarov. City lead 3-0 now on the back of that gorgeous goal. City have completely outclassed Blackburn across every minute of this match.
Balotelli comes off to huge cheers after picking up a slight knock, completing his babyface turn. He's had a good match today as the television announcers confirm -- the color commentator saying it was the "best match he's played all season."
More from our LIVE correspondent at the ground Greg Stobart: "It’s a little bit flat here now. Roberto Mancini has just been making ‘calm down’ signals to his players, indicating he is happy for City to see the result out in the last 15 minutes. The hosts have completely dominated the game and they simply don’t throw away two-goal leads at home. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Yaya Toure substituted shortly as he still looks uncomfortable with the injury he picked up earlier in the half."
There's the first gorgeous bass from the new signing. City are casually passing the ball around their backline, slowly moving forward, as Blackburn make few challenges. Another Scholes-like pass from Pizarro.
Former Roma midfielder David Pizarro comes on for Mancini to give Johnson a rest. I imagine the little Chilean will slot into the middle and ping the ball around, settling this match until it's conclusion.
Johnson knifes in, but Blackburn have everyone back and City's attack leads only to a blocked shot from range. Kean is bringing on Ruben Rochina for Formica and Steven Nzonzi for Petrovic.
City have got to be the best footballing side in the country. Each player can pass and dribble. Even De Jong, a defensive bruiser, is deft in touch and rife with ideas. Just the two goals, still, though.
If you're wondering what's happening between updates, just imagine each City player passing the ball around easily. Zabaleta is getting forward more now, feeding Aguero, who mistimes his finish, and making an attacking run that isn't met with the right through ball.
The match is slowing down, now. Toure and Aguero each take a breather nursing little knocks.
City resume controlling the match at a whim. Toure glides around center midfield with freedom. Blackburn have no expectation of getting anything from this match.
Assist David Silva
Goal Sergio Agüero
It's a howler from Robinson and not the first of his career! The Blackburn keeper is caught in two minds on the corner kick and parries the ball weakly onto Aguero who slots it home with ease. 2-0 City, done and dusted. Will they get 10?
Yellow Card Bradley Orr
City attack again through virtually every attacking player to eventually win a corner.
Balotelli turns very nicely in the box but loses control. Blackburn briefly have the ball back before City resume possession with the slightest pressure on the visitors.
No changes from either manager. Let's see what Rovers do differently...
"The Blackburn players were sent out for the second-half early by Steve Kean, whose overriding emotion at the break must have been relief that his side are not completely out of the game."
45' + 3'
Half-time, finally for Blackburn. City lead 1-0 but they're completely dominant. They may regret not putting the game away, but that will depend on Kean's ability to motivate his men after such a dismal half for the visitors.
45' + 2'
Another fantastic pass from the former Inter striker but Aguero's shot on the counterattack goes just wide.
Beautiful sweeping cross from Balotelli but Toure's shot is off target. The Italian has a passing range as well as top class finishing skills, it seems.
Johnson swings in a corner. Aguero tries to half-volley in the rebound but his technique is off. Looks like Steve Kean's men will make it into the tunnel with just the single goal deficit...
Silva is doing whatever he wants so far as City slowly build up. That's not to say he can't get one wrong now and then..
City are dominant. Blackburn are dormant. Silva, Toure, and Aguero enjoying good matches thus far, as is the Rovers' keeper Robinson who's dealt with everything he could and much more than he'd have wanted so far.
From our LIVE correspondent at the Etihad, Greg Stobart: "Just when the fans were starting to show signs of frustration, Mario Balotelli finished a sweeping move and you’d now expect City to win comfortably. Roberto Mancini is in his technical area encouraging his wide men to stay as close to the touchline as possible as his side look for a second goal before half-time."
Assist Aleksandar Kolarov
Goal Mario Balotelli
Commentator's jinx! Or perhaps the opposite? City open up their account on the day through Balotelli! Kolarov sent in a ball from the left and the Italian's finish was very deft. The home side lead 1-0, and now Blackburn must try to play some football here.
Petrovic is down for the visitors with a knock. Balotelli's chance in the first minute remains the best of the half. But surely once City get one, many more will follow.
Another free-kick for City just outside Rovers' box. Looks like Balotelli is lining it up. He fires it in but Robinson parries. Johnson swings in a cross but it's nicked out. This has been the story of the half.
Yellow Card Grant Hanley
City are camped inside Blackburn's final third, but they're not creating any real chances because they're being too intricate. Furthermore, Rovers seem content to hold the line as deep as necessary.
‘We’re going to win the league,’ sing the City fans as they watch their side dominate the early exchanges against a Blackburn side that look like they have come here for a goalless draw.
The away side haven't touched the ball for some time now. The mo-hawked Balotelli draws a free-kick outside Rovers' box but it's cleared. City attack anew...
City attack through Johnson but his final touch is wayward. They win a free-kick however but the young Englishman flubs that as well. De Jong tracks back, though, to spurn any Rover counterattack.
Blackburn manage to win a corner kick but nothing comes of it. Man City are naturally enjoying more possession early on.
City knife down the right side and Johnson feeds Balotelli but Robinson makes a great save! Already almost 1-0 after just a minute.
We are underway!
City should win this one with ease, but 17th-place Blackburn are nothing if not a caged animal, at this point, with little to lose traveling away to the league leaders.
This marks Yaya Toure's first game for City since departing for the African Cup of Nations on January 3rd. They've fared well without him but should look even better with the Ivorian back in the middle.
Man City: Hart; Zabaleta, Kompany (c), Lescott, Kolarov; de Jong, Yaya Toure, Johnson, Silva; Balotelli, Aguero.
Blackburn: Robinson; Orr, Dann, Hanley, Martin Olsson; Pedersen, Petrovic, Hoilett, Formica; Marcus Olsson, Yakubu.
Good afternoon guys! Welcome to Goal.com's coverage of Manchester City versus Blackburn on Matchday 26 of the English Premier League!
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