After the 5-0 romps over Fulham (a) and Wigan (h), can United do the same to troubled Blackburn Rovers? Perhaps not, but it is still a festive fixture that you`d put money on United to win and probably win quite comfortably against aside, managed by Steve Kean, that are making the headlines for all the wrong reasons. All we can do is hope that Blackburn Rovers don`t pull off a massive shock and derail our title ambitions, especially with Sir Alex`s birthday being just around the corner.
Closing in on Manchester City and the possibility of overhauling them ahead of the welcoming of the New Year is an enticing prospect.
Ryan Giggs, enjoying playing as much as ever, remains confident that United, when it comes to the title crunch, will have far too much for City, commenting,
“The experience the manager, players and coaching staff have of what`s required in the second half of the season will help us as well as our hunger and desire to win competitions. It`s been a strong start from us”
“Obviously City have got off to a better start but we are pleased with where we are in the table and especially our form at the moment.”
“We`ll just look to kick on as we always do in the second half of the season and hopefully we`ll have a bit more luck with injuries and have a strong run after Christmas.”
“Big players cannot wait for big games and towards the end of the season the games get bigger and bigger. For me personally, you want that. You want to be involved in big games and going for the title. That`s why you play football.”
Well three points against Blackburn should keep that plan on track!
Manchester United Team News:
Sir Alex Ferguson has intimated that he won`t, unless the right player comes along, be buying anyone this transfer window. But, as his squad shrinks by what seems like the day, with injuries mounting up, he may re-assess that mantra.
On the eve of the Blackburn game the fear is that Chris Smalling is the latest to join the long-term walking wounded with it being touted he has glandular fever, if so Smalling joins Anderson, Vidic, Fletcher, Owen, Cleverley, Ferdinand and Evans, amongst others, on the sidelines.
With reference to his team selection, Sir Alex will have to decide who starts in goal with Anders Lindegaard, quite possibly, ousting David De Gea as the number one choice in recent games.
Up Front, Sir Alex will have to decide whether Berbatov warrants his third start of the Premier League season, after scoring a hat-trick last time out, or to return to the tried and trusted partnership of Rooney playing with Welbeck or Hernandez.
Player to watch: Patrice Evra
The Frenchman has displayed his versatility in recent games even filling in at centre-back last time out. Evra is a much valued; and probably underestimated member of the squad who should get more praise than he does.
Blackburn Rovers Team News:
If you thought our injury crisis was far form ideal then spare a thought for Steve Kean. Already under pressure form his own supporters, Kean has no less than 10 senior players that are unavailable for this trip.
He is hoping for some positive news though anticipating that one, two or possibly all three, of David Dunn, Junior Hoillet and Martin Olsson will shake off hamstring woes to play.
Player to watch: Chris Samba
A colossus of a man who is able to play more than adequately in the centre of the defence but also a major danger when he pushes forward at set-pieces. I`ll be very surprised if he`s not snapped up by a ‘bigger` club in the forthcoming transfer window.
Match Facts & Stats
Desperately seeking a win to boost their league position, Blackburn arrive at Old Trafford having only won once in their last seventeen visits.
In all competitions United have the edge over Blackburn with 50 wins to the 31 of Blackburn with 29 fixtures having been drawn.
Like I said in the introduction, I can`t see us slaying Blackburn 5-0, making it three 5-0`s on the bounce, but I can see us winning comfortably. I`ll go with 4-1 to United and Rooney on the score-sheet.
Our next fixture, on Wednesday, sees United back on the road to play Newcastle United.