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Manchester United Fixtures

Will United Run Riot against Rovers Again to Take Top Spot?

There’s been good, bad, and ugly for Manchester United in 2011, but United are winding down the calendar year in scintillating form, with five consecutive Premier League wins part of a nine-match unbeaten league run. And if United can extend that run to six straight league wins and ten straight unbeaten with a home win over Blackburn this afternoon, they’ll go into next year on top of the Premier League table, and a certain special legendary manager will get an excellent 70th birthday present.

RECENT HISTORY

Last season’s home fixture against Blackburn is one easily remembered, as United struck seven in a spectacular 7-1 win, with five of them coming from Dimitar Berbatov.

The away fixture is also one easily remembered. The match itself wasn’t memorable, but Wayne Rooney’s late penalty not only gave United a 1-1 draw at Ewood Park, it gave United a historic 19th title, with a week to spare.

TEAM ANALYSIS

Blackburn Rovers

1. Blackburn have picked up only 11 points from 18 matches this season and sit five points behind Wolves, who currently occupy 17th spot.

Blackburn’s season ledger stands at two wins, five draws, and 11 defeats. All of the draws have come away from home, where they’re 0-5-4 this season.

Blackburn were winless in their first four matches this season before stunning Arsenal 4-3 at Ewood Park on 17 September, and after that victory, they went eight league matches without a win before a 4-2 home win over Swansea City on 3 December.

But while they currently come in on another four-match winless streak, Rovers come in with a bit of confidence after picking up a solid 1-1 draw at Liverpool on Boxing Day. It’s also worth noting that, along with the win over Arsenal and the draw at Liverpool, Chelsea came away from Ewood Park with only a 1-0 win, City were held scoreless for nearly an hour there before the floodgates opened in a 4-0 win, and they went down only 2-1 in a home tie against Tottenham.

2. Blackburn have scored a fair amount of goals this season, with their 25 goals ranking a respectable eighth in the league. 10 of those goals have been scored by Yakubu, who has been one of few bright spots for them this season. After not producing much in his last few seasons with Everton, Yakubu’s thrived in his first season at Blackburn, and he scored all four of Blackburn’s goals in the win over Swansea.

3. However, Rovers haven’t done so well when it comes to the other end of things. They’ve given up 39 goals so far, 19 in nine home matches and 20 in nine away matches. Only Bolton, who are one spot and one point ahead of Blackburn in the table, have allowed more goals, with 41.

Blackburn haven’t recorded a clean sheet this season, and they’ve allowed multiple goals in a match 12 times, with Aston Villa, Newcastle, Arsenal, City, Norwich City, Wigan, and Stoke City all scoring at least three. Monday’s match at Liverpool was only the third time this season that Blackburn haven’t allowed multiple goals in an away match, with the other times being 1-1 draws at Fulham and QPR.

Manchester United

1. United come into today off the heels of five-goal hauls in back-to-back routs of Fulham and Wigan, and they now have notched 16 goals in their last four matches. That outburst has allowed United to significantly beef up their goal difference, which is now at +33 and only five behind City’s +38.

All signs point to another prolific day for United today, given their recent success and Blackburn’s struggles in the defensive department. And recent history is on United’s side as well. In winning seven in a row at home in all competitions against Blackburn since a 2-1 defeat in September 2005, United have scored 24 goals. United have scored multiple goals in all of those ties, and they’ve notched multiple goals 11 times in the last 13 times Blackburn have visited Old Trafford in the league.

2. As prolific as United have been in front of goal lately, they’ve also been tight defensively, even with a rash of injuries decimating depth at the back. The clean sheet against Wigan gave United three straight clean sheets and seven clean sheets in their last nine league matches.

3. Speaking of injuries on the defensive front, United’s long injury list got even longer this week, as Jonny Evans won’t be available today after suffering a calf injury against Wigan. However, Rio Ferdinand could return to action today after his bothersome back kept him out of the last two matches, and Phil Jones is also set to return after missing Monday’s match, which will allow Michael Carrick to return to midfield after slotting in (and doing well) at center back on Monday.

43 Comments

43 Comments

  1. Traverse

    31 December 2011 at 11:59

    Sir Alex has just said he will be he for 3 more years as long as his health keeps up. Sounds to me like a retirement plan. New manager in 2015/16 then. Hope to get team news through pretty soon.

  2. Traverse

    31 December 2011 at 12:00

    De Gea
    Rafael Carrick Jones Evra
    Nani Valencia Park
    Welbeck Berbatov Hernandez

    !!!!?!!?!?!?!?!?

    SB : Lindegaard, Fryers, Anderson, Pogba, W.Keane, Diouf, Cole

    • Traverse

      31 December 2011 at 12:03

      @Traverse: I have no idea how a team with 2 full backs, 1 CB, 1 CM, 3 wingers and 3 strikers will set up.

      Great to see Ando back from injury, and even better to see Fryers, Pogba, Will Keane and Larnell Cole on the bench. They are the future.

  3. colver

    31 December 2011 at 13:26

    You nailed it Traverse. It is without a doubt the strangest team selection I have ever seen. And it raises some serious questions why we are the only team who ever seems to have these sort of injury crises. Wigan rolled over and self destructed. I am not so sure Blackburn will do us the favor.

    As of now Carrick is the only recognizable central midfielder who is fit to play. And he gets stuck on defensive duties. Cleverley, Anderson, Fletcher all out and I don’t know why Giggs isn’t playing.
    Please please please Fergie buy a midfielder. Or barring that a cheap defender like Cahill.

    Incidentally can someone tell me why Evra never misses a game? Shame his form is so indifferent. AS one thing I admire about him is he plays every game the way old time defenders like Bruce, Pallister, Irwin and Neville always used to.

  4. colver

    31 December 2011 at 13:29

    Our absentee list: Smalling, Rio, Vidic, Fabio, Evans, Cleverley, Anderson, Rooney, Fletcher

    How can we possibly have nine first team players out at the same time? It defies belief. Especially as five of those players are defenders and three of those players are central midfielders.

  5. Eddie Griffin

    31 December 2011 at 13:40

    We put on the amount of pressure that would be expected, but the creation of clear cut chances was lacking. Good to pour it on there at the end of the half, need to come out and do that from the outset in the second half.

    Not sure what’s going on in Berba’s head when trying to deal with Samba, but damn!

    We should still take care of business, but this is not the position that we should be in at halftime.

  6. Craig Mc

    31 December 2011 at 13:42

    Why isn’t Rooney at least on the bench??? What is wrong with Giggsy? Isn’t this yet another Fergie-ism UNDER-estimating the opposition?

  7. Robbie

    31 December 2011 at 14:25

    Nani needs to buck up his ideas…so far he’s been dreadful…give the ball to valencia!

  8. godzilla

    31 December 2011 at 14:27

    De gea is a fucking stiff at set pieces !!! that was waiting to happen!

  9. Craig Mc

    31 December 2011 at 14:32

    You have seriously got to say that De Gea is the biggest flapper in the area when he is under pressure – he has cost us this game if we lose it. Anybody who thinks he should be the goal before our big UNFLAPPABLE Dane – well?????

  10. colver

    31 December 2011 at 14:42

    Yeah De Gea is the new Barthez. Not someone I Want behind the sticks despite his undoubted ability.

    Still I cannot say I am totally surprised at the result. A very disjointed team selection. Either we need to get a new physio or bring in a defender and a midfielder this January to make sure we are covered when these recurrent injury crises hit us week after week after week.

    • Craig Mc

      31 December 2011 at 14:51

      @colver: Oh but Colver we have such strength in depth don’t you know. Fergie what a joke with his we don’t need to strengthen we already have the best squad – oh yes we all believe you. De Gea should hang his head in shame – our lads fought like fook to get back into the game – and he fooks it up. Fergie Lindegaard is your number one – you mis spent the dough when you already had Lindegaard – I feel so sorry for the lads who fought so hard to get back into that game!

  11. Craig Mc

    31 December 2011 at 14:45

    If De Gea gets in this team again before Lindegaard Fergie needs his head seeing too – De Gea was looking to the ref to bail him out every time he went for a high ball – he is too fookin nervous – no calm or bravery – soz but it is plain to see, and why Fergie changed the GK – well yet again under estimating the opposition. I think we will get done at Newcastle too – oh yes Fergie we do have such strength in depth don’t we?

  12. Moscow is my heaven

    31 December 2011 at 14:47

    Now that’s what I call strength in depth.

    🙄 🙄 🙄

  13. Robbie

    31 December 2011 at 14:47

    What pisses me off is that de gea has cost us both in the champions league- Benfica clearance etc and now in the league aswel…he doesn’t really stop balls at times and yakubu’s went right through his legs, flapping at crosses is unforgivable, rather stay on your line, fucking hell we should not lose at home to anyone least of blackburn. The starting line up was wrong, and we fared better with ando, Nani was shocking, I mean he got worse as the game went on, Valencia was our best player for me, Jones is not a centre back no matter what he thinks, I’d rather have him on the right, yakubu turned him way to easily

    • Craig Mc

      31 December 2011 at 14:57

      @Robbie: So that’s one bad game for Nani in how many great games this season – live with it for once 🙄

  14. Craig Mc

    31 December 2011 at 15:00

    Anybody know why Rooney and Giggs weren’t on the bench today – please do tell?

    • Don

      31 December 2011 at 15:43

      @Craig Mc: My guess is Fergie gambled that ths would be an easy one out of the 3 games we have in 8 days (Newcastle on Wed and CIty in the FA CUp on SUnday week). I can see what he was trying to do but i think he way underestimated blackburn by playing Rafael and Park in the middle

      • Craig Mc

        31 December 2011 at 16:29

        @Don: Mate with Lindegaard in goal – B’Burn would not have got TWO of their goals – the one that went thru De Geas legs and the one where he was all arms and legs flapping at fresh air instead of the ball. Also what is the point of Fergie considering the bigger picture as you say, and we lose a game of such vital importance to keep the pressure on City. Fergie’s changing a GK who had just had 5/6 PL clean sheets was massive blunder. I mean even with 3 games 8 days – no need to change a GK. Will this have done De Geas confidence any good – this lad cost us goals in the CL and now in very important game in PL. Nah Fergie got this one wrong, and it is hard to understand sometimes?

        • Ian

          31 December 2011 at 17:58

          De Gea is pants, doesn’t look interested to me. Lindegaard looks hungry and determined and the better option.

          Happy New Year everyone

          Here’s to a prosperous 2012

          🙂

        • Don

          31 December 2011 at 18:39

          @Craig Mc:

          De Gea has been Ferigie’s #1 maybe until this last game…CL gaffe aside and the couple of mistakes he made very early in the season he has been solid…to heap all the blame on him is short sighted…yes he should have dealt with the cross but where were our center backs (ok makeshift center backs) on that cross? Phil Jones has got to be the weakest center half in the air that I’ve ever seen…Carrick..we’ll he’s a midfielder but he doesn’t fancy mixing it up with the likes of Samba and co in the air…and the second goal…yes it went through De Gea’s legs but what type of a nothing clearance did Carrick put in to even give Yakubu a chance to score? I agree on recent performance Lindegaard shold be #1 but I don’t think De gea is the second coming of Taibi like you and others are claiming…Fergie was trying to rotate and he got it wrong…

    • RedDevilEddy

      31 December 2011 at 16:46

      @Craig Mc: Rooney rested, Giggsy injured

  15. fahime shuhaime

    31 December 2011 at 15:01

    From the brighter side, SAF just trying to help Kean out from get fired by Venky. Same old United. 2 mistakes today, 1st, underestimate your opponent with poor team selection. No.2, De Gea should be on the bench and Lindegaard should be the first choice goalkeeper. I don’t know what is on Fergie’s mind nowadays.

  16. Craig Mc

    31 December 2011 at 15:01

    Well Fergie just kept his mate Steve in the Blackburn job – I mean they beat the mighty Man Utd – that would keep anybody in a job!

  17. Craig Mc

    31 December 2011 at 15:08

    Sell De Gea BACK to Spain in January while you can still get a decent return on him – taibi No 2 sometimes. Buy a back up keeper who can get stuck in to the rough and tumble of the prem. De Gea is good in foreign countries where GKs appeal and get most of the calls – but not in the PL where you need to be all brawn and full of bravado – neither of which De Gea has.

    • RedDevilEddy

      31 December 2011 at 16:48

      @Craig Mc: Are you serious??

      • Craig Mc

        31 December 2011 at 20:40

        @RedDevilEddy: Yeah mate – SOZ I am not a De Gea fan – I think that is obvious. Anyway – I am off out now with the missus to a New Year night of all out partying – happy New Year ye all, and please pray I will be sober by Wednesday 😆 😆 😆 to watch our lads up in Geordie land! 😀

  18. Craig Mc

    31 December 2011 at 15:10

    Man City laughing all the way into the Sunderland game!

  19. Craig Mc

    31 December 2011 at 15:13

    The whole countries football fans love David De Gea – they is made up he is United’s No 1 choice for Fergie – and they are all praying long may he reign. You should hear the Geordie fans in my neighbourhood – they can’t wait for Wednesdays game with De Gea between the sticks!

  20. Yang

    31 December 2011 at 15:13

    Arhhh, We have no luck with defender. I thought, team played well enough to win. Nani try too hard, young back five keep conceding.
    We should won but this injury crisis is too much for even champion.

  21. godzilla

    31 December 2011 at 15:16

    i still dont know how Rene Adler wasnt looked at. Expereience + German, cant be worse for sure

  22. colver

    31 December 2011 at 15:33

    We look a lot weaker as a team when Rooney is out. Without Nani and Rooney and Vidic and Rio we are nothing special. And Nani wonderful as he is, is not a one man team in the way Ronaldo was capable of making an ordinary team extraordinary.

    We should have spent £10 million or something on a Steckelenberg or an Adler and pocked the £10 million difference and put it towards our “buy a midfielder for Christ’s sake” fund.

    • Don

      31 December 2011 at 15:46

      @colver: I guess I’m not ready to throw De Gea under the bus…he has had some stunning saves…he definitely will be #2 after this performance..he just doesn’t seem strong enough….that can be taken care of easily by hitting the weightroom and buling up…to think he is only 19 I am sure he will fill out by his mid twenties…good thing we have Lindegaard to step in…he has looked solid and will play the bigger games from here on out…De Gea will come good though

  23. RedDevilEddy

    31 December 2011 at 16:54

    Great to see Anderson back! I know he’s not got a lot of fans on here but having him back is vital, we were stuck with Rafael and Park in the middle for the first half and and I think we all saw how that went. 🙄 We did better in the second half, at least we created chances, but our defence cost us. Not surprised to be honest, with that defence I bet even Rochdale could have scored two or three. Play the most attacking centre-back in the land together with a midfielder, have a right winger on one full back and one of the worst left backs in the League on the other, and that’s what you get! Unlucky not to score more, and to be fair Blackburn only had 3 or 4 shots. We should have scored lots more, so I’m not to bothered by our attacking play. Bad luck only, when your own striker blocks the ball on the line in the last minute you know it’s not gonna be your day.

    But fuck it, it’s new years and I wanna enjoy it. Ando is back, and I got to tell him he looked better with his new hair. He smiled. That’s the best shit I could have gotten today, he’s back and 2012 is gonna be the best year ever! Fuck 2011, so many dissapointments and truthfully this game summed up most of the year for me so no surprise that we lost if I look at it that way. 2012 better be nice to me, COME ON UNITED!! 😈

    • Craig Mc

      31 December 2011 at 20:15

      @RedDevilEddy: Good job they only had 3 or 4 shots, or it would have been another like 6-1 City farce!

  24. RedDevilEddy

    31 December 2011 at 16:56

    By the way I hate that Blackburn keeper, never in my life have I seen someone waste as much time as he did. Fucking incredible he didn’t get at least 6 yellow cards, Mike Dean can sod off ffs! 🙄

    • Don

      31 December 2011 at 18:29

      @RedDevilEddy:
      Paul Robinson, Blackburn #1 is just as a bad! I hate it when keepers do that nonsense…

      • RedDevilEddy

        31 December 2011 at 18:39

        @Don: I swear he is the most annoying cunt I’ve seen in my life! 🙄 Even when Ando and Welbeck rushed the ball to him, he brought it to the other side of the area to waste time. Disgusting!

        Also read that he gave Will Keane a pat on the head after his last minute goal-line block… Didn’t see it, but if he did he is a dick of the highest order!

    • Craig Mc

      31 December 2011 at 20:16

      @RedDevilEddy: The B’Burn keeper did a lot better than the scaredy cat we had in our goal!

  25. RedDevilEddy

    31 December 2011 at 20:15

    Well I’m signing off for this year lads, see ya in 2012! 😀 Enjoy your night and let’s make sure the coming year will be the best ever. Cheers!

  26. colver

    31 December 2011 at 22:26

    What is Ferguson thinking of resting Rooney when we had such a makeshift team playing?

    Agree that Jones is terrible in the air-his defensive positioning is not much better. Honestly I do not know what was going through Ferguson’s mind when he bought him. Yes he is a great utility player. But £20 million is a lot to pay for a utility player. He has not impressed me at all as a center back. He is OK at right back but nothing special. His best performances have been in midfield but his skill set in that position is lacking: he cannot pass, his positioning is poor and it is no use bursting into the box if he cannot finish. Yes he is young but we cannot really afford to have projects with Rio close to retirement, Vidic injury prone, a huge hole in midfield etc.

  27. Stephen

    1 January 2012 at 10:59

    The FA Disciplinary Commission, composed of Paul Goulding QC, Brian Jones, the chairman of Sheffield and Hallamshire FA, and former player and manager Denis Smith, decided that the likeliest version of events was that Evra initially spoke to Suarez aggressively, using foul and abusive language to ask why he had fouled him, and that Suarez responded by saying, in Spanish: ‘Because you are black.’

    Controversial: Suarez has been involved in several high profile incidents since joining Liverpool a year ago
    Evra then responded, in Spanish: ‘Say it to me again, I’m going to punch you!’ to which Suarez replied: ‘I don’t speak to blacks

    Andrei, is Luis Suarez still not racist and is this acceptable?

  28. Stephen

    1 January 2012 at 11:00

    The FA Disciplinary Commission, composed of Paul Goulding QC, Brian Jones, the chairman of Sheffield and Hallamshire FA, and former player and manager Denis Smith, decided that the likeliest version of events was that Evra initially spoke to Suarez aggressively, using foul and abusive language to ask why he had fouled him, and that Suarez responded by saying, in Spanish: ‘Because you are black.’

    Controversial: Suarez has been involved in several high profile incidents since joining Liverpool a year ago
    Evra then responded, in Spanish: ‘Say it to me again, I’m going to punch you!’ to which Suarez replied: ‘I don’t speak to blacks

    Andrei, is Luis Suarez still not a racist and is this acceptable? Dalglish will probably wear another T-Shirt, kick racism out of football unless it is one of our player involved…..wanker.

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