Just two Premier League matches got the go-ahead this weekend due to the current big freeze crippling the UK but there is set to be further action on Monday night and the clash at Eastlands should be a decent watch.
Roberto Mancini’s appointment as Manchester City manager following Mark Hughes’ dismissal was not entirely surprising but the Italian seems to have adapted quickly to life in the Premier League and the ex-Inter boss will be confident of bagging three more points against Blackburn Rovers. >
Wins over Stoke and Wolverhampton Wanderers, both without conceding, would have been expected under any manager with the players City possess but they looked a lot surer at the back in picking up those six points and, typically, Mancini will be after more of the same. He must cope without a number of stars however and odds of 1.40 about them doing so look only fair.
With Emmanuel Adebayor and Kolo Toure on African Nations Cup duty and the likes of Joleon Lescott, Steven Ireland and Shaun Wright-Phillips on the treatment table, City’s resources will be stretched on Monday against a struggling Blackburn side but they have enough quality in reserve and will expect to preserve their unbeaten home record in the top flight this season at the very least.
City face a Blackburn side that have not tasted success in the Premier League for eight matches now, scoring just four goals in that time, and although Mancini’s counterpart Sam Allardyce has virtually a full strength squad at his disposal the Englishman has little in the way of quality to call upon.
While Rovers’ home form remains strong, they’ve been beaten just twice at Ewood Park all season, five points on their travels and seven goals in as many matches simply isn’t good enough and they were comprehensively outplayed in a 3-1 defeat at Aston Villa in the FA Cup third round last time out.
One bright spot for Allardyce this season has been the return to form of midfielder David Dunn but Rovers’ top scorer limped out of action at Villa Park and his participation on Monday is in doubt. Dunn’s absence would hurt the visitors up against the likes of Gareth Barry but they seem unlikely to face new City signing Patrick Vieira who appears set to be left out.
If the home team are to close the gap on leaders Chelsea at the top to seven points then seemingly pivotal to their chances of doing so is the form of Carlos Tevez and the Argentine striker is probably the Premier League’s most in-form forward at present. >
Seven goals in Tevez’s past six matches has seen his confidence soar and if he continues to team up with the likes of Craig Bellamy and Robinho with such effectiveness for the remainder of the season then City could well be in line for top honours. Tevez now has 12 goals to his name this term and with Adebayor on the sidelines the onus remains very much on him to produce the goods.
On a night where the Match Odds look about right, the 5.00 about the former Manchester United strtiker opening the scoring appears generous and with Bet 365’s unlimited places in their each way terms a profit is still to be had even if Tevez manages to find the net after the first strike. It’s a clash that the home side should win with relative ease but the play in the first scorer market is the way to go.
0.50pts Each Way Carlos Tevez First Scorer (vs. Blackburn Rovers) @ 5.00 (Bet 365)