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Blackburn Rovers vs Manchester United: Preview

The last week has been a tough one for many of us Manchester United fans, but look no further as we have a Premier League fixture against Blackburn Rovers to contend with. A visit to Ewood Park is probably not the easiest of tasks considering the last seven days. Sir Alex Ferguson will surely be hoping there are none of these typical Germans in Sam Allardyce’s line up come Sunday.

We have had a terrible time of it recently, first the defeat to Chelsea, a miraculous recovery from Wayne Rooney and then a controversial sending off which led to Bayern Munich snatching victory from the jaws of defeat.  Surely the lads will be 100 per cent focussed on overtaking league leaders Chelsea.

Patrice Evra certainly is in good spirits:

“At the end of the season I might regret the way we threw our Champions League chance away, but now is not the time for regrets. Now it’s about fighting and playing with heart. Winning the league will be difficult, but I’m confident.”

Going into the match against Blackburn, team selection will be crucial. Some have argued that Ferguson had gotten it wrong in the last two games, but when Sunday comes he must get it right. A good job we have won our last four league and cup games against Blackburn.

Edwin van der Sar will start in goal as in the norm and his defence will no doubt be Patrice Evra on the left, he says he isn’t tired but others may disagree. In the centre will be the pairing of Rio Ferdinand, making his 400th Premier League appearance and Nemanja Vidic. There may be some changes on the right with Gary Neville, John O’Shea and Rafael all gunning for the starting berth.

Will Sir Alex stick with the young Brazilian after an immense showing against Bayern – before the sending off – or will he opt to give O’Shea some more time on the field after a five-month lay off, or will he go with the experience of Neville? It would be testament for the boss to stick with Rafael and an opportunity to see how he reacts to being thrown right back in the mix.

Due to lack of options in the forward department a five-man midfield will against be supporting a lone striker.

On the right side of midfield will be Antonio Valencia, with Nani on the left. The Portuguese has shown what an integral player he can become to United and will look to add more goals to the brace he collected on Wednesday. In the middle will be Darren Fletcher supported by either Michael Carrick, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes or Ji-Sung Park.

Carrick’s form of late hasn’t been the best and he is struggling to make his presence known in games, Scholes may be brought in as a result.

Then we are left with the enigmatic Dimitar Berbatov on his own up-front, a position he is clearly not comfortable in, but we know he has the capability to make telling passes and score excellent goals, especially against weaker opposition. Federico Macheda may also get a run out at some point in the match.

Wayne Rooney has been ruled out of the game by Ferguson along with Danny Welbeck (knee), Michael Owen (hamstring), Anderson (knee), Wes Brown (toe) and Owen Hargreaves (knee).

Blackburn though have only lost two league games at Ewood Park this season, the first of which was on the opening day. But Big Sam is glad he doesn’t have to face Rooney:

“They have had 13 own goals in their favour this year. That shows the pressure they put on other teams but it also shows there’s a big gap and a big loss with Wayne not playing and hopefully that can only be a help for us to get a result.”

Doubtful for Blackburn are Keith Andrews, Yildiray Basturk and Lars Jacobsen, as they will all be subject to late fitness tests, while Ryan Nelsen played 90 minutes for the Reserves this week, so will at least make the bench.

The primary attacking threat will come from attacking midfielder David Dunn; he has scored nine goals so far this season and is his clubs top scorer. In-form 18-year-old Phil Jones has become a starter in the centre of defence and looks a good prospect, while Martin Olsson has become a dangerous player for them this season.

Blackburn struggle against teams with pace and with the wingers we have lets hope we can get back on track for a 19th Premier League title.

Prediction: 2-1 United

Probable Line Up: van der Sar, Evra, Ferdinand, Vidic, Rafael; Nani, Fletcher, Giggs, Park, Valencia; Berbatov


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