Pre-match thoughts on Blackburn Rovers
United’s Carling Cup win over Barnsley was encouraging in the fact the ‘squad’ players came in and gave a decent account of themselves. Michael Owen’s goal was vintage Owen, he showed neat skills and a cool composure to send the ball into the net but, with all due respect to Barnsley, he should have registered a goal against the opposition.
A man who came in and really impressed was Gabriel Obertan. I didn’t know a lot about the player when he came in but he showed a quick turn of pace and some neat touches against the Tykes and should push for a place in the starting line-up over the course of the season. Obertan’s performance has already been discussed but needless to say he looks a quality player and may be rewarded for his performance in midweek with a place on the bench on Saturday.
So what about the opposition? Rovers were hit with a ‘swine flu crisis’ in their 5-0 drubbing at the hands of Chelsea apparently. Rumours are rife boss Sam Allardyce has contacted the contagious disease although the club have moved to deny this. Allardyce orchestrated a few victories against the betting odds in his time as Bolton manager but I think it is fair to say he hasn’t quite got his current charges where he wants them just yet. I’m not convinced by the strength in depth in the Blackburn squad and I doubt they’ll pick up many points off the top sides this season. They’re probably a bit too good to go down but I can’t see them taking anything off United at the weekend in all honesty.
Sir Alex Ferguson will be looking to register three points in this fixture following the disappointing display last weekend. Fortunately United have a big enough advantage over Liverpool for the result not to matter as much as it could do but losing to the old enemy never has any real positive points!
One of the most concerning things about the loss to Liverpool was the performance of Rio Ferdinand. He seems to be making far too many errors at the moment and he could be in danger of losing his place in the starting eleven to Johnny Evans, who has deputised well whenever called upon to replace either Nemanja Vidic or Ferdinand. Vidic’s red-card may see Ferdinand retain a place in the starting line up and the England international should be looking to impress – because he hasn’t been performing the way a Manchester United defender should over the course of the season so far.
It is probably a good time to play Blackburn in all fairness and in reality they should be seen as easy-meat for United, especially at Old Trafford. I doubt many will be backing the Rovers to get anything out of this tie with their online Premier League betting and I expect United to put the disappointment of last weekend firmly behind them by comfortably seeing off Blackburn Rovers on Saturday.