skip to content
James Milner decides to take a short corner.
Ayegbeni Yakubu takes a shot. Joe Hart makes a save.
David Silva takes a shot. Comfortable save by Paul Robinson.
Shot by Aleksandar Kolarov from deep inside the penalty area misses to the left of the goal.
The ball is crossed by James Milner.
Inswinging corner taken right-footed by David Pizarro from the left by-line, Vincent Kompany has an effort at goal from close range which goes wide of the left-hand upright.
James Milner comes on in place of Gnegneri Toure Yaya.
A cross is delivered by Pablo Zabaleta, Scott Dann makes a clearance.
The ball is crossed by Aleksandar Kolarov, Edin Dzeko finds the net with a headed goal from inside the six-yard box. Man City 3-0 Blackburn.Aleksandar Kolarov provided the assist for the goal.
Morten Gamst Pedersen takes a outswinging corner.
Shot by Morten Gamst Pedersen. Vincent Kompany gets a block in.
Foul by Aleksandar Kolarov on Ayegbeni Yakubu, free kick awarded. Mario Balotelli leaves the field to be replaced by Edin Dzeko. Direct free kick taken by Paul Robinson.
Inswinging corner taken by David Silva, clearance by Bradley Orr.
Pablo Zabaleta delivers the ball, Mario Balotelli takes a shot. Blocked by Scott Dann.
Bradley Orr challenges Mario Balotelli unfairly and gives away a free kick. Aleksandar Kolarov takes the direct free kick.
Foul by David Silva on Morten Gamst Pedersen, free kick awarded. Martin Olsson restarts play with the free kick.
Foul by Sergio Aguero on Morten Gamst Pedersen, free kick awarded. Adam Johnson goes off and David Pizarro comes on. Free kick taken by Morten Gamst Pedersen.
The referee gives a free kick against Pablo Zabaleta for handball. Ruben Rochina on for Mauro Formica. Steven Nzonzi on for Radosav Petrovic. Direct free kick taken by Morten Gamst Pedersen.
Corner taken short by David Silva. The assistant referee flags for offside against David Silva. Paul Robinson restarts play with the free kick.
Unfair challenge on Mario Balotelli by Bradley Orr results in a free kick. Free kick crossed left-footed by Aleksandar Kolarov from left wing, Scott Dann manages to make a clearance.
David Silva takes a shot. Blocked by Sergio Aguero.
Corner taken left-footed by Morten Gamst Pedersen from the left by-line, Mario Balotelli manages to make a clearance.
Booking for Bradley Orr. Corner taken by David Silva, save by Paul Robinson. Sergio Aguero gets on the score sheet with a goal from inside the box to the bottom left corner of the goal. Man City 2-0 Blackburn.David Silva provided the assist for the goal.
Adam Johnson takes a shot. Blocked by Scott Dann.
Pablo Zabaleta handles the ball and concedes a free kick. Morten Gamst Pedersen restarts play with the free kick.
Sergio Aguero produces a left-footed shot from deep inside the six-yard box which goes wide of the right-hand upright.
Shot by Gnegneri Toure Yaya from deep inside the penalty area misses to the right of the target.
A cross is delivered by Aleksandar Kolarov.
Centre by Mario Balotelli, Sergio Aguero takes a shot. Save made by Paul Robinson.
Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Adam Johnson from the right by-line, Effort from inside the area by Sergio Aguero misses to the right of the target.
Foul by Bradley Orr on David Silva, free kick awarded. David Silva takes the free kick.
The ball is delivered by Martin Olsson, Aleksandar Kolarov makes a clearance.
Corner taken by Aleksandar Kolarov, Vincent Kompany takes a shot. Save by Paul Robinson. Gnegneri Toure Yaya has an effort at goal from close in which goes wide right of the target.
Corner taken by Aleksandar Kolarov from the left by-line.
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Scott Dann by Mario Balotelli. Paul Robinson takes the free kick.
David Silva takes a shot. Save by Paul Robinson.
Aleksandar Kolarov produces a cross.
The ball is delivered by Aleksandar Kolarov, Mario Balotelli finds the back of the net with a goal from close range to the bottom right corner of the goal. Man City 1-0 Blackburn.Assist on the goal came from Aleksandar Kolarov.
Sergio Aguero gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Radosav Petrovic. Paul Robinson takes the direct free kick.
Free kick awarded for a foul by David Hoilett on David Silva. Shot comes in from Mario Balotelli from the free kick, save by Paul Robinson.
Adam Johnson takes a shot. Save by Paul Robinson.
Foul by Grant Hanley on Gnegneri Toure Yaya, free kick awarded. Grant Hanley is shown a yellow card. Nigel De Jong restarts play with the free kick.
Pablo Zabaleta crosses the ball.
Radosav Petrovic challenges David Silva unfairly and gives away a free kick. David Silva restarts play with the free kick.
Sergio Aguero produces a cross, Scott Dann manages to make a clearance.
Foul by Radosav Petrovic on Mario Balotelli, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Nigel De Jong.
Sergio Aguero is caught offside. Paul Robinson takes the free kick.
Outswinging corner taken left-footed by Aleksandar Kolarov from the left by-line, Morten Gamst Pedersen manages to make a clearance.
Adam Johnson delivers the ball, clearance made by Bradley Orr.
Unfair challenge on Mario Balotelli by Radosav Petrovic results in a free kick. Free kick crossed by David Silva, Radosav Petrovic makes a clearance.
Effort from 35 yards by Gnegneri Toure Yaya went wide right of the goal.
Free kick awarded for a foul by Radosav Petrovic on David Silva. Free kick crossed left-footed by Aleksandar Kolarov, clearance made by Grant Hanley.
The ball is delivered by Adam Johnson, blocked by Bradley Orr.
Outswinging corner taken by Morten Gamst Pedersen, clearance made by Pablo Zabaleta.
Pablo Zabaleta concedes a free kick for a foul on Marcus Olsson. The free kick is delivered left-footed by Morten Gamst Pedersen from left channel, clearance made by Vincent Kompany.
Adam Johnson decides to take the corner short.
Mario Balotelli takes a shot. Save by Paul Robinson.
Mancini calls for focus on title run-in
Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has told his side to treat every game in their title run-in like a Champions League final.
The Barclays Premier League leaders resume their championship quest following their latest European exploits as struggling Blackburn visit the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.
City have a two-point advantage with 13 games remaining and Mancini is braced for a stern test of resolve in the season's closing months.
The Italian said: "It is impossible to be complacent.
"Every game is like a Champions League final and for this reason we need good concentration.
"Now we have a game against Blackburn on Saturday and I think every game from now until the end will be difficult.
"When you play against a squad playing against relegation, it can be more difficult.
"Blackburn won away against Manchester United and we know they are a good team, they are strong on the counter-attack.
"They have been playing very well in the last two or three weeks. They are playing to get away from the bottom."
City's title challenge is boosted by the return of inspirational midfielder Yaya Toure from the African Nations Cup.
Toure has not played in the Premier League since the victory over Liverpool on January 3, but returned last week to feature in both legs of the Europa League win over Porto.
During his absence, City went out of both domestic cup competitions and suffered a disappointing league defeat at Everton.
Mancini said: "Yaya is a high-quality player, he used to play for Barcelona and he is used to playing to win every game.
"I think his mentality is very strong and that can help all the team.
"But we have other important players and I think it is a good mix."
Micah Richards and Gareth Barry are expected to be fit for City after picking up minor niggles in midweek, but Carlos Tevez is still working back towards match fitness following his self-imposed exile in Argentina.
Blackburn assistant manager Eric Black thinks the team's recent exploits in away matches against big clubs will set them in good stead for Saturday - even though they were comprehensively thrashed in one of them.
Rovers - currently 17th in the table, above the relegation zone on goal difference - will go to the Etihad Stadium to face the league leaders taking great heart from their shock 3-2 victory against City's local rivals Manchester United at Old Trafford on New Year's Eve.
Since then, another stand-out result has been the humiliating 7-1 defeat they suffered at Arsenal earlier this month, but Black believes the players will feel strengthened by that experience as well, having now carefully dissected exactly where they went wrong at the Emirates Stadium.
"The team have gone to Manchester United and got a fantastic result," he said.
"The records (City have won all 12 of their home league games this season) would suggest that it is going to be a difficult task, but records are there to be broken.
"We can also take a lot from the performance at the Emirates Stadium.
"It was a very negative one for us at the time, but we have certainly analysed it and the players have taken a lot from it and I'm sure we will be in much better condition going to Manchester City."
Rovers midfielder David Dunn is a doubt due to a thigh injury.
Winger Junior Hoilett, substituted early in the second half of the 3-2 win over QPR, is fit, but Jason Lowe begins a two-match ban having picked up his 10th booking of the season in that game and fellow defender Gael Givet is still suspended as well.
Centre-back Christopher Samba, who has not played since January 2 and last month handed in a transfer request, appears poised to leave Rovers to join Russian outfit Anzhi Makhachkala.
Threesy does it for City
Manchester City's three top scorers were all on target as the Barclays Premier League leaders overpowered Blackburn to move five points clear at the top of the table in a 3-0 win.
In the week Carlos Tevez was welcomed back to training, leading strikers Mario Balotelli, Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko reminded manager Roberto Mancini of their talents in a one-sided win at the Etihad Stadium.
Blackburn barely mustered a shot on goal as they were completely outplayed and their defeat might have been embarrassing but for a string of superb saves by Paul Robinson.
Robinson was most impressive early on and did brilliantly to keep the scoreline at 1-0, after Balotelli's strike, at the interval.
Yet his mistake led to Aguero's second and he could not prevent City's inevitable stroll to victory.
While Balotelli, Aguero and Dzeko celebrate scoring 52 goals between them this term, relegation-threatened Rovers must regroup quickly for their battle ahead.
The evening was all about City, for whom Balotelli, sporting a mohican, made an impressive return to domestic action after a month away from it due to a four-game ban.
Yaya Toure's return to the Premier League for the first time since January 3, due to African Nations Cup duty with Ivory Coast, was also welcomed as City set themselves up for their final title push.
Balotelli joined Aguero up front and Adam Johnson came in for Samir Nasri in a reshaped attack.
Blackburn handed a debut to new signing Marcus Olsson, who joined his brother Martin in the team, while Radosav Petrovic featured. After illness during the week, Steven N'Zonzi did not enter the fray until the 70th minute.
Yet aside from Robinson, little was seen of any Rovers players as City dominated from start to finish.
The hosts gave an early warning of their intentions as Balotelli tested Robinson with just a minute gone.
David Silva and Johnson combined on the right before the England winger's low cross was turned sharply at goal by Balotelli, but Robinson saved low to his left.
Johnson created space to shoot from distance but Robinson parried and the ball was hacked clear.
Robinson was in action again moments later as a Balotelli free-kick took a slight deflection off the wall and needed to be pushed away.
Blackburn finally cracked on the half-hour as City counter-attacked with Silva releasing Aleksandar Kolarov on the left.
The Serbian powered forward and pulled the ball back for Balotelli who, six yards out, instinctively clipped it past Robinson at the near post.
He celebrated by unveiling a T-shirt with a message telling his girlfriend Rafaella he loves her - a rather more modest offering than the previous 'Why Always Me?', which referred to his notorious madcap, off-field antics.
Blackburn wanted a penalty as they made a rare attack moments later.
Morten Gamst Pedersen was shaping to shoot when he went down under a Nigel de Jong challenge but referee Mike Jones played on.
Despite being beaten, Robinson continued to impress, saving another sharp effort from Silva.
There was better to come from the former England goalkeeper as he palmed away a backheeled Vincent Kompany volley at a corner and he deserved the luck as Toure put the rebound wide.
Toure went close again just before the interval but again fired wide while Aguero shot across goal from a tight angle.
City showed no let-up as the second half began with Toure powering forward to tee up Johnson, whose shot was deflected wide.
The seemingly inevitable second goal came after 52 minutes as Robinson showed his fallibility.
The goalkeeper spilled a Silva corner and Aguero was on hand to blast in on the half-volley.
City suffered a moment of alarm just before the hour as Toure landed awkwardly attempting to cross and Aguero also pulled up.
Both required treatment but were able to continue.
Balotelli left the field to a standing ovation with 12 minutes remaining, moments after taking a knock in an aerial challenge in the area and requiring treatment.
His replacement, Dzeko, wasted little time in making an impression as he headed the third two minutes later.
Kolarov found space down the left and whipped in a superb cross for the Bosnian, who turned in his 18th of the campaign.
Blackburn finally made Joe Hart work in injury time, but Ayegbeni Yakubu's shot was weak and was greeted by ironic cheers from the home fans.
© 2004 - 2014 football.co.uk