WILL DYER (@w2Dyer) previews a fixture that’s thrown up plenty of excitement over the years. Blackburn and United once fought over the Premier League trophy but Rovers’ day has long since passed – can they overcome their Venky’s demons for some relief from a dark season?
Blackburn v Manchester United | Sunday 16:00 | BT Sport 1
Blackburn Rovers, only five years ago a staple of the Premier League, are at a great risk of dropping into the third tier of English football for the first time since 1980. A level of football they have only spent five seasons at in their 129 years since being a founding member of the Football League.
Owners, Venky’s, have cut investment and continue to drag the club down whilst fans protests have fallen on deaf ears, unsurprisingly frustration grows. It’s left Owen Coyle with an inadequate squad and an impossible task.
Roving towards obscurity
Rovers are second bottom in the Championship but they’ve at least remained competitive at home; scoring in all of their last 11 and only losing three of their last 12 at Ewood Park.
They face a Manchester United side who are certainly in contention for a second placed finish in the Premier League with now just four points separating them and their city rivals.
The Red Devils 3-0 win over St Etienne at Old Trafford in midweek puts them in a great place to progress to the last 16 of that competition.
The Community Shield already snatched, Jose Mourinho could have a few pieces of silverware from his first season in charge with the League Cup final coming up next weekend and the Reds preparing to defend this competition.
Mou spoke about this game earlier in the week. Admitting that he’s neglected the competition in the past or at least underestimated it’s importance. He’s still going to make changes but insists a strong team will be fielded and that spells trouble for Rovers.
Blast from the past
We’ve seen some memorable meetings between these clubs over the years. Not least the early 90s title races but also Rovers’ 3-2 win at Old Trafford in 2011, a 5-3 in the League Cup Quarter Final in 2008 and David Bentley’s hat-trick in a 4-3 at Ewood in 2006; the first ever notched against Man United in a Premier League game.
United have already knocked out two Championship clubs this season without conceding a goal and the 3-0 win on Thursday night made it 455 minutes without shipping. In fact, all of their last seven wins have come ‘to nil’.
Interestingly, even under Sir Alex they failed to win any of their last 13 trips to Ewood Park every time they conceded. All three wins there coming ‘to nil’.
United’s success this season has been built on a tough defence and I’m inclined to believe that he won’t change that too much on Sunday afternoon, rather chop and change with the forward players.
Win ‘To Nil’ masters
Sam Gallagher misses out on Sunday for the Blue and White halves which is a blow to them. He’s scored 10 this season and Blackburn would be in a much worse place without him. Top scorer, Danny Graham, can still lead the line but whether he can bag against United is a different question.
With Mourinho declaring his intent, Rovers flailing and United only winning when they keep a clean sheet I think the only logical thing to do is back the visitors to win to nil at Even money with BetVictor.
Blackburn v Manchester United – Manchester United to Win ‘To Nil’ (1/1 BetVictor)