Manchester City 5 Blackburn Rovers 0 match report: Alvaro Negredo sparks another goal rush for City in FA Cup replay as Sergio Aguero makes scoring return

Quadruple still on for hosts as they brush aside Rovers with second half onslaught

THE ETIHAD STADIUM

The quadruple is still on. In truth, it was never off, despite the laboured start to the night. When Alvaro Negredo takes to this pitch his presence comes with a guarantee. For all but the last attack of the opening half Manchester City were a team lost in sparring, an approximation to the threshing machine they have become at the Etihad.

That is until Negredo hit the turbo button. A header at the close of the first half and a stabbed second two minutes into the second took his tally at the Etihad to 16 this season, chalked up in all of a dozen matches.

Blackburn Rovers had done a half decent job of frustrating City, and in Tom Cairney had a player in the middle of the park who stood comparison with those in blue, but once the red wall had been breached it was always going to be a numbers game.

Edin Dzeko flashed in a third in the 67th minute, turning in a cross from Jesus Navas at the near post. On the touchline Sergio Aguero warmed up, a cruelty the Championship side did not deserve. It was Negredo who made way for the Argentine predator with 18 minutes to go. Aguero was unusually slow to make an impact, allowing just 50 seconds to pass before swivelling in the box and planting his 20th goal of the season past Simon Eastwood, on at half time for Paul Robinson.

It was not over yet. Dzeko helped himself to a second, a carbon copy of the first, to take City to 99 goals in all competitions this season. Much more of this and City risk being taken to the Competition Commission.

 

At the back end of the last century, in another football world, Blackburn Rovers briefly occupied the City slot, bankrolled by a steel magnate and dominating the agenda. Jack Walker's millions would barely settle the tip on a night out with the oil barons fuelling City's identity shift today. Week by week, goal rush by goal rush, City are acquiring their own mystique and with it power.

The City messaging had been doing its work all week in the hearts and minds of Blackburn. For their manager, Gary Bowyer, this was an opportunity for his players to breathe the same air as giants, to associate with a species of footballer from another dimension. Whatever it is City do, it is beyond the common experience at Ewood Park, so the legend goes, something to be savoured, an honour to share.

They were probably disappointed at the absence of City's premier creative hub, Yaya Touré, David Silva and Samir Nasri, denied the chance to tell their grandchildren what it was like to be flayed at the Etihad by the best in the land. Never mind Aguero, Negredo and Navas would have to do.

The Blackburn players had an extra 10 minutes to take in the riches courtesy of a delayed kick-off to accommodate the last days of Hayley Cropper on Coronation Street. There is no end to the pulling power of that fiction in this parish. Hayley is still with us, but for how long?

As they made their way to the changing rooms the Blackburn players wore the same wide-eyed expressions as the schoolkids on a tour of the Etihad media suite. Outside a band played in City Square. My, how far the sheikhdom has come from the Kippax.

The Blackburn fans shared none of the deference displayed by their team. "Where were you when you were shit?" they inquired of the Etihad citizenry. City's second string, eight changes from the win at Newcastle, made us wait two minutes for a crack at goal, a header from Dzeko. Mind you, Blackburn did not touch the ball in all that time.

Dzeko went close again in the 10th minute cracking a venomous right-footer over the bar. Blackburn sat deep, City pinged the ball left and right, their authority uncontested. Milner, captain for the night, even indulged in a stepover in one break down the left.

City were momentarily discomfited in the 17th minute when Richards slid in to concede a corner. Nothing came of the novelty and City quietly resumed control of the ball. The only element missing was urgency, too many floated crosses from the wings serving only to keep Robinson warm in the Blackburn goal.

Manuel Pellegrini rushed to the technical area to wave his team forward and was rewarded with a piledriver from Javi Garcia that Robinson could only palm away, fortunately for Blackburn to a red shirt.

As the half drew to a close the scoreboard revealed a possession rate of 74 per cent in City's favour. That was nil comfort to an audience that has witnessed half a century of goals already this season.

Help was at hand in the shape of Negredo, who met a cross from Fernandinho in the manner of a mallet hitting a tent peg, cracking the ball hard and low into the back of the Blackburn net with his head on the stroke of half-time.

Man of the match Negredo.

Match rating 7/10.

Referee C Pawson (S Yorks).

Attendance 35,000.

Revised FA Cup fourth-round draw

Friday 24 January

Arsenal v Coventry (7.45pm)

Nottingham Forest v Preston (8pm)

Sat 25 January (3pm unless stated)

Bournemouth v Liverpool (12.45pm)

Birmingham v Swansea

Bolton v Cardiff

Huddersfield v Charlton/Oxford

Manchester City v Watford

Port Vale v Brighton

Rochdale v Sheffield Wednesday

Southampton v Yeovil

Southend v Hull

Sunderland v Kidderminster Wigan v Crystal Palace

Stevenage v Everton (5.30pm)

Sunday 26 January

Sheffield United v Fulham (1pm)

Chelsea v Stoke (3.30pm)

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
Voices
A meteor streaks across the sky during the Perseid Meteor Shower at a wind farm near Bogdanci, south of Skopje, Macedonia, in the early hours of 13 August
voicesHagel and Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise, says Robert Fisk
News
peopleEnglishman managed quintessential Hollywood restaurant Chasen's
Life and Style
food + drinkHarrods launches gourmet food qualification for staff
Arts and Entertainment
Michael Flatley prepares to bid farewell to the West End stage
danceMichael Flatley hits West End for last time alongside Team GB World champion Alice Upcott
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
i100
Life and Style
Black Ivory Coffee is made using beans plucked from elephants' waste after ingested by the animals
food + drinkFirm says it has created the "rarest" coffee in the world
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie T plays live in 2007 before going on hiatus from 2010
arts + entsSinger-songwriter will perform on the Festival Republic Stage
Life and Style
food + drinkThese simple recipes will have you refreshed within minutes
News
Jermain Defoe got loads of custard
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

Radio 1’s new top ten

The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition
Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?