13 home wins is unlucky for City's rivals

Manchester City 3 Blackburn 0

The Etihad Stadium

What a difference a year makes. When Manchester City last dropped home points in the Premier League, in a 1-1 draw with Fulham 12 months ago today, they sat third in the table with 50 points from 28 matches and a goal difference of +19, 10 points behind Manchester United.

Today they look down on United, with 63 points from 26 games and a goal difference of +48. That is a big step forward – even for a club whose spending makes their success seem inevitable – and it shows why David Platt, City's first-team coach, believes that, with 12 games to go, it will take something special to dislodge Roberto Mancini's side from the summit.

"Statistics will tell you that it is very difficult to [win] 12 or 13 times on the bounce. But there is enough belief in us to realise that we can win enough to make it very difficult for the others to catch us," said Platt, a member of Arsenal's 1998 double-winning side that earned 10 straight league victories in the run-in.

Platt, speaking after Saturday's stroll against Blackburn, noted that tougher tests will lie ahead as he recalled how Arsenal "got absolutely battered" in one game at Bolton yet today's Wanderers side appear unlikely to provide a repeat at the Etihad next Saturday when City have the opportunity to extend their lead over United, 24 hours before their visit to Tottenham.

City have won 18 consecutive home league matches, 13 this season, and striker Edin Dzeko, scorer of the third goal on Saturday, underlined the significance of this sequence to their title push. "When I won the [Bundesliga] with Wolfsburg, we won 16 out of 17 home games, so maybe that's the key."

Whether they can end the campaign with a 100 per cent home record remains to be seen – they have still to host Chelsea and then United in a potential a title decider on 30 April – but whatever follows, the City machine is purring once more. Since defeat at Everton, they have posted five straight wins and Saturday's return of Yaya Toure, for his first league outing since the Africa Cup of Nations, and Mario Balotelli, back from his four-match ban, had a telling impact summed up by their roles in the opening goal.

Toure, winning the ball and supplying David Silva, started the move and Balotelli, with a crisp first-time finish from Aleksandr Kolarov's cross, concluded it. Sergio Aguero and substitute Dzeko's second-half strikes gave the scoreline a more accurate reflection of City's dominance.

Steve Kean, the Blackburn manager, noted the "freshness" of City's performance. "A big factor of that is when they rotate the squad and the standard of players they bring in," he said, citing how Kolarov, creator of two goals, had come in for Gael Clichy. They may have Carlos Tevez to add to the mix, although Platt noted it would not be before the 10 March visit to Swansea at the earliest; moreover, with their frontline strikers now on 52 goals between them, do they really need him?

Blackburn, back in the bottom three, were a shadow of the side who won at Old Trafford on 31 December. That day they had midfielder Steven N'Zonzi, restricted here by illness to a brief late cameo – "when he came on that was the best we kept the ball," Kean lamented – and also Christopher Samba, who joined Russia's Anzhi Makhachkala on Friday. "He wanted to go, he made that quite public. On a positive side, now we know everyone we have in the dressing room wants to be here. We will all be pulling together." With trips to Wolves and Bolton looming in March, that is the least they will need.

Platt added that Gareth Barry, who was not in the squad on Saturday, had not played because of a tight hamstring but that he would be fine for England on Wednesday. The same goes for Micah Richards.

Match details



Scorers: Manchester City Balotelli 30, Aguero 52, Dzeko 81.

Substitutes: Man City Pizarro 6 (A Johnson, 70), Dzeko (Balotelli, 79), Milner (Y Touré, 86). Blackburn Rovers Rochina 5 (Formica, 69), Nzonzi 6 (Petrovic, 69).

Booked: Blackburn Hanley, Orr.

Man of the match Balotelli. Match rating 7/10.

Possession: Man City 69% Blackburn 31%.

Attempts on target: Man City 13 Blackburn 2.

Referee M Jones (Cheshire) Attendance 46,782.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
peopleMathematician John Nash inspired the film Beautiful Mind
Richard Blair is concerned the trenches are falling into disrepair
newsGeorge Orwell's son wants to save war site that inspired book
Life and Style
Audrey Hepburn with Hubert De Givenchy, whose well-cut black tuxedo is a 'timeless look'
fashionIt may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
Arts and Entertainment
The pair in their heyday in 1967
Life and Style
fashionFrom bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine