PREMIER LEAGUE LIVE: Manchester United v Blackburn – follow the action from Old Trafford as it happens
Follow Sportsmail”s coverage of the Barclays Premier League as Manchester United host Blackburn at Old Trafford to kick off Saturday”s action. The Red Devils go into the match knowing at least a point will see them end 2011 top of the table, but they will be after more against a Rovers side who sit bottom of the division. Email me your thoughts on the action at [email protected] or contact me on Twitter @Ripinho.
Manchester United 0-1 Blackburn (12.45pm)
Click here for the goals as they go in
Man Utd: De Gea, Rafael Da Silva, Jones, Carrick, Evra, Nani, Valencia, Park, Welbeck, Hernandez (Anderson 46), Berbatov.
Subs: Lindegaard, Diouf, Pogba, Will Keane, Fryers, Cole.
Blackburn: Bunn, Lowe, Samba, Hanley, Pedersen, Henley, Nzonzi, Petrovic, Rochina, Formica, Yakubu.
Subs: Kean, Slew, Blackman, Goodwillie, Vukcevic, Morris, Linganzi.
Goals; Yakubu 16 pen.
Referee: Mike Dean (Wirral)
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Second-half: United have made one change as Anderson has replaced Hernandez. Blackburn get us going again.
13.40: A shock scoreline at half-time but United won”t be that slow out the blocks again all season.
I still fully expect them to go on and win this but what a half from Blackburn who have continued from where they left off at Liverpool.
13.36: Hair dryer at the ready…
Half-time: Manchester United 0-1 Blackburn
45min: Three minutes added on as United pile on some sustained pressure here. A few goalmouth scrambles now.
44min: After a lull in play, United have arguably their best chance as Nani”s shot from inside the box is well palmed away by Bunn. It just lacked power form the hosts perspective.
40min: A really poor atmosphere inside the ground. Blackburn are growing in confidence too as they start to commit on the counter. So far you would have to say Steve Kean is playing a blinder tactics wise.
37min: One of my favourite Blackburn tactics. I don”t know why more teams do not do it. They win a free-kick 60 yards out from goal and use Bunn to loft a high lofted ball deep into the penalty area.
It doesn”t work this time as Yakubu goes down under minimal pressure inside the box, but for flick-ons and penalty chances I don”t know an easier route to goal.
No way through: Manchester United”s Nani (top) vies with Blackburn”s Ruben Rochina
34min: From InfostradaLive:
Yakubu has now scored 11 Premier League goals this season, the highest total by a Blackburn Rovers player at this stage for 14 seasons.
32min: Another wasteful attack for United. Rovers, for once, make a hash of clearing the ball inside their box but Nani has a rush of blood to the head when he snatches a shot over the bar 16 yards out.
29min: Following a goalmouth scramble that Rovers clear, United threaten again as Javier Hernandez whistles a shot across goal. We haven”t seen too much of him so far.
26min: In my opinion United are playing too slow at the moment and are making it easy for Blackburn to defend. They really need to up the tempo.
23min: Frustration kicking in for United as they still haven”t forced Bunn into a save. Michael Carrick is booked for a clumsy tackle on Mauro Formica.
20min: But Nani”s freestyle lay-off that Phil Jones to smashes towards goal is blocked.
19min: United could respond here as they win a free-kick on the edge of the box. Old Trafford very subdued so far today.
Birthday blues: Yakubu gave Blackburn a shock lead from the penalty spot
16min: Manchester United 0-1 BLACKBURN
Well I can”t believe I”m even typing this. No complaints about the penalty as Dimitar Berbatov clearly pulls on Chris Samba”s shirt to bring him down. Yakubu steps up to send David de Gea the wrong way from the penalty spot. That is pretty much Rovers” first attack.
15min: PENALTY (Blackburn)
12min: That”s awful from Nani though, whose delivery doesn”t beat first man Yakubu. In frustration his lunging tackle to win the ball back only catches the striker”s ankle and he is booked.
10min: Free-kick to United just off the left flank near the penalty box as the hosts continue to attack in numbers. You wouldn”t believe Blackburn have five men in midfield – they are getting carved open time and again.
8min: Decent chance that for the hosts. Nani picks up the ball 25 yards out but he slices his shot wide.
6min: It”s just a matter of time you know. Danny Welbeck and Nani are finding it very easy to reach the Blackburn penalty area. The visitors are sitting far too deep but they are holding firm for now.
3min: No birthday surprises so far as United dominate the early stages. Blackburn can”t keep hold of the ball.
1min: From InfostradaLive:
Blackburn Rovers” starting XI is their youngest ever in a Premier League match, averaging 23 years and 320 days of age.
Bad touch: Manchester United”s Patrice Evra fouls Blackburn”s Mauro Formica after losing control of the ball
Kick-off: After a rendition of “Happy Birthday” for Fergie, United get us going.
12.44: Teams are out at an overcast Old Trafford.
12.42: /12/31/article-2080371-0F4E301100000578-281_634x419.jpg” width=”634″ height=”419″ alt=”Happy Birthday to you: Sir Alex Ferguson acknowledges the fans” birthday chants” class=”blkBorder” />
Happy Birthday to you: Sir Alex Ferguson acknowledges the fans” birthday chants
12.36: Just seen a montage of Fergie”s managerial career highlights and it really underlines how much he has done for Manchester United.
What boss would want to succeed him Just how do you topple his achievements
United brings a fantastic managerial opportunity don”t get me wrong, but what an act to try and follow.
12.33: So no Wayne Rooney but I wouldn”t read too much into that.
As you may have guessed by now it”s a busy period for the football season and Ferguson is probably saving him for a tricky trip to Newcastle on Wednesday.
12.30: One hope for Blackburn is how well they played last time out. They rode their luck at times at Liverpool to secure a 1-1 draw but it was as organised as I have seen them this term.
And if Mark Bunn has another game like he did on Boxing Day then it might not be a birthday to remember for Fergie.
12.27: From OptaJoe:
2 – Since conceding six against Man City, United have shipped just two goals in the last nine matches and kept seven clean sheets. Tighten.
12.24: Don”t forget folks you can follow every Premier League goal as it goes in this afternoon by tracking our live goal service on Twitter.
12.21: Full line-ups from Old Trafford:
Man Utd v Blackburn
Man Utd: De Gea, Rafael Da Silva, Jones, Carrick, Evra, Nani, Valencia, Park, Welbeck, Hernandez, Berbatov. Subs: Lindegaard, Anderson, Diouf, Pogba, Will Keane, Fryers, Cole.
Blackburn: Bunn, Lowe, Samba, Hanley, Pedersen, Henley, Nzonzi, Petrovic, Rochina, Formica, Yakubu. Subs: Kean, Slew, Blackman, Goodwillie, Vukcevic, Morris, Linganzi.
Referee: Mike Dean (Wirral)
Rovers reunion: Manchester United”s Phil Jones starts against his former side
12.18: From InfostradaLive:
Manchester United have never lost a Premier League match at Old Trafford over the Christmas period (Dec 25 – Jan 6),winning 24 and drawing 5
12.15: Suddenly my expectations of Blackburn have dropped. No Hoilett while United welcome back Ex-Rover Phil Jones it could be a long afternoon for Steve Kean”s men.
12.12: Wayne Rooney is not even named on the bench by birthday boy Sir Alex Ferguson for Manchester United”s Barclays Premier League encounter with Blackburn at Old Trafford.
Javier Hernandez and Dimitar Berbatov are partnered together in attack by Ferguson, who celebrates his 70th birthday today.
Rafael and Phil Jones are back in defence after injury and there is also a place on the bench for Anderson, who has not featured since the beginning of November, as United take on a Blackburn team lacking injured duo David Dunn and Junior Hoilett from the side that drew at Liverpool on Boxing Day.
12.09: And Fergie shows no sign of giving up yet, revealing to the club”s in-house TV station that he will be staying on for another three years.
You can almost hear the collective groans around their title rivals.
12.06: From InfostradaLive:
Sir Alex Ferguson celebrates his 70th birthday today, only the second manager to reach this milestone in the PL era after Sir Bobby Robson
12.03: Manchester United starting XI:
De Gea, Rafael, Carrick, Jones, Evra, Nani, Valencia, Park, Welbeck, Berbatov, Hernandez.
12.00: Here we go then, the final day of the year and a cracker to get us going. The current Premier League champions against former champions in what promises to be a….oh who am I kidding
It”s top v bottom, and on paper at least this looks like one of the mismatches of the season. Do Rovers really have a chance
You know what, I think they do. The reasons why are coming up but first I will bring you the team news.
Taking his chance: Dimitar Berbatov is given another start for United after scoring a hat-trick against Wigan