Verdict: Blackburn Rovers 0 Manchester City 4

If you’re going to be a hardline manager and banish unruly players, then you need to get results. That’s how Fergie gets away with it and Roberto Mancini demonstrated the same trait here.

At half-time it was looking a little different with Aguero having hobbled off and City lacking zip in the final third. If City had failed to make the breakthrough, the whispers would have started as to whether Mancini had done the right thing in banning a player who has won so many games for the blues.

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Player ratings: Blackburn Rovers v Manchester City

Hart – Dealt excellently with long balls into the box and raged at the defence whenever they threatened to switch off. Deserved the clean sheet. 7

Zabaleta – Not always at his best going forward and rarely tested defensively. If there’s such a thing as a forward’s tackle, then Pablo was guilty of a defender’s dive. 6

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Verdict: Blackburn Rovers 0 Manchester City 1

Edin Dzeko was the hero after coming off the bench to score the only goal with virtually his first touch against a Blackburn side who ultimately proved stronger opponents than many had anticipated. The result increases the likelihood of a Champions League place with the lead over Spurs extended to four points.

It was no surprise to see Roberto Mancini stick with the side which defeated United, and City made a point of starting the game strongly. We completely dominated possession and David Platt confirmed afterwards that the manager had wanted to avoid a repeat of the opening at Anfield.

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