By William Wood | In Micah's Say
Manchester City cruised to a comfortable 3-0 win over relegation-threatened Blackburn Rovers at the City of Manchester stadium, and Micah Richards gave his thoughts on a result that bolsters the Eastlander’s bid for Europa League qualification exclusively to MicahRichards.com.
Micah had been a doubt for the game following the knee injury picked up against Everton last weekend, but he passed a last-minute fitness test and retained his place at right-back for the visit of manager Mark Hughes’ former club.
A bright start saw City carve out the first real chance, Elano instigating the move before picking out Stephen Ireland who in turn unleashed Felipe Caicedo, but the latter’s effort on goal was tame.
Ireland himself had a shot blocked minutes later, while at the other end Blackburn appealed for a penalty after the ball struck Nigel De Jong’s arm, but replays showed that there was little intent from the City midfielder.
It was the hosts who took the lead, a poor clearance from Elano’s corner allowing Vincent Kompany to stab the ball back into the danger zone, and after one shot was blocked Caicedo was there to add the finish from a few yards out, sending the home faithful into raptures.
Such was his jubilation, the youngster was then booked for taking off his shirt and celebrating the goal, and the home side could have had another had Robinho’s vicious drive towards goal not been blocked after 33 minutes.
However, the Brazilian had to wait only a minute more to find the back of the net, delightfully curling the ball past Paul Robinson’s outstretched hands and in at the far post to make it 2-0.
With Rovers rocking, perhaps reflecting their precarious league position, City were dominant, and a fine move ended up with Micah bursting down the right and pulling the ball back, but none of Hughes’ men were able to direct the ball home.
The game was all but put to bed as it entered injury time in the first-half, though, when Gael Givet handled Ireland’s cross, and Elano stepped up to slot the ball beyond Robinson and give City a comprehensive, and ultimately unassailable, lead.
It was a case of as we were when the teams returned after the interval, Robinho curling a shot just wide while Christopher Samba’s effort was blocked by De Jong.
Although Sam Allardyce’s side were struggling to penetrate City’s stern defence, they were handed a lifeline – and a penalty of their own – after 65 minutes, Nedum Onouha adjudged to have brought Morten Gamst Pedersen down.
Given did magnificently to save El-Hadji Diouf’s spot-kick, but substitute Keith Andrews was on the mark to convert the rebound. However, with the visitors showing signs of a resurgence, Micah did well to take the sting out of their rhythm with a powerful charge forward, and Blackburn struggled to capitalise on their momentary dominance.
Robinho could have grabbed another had Robinson not been equal to his close-range effort with five minutes remaining, and City were content to retain possession and see out the game, ensuring the club remain in the hunt for seventh-place in the Premier League and with it Europa League qualification.
“We played really well today, and the three goals were well-deserved as we dominated the match I thought,” Micah said. “It was disappointing we didn’t keep a clean-sheet, but other than that we were all pleased with the performance.”
Having looked doubtful for the clash until kick-off, the England international suffer was not 100%, but the coaching staff and he decided to see how he fared – a decision that certainly paid off.
“I felt OK and just played through the pain barrier,” the 20-year old continued. “The physio and I both felt I could play and I was glad I did as there were a lot of positives I could take from the match.”
The win sets City up nicely for the derby clash with Manchester United in their next league outing, and Micah believes the side will go into the game high on confidence after impressive performances in recent weeks.
“This result is another boost going into what is the biggest fixture of the season, and we can’t wait.”