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Premier League preview: Manchester City v Blackburn

23 February 2012 11:14

Carlos Tevez is back in the fold but unlikely to feature when Manchester City host Blackburn Rovers in the English Premier League.

Tevez returned to England last week, ending nearly four months of self-imposed exile in Argentina following a falling out with City manager Roberto Mancini in September last year.

On Tuesday the striker issued a full, unreserved apology for his part in the well-publicised feud.

Mancini said he has accepted the apology, and expects the former Manchester United striker to be in contention for a return to action within two to three weeks.

That means City will have to make do with their expensively assembled strike force of Sergio Aguero, Edin Dzeko and Mario Balotelli as they welcome strugglers Blackburn to Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

The absence of Tevez appeared to have little effect on City's form for much of his time away, with the team still topping the Premier League standings by two points from reigning champions United.

And there was no shortage of goals from the men in sky blue on Wednesday, as they hammered holders Porto 4-0 in the Europa League round-of-32 second leg.

Aguero and Dzeko were both on target in the home win, with David Silva and on-loan midfielder David Pizarro grabbing the others.

The win sealed a 6-1 aggregate triumph over last season's winners of the competition, and should provide City with a welcome morale boost ahead of what is sure to be a closely fought domestic title run-in.

They will be looking to make it three league wins in succession against Blackburn, after recovering from a 1-0 defeat at Everton with victories over Aston Villa and Fulham.

As for the visitors, Steve Kean's team downed Queens Park Rangers 3-2 at home in their last outing, but prior to that they suffered a damaging 7-1 loss away to Arsenal, a serious blow to the confidence of a team struggling to avoid relegation.

Blackburn sit 17th on the table, clear of the drop zone on goal difference only.

Kean has several selection concerns to contend with coming into the match.

Club captain Chris Samba could return from a hamstring injury, but his fellow defender Gael Givet is suspended, as is midfielder Jason Lowe.

David Dunn is in doubt due to a calf injury, while a hip problem has sidelined veteran Vince Grella indefinitely.

Mancini, by contrast, has the luxury of a fully fit squad to choose from, with no suspensions, as City target their first top-flight title since 1968.

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Info

Competition
Premier League
Date
25 February 2012
Game week
26
Kick-off
18:30
Half-time
1 - 0
Full-time
3 - 0
Venue
Etihad Stadium (Manchester)
Attendance
46782

Goals

M. Balotelli 30'
(assist by A. Kolarov) 
1 - 0
S. Agüero 52'
(assist by David Silva) 
2 - 0
E. Džeko 81'
(assist by A. Kolarov) 
3 - 0

Lineups

Substitutes

# Player Bookings
8
10 81'
7
2
19
22
30

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