City crush hapless Rovers
Pressure mounts on Kean following another disappointing display
Last Updated: 01/10/11 5:56pm
Johnson: Broke the deadlock in spectacular style
Manchester City put a tough week behind them in some style at Ewood Park as they crushed struggling Blackburn Rovers 4-0.
Adam Johnson, Mario Balotelli, Samir Nasri and Stefan Savic got the goals for City, as they showed no signs of allowing the Carlos Tevez saga to take their eye off the ball.
An uninspiring first half saw both sides struggle to create clear-cut opportunities, with the humid conditions doing little for the pace of the game.
Balotelli came closest to forcing a breakthrough, but City's Italian striker saw a couple of efforts slip narrowly wide of Paul Robinson's goal.
The main talking point in the opening period focused on another Argentine striker in City colours, with Sergio Aguero hobbling off after just 27 minutes.
The second half again started slowly, but City brought the game screaming to life on 56 minutes.
Blackburn failed to clear their lines from a corner and when the ball fell to Johnson on the edge of the box, he curled delightfully past Robinson.
Within three minutes City were two clear, with Balotelli getting across his man to turn home a cross from Nasri.
The Blues' French playmaker got his own name on the scoresheet on 73 minutes when he rounded off a flowing counter attack.
The home support were now turning on their under-fire manager and the pressure mounted further on Steve Kean's shoulders when substitute Savic nodded home unmarked to wrap up a convincing victory for the visitors.
Despite accepting Edin Dzeko's apology for his outburst at being substituted in midweek, Mancini dropped the Bosnian to the bench and opted to give Balotelli his chance.
It was an inspired decision with Balotelli looking by far the liveliest of City's attacking options, particularly when Aguero limped off injured on the half-hour.
Rovers had started solidly enough but it quickly became apparent they would have to guard against City's speed and sharpness, with Chris Samba cutting out a dangerous Vincent Kompany cross.
The visitors had their first real chance in the 10th minute when David Silva cut into the box from the left and his cross was parried by Robinson into the path of Balotelli, who blazed over.
Rovers responded two minutes later with a swinging cross from Morten Gamst Pedersen on the left, which was aimed for the head of Samba before being cut out by Joleon Lescott.
Junior Hoilett's pace troubled the City rearguard in the 16th minute as he scampered over the halfway line and sent Yakubu clear on the left, but he was denied by a fine challenge by James Milner.
For all their neat possession, Mancini's men were struggling to unduly threaten the Rovers defence, with Silva guilty of spooning a 25th minute half-chance high over the bar.
City's striking options, already diminished by the suspension of Tevez, were further hit when Aguero limped off with an apparent groin strain.
Nasri came on to replace Aguero, and his first act was to screw a low shot towards the Rovers goal which was deflected out for a corner by David Goodwillie.
City's inability to find the cutting final ball surfaced again in the 35th minute when a fine move involving Milner and Nasri petered out when Samba beat Balotelli to a clearance in the box.
Balotelli stepped up his game towards the end of the first half, flashing a curling 37th minute effort wide then zipping in front of Samba to shoot into the side-netting.
City looked sharper at the start of the second half, with Silva shooting across the face of goal moments after the restart, then Balotelli driving a right-foot shot against the post.
City finally broke the deadlock in the 56th minute when Johnson picked up a half-cleared Aleksandar Kolarov corner on the edge of the box and swung a superb left-foot shot into the top corner.
And City extended their lead three minutes later when Balotelli got the goal his performance deserved, stealing in front of Steven Nzonzi to prod home a cross from the left by Nasri.
Nasri swept home City's third in the 73rd minute after good work from Silva in the box, sparking a furious reaction from sections of the home fans who chanted for Kean's dismissal.
Substitute Mauro Formica forced the first real save out of Joe Hart with 15 minutes left on the clock then Yakubu blazed high over the bar but it was all in vain.City scored their fourth three minutes from time when Nasri sent in a corner from the left and substitute Savic powered home.
|Blackburn Rovers||Team Statistics||Manchester City|
|0||1st Half Goals||0|
|4||Shots on Target||7|
|2||Shots off Target||7|
Barclays Premier League
|10||West Ham United||28||31|
|17||West Bromwich Albion||28||25|