With a favourable run of fixtures in the coming weeks, Manchester United should be confident of opening up some breathing distance over bitter rivals Manchester City in the month of April but will first have to weave their way around the improving Blackburn Rovers, as Betfred offer long odds on Steve Kean’s side.
Sir Alex Ferguson’s side will go up against the likes of Wigan, Aston Villa and Queens Park Rangers before their pivotal clash with City, and will be doing all they can to ensure that the tile race doesn’t depend solely on that encounter alone when they eventually make the tough trip to the Etihad Stadium.
In order to do that however, they must shrug off any objections held by Blackburn who, after losing just twice in their last six outings, are building quite a bit of momentum ahead of the Premier League run-in at the end of the season.
Unfortunately for them, Wigan, Bolton and even QPR are also getting results and a single point looks set to decide whether a side is plying their trade in England’s first or second tier next season.
Steve Kean’s side have looked impressive going forward this campaign, scoring an average of 1.47 goals per game on home soil but it seems that keeping the opposition out has been the decisive factor in some of their worse results.
Rovers currently have the second worst defence in the English top flight and have leaked an average of 2.07 goals per game in league competition.
Their luck doesn’t look set to change this Monday either, when the Lancashire outfit will host the Red Devils, currently the most dangerous Premier League team when playing away from home.
Ferguson’s men have scored 2.27 goals per away match on average, letting in an average of just 0.80, making for a near insurmountable challenge for the home side.
The host’s chances look even slighter when you consider that United will be out for revenge this week after Rovers ran out as victors in the reverse fixture at the turn of the year.
Manchester United can open up a five-point gap with a victory on Monday evening but will have to do so without Anderson, Nani and Anders Lindegaard, all of whom are expected to miss the fixture through injury.
Steve Kean has a considerably healthier injury list and could welcome Gael Givet back into the fold after several weeks out with w hamstring injury.