On February 19th, Blackburn Rovers welcome Manchester United to Ewood park for a tie in the fifth round of the FA Cup. The two sides have not met since Blackburn was relegated in 2012, but Rovers will look to turn the clock back to 2011 when they drew United at Ewood Park and beat them on New Years Eve at Old Trafford.
While beating Manchester United and earning a place in the quarter finals of the FA Cup would be great, Blackburn are in danger of falling out of the Championship. 29 points from 31 games leave the Rovers two points from safety. After being relegated from the premier league five years ago, relegation from the Championship would be devastating for the former Champions of England, so the FA Cup may end up taking a backseat.
Manchester United have their own set of problems that Blackburn could only dream of at this point. Despite their unbeaten run of 16 games in the Premier League, united still sit in 6th place, two points outside of the Champions League places. They also had to play in the Europa League on Thursday, so they’ll likely have to rotate some of their team.
Sam Gallagher, Tommie Hoban, and Corry Evans will all miss out for Blackburn through injury, while Hope Akpan and Elliott Bennett are both suspended, according to the Daily Mail. Lucas Joao will also miss out due to being cup tied.
Wayne Rooney, Michael Carrick, and Henrikh Mkhitaryan are doubts for Manchester United, according to the Daily Mail.
Blackburn Rovers: Danny Graham
After numerous loan spells during a nightmare at Sunderland, Danny Graham finally found a permanent home at Backburn this summer. After bagging seven goals in 18 Championship appearances in his loan spell at Ewood park last season, Graham has bagged a solid 10 goals in 25 appearances so far this season, is the team’s leading scorer, and is second on the team of shots in the box per 90 minutes, according to Squawka.com. Blackburn’s best chance to go through to the quarter finals is to win at Ewood Park and to do that they’ll need someone to come up with a goal or two. With second leading scorer Gallagher’s status in doubt with a knee injury and no one else having scored more than two league goals this season, Graham is likely going to have to be that guy.
Manchester United: Anthony Martial
After struggling to get into the team earlier in the season, Anthony Martial has hit a good run of form. The 21 year-old had two assists in the last round of the FA Cup, scored one and assisted one in his last league match, and got nine shots off in his last two matches in all competitions. The Frenchman is capable of tearing teams up whenever he steps on the pitch and Blackburn would be no exception.
Manchester United should win this match, even if they are on short rest. Blackburn have their own problems and United should be far too talented to lose this match.