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Stuart Dalgleish 30th Oct 2009 - 21:47

United to make mince meat out of Blackburn's swines

There's never really a good time to play Manchester United at Old Trafford, but when your first team squad has been hit with a swine flu virus and your away record reads; played four, lost four - you know you're going to be in for a long afternoon.

Sam Allardyce will take some heart from the fact that Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic are both struggling with injuries and could miss the match, but let's be honest, it'd take a virus worse than the one which Blackburn Rovers have suffered from to make this United side look on a level playing field with the visitors.

With how Blackburn played in their previous away trip at Chelsea, it looks just to be a case of how many the Red Devils will win by, not if they will win the match. The champions are overwhelming favourites at 1/6, but in our handicap market we've given them a TWO goal deficit to overcome and that looks much more attractive at 11/8, the draw (in the 90 minutes market) is an 11/2 shot and Rovers are huge outsiders in the betting available at a whopping 18/1.

It's probably fair to say that Manchester United haven't been overly convincing so far this season, but Ferguson's side are still efficient in what they do and should have more than enough quality in reserve, firstly at the back to stop Rovers from scoring and in attacking positions to get at Blackburn's fragile defence, a defence which has conceded 26 goals in just nine Premier League matches this season.

It just doesn't bode well for poor Blackburn; they've only won once in their last 15 visits to Old Trafford, they haven't stopped United from scoring home or away since 2005 - a run of 11 league and cup games and are without a Premier League away win since March. You'd have to be mad to think that run will end at the home of their Lancashire rivals.

It could be any number of players that open the scoring for United, but Wayne Rooney will be desperate to end his recent goal drought of five for club and country and at 11/4 is the red hot favourite to notch first, the forward has scored in his last two matches against Blackburn. Paul Scholes is just two goals shy of 100 in the league for the hosts and he could be cracking value at 10/1 to bag the first of the game, and to bring up a century with two or more in the game priced at 20/1.

Blackburn will have their work cut out trying to find a way to the back of the Old Trafford net; the last player to do it in a league fixture who is still at the club is Morten Gamst Pedersen, the Dane scored both goals in a 2-1 success four seasons ago, he's yet to open his league account but opened the scoring in Rovers' midweek Carling Cup win and can be backed at 20/1 to get the ball rolling in this game, 7/1 just to score at any point of the 90 minutes.

You can't really see it happening though and a 3-0 home win looks a good bet for me and that's available at odds of 6/1.

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