Caicedo has City dancing to a different beat

FOR many Manchester City fans, Eastlands will only ever be big enough for one south American – maybe two at a push.

But while Robinho and, to a lesser extent, Elano, will take some displacing from the affections of the club’s supporters, there is now another Latino making a splash in Manchester.

At one point in January, Felipe Caicedo appeared certain to be heading inexorably for the exit door. However, once a loan move to Fulham collapsed, the Ecuador international shifted his focus back on helping City barge their way up the table and his seventh goal of the campaign paved the way for a win which keeps the Blues well in the hunt for seventh spot and a place in the Europa League next term.

“Felipe is a big guy who is very unorthodox,” said manager Mark Hughes. “When he is in possession he is very difficult to shake off the ball.

“He is not the finished article but he seems to have the knack of being in the right place at the right time. And when he gets the opportunity he is a good finisher.”

Caicedo has another three games to persuade Hughes he does not have to go out and buy another burly striker, especially as original target Roque Santa Cruz has suffered a succession of injuries this term and is currently sidelined after a minor knee operation.

It has not gone unnoticed, either, that after a season mired in controversy, Robinho has now scored 14 Premier League goals, a tally bettered only by Cristiano Ronaldo and Nicolas Anelka.

With a goal in each of the three successive victories City have managed for the first time this season, the £32.5million British record signing has signalled he intends to end his first year in England on a high note.

Elano has endured equal controversy during his second term but is also closing with a flourish, tucking home the penalty which completed a purple patch of three goals in 18 minutes.

City’s joy and expectation contrasts sharply with the deflation and fear experienced by Blackburn, whose survival is being achieved through the inadequacies of others.

Portsmouth visit Ewood Park next weekend, with manager Sam Allardyce claiming a victory would be enough for Rovers to start looking forward again.

“This season has been a shock to the system,” said Allardyce. “Once you are playing catch up it is hugely difficult. The good thing is we caught up quicker than most generally do in that position.We just need to win one more.”

MANCHESTER CITY (4-4-2): Given 6, Richards 6, Onuoha 6, Dunne 7, Bridge 6, De Jong 6, Kompany 7, Ireland 7, Elano 7 (Petrov 78, 5), Caicedo 7 (Bojinov 62, 6), Robinho 8.

Subs Not Used: Hart, Garrido, Fernandes, Evans, Berti.

BLACKBURN (4-4-2): Robinson 6, Ooijer 5, Nelsen 6, Givet 5, Warnock 7, Diouf 6, Grella 5, Tugay 5 (Doran 64, 5), Pedersen 5, McCarthy 5 (Villanueva 46, 5), Samba 5 (Andrews 64, 6).

Subs Not Used: Bunn, Khizanishvili, Mokoena, Olsson.

REFEREE: Mike Dean (Wirral) 6: Rather picky but no glaring errors.

MATCH RATING: *** City are improving at the business end of the season.

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