So no FA Cup magic, but a comfortable win for Manchester City in the end, five goals, none conceded, and the successful return to action of Sergio Agüero.
They're also just one goal away from making it 100 goals for the season - with Cardiff visiting the Etihad on Saturday it probably won't be long before they reach their century.
Thanks for joining me, and I'll leave you with this in response to Nicholas's earlier question (12th minute).
Full time! Manchester City 5-0 Blackburn Rovers
93 min: A half-hearted shout for a penalty from the Blackburn fans when a player tumbles in the City box, but the referee plays on and blows the final whistle moments later.
City will play Watford in the fourth round.
90 min +2: Edin Dzeko is named man of the match - he's scored one and set up another, but the hat-trick of misses in the first half stand out for me. Navas has been a constant threat, and Álvaro Negredo took his chances well, both more impressive than Dzeko in my mind.
90 min +1: Blackburn fans are in fine voice, and when Connor Mahoney gets the ball on the right hand side, he drives down the wing, past Kolarov and hits it hard and low into the box. It's a corner, which Marshall takes short to Mahoney, who crosses in - but it's cleared easily and Navas breaks for City. Blackburn regroup to clear.
89 min: Blackburn bring on 16-year-old Connor Mahoney, who has only recently joined from Accrington Stanley. Big moment for the young man, from League Two to the Etihad in the space of a month.
88 min: A free kick in an ideal position just outside the Blackburn area on the left hand side. James Milner winds up a shot and curls it just past the right hand post, with Eastwood nowhere near it. That would have been a good way for City to score the 100th of their season.
86 min: Blackburn have ten men behind the ball at all times now - a bit late for damage limitation I'd have thought, but it seems to be doing the trick, with City barely even trying to move within ten yards of their box.
When Blackburn do get the ball they venture forward hesitantly, Williamson and Cairney exchanging passes midway into the City half, before attempting a forward pass which is cut out with ease.
84 min: City are just keeping the ball much to the delight of their fans who are having some fun now. Thoughts turning to the quadruple perhaps?
81 min: Kolarov has a free kick from 30 yards out, he hits it high to the relief of Simon Eastwood.
When Man. City won the Premier League, their owners certainly had an Abu Dhabi do... I’m so sorry...
And so you should Tony Cowards, so you should be.
GOAL! Manchester City 5-0 Blackburn Rovers (Dzeko, 79)
79 min: And no sooner have I typed that then City nick the ball, Agüero races through the middle, knocks the ball out to Navas on the right, who whips it in low and with pace to Dzeko on the right hand side of the six yard box, he side foots it in at the near post. Lovely finish. City's 99th goal of the season.
79 min: Huws has moved into the middle, with Kolarov going to left back, and Clichy moving to the right. That change seems to have disjointed City, and Blackburn are able to keep the ball for a while in the City half - but it's like an older brother holding their sibling at bay with the palm of their hand, they can only get so close before any hint of danger is snuffed out by City.
76 min: It's going to be difficult for Blackburn to keep this at four, but their heads haven't dropped yet, they enjoy some possession in midfield, work it to Spurr down by the left hand corner flag, and his cross rebounds off Micah Richards for a throw.
Richards is immediately withdrawn and replaced by young Wales U21 international Emyr Huws.
GOAL! Manchester City 4-0 Blackburn Rovers (Agüero, 73)
73 min: It's his second touch of the ball.
Clichy crosses from the left, Dzeko takes control in the box and turns to pass it to Agüero who takes one his first touch of the match, turns and fires it low into the right hand corner of the goal. That's some return from injury.
The return of Agüero!
72 min: Having fallen two goals behind Negredo in the goalscoring charts at City tonight, Sergio Agüero makes his return from injury, coming off the bench for Negredo.
Not what you want to see if you're three goals behind at the Etihad.
Apologies to James Milner
69 min: Marshall crosses from the left to Lowe, who opts to knock it back into the area from the right of the box towards King, and Nastasic puts it behind for a corner.
Marshall takes the corner which lands on Kilgallon's head, but the header is cleared by Richards.
And Emil Cohen helpfully writes to say
the shot in the 59th minute that was blasted over from navas' cut back was actually from Kolarov, not Milner. I know Jimmy gets a lot of stick, and don't want him to get criticized for actions that were not his.
GOAL! Manchester City 3-0 Blackburn Rovers (Dzeko, 67)
67 min: Navas puts the ball into the box from the right hand side, Dzeko latches onto it and despite the close attention of Hanley he fires it high into the net past Eastwood. Lovely finish when it looked like Blackburn had successfully closed down the space.
66 min: Lowe hits a great shot from 25 yards out, it takes a touch of Joleon Lescott and goes just wide with Pantilimon stranded. But the referee misses the touch and it's a Manchester City free-kick.
64 min: Another chance for Blackburn. Nastasic messes up at the back and allows King to run through on Pantilimon, he fires the ball low down to the right hand side, but the keeper gets a good hand on to it.
Shortly after Kolarov is booked for a poor lunge at Williamson.
63 min: Good chance for Blackburn, they enjoy some good possession then work the ball out to the Marshall on the left hand side. He puts in a good cross and King has escaped his marker, unfortunately it bounces off his shoulder and out of play, when he really should have done better.
63 min: James Milner is punished for a late lunge at Tom Cairney in the middle of the pitch, yellow card.
61 min: Agüero is warming up. Exciting times at the Etihad.
60 min: Off comes DJ Campbell, on comes Joshua King. A former United player apparently, so bound to be popular in these parts.
59 min: City don't sem too interested in adding to their total, happy to stand off Blackburn as they attack. When it inevitably breaks down James Milner plays the ball from the middle out to Navas on the wing, he sprints forward and plays the ball back to Milner on the edge of the area, from where he blasts it over.
57 min: Giles Opie says simply
Not quite yet, and Blackburn even win a corner, but unfortunately it goes straight into the arms of Costel Pantilimon.
Fear not City fans
56 min: Navas seems to be moving freely now, as down the other side Kolarov wins a corner off Adam Henley. Navas takes it but Hanley heads clear.
54 min: Blackburn seem to be opting for the sit back approach, the only person pressing the ball is DJ Campbell but it's to no avail, as City stroke the ball around amongst themselves, before Kolarov whips a ball out to the right hand side where Navas is perched on the wing. Navas seems to turn his ankle as he traps the ball, and is now limping about. That would be a big blow.
Meanwhile Mark Judd asks:
Did Negredo run around shouting Yaba-Daba-Do when he scored? I hope so.
Sadly not. Modern footballers are so dull.
52 min: And all of sudden it's City fans who are coming over loud and clear over the TV. It's a difficult situation for Blackburn - press and they'll leave themselves open to a real thumping, but sit back and it's surely inevitable that Man City will increase their tally.
50 min: And that presumably is game over. City's back four knock it between themselves, and Blackburn opt not to close the ball down. Eventually it's cut out, and Williamson plays the ball forward to Cairney who is taken down by Clichy, a free-kick in the middle of the park - taken short by Blackburn who lose the ball to Navas.
GOAL! Manchester City 2-0 Blackburn Rovers (Negredo, 47)
47 min: Kolarov plays a lovely ball from just inside the Blackburn half on the left into Negredo, who takes a lovely touch into the box and dinks it over Eastwood. Too easy. But a lovely finish.
And we're off
46: Kolarov takes up a position in front of Clichy, Milner comes inside, while Eastwood stands between the Blackburn posts. Micah Richards puts a deep, high cross into the box and Eastwood gets an early touch of the ball. Comfortable for the keeper, who proceeds to hoof it forward to nobody in particular.
Breaking injury news!
Paul Robinson is being replaced at half time, he's got a little knock apparently.
Simon Eastwood is coming on to replace him - hopefully he won't be hoofing the ball every time he touches it.
For Manchester City Fernandinho is coming off, replaced by Aleksandar Kolarov
Kay makes this very good point:
Re: Paul Ruffley (at halftime)
"I know how Fred Flintstone drives a car, not sure how he runs though."
Erm, I'm not sure you DO know how we drives the car, Paul...since Fred runs in order to get the car to move, they're one in the same.
And I think we can all agree that Negredo is not running round the pitch in a little car, can't we? Or have I missed something.
Apologies, the GOAL header apparently wasn't showing up.
If you refresh the page manually it should be there now.
I'll leave you to ponder this from Paul Ruffley during the interval
Did I just hear the commentator say Negredo runs like Fred Flintstone? I know how Fred Flintstone drives a car, not sure how he runs though. Like Negredo I suppose.
How does Fred Flintstone run?
Half time! Manchester City 1-0 Blackburn Rovers
So cruel for Blackburn, City have pressed without really threatening,while Tom Cairney wasted a couple of opportunities to give Blackburn a chance for a goal. But there it is, Manchester City have a lead at half time.
Goal! Manchester City 1-0 Blackburn Rovers (Negredo, 45+1)
46 min: Navas slips the ball to Fernandinho down the right hand side, he curls the ball into the far post where Negredo powers past Adam Henley to nod the ball past Paul Robinson. So, so close from Blackburn, but it will be hard to come back from that.
44 min: They don't the corner is cleared easily. But Navas has the ball down the left, about 30 yards out. He curls it in, Robinson comes, then retreats, the ball bounces, but there's no City player there to nod the ball home. A let off for the Blackburn keeper.
43 min: Some nice passing in the Blackburn midfield, but Marshall sells Cairney short and City break quickly. Negredo charges into the box and wins a corner. They won't will they?
42 min: It would be no small achievement if Blackburn can take it into half time goalless. It's just a shame they don't have Jordan Rhodes on the bench to press for a winner in the second. He's injured apparently.
40 min: Not alot happening, the ball is bogged down in the centre of midfield, neither side pressing very hard for a late first-half goal.
Jez Smith emails with regard's Nicholas's 12th-minute querying of my identity.
Aren't we all just characters in someone else's screenplay?
So I'm in Office Space then ...
38 min: City continue to press ot no avail, while Blackburn lack the attacking focal point to really threaten.
It's a bit dull isn't it?
I'm not sure if Paul Ruffley is referring to the match, or my MBM ...
35 min: Tom Cairney is at the centre of all that is good for Blackburn, he slips Taylor in down the right hand side, and he curls in a wicked cross, but there's no one there to meet it.
At the other end, Jesus Navas bombs forward down the right, sprinting past the Blackburn defenders, he curls it low across the face off the goal, but it's just too far in front of both Negredo and Fernandinho who slide in but can't reach the ball. Fantastic cross.
34 min: A free kick on the left hand side following a foul by Adam Henley on Jesus Navas. Fernadinho curls it in on to Dzeko's head, but the striker is unable to make a good connection and Blackburn clear. It's all been a bit pedestrian from City thus far.
32 min: Lescott is dominating DJ Campbell, and twice in quick succession he wins the ball high in his own half to start a City attack, only for his team-mates to spurn the opportunity to break with men over.
30 min: Jesus Navas had the ball down the right hand side, he tricks his way into the box past two defenders but Tommy Spurr has the ball and knocks it out for a corner - from which Nastasic has his foot high in Williamson's face - free kick Blackburn. Hoof, Mr Robinson?
28 min: Another corner for Blackburn after Pantilimon punches it out. Tom Cairney swings it into the back post, but it's looped out of play. What a waste. Blackburn cannot afford to spurn opportunities like that.
27 min: A hat-trick of misses from Dzeko, Navas puts the free kick into the box, and Dzeko takes a swing at it, from about 15 yards. It sails well over the bar.
26 min: Jesus Navas dribbles down the left, before slipping it back to Javi Garcia, he takes a pop from 25 yards out, it bobbles in front of Robinson and he's just about able to knock the ball out of his area.
From that Fernandinho races down the right, he's taken down from behind by DJ Campbell, a free kick and a yellow card for the striker.
24 min: City are fired into life, a ball comes in from the left from Milner, Richards looks like he might get on the end of it, but instead gets a boot in the chest courtesy of Lee Williamson. Richards goes down holding his face, the ref wisely plays on.
22 min: Cairney wastes a golden opportunity, Blackburn are three on two with Manchester City on the edge of their area, but Cairney is unable to slip it through to either of his team-mates. He is however taken down on the edge of the area for a free kick. Ben Marshall takes it and curls it straight into Pantilimon's arms.
19 min: Paul Robinson is in goal for Blackburn, and his natural inclination seems to be to hoof the ball long at every opportunity, however DJ Campbell is not known for his heading ability, and City reclaim possession every time. Blackburn look at their best passing it along the ground, perhaps someone should tell their goalkeeper?
17 min: The corner however comes to nothing and City take control of the ball again, working their neat triangles up the pitch.
Mark Judd has a gloomy prediction.
As Dzeko hasn’t scored in the first 10 minutes followed by a deluge of goals, as predicted by Art Durbano (8.03pm), does it mean that this game is now destined for pens after 2 hours dull football?
I hope not Mark, I hope not.
16 min: City certainly aren't overwhelming Blackburn here, and Low and Cairney combine well outside the City box, they try to slip in Campbell but it goes out for a corner.
14 min: And so as we edged past the 10 minute mark, so Art's prediction from earlier (see 20:03) proves incorrect.
Dzeko didn't score inside of 10 minutes despite two good chances??? Oh. I bet it's raining.
It is indeed wet oop north.
12 min: City are now camping out in the Blackburn half, knocking the ball from side to side across the pitch, but when a cross does eventually come in from the left, it sails out on the right hand side, Jesus Navas helpless to stop it.
Uninterested in the ongoing action, Nicholas has an existential question for me:
Who are you? Where did you come from?
Let me think on that, Nicholas.
10 min: Fernandinho knocks the ball over the top of the Blackburn defence to Negredo, who lays the ball off on the edge of the area to his strike partner Dzeko, who fires over the bar. Again, the Blackburn defence are much to far off the City strikers, they'll be punished if they continue like this.
Meanwhile, at the other end, Nastasic knocks the ball back to Costel Pantilimon who dallies on the ball and is very nearly caught by DJ Campbell. Now that would have been quite something.
8 min: Not alot going on, City are passing without much penetration and whenever Blackburn get the ball they're trying to get forward quickly down the wings and slip balls through to DJ Campbell - to no avail thus far.
Daneil Stauss isn't so surprised by the revelation that MBMs aren't done from the ground:
I always pictured a sort of MBM mission control room, featuring high-end office chairs with ergonomic armrests adjusted just so, fully customizable climate controls, banks of 80" HD televisions broadcasting the latest updates from the 2.Bundesliga, and retired League Two journeymen midfielders poised to respond to the urgent demands of dedicated MBM writers requests for microwaved foodstuffs and instant hot cocoa with the marsmallows plucked out.
We have the chairs Daniel, but alas they're so complicated nobody knows how to adjust them, so they're generally set up for somebody much taller/shorter than the person sitting in them
5 min: Blackburn enjoy a little possession in the City half, working the ball from Chris Taylor on the right to Ben Marshall on the left, but Micah Richards is too strong for him, and it's a City throw.
3 min: Manchester City play some keep ball in their own half, Nastasic to Lescott, to Richards, to Lescott, to Fernandinho, then back to Nastasic... Eventually they work it forward and Milner crosses from the left into the box, where Dzeko gets under the ball and heads over from about 10 yards. Poor marking by Blackburn, ominous.
And we're off
1 min: And Blackburn start as they mean to go on, they hoof the ball direct from the kick off to the far left corner. City thrown in.
Blackburn Rovers to kick-off...
In other news, the Easter Bunny isn't real
It appears I'm crushing dreams tonight. Daniel Farthing wails:
Another sliver of magic has evaporated tonight… not with the FA Cup this time but with the Guardian Minute-By-Minutes… with all this talk of ‘tuning in’ and ‘Corrie being over’ I suspect you are not as I have always imagined huddled over a key-board in a packed, blustery, cold, wet stadium, being jostled and harangued by fevered fans… but are actually on yer comfy cushions, feet up, cosy & lonely, watching the game on the box… with yer mum no doubt bringing you tea and biscuits. I’m telling Jimbo."
No tea and biscuits, and rather more office based than comfy sofa, but it's true, I may not be in Manchester. Can you ever forgive us for this horrible deception, Daniel?
It's Dixon not Southgate - but Keane and Chiles are present and correct.
Meanwhile, Art Durbano writes from a land where this match is only available on Spanish language television. I'm guessing America.
You got a captive audience. Dzeko will score inside the first 10 minutes. Apres that, le deluge."
It seems like Art prefers French to Spanish then.
Corrie is over
I repeat Coronation Street is over, hold on to your hats, here comes Chiles...
In case anyone was wondering - and I certainly was while erroneously tuning into BT Sport to watch the build-up - the game is on ITV, and the reason for the rather odd 8.10pm kickoff is so they can squeeze in both Emmerdale and Coronation Street prior to the match. Who said the magic was dead? So in the absence of Chiles, Keane and Southgate to get us hyped up for the match, feel free to send over some emails.
Man City: Pantilimon, Richards, Nastasic, Lescott, Clichy, Navas, Garcia, Milner, Fernandinho, Dzeko, Negredo. Subs: Hart, Zabaleta, Kolarov, Aguero, Demichelis, Huws, Lopes.
Blackburn: Robinson, Henley, Hanley, Kilgallon, Spurr, Cairney, Lowe, Williamson, Taylor, Marshall, Campbell. Subs: Gestede, King, Dunn, Eastwood, Olsson, Rochina, Mahoney.
In truth, this replay is an extra game that both managers could do without - Manuel Pellegrini's quadruple-chasers were looking decidedly leggy against Newcastle and Blackburn still have an outside chance of automatic promotion. So no surprise to see both managers tinker with their starting line-ups - with Jordan Rhodes not being given the opportunity to impress any January suitors on the big stage - neither he nor Scott Dann make the match-day squad- while City rest everyone that started at Newcastle except Álvaro Negredo, Fernandinho and Edin Dzeko. Sergio Agüero returns from injury on the bench.
The FA Cup third round could do with a little bit of magic. Sheffield United may have dumped out Villa and Kidderminster were the success story on Tuesday night – but it says something that the 1-1 draw 11 days ago between these two still seems like a high point. Can Blackburn go one step further this time? Given the spankings City have handed out to all and sundry at the Etihad (averaging 3.93 goals per game at home) I'm going to stick my neck out and say no. Magic - even the magic of the FA Cup - isn't all it's cracked up to be, as anyone who saw David Blaine vomiting in the bath of a distinctly unimpressed Woody Allen on 'Real or Magic' over the New Year can testify (around the three minute mark if you can stomach it).