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Manchester City will travel to Spain to take on Villarreal at El Madrigal in the form of their life as they seek to secure Champions League knock-out action. The Group A moment of truth will kick-off at 7:45 p.m. on 2nd November and an explosive match it to be expected as both sides pass the halfway mark of the group stage.
Manchester City humiliated Manchester United in a 6-1 victory as the visitors opened up a five point gap at the top of the Premier League table. Braces from Mario Balotelli and Edin Dzeko as well as strikes from Sergio Aguero and David Silva put Sir Alex Ferguson’s men to the sword while a stunning consolation from Darren Fletcher proved futile. The Manchester City statistics cannot be disputed because after weathering the early storm from their hosts, they tore them to shreds and the scoreline fairly reflects that.
The hosts kicked-off in a much brighter fashion to their big-spending rivals as they dominated possession early on. Ashley Young in particular was proving to be a thorn in Manchester City’s defence but the home side couldn’t unlock their rearguard as Wayne Rooney and Anderson were restricted to long-range efforts.
However in the 22nd minute against the run of play, the visitors grabbed the lead. James Milner collected Sergio Aguero’s incisive pass and the Englishman pulled it back for Balotelli, who passed it precisely into David de Gea’s bottom left corner. Ferguson’s men were jolted by conceding as Roberto Mancini’s men finally got a foothold on proceedings and began to enjoy long spells of possession themselves but there were no significant chances before the end of the first half.
Within a minute of the restart, Manchester United’s day got worse as Jonny Evans hauled Balotelli down on the edge of the box. The Northern Irish defender received a red card since he was last man back and their defence never got to grips with their cross-city rivals since then.
Balotelli doubled City’s lead on the hour mark when he converted Milner’s cross as Patrice Evra’s indiscipline was exposed at the back. Micah Richards and Sergio Aguero combined to complete the same feat down the right flank as the right-back’s back post cross was converted by the Argentine attacker to make it 3-0 to City.
However with nine minutes left, Darren Fletcher produced a stunning 25-yard curling effort that found Joe Hart’s top left corner as hopes of a United comeback materialised. But nothing was going to take this day away from the FA Cup holders as Edin Dzeko kneed in Joleon Lescott’s cross in the 90th minute to make the scoreline 4-1.
The Premier League champions defence disintegrated further in injury time when David Silva was allowed to ghost though their sieve-like defence and slot the ball under the helpless de Gea. There was still time for Dzeko to snatch a sixth as he latched onto Silva’s sublime pass and calmly slotted past the young Spanish ‘keeper once again.
The crushing defeat of Manchester United puts a chasm between the two sides as Man City are now five points clear of them in the race for the Premier League title with a vastly superior goal difference of +26, 12 more than their championship rivals. The size of the win will have a long-term positive psychological effect on Macini’s squad as a powershift looks on the cards in the city of Manchester.
Visit WhoScored.com for more detail match reports and football statistics.
Last week City fans again suffered humiliation at the hands of the British press. This time City were ridiculed over comments made by a frustrated Adam Johnson who as a talent has came into the City side and really opened peoples eyes to show how good he is. Adam is now one of the most highly rated wingers in the Premiership with clubs wishing they had snapped him up before City. Adam is on form since joining last January and has proved easily he is worth an England call up, He was unlucky not to get on the team for the World Cup.
Adam last week in frustration, that he would consider a move away from City if his situation did not improve. The situation he was referring to was not playing in every game.
It is understandable when a young player is on form and has a love for the game he will want to play in every game, Mancini being the manager may have a different out look on it as from the start of the season has clearly said a rotation policy would be in affect.
Adam this week having read his own words has realised just how far the negative City press would go with a moment of frustration and a slip up in an interview. As City again were belittled in the rags that pass for so called news reporting and journalism in Britain.
Adam has come out to put the record straight on what he said and fair dues to him as Mario Balotelli has not cleared up any off what hes supposedly saying to any reporter that will listen to him which in his case is a lot.
Adam had this to say on it, He told the club’s official website,
“I said something in a moment of frustration and things can get blown out of proportion.
“I am happy here. I love playing football more than anything, and I’d love to play in every game.”
Recalling the speculation about his future, Johnson admitted his immediate thoughts were for the fans.
He explained: “The first thing I thought, when you read something like that, is the fans will think I want to get away.
“That hurt, because I care more about what the fans think than what anybody else thinks.
“I think the fans understand that I just want to play.
“When I play I try to give 100 per cent every time, and I think that comes across in the way that I play.”
I can totally understand were Adam is coming from if you are on top of your game and not getting played because of a rotation policy it must be really hard however with a large squad full of talent a sensible rotation policy should work we will find out over the next few games.
On a final note about this I didn’t see Adams interview and comments that he would be a “fool to quit City” and how happy he is at the club as widely reported as the one in the Rag the Scum Sun last week does make you wonder how much lower can so called journalism can go.
Ill be posting about Mario Balotelli and the press next, but I first will have to go and check out a few facts and find out what he has been saying in Italian.
I’ve read a lot of stuff over Emmanuel Adebayor in recent weeks and months, with the striker supposedly interested in a move away from the club, with Italy seemingly his preferred destination.
Over the summer, the Togolese striker was warned by Bobby Mancini to knuckle down and stop trying to engineer a transfer in the same manner as when he was at Arsenal, when he looked to join AC Milan.
But it seems like the striker took no notice of his manager’s instructions when, just a couple of weeks ago he was quoted in the Daily Mail as saying “I am going through a delicate moment in my career and something has to change. I am not annoyed with (Roberto) Mancini and we have an honest rapport, but we can’t go on like this indefinitely. Therefore, if Juve want me…”
The latest reports are that Lazio are now interested in the striker and they could be ready to challenge Juventus for Adebayor’s signature during the January transfer window. And the striker could be given further incentive to leave the blues once new striker Mario Balotelli returns to fitness, but even his future is already being thrown into doubt.
The Italian scored the winner on his debut at Timisoara in the Europa League but has since been sidelined with injury. And now reports are emerging that the striker has refused to rule out a future move to Italy, although he does admit he is happy in Manchester and it would be a huge blow to Mancini and his future plans if he lost both Adebayor and Balotelli, leaving just the dynamic duo of Roque Santa Cruz and Jo as striking back up to Carlos Tevez.
I would hate to see Balotelli leave as he could be the spark we need that will propel us to success but, to be honest, I wouldn’t shed many tears if Adebayor left. Let’s face it, he has been a bit of a problem since joining City. There is little doubt that the striker has talent, but it’s his temperament that often gets in the way of football. Last season, Ade missed seven games through suspension, three following his ‘assault’ on Robin van Persie and the other four after he was sent off against Stoke City.
But, with Balotelli still not due to return from injury and the alleged fall-out between Tevez and Mancini, would it be bad timing if Ade left in January or should the blues cut their losses with him?
Let us know your thoughts
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I’ve heard so much rubbish over the last couple of days, claiming Carlos Tevez clashed with Bobby Mancini during the half-time interval of Sunday’s clash with Newcastle.
I’ve read form many different sources about how Tevez blamed Mancini for the poor first half performance and negative tactics, while another says the pair ‘argued vociferously’ causing players and coaching staff to step in to calm the situation, before Mancini storms off to his office.
Now, I’ve never met Bobby Mancini or Carlos Tevez, but I’m around 99.9% certain that Tevez’s Italian is considerably worse than his English, which is poor at best. Unless of course, he comes from an Italian speaking part of Argentina. I have the same percentage of certainty that Argentinean is not one of Bobby’s particular strong points. Therefore, can you constitute an argument in broken English as an argument at all?
What these stories are lacking, as well as credibility, are hard facts. All these rumours are hearsay that started as one thing and has escalated into something larger. It is the typical sort of tosh that we would expect from the British media. They’ve already jumped on the bandwagon regarding the Nigel de Jong incident and they are continuing to try and slaughter City with this.
In all the reports that I have read, not one fact regarding the ‘argument’ has been mentioned and the only person to say anything is Brian Kidd, who said “There was an awful lot said between the group at half-time, but the lads showed a great response in the second-half. It showed how badly they wanted to win.”
Tevez has played, and continues to play an integral part of City’s revolution and no amount of media crap should take that away from the man. If he has a problem with Mancini or vice versa, they are certainly very good at hiding it. Maybe during half time against Blackpool in two weeks, Bobby should sit the team on the pitch, Phil Brown style so we can all see what’s going on.
As for the British media, try reporting facts rather than fabricating rumours. No wonder you’ve all got a bad name.
The argument over Nigel de Jong’s challenge on Hatem Ben Arfa is still raging and his Newcastle team-mate, Jose Enrique has now called for the City midfielder to be banned ‘for as long as Ben Arfa is injured.’
De Jong came in for widespread criticism following his challenge in the early minutes of Sunday’s game, which ultimately led to the Newcastle man suffering a double broken leg. The referee saw no reason to award a foul and the FA are unlikely to take any action against the Dutchman, but that hasn’t satisfied Enrique’s rage.
“They should ban De Jong until Ben Arfa can play again. De Jong shouldn’t be allowed to play football. His tackle was criminal,” roars Enrique, before saying that, if it was Wayne Rooney that was injured, they would make an example of him.
De Jong has been dropped from the Dutch national side for the upcoming Euro 2012 qualifiers, which has appeased Enrique a little, but the Newcastle man labelled Martin Atkinson as “laughable” in the fact that he didn’t give a free kick for the challenge.
Sorry Jose, you’re the laughable one mate. Personally, I think it’s quite disgusting that a professional footballer should be trying to get a fellow professional banned. It’s bad enough when you see them running around on the pitch waving imaginary cards at the referee, but to go on record like that is shameful to say the least. If de Jong is a criminal, what does that make Enrique?
Meanwhile, de Jong has received some welcome words from compatriot Marc van Bommel, who claims the City man should not change his approach. “It’s very unfortunate that he has broken the leg of an opponent twice in six months,” says the Bayern Munich man. “But I know Nigel as a sweet guy. He doesn’t want to injure anyone but wants to win every match. That is his strength.”
“Thanks to Nigel we reached the final of the World Cup. And now I hear people calling him a criminal. What a nonsense.” Holland received criticism for their performance in the World Cup Final, with de Jong and van Bommel on the receiving end of condemnation.
“I know exactly what Nigel is suffering,” Van Bommel continued. “I have also had to answer for playing hard. Nigel should not change his game, we need him as he is. But maybe he should occasionally go into a tackle slightly differently.”
Van Bommel also happens to be the son in law of the Dutch national coach. Sunday lunch will be a little strained round at the Van Marwijk’s this week I would imagine.
Calamity ref Graham Poll has cast his ‘expert’ eye on Nigel de Jong’s challenge on Hatem Ben Arfa and has delivered his verdict by claiming there is no place in the game for him.
Poll claims that whenever a player suffers a broken leg, we hear that the culprit is ‘not that sort of player’ but many in the style of de Jong have been involved in bad injuries this season but have not been sent off. Is Poll looking to get the City midfielder banned for the challenge?
The idiot then rants on about how players in de Jong’s and Wolves Karl Henry’s mould, deliver their tackles with excessive force and are usually airborne, which makes me wonder if Poll actually watched yesterday’s game. De Jong’s tackle was hard, but it was hardly airborne.
De Jong had every right to go for that ball and he has every right to go in hard. The midfielder clearly won the ball and it is a real shame that the Newcastle man suffered an injury, but that’s what sometimes happens in football. Did Paul Lake complain about a challenge with Tony Cascarino in 1991 which ended his career? No he just said it was one of those things and got on with it.
But Poll is living in a different universe to the rest of us and is trying to link de Jong’s fair tackle with that of Wolves midfielder Henry, in order to make sense of his comments. Henry blatantly took out Jordi Gomez after making no attempt to play the ball and was rightly dismissed and the Wigan man was lucky to come out of it unscathed, but of de Jong’s part, there was no intent or malice attached. Martin Atkinson saw that, ESPN pundits Kevin Keegan and Nicky Butt saw that, but for some reason, Poll’s view is different.
Maybe that’s why he gave up refereeing as his view was entirely different from everyone else’s in the stadium. Let’s not forget, this is the man who booked a player three times at Euro 2008 before sending him off. He is also the same Graham Poll who, in 2006, helped Arsenal to a 3-1 win at Eastlands after giving the Gunners virtually every decision, leading the home support to chant “3-1, to the Graham Poll.”
Meanwhile, Holland boss Bert van Marwijk has also joined the de Jong bandwagon by claiming the challenge was “wild and unnecessary” and is apparently set to speak to the midfielder.
“I don’t think he did it on purpose, but he goes in way too hard in this challenge. That’s a pity, because he doesn’t need tackles like this,” van Marwijk said, speaking on Algemeen Dagblad, which sounds more like a Dutch Soap Opera than a sports program.
“The strange thing is that the referee doesn’t give a card. Apparently there are other standards over there. I have a problem with the way Nigel unnecessarily searches for the limit. I’m going to talk about that with him these days.”
And de Jong has had another blast from Hugo Borst, who is a leading pundit in Holland, who labelled the City man a criminal. “I have devoted many columns about this, but Nigel de Jong is a repeat offender, a criminal.”
I wonder what criminals go to jail for in Holland if de Jong’s tackle makes him one of them?
What do you think? Was de Jong’s challenge fair? Should he be immediately deported to face charges in Holland? Let us know you thoughts.
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Adam Johnson has shrugged off criticism of his form and his hoping to start against his boyhood club Newcastle on Sunday.
The winger returned to the City line up and scored a well taken goal on Thursday night to cancel out Juventus’ tenth minute opener and was a constant threat to the Italians.
And Johnson has revealed he has held talks with City manager Bobby Mancini which have helped keep his City career going strong. “’I’ve had a chat with the manager and it’s between me and him what was said. I want to be playing in every game so hopefully I’ll start against Newcastle on Sunday tomorrow.”
The 23 year old became Mancini’s second January signing as City manager and the Italian has apparently told him he must provide a certain number of assists and goals this season and his goal against Juventus was his first in front of the home supporters.
Johnson’s form has been under the spotlight recently, leading some to believe he’d lost focus after goals in England’s World Cup qualifiers against Bulgaria and Switzerland, but the winger shrugs off the comments. “A lot has been made of it but it hasn’t affected me. I just get on with it, get my head down. It didn’t really faze me to be honest.”
Apart from paying £12,000 to go on a date with Katie Price which would be enough to disturb any sane manager, Mancini was apparently more concerned about other incidents and it has recently emerged that the winger was a target when Mancini stated there needed to be a ‘change of mentality.’
However, former City right back Danny Mills claims Johnson doesn’t have the full backing of Mancini. “Johnson is a fantastic player. He’s the only person in England who is a true winger,” says Mills, before adding “My only worry is he’s not a Mancini type player. I’m not sure Mancini likes him because he will take the odd risk, he will give the ball away and I think he may struggle to get a regular start which would be a massive shame.”
So Danny, if Johnson isn’t a Mancini type of player, why did the Italian sign him in January?
What do you think? Will Johnson be able to keep his feet on the ground? Is Danny Mills just the latest former player to have a dig at the club? Let us know your thoughts.
Roberto Mancini has said he is pleased with City’s progress but admits he needs another six months to mould his team.
The blues sit in fourth place in the Premiership after two straight wins over Wigan and Chelsea and face Juventus in the second round of the Europa League on Thursday. But Mancini says there is a lot of work to do before they can win some silverware.
“I think we can create a special team in six months. We must start winning consistently. That is important,” said the boss as he prepares his team for the home clash with the Italians, who Mancini says he supported as a child. “I was a huge fan for years when I was a child so I have great respect for the club and the players. It will be a special match as it is the first time I am coaching an English team against Juventus.”
Former Juve midfielder Patrick Vieira will be hoping for a game against his former club. The former Arsenal man, who arrived from Juve in January 2009 admits he is frustrated at his lack of opportunities in the first team. “It has been frustrating. Like everyone else I want to play more often and be more involved.”
But Vieira believes City are becoming the team to fear after beating both Chelsea and Liverpool already this season. “That just shows how strong we are. There is still a long way to go but we believe in ourselves. We know how good we are. Now we have to win games week in, week out.”
What do you think? Will Mancini have an accomplished team in six months? Let us know your thoughts.
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With Shay Given not featuring in any of City’s opening eight games of the season, speculation is rife that the Irish keeper will leave the blues in the January transfer window with Newcastle a possible destination.
City boss Roberto Mancini has said that he will not stand in Given’s way should the keeper want to move, but with Toon keeper Steve Harper ruled out for three months, it is possible that Newcastle could make an early move for their former keeper.
It wouldn’t be surprising if they requested special dispensation form the FA to sign a keeper on an emergency basis in the same manner as they only have youngster Tim Krul to call upon.
How can we forget the uproar City caused when they asked the FA if they could sign an emergency keeper when Given and Taylor were both injured towards the end of last season and Joe Hart was on loan? So, in fairness, Newcastle should be allowed to sign Given on loan on such a basis, if they requested it.
Given, who joined the blues in January 2009 after spending 12 years at St James’ Park, lost his place in the starting line up for the visit to Spurs on the opening day of the season and is yet to feature and a loan move back to St James’ Park would probably suit him.
What do you think? Should Newcastle ask to sign Given on an emergency basis?