Tag Archives: Aleksandar Kolarov

Manchester City v Manchester United Preview

City-Utd

The first Manchester derby of the season is here as Manchester City and Manchester United resume their rivalry on Sunday at the Etihad Stadium which could provide vital momentum in the title race.

Roberto Mancini’s City emerged victorious in both the Premier League encounters last season, winning 6-1 at Old Trafford and 1-0 at home before winning the title in the most dramatic style on the final day of the season.

The reigning champions have made a decent start to the defence of their crown and remain unbeaten after 15 games, but it is United who have a three-point advantage at the top of the table ahead of Sunday’s meeting. There have been indications that it is already a two-horse race for the Premier League title, with others rivals – Chelsea, Arsenal, Everton, Tottenham and Liverpool – struggling for consistency.

City’s participation in the Champions League and even Europe came to an end with a 1-0 loss to the Bundesliga champions – Borussia Dortmund in the midweek, while they were held to a 1-1 draw by Everton last weekend after a less than impressive performance. United, on the other, were also beaten 1-0 (at home) by CFR Cluj but had already won the group so Sir Alex Ferguson was able to rotate his squad. The 19-time league champions overcame Reading 4-3 last weekend and have been in superb form going forward all season, but it was yet another match in which they fell behind and this time not once but twice.

Ferguson will surely be demanding greater concentration against a team that has the best defensive record in the league and haven’t lost a single game at home since December 2010. The Scot says it would be one of United’s best-ever results if they can win on Sunday.

TEAM NEWS

Manchester City

City’s influential playmaker David Silva will be given every chance to prove his fitness ahead of the Manchester derby at home. The Spanish international missed the Champions League loss to Dortmund with a hamstring injury but remains in contention and is batting to take part on Sunday. Aleksandar Kolarov has been ruled out with a groin problem and Micah Richards (knee) is still sidelined. Gael Clichy (ankle) and Jack Rodwell (hamstring) both should be available for selection, while James Milner (hamstring) is likely to miss out.

Manchester United

Tom Cleverley is doubtful for Manchester United after limping out in the first half of the game against Cluj and will have a scan on his calf injury. Sir Alex Ferguson has also revealed that Shinji Kagawa and Nemanja Vidic (both) are struggling to be fit in time for the derby and may completely be ready for the Sunderland game. Antonio Valencia (thigh), Nani and Anderson (both hamstring) have been ruled out of the important clash, while the likes of Robin van Persie and Patrice Evra are set to return to the starting XI after being rested in midweek.

HEAD TO HEAD

Played – 164
Manchester City Wins – 46
Draw – 50
Manchester United Wins – 68

HEAD TO HEAD FIXTURES (LAST FIVE)

30-Apr-12 – Premier League – Manchester City 1-0 Manchester United
08-Jan-12 – FA Cup – Manchester City 2-3 Manchester United
23-Oct-11 – Premier League – Manchester United 1-6 Manchester City
07-Aug-12 – Community Shield – Manchester City 2-3 Manchester United
16-Apr-11 – FA Cup – Manchester City 1-0 Manchester United

FORM GUIDE

Manchester City – LDWDD
The Citizens have been unbeaten in the league so far this season and are just three points behind leaders Manchester United in the standings. But they have won just once and drawn thrice in their last five games in all competitions, with the only win coming at Wigan. A win on Sunday will take them above United in the league table on goal difference.

04-Dec-12 – Champions League – Borussia Dortmund 1-0 Manchester City
01-Dec-12 – Premier League – Manchester City 1-1 Everton
28-Nov-12 – Premier League – Wigan Athletic 0-2 Manchester City
25-Nov-12 – Premier League – Chelsea 0-0 Manchester City
21-Nov-12 – Champions League – Manchester City 1-1 Real Madrid

Manchester United – LWWWL
The Red Devils come into this match on the back of three consecutive wins in the Premier League and are sitting three points clear of their opponents at the top of the table. But they haven’t hit top gear and their defensive frailties have already been exposed. A win on Sunday will be massive one and will take them six points clear of City at the top.

05-Dec-12 – Champions League – Manchester United 0-1 CFR Cluj
01-Dec-12 – Premier League – Reading 3-4 Manchester United
28-Nov-12 – Premier League – Manchester United 1-0 West Ham United
24-Nov-12 – Premier League – Manchester United 3-1 Queens Park Rangers
20-Nov-12 – Champions League – Galatasaray 1-0 Manchester United

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Vincent Kompany (Manchester City)
The Belgium international scored the only goal in last season’s 1-0 win over United at the Etihad stadium – which won them the title – and was also as solid as rock at the back. The club captain is an inspirational presence for Roberto Mancini, and his match-up against Robin van Persie will see arguably two of the best players in their respective positions battling in a mouth-watering clash. How he copes with the Dutchman and what he can offer going forward will be the key to the outcome of the game, but one thing is for sure – if Kompany is on form, City are a very hard team to beat.

Wayne Rooney (Manchester United)
All eyes have been on Robin van Persie this season, and – even Javier Hernandez has gone past Wayne Rooney in the goal-scoring charts, but numbers alone do not tell the full influence of the 27-year-old on his side. With the Dutch forward being the target man of the strike force, Rooney will certainly drop deeper when United lose possession, and will try to create chances from further back in the final third. His work rate and distribution are very important in clashes like these, and with two strikes in his last league game at Reading, the England forward may be in line for a hot goal-scoring streak.

PROBABLE LINEUPS

Manchester City (4-2-3-1): Joe Hart; Pablo Zabaleta, Vincent Kompany (C), Matija Nastasic, Gael Clichy; Yaya Toure, Gareth Barry; David Silva, Carlos Tevez, Samir Nasri; Sergio Aguero.

City XI

City manager Roberto Mancini is likely to recall Yaya Toure back to the squad after resting him for the Champions League game against Dortmund, while David Silva may well recover from his hamstring injury in time for the big game. Joe Hart continues in goal as Vincent Kompany and Matija Nastasic will play ahead of him in centre of the defence. Aleksandar Kolarov (groin) has been ruled out, which means Gael Clichy could be rushed back after recovering from his ankle injury, but should he not be ready Joleon Lescott could slot in or Pablo Zabaleta could switch sides win Maicon coming in on the right side. Gareth Barry and Yaya Toure are expected to shield the defence as Silva, Carlos Tevez and Samir Nasri could play in a more advance role. Sergio Aguero is likely to lead the line for the hosts, with both Mario Balotelli and Edin Dzeko coming off the bench at some point during the game.

Manchester United (4-3-3): David De Gea; Rafael, Rio Ferdinand, Jonny Evans, Patrice Evra; Darren Fletcher, Michael Carrick, Paul Scholes; Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie, Ashley Young.

United XI

Sir Alex Ferguson is expected to continue with David De Gea in goal after the keeper made his return to first team action against CFR Cluj in the Champions League. Rafael, Rio Ferdinand, Jonny Evans and Patrice Evra are all expected to be back in defence after being rested during the midweek defeat at home. With Valencia and Nani both out, United are expected to play with the same formation (4-3-3) that won at Reading. Michael Carrick, Darren Fletcher and Paul Scholes will make the three-man midfield with Wayne Rooney and Ashley Young further up the pitch, playing on either side of Robin van Persie. Shinji Kagawa is expected to make the bench, while the inform Javier Hernandez will be an option should the visitors need a goal at some stage of the game.

OPTA FACTS

  • 3 – Man Utd have won 1-0 against City three times in their last six Premier League games at the Etihad.
  • 5 – There have been just five goals scored in the last six league meetings between City and United at the Etihad Stadium and no more than one in any of those games.
  • 10 – Robin van Persie is joint-top scorer in the league, with 10 goals alongside Demba Ba, Michu and Luis Suarez – Man City’s top scorer is Carlos Tevez with seven.
  • 36 – City (15) and United (21) have come from behind to win a combined 36 points from losing positions in the Premier League this season.
  • 21 – Man City and Man Utd have been awarded more penalties than any other side in the Premier League since the start of 2010-11.

REFEREE

Name – Martin Atkinson
Based – Yorkshire
Age – 41
Games – 18
Yellow Cards – 71
Red Cards – 1

MATCH ODDS

Manchester City 13/10, Draw 12/5, Manchester United 21/10

PREDICTION

As both teams have pulled away from the rest at the top of the table, it could turn out to be a very close affair decided by a moment of brilliance or a mistake. City will be looking to attack at home and take full advantage of United’s weaknesses at the back, while the Red Devils will hope to avoid conceding the first goal again but have also shown the determination and character to win games from losing positions. With the winner taking the top spot in the league table, both teams will look to get the 3 points. United have the firepower, but City have a very solid defence, making the hosts slight favourites. Expect United to get something out of this one, maybe a high scoring draw.

Predicted Score: Manchester City 2-2 Manchester United

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Premier League Team Of The Week – Gameweek 7

See who have made our Team of the Week from an exciting seventh weekend in the Premier League. Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United have provided two players each, while there is one each from Manchester City, Reading, Southampton, West Brom and Wigan.

Alex McCarthy (Reading)

The young stopper has made the number one jersey his own in the absence of the injured Adam Federici and he continued to shine during the Royal’s 2-2 draw at Swansea. McCarthy made eight superb saves to deny Swans from taking the lead, but couldn’t prevent the Royals throwing away a two-goal lead.

Branislav Ivanovic (Chelsea)

The Serbian is having one of his best seasons at Stamford Bridge and again on Saturday he was at his very best. He crossed in for Fernando Torres to score Chelsea’s second of the game and then he himself volleyed in towards the end of the game – Chelsea’s fourth – which wrapped up the game for the leaders. The right-back has now scored the same number of league goals as Fernando Torres.

Jose Fonte (Southampton)

Fonte rescued the Saints from defeat at home against Fulham with a last-minute goal which sealed a 2-2 draw at the St Mary’s. The Portuguese had earlier made his mark on the match by scoring Southampton’s opening goal after just four minutes, when he forced home Adam Lallana’s corner.

Jonny Evans (Manchester United) 

The United defence has been criticized a lot this season, but on Sunday they were at their best and kept a clean sheet against Newcastle at St James’ Park. Evans was particularly the star of back four, as he didnt only keep Papiss Cisse (later Shola Ameobi) and Demba Ba quiet for the whole game but also opened the scoring for the Red Devils early in the game with a powerful header from a Robin van Persie corner.

Aleksandar Kolarov (Manchester City) 

The Serbian full-back was City’s main man as they registered a comfortable 3-0 win over Sunderland on Saturday. Kolarov put his team in the lead after just four minutes with a brilliant free-kick. Later on, in the second half he crossed in for Sergio Aguero to score City’s second and then played a role in James Milner’s goal – City’s third – late in the game.

Santi Cazorla (Arsenal)

Arsenal’s summer signing again showed his true class as he pulled the strings in midfield in the Gunners’ 3-1 win over West Ham. The Spaniard troubled the hosts with his passing and capped a commanding display by adding the Gunners’ third goal, curling home a wonderful strike from 25 yards.

Juan Mata (Chelsea)

The Spaniard joins his Chelsea teammate Ivanovic in this team. Mata put in another intelligent display and was undoubtedly the top performer for the Blues in the 4-1 win over Norwich at home. He didn’t get on the score-sheet but he played a role in three out of the four goals they scored and was at the heart of every Chelsea attack.

James Morrison (West Brom)

Morrison is a surprise inclusion in this week’s Team of the Week but the Baggies midfielder played a key role in helping his team win against QPR on Saturday.  He showed some great determination in scoring West Brom’s opener after just five minutes and didn’t fade at all as the game progressed.

Wayne Rooney (Manchester United)

The England and Manchester United striker played at the top of United’s new midfield diamond and was at his best. He didn’t find back of the net but put in a tireless shift and was often the link between the attack and the midfield. He put in one of his best performances of the season and reminded everyone how a good a player he is even if he isn’t scoring goals.

Arouna Kone (Wigan Athletic)

Scoring twice against a disciplined Everton side is not at all an easy thing to do and the Ivorian did that on Saturday. He tormented the Toffees back four for 90 minutes and was denied his first Premier League hat-trick only by some great defending. One of the bargain buys of the season.

Olivier Giroud (Arsenal)

The France international striker makes his debut in our Team of the Week after a fine display at Upton Park, which included a goal – his first in the league – and an assist. He equalised for the Gunners in the first half with an instinctive finish at the near post and then set up Theo Walcott to score Arsenal’s second of the game.

Seven Matches That Won The Title For City

It’s been one rollercoaster season of the Premier League and the fight for title has been the most entertaining in years. Congratulations to Manchester City for winning their first League title in 44 years. Here we look at the seven matches that won the title for City.

1. City 1-0 United, April 30
The game turned out to be the title decider. The win in this Manchester derby gave City control of their own destiny. Skipper Vincent Kompany headed in just before half time and that goal turned out to be the winner. The victory took City at the top of table on goal difference with just two matches left to play.

2. Newcastle 0-2 City, May 6
After the win against United in derby a week before, everyone thought the title race was over. But it wasnt, their lead was a slender one and they faced a tricky away trip to Newcastle. Mancini’s men were made to work hard during the game but in the end two goals by the inspirational Yaya Toure in the last 15 minutes guided them home.

3. City 3-2 QPR, May 13
City just need a win in their final league game at home against a QPR side, who were fighting to stay in the Premier League. It looked like a straight forward task but it wasn’t. Pablo Zabaleta opened the scoring in the first half and gave City the lead, but second-half goals from Djibril Cisse and Jamie Mackie, either side of a stupid Joey Barton red card, seemed to have gifted United the title. However, in unbelievable scenes, substitute Edin Dzeko and Sergio Aguero scored in injury time to win the title.

4. City 2-1 Chelsea, March 21
After a disappointing loss at Swansea which costed them the top spot in the league, City were in danger of losing more ground to United when they faced a rejuvenated Chelsea side at the Etihad Stadium. The Blues from London took the lead in the 2nd half thanks to a Gary Cahill goal. Sergio Aguero scored the equaliser for the Citizens and then Samir Nasri scored a late winner which completed a late comeback for the hosts. The win showed character and also marked the return of a rejuvenated and hungry Carlos Tevez

5. United 1-6 City, October 23
This win didn’t decide the destination of the title but in terms of message it was rightly sent. City went to Old Trafford and completely destroyed their rivals and recorded their biggest derby win for 57 years. Mario Balotelli and Edin Dzeko both bagged a brace each with David Silva and Sergio Aguero also on the scoresheet. The win gave City an early advantage as it took them 5 points clear at the top.

6. City 3-2 Spurs, January 22
After being knocked out of the FA Cup by United, City needed to keep safe distance from their city rivals at the top of the table in the league. The game against Tottenham was always going to be a huge one and it didn’t fail to deliver. After a not-so-entertaining first half, Samir Nasri and Joleon Lescott gave City a two-goal lead before the hour mark but five minutes later Spurs were back in it thanks to goals from Jermain Defoe and Gareth Bale. Defoe had a chance to win the game in dying minutes but he failed and then Mario Balotelli’s injury time penalty kept City three points ahead of United, effectively ending Tottenham’s title challenge.

7. City 3-3 Sunderland, March 31
In the period where City’s title challenge faltered this point against Sunderland at home was a very important one. Sebastian Larsson gave the visitors the lead before Mario Balotelli equalised from the spot. Bendtner and Larsson scored again in the second half and made it 3-1 for the Black Cats. With just five minutes remaining and the hosts staring at their first ever home defeat of the season but the Citizens scored twice in the space of 69 seconds through Mario Balotelli and Aleksandar Kolarov to salvage an unlikely point.