Tag Archives: Jack Rodwell

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

Premier League’s Twenty Most Expensive Transfers Of The Summer

The summer transfer window has shut down and as expected the Premier League clubs were the most busiest this summer, spending a total of around £480 million. In our today’s Picture Special, we look back at the twenty most expensive transfer deals of the season.

Eden Hazard (LOSC Lille to Chelsea – £35.2m)

Luka Modric (Tottenham Hotspur to Real Madrid – £30m)

Oscar (SC Internacional to Chelsea – £25m

Robin van Persie (Arsenal to Manchester United – £24m)

Joe Allen (Swansea City to Liverpool – £16.7m)

Santi Cazorla (Malaga to Arsneal – £16.7m)

Moussa Dembele (Fulham to Tottenham Hotspur – £16.7m)

Javi Garcia (Benfica to Manchester City – £15.8m)

Alex Song (Arsenal – Barcelona – £15m)

Steven Fletcher (Wolves to Sunderland – £13.3m)

Shinji Kagawa (Borussia Dortmund – Manchester United – £13.2m)

Jack Rodwell (Everton to Manchester City – £13.2m)

Matija Nastasic (Fiorentina to Manchester City – £13m + Stefan Savic)

Gaston Ramirez (Bologna to Southampton – £12m)

Fabio Borini (AS Roman to Liverpool – £11.7m)

Lukas Podolski (FC Koln to Arsenal – £11.4m)

Adam Johnson (Manchester City to Sunderland – £11m)

Jan Vertonghen (Ajax to Tottenham Hotspur – £11m)

Matt Jarvis (Wolves to West Ham United – £10.7m)

Olivier Giroud (Montpellier to Arsenal – £10.7)

Premier League 2012/13 Predictions

The wait is finally over as the new Premier League season kicks-off today and here my predictions for the 2012/13 campaign.

Champions?

Manchester City are the favourites for me to win the title again this season. They broke their duck last season and got the monkey of their back. They now know how to cope with certain situations and how to get through games. Roberto Mancini and City both will have learnt a lot from last season. I know they haven’t sign anybody – except for Jack Rodwell – but they already have a very strong squad which is more than capable of winning the league again.

At the same time, I expect the title race to be very close like last season and may again go down to the very last day. Manchester United have got Robin van Persie and they will surely be right up there. They have also go their skipper – Nemanja Vidic coming back from injury, and he would be like a completely new signing for the club.

Top Four?

The two Manchester clubs will occupy the top two places and it will be either Chelsea, Arsenal or Tottenham for the remaining two places. I will go with Chelsea and Arsenal.

The Blues will be a better team than what they were last season. They have bought some very good young players like Eden Hazard, Marko Marin and Oscar, that are going to attack a lot. With Didier Drogba moving to China, Fernando Torres will have a big season, as he will have to fill the big shoes of the Ivorian. If Torres could get his old Liverpool form back, which made him one of the most dangerous forwards in the world, then the Blues could even challenge for the title.

It’s going to be very tight between Arsenal and Tottenham for the final Champions League spot. I fill Arsenal will just sneak into fourth because of the great football they play. They may have lost Van Persie and might also lose Alex Song, but in Lukas Podolski, Santi Cazorla and Olivier Giroud they have bought in some quality players. As for Tottenham, Andre Villas-Boas is a very talented manager but he needs to get the forward line sorted soon and also find a replacement for Luka Modric.

Bottom Three?

It’s really tough to call who will go down this season. Every year I feel Wigan will be relegated but they somehow stay up. This season again I am going to say Wigan. They have made two good signings in Ivan Ramis and Arouna Kone, but they could lose Victor Moses and should be down there again. Norwich had a very good season last term under Paul Lambert, but with him moving away to a bigger club they are going struggle along with Reading. I really hope the Royals stay up but they are a very attacking side. That will make them entertaining but also vulnerable.

Surprise Package?

With the expected arrival of Gaston Ramirez, it makes Southampton one of the entertaining teams in the Premier League. They have lots of exciting attacking players throughout the side and I can see them doing what Norwich or Swansea did last season. At the same time, I think Mark Hughes’ QPR side will be the overachievers this season. Hughes kept the R’s up on the final day last season and I am expecting a very good campaign from them this year. They have made some very good signings in Park Ji-Sung, Junior Hoilett and Jose Bosingwa. They will be very hard to beat and could even finish in the top half of the table.

Top Scorer?

We will be looking at a lot of the same names again this season. Van Persie and Wayne Rooney will form a deadly combo at United, while Luis Suarez – if he can control himself – will benifit a lot in Brendan Rodgers attack-minded Liverpool side and with Arsenal creating lot of chances Lukas Podolski will also be up there. But in the end Sergio Aguero will win the Golden Boot this season. He had a tremendous first season in England and I expect him to get even better this season. If City do go on to defend their Premier League crown, it will be because of his goals.

Player to Watch?

There are so many exciting players to watch in the Premier League this season. As a United fan I love watching Steven Gerrard play because he is a true inspiration to his team-mates and can single handedly win a game for Liverpool and I hope he stays fit for the whole season.

However, I feel Eden Hazard will be my player to watch this season. His transfer saga went on for months and in the end he revealed on Twitter that he had decided to join Chelsea. He is one of the top talents in world football and was named the Ligue 1 Player of the Year for the second consecutive time last season. He will have a huge role to play for Chelsea this season and will also have to justify his big transfer fees. If he can star as he did for his previous club then the Blues could be in with a shout for the Premier League title.

Premier League 2012/13 Team Preview – Manchester City

Welcome to IntoTheTopCorner’s team-by-team preview to the new Barclays Premier League season. Here we look at Manchester City’s vital stats, their summer transfers and analyse their chances.

Manager: Roberto Mancini.
Captain: Vincent Kompany
Stadium: Etihad Stadium (47,805).
Last season: 1st.
Leading scorer (PL): Sergio Aguero (23).
Odds: Title 5-4. Relegation 1000-1.

In: Jack Rodwell (£13.2m, Everton)

Out: Gai Assulin (Free, Racing), Ahmed Benali (Free, Brescia), Wayne Bridge (Loan, Brighton & Hove), Greg Cunningham (Undisc.,Bristol City), Owen Hargreaves (Released), Andrea Mancini (Free, Valladolid B) Stuart Taylor (Released), Vladimir Weiss (£1.3m, Pescara)

Kits

Key Man – Sergio Aguero
The former Atletico Madrid striker ended last season as the club’s top goal-scorer after securing the Premier League title with the last kick of the season. The Argentine scored the winner against QPR at the Etihad Stadium which won City their first ever league title in 44 years. Aguero had a great first season in England, scoring 30 goals and if he is able to replicate the same form of last season this year, then there is no stopping the reigning Premier League champions from defending their crown.

Opening Fixtures
19-Aug – Southampton (H)
26-Aug – Liverpool (A)
01-Sep – QPR (H)
15-Sep – Stoke (A)
23-Sep – Arsenal (H)
29-Sep – Fulahm (A)

Probable Formation (4-2-3-1): Hart; Richards, Kompany, Lescott, Clichy; Yaya Toure, Barry; David Silva, Tevez, Nasri; Aguero.

Verdit: City’s mega rich owners saw their huge investments pay dividends with a dramatic final day finish which clinched the title. However, with the eyes now set on conquering Europe, a successful defence of their Premier League crown will prove a real test. So far, Jack Rodwell has been the only player on whom they have splashed cash this summer, but it’s more of adding more depth to the squad than improving the first XI. The strikers they have are just too good and are hitting top form at the right time. Carlos Tevez, Mario Balotelli and Sergio Aguero are all capable of playing in the first team of any club in the world, while Edin Dzeko is not at all a bad reserve to have. They have the strongest squad in the league and for me, Mancini’s men are the favourites to win the Premier League again this year.

Prediction: 1st.

Manchester United’s Top Ten Summer Transfer Targets

Manchester United are 8 points clears of their noisy neighbors Manchester City at the top of the table and are closing on their 20th league title with just 6 games remaining this season. But Sir Alex Ferguson will be kidding himself if he says that this United team was not one of his weakest during his 25 years at Old Trafford.

Sir Alex Ferguson will look to strengthen his squad by adding a couple of players during the summer. Here, Into The Top Corner has a look at United’s possible ten summer targets.

1. Christian Eriksen (Ajax)

The Danish international has been very impressive for the Dutch giants this season with 7 goals and 18 assists. He also fits Ferguson’s policy of buying young talent and developing them into superstars. It will be very difficult for Ajax to prevent the teenager from join Manchester United if the right offer is made.

2. Luka Modric (Tottenham)

Manchester United lacked a creative midfielder towards the end of 2011 with Tom Cleverley, Anderson and Darren Fletcher all out with injuries. That was the key for the return of Paul Scholes from retirement and since then United have become stronger and stronger as the season progressed. Luka Modric has been one of the key performers for Spurs this season and he fits the bill for Ferguson’s. Even though Tottenham are riding high in the league it will be very difficult for Redknapp to prevent the Croatian international from securing a dream move to Old Trafford. But United will have to break their transfer record (32.5m for Dimitar Berbatov) to acquire his services.

3. Eden Hazard (Lille)

The Belgium international has been heavily linked to all the major European clubs throughout the season as he is expected to leave the French champions during the summer. Manchester United have been the latest name added to that list as Sir Alex Ferguson personally scouted him during the Ligue 1 match between Lille and Lyon. Like Modric, Hazard is a playmaker and will fit well in United’s style of play but again the transfer fee could be a stumbling block.

4. Nicolas Gaitan (Benfica)

Having joined Benfica last year, Gaitan has settled in well this season and has been their star performer in the league as well as the Champions League. The Argentine is said to be a player Sir Alex Ferguson has scouted extensively and the Benfica man impressed in encounters against United in the Champions League. There were also some rumours in December last year that a deal has been agreed between the two clubs but there has been no concrete proof of it. Gaitan naturally being a winger and United already having the likes of Ashley Young, Antonio Valencia, Nani and Park Ji-Sung in their ranks, the question will be do United need another winger?

5. Mats Hummels (Dortmund)  

With Rio Ferdinand not getting any young and Nemanja Vidic suffering with injuries United need a physically strong, tactically fine, composed and an influential figure at the back and Borussia Dortmund’s Mats Hummels comes in that criteria. The German international has been the heart of Dortmund’s back four and his partnership with Neven Subotic in the center of defence has seen the Bundesliga champions keep 12 clean sheets this season. He is considered one of the best defenders in the Bundesliga and also in Europe.

6. Jordi Alba (Valencia)

I have said earlier in one of my articles that Manchester United should sell Patrice Evra this summer and I stand by it. Evra has been a very good attacking threat this season but defensively he has been poor. His age is catching up on him and thats the reason why he is getting slower day by day. Jordi Alba will be a good replacement or successor for Patrice Evra. The Valencia left-back is also now a part of Vicente Del Bosque’s Spain set-up and at the age of 22, he looks a very good prospect.

7. Iker Muniain (Athletic Bilbao)

Iker Muniain was one of the standout performers against United in Europa League. The youngster is a dynamic, creative midfielder capable of playing on both the wings and in the middle of the park which makes him a valuable asset. Just 19, he already has over 100 domestic appearances to his name and it’s only a matter of time before he breaks into Spain’s national team starting XI.

8. Javi Martinez (Athletic Bilbao)

Sir Alex has been a long-term admirer of Javi Martinez, but his price tag remains a big issue to United. Martinez, 23, can slot in at the defensive midfield as well as in the centre-back position. Spanish midfielder could add some guile and steel to a midfield that could do with strengthening. The youngster has huge potential and ambitions which cannot be fulfilled at Bilbao and could opt for a move to England.

9.  Jack Rodwell (Everton)

The young midfielder has been a long term target of Manchester United and with financial issues at Goodison Park a good offer from Manchester United may well be considered. The England under-21 international has a lot potential in him to be an England international and he knows well, that Old Trafford will be the best place for him. A move to United will also see Rodwell link with his former Under-21 team-mates Phil Jones and Chris Smalling.

10. Chieck Tiote (Newcastle) 

Manchester United never replaced Roy Keane when he left the club in 2005, they brought in Owen Hargreaves for big money but he spent most of his time with physio and so United have always missed an out and out defensive midfielder in key European away games. The manner in which the hard tackling midfielder, Tiote has adapted to the life in the Premier League has impressed the Scot enough to consider making a bid for the Ivorian in the summer.