Tag Archives: Paul Scholes

Premier League ‘Bosman XI’ – Team Of Stars Out Of Contract In The Next Summer

Lampard-Bosman-XI

As we get close to the new year and the January transfer window, we make a team with the Premier League players who will be out of contract at the end of the season and could leave for free.

From the start of the new year, all these players can start negotiating with other clubs for a better contract and can join them for nothing in the summer. This year the likes of Michael Owen, Emile Heskey and Paul Scharner found new clubs, while Owen Hargreaves, Craig Gordon and Harry Kewell are left waiting for a phone call.

So come next summer which players could be moving on for free from the Premier League? Here is our Premier League ‘Bosman XI’..

Premier League Bosman XI

Subs:- Brad Friedel (Tottenham), Kolo Toure (Man City), William Gallas (Tottenham), Maynor Figueroa (Wigan), Florent Malouda (Chelsea), Mladen Petric (Fulham), Franco di Santo (Wiagn).

Note:- The likes of Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs and Jamie Carragher are also in their final year of their respective deals but have been excluded from the team because it is too hard to see them playing for anybody else.

Revealed – Manchester United Have The Best Youth Academy In England

danny-tom

According to research by Sporting Intelligence, Manchester United have the best youth academy having produce more first-team players for club in Europe’s top 5 leagues than any other team in England.

Sir Alex Ferguson’s side are ranked fifth in the world behind the likes of Barcelona, Olympique Lyonnais, Real Madrid and Stade Rennais. Twenty of the twenty-four players who have graduated from the Old Trafford academy have gone on to play in the Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga, Ligue 1 or the Serie A.

Nine of the twenty-four players produced are still at United ( including Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Darren Fletcher, Tom Cleverley and Danny Welbeck), and the remaining 15 playing elsewhere include the likes of Phil Neville (Everton), Kieran Richardson (Fulham), Phil Bardsley (Sunderland), Ron-Robert Zieler (Hannover 96), Paul Pogba (Juventus) and Ryan Shawcross (Stoke City).

Elsewhere in the Premier League, Arsenal came second behind United with 20 players, Aston Villa third with 15, Tottenham and West Ham joint fourth with 13 primary products. Reigning Premier League champions Manchester City are in seventh with 12 home grown players, while Chelsea are eight with total 12 players and Liverpool are tenth with a total of 10 primary products.

Outside the Premier League, Barcelona are the undisputed kings of producing players – with a massive 38 players produced by the famous La Masia academy. And it’s not only the number of production that impresses, its the unbelievably high talent level too. The likes of Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta, Xavi, Sergio Busquets, Pedro, Victor Valdes, Carles Puyol, Jordi Alba, Cesc Fabregas and Gerard Pique are all home-grown players.

Ligue 1 club Olympique Lyonnias lie second behind Barcelona with 29 primary products, while Real Madrid have 27 home grown players. Another French club, Stade Rennais, are above Manchester United with 21 primary prodcuts. Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich are sixth with a total of 23 players followed by Sochaux, Real Sociedad, Atalanta and Atletico Madrid.

Top 10 from the Premier League

Manchester United – 24 total academy products
Arsenal – 20 academy products
Aston Villa – 15 academy products
Tottenham Hotspur – 15 academy products
West Ham United – 13 academy products
Newcastle United – 13 academy products
Manchester City – 12 academy products
Southampton – 12 academy products
Chelsea – 12 academy products
Liverpool – 10 academy products

Complete list..

Top 10 from Europe

Barcelona (La Liga) – 38 academy products
Olympique Lyonnais (Ligue 1) – 31 academy products
Real Madrid (La Liga) – 29 academy products
Stade Rennais (Ligue 1) – 24 academy products
Manchester United (Premier League) – 24 academy products
Bayern Munich (Bundesliga) – 23 academy products
Sochaux (Ligue 1) – 22 academy products
Real Sociedad (La Liga) – 21 academy products
Atalanta (Serie A) – 21 academy products
Atletico Madrid (La Liga) – 21 academy products

Complete list..

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

The Best Goal Ever?

Whether you are a fan of Marco van Basten, Diego Maradona, Lionel Messi or Wayne Rooney, everyone has their own favourite goal from football’s history.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s stunning, long-range propeller-kick for his fourth goal against England in the midweek was the latest to enter the half of fame. But was it the best goal ever?

Here, IntoTheTopCorner takes a look back at some of football’s greatest goals..

Diego Maradona v England – 1986

Marco van Basten v USSR – 1988

Tony Yeboah v Liverpool – 1995

Roberto Carlos v France – 1997

Roberto Mancini v Parma – 2000

Paolo Di Canio v Wimbledon – 2000

David Beckham v Greece – 2001

Steven Gerrard v West Ham United – 2006

Paul Scholes v Aston Villa – 2006

Ronaldinho v Villarreal – 2007

Lionel Messi v Getafe – 2007

Wayne Rooney v Manchester City – 2011

Zlatan Ibrahimovic v England – 2012

Chelsea v Manchester United Preview

First meets second in the Premier League on Super Sunday as Chelsea host Manchester United in arguably the biggest game of the season so far and one that could have long term consequences on the title race. 

Chelsea currently have a four-point lead in the table and so will remain at the top no matter what happens in London on Sunday. But Sir Alex Ferguson will want his side to deliver some psychological damage on Roberto Di Matteo’s Chelsea, who lost to Shakhtar Donetsk in their midweek defence of the Champions League.

United, who came from two goals down to pick up a 3-2 win over Braga in Europe thanks to the heroics of Javier Hernandez, also visit Stamford Bridge with some reason to be confident. Last season’s Premier League runners-up have won four and drawn one of the last five matches against Chelsea in all competitions. But the Red Devils have also won just one of the last 12 trips to Stamford Bridge in all competitions, while Chelsea have won 10 and lost just one of their last 13 Premier League home games.

TEAM NEWS

Chelsea

The Blues will be without the services of their experience duo – John Terry and Frank Lampard. The Chelsea skipper continues to serve his four-match ban for racially abusing Queens Park Rangers defender Anton Ferdinand, who is the brother of Manchester United’s Rio Ferdinand. While, Lampard sustained a calf injury against Shakhtar Donetsk in the midweek and has been ruled for ‘ a few weeks’. Marko Marin has been training for the past couple of weeks and is expected to be in the squad for Sunday. There are no other absentees meaning Di Matteo is expected to name the same XI that won 4-2 at Tottenham last weekend.

Manchester United

Manchester United will be without their Japanese playermaker Shinji Kagawa for three to four weeks due to the knee injury he picked up in his side’s comeback win over Braga. Chris Smalling and Ashley Young are back training for a week and therefore could make the bench at Stamford Bridge, while United hope Phil Jones will start full training in November. Sir Alex Ferguson has no other fitness concerns, except for the long-term absentee Nemanja Vidic (knee), in his squad and will have to decide what to do with his striker problems after Javier Hernandez’s man-of-the-match performance in the midweek.

HEAD TO HEAD

Played – 163
Chelsea Wins – 44
Draw – 48
Manchester United Wins – 71

HEAD TO HEAD FIXTURES (LAST FIVE)

05-Feb-12 – Premier League – Chelsea 3-3 Manchester United
18-Sep-12 – Premier League – Manchester United 3-1 Chelsea
08-May-12 – Premier League – Manchester United 2-1 Chelsea
12-Apr-12 – Champions League – Manchester United 2-1 Chelsea
06-Apr-12 – Champions League – Chelsea 0-1 Manchester United

FORM GUIDE

Chelsea – LWWWW
The Blues are in superb form this season and are early the favourites to win the title, as they are four points clear at the top of the table winning seven of their eight Premier League matches this season.

23-Oct-12 – Champions League – Shakhtar Donetsk 2-1 Chelsea
20-Oct-12 – Premier League – Tottenham Hotspur 2-4 Chelsea
06-Oct-12 – Premier League – Chelsea 4-1 Norwich City
02-Oct-12 – Champions League – FC Norsdjaelland 0-4 Chelsea
29-Sep-12 – Premier League – Arsenal 1-2 Chelsea

Manchester United – WWWWL
United come into this match on the back of four back-to-back wins in all competitions and are sitting second behind their hosts for Sunday in the Premier League table.

23-Oct-12 – Champions League – Manchester United 3-2 Braga
20-Oct-12 – Premier League – Manchester United 4-2 Stoke City
06-Oct-12 – Premier League – Newcastle United 0-3 Manchester United
02-Oct-12 – Champions League – CFR Cluj 1-2 Manchester United
29-Sep-12 – Premier League – Manchester United 2-3 Tottenham Hotspur

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Juan Mata (Chelsea)
The little Spaniard has been in great form this season and is surely one of the early contenders for the Player of the Year award. It was thought that the big money captures of Oscar and Eden Hazard might stop him from playing in his number 10 role for the club, but it has not. Instead he has got even better and has already scored three and created five goals in eight league matches so far. The United defence will have to be at their very best and disallow him the space he loves to get into, if they are to get a result on Sunday.

Wayne Rooney (Manchester United)
The England international is at his very best since his return from the thigh injury he picked up against Fulham at the start of the season. Many people suggested that the arrival of Robin van Persie will see Rooney being frozen out at United, but it has not been so. The duo have flourished as a strike partnership and the Englishman, who has scored three times in his last two visits to Stamford Bridge, has scored twice and assisted four times in the last three league games. There is no doubt the versatile striker will be United’s main man on Sunday and if the Blues can keep him quiet for the whole game then they have a great chance of getting all three points from the game.

PROBABLE LINEUPS

Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Petr Cech (C); Branislav Ivanovic, Gary Cahill, David Luiz, Ashley Cole; Ramires, John Obi Mikel; Oscar, Eden Hazard, Juan Mata; Fernando Torres.

John Terry misses the match because of his four-match suspension meaning Gary Cahill, who was benched for the midweek Champions League match against Shakhtar Donetsk comes back in the side to partner David Luiz in the heart of the defence. Frank Lampard, who picked up a knock in midweek, is expected to make way for Eden Hazard. Ramires will partner Mikel in the midfield, while Hazard will regain his spot in the side alongside Oscar and Juan Mata. Underperforming Fernando Torres is likely to start as the lone striker up front ahead of Daniel Sturridge.

Manchester United (4-1-2-1-2): David De Gea; Rafael, Rio Ferdinand, Jonny Evans, Patrice Evra; Michael Carrick; Antonio Valencia, Paul Scholes; Wayne Rooney; Robin van Persie, Javier Hernandez.

With Anders Lindegaard still recovering from the thump injury he picked up in training, David De Gea will start in between the sticks for the Red Devils. Rio Ferdinand and Patrice Evra are expected to return to the side after being rested in the midweek. Michael Carrick, who looked very unconventional in defence against Braga, will be moved up the field to play in his natural position on Sunday alongside Antonio Valencia and Paul Scholes in midfield and Wayne Rooney at the top of the diamond. Javier Hernandez, who scored the late equaliser in 3-3 draw at Stamford Bridge last season, could be picked ahead of Danny Welbeck to partner Robin van Persie in attack.

OPTA FACTS

  • 0 – Chelsea have a superb home record against United, as they have never lost to the Red Devils in their last 10 meetings at Stamford Bridge.
  • 1 – Chelsea have gone into the break behind only once in the eight league matches this season.
  • 2 – David Luiz has scored in both of his appearances for Chelsea against United at Stamford Bridge.
  • 4 – Sir Alex Ferguson’s side have only been in front at half-time four times in 12 matches this season, and have gone on to win all four.
  • 4 – Javier Hernandez has scored in four of the seven clashes with Chelsea.
  • 5 – Wayne Rooney has scored five goals in his last six appearances in all competitions against Chelsea.
  • 5 – Robin van Persie has scored five times at Stamford Bridge; the best record of any visiting player.
  • 6 – Fernando Torres has scored six goals in 14 appearances for Chelsea this season, and is just one shy of total from last season.
  • 18 – In their last 30 meeting in all competitions, both the sides have got on the scoresheet on 18 occasions.

REFEREE

Name – Mark Clattenburg
Based – Durham
Age – 37
Games – 6
Yellow Cards – 24
Red Cards – 2

MATCH ODDS

Chelsea 7/5, Draw 9/4, Manchester United 21/10

PREDICTION

Chelsea are four points clear at the top of the table and a win on Sunday will see them going seven points ahead of United. The Red Devils, on the other hand, will put their best foot forward to pull Chelsea back. Goals are written all over this game, in the corresponding fixture last season Chelsea squandered a three-goal lead and were pegged back to 3-3. But both the sides have changed considerably since their last league meeting. Robin van Persie, who is the league’s top goal scorer with six goals, is expected to lead United’s onslaught alongside Wayne Rooney. However, Juan Mata and Eden Hazard are in top form and given the weaknesses in both the defences, we are in store for a treat.

Predicted Score: Chelsea 2-2 Manchester United

Premier League Team Of The Week – Gameweek 6

See who have made our Team of the Week from an exciting sixth weekend in the Premier League. Chelsea, Liverpool and Tottenham have provided two players each, while there is one each from Sunderland, Stoke, Manchester United, Everton and Newcastle.

Simon Mignolet (Sunderland)

The Belgium international played a vital role in ensuring Sunderland registered their first win of the season. Mignolet made series of superb saves to keep Wigan at bay and also added to his clean sheet at Arsenal.

John Terry (Chelsea)

After the week he had, everyone though he won’t be completed focused on the game but he proved everyone wrong. The Chelsea skipper lead his team to victory by marshaling his troops and was rock solid at the back.

Ryan Shawcross (Stoke)

The Stoke skipper was as solid as a rock at the back along with Robert Huth. Shawcross symbolises the hard working and fierce nature of Tony Pulis’ side as he worked tirelessly to limit Swansea’s threat and keep a clean sheet.

Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham Hotspur)

The Belgium international has to be one of the signings of the season. The versatile centre-back who started as a left-back combined with Gareth Bale to score the opening goal within two minutes which helped Spurs beat United at Old Trafford for the first time since 1989.

Juan Mata (Chelsea)

The Spaniard was the best player on the pitch against Arsenal. He troubled the Gunners’ defence in open play and was equally dangerous from set-pieces. His freekick in the second half won the Blues the game. He was the difference between the two sides.

Paul Scholes (Manchester United)

The 37-year-old, who came out of retirement last season, has been one of United’s top player in the midfield this season and against Spurs he was again at his very best. His perfect diagonals and long balls seemed as the only outlet for the Red Devils and he was at the heart of almost everything of the comeback effort.

Nuri Sahin (Liverpool)

The Turkey international scored both the goals in the Capital One Cup win over West Brom during the midweek and was once again at his very best against Norwich on Saturday. The on loan star from Real Madrid scored his first ever league goal for the Reds in his third league appearance and completely bossed the midfield.

Gareth Bale (Tottenham Hotspur)

The Welshman was one of the star performers for the Andre Villas-Boas’ team against United as he was no match for Rio Ferdinand and his defensive colleagues. He ran from the halfway line into the United box before striking a right-foot shot past Anders Lindegaard. He also set up Clint Dempsey’s second half winner.

Luis Suarez (Liverpool)

Suarez was perhaps the best player of the weekend as he repeated his last season’s hat-trick at Carrow Road as he troubled the Canaries. The Uruguayan international had chances to score more goals but was very unselfish at times as he set up Nuri Sahin and was denied a clear cut penalty.

Nikica Jelavic (Everton)

The Croatian international forward has not lived up to the standards he set last season but looked very sharp against Southampton as he scored twice to help Everton ease past the Saints 3-1 at Goodison Park.

Demba Ba (Newcastle United)

Newcastle’s Senegalese striker is one of forwards who has been in some top goal scoring form this season and he proved that by scoring a brace against Reading. His both the goals were worth a mention as the first one was a magnificent volley, while the second one was very controversial.

Liverpool v Manchester United Preview

One of English football’s oldest and fiercest rivalry will be renewed this Sunday as Liverpool and Manchester United go head-to-head at Anfield.

The encounter promises to be an emotionally-charged affair, marking the Reds’ first home game since the recent report into the 1989 Hillsborough tragedy in which 96 Liverpool supporters lost their lives. United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has already confirmed the Red Devils will offer any assistance possible in ensuring the day goes smoothly, calling for mutual respect from both sets of fans.

The lastest fixture between the two sides at Old Trafford saw Liverpool’s Luis Suarez refuse to shake the hand of Manchester United defender Patrice Evra during the pre-match hand-shake following a much-publicised race storm, but reports ahead of Sunday’s game suggest there will be no such incident at Anfield, with the players not expected to cause further controversy on such an emotional occasion. The two teams are also expected to release 96 red ballons before the match as a tribute to those who passed away in the disaster.

TEAM NEWS

Liverpool

Manager Brendan Rodgers will bring back his big names for the visit of Manchester United. Steven Gerrard, Luis Suarez, Glen Johnson, Martin Skrtel, Daniel Agger, Joe Allen and Martin Kelly were rested for the 5-3 Europa League win at Young Boys but will return as they go looking for their first Barclays Premier League victory of the season. Forwards Fabio Borini and Raheem Sterling, substitutes in Switzerland, are likely to start while midfielder Jonjo Shelvey pressed his claims for inclusion with a two-goal second-half cameo.

Manchester United

Winger Ashley Young has been ruled out for two to three weeks with a “bruised cartilage”, Sir Alex Ferguson has confirmed. The 27-year-old missed out on the England squad for the World Cup 2014 qualifying double-header against Moldova and Ukraine this month, and Ferguson now expects to be without the player until October. The United manager has also ruled out Wayne Rooney but could feature next weekend, while Darren Fletcher would play from the start in Wednesday night’s Capital One Cup tie at home to Newcastle United. The Scotland midfielder came on as a substitute in the 1-0 Champions League win over Galatasaray in midweek, his first competitive outing since last November.

HEAD TO HEAD

Played – 185
Liverpool Wins – 62
Draw – 51
Manchester United Wins – 72

HEAD TO HEAD FIXTURES (LAST FIVE)

11-Feb-12 – Premier League – Manchester United 2-1 Liverpool
28-Jan-12 – FA Cup – Liverpool 2-1 Manchester United
15-Oct-12 – Premier League – Liverpool 1-1 Manchester United
06-Mar-11 – Premier League – Liverpool 3-1 Manchester United
09-Jan-11 – FA CUp – Manchester United 1-0 Liverpool

FORM GUIDE

Liverpool – WDLDD
The Reds are yet to register a win in the Premier League this season under new manager Brendan Rodgers and he will be desperate to break that duck against their fierce rivals.

20-Sep-12 – Europa League – Young Boys 3-5 Liverpool
15-Sep-12 – Premier League – Sunderland 1-1 Liverpool
02-Sep-12 – Premier League – Liverpool 0-2 Arsenal
30-Aug-12 – Europa League – Liverpool 1-1 Hearts
26-Aug-12 – Premier League – Liverpool 2-2 Manchester City

Manchester United – WWWWL
United come into this match on the back of four back-to-back wins in all competitions and are sitting second behind Chelsea in the Premier League table.

19-Sep-12 – Champions League – Manchester United 1-0 Galatasaray
15-Sep-12 – Premier League – Manchester United 4-0 Wigan Athletic
02-Sep-12 – Premier League – Southampton 2-3 Manchester United
25-Aug-12 – Premier League – Manchester United 3-2 Fulham
20-Aug-12 – Premier League – Everton 1-0 Manchester United

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Luis Suarez (Liverpool)
The Uruguayan will surely be the one to watch when these two sides meet tomorrow at Anfield. Suarez has dominated all the talk in the last two games between these sides at Anfiedl, but for different reasons. His mesmerizing performance helped Liverpool outclass United in March 2011 while the incidents involving him and Patrice Evra made the headlines after the last league game. With the ability to produce something out of the extraordinary, he will be hoping to do his best to help his team beat their fierce rivals while his battle with Evra will also not go unnoticed.

Robin van Persie (Manchester United)
The 28-year-old striker could not have asked for a much better start to life at Old Trafford. After scoring on his full debut against Fulham, with his very first shot, the ex-Feyenoord man then notched a hat-trick in the very next game against Southampton. Liverpool know all too well about van Persie’s predatory instincts after he scored both goals in the 2-1 win for his former side Arsenal at Anfield last season. Centre-back pairing of Agger and Skrtel will have improve on their showings so far this season if they are going successfully stop Dutchman from scoring.

PROBABLE LINEUPS

Liverpool (4-3-3): Pepe Reina; Glen Johnson, Martin Skrtel, Daniel Agger, Jose Enrique; Steven Gerrard (C), Joe Allen, Jonjo Shelvey; Fanio Borini, Luis Suarez, Raheem Sterling.

The regular first teamers are expected to return after rested against Young Boys. Reina will start in goal, with Johnson, Skrtel and Agger to take back their regular positions. Jose Enrique might get the nod ahead of Martin Kelly in the starting XI. Gerrard and Allen will be back in place Henderson and Suso, while Shelvey is expected to keep his place in the side at the expense of Nuri Sahin, following his two goal second half cameo. Sterling will provide the Reds with natural pace and width on the left, while Suarez and Borini will complete the rest of the front three.

Manchester United (4-4-1-1): David De Gea; Rafael, Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic (C), Patrice Evra; Antonio Valencia, Michael Carrick, Paul Scholes, Nani; Shinji Kagawa; Robin van Persie.

Not many changes are expected to be made to the side that defeated Galatasaray at Old Trafford during the midweek. De Gea, Rafael, Vidic and Evra are all expected to keep their place in the defence, while Ferdinand will come in for Evans. The rest of the side is expected to be the same with Valencia and Nani on the wings and Carrick and Scholes in the centre of the midfield. Kagawa, who has excelled in the role behind striker, will start again behind Van Persie, who will lead the line on his own.

OPTA FACTS

  • 0 – Danny Welbeck has had 0 shots on targets in the Premier League this season, despite 10 attempts. 7 of them came in last week’s win over Wigan.
  • 2 – Nemanja Vidic has been sent off in his last 2 games at Anfield. 3 of his 4 red cards in the Premier League have been against Liverpool.
  • 2 – Liverpool have won just 2 of their 11 Premier League games at Anfield in 2012 (W2 D4 L5).
  • 4 – Robin van Persie scored both the goals in the 2-1 win against Liverpool for Arsenal at Anfield last season and has netted 4 times in his last 5 games against the Reds
  • 12 – Luis Suarez has created more goalscoring chances than anyone in the Premier League (12), but has yet to register an assist.
  • 75 – Liverpool have had 75 shots so far this season – the joint-most in the Premier League – but only 15 of them have been on target.

REFEREE

Name – Mark Halsey
Based – Lancashire
Age – 51
Games – 3
Yellow Cards – 6
Red Cards – 1

MATCH ODDS

Liverpool 7/4, Draw 9/4, Manchester United 13/8

PREDICTION

It has been an emotional week in the North West after the Hillsborough report’s release and the emotional atmosphere might play spoilsport. The two sets of players will have to rise above the occassion to make the game a football spectacle. These derbies are rarely open, free-flowing, end-to-end affairs, so expect a cage game until the first goal is scored. United are in form having won three of their four Premier League games, with summer signing Van Persie scoring four in his two starts. But Liverpool are a hard team to break down at home, especially against Manchester United and their ability to take their chances might decide the outcome of the game.

Predicted Score: Liverpool 1-1 Manchester United

Premier League’s Top 5 Golden Oldies To Watch This Season

With just over ten days to go for the new 2012/13 Premier League season to kick-off, we continue to look forward to it and build up for the new season. Today, we look at the top five Golden Oldies in the Premier League. Five players who have been a vital part of the Premier League for the last few years and continue to impress us even today – with their advancing ages – whenever they play. 

5. BRAD FRIEDEL – TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR (41 YEARS)

For many players, age is just a number but for some keepers it’s not even a number and Brad Friedel is one of those. At the age of 41, the former American international remains Tottenham’s first choice keeper as he looks forward in making some more spectacular saves and helping Spurs qualify for the Champions League next season. There have been rumours of Tottenham signing a new number one this summer, but Friedel has said that he will continue work hard and fight for his place in the first-team.

4. CRAIG BELLAMY – LIVERPOOL (33 YEARS)

Bellamy looked at home during his second spell at Liverpool and was probably the much-needed spark in Liverpool’s disastrous league campaign last season. The 33-year-old Welshman has been a regular performer in the Premier League with the likes of Newcastle, Blackburn, West Ham & Manchester City and was also the Reds top performer in the League Cup last season. Sadly, if the reports are to be belived then Bellamy could be playing his trade in the nPower Championship next season with Cardiff City.

3. FRANK LAMPARD – CHELSEA (34 YEARS)

Lampard is one of the most famous footballers around the world because of his legendary status at Chelsea. The England international has been a mainstay in the Chelsea first-team since his arrival at Stamford Bridge from West Ham in 2001. At the age of 34, Lampard with his brilliant passing abilities and an eye to score spectacular goals, is a huge part of the Chelsea team as they look to win the Premier League title for the first time in two years and also defend their Champions League trophy.

2. PAUL SCHOLES – MANCHESTER UNITED (37 YEARS)

At the start of last season it looked like football had lost one of it’s greatest sons when Scholes decided to hang his boots. Then in January, the Ginger Prince returned and showed the world his true class and proved that age is just a number. The former England international played a vital role last season helping United finish second in the league to Manchester City, just on goal difference. The midfield maestro made 17 appearances for the Red Devils scoring four goals, which made Sir Alex Ferguson offer him a new one-year deal.

1. RYAN GIGGS – MANCHESTER UNITED (38 YEARS)

With over 900 plus appearances, 160 plus goals and 12 league titles to his name, Giggs is by far the most decorated players in the Premier League’s history. At the age of 38, the former Wales international has been an one-club man with Manchester United and is an important part of the Red Devils squad. He looks energetic and tireless whenever he comes on to play and remains a threat to the opposition defence even today. He is a true legend, an inspiration and a role model for everyone in the game.

Top 25 Premier League Signings Of The Season

As we draw near the end of a thrilling season in the Premier League, almost everything is still up for grabs – relegation, UEFA Champions League qualification, and the title itself.

While we wait for those matters to be decided, let’s debate who the best signings of the season have been. Here are Into The Top Corner looks at the top 25 signings of this season. Tell us whether you agree or not in the comments section.

25. Steve Morrison – Millwall to Norwich for £2.5m

Canaries signed him in pre-season after the striker wanted to leave Millwall for a Premier League side. He has been influential for Norwich this season scoring goal at regular intervals with his last of the 8 league goals coming in the late win over West Brom in January.

24. Peter Crouch – Tottenham to Stoke for £10m

Joined Stoke on deadline day and has been Stoke’s top goal scorer with ten league goals from 30 appearances, including the stunning volley against Manchester City in 1-1 draw at the Britannia Stadium.

23. Samir Nasri – Arsenal to Manchester City for £24.2m

Started off his City career on a high, assisting four goals in his first two matches but as the season progressed his form dipped and he was dropped to the bench. But he has been in good form off late since his winner against Chelsea in the 2-1 win at the Etihad.

22. David De Gea – Atletico Madrid to Manchester United for £17.6m

After a lot of scouting he was brought in to succeed Edwin van der Sar, but the young Spaniard took some time to settle and during that time he struggled a lot. But the last minute fingertips save from a Juan Mata freekick at Stamford Bridge was probably the turning in his career at Old Trafford. Since then his stock has risen and he has been one of United’s key performers in the 2nd half of the season.

21. James McLean – Derry City to Sunderland for £350k

The young winger has been one of Sunderland’s signings of the season. Since the arrival of Martin O’Neill, the Irishman’s performance has improved a lot and could well be in Irish squad for the Euro 2012 in Poland and Ukraine.

20. Brad Friedel – Aston Villa to Tottenham Hotspur for Free

The veteran and the highly experienced keeper has been very reliable and solid between the sticks for Spurs this season erasing memories of the error-prone Heurelho Gomes. The former Liverpool man didn’t cost a penny for the London club.

19. Sebastian Larsson – Birmingham City to Sunderland for Free

The Swede was impressive towards the end of last season for the Blues and he has continued that form in this season for the Black Cats. Was inconsistent at the start of the season but since Martin O’Neill taking charge at the Stadium of Light, he has been very effective.

18. Ashley Young – Aston Villa to Manchester United for £15.8m

Has had an inconsistent season mostly affected by injuries but whenever he has played he has given his all. The winger has scored 5 goals this season all worth a watch and Ferguson will feel the Englishman as a player who can offer United a lot more.

17. Pavel Pogrebnyak – Stuttgart to Fulham on Loan

The Russian international who is on loan from Stuttgart has been a hit for the Cottagers since his move in January. Former Spartak Moscow and Zenit striker has scored 6 goals in 8 appearances this season and the London club would be hoping to seal a deal for him which would see him stay permanently.

16. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – Southampton to Arsenal for £12m

The youngster has immense potential in him and has already shown what he can do in his rare appearances for the Arsenal first team. Became the youngest Englishman to score in the Champions League and was also nominated for the PFA Young Player of Year Award.

15. Jose Enrique – Newcastle United to Liverpool for £7m

Has been inconsistent Liverpool’s most consistent performer this season. The Spaniard joined at the start of the season and has given a solid performance in his each and every match. Is one of the best left-backs in the Premier League and for just £7m, not bad at all.

14. Yakubu – Everton to Blackburn Rovers for £1.5m

The Nigerian has been Blackburn’s player of the season and top goal-scorer of the season with 16 league goals which included the famous brace against Manchester United at Old Trafford. If it wasn’t for his goals, Blackburn would have been relegated by Christmas.

13. Gylfi Sigurdsson – TSG Hoffenhiem to Swansea City on Loan

He has been Swansea’s star since arriving in January with some excellent displays. Has notched up seven goals and three assist this season and the Swans would surely be looking to secure him on the permanent basis.

12. Yohan Cabaye – Lille to Newcastle United for £4.4m

The talented French midfielder has been Newcastle’s main man in the midfield and has made a huge impact since joining the Magpies in the summer. The France international has scored four goals and assisted nine in his 32 league appearances.

11. Phil Jones – Blackburn Rovers to Manchester United for £17m

The youngster has shown his immense potential and maturity since his move to Old Trafford. Add to that he has also shown his versatility by playing in various positions and has performed well in each of those positions.

10. Emmanuel Adebayor – Manchester City for Tottenham Hotspur on Loan

Adebayor may only be on loan but he is arguably the reason why the North London is challenging for a Champions League spot this season. The Togo international has 16 goals and 11 assists to his name this season.

9. Nikica Jelavic – Rangers to Everton for £5.5m

Has to be one of the best signings ever made by David Moyes during his 10 years at the club. His hard work ethic has endeared him to the Goodison Park faithful his record of ten goals in eleven starts – including the 2 in the 4-4 draw at Old Trafford – isn’t bad at all.

8. Paul Scholes – Out of Retirement to Manchester United

Not exactly a transfer but since his return United have looked a completely different side. The 37-year-old’s experience in the center of the midfield has been very important to United’s success and challenge for the Premier League title post January.

7. Michael Vorm – FC Utrecht to Swansea City for £1.5m

The Dutch keeper has been one of the reasons for Swansea’s defensive record this season and their brilliant display in their debut Premier League season. If his form continues, he well may travel with the Dutch squad to Poland and Ukraine.

6. Mikel Arteta – Everton to Arsenal for £10.5m

Arteta has been one of those panic buys made by Arsene Wenger which has been successful. The stylish midfielder was brought to replace Fabregas and he got better and better as the season progressed and his winner against Manchester City will be long remembered by all Arsenal fans.

5. Juan Mata – Valencia to Chelsea for £24m

Quality crafty Spaniard has to be Chelsea player of the year this season. He has been in dangerous form whole season scoring 12 goals and setting up 22 goals for the Blues in all competitions. Possibly the one and only bright spot of otherwise up and down Blues Premier League season.

4. Scott Parker – West Ham United to Tottenham Hotspur for £5.5m

Parker’s career has been on the rise since the start of last season and it gets better and better. The guts and guile of the England international has given Harry Redknapp’s stylish and attacking minded team some steel in the midfield. At £5.5m his signing represents incredible value.

3. Papiss Cisse – Freiburg to Newcastle United for £10m

The Senegalese international striker has been in red hot form since his January move to the Sports Direct Arena. He has scored a record breaking 13 goals in just 12 games, including two stunners against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. He is probably one of the reasons why Newcastle United are fighting for a Champions League place.

2. Sergio Aguero – Atletico Madrid to Manchester City for £39.6m

Although City spent a huge amount of money to get the Argentine to Manchester, he has still delivered on that fee and more. Diego Maradona’s son-in-law has scored an impressive amount of 22 league goals this season and also has nine assists to his name.

1. Demba Ba – West Ham United to Newcastle United for Free

The signing of the season!! Ba gave the Magpies the perfect start to season and is probably the reason for Newcastle’s brilliant performance this season. The Senegalese international has 16 goals to his name and best part is that he didn’t anything and that’s why he is our signing of the season.

Manchester City v Manchester United Preview – The Biggest Manchester Derby In History

Premier League games will not get any bigger than this as the two giants of Manchester go head to head at the Etihad, in a game that will go a long way in deciding the title race.

Manchester United slipped up against Everton at Old Trafford after twice taking the lead and are now just three points ahead of the Citizens, who have a far superior goal difference. A win for Roberto Mancini’s side will see them move to the top of the table, while either a draw or a loss will see the Red Devils take a huge step towards retaining their Premier League crown.

The two fierce rivals have already met twice this season, with the last match between them being in the FA Cup at the Etihad, a match that saw United narrowly beat City by a 3-2 scoreline. However, in the last league match between these two giants, Manchester City thumped United by a 6-1 scoreline, a result that will surely give the Citizens some confidence. One thing is for sure though, whatever the result, a lot of goals could be in the offing and the game promises to be a thriller.

Team News

Manchester City

Mario Balotelli returns for Manchester City after serving his three-match suspension for the red he picked against Arsenal. But it’s very unlikely that he will start the game as Mancini is expected to stick with his inform Argentine front pair of Sergio Aguero and former United player Carlos Tevez. Micah Richards is set to fit for the game after missing last week’s 2-0 win over Wolves with a hamstring problem. Boss Roberto Mancini has a big decision to make in his midfield, with the improved form of Samir Nasri of late or the more defensive solidity of two holding players against their rivals United a key decision.

Manchester United

Anderson, Darren Fletcher, Anders Lindegaard and Nemanja Vidic remain long-term absentees, but they have no new injury worries ahead of the match. Phil Jones and Chris Smalling will be hoping to be included in the team at right-back after a not-so-impressive performance by Rafael against Everton and the more defensive-minded stability they can give their team. Sir Alex Ferguson must also decide whether to play Wayne Rooney along with Danny Welbeck up ahead or go with a lone striker in Rooney and play a three-man midfield. Nani, Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young will all be vying for starting berths in wide areas.

Key Battles

Rooney v Kompany

Rooney is chasing the Golden Boot but he will not have a tougher opponent than Kompany. The City defender’s red card at the Etihad in January was a major factor in Sir Alex’s team winning the FA Cup tie 3-2.

Aguero v Ferdinand

Ferdinand has responded well to his manager’s assertion that he had to change his style to survive. But he will have his hands full with Aguero, whose 29 goals this season represent an outstanding return for a debut season in English football.

Yaya Toure v Scholes

Different in size and style but each vital to their team winning the midfield battle. City’s decline this season can be traced back to Toure going to the African Cup of Nations in January, while Scholes is yet to lose a league game since coming out of retirement.

Clichy v Valencia

Valencia was injured for City’s 6-1 win at Old Trafford and Clichy had an excellent match-up against Nani. Valencia does not have Nani’s skill but his energy will stop Clichy advancing down the wing from left-back.

Head to Head

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

Form

Man City – WWWLD
City’s home form this season has been nothing short of excellent, having won 16 and drawn just once in their 17 games at the Etihad stadium, with only Sunderland having taken points off them. 51 goals scored and only 10 conceded at home is the best in the entire division on both counts, as is their points tally by some distance.

Man Utd – DWLWW
At the same time, United’s away form has been similarly impressive this season with statistics showing that they lead the Premier League in the number of away wins (12 out of 17 games), goals conceded (just 13) and points gained (39), while only City have managed the same number of goals scored (36).

Probable Lineups

Odds

Man City – 11/10, Draw – 5/2, Man Utd – 12/5

Prediction

A mouth-watering title-deciding clash is in prospect at the Etihad as the best home record in the league goes up against the best away record.

Whilst, the league won’t be won mathematically on Monday, but a victory for either side will generate huge psychological win over the other. United do have a slight advantage, a draw will keep them three points ahead of their neighbors with just two games left to play.

Both teams have already won over each other this season and while City have the home advantage they have struggled when they are under pressure, meaning United’s greater experience in these situations may prove crucial.

Manchester City 1-1 Manchester United