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Saturday, 14 December 2013

Premier League: Manchester City claim 6-3 win over Arsenal at the Etihad

Manchester City powered to a 6-3 win over Arsenal to put themselves within touching distance of the league leaders.
City took the lead in a pulsating content just 14 minutes in and it was little surprise to see Sergio Aguero volleying home.
Theo Walcott restored parity but it was not long before Alvaro Negredo put City back ahead.
Fernandinho extended their lead on 50 minutes before Walcott curled home a wonderful second - but City were not to be denied.

Best of the Match:

  • Man of the match - Fernandinho was highly influential in the middle of the pitch all game, winning the ball back for his side and also opened his City account with two excellent goals.
  • Attempt of the match - Yaya Toure's volley in the first half sailed way over the top but some of the build-up was simply sublime, with Silva and Aguero involved. It would have been very a special goal had it flown in.
  • Moment of the match - City's lead at 3-2 looked to be hanging in the balance as Arsenal swept forward but David Silva's goal after 66 minutes was far too easy from an Arsenal point of view and it effectively killed the game.
  • Goal of the match - Theo Walcott made a fine impression on his return to the starting line-up, scoring twice, and his second strike was a beautiful curler into the top corner.
  • Talking Point - Considering Man City's exceptional home record and attacking style, was it na├»ve of Arsene Wenger's men to go to the Etihad and attempt to go toe-to-toe, rather than be a shade more cautious?
David Silva side-footed home from close range to add the fourth before Fernandinho added his second.
Per Mertesacker headed home a consolation for the visitors deep into injury time but there was still time for a sixth as James Milner was tripped in the box by Wojciech Szczesny to allow Yaya Toure to slide home a penalty to cap a remarkable win.
The win now takes City to within three points of Arsenal, who have certainly had a week to forget with two losses and a draw in the last six days.
City had started brightly but it Jack Wilshere who wasted a great chance to put Arsenal ahead after 11 minutes when he flashed his shot wide.
Soon City were back on top and the opener came on 14 minutes with the ubiquitous Aguero volleying home. The chance came as Martin Demichelis flicked on Silva's corner and Aguero lost Laurent Koscielny before hammering the ball into the top corner from the corner of the six-yard box.
City continued to push and Negredo sent a great chance wide of goal after being played in by a brilliant ball from captain Vincent Kompany.
Toure then flashed a volley over the top of Szczesny's goal as City looked to double their lead - but somewhat against the run of play it was Arsenal who levelled.
Great work from Aaron Ramsey dispossessed Toure, he played in Mesut Ozil down the left, and his pull-back found Walcott - whose first-time effort found the bottom corner with the help of a slight deflection off Demichelis.
Despite Arsenal's goal, City were straight back on the front foot and Negredo again came close as he latched onto a Silva through ball but he could only curl it wide of the post.
But the Spaniard soon found his scoring touch as City went back into the lead just five minutes before the break.
A lovely ball from Toure with the outside of his right foot was taken down impeccably by Pablo Zabaleta and he rolled the ball into the path of Negredo - who slid it home from four yards.
In the aftermath of City's goal further bad news for Arsenal came as Koscielny was stretchered off as he looked to have damaged his knee.
Demichelis then headed over as City went looking for a third, but as they pressed early in the second half they suffered their own injury blow as Aguero looked to have hurt his calf and limped off down the tunnel.
But just as Aguero was disappearing out of sight, City indeed added a third.
Fernandinho latched onto a misplaced pass which Mathieu Flamini could not collect and he drove to the edge of the box before curling the ball home.
Despite conceding the third Arsenal were quickly looking to try and respond, and Olivier Giroud was guilty of a hat-trick of misses in little over five minutes.
But just after the hour and Arsene Wenger got the response he was looking for as Walcott scored again. Ramsey teed it up and he curled home a wonderful effort into the top corner.
But yet more slack defending from Arsenal saw City restore their two-goal lead just moments after the away side had got themselves back into the game.
Jesus Navas fired a cross into the six-yard box where Silva had got ahead of Mertesacker and he clinically side-footed home from close-range.
Fernandinho added his second with just minutes left as he clipped the ball over Szczesny - but there was still time for two more goals.
Mertesacker headed home Arsenal's third, before Toure converted a penalty to make it six after Milner was brought down by Szczesny

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Manchester United's victory over Shakhtar Donetsk could prove a small step in the right direction for more than one reason.
United have been trying to open contract negotiations with Wayne Rooney but so far all talks over a new deal have been shelved.
Rooney's camp are determined to take stock of the growing unrest around Old Trafford before making any decision on arguably the most pivotal contract of his career.
Much has been made of growing interest from other clubs, which is to be expected considering his rejuvenation under David Moyes this season, but United's strong stance on that will not change; Rooney is not for sale.
Delays: Wayne Rooney's representatives have shelved talks with Man Utd over a new contract
United do want to open talks with Rooney's camp as it makes sound business sense to protect an asset they value at around £35million. He has 18 months left on contract, is 28 years old and is regarded as England's best player heading into the World Cup.
With other such players, the price would be expected to drop as the contract runs down but United will remain resolute rather than sell to the likes of Chelsea and Arsenal who remain interested.
Both clubs do not want to waste time as other strikers, albeit some more expensive, are likely to come on the market in the summer if not before.
In turn, Rooney's camp will evaluate United's form, progression and potential to develop in the New Year and may even wait until the World Cup before committing to fresh talks.
Eyeing a move away? Rooney's camp won't begin contract talks with the growing unrest at Old Trafford
Rooney intimated back in October 2010 that he was concerned about United's rate of progress and ability to attract world class players. An intervention from Sir Alex Ferguson and lucrative new deal seemed to appease him but those grumbles of dissatisfaction are proving prophetic.
Robin van Persie has been the one true world class addition since but United have struggled to attract others as Chelsea and Manchester City continue to invest heavily.

Much rests on Moyes's shoulders, and the business sense of chief executive Ed Woodward, to buck that trend starting in January. Qualification for the Champions League knockout stages will help in the laws of attraction but how quickly that squad can be molded into born-again Premier League title contenders will have a bearing on Rooney's decision.


Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Phil Jones scored a second-half winner to ease the pressure on manager David Moyes as Manchester United finished top of Champions League Group A with victory over Shakhtar Donetsk.

United, who came into the game having lost successive home matches for the first time since 2002, struggled to match Shakhtar for large periods.
But they got the decisive goal when Jones volleyed in from a corner.
Earlier, winger Ashley Young should have scored twice but shot wide.
Those misses, in the end, did not prove costly as Moyes's men finished their group campaign with an impressive 14 points and four wins from six matches.
But for most of this match, there was one team who played like the United of old, and it was not the home side.
The three-time champions looked sluggish and lacked invention at times - two characteristics that rarely reared their heads under the stewardship of Sir Alex Ferguson.
But what they do have - which other struggling sides in the Premier League do not - is quality and experience of getting out of difficult situations.
And it was the quality of delivery from substitute Robin van Persie and the finish of England international Jones that helped United avoid the ignominy of three successive home defeats for the first time since 1962.
For 60 minutes, United were chasing Shakhtar, who zipped the ball about brilliantly on the Old Trafford surface
The English champions' best chances, up to the time of the goal, came on the counter and from errors by the Ukrainian side.
Two fell to Young. The former Aston Villa winger first did brilliantly to nick the ball from Darijo Srna before lifting the ball above keeper Andriy Pyatov but wide of the far post.
He then sliced a shot wide with the keeper to beat after Wayne Rooney had played his team-mate in. In between those efforts, Rooney looked like he was about to burst the net, but was stopped from doing so by Olexandr Kucher's outstanding block.
Jones, aside from his agility on the goal, and Ryan Giggs looked relatively cumbersome alongside the sprightly Brazilians of Taison, Alex Teixeira and Douglas Costa, who circled around them.
It was only when 40-year-old Giggs - making his 149th appearance in the competition - was replaced by Tom Cleverley that United looked more competitive in the middle.
Van Persie came on for Young at the same time. Four minutes later, he was involved in the opener.
The Dutchman, who is as effective on set-pieces as he is in front of goal, delivered a wicked in-swinging corner that found its way to Jones, who swung his leg at the ball and smashed a shot past Pyatov.
By this stage, Shakhtar knew that Bayer Leverkusen, a point behind them in third at the start of the evening, were ahead in Marseille and on course to beat them to second place in the group.
Their heads dropped further after the goal and they failed to muster an effort of note in the closing stages, having earlier gone close through Teixeira, whose angled shot went a yard wide, and Yaroslav Rakitskiy, whose deflected effort spun off the post.
Source:  www.bbc.com

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Robin van Persie has handed in a transfer request at Manchester United, says Mark Lawrenson

Van Persie 'hands in transfer request at United'
Mark Lawrenson says Robin van Persie wants to leave Manchester United (Picture: Getty)
Former Liverpool defender Mark Lawrenson has suggested that Robin van Persie has handed in a transfer request at Manchester United.
Lawrenson, who now works as a pundit for Match of the Day, made the claim on an Irish radio station whilst discussing United’s poor recent form.
He then added that he’d been told about Van Persie’s desire to leave Old Trafford – and that the Dutchman had asked for a transfer earlier in the week.

Manchester United v Arsenal - Premier League
Robin van Persie has been linked with Real Madrid (Picture: Getty)
‘There’s all sorts of rumours coming out of the training ground at the minute,’ said Lawrenson.
‘I know one or two of the press boys that cover Manchester United, and they were saying there are whispers that Van Persie might have asked for a transfer the other night.’
The surprise news comes just weeks after David Moyes was forced to deny claims that he had fallen out with Van Persie in training, after they were pictured rowing during a session.
The former Arsenal captain has recently been linked with Real Madrid.

Source: www.metro.co.uk

Newcastle stun Manchester United 1-0 to end Old Trafford hoodoo

Yohan Cabaye: Secured a famous victory for Newcastle at Old Trafford

Manchester United suffered a second home defeat of the week as they were stunned 1-0 by Newcastle United to further damage their Premier League title hopes.

Yohan Cabaye grabbed the crucial goal just after the hour mark as the Magpies claimed their first win at Old Trafford since 1972 to move four points clear of the ninth-placed Red Devils.

Best of the match

Man of the match: It was a real team effort from Newcastle but Cheick Tiote gets the nod after a commanding performance in the heart of midfield.
Moment of the match: Man Utd had just enjoyed their best spell of the match when Newcastle hit them with the crucial goal, Yohan Cabaye coolly finishing off after good work by Moussa Sissoko.
Save of the match: Tim Krul kept Newcastle on level terms at the start of the second half with an excellent save down to his right to keep out Javier Hernandez's well-struck effort.
Talking point: Can Manchester United still win the title? Are Newcastle able to challenge for a Champions League spot?
It was another subdued performance from David Moyes' men after their 1-0 loss to Everton on Wednesday, as Robin van Persie had a goal disallowed for offside and Patrice Evra hit the post.

Tim Krul also made a couple of decent saves but Newcastle were good value for their victory, which leaves Man United 12 points off top spot, having played a game more than Arsenal, and increases the pressure on Moyes.

Seven changes from the midweek defeat by Everton, including the return of Van Persie following a four-match absence with a groin strain, should have had a positive impact.

But the additional mobility compared to Wednesday was lost amid the tentativeness of a team who looked scared to lose in front of a crowd on the brink of a very negative reaction.

Too often invention was spurned in favour of safety, which in turn reinforced the defences of a solid Newcastle outfit, who never looked in danger of coughing up the type of goals they did at Swansea on their last outing.

Player-of-the-month Krul pulled off a decent save from Phil Jones in the early stages but had little else to do in the first-half.

Fabricio Coloccini made an excellent clearing header to prevent Nemanja Vidic getting to Adnan Januzaj's cross, whilst the youngster was robbed in the box brilliantly by Yoan Gouffran.

Javier Hernandez also had a penalty appeals rightly waved away when he dived in the box, but United rarely threatened.

With Cheick Tiote controlling midfield and Loic Remy remaining on the move, United's defence did not look as settled as Newcastle's.

And when Evra was caught out of position, it allowed Remy to slide a brilliant pass through for Mathieu Debuchy, whose thunderous first-time shot was turned away one-handed by David de Gea.

De Gea moments later repelled a close-range Debuchy header to at least ensure United reached the break level.

Moyes appeared to have used the interval wisely, judging by the sense of purpose his side had at the restart.

Krul saved from Hernandez and Januzaj before Evra met a Nani corner with purpose and sent a header bulleting against the post.

Vurnon Anita had no chance to react as the rebound struck him on the hand from barely six inches. As the ball was flashing straight across goal and the diversion helped take it away to safety, United were adamant that they should have had a spot-kick. Instead referee Andre Marriner waved play on, just as he did when Tiote cut down Evra close to the Newcastle goal-line moments later.

Cabaye then fired Newcastle in front on the 61-minute mark. Evra's clearing header bounced back off Moussa Sissoko, allowing the Newcastle man a free run into the area, before cutting back a perfect cross to invite Cabaye's first-time finish, albeit via a slight deflection off Vidic.

Wilfried Zaha was introduced for his Premier League debut and Anderson also came on as Moyes tried to change the game, and United thought they had their equaliser when Van Persie headed in from a free-kick, but the flag was correctly raised for offside.

United continued to push forward but to little effect and when Marriner called time on another sorry day, there were boos from some of the home fans as Alan Pardew rushed on to congratulate his Newcastle players.


Friday, 6 December 2013

Manchester United 0 - 1 Everton - 04 Dec 2013 - Highlights & All Goals

Manchester United Fixtures

Everton scored a late winner to secure the Toffees' first victory at Manchester United in 21 years - and make it a night of misery for their former manager David Moyes.

Costa Rican defender Bryan Oviedo struck four minutes from time to ensure Everton manager Roberto Martinez achieved a result at the first time of asking that avoided Moyes in his 11-year managerial career at Goodison Park.
Moyes was taunted throughout by the visiting supporters unhappy at the manner of his departure and his subsequent summer transfer pursuit of Marouane Fellaini - whom he signed - and Leighton Baines.
Oviedo was standing in for the injured Baines, who Moyes may again try to capture in January.
Play media

Everton defeat 'very disappointing'
Moyes and United were out of luck as both Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck hit the woodwork - but nothing should take away the significance of this victory for Martinez and his players.
Everton followed the Spaniard's instructions to the letter, with captain Phil Jagielka and midfielder James McCarthy outstanding.
Martinez was hailed by his exultant supporters at the final whistle as Everton stay fifth in the Premier League table whereas Moyes heard the derision of United's followers with their team now ninth and 12 points adrift of leaders Arsenal.
The hosts were once again without the injured Robin van Persie, but Fellaini was given a start against the club he left for United in a £27.5m deal on deadline day in September.
Everton, as has been their style this season, opened playing incisive passing football and United keeper David De Gea was forced to turn over an early rising shot from Kevin Mirallas.
United, after a hesitant start, worked their way into the game and keeper Tim Howard twice came to Everton's rescue with good blocks from Rooney and Shinji Kagawa.

A long time coming

  • Everton last won at Old Trafford in the league in August 1992. Peter Beardsley, Robert Warzycha and Mo Johnston scored in a 3-0 win
  • Everton drew four and lost 16 of their 20 visits prior to Wednesday's win
And as pressure mounted on the Everton goal Ryan Giggs glanced a header just wide from Rafael's cross and Rooney was desperately unlucky to see a shot deflected off the post via Jagielka and Sylvain Distin, allowing Howard to clear with his feet.
It was end to end, however, and De Gea blocked from Romelu Lukaku, whose muscular presence was providing difficulties for United captain Nemanja Vidic.
As the hour mark approached, Moyes decided on a double change with Nani and Adnan Januzaj coming on for Rafael and Kagawa.
Martinez introduced Spanish teenager Gerard Deulofeu for Ross Barkley after 68 minutes and he wasted Everton's best chance seconds later. The youngster's pace took him away from United's defence and on to Lukaku's pass but he shot straight at De Gea's legs.
The biggest escape of the night came at the other end almost immediately as Howard first saved brilliantly from Patrice Evra and Welbeck could only hit the bar with a header on the stretch from the rebound.
In keeping with the ebb and flow of such an entertaining game Everton were back with a response of their own and Mirallas saw his free-kick from just outside the area hit the woodwork with De Gea scrambling.
Play media

Martinez praises 'outstanding' Everton
Rooney's frustration at United's failure to unsettle Everton boiled over and he received a yellow card from referee Martin Atkinson for a reckless kick and shove at Jagielka near the touchline. The striker will be suspended for the visit of Newcastle on Saturday as a result of his fifth booking of the season.
Everton's belief never wavered, even in those anxious moments, and their ambition was rewarded with a goal that will write Oviedo's name into Goodison Park lore.
Lukaku's power was once again to the fore as he rolled away from Fellaini, who should have been booked earlier for a reckless high challenge on McCarthy, and when his cross from the right landed at the feet of Oviedo at the far post he drilled low past De Gea.
United did not trouble Everton again and there were scenes of delight after the final whistle as match-winner Oviedo was hoisted high on the shoulders of defender Distin in front of their celebrating fans.
Manchester United manager David Moyes said:
"I am disappointed to lose, that's the way the game goes sometimes. The game was tight we missed some opportunities to score and Everton took their opportunities.
"We've got a long way to go, we'll need to play some great football and win a lot of games in the run in if we're going to be in there around it come the end of the season."
Everton manager Roberto Martinez said:
"I couldn't be prouder. We never felt inferior, we kept doing what we are good at. I have always felt this squad was capable of going anywhere and playing teams eye to eye.
"The second half performance was a lot better. We had real composure in the final third. I thought it showed a real indication of what can be achieved but we have done nothing yet. We need to carry on improving and prove we can perform like that anywhere in the league.
"We have got a fantastic blend of experience and arrogant young players and that excites me."