Monday, 31 October 2011

Halloween Special: City Defeat the Were-Wolves


Manchester City maintained their 5 point lead at the top of the Premiership with their second win over Wolves in a week, despite having to survive the final 16 minutes of the game with ten men after Vincent Kompany was sent off.

After the victory City boss Roberto Mancini spoke of his pride in the mental resolve shown by his team in the latter stages of the game stating that 'With 15 minutes to go, it was very hard, but I am very proud because with 10 men, we were strong.'

'We defended strongly because they didn’t have any more chances to score, and then we scored another goal. This is good. When you have 10 players and you can take the result and score another goal, this shows a very good mentality.'

The win was ensured by a late long range strike from Adam Johnston, who was on the receiving end of some harsh criticism from Mancini after his performance in the midweek game against Wolves despite getting a goal and an assist in the 5-2 win.

Mancini has defended the comments he made about Johnston, stating that his intention was to motivate the 24-year-old and that he believes with the right work ethic he can develop into one of the best widemen in the world.

'He has everything,' said Mancini. 'I don't want him stopping at this level. I want him up a level and then a level more. He has some characteristics that are different from other players and because of this he could become one of the top wingers in the game.'

Friday, 28 October 2011

Wenger: Win Against Chelsea Will Reignite Title Hopes

Arsenal visit Stamford Bridge tomorrow looking to continue their rich vein of form which has seen them record seven wins from their last eight games and moved them within three points of a Champions League qualification place.

The Gunners have recovered well after a poor start the season and manager Arsene Wenger has stated his belief that a win against Chelsea would put them back in contention for the Premier League title.

'First of all a win would of course install us among the top teams in the league, but what is very important is that it would strengthen the belief inside the team and would continue our progress,' said the Arsenal manager.

'I feel we are getting stronger and Chelsea is a big test - a test of strength, of resolve, of commitment, and that is what we expect tomorrow.'

'Of course at the moment we are far from Manchester City - 12 points - so we have to get back to a shorter distance before we can say we will fight for the title,' Wenger said. 'What is important for us is to first get back in a fighting position closer to the top.'

Monday, 24 October 2011

Super Mario Leaves Fergie Fuming [picture]


Roberto Mancini has hailed controversial striker Mario Balotelli as one of the best players in the world following the integral role he played in Manchester City’s 6-1 demolition of Manchester United at Old Trafford yesterday.

The 21-year-old scored the first two goals for City and received a huge ovation for his performance when he was taken off in the 70th minute, just a day after he was forced to flee his home due to a bizarre accident in which his house was set ablaze by fireworks.

After the game Mancini was full of praise for the Italian, comparing him with some of the world’s best players whilst also addressing his growing reputation as one of footballs most eccentric yet very likeable players.

'I don't know what happened about the fireworks,' said Mancini. 'The important thing is Mario and his friend were OK. But as far as the game went, Mario played very well. If you want to talk about Mario the football player, I put him in the first five players in the world.'

'The problem is his age. He is young and maybe sometimes he can make mistakes. But as a player, he is incredible'

'I hope for him, for football in general, we arrive at the day when Mario has changed completely his mind because after this he becomes one of the best three players in the world, like Messi, like Cristiano Ronaldo.'

After scoring the first goal Balotelli was booked for revealing a T-shirt with the words 'Why always me?' written across it, in a reference to the wealth of attention he receives from the media thanks to his off the field antics.

Mancini said: 'I didn't see it but it's Mario. I think he likes to show it to our supporters because he's crazy. Next time it's better he keeps his shirt on.'

'I joke when I say 'crazy', I love him because he's a good guy. I am happy for him because he scored two important goals, because he played well, because he was serious on the pitch,' he said.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Ferguson vs Mancini: Title Challenger Vows to Defeat Rival in Six Pointer Clash

The Manchester City team will line up against United tomorrow afternoon knowing that a win would take them five points clear of their neighbours at the top of the league and provide a bold statement of their title ambitions.

Since their last visit to Old Trafford the gap between the two sides has closed further and the famous ticking clock banner of the Stretford End that taunted City for so long has been taken down following their FA Cup success against Stoke in May.

What tactics Mancini will employ against United is expected to heavily influence the outcome of Sunday’s derby and the City boss has vowed to go toe to toe with Sir Alex Ferguson by fielding an attacking line-up featuring David Silva, Sergio Aguero and Mario Balotelli.

Mancini is yet to record a Premier League victory over United since taking charge in 2009, but he is confident his team have made ground on Sir Alex Ferguson's side and has insisted his team will be targeting a win rather than playing for a draw tomorrow.

Speaking ahead of the game, Mancini said: 'If we leave Manchester United with a draw then that’s good but it’s not our mentality to do that. Manchester City and Manchester United play to win every game. That is what we will try to do.'

Sir Alex is also expected to field an attacking line up tomorrow in a game he has admitted could be one of the turning points of the season. 'There is a lot of winning posts along the way and one of them is Sunday,' Ferguson said. 'It’s a six-pointer.'

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Steve McClaren is Forest Chump


'Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're gonna get.'

When Steve McClaren chose Nottingham Forest as the club he would make his long awaited return English management with, he was no doubt hoping it would be a move that would rebuild his reputation and give a boost to his rollercoaster career.

Henceforth the Yorkshireman must be left with an extremely bitter taste in his mouth when reflecting upon his disastrous 111 day spell in charge at the City Ground.

Unable to sign the players he felt he needed to transform Forest into genuine promotion contenders in the Championship, McClaren handed in his resignation on Sunday stating that the club 'don't share the ambition that I came for.'

Keen to make a clean break from the club McClaren waived any severence fees he may have been owed by the club, but he will find it hard to escape the negative consequences garnered by his failure to succeed at Forest.

McClaren is certain to have realised the importance of getting it right when making his return to management in England and a fresh addition to his lengthy list of managerial mishaps is unlikely to entice many Chairman into taking a gamble on the former England manager.

Speaking about his spell as England manager McClaren stated: ‘You need failures to make you stronger,’ which is a sentiment that will serve him well as he looks to bounceback from his latest setback.