Category: Manchester City

The Premier League season begins tomorrow, but there will be no Sir Alex Ferguson in sight. Perhaps some journalists, pundits, and fans will be reminded of the late comic, Spike Milligan, who used to end many of his comedy sketches by staring at the camera and asking: “What are we going to do now?”

Winning start | New Manchester United manager David Moyes has already won a trophy, but the real battle is about to begin. (Image | Daily Telegraph)

Winning start | New Manchester United manager David Moyes has already won a trophy, but the real battle is about to begin. (Image | Daily Telegraph)

Fergie may be gone, but the Premier League juggernaut continues, and it appears that the race for the 2013/14 title will be between three clubs: Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United.

United are used to approaching the season under intense scrutiny, but this this time the pressure is different, for other clubs will see the Red Devils as a kingdom without a strong leader.

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Ben Watson's 90th minute header confirmed the biggest headline in football this week (Image | The Sun)

Ben Watson’s 90th minute header confirmed the biggest headline in football this week (Image | The Sun)

Last week may have seen the first significant news of the football off-season, but it certainly wasn’t the last. Following the retirement of the legendary Sir Alex Ferguson, and David Moyes’ arrival at Old Trafford as his successor, there has been plenty more big news in the past seven days.

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When Vincent Kompany was sent off during Manchester City’s 2-0 defeat of Arsenal, television pundits immediately registered their disapproval, with Match of the Day seemingly on a crusade to have the red card rescinded.

WORD | Manchester City defender Vincent Kompany scythes into Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere in a tackle that earned him a red card. (Image | Daily Mail)

Wince-nt’s in bad Kompany | Manchester City defender Vincent Kompany scythes into Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere in a challenge that earned him a red card and sparked a new tackling debate. (Image | Daily Mail)

People may confidently claim “he got the ball”, “it wasn’t even two footed” or “that was a standard challenge in my day”, but they are fundamentally ignoring the rules of the game.

These place tackles into three categories: careless fouls, which carry no penalty, reckless challenges for which a yellow card must be issued, and a tackle that is “dangerous” or involves “excessive force” that should result in a sending off.

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Those fond of a bet or two would have been delighted to know that Manchester City had suffered defeat twice in a row against lowly Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.

Sunderland midfielder Adam Johnson celebrates scoring against his former club. (Image | Daily Mail)

Payback | Sunderland midfielder Adam Johnson celebrates scoring against his former club. (Image | Daily Mail)

It would have been an even more pleasant surprise to anyone brave enough to put money on the Black Cats to make it three 1-0 victories in a row yesterday to find that this was exactly what happened.

Far from playing like Premier League champions, the Citizens were sluggish and the result by no means flattered Martin O’Neill’s side, who had several chances to put the game to bed.

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Are there lessons other clubs can learn from the now clearly premature dismissal of Roberto di Matteo by Chelsea last month? (Image | Getty)

Are there lessons other clubs can learn from the now clearly premature dismissal of Roberto Di Matteo by Chelsea last month? (Image | Getty)

One question in football has never been answered by the owners of the world’s elite football clubs: When is the right time to change your manager?

I’ll start with the obvious ones – probably not, say, within five months of winning you the Champions’ League title you have craved for almost a decade, not the day after claiming your club a league crown but doing so “in the wrong style” (a la Bernt Schuster), and probably not simply because you’ve just bought the club and you’d quite like a more high-profile manager.

The thing is, there doesn’t really seem to be a right time for change.

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Spellbinding | Ajax’s two mesmerising performances against Manchester City have put Dutch football back on the map after a long spell on the sidelines. (Image | Getty)

This week in Europe may have turned into the week of the comeback for the English quartet, but there can be little doubt, if any lingered, that the Premier League’s finest are no longer Europe’s dominant force.

Remember that spell when there were three English clubs in the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League every year between 2008 and 2010?

At this time, footballing knowledge suggested that the continent had been conquered by Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United. Well, can you really see that happening this year?

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Hopefully Sky Sports will appreciate how long this took and won’t try to sue us. Please. (Image | Sky Sports, very graciously)

Deadline day once again produced its usual mix of excitement, hyperbole and confusion yesterday, with a standard assortment of a couple of ‘blockbuster’ moves and many, many loan deals done between Premier League teams and lower-league clubs.

As is our duty, though, we’ve dredged through the rumours, the hopes and the hogwash to bring you the ten most intriguing deals of yesterday’s shopping frenzy…

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Frustrated | Once again Arsenal failed to break down inferior opposition in a pattern drearily reminiscent of previous seasons. (Image | The Guardian)

With one Premier League match played, and football having returned from its slightly shorter than usual summer break, if the season were to abruptly end before tomorrow’s action begins, Fulham would have narrowly lost out on their first ever Premier League title to neighbours Chelsea, while Norwich City and Queens Park Rangers would be heading back to the Championship having failed to find the net in the top flight.

Although, while Cottagers supporters struggle to contain their nosebleeds and Swansea City fans organise an open top bus parade for legendary manager Michael Laudrup, we must remember that there are 37 games remaining (for most sides), and plenty of time for the table to take on a more predictable appearance. However, although it is impossible to assess a side’s ability and probable fortune this early on, it is worth taking a look at what is likely to transpire over the next nine months.

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Kissing goodbye? Robin van Persie has signalled his intent to walk away from Arsenal at the end of next season, opening the way for a likely transfer departure this summer (Image |

You know how sometimes you take a big gamble on something, knowing that if it pays off you’re in a fantastic position? Well, sometimes that gamble falls flat on its face and leaves you facing a catastrophe.

That’s kind of how Arsenal probably feel this afternoon.

Robin van Persie has announced via his official website today that, because he and the club “in many aspects disagree on the way Arsenal FC should move forward”, he no longer has any intention of extending his current contract, which has a year left to run.

Arsenal’s big summer plans, centred around the already-sealed arrival of Lukas Podolski and the almost confirmed signing of Olivier Giroud, have supposedly left them in a far stronger position to attack the Manchester clubs in next season’s Premier League. That, however, all hinged around van Persie.

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Why always him: Joey Barton‘s behaviour against Manchester City was undoubtedly unacceptable, however, other players haven’t been so heavily punished for similar examples of ill-discipline. (Image | Herald Sun)

Queens Park Rangers midfielder Joey Barton was yesterday (23 May) handed a 12 match ban for violent conduct during the clash with Manchester City on the final day of the season.

Barton was shown the red card after elbowing Carlos Tevez in the face, and then kicking out at Sergio Aguero and clashing with Vincent Kompany after he’d already been ordered to leave the pitch.

The Football Association (FA) chose to extend the original four match suspension by eight games, and issued a £75,000 fine to the QPR captain.

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