Sunday, May 13th, 2012
Comment & analysis round-up
Quote of the day: “I’m up for a challenge. We’re not going away and I’m not either. You better let them know across the road. The odds are stacked against us, but if City win the title, I’d hope that our players would realise things aren’t so black. We will analyse where we’ve messed up this year and accept the challenge next season. It keeps me going, absolutely. It [City’s rise] has taken three years off me and I’m feeling younger already!” – Sir Alex Ferguson.
Runner-up: “I’ll go to Tenerife for six months to hide if Manchester City lose title… This is the most important day of my life as a Manchester City fan. It is as big as that. I went to see Manchester City play for the first time with my Uncle Jed when I was a little boy. We beat Manchester United that day – 5-0.” – Ricky Hatton.
Manchester City: Champs Today, Champs Tomorrow?
Is this now Rooney’s worst nightmare? City set to clean up trophies… and talent (Mail) Make no mistake, the final league table could represent a significant shift in power across Manchester and the whole of English football, even though the two clubs start this morning level on points after 37 games, albeit with City holding a greatly superior goal difference.
Manchester City’s biggest challenge will be how to keep on winning (Gary Neville, Mail) Can they sustain their superiority without unlimited investment with UEFA’s Financial Fair Play rules coming into force? Can they bring players through their academy? And how do they deal with the disruptive influences of Carlos Tevez and Mario Balotelli, players on massive wages who will be difficult to offload?
Roberto Mancini has kept the show on the road for Manchester City (Henry Winter, Telegraph) Manchester City fans remember York City away. Many of those worshippers flocking nervously, excitedly, hopefully to the Etihad today remember Dec 19, 1998, recall losing at Bootham Crescent, slipping to 12th in Division Two, closer to non-League than Premier League.
I followed Manchester City through thick and thin in the bad old days (Will Greenwood, Telegraph) I was there for the incredible Second Division play-off final in 1999, I was there at the last game at Maine Road when we lost 1-0 to Southampton. The comedy of it all!
The Last Word: Why City no longer belong to me (Colin Shindler, Independent) When Carlos Tevez refused to play against Bayern Munich, for whatever trivial reason, something died for me. The juggernaut of a team that was being assembled at huge cost finally slipped its moorings from my increasingly desperate attempts to reconcile it to the club whose fortunes have dominated my waking hours for so long… The team stand proudly at the summit of the Premier League and fully deserve to be there. Yaya Touré, Aguero, Silva, Kompany have all had a wonderful season and I admire them enormously. I admire them but I don’t love them. Not the way I loved Glyn Pardoe, Alan Oakes and Neil Young. That’s my problem.
Ecstasy or not, the exodus will follow at Manchester City (Guardian) In a fire sale unprecedented in this and any other league around £200m worth of City talent will be up for grabs this summer. Add the salaries of the 11 players in question and more than a quarter of a billion pounds of Sheikh Mansour’s investment could walk out of the door.
Mancini wants Mancnificent 7 (Sun) Roberto Mancini cranked up the heat on Alex Ferguson by vowing to win SEVEN trophies in four years.
Take tat and party: Mancini challenged to honour his tattoo promise (Mirror) The Manchester City boss vowed to get inked with the club’s crest if they win the Premier League title.
Manchester United: Runners-up
Losing the title today will haunt United for ever (Roy Keane, Sun) When Alex Ferguson reviews the season, he’ll know when the league was lost — the final 10 minutes against Everton when they conceded twice to draw 4-4… What you’ve got to remember as well is that United will have Nemanja Vidic, Tom Cleverley and, please God, Darren Fletcher back fit for next season. You don’t want to make excuses but their absence has been a factor.
Wayne Rooney’s contract stand-off was an early warning sign for Manchester United (Mark Ogden, Telegraph) For all of Sir Alex Ferguson’s defiant talk of a response to the challenge laid down by their supremely-wealthy neighbours, the reality is that United have been losing ground to City ever since Wayne Rooney’s contract stand-off forced the club into a fight they simply cannot win.
The Champions League Race
I’d happily trade in all my goals and awards for Champs League spot (Robin van Persie, Sun) You know what? All the goals I have scored this season, all the awards I have won — I would trade them all in an instant for us to win today.
The Drop Zone
Could QPR have a chance of survival despite themselves? (Guardian) Everyone expects QPR to lose on Sunday afternoon. But would it not be typical QPR if they were somehow to steal a draw – only for Bolton to belt nine past Stoke and send the Hoops down on goals scored – unlikely of course, all but impossible but somehow very Rangers.
Bolton rely on swing and a prayer (Independent) Coyle believes his team have the momentum and urges his players to prove they are worth a new contract and a place in the Premier League.
EPL 2011/12: The Reviews
Said & Done: The 2011-12 awards (David Hills, Guardian) Roughest justice Ghana: Accra Hearts of Oak, given a “strange and contentious” £1,000 fine in November for delaying kick-off against Ebusua Dwarfs. The delay happened after two of their players “were forced out of the stadium by Dwarfs fans and made to buy tickets to get back in again”. Both players were also fined. Hearts: “They got a raw deal.
Enjoy the big finish, this could be as good as it gets… (Des Kelly, Mail) This has undoubtedly been a campaign of continual upsets and excitement. And if it delivers one more drama when Manchester City look to claim their first title in 44 years, separated from their rivals Manchester United only by goal difference, then there is no argument. It is the best.
England Ahead Of The Euros
Roy Hodgson gets no second chances with England’s Euro 2012 squad (Guradian) On Wednesday the new England manager will name his 23-man squad for Euro 2012. He has to get it right first time.
Hodgson’s choice: Roy told rift between Rio and Terry is too big to send both to Euro 2012 (Mail) The rift between Rio Ferdinand and John Terry will force Roy Hodgson to choose one or the other when he names his Euro 2012 squad on Wednesday — and it looks increasingly likely that former England captain Terry will miss out.
England’s John Terry is too tired for Euro 2012 – yet so are the alternatives (Jim White, Telegraph) Terry may be self-evidently dead on his feet, his performance on Tuesday may be a thin parody of his best, all logic may well insists he is given the summer off. But what real alternative does the manager have? Rio Ferdinand, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling are just as drained, Gary Cahill, Michael Dawson and Phil Jagielka all compromised by injury. The truth is, anyone who is any good will be as tired as Terry. And anyone who is not tired will not be any good.
Fergie has Rio fear (Sun) Sir Alex Fergsuon fears Rio Ferdinand will not be fit enough for Euro 2012.
United line up £10m Dembele bid as major rebuilding begins in earnest (Mail) Manchester United are considering a £10million bid for Fulham’s attacking midfielder Mousa Dembele with Paul Scholes still to make a decision over whether he will play on next season.
Mourinho’s £15m Ivanovic raid (Sun) Real Madrid are ready to pay £15million for the 27-year-old and Chelsea have not ruled out doing a deal as long as the Spanish giants are prepared to meet their own £20m valuation.
Eden Hazard poised for £35m City bid (Sun) Hazard, who was named France’s Player of the Year yesterday, said on Twitter: “Two games more to play in the colours of Lille.”
Kop out! Dalglish on the brink of leaving Anfield (Mirror) Liverpool are preparing for life after Kenny Dalglish. As the list of senior executives axed by the club’s American owners reaches six, with the imminent removal of legal adviser Nathalie Wignall, there is a growing belief inside Anfield that King Kenny’s days as manager are numbered.
Liverpool Eye Roberto Martinez (Star) If Fenway Sports do decide to part company with Kenny Dalglish then Spaniard Martinez, 38, will be their top target.
Spurs like £16m Loic (Sun)