Wednesday, August 22, 2012

EPL Opening Match-day Drama: …and the Business Begins

After the last minute ‘down to the wire’ winner deciding ending to the premiership last season, a brand new season has commenced. With an opening day filled with as much drama as this one, it justifies the claim that every new season comes with its own intrigue and peculiarities. Ranging from new player signings and coaches to another set of three teams promoted from the first division to the premiership. All of them combine to make the English Premier League (EPL) one of the most exciting football leagues to follow in the whole wide world. It constantly dishes out a compact and irresistible brand of football doses weekly.

The Transfer Window Background

As a background to the new EPL season 2012/2013, the usual scenarios which take place in the transfer window just before opening match-day had gone down. A principal feature in there as almost normal in recent years with Arsenal Football Club was its familiar policy of selling one or two of its best players almost every other season. The latter combined with clubs like Real Madrid, Chelsea, Manchester City, Barcelona, Manchester United and AC Milan - all of them remaining on the big stage as the biggest buyers in the market, always out in search of the next best thing to strengthen or replenish their squads. Before this post becomes centred on the transfer window which is still open, we should rather let it rest here as an issue for another day.

Although it must quickly be mentioned that players such as Robin van Persie had moved to Manchester United, Eden hazard to Chelsea, Steven Pinear back to Everton, Podolski to Arsenal and many more transfers similar to these ones. Also some key actors in the premiership in recent years had also moved on, many to China and some others to the United States or some other places in Europe. Principal among such include Didier Drogba, Yakubu Aiyegbeni, Nikolas Anelka, Tim Cahill and Solomon Kalou.

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Goals Galore Plus lots of Drama

With the foundation laid thus, the business began as usual with games on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. There was a repeat tonic of the large score-lines that have now come to characterise the premiership opening day in recent times, coupled with absolute shockers that may have weighed better had they happened further down the season-long adventure. In a weekend that featured the full set of ten games, a total of twenty seven goals were scored. The main highlights among these happened to be Fulham beating Norwich by five goals to nil, Swansea City putting five away goals past Queens Park Rangers (QPR), West Bromwich getting the better of Liverpool FC by three goals to nil while Everton handed down the real shocker to Manchester United - a rare opening day defeat of one nil, which must be highlighted as having been a very fair score-line to United considering the fact that Everton could have led by as many as three to four more goals but for some last gasp crossbar and upright hits and other highly commendable saves by their goal keeper David Degea.

Tight Affairs

The action would be incomplete without mentioning the close affair between the holders Manchester City and new boys South-Hampton which ended three goals to two in a five goal thriller settled by Samir Nasri. The goal ensured that City started their title defence on a strong note. Although it must be said that South-Hampton are no weaklings being very efficient on the afternoon, giving more bite to the claim that there are no pushovers in the premiership any longer. Every team has to work hard if they are to earn the all three points available or even a point resulting from a draw. Arsenal also began their season on a note they now seem to strike well with openers in the last two to three seasons - a home draw against Sunderland. With teams like West Ham winning over Aston Villa, Chelsea got a bit of a lucky victory over Wigan Athletic with two early goals, both having something to do with their new signing Eden hazard. Newcastle also had a tight win of two goals to one over Tottenham in a keenly contested game.

From Last Season With Love

This review would not be complete without giving kudos to some great coaches who had done well with smaller teams last season and as a result had been handed bigger appointments in more prestigious teams. Such include Brendan Rogers who moved from Swansea to Liverpool FC and Paul Lambert to Aston Villa, with Martinez deciding to stay on at Wigan even in face of more juicy offers. Some others who had been with other teams last season but were drafted in various new teams this season include Andreas Villas Boas replacing the magician Harry Redknapp at Tottenham and Michael Laudrup resuming at Swansea.

Let the Business Begin

Indeed the drama would never have been full enough, if teams like Manchester City had not been forced to squeeze out a winner coupled with a seemingly fortified attack of Manchester United rendered impotent on the day even with the addition of robin van Persie - the premiership top scorer and best player for last season. These combined with the three nil loss of Liverpool by West Bromwich - their fast becoming bogey team, and huge score endings for Fulham and Swansea. Indeed the excitement was at its height, a great advertisement for the English Premier League especially on an opening day. Indeed it raises the curtain on a season of real surprises and happenings to come. What more can we say but “Let the Business begin!”

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The Business behind the game: maverick and intrigues of Football

Thank you for reading this post. please make it more interactive by dropping a comment below and feel free to share with the rest of the larger online community. Football lives! football continues!! football forever!!!

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Sunday, August 19, 2012

Help! Our Manager Has Gone Crazy

Now if ever anyone had thought football was just a game, then they would be needing a rethink because the game has gone way beyond entertainment to becoming a full blown business both off and on the pitch of play especially in modern times. Picking it up from the perspective of being a business, everyone knows that there is a ridiculous amount of money to be made some where in there. More so, considering the massive salaries players earn these days and how much there is to be made off television rights, shirt sponsorship, stadium name rights and gate-takings not forgetting the gambling racket outside of the game.

 In the midst of all of these, it is so easy to forget the very essence and root of the game of football which is more towards competitive entertainment, and a strong clause that features constantly through the generations of gaming is the collective gathering referred to as the spectators, audience, supporters  or the fans as the case may be.

Profit Sharing Over Fan's Interest

When the managers of the game put aside the interest of such supporters especially when they are paying and it is no more free service, then there begins to show up a major problem unfolding. Enter the fray- Arsenal football club of England and how much of business astuteness they seem to have shown in these last eight years. It must be said that they have built a state of the art stadium, converted the former stadium in to a block of luxury flats that have paid off the debts incurred to build them and now add to the profits coming in, a standard training ground and many more achievements off the field. But that is as far as the commendation should go.

The club has totally lost focus as to where the main stakes lie. They continue to punish the proverbial goose that lays the golden egg - the very game of football on the pitch of play, the paying fan-base and the larger worldwide cult-like following. Almost the whole world now wonders if the club management ever heard of the phrase “striking a balance between making money and winning trophies.” Nothing like that seems to exist in their dictionary.

Profiteering In the Name of Rebuilding

How else do you relate going a whole season unbeaten with a team of experienced and quality players as at eight years ago and subsequently going virtually trophy-less for the next eight seasons? Much focus has been put on balancing the books, so much so that the manager Monsieur Arsene Wenger has intentionally phased out a whole first team squad of twenty-two players and more from the academy all in the name of rebuilding. He now has a track record of selling between two to three of his best players in one season, sometimes adding the captain and the assistant to such to-be-sold ranks for good measure.

He started the tradition by selling Captain Patrick Vieira to Juventus, then sold players like Robert Pires to Villareal, Captain Thierry Henry to Barcelona, Mathieu Flamini to AC Milan, Gilberto Silva (asst. captain) to Olympiakos, Alexander Hleb to Barcelona, Kolo Toure and Emmanuel Adebayor to Manchester City in the same season, then Captain Cesc Fabregash, Samir Nasri and Gael Clichy in the same season to Barcelona and Manchester city respectively. The list goes on, Emmanuel Eboue, Sylvian Wiltord, Lauren Etameya, and Freddie Ljumberg and on and on grows the list.

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The Self-Destructive Track record 

The seeming final straw of this season could be the maintenance of Wenger’s new found track record; by selling his Captain and best player in the English premier league last season Robin van Persie, and another of his greatest players Alexander Song to Barcelona. All of this journey must have made him over two hundred and fifty million pounds in conservative estimates considering  the long list plus a series of other young lads that have been chucked out who have gone on to become great players in the clubs they left for; granting  Arsenal an earning potential - something for raising them.

In the same time that this downward spiral had been embarked on, the board had relatively kept silent because their business interests had not only been protected but greatly boosted as the club shares were increasing in value and they were making much more money. Ironically, in that same period, the ticket prices both singular and seasonal were rising to become some of the most expensive not only in England but in all of Europe. Simply put, the fans and spectators were being bilked out of their hard earned moneys with a phony charade on display called beautiful football.

Do the Fans Matter at All?

The end of the season showed no trophies and the Silverware cabinet kept gathering cobwebs as it has been empty for so long that it almost does not get a cleaning anymore. Now the money is only one side to it, the other part is the emotions of these same fans that have not only been toyed with but plainly rubbished. The latter combined with the constant ridicule from opposition fans, referring to Arsenal football club as an academy, a stepping stone, a feeder team, a team of greens and all sought of strange name tags.

With this background, the question arises “When big clubs set out every season, do they think of “Merely doing well or Going for glory - the ultimate price being the trophy?” This is what teams like Manchester United, Chelsea and Manchester City have gone for with great dividends not only in money, but follower-ship and an appreciation of fans telling and showing them they are the major reason why they still play this game.  

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A Clear lack of Prospects or Ambition Going Forward

When a player like Robin van Persie who is captain of the club and one who virtually carried the team on his back to third position last season, seats with the Club Manager Arsene Wenger and the Chief executive Ivan Gazidis ; asking them to paint a picture of the prospects for the next few years. He comes out of such meeting saying that he just couldn’t see it as they were just not so particular about trophies meaning it was more of mediocrity and money all the way. The latter happened to be the more reason why van Persie chose to join Manchester United. The seasonal aim for Arsenal Football Club had become “let’s just finish in a good position on the table, qualify for the champions’ league, and celebrate fourth place as a golden trophy.”

Easily, you get to ask yourself, “does anyone set out to self-destruct on purpose?” especially when the interests hanging involves a wide plethora of people. There seems to be no better explanation than saying - either the Manager has gone crazy or the whole board of directors are not only senile but totally obsessed with milking the purse at the expense of the Fans and the game bringing in the funds. The Question is:  where do we go from here? As the long term fans are saying it is a lesson in loyalty especially since they were there during the glory days of a whole season unbeaten, and now eight years of tears without a trophy.

Related Posts
Wenger's Perfection Induced Obsession

A strong submission would be this- “After seemingly achieving immortality and invincibility with the unbeaten season, Arsene Wenger went in to a Perfection induced obsession feeling that no opinions counted anymore as he had now become all in all” the reality speaks differently and he is being brought down to earth by the results in recent seasons and another thing is becoming worrisome- the rate at which he is ageing. Rather than do so gracefully, he has chosen the path of continuous stress overdrive because of a lack of capable personnel due to his stubbornness and ill-needed frugality.

All we can say is “the wait goes on whether for a trophy or at least a golden coin if there was any silverware going by that name.” An attachment to that would be how you can manage to convince the other players left that you want to achieve anything meaningful, extending to results that depict a purposeful career. Someone had better told him to learn from Ajax and the glory days. The moment they started selling was when their downward spiral really began, turning them into one of the main feeder teams for the big clubs in Europe -a trend that has continued until now.

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thank you for reading this post. if you have got other opinions, please drop a comment below and share with the larger online community. It is high time this issue was dealt with extensively.

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Friday, August 17, 2012

Arsenal Releases New First Team Squad Numbers

After the different changes in personnel, Arsenal football club has finally released the new squad numbers for its first team members. The new numbers are as listed below.
AFC First-team squad as follows:

1          SZCZESNY
2          DIABY
3          SAGNA
4          MERTESACKER
5          VERMAELEN
6          KOSCIELNY
7          ROSICKY
8          ARTETA
9          PODOLSKI
10         WILSHERE
11         SANTOS
12         GIROUD
14         WALCOTT
16         RAMSEY
17         SONG
18         SQUILLACI
19         S.CAZORLA
20         DJOUROU
21         FABIANSKI
22         COQUELIN
23         ARSHAVIN
24         MANNONE
25         JENKINSON
26         FRIMPONG
27         Gervinho
28         GIBBS
29         CHAMAKH
30         PARK 
52         BENDTNER

Saturday, June 9, 2012

UEFA Euro 2012 Begins: The Clash of the Titans

The European championships have begun. The UEFA Euro 2012 promises to be an exciting and explosive tournament with a rich feature of star players from all across the continent participating. The once-in-four-year tournament is being co-hosted by Poland and Ukraine. The tournament which spans over twenty-three days kicks-off June 8 in the Polish capital, Warsaw and ends July 1 in the Ukrainian capital Kiev.

Below are the qualified teams and their groupings in the tournament schedule:

Group A
Poland | Greece | Russia | Czech Republic

Group B
Netherlands | Germany | Denmark | Portugal

Group C
Spain | Italy | Ireland | Croatia

Group D
France | England | Ukraine | Sweden

Country Star Players
It has been dubbed the clash of the titans as the tournament promises to feature an array of stars from all over Europe. Some of them have been highlighted for you to be able to keep easy tabs as the competition unfolds. Three star players from each country have been featured on our highlight list:

Poland- Robert Lewandoski, Lukasz Piszczek, Wojciech Szczesny.

Greece- Giorgos Karagounis, Georgios Samaras, Kostas Katsouranis

Russia- Andrei Arshavin, Roman Pavlyuchenko, Yuri Zhirkov

Czech Republic- Tomas Rosicky, Petr Cech, Milan Baros

Netherlands - Robin van Persie, Arjen Robben, Wesley Sneijder

Germany- Bastian Schweinsteiger, Philipp Lahm, Mesut Ozil

Denmark- Nicklas Bendtner, Daniel Agger, Christian Poulsen

Portugal- Nani, Cristiano Ronaldo, Raul Meireles

Spain- Xavi Hernandez, Andres Iniesta, Fernando Torres

Italy- Andrea Pirlo, Mario Balotelli, Gianluigi Buffon

Ireland- Shay Given, Damien Duff, Robbie Keane

Croatia- Eduardo, Verdran Corluka, Luka Modric

France - Samir Nasri, Patrice Evra, Philippe Mexes

England- Steven Gerrard, John Terry, Wayne Rooney

Sweden- Zlatan Ibrahimovich, Christian Wilhelmson, Olof Melberg

Ukraine- Andriy Voronin, Andriy Scevshenko, Anatoliy Tymoshchuk

Group A
Friday, June 8
Match Venue Time(GMT)
Poland v Greece Warsaw 16:00 hrs
Russia v Czech Rep. Wroclaw 18:45 hrs

Tuesday, June 12
Greece v Czech rep. Wroclaw 16:00 hrs
Poland v Russia Warsaw 18:45 hrs

Saturday, June 16
Greece v Russia Warsaw 16:00 hrs
Czech Rep. v Poland Wroclaw 18:45 hrs

Group B
Saturday, June 9
Netherlands v Denmark Kharkiv 16:00 hrs
Germany v Portugal Lviv 18:45 hrs

Wednesday, June 13
Denmark v Portugal Lviv 16:00 hrs
Netherlands v Germany Kharkiv 18:45 hrs

Sunday, June17
Denmark v Germany Lviv 16:00hrs
Portugal v Netherlands Kharkiv 18:45hrs

Group C
Sunday, June 10
Spain v Italy Gdansk 16:00hrs
Ireland v Croatia Poznan 18:45hrs

Thursday, June 14
Italy v Croatia Poznan 16:00hrs
Spain v Ireland Gdansk 18:45hrs

Monday, June18
Croatia v Spain Gdansk 16:00hrs
Italy v Ireland Poznan 18:45hrs

Group D
Monday, June 11
France v England Donetsk 16:00 hrs
Ukraine v Sweden Kiev 18:45 hrs

Friday, June 15
Sweden v England Kiev 16:00 hrs
Ukraine v France Donetsk 18:45 hrs

Tuesday, June19
Sweden v France Kiev 16:00 hrs
England v Ukraine Donetsk 18:45 hrs

Bookmakers’ Favorites
For most bookmakers- Spain, Germany, Netherlands and France are firm favourites with England and Italy, labelled as seeming Contenders. Also Russia, Sweden and Ukraine are dark horses with the potential to pull surprises. It promises to be an explosive atmosphere with a Goal Rain. The question is “Who would emerge eventual champions?” Only time would tell.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Mother of All Finals: UCL Finals '11/'12 - Chelsea versus FC Bayern Munchen

In the slug-out that has been dubbed the mother of all finals, the closing game of the UEFA champions league season would be going down at the allinze arena,Munich,Germany. The two gladiator teams in the deciding contest that wraps up the 2011/2012 season are wothy ones- Chelsea Football Club and FC Bayern Munchen.

Although it is not news anymore that the much touted el-classico finals that had been hugely anticipated would not be happening; no doubt the ones who have earned the title 'classico killers' would be presenting a more dynamic showdown in Germany. It must also be said that the venue happens to be the home of one of the gladiators FC Bayern Munchen, but the champions league finals being what it is, would always play out as one of the finest spectacles of the modern age.

Chelsea and Bayern Munchen, both of them giants in their own rights may not have had the ideal season in their various leagues as the champions league and other competitions must have taken their toll; in the midst of all that, the joy of participating in one of the greatest showpieces of all time wipes off the pain in an instance.

Both teams have definitely got scores to settle with the cup claim, as they have once been on the losing side in a UCL finals in the last four years. A chance to finally bury the ghost of 2008 for chelsea,after losing to Manchester United in a penalty shoot-out contest,they had almost won. They seek to claim the most prized and desired trophy their proprietor, Roman Abramovich has ever wanted.

Bayern Munchen equally lost to Inter Milan in the 2010 finals; now they have seemingly earned revenge against the coach of that same side Jose Maurinho, albeit in the dugout for his new team Real Madrid. Going all the way to qualify for a final that had been slated for their stadium even before the season began, Bayern would naturally feel that they were destined to claim the much coveted trophy right in their own backyard.

For chelsea it would not only be a joy to win it for the fitst time,but to go into the next season as defending champions in a season when the finals would be taking place at wembley stadium,London in celebration of the centennial.Nothing would give them more happiness than to tour the same city that would be hosting the olympics in less than sixty days from now with a UCL trophy no london side has ever one.

There would be lot at stake for both sides, but it must not be forgotten that in the windy road to the finals, they had both lost very important personnel. All of that must count for something,but it remains to be seen how the absence of John terry, Raul Meireles,Ramires, and Borislav Ivanovich would affect their game-plan with injuries tto some other members of the side.

Their opponents would also be missing key players in the form of Gustavo. David Alaba, and one more key player. Bayerm Munchen seemed to be better poised to handle the shock; combined with the backing of their teeming fans,the pendulum looks set to swing in their favour a bit more.

Pundits have done all kinds of analysis, and bookmakers have put out their ratio for the stakes and likely bets; one thing every football follower must not forget about the season is that it has been one full of twists,turns and last minute drama. You would choose to write off any of the two teams only at your own detriment.

All in all,only one side can win it, and it must have been thoroughly deserving.Whatever happens, the beauty of the game is in participating and there is definitely going to be adequate financial rewards for both sides regardless. Let the game begin, as we can't wait to see the mother of all finals play out right before our very eyes. May the better side win!!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Just Before the Curtain Falls: A Preview of the Last Day of the EPL 2011/2012 Season

By all standards, this has been one of the most intriguing and amazing football seasons in the English premier league. It has been a long chain of drama all season, with quite unexpected twists and turns that would make the season go down as one of the most keenly contested of all time.

The drama has shown up in phases: first at the top as featured in the race between the top two all through out the season; next was the battle for the remaining two UEFA Champions League (UCL) ticket spots by the second set of four teams on the table, and then the battle to survive relegation by another set of five clubs, with one displaying some magnificent level of football inspired by the passion to survive.

In glancing, you can not forget the teams which thrive in the middle of the table, neither up there nor at the bottom; just seeming to enjoy life in the premier of all English leagues while hoping for better days.

Enough of waxing philosophical, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of the beautiful round leather game as played out this season in the EPL. The top battle had always been between Manchester United and Manchester City in a fitting continuation to where they left off last season having both picked up the main trophies i.e. the EPL title and the FA Cup respectively.

It must also be said that they both contested the season opener- the Community shield and from that point on, the battle line seemed drawn. It was to continue in a see-saw fashion, with Manchester United holding fort at the top for some time before Manchester City overtook them and made the place their own for very long.

All of these while, some new entrants were also staking claim to the third and Fourth spots in what was a striking move away from the norm as recorded in previous seasons where the usual top teams, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool would sit in comfort, waiting to claim their right to the UCL spots at the end of the season.

This particular season was different in that Newcastle had announced their full recovery from the crisis that rocked the club not quite four years ago; a journey that was to see them go down in to the championship, bounce back, then move on to mid table and in no time, get back among the contenders for the prestigious UCL spots available only to the top four.

Apart from Newcastle United who occupied the third place for some time, there was Tottenham who had just been waiting in the wings to replace Newcastle in third spot once the opportunity showed up.

In spectacular fashion, all of these played out while Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool kept drifting on the brink, lurking in background all waiting to swoop with one burst of sustained form praying that those earlier mentioned two occupying the third and fourth spots slip up.

Each of these three teams also had their peculiar moments along the line: Arsenal having to recover from going as low as seventeenth position on the table after losing three of its first six games, and looking almost all dead and buried even before the season had really begun. They were to recover in dramatic fashion fitting for the making of a film; a feat that would not be complete without the mention of their phenomenal captain, Robin van Persie.

Next up was Chelsea who seemed to have all sought of problems even after bringing in a coach whom many had thought was young and dynamic, fitting the long-term picture of the owner and one who could deliver the elegant style of football combined with the continuous capture of trophies for the Stanford bridge outfit.

In no time, all of that went burst, and Chelsea were staring a major crisis in the face. Some spoke of player sabotage, others of change that had been too rapid. At the end of the day, Villas Boas got the sack, his replacement was Roberto Di Matteo his erstwhile assistant until now; appointed to steer the ship till the end of the season. Boom! Recovery came leaving many wondering what had changed; No doubt Chelsea was back.

Not Least among them was Liverpool who had shown prospects and a strong intent to return to the top caucus, playing some amazing football at the beginning of the season. The form began the dwindle from the point where they found unusually hard to win home games, a feature that characterized their season and merely reduced them to an entity that could only display cup form, as they ended up claiming the carling cup and playing the FA cup finals, a trophy Chelsea claimed at their expense amidst some measure of controversy.

Before zoning in on the final day, it is quite worthy of mention that Wigan Athletic were simply astounding, having changed their game pattern in silence only to announce this by claiming the scalps of Liverpool, Manchester United and Arsenal almost in rapid succession, the only key survival of the Wigan end of the season whirlwind was Chelsea albeit with two highly controversial goals that denied Wigan at least a deserved draw.

To think that Wigan athletic achieved all of these in the face of relegation with the same set of players which had been there all season long; was a story up there among the stuff of legends. One of such wins was to contribute to the main twist leading to a final day decider as to where the EPL trophy would rest its prestigious head for the next one year; that was the win against Manchester united at a time when they had taken a seemingly unassailable lead of eight points which at the end of the day was reduced to five as Manchester City started their journey back from the slump.

In a season that has defied many of the earlier set myth and the trend of book makers, even witnessing a player literally comeback from the dead in the form of Patrice Muamba, there may never have been one better poised for a final day decider, witnessing two table toppers tied on eighty-six points apiece, only separated by an eight goal difference.
Manchester United faces Sunderland in a bid to claim a twentieth trophy, but they would certainly be needing a favour from Queens Park Rangers (QPR) who match up against Manchester City, also bidding for their first title in Forty-four years if only they can hold on.

The next decider would be among Arsenal, Tottenham and Newcastle, who would be slugging it out against West Bromwich, Fulham and Everton respectively in the quest to claim third spot, and maybe a fourth spot which would be rendered useless if Chelsea were to win the champions league.

At the bottom of the table, QPR and Bolton both need wins in their respective games as only one of them can survive the drop, in a last gasp finish, any of the two club fans would have given anything to avoid. Truly this has been an amazing crown to the end of a breath-taking season, rounding up in style.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Pseudo-Premiership Derby Final: Did It Live Up To Expectation?

In the midst of all of the hype that had been attached to this classic derby,it would only have been normal to have certain fans ask the question "was it all worth it in the end?" Before your heart wonders much longer,what is being talked about exactly- it is the Manchester derby that has now come and gone but the aftermath determines in what direction the premiership trophy swings. it has been made all the more exciting this year; especially having two clubs from the same city slug it out for supremacy in the English premier league. This is in addition to the build-up to such controversial and much anticipated derbies.It must be pointed out that the game would normally be tough enough without the prospect of a cup at stake as the clubs would gladly play their hearts out just to earn the bragging rights for themselves and their fans in the city space they share.

The whole story gets more interesting considering the fact that we have had families where the father supported one half and the mother the rival side.Often times, such scenarios are replicated among siblings- this would give you an idea of how controversial such derbies can be. Narrowing it down to the very last in the series of epic battles between these two city rivals Manchester united and Manchester city; the first leg ended in a mauling for the latter in a place that would normally be regarded as their fortress- Old Trafford 'The theater of dreams' with the game ending six goals to one in favour of Manchester city. that scoreline was the exact kind of backdrop for this latest meeting combined with added juice,the premiership trophy at stake. All of that being said, the game which had been loaded with as much hype as the english press could muster started just like any other.

With the expectations set at such a high level, the game failed to live up to its billing,as it turned out a one-sided affair with united failing to hit a shot on target all through the ninety minutes of play, a characteristic quite alien to the team and their high standards.They were out-muscled,out-played and overall very poor on the night.quoting below:

But this was not a night for his volumes of scrapbooks. He picked the wrong team, organised them into a cautious formation and saw his side fail to produce a shot on target for the first time in a Premier League match in three years.A victory by a wider margin would not have flattered City, who made up for what they lacked in final-third dazzle with energy, power and hunger, epitomised by the outstanding Yaya Toure and Vincent Kompany.Ferguson’s tactics failed miserably. He chose his European away-day formation, setting his team out in 4-5-1 with Wayne Rooney up front alone, and Ryan Giggs and Park-Ji Sung given starts ahead of in-form pair Danny Welbeck and Antonio Valencia.

This summed up the story on the night,leaving Fergie smarting on the sidelines.Before the game he had mentioned that it was to be his most important derby yet. considering that he has had such a long and rich history in the game,such words were not to be taken with levity, but they also seemed to have been his undoing; rather than approach the game with a youthful,pacy and energetic squad who could match Manchester city for pace and style,Sir Alex chose to go with the conservative, starting players like Giggs,J.S Park,Paul scholes and Ferdinand. The few pacy ones available on the night were Nani and Rooney and they both failed to come to the party. The beautiful thing that has now come to be associated with the evolving Manchester city side is the flair and quality of their attacking football which was brilliantly displayed on the night even though Manchester united made the job rather too easy for them.

The season may be far from over as there still two more determinant games with Manchester city still needing to visit Newcastle's sports-direct arena before hosting queen's park rangers on the final day of the season;both very tricky ties. Manchester united also have Swansea city and Sunderland to deal with in the final run-in. While Manchester united may have the easier of both sides' fixtures,the crunch derby game may just turn out the season decider with the winner going on to pick up the much coveted trophy, except something major happens. Both sides have also got the necessary inspiration to finish the season on a high and all is set for a relishing crescendo ending to the season.Which ever way it goes,it must be said for the records that this has been one season the richly adds to Mancunian football folklore as the two clubs from the same city have had a go right from the first day and the story remained about them all season long.They have both been gallant gladiators but there can only be one champion,that would be a finding that is worth the short wait.

credit to for the quote and google images for the pictures.