Fergie eyes epic Manchester derby triumph tomorrow

Updated 07 December 2012
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Fergie eyes epic Manchester derby triumph tomorrow

LONDON: Alex Ferguson lit the fuse on a potentially explosive showdown with Manchester City as the Manchester United manager claimed a victory at Eastlands would be one of his club’s greatest ever results.
For the first time in 44 years, City will go into the Manchester derby as reigning English champions, but the bragging rights from piping United to the title on the final day of last season will count for nothing if Ferguson’s side inflict a first league defeat of the season on Roberto Mancini’s men at Eastlands tomorrow.
United are three points clear of second placed City at the top of the Premier League and the prospect of allowing their bitter rivals to extend that lead is certain to provoke a ferocious response from the hosts after their exit from the Champions League in midweek.
With United showing alarming defensive frailties in recent weeks, encapsulated by a chaotic 4-3 win at Reading last week, Ferguson knows it won’t be easy to subdue City, especially as the Blues have a formidable record on their home turf.
City haven’t lost a league home game since Everton won at Eastlands in December 2010 and they can also take confidence from a pair of league victories over their bitter rivals last season.
In the circumstances, Ferguson believes a derby victory would rank as one of the all-time great United triumphs.
“If we win (on Sunday) it will be one of our best ever results. They are a really good, powerful team with massive players,” Ferguson said.
“It won’t be easy and if we defend like we did at Reading we’ll be in trouble.
“The important thing for us is to take lessons from the mistakes we’re making and do something about it. We need to find a solution.” Mancini faced renewed questions about his future after City’s latest European flop and a defeat to United would only add to the pressure on the Italian.
Reports of Pep Guardiola or Jose Mourinho replacing him at the end of the season will make unpleasant reading and, while Mancini is convinced he will be given time to get his spluttering team back on track, even he admits his players need to raise their game.
The theme of managers under pressure runs through the rest of the weekend’s program at both ends of the table.
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has been under fire of late and another negative result against West Bromwich Albion today would trigger more bile from the growing number of critics among the club’s previously loyal fanbase.
Wenger’s team are on a miserable run of two wins from their last nine matches in all competitions and Spanish midfielder Mikel Arteta, is well aware that a victory over West Brom is essential to ease the sense of crisis enveloping the Gunners.
At the Stadium of Light today, both Chelsea interim manager Rafael Benitez and Sunderland boss Martin O’Neill are in desperate need of a morale-boosting victory.
Benitez has yet to win a league match since replacing Roberto Di Matteo, while O’Neill has presided over a woeful run of two wins from their last 22 league games.
Fixtures (1500 GMT) unless stated)
Saturday: Arsenal v West Brom, Aston Villa v Stoke, Southampton v Reading, Sunderland v Chelsea, Swansea v Norwich, Wigan v QPR
Sunday: Everton v Tottenham, Man City v Man Utd (1330GMT), West Ham v Liverpool (1600GMT)
Monday: Fulham v Newcastle (2000GMT)


Mohamed Salah named Premier League’s best player of the year at PFA awards

Updated 23 April 2018
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Mohamed Salah named Premier League’s best player of the year at PFA awards

  • Egyptian superstar currently has 30 Premier League goals this season
  • Salah beat the likes of De Bruyne and Kane to the award

LONDON: Mohamed Salah was crowned the Premier League’s Players’ Player of the Year on Sunday, with his incredible 41-goal debut season at Liverpool beating out strong competition from Manchester City’s Kevin de Bruyne.
“It’s a big honor. I’ve worked hard and I’m very happy to win it,” Salah said at the ceremony on Sunday evening.
Salah matched a Premier League record tally for a single season by scoring his 31st league goal of the campaign in a 2-2 draw at West Brom on Saturday.
“You’re comparing your name with some great names,” he said, on the prospect of breaking the record. “To break the Premier League record is something huge in England and all over in the world.
“There are still three games to go. I want to break this record.”
Salah has also netted seven times in eight Champions League games, including in both legs of Liverpool’s 5-1 quarter-final thrashing of City, to carry his side to a first semifinal for a decade.
De Bruyne showed why he had been many people’s early-season favorite for the prize with an incredible long-range strike for his 12th goal of the season to go with a league-high number of assists as champions City thrashed Swansea 5-0 on Sunday.
“From my point of view when you are analizing 10 months, there is no player better than him,” said City manager Pep Guardiola of the Belgian midfielder.
“Maybe there are numbers better but for me he was the best. But it is my opinion, the opinions of the players could be different. But in the end, in summer time he will be at home being champion.”
City did pick up a prize from the PFA gala in central London on Sunday, though, as Leroy Sane won the Young Player of the Year.
Sane, another City team-mate David Silva, De Bruyne, Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea and Tottenham striker Harry Kane were the other five nominees for the main prize.