October 27, 2020

Clash of the Manchester titans


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(AP/UK) 2010/11 Goal of the Season: Rooney’s overhead kick against Manchester City.

United host their neighbours City at Old Trafford, with Wayne Rooney scoring a spectacular overhead kick the last time the sides met in the league.

It is the same fixture that provided that goal of the season last year, and with both teams flying at the top of the Premier League, the first Manchester derby of 2011/12 is arguably the most-anticipated fixture of the campaign so far.

The same result would see City go five points clear of their rivals although the stats are against them – Sir Alex Ferguson’s men have been victorious the last four times the two teams have met at Old Trafford, and City failed to win away at any top-seven opponent last season.

A local derby between Chelsea and QPR has not been seen since 1996, although twice the two sides have met in the Carling Cup and the FA Cup in recent times – with Chelsea winning 1-0 at Stamford Bridge on both occasions.

More animosity will be shared in Birmingham on Saturday when West Brom make the short journey from the Black Country to Aston Villa.

Steve Kean remains at the helm, for now, as Blackburn play Tottenham, who come into the game on the back of a Europa League victory over Rubin Kazan.

Arsenal are slowly turning the corner after their woeful start, yet there is still a sense of unease at the Emirates Stadium and when Stoke come to town on Sunday, you can put your house on the Potters not making it easy for the North Londoners.

The row involving Luis Suarez and Patrice Evra shows little sign of abating and it will be interesting to see if the Uruguayan is at all affected by off-the-pitch matters when Liverpool welcome Norwich to Anfield.

There is no doubt that the surprise package of the season has been Newcastle, and Alan Pardew deserves great credit as his side currently sits fourth in the table. This weekend the Magpies take on struggling Wigan Athletic, who are in a real rut.

Bolton and Sunderland have also endured torrid starts and while Wanderers emerged victorious at the DW Stadium last weekend, Owen Coyle will not be happy with the fact that they sit 18th in the table.

Everton have lost three games in succession but in fairness to the Toffees those defeats have come against Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City. They will be looking to take advantage of Fulham’s fatigued Europa League legs on Sunday.

Wolves play Swansea in the first kick-off of the weekend on Saturday. Wolves are on a dreadful run having lost their last five league games, while the Swans are beginning to get to grips with the standard required.


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