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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Football : City set for Manchester derby


Manchester City fans are anticipating a mouth-watering derby showdown in the English Premier League on Sunday as the reinvigorated City team take on defending champions United at Old Trafford.
Since winning the league in 1968 and giving United a farewell shove out of the old first division in 1974, City fans have been forced to dine on meagre derby rations.
Even the 5-1 thrashing of 1989, a 4-1 win in 2004 and their first home and away double for four decades in the 2007/08 season have been achieved against a backdrop of total United dominance.
City's brief spell in the limelight when they won the league, FA, League and Cup Winners' cups from 1968-70 has been totally obliterated by United's impressive honours collection.
Instead, City fans satisfied themselves with supporting a cash-poor but charismatic club which they considered the heart and soul of Manchester unlike their wealthy Salford-based rivals, whose support base encompassed the whole country and much of the world.
Cashed up
Since the arrival of owner Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan however, and the millions he has pumped into the club, the fans have drawn a line under smilingly writing off failure as "typical City" and are starting to believe they can challenge again for honours.
They go into the game level with United on 12 points, from one game less, having won their first four of the season.
Last weekend's 4-2 home success over Arsenal was widely seen as the new team's "coming of age" and they would dearly love to build on that with the biggest of all top-four scalps.
"We played well against Arsenal, now we have to go to Old Trafford and show our credentials," Kolo Toure said.
"Man City will be a force this season."
Midfielder Stephen Ireland told the club's website: "I can't wait for the match, derby matches are great occasions and everyone is looking forward to it, especially after the win over Arsenal.
"There will be an extra edge to this game, there is no doubt about that. Carlos Tevez coming here and some of the things that have been said this summer may even sharpen that edge."
Adebayor suspended
Tevez's move did not go down too well with everyone at Old Trafford but the Argentine striker is doubtful for Sunday because of the knee injury he picked up playing for Argentina.
EPL Fixtures
Saturday 19 September Arsenal v Wigan Aston Villa v Portsmouth Bolton v Stoke Burnley v Sunderland Hull v Birmingham West Ham v LiverpoolSunday, 20 September Chelsea v Tottenham Everton v Blackburn Man Utd v Man City Wolverhampton v FulhamRobinho and Roque Santa Cruz are also out injured and Emmanuel Adebayor is suspended after his clash with Robin van Persie last weekend.
The Togo international had accepted the charge for a malicious stamp on Arsenal's Dutch striker during City's 4-2 home win last Saturday.
The former Arsenal player, who joined City in July for a fee of $41.38 million, will also miss a League Cup home tie against Fulham and a league match at home toWest Ham United.
United, who were superb at Tottenham despite going 1-0 down after a minute and having Paul Scholes sent off, warmed up with a 1-0 Champions League win at Besiktas.
The Old Trafford game is not the only table-topping derby on Sunday as leaders Chelsea take on fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur at Stamford Bridge.
Tottenham lost their 100 percent start with a 3-1 home defeat by United last week while Chelsea's last-minute 2-1 win over Stoke City gave them five wins out of five.
Chelsea added a further victory with a 1-0 home success over Porto in the Champions League on Tuesday and will be pleased to welcome back striker Didier Drogba who was suspended for that match.
Tottenham have not won at Stamford Bridge for almost 20 years.
Liverpool visit West Ham United on Saturday, when Arsenal are also in action, at home to Wigan Athletic.

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