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Man City too good for Liverpool

Man City too good for Liverpool

Manchester City recovered from their shock defeat at Sunderland and opened up a three-point gap at the top of the Premier League table with a comfortable victory over Liverpool.
Roberto Mancini’s side faced a test of character and resilience with a swift turnaround to play again only 48 hours after the loss at the Stadium of Light – and they passed the examination impressively.
Liverpool were denied striker Luis Suarez’s potency as they decided not to appeal against the eight-game ban handed down after the Football Association found the Uruguayan guilty of racially abusing Manchester United’s Patrice Evra.And they sorely missed Suarez’s menace as they enjoyed plenty of possession but never threatened to turn it into tangible reward.
Mancini incredulous at Man City fixtures
Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina’s error gifted Sergio Aguero an early goal and Yaya Toure rose to head home David Silva’s corner for a second before the break.
The only blot on City’s night came when Gareth Barry was sent off for a second yellow card, which means he misses Sunday’s FA Cup third round tie against Manchester United, but they sealed the win when James Milner scored from the spot after Martin Skrtel fouled Yaya Toure.

It gave City the advantage over closest rivals United before their visit to Newcastle on Wednesday and enabled them to regain momentum after a goalless draw at West Bromwich Albion and the 1-0 reverse at Sunderland.

Liverpool’s efforts lacked punch despite the vast expense lavished on their forward line by manager Kenny Dalglish and they ended well beaten.

Stewart Downing was thwarted by Joe Hart’s crucial early block from Jordan Henderson’s fine pass before Reina gifted City their opening goal.Aguero’s shot was testing in the stormy conditions but the Spaniard made the basic error of failing to get his body behind the ball and the 20-yard shot dipped underneath him to relieve City’s early nerves.

The Argentine then lifted a shot just over before Edin Dzeko’s effort took a heavy deflection off Glen Johnson and flew inches wide with the anxious Reina totally wrong-footed.

As Liverpool appeared to be getting a foothold in proceedings, the hosts struck again 12 minutes before the interval.

Reina made amends for his earlier error by turning Vincent Kompany’s header over the top, but when Silva returned the resulting corner Yaya Toure got ahead of Johnson to head high past the the visiting keeper.

Kompany made a vital intervention at the other end to ensure City protected their two-goal lead until half-time, throwing himself bravely in front of Dirk Kuyt’s shot as the Dutchman moved to turn in Andy Carroll’s header.Once more the Reds saw plenty of the ball after the restart, but their lack of threat prompted Dalglish to make a double change just before the hour mark, sending on Steven Gerrard and former Manchester City striker Craig Bellamy for the disappointing Charlie Adam and Kuyt.

They failed to make any serious inroads into the home defence, although they were given brief hope when Barry was sent off for a second yellow card, an innocuous block on Daniel Agger, with 17 minutes left.
If they did have any hopes of a revival, they were snuffed out two minutes later when referee Mike Jones – a late replacement for Andre Marriner, who refereed the match in which Suarez had his flashpoint with Evra in October – pointed to the spot after Skrtel tangled with Yaya Toure.

After Mancini had failed in demands to have Skrtel sent off by waving an imaginary red card, Milner converted the penalty emphatically.
Substitute Adam Johnson struck the post with a curling effort as City pressed again, but matters had already been settled well before.
Liverpool kept going and tested City keeper Hart with some late efforts from Gerrard and Downing, but he was more than equal to the task on a bitterly disappointing night for Dalglish’s side.

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Arsenal considering re-signing ex-captain Vieira

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Arsenal considering re-signing ex-captain Vieira

LONDON: Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said former captain Patrick Vieira wants to come back to the Premier League club and is considering whether to re-sign the midfielder to provide much-needed experience.

The 33-year-old Vieira has a year left on his Inter Milan contract and has been linked with a move to Arsenal or north London rival Tottenham.

“He has gone through a difficult period as well in the last season. I am aware that he wants to come here,” Wenger said Friday.

“Patrick is a great player and a legend here and he would always like to come back to this club, that would be his first choice.”

The notoriously cautious Wenger is in no rush to make an offer for Vieira, who left in 2005 after nine years at Arsenal.

“There is a football decision and there’s a psychological impact of a player of that stature that could come in,” Wenger said.

“At the moment, we need to look at the level of experience in (the) squad to make this kind of decision.

“But we are nowhere near to making a decision like that. It is a possibility.”

Speaking before the Emirates Cup preseason tournament this weekend, Wenger is coming under mounting pressure from fans and players alike to add more experience to the team in a bid to win its first title since the 2005 FA Cup.

Despite selling Kolo Toure and Emmanuel Adebayor to Manchester City and only signing Belgium defender Thomas Vermaelen, Wenger insisted the squad has the quality to challenge for the Premier League title.

“We lost two great players but we have as well great players (left) behind, and that’s up to us to show during the season that we still have the quality to fight at the top level,” Wenger said.

“The squad is very young. This team has improved a lot as compared to last season.”

While only finishing fourth last season in the Premier League they last won in 2004, the Gunners reached the semifinals of the Champions League and the FA Cup.

“We have a squad which is very ambitious,” Wenger said.

“We have the basic quality, they have international quality and are under 23, so their best time is now. We have developed a style and culture of play that everybody accepts, so I feel confident and very strong.

“Our focus should not be who can help us from outside, but who can help us from inside. Most of the players are young players. Kolo was very experienced, but Nicklas Bendtner has been here since he was 15 and he is now 21 and still a very young player.”

Arsenal could sign Moroccan striker Marouane Chamakh after Bordeaux president Jean-Louis Triaud revealed he had been contacted by Wenger, who refused to confirm that.

Robin van Persie, Bendtner, Carlos Vela, Andrei Arshavin and the Eduardo are expected to play this weekend, but Theo Walcott is being rested and won’t feature Saturday against Atletico Madrid or Sunday versus Rangers.

Tomas Rosicky is in contention for his first appearance at Emirates Stadium since January 2008 after having recovered from hamstring and knee injuries.

He returned in a friendly at Barnet earlier this month, but was ruled out of the next three matches.


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