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Manchester United 1-2 Manchester City, 8 April

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Manchester City 2-3 Manchester United, 9 December

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Manchester United: De Gea; Rafael, Ferdinand, Evans, Evra; Valencia, Cleverley, Carrick, Young; Rooney; Van Persie.

Subs: Johnstone, Jones, Giggs, Smalling, Hernandez, Welbeck, Scholes

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Manchester City 1-0 Manchester United, 30 April

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Manchester City: Hart, Zabaleta, Lescott, Kompany, Clichy, Barry, Toure Yaya, Silva, Tevez, Nasri, Aguero.
Subs: Pantilimon, Richards, Milner, Dzeko, Kolarov, De Jong, Balotelli.

Manchester United: De Gea, Jones, Ferdinand, Smalling, Evra, Nani, Carrick, Scholes, Park, Giggs, Rooney.
Subs: Amos, Berbatov, Hernandez, Young, Welbeck, Rafael Da Silva, Valencia.

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Manchester City 2-3 Manchester United, 8 January

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Manchester City (4-3-3): Pantilimon; Richards, Kompany, Lescott, Kolarov; De Jong, Milner, Nasri; Johnson, Aguero, Silva. Subs: Hart, Clichy, Zabaleta, Savic, Hargreaves, Razak, Suarez.
Manchester United (4-4-2): Lindegaard; Smalling, Jones, Ferdinand, Evra; Valencia, Carrick, Giggs, Nani; Rooney, Welbeck. Subs: De Gea, Rafael, Evans, Anderson, Park, Hernandez, Scholes.

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Manchester United 1-6 Manchester City, 22 October

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Owen Hargreaves scores in his debut for Manchester City

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Manchester City 1-0 Stoke City

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Manchester City’s 35-year wait for a major trophy is finally over after a 1-0 victory over Stoke City saw them lift the FA Cup for the fifth time in their history.

Carlos Tevez returned to the Blues line-up following his recent hamstring injury but it was Yaya Toure who wrote his name into City folklore with his 74th minute strike, a strike that will also see the banner counting City’s barren years without a trophy at Old Trafford come down.

The return of the Argentine was the major surprise in the City starting line-up with Mario Balotelli also starting in an attacking formation with David Silva and Toure supporting Tevez in attack. Aleksandar Kolarov replaced the injured Pablo Zabaleta at left full back, whilst James Milner, Adam Johnson and Edin Dzeko all dropped to the bench in place of Balotelli, Gareth Barry and Tevez.

Stoke manager Tony Pulis was given a huge boost before kick-off with Robert Huth and Matthew Etherington both declared to start for the Potters. Dean Whitehead dropped to the bench in place of Etherington while Asmir Begovic was not included as Thomas Sorensen continued as the Potters FA Cup goalkeeper. Defender Danny Higginbotham was ruled out with a knee injury, with Ricardo Fuller and Mamady Sidibe also unavailable for Pulis.

Manchester City settled the better of the two sides and they looked to dominate possession with short, sharp passing but it was a bit of luck that created the first real chance of the match. A loose ball in midfield dropped at the feet of Tevez on the left edge of the Stoke penalty area, the Argentine cut inside Huth and fired a right foot shot towards goal and although it took a slight deflection off Ryan Shawcross’ knee Sorensen was able to palm it away easily.

The Blues were much the better side, much to the frustration of Pulis, and in the 11th minute Toure came within inches of opening the scoring. The Ivorian confidently strode out of midfield, and with no Stoke challenge coming he unleashed a swerving right foot shot that missed the post by inches and had Sorensen scrambling to his left.

Stoke had not even tested Joe Hart in the City goal and four minutes later the Potters were lucky not to be down to 10 men. Manchester City broke down the left wing but in the middle of the pitch the German defender jabbed his left elbow into Balotelli’s face. The Italian striker lay prone on the floor but he did not receive a free kick and Huth was lucky not to receive a card for his astonishing piece of indiscipline.

Midway through the first half Stoke were grateful to their goalkeeper for keeping them in the game as he made a fine save from Balotelli. The towering Toure again broke from midfield and on the edge of the area he found the enigmatic Italian. He cut inside his man and fired a curling shot that looked destined for the top corner only for Sorensen to tip the ball wide for a corner.

The best, and final, chance of the half fell to Manchester City in the 35th minute. From the left wing Tevez jinked inside his man before chipping a pass into Balotelli inside the penalty area, the Italian controlled the ball, held off Sorensen and played it back to Silva who looked certain to score from five yards. However the Spaniard was soon to have his head in his hands in frustration rather than celebration as he fired his shot into the ground and over the bar from seven yards.

The second period started at a much slower pace than the first had but Tony Pulis’ half-time team talk clearly had some effect as the Potters were posing much more of an attacking threat. Etherington and Jermaine Pennant began to threaten down both wings but the strong Manchester City defence were able to cope with everything they delivered into the penalty area.

Ten minutes into the second half, after soaking up some Stoke pressure, Manchester City nearly hit their opponents on the counter-attack. A long ball out of defence released Tevez, he showed fantastic vision to roll the ball inside to the unmarked Silva but he delayed the ball too long inside the penalty area and Shawcross robbed him and cleared the ball. The Blues began to pile the pressure on the Stoke goal, and moments later a low cross from Toure was met by Tevez but his shot was deflected wide of the post by Huth.

Just after the hour Stoke created their best chance of the game, and it was the final contribution from Etherington. The winger played a lofted ball over the City defence for Kenwyne Jones, he outmuscled Joleon Lescott to create the chance but as he attempted to poke the ball past Joe Hart the Manchester City goalkeeper made himself big and denied the Trinidad striker with an excellent save.

With 16 minutes to go the game finally got its first goal and it was the blue end of the stadium celebrating as Toure smashed them in front. Silva and Balotelli combined on the edge of the area before the Italian saw his strike blocked, but the loose ball rolled into the path of an on running Toure and he smashed the ball past Sorensen from 12 yards to send the Blues fans delirious.

The goal sparked Stoke into life but it was the Manchester City who threatened again in the 84th minute as they exploited the gaps left by their opponents. It was the influential Silva who lead the counter-attack, he took on Andy Wilkinson before firing a low shot towards the far corner only for Sorensen to get a hand to the ball and enable Shawcross to clear the danger.

Ultimately the miss made no difference as Roberto Mancini’s men following up their midweek qualification for next season’s Champions League by holding onto their lead to secure their first silverware since capturing the League Cup 1976.

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Manchester City 1-0 Manchester United

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Manchester City are through to the FA Cup final after a second half goal from Yaya Toure was enough to beat rivals Manchester United at Wembley in a game which saw Paul Scholes sent off.

Roberto Mancini’s men ended the treble hopes of United and ensured they now have the best chance of winning silverware for a generation with Stoke City or Bolton Wanderers waiting in the final.

With a large portion of the Manchester population fighting the M1 closures to get to Wembley, the blue half will savour the return journey after an histroic result.

The headline news beforehand was the omission of both Carlos Tevez and Wayne Rooney but the other players on show had the skill to make up for those losses.

With such attacking talent on offer, a close, cautious game was not what was expected but the opening exchanges proved very little in entertainment. A pass behind the United defence from Yaya Toure to Mario Balotelli, which ran a little out of the Italian’s reach was the most both sides could muster in the first 10 minutes.

Dimitar Berbatov had the first true opening of the game after 14 minutes when Michael Carrick’s wonderfully threaded through ball was collected by the Bulgarian, who burst through the City offside trap to only be denied by the alert Joe Hart.

The England ‘keeper sensed the impending danger and tore off his line to close the angles enough to suffocate the chance and keep United at bay.

The pressure was still being applied when a jinking run from Nani along the left byline could not have provided Berbatov with an easier chance to score. Astonishingly, with the ball rolling no more than two yards from goal line, Berbatov flung himself at the ball but incredibly spooned the shot over Hart’s crossbar.

With United dictating the flow of the game, City were spending much the first period in their own half until an effort from Gareth Barry which flashed narrowly wide of Edwin Van der Sar’s right hand post, signalled it was City’s turn to move into control.

A long-range effort from Mario Balotelli and a Joleon Lescott volley with his weaker foot continued this trend but still the opening goal would not come as the first half moved to its conclusion and both managers had much food for thought and work to do to break the deadlock.

No changes were made at half time and City didn’t need to. A glaring error from Carrick early in the second half was the moment which proved vital as Yaya Toure made United pay dearly. The loose pass was pounced upon by Toure whose powerful run was too much for Nemanja Vidic and Edwin Van der Sar when the ball ran through the Dutchman’s legs.

City’s mood was improved further when a high challenge on Pablo Zabaleta from Scholes earned a red from Mike Dean and City started to truly believe that it was their day.

The journey back north will be as difficult as the one taken in the morning, but City fans wil savour every mile after they held on for the closing stages and five nervous minutes of added time.

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Chelsea 2-0 Manchester City

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A second half pair from David Luiz and Ramires were the few moments of note in a game which saw Chelsea leap-frog Manchester City into third in the Premier League table. There was not much attacking flair on display at Stamford Bridge but perseverance won out for Carlo Ancelotti and his side as they gained a valuable victory of the Sky Blues.

Manchester City had arranged themselves in such a way that Chelsea would have to work hard to break them down and fashion chances for themselves. With a five man midfield to contend with, Ancelotti’s men found the going tough for much of the first half. Chelsea did open City up after 13 minutes when Salomon Kalou’s run required the assistance of Ramires, but a mix up between the two resulted in the threat subsiding after Ramires brought down his own man which let City off the hook.

Roberto Mancini’s favouritism for the defensive approach to the game is well known. His application of ‘Catenaccio’ – the Italian theory of ultra defence – is often used as a stick to beat him but when facing the current champions in their own backyard this seemed wise. This tactic worked very well for the visitors in the first half and there was little for the Chelsea fans to cheer as the congested midfield of City nullified the artillery of Chelsea.

The flip side of the cautiousness of Mancini is that with such attacking tools to work with, the reluctance to let them out of the toolbox often frustrates both City’s own followers and neutral alike. And this game was no different. Apart from an early chance for Yaya Toure – which was the direct result of an over-eager David Luiz coming to meet the ball with little thought for the space he was vacating – City had few chances themselves.

As the rather dull first half drew to its conclusion, another half-chance came Chelsea’s way. Didier Drogba found himself in possession in an unfamiliar position on the left flank but he made the most of this and proceeded to seek out Kalou with a dangerous cross. A slip by Vincent Kompany allowed Kalou to control the ball, swivel and fire his right footed effort at goal, but in truth, Joe Hart didn’t have to stretch himself to catch the ball.

When there is over half a billion pounds worth of talent on display between the two sides, asking for fireworks shouldn’t be too much to ask for, but sadly the first 45 minutes failed to provide little more than a spark let alone a full blown explosion.

With no changes from either manager at the interval, the game appeared that it would continue as it left off. Chelsea did seem a little more determined after the break and this produced the best chance of the game so far. A run from deep from Fernando Torres was laid off the Florent Malouda who brought Kalou into the action before shooting himself directly at Joe Hart. The frustration around Stamford Bridge was palpable as another chance came and went without the deadlock been broken.

As the hour passed it was Branislav Ivanovic who let another chance go by. A cross from the right caught the City defence on its heels and the Serb rose to head the ball goalward but Vincent Kompany was in the right place at the right time to impede the progress of the ball and save his team from going behind.

With no changes from either manager at the interval, the game appeared that it would continue as it left off. Chelsea did seem a little more determined after the break and this produced the best chance of the game so far. A run from deep from Fernando Torres was laid off the Florent Malouda who brought Kalou into the action before shooting himself directly at Joe Hart. The frustration around Stamford Bridge was palpable as another chance came and went without the deadlock been broken.

As the hour passed it was Branislav Ivanovic who let another chance go by. A cross from the right caught the City defence on its heels and the Serb rose to head the ball goalward but Vincent Kompany was in the right place at the right time to impede the progress of the ball and save his team from going behind.

With the continuing stalemate Carlo Ancelotti made his changes with 20 minutes left. Birthday boy Fernando Torres and Florent Malouda were simultaneously substituted with the proven strike partners; Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka. The dry spell that Torres continues to suffer has now reached seven games.

It didn’t take long for Didier Drogba to make his impact on the game. Less than 10 minutes had passed when a Drogab free-kick from almost the corner position proved to be key in breaking this game open. The Ivoirian’s delivery was spot on and the head of David Luiz met the ball and redirected it beyond the sprawling Joe Hart to finally give the crowd a goal to savour.

With such a defensive game for much of the afternoon a 2-0 result seemed highly unlikely, but as the final minutes ran off the clock, Ramires broke through the City defence to ice the cake and double the scoreline for Chelsea.

It’s interesting that the two January arrivals at Stamford Bridge have reversed the expectations of the other. Torres remains goalless and David Luiz scores again to keep the title defence alive.

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Manchester City 1-0 Wigan Athletic: Al-Habsi Error Gifts David Silva Winning Goal As Hosts Labour To First League Win In Three Games

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Wigan Athletic remained at the bottom of the Premier League table after an Ali Al Habsi error gifted victory to a laboured Manchester City.

David Silva was the recipient of a remarkable spill in the 37th minute as his harmless shot went through the Oman international’s legs. The result keeps City in third and in the Champions League qualifying spots but an out-of sorts-display infuriated manager Roberto Mancini.

For City, the return of Vincent Kompany from injury softened the blow of centre-back Kolo Toure’s suspension for a failed drug test. The Belgian was one of two changes to the team that defeated Aston Villa 3-0 in the F.A. Cup on Wednesday. Top scorer Carlos Tevez also included as Jerome Boateng and Aleksandar Kolarov were demoted to the substitute’s bench.

Latics boss Roberto Martinez made two alterations to the side that slumped to a 4-0 defeat to Manchester United last weekend. Right-back Adrian Lopez was handed his first Premier League start in place of Steve Gohouri, while Charles N’Zogbia made way for Old Trafford loanee Tom Cleverley.

After scoring performances in two successive games, City attacker Mario Balotelli was the first to threaten in the third minute. An excellent clearance from Joleon Lescott on the stretch from a Maynor Figueroa cross set up a counter-attack, which led to the Italian’s powerful shot from the left of the penalty area being unconvincingly pushed away – in a sign of things to come – for a corner by goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi.

Martinez took his usual spot on the touchline as he attempted to orchestrate his struggling sides’ play. The Spaniard had cause to worry again in the ninth minute as only a mis-control from Gareth Barry inside the box prevented another opportunity for the hosts following a delightful one-two with David Silva.

Referee Staurt Atwell took the centre of attention in the 16th minute as right-back Micah Richards crunched into Cleverley at top speed on the half-way line. The challenge was late and reckless, but the official was correct not to listen to the noise from the travelling support and issue just a caution.

With Richards’ stud marks still fresh in Cleverley’s leg, City twice went close to opening the scoring in the 23rd minute. Tevez, first, collected a Kompany pass 30-yards from goal and ducked his left shoulder to evade Mohamed Diame and dribbled past Antolin Alcaraz, but his shot was dragged just wide of Al Habsi’s right post.

From the subsequent goal-kick, Wigan surrendered possession on the half-way line. Silva – who had already threatened in his usual pocket in-front of the opposition defence – could only shoot off the mark again from just outside the area when he had time on the ball to the frustration of the Eastlands fans.

Wigan had largely been under the cosh from the hosts but were gifted an opportunity to take the lead in the 29th minute. A jinking run from Victor Moses on the right of the City box produced a harmless low cross that was poorly stabbed into James McCarthy’s path by Kompany, but the 20-year-old sidefooted wide of Joe Hart’s goal from just eight yards.

While Wigan turned their noses up at a gift, City soon took the lead from one in the 37th minute. Silva was the benefactor as a calamitous spill from Al Habsi allowed the Spaniard’s low shot from the left of the area to somehow spin through his legs, much to his embarrassment and Martinez’s frustration.

The Oman international’s mistake was the last thing Martinez needed for his bottom-placed side. The Spaniard watched on with arms slumped to his side in the final moments of the first half.

Wigan should have been deflated by Silva’s goal but they took the game to City from the off after the interval. At Martinez’s urging, bodies were finally thrown forward to support lone striker Hugo Rodallega.

This new enterprise was inches away from being rewarded in the 49th minute. After a sustained period of pressure, an outswinging corner from Ben Watson was met by Alcaraz, but the Paraguayan’s sidefooted effort rebounded off Hart’s left post with him and Pablo Zabaleta beaten.

Wigan were again denied on the hour mark as McCarthy produced a stunning save from Hart. The ex-Hamilton midfielder hit a stinging half-volley from the edge of the box off of a knockdown from a long free-kick which was only half-cleared by the hosts.

While City had looked composed and Wigan toothless in the first-half, the script was turned around after the break. Holding midfielders Gareth Barry and Patrick Vieira bore the worst of Mancini’s ire from the sidelines as they continued to give away possession and fail to kick into a higher gear when asked to win the ball in midfield.

City’s enterprise seemed to have been left in the dressing room. Indeed, it took until the 76th minute for them to threaten a second goal.

Substitute Kolarov forced the chance as his cross was nodded into Silva’s path by Caldwell on the stretch. The goalscorer but all his weight behind his 20-yard effort but the skipper was quick to his feet and again put his head in the way of Al Habsi’s goal.

Mancini’s afternoon should have been made even more uncomfortable on the stroke of injury-time. Sloppy play again from City saw Latics substitute Conor Sammon tackled on the edge of the box.

The ball then made its way to Rodallega but his weak effort was stopped easily by Hart. The lack of conviction in the shot summed up Wigan’s display, as with more desire they could have secured a share of the points.

Moments later, hearts were in the City support’s mouth as even better opportunity was spurned by Sammon. The Irishman raced onto a Rodallega through ball, but under pressure from Lescott, he screwed his attempt wide from close range.

The shot was the last of a match which Wigan shouldn’t have come away from empty handed. However, toothles finishing and error-strewn defending again left the Latics at the foot of standings and four points from safety.

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