David Platt squashes rumors of Roberto Mancini getting the axe

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Following Saturday’s 2-0 shellacking at the hands of 10 man Everton, the talk at Manchester City has turned to the future of Roberto Mancini. According to first-team coach David Platt, despite a rash of poor results the Italian gaffer maintains the backing of the club’s owners and fans.

“There is an appreciation of Roberto from the supporters and the owners,” said Platt. “All I know is that during [Mancini’s] career he has won things. That is what his focus, desire and intensity is about. He won’t want stop wanting to win things. He will regroup from this and by the time we play Newcastle he will have 100% focus.”

Since arriving at City in 2009-10, Mancini raised the FA Cup in 2010-11 and won the league in 2011-12. This season a lack of consistency has seen the club crash out of Europe and (effectively) the title race. But for now, all is not lost. The club still sits 2nd in the table, four points clear of 3rd place Chelsea, and will face the winner of Manchester United verses Chelsea in the FA Cup semi-final.

Let’s not kid ourselves – City’s accomplishments over the last few years have less to do with Mancini’s managerial prowess and more to do with money. When the Abu Dhabi United Group made City the richest club in the world, anything and everything became possible.

Yet money is not everything in football. As the red side of Manchester can attest, consistency is a key component to any winning club. And one of the best ways to achieve consistency is to keep a manager in place for an extended period of time. In doing so, a club ensures that it is run by the owner and manager, rather than the players. This, of course, is the downfall of Chelsea, a club with billions of dollars but a nerve-wracking environment dominated by fear and insecurity.

Regardless of how the club fares in the FA Cup or whether it maintains 2nd place in the league, axing Roberto Mancini would be an incredibly daft move straight out of the Roman Abramovich School of Mercenary Arts.

VIDEO: Gerrard’s juggle and finish leads Liverpool legends past Real Madrid

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Scoring at Anfield doesn’t get old, especially when your name is Steven Gerrard.

The English midfielder was playing in a friendly match between Liverpool and Real Madrid “legends” on Sunday, when he delivered this tasty goal (and assists to Michael Owen, Robbie Fowler, and John Aldridge).

[ MORE: Under-the-radar Premier League XI ]

Gerrard redirects a cross over a lunging defender and into a place where he can lash a goal home to put the Reds up 4-0. He dedicated his Man of the Match performance to club legend Ronnie Moran, who died earlier this week.

Real’s comeback came up just short in a 4-3 final, with Fernando Morientes, Ruben de la Red, and Edwin Congo scoring for the visitors.

On a Sunday waiting for the international matches to begin, Gerrard supplies a nice highlight for the rest of us (Extended highlights free on Liverpool’s site).

Ozil bristles at talk of Arsenal selling him

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Mesut Ozil is on international break, and bristling at reports that Arsenal is going to sell him.

The midfielder’s absence from the lineup last week had plenty speculating on his future, even more than usual. His contract expires in 2018, and several reports claimed he’d join Alexis Sanchez as players destined for elsewhere.

[ MORE: Under-the-radar Premier League XI ]

Ozil was not called up by Germany, and has missed four of his last nine Premier League matches. Three of those were for illness, and he missed last week’s loss to West Brom with a hamstring injury.

From Metro:

“And you think Wenger tells the journalist before he tells me? Then I know him differently,” Ozil told German outlet Welt.

“I have a contract until 2018 in London and I feel very comfortable there. We’ll talk soon and then make a decision.”

Metro notes that Ozil also said he wants to win the Champions League, something that can only happen with Arsenal remaining in the Top Four. We suppose you could make snarky inferences from his “comfortable in London” phrasing, but we’ll leave it there.

Sydney FC clinches first place in A-League

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SYDNEY (AP) After clinching first place in Australia’s A-League without taking the field, Sydney FC enhanced its record achievement with a 3-0 win over the Perth Glory on Sunday.

Sydney FC won the Premiers Plate as regular-season champions after the second-place Melbourne Victory lost 1-0 to Brisbane on Saturday, when Sydney had a night off.

The Brisbane win left Sydney with an unassailable 11-point lead in first place with three rounds to play.

[ MORE: An under-the-radar Premier League XI ]

The Sydney side also created some history: it became the only team to have remained in outright first position in the standings for an entire season.

In the other match Sunday, the Wellington Phoenix beat Newcastle 5-0 to remain within five points of sixth-place Western Sydney for the final playoff spot.

Walking Dead? Star fittingly sees Exeter’s implausible comeback (video)

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As Rick Grimes, actor Andrew Lincoln regularly battles the undead on his show “The Walking Dead”.

As a friend of Exeter City manager Paul Tisdale, Lincoln was probably pretty happy to watch a team that would not die.

Exeter went down 3-0 when Yeovil Town broke a scoreless drought with a trio of tallies between the 62nd and 78th minutes.

[ MORE: An under-the-radar Premier League XI ]

But Exeter’s David Wheeler scored in the 88th minute, and Troy Brown and Reuben Reid scored a minute apart at the beginning of stoppage time to earn a point for the League Two playoff hopeful.

Couple things on this video, too:

— Check out the shove on the goalkeeper when trying to collect the ball after the first goal of the fight back.

— Watch the man with his baby behind the net after the third goal. Did Mom know how safe her little one was?