Vincent Kompany: “The game meant a little bit more to us”

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In Manchester City’s 4-1 victory over Manchester United one man could do no wrong, City defender Vincent Kompany.

The Belgian, making only his appearance of the season after a prolonged absence with a groin injury, was sensational in the match.

The City captain’s high line of pressure kept the clamps on the in-form Wayne Rooney, whose goal came by result of a free-kick.

Time after time Kompany displayed his impressive agility, athleticism and reading of the game to snuff out any danger the United attack attempted to muster.

It truly was a master class performance by the center-back and one that won’t be forgotten anytime soon. Kompany even managed to get in on the goal barrage with a 90 yard galloping that drew the attention of the United defense for Samir Nasri to slam home his side’s fourth of the game.

After the match Kompany was all smiles and when asked what the difference was between City and United on the day, the 27 year old couldn’t resist the temptation.

“I don’t know, maybe the game meant a little bit more to us than it did to them.”

The statement will undoubtedly irk United supporters and there’s little doubt that at least part of the impetus in making the statement was to rib-poke the red side of Manchester. But there’s also an undeniable element of truth to Kompany’s words as a certain desire to win did seem to be missing from Manchester United.

source: Reuters
Questions will be asked of David Moyes following his tactics in the Manchester Derby.

The negative tactics employed by United manager David Moyes did little to help United’s desire to win the match.

Moyes’ blueprint was obvious upon the first kick of the ball – sit back, absorb the City attack and hope to strike on a counter-attack.

City’s energy and desire, however, was too much and with Kompany stepping up high on Rooney early, Moyes refused to make any adjustment to get attackers in behind the City center-back. The result was punishing.

It took three goals to prompt  the Moyes to make a change bringing on Tom Cleverley for Ashley Young and reorganizing the side into a 4-3-3. The United attack, however, remained stifled and with Shinji Kagawa, Nani and Javier Hernandez all healthy and ready to go, Moyes resisted inserting any of his offensive weapons.

The game plan of Moyes seemed to reflect something of a disbelief or fear in his side’s chances of winning the match, which arguably translated into the aforementioned lack of appetite.

The Scot’s circumspect approach was eerily similar to the failed strategies he employed while managing Everton during away derby matches at Liverpool. It’s hardly a coincidence that in his 12 years with the Merseyside club, Moyes’ side failed to win a single fixture at Anfield.

To be fair, United fell behind the eight-ball before kickoff when Robin van Persie was ruled out of the derby with a groin injury. Right then, the match was always going to be a difficult one for United to win. But Moyes’ conservative tactics did little to impart a sense of hope in winning the match.

In noting how much City had been looking forward to the derby, Kompany said “there was no reason today that we should fear the opposition.”

After watching United’s display, it’s difficult to believe Moyes bestowed the same sense of belief in his own squad. Questions will be asked.

LIVE, FA Cup semifinal: Chelsea v. Southampton

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Chelsea and Southampton clash in the FA Cup semifinal at Wembley on Sunday (10 a.m. ET kick off) for the right to play Manchester United in the final on May 19.

[ LIVE: Updates from Wembley ]

Antonio Conte led Chelsea to the FA Cup final last season but they lost to Arsenal. Even though the Blues are up against it to finish in the top four in the league, winning the cup would be a big success for Conte.

Saints haven’t made a cup semifinal since 2003 when they lost to Arsenal in the final. Mark Hughes‘ side are entrenched in the relegation zone and have a bigger challenge than making the final.

[ MORE: Minute-by-minute on Chelsea v Saints

Click on the links above to follow the action live, while we will have reaction and analysis live from Wembley right here on Pro Soccer Talk.

Arrests made after violent soccer riot in South Africa

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DURBAN, South Africa (AP) Police say two people have been arrested and more arrests are imminent after a violent riot at a South African soccer game on Saturday night, when hundreds of fans ripped up parts of the stadium, invaded the field, and seriously assaulted at least one security guard.

Players had to run for the safety of the dressing rooms as the fans swept onto the field soon after the final whistle.

[ MORE: The latest Arsene Wenger news ]

Police responded with stun grenades to disperse the rioters, and television pictures showed riot police storming the field and a white armored police vehicle racing across the edge of the pitch.

South African Police Services spokeswoman Nqobile Gwala on Sunday confirmed the arrests and said the two people were facing charges of public violence and malicious damage to property.

The violence mainly by Kaizer Chiefs fans followed their team’s 2-0 loss to Free State Stars in the semifinals of the Nedbank Cup competition at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in the east coast city of Durban, one of the stadiums built for the 2010 World Cup.

In the most disturbing scenes, a female security guard was set upon by a group of supporters on the field. She lay on the ground as they hit her with plastic chairs. A man then kicked her twice in the head. After the second kick she lay motionless and face down on the grass.

Police spokeswoman Gwala did not say if anyone had died in the violence, saying police had no information yet from stadium or medical authorities on any deaths.

Kaizer Chiefs coach Steve Komphela resigned after the game.

“Emotional” Mertesacker: Send Wenger off “with a cup”

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Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker has made 220 appearances for the club, all with one man in charge of the Gunners: Arsene Wenger.

[ MORE: The latest Arsene Wenger news ]

Mertesacker has won three FA Cups with Wenger, and he took up his pen — or laptop — for Sunday’s Matchday program.

The 33-year-old German says it’s down to Arsenal’s players to send off Wenger right: With two more successful rounds in the UEFA Europa League against Atletico Madrid and either Red Bull Salzburg or Marseille. From the BBC:

“We were only informed on Friday about the manager’s decision to step down at the end of the season, so it’s still quite emotional,” Mertesacker said.

“He’s been the major figure of this club for more than 20 years. He’s been so impressive for me and he has trusted me so much throughout my career, in bringing me here and making me captain even when I was injured. He also gave me a future role here at the club so I am very grateful and humbled for the opportunity he gave to me.

“There’s now an emphasis on us doing it for him too. We want to give him the send-off he deserves: with a cup.”

The French legend to end his time at Arsenal against Marseille would be delightful, don’t you think?

Watch Live: Arsenal-West Ham, Stoke-Burnley

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The Premier League has a pair of 8:30 a.m. ET Sunday kickoffs for us this morning, including one of Arsene Wenger‘s final matches at Arsenal.

There’s a London Derby between Arsenal and West Ham United at the Emirates Stadium, as the Gunners look to stay fresh for Atletico Madrid and the Hammers aim to firm up their Premier League status for next season (Watch live at 8:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

LINEUPS

Arsenal: Ospina, Bellerin, Koscielny, Mustafi, Monreal, Elneny, Xhaka, Ramsey, Iwobi, Welbeck, Lacazette. Subs: Macey, Mertesacker, Holding, Chambers, Maitland-Niles, Nelson. Aubameyang.

West Ham United: Hart, Zabaleta, Ogbonna, Rice, Cresswell, Masuaku, Kouyate, Noble, Fernandes, Mario, Arnautovic. Subs: Adrian, Cullen, Evra, Lanzini, Hugill, Carroll, Chicharito.


Stoke City’s climb out of the relegation zone will have to overcome Burnley’s desires for a Top Six place, as the Clarets can pass sixth place Arsenal with a win and a Gunners loss to West Ham (Watch live at 8:30 a.m. ET on NBC Sports Gold via NBCSports.com).

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

LINEUPS

Stoke City: Butland; Johnson, Shawcross, M.Indi, Pieters; Bauer, Allen, Badou, Shaqiri; Crouch, Diouf. Subs: Haugaard, Zouma, Ireland, Cameron, Fletcher, Ramadan, Campbell.

Burnley: Pope, Lowton, Long, Tarkowski, Ward, Lennon, Cork, Westwood, Gudmundsson, Wood, Barnes. Subs: Heaton, Taylor, Marney, Vokes, Hendrick, Walters, Bardsley.