Can Manuel Pellegrini bring Premier League success to the Etihad?

Flashback: Top five Manchester derbies – Man United vs. Man City

Leave a comment

It’s derby day in Manchester, and you can watch Manchester United host Manchester City in the 167th Manchester Derby live on NBCSN from 3 p.m. ET and online via NBC Sports Live Extra.

But if you need a little something to whet your appetite before then, here’s a look back at five memorable Manchester derbies from the Premier League era.

In the last 20 plus years we’ve been treated to some stunning matches, as the Red and Blue halves of Manchester try to dominate the metropolis in Northern England. Earlier this season City hammered United 4-1 in a demolition job at the Etihad Stadium, so the Reds will be looking to avenge that humbling as bragging right have been with the Blue half of Manchester since September.

WATCH LIVE ONLINE VIA NBC SPORTS LIVE EXTRA

Head-to-head it couldn’t get much closer looking back at the games which have taken place at Old Trafford. Man United have won six, Man City have won seven, while their have been three draws.

So, City have the slight edge heading into this match, but let’s take a look at how some of the most famous derbies of the past two decades played out.

Manchester City 2-3 Manchester United – December 9, 2013

On the way to winning the Premier League title in 2013, Manchester United secured a pivotal win away at the then reigning champions, City after letting a 2-0 lead slip. Robin van Persie sent the away end into raptures, as his last-gasp free kick deflected off Samir Nasri and beat Joe Hart to hand the Red Devils a late, late win. Fergie time indeed. A young City fan tried to get on the pitch and attack United’s players, but luckily Hart was on hand to give him a right good telling off and defuse the situation. Fiery, goals galore, inspiring comebacks and late drama, this had it all.

Manchester United 1-6 Manchester City – October 23, 2011

This match will always be remembered for Mario Balotelli’s celebration. When he scored the eccentric Italian lifted up his shirt to reveal a message stating “Why always me?” Priceless. What was also invaluable was the momentum Roberto Mancini’s City side gained from this record 6-1 win as they used it to surge towards their first-ever PL title, which they eventually won on the final day in the last minute to stop, who else, United from lifting the crown. It remains the Red Devils’ heaviest home defeat since 1955.

Manchester United 2-1 Manchester City – February 1, 2011

Wayne Rooney wrote himself into derby folklore with one of the best goals ever scored in the Premier League era. A cross from Nani on the right found Rooney, who jumped up and swiveled to smash home a bicycle kick in the 77th minute to seal a crucial win in the title race. United went on to win the league that year, and after a strong start in that derby for City, Rooney’s wondergoal was deemed as the turning point in United’s campaign.

Manchester United 4-3 Manchester City – September 20, 2009

Michael Owen didn’t do too much in his injury-hit spell with Manchester United, but that doesn’t matter… who scored a winner in the derby. The former England international popped up in the 94th minute to seal a spectacular comeback for the home side, as Sir Alex Ferguson called it “the best derby of all time”… it was hard to disagree. What a game. Rooney put United ahead early on, but then former United striker Carlos Tevez leveled for City, before Darren Fletcher and Craig Bellamy both scored to make it 2-2. Fletcher then scored again to make it 3-2 to the home side, but Bellamy popped up in the final minute to make it 3-3. However Owen had the last laugh, as his calm finish sent over 70,000 fans wild.

Manchester City 4-1 Manchester United – March 14, 2004

One of the unluckiest derby wins in recent history, as City had only just been promoted back to the Premier League and United’s team was far superior to their neighbors. But Shaun Wright-Phillips, Jon Macken, Robbie Fowler and Trevor Sinclair were all on target to dispatch a poor United team who were in transition as Arsenal continued to dominate the Premier League. Sweet victory for City’s long suffering fans, as the start of a new era at Eastlands was still a few years away.

AFCON wrap: Tunisia joins Senegal in knockout rounds (video)

Tunisia's Wahbi Khazri smiles during a press conference in Libreville, Gabon, Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017, ahead of their African Cup of Nations Group B soccer match against Zimbabwe. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)
AP Photo/Sunday Alamba
Leave a comment

Half of the field is set for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations knockout rounds, as Group B completed his final day of group play on Monday in Gabon.

[ FIFA: World Cup draw date at Kremlin ]

Senegal will move onto play Cameroon on Saturday, while Tunisia will take on Burkina Faso.

Senegal 2-2 Algeria

Leicester City’s Islam Slimani scored twice, but it wasn’t enough to get Algeria into the knockout rounds of AFCON.

Papakouly Diop and Moussa Sow answered Slimani’s goals, and Senegal enforced its hold on the group it had already clinched after two matches.

Algeria needed a win and help, and looked to get it when Riyad Mahrez and Islam Slimani carried over their chemistry from the Foxes of England to the Fennecs of Algeria.

Zimbabwe 2-4 Tunisia

Sunderland’s Wahbi Khazri scored of the fourth of Tunisia’s first half goals as the Eagles of Carthage emphatically clinched their knockout round spot. Tunisia lost in the quarterfinals in 2015.

Lille’s Naïm Sliti was also among the goal scorers for Tunisia, with Youssef Msakni (Lekhwiya) and Taha Yassine Khenissi (Esperance de Tunis) also netting markers.

Tendai Ndoro (Orlando Pirates) and Knowledge Musona (Oostende) scored for Zimbabwe.

Three USMNT players leave camp, two with injuries

Kekuta Manneh chases the ball during practice of the U.S. men's national soccer team Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017, in Carson, Calif. Manneh has become a U.S. citizen, moving the Vancouver Whitecaps forward closer to eligibility for the men's national team. U.S. Soccer announced Manneh received his citizenship Wednesday, after the opening practice of January training camp under new coach Bruce Arena. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
AP Photo/Jae C. Hong
Leave a comment

Less than a week from Bruce Arena’s second debut as USMNT boss, we know three players who won’t be in the Starting XI.

Injuries have felled FC Dallas duo Kellyn Acosta and Matt Hedges, while Vancouver attacker Kekuta Manneh is leaving the squad to join his ‘Caps teammates for preseason in Wales.

[ MORE: JPW’s Premier League Playback ]

Acosta has a mild left ankle sprain and Hedges has a mild right knee sprain.

While Manneh may have been a long shot to see significant playing time on Sunday against Serbia or Feb. 4 versus Jamaica, Hedges had a chance to start at center back and Acosta has been capped before as well.

FIFA going to Kremlin for World Cup draw in December

SAINT PETERSBURG, RUSSIA - JULY 25:  Vladimir Putin, President of Russia speaks as FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter looks on during the Preliminary Draw of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia at The Konstantin Palace on July 25, 2015 in Saint Petersburg, Russia.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

ZURICH (AP) FIFA says it will stage the 2018 World Cup draw on Dec. 1 at a Kremlin concert hall in Moscow.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has been allowing FIFA to use high-profile venues for World Cup ceremonies.

In July 2015, the qualifying program draw was made on the grounds of one of Putin’s official residences, Konstantin Palace near St. Petersburg. The summer was home built at the direction of Peter the Great.

The World Cup in Russia kicks off on June 14 at Luzhniki Stadium in the Russian capital, and returns there for the final on July 15.

Jurgen Klopp discusses Liverpool’s title chances

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - JANUARY 21: Jurgen Klopp, Manager of Liverpool reacts during the Premier League match between Liverpool and Swansea City at Anfield on January 21, 2017 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

It was a disappointing weekend for Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp.

[ MORE: New odds for title contenders ]

The German coach watched on as his side lost 3-2 to Swansea City on Saturday in the Premier League and the Reds fell 10 points behind leaders Chelsea with 16 games to go.

Klopp’s men have only won once in six outings in all competitions in January, and ahead of their EFL Cup semifinal second leg against Southampton at Anfield (they trail 1-0 from the first leg) he was asked if they still have hope of overhauling Chelsea and winning the Premier League.

Speaking to the media, Klopp revealed that his team are good enough to at least be in the top four battle.

“We fight in each game, that’s maybe the most important thing. Then we have to see what happens around,” Klopp said. “Of course, in cup competitions the target is to win the competition. In the Premier League, it’s probably the same but it’s not that easy to plan or whatever. In this case, if Chelsea win all their games – which they pretty much do – there is no chance for any other team. For us, it’s still absolutely important to finish the season as well as possible – whatever that means. We’ll see after the season.

“You can imagine we have the quality to fight for the Champions League, that’s what we should do. If we do this and we are then close enough in the decisive moment of the season, you can still fight for a little bit more. But in this moment, it’s nothing we have to think about or we should think about. We now have two games and then we play Chelsea, so that’s when I’ll think about Chelsea but not how we can get them or whatever. We fight for everything we are able to, that’s all.”

He’s right. Liverpool finishing in the top four this season would be a great achievement at this stage of his project.

Perhaps more worrying for Klopp is that his side may now capitulate and finish outside of the top four for a second-straight season.

There’s no doubting that Liverpool have exceeded the expectations of most people so far in 2016-17 but Klopp’s men faded badly last season to finish in eighth place and with no wins in their last three games in the Premier League the pressure is on.

Without leading scorer Sadio Mane, who is away at the Africa Cup of Nations with Senegal, they’ve struggled to break opponents down and their defensive issues came to the fore against Swansea with sloppy mistakes costing them dear.

No team in the top seven has conceded more than Liverpool and with the Reds in fourth place and just four points ahead of sixth-place Manchester United and two points ahead of Manchester City who sit in fifth, all of a sudden they are looking over their shoulders instead of up at Chelsea.

Liverpool has lost momentum.

Boy do they need a big win in the EFL Cup against Southampton on Wednesday to regain some confidence and take that into their next PL clash, which just so happens to be against Chelsea at Anfield on Jan. 31.

Whatever he says publicly, Klopp must know that Liverpool cannot afford to lose to Chelsea. If they do and fall 13 points behind the Blues, the Kop can kiss goodbye to their title hopes for another season.