Reuters Soccer Blog

World Soccer views and news

Have City knocked United off their perch?

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Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini was quick to say that his team’s 6-1 mauling of arch-rivals United meant little more than another three points in the bag, but the Italian must surely be hoping it could signal a shift in the balance of power.

Having knocked Liverpool off their perch when they won a record 19th league title last season, United now face the prospect of playing second fiddle to City in England and Manchester, should their heaviest defeat to their neighbours in 56 years prove to be more than just a temporary setback.

Ferguson and several pundits wasted no time in pointing out United were undone after central defender Jonny Evans was sent off for a professional foul early in the second half.

But City were already on top at that point and earned their extra man on the pitch by carving United open with a defence-splitting pass — which left Evans only with the alternative of letting Mario Balotelli run through on goal.

A great Milan derby but what about that red card?

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Sunday’s Milan derby had just about everything.

Red cards, controversies, a missed penalty, great play, Jose Mourinho his usual outlandish self and a another stunning Inter Milan performance (plus unused Inter substitute Marco Materazzi bizarrely walking around at full-time wearing a face mask of Silvio Berlusconi.)

For the leaders to beat their main title rivals 2-0 with nine men is just another example of the remarkable grit of Mourinho’s side.

UPDATE: Derby fever hits the predictions league

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Monday update: You would think 14 games into the season we would have learnt who was likely to beat who in the Premier League. Sadly not. I did OK for a change but only Martyn Herman really covered himself in glory with two five pointers for Villa 1-1 Spurs and Manchester City collecting yet another draw against Hull City.

But I wouldn’t celebrate like Jimmy Bullard just yet, Martyn, you’re still third bottom.

United beware: City look ready to make a lot more noise

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Rarely can a defeat, and such a heart-breaking one at that, have been greeted with so much enthusiasm by the losers as Manchester City’s 4-3 reverse at Old Trafford.

Sports professionals are forever banging on about “taking the positives” from setbacks but for everyone connected with City, their performance and the whole occasion on Sunday showed that they really will be a force to be reckoned with over the next few months and years.

Clever banners can’t hide Milan’s derby pain

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Nowhere in the world can match the San Siro for the array of banners unfurled by fans.

Before kick off in Sunday’s derby, the Inter and Milan ends were transformed into huge colourful patchworks and throughout the game various slogans were unveiled, some funny, some rude and some downright mysterious.

Mourinho v Ranieri is a veritable grudge match

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It’s hard to think of two coaches in the world with such an apparent dislike of one another as Inter’s Jose Mourinho and Juve’s Claudio Ranieri.

Even Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger have got on better of late and the only coach to have real gripes with new Argentina boss Diego Maradona is Scotland no. 2 Terry Butcher.

White-knuckle ride for white-shirted Bolton, Fulham and Derby

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Derby owners poseOne of the greatest things about Subbuteo, besides giving generations of kids endless table-topping fun, was the chance of studying the team colours chart.

Where else could you learn at a glance that your claret and blue squad could be either West Ham, Burnley or Aston Villa, or that Plymouth Argyle were the only team in the Football League to play in green shirts (as did amateur giants Hendon) and that Blackpool were unique for being the only team to play in tangerine.

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