Tag Archives: kolarov

Manchester City prepare to sell Edin Dzeko, Maicon and Joleon Lescott

Dzeko, Lescott and Maicon head for City exit as Mancini prepare fire sale to fund move for Fellaini

By
Sami Mokbel

PUBLISHED:

23:21 GMT, 21 February 2013

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UPDATED:

02:06 GMT, 22 February 2013

Manchester City want to significantly slash their wage bill this summer with a ruthless clear-out.

The current Barclays Premier League holders have already begun the process of making their salary expenditure more cost-effective from next season by instructing a number of third-parties to find buyers for a host of players this summer.

Newly-appointed director of football Txiki Begiristain and chief executive Ferran Soriano have made it a top priority to streamline the club’s wage bill.

On his way: 27m striker Edin Dzeko could be heading for the City exit

Under threat: Joleon Lescott has also fallen out of favour this season

Edin for the exit: Dzeko and Joleon Lescott are among those set to leave City this summer

Players City are committed to offloading this summer are Maicon, Joleon Lescott, Edin Dzeko and Scott Sinclair.

The futures of Gareth Barry, Javi Garcia, Aleksandar Kolarov and Samir Nasri are also under review ahead of the summer shake-up.

Furthermore, City will make an instant 15million annual saving once Roque Santa Cruz, Wayne Bridge and Kolo Toure’s contracts expire at the end of the season.

Samir Nasri

Gareth Barry

Disappointing: Samir Nasri has never justified his City salary, while Gareth Barry is rapidly declining

The Etihad Stadium club will also look to use their unwanted stars as makeweights in their attempts to sign fresh blood.

The imminent clear-out is, in part, to ensure the club fall into UEFA’s financial fair play guidelines, but also designed to give the club more leeway in terms of wages in the transfer market this summer.

City will look to make at least two significant purchases, with Napoli forward Edinson Cavani, who has a 52million release clause, already identified.

Targeted: Roberto Mancini hopes to recruit Marouane Fellaini

Targeted: Roberto Mancini hopes to recruit Marouane Fellaini

Manager Roberto Mancini will also look to add a box-to-box central midfielder to his ranks, with Everton’s Marouane Fellaini viewed as a leading candidate.

It is understood the Toffees are aware of City’s growing interest in the Belgium international, but are unwilling to make a decision on his future until the end of the season.

City would be willing to stretch to 23million to land Fellaini, who is also a long-term target for Chelsea, in the summer and have already earmarked young striker John Guidetti as a sweetener in the deal. Celtic midfielder Victor Wanyama is also a target for City.

Mario Balotelli hammers free-kick past Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta and Xavi… sort of

VIDEO: Balotelli hammers free-kick past Messi, Iniesta and Xavi in Barcelona wall… sort of

By
Lee Bryan

PUBLISHED:

11:22 GMT, 10 January 2013

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UPDATED:

11:22 GMT, 10 January 2013

Mario Balotelli knows how to liven up a Manchester City training session – he's had plenty of practice.

But it wasn't manager Roberto Mancini that the striker was trying to get the better of this time.

He shoots, he scores: Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli was impressive as he practised free-kicks

He shoots, he scores: Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli was impressive as he practised free-kicks

Balotelli brought in Lionel Messi as he lined up a free-kick during a dead-ball drill. He also had Messi's Barcelona team-mates Xavi and Andres Inietsa in the wall – although they looked very much like the the training-round dummies used by clubs up and down the country.

Balotelli can be heard giving the plastic figures the names of the Barca stars before slamming one into the top corner to put the cap on a fine exhibition of shooting.

Aleksandar Kolarov, Scott Sinclair and James Milner also impressed and you can watch them all in our clip below.

Aleksandar Kolarov allegedly involved in race row with fan during Newcastle game

Police to question City and Serbia ace Kolarov over claims racist language was used during spat with fan over Albania flag

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UPDATED:

00:11 GMT, 16 December 2012

Police are investigating an allegation of racist abuse after Manchester City star Aleksandar Kolarov became involved in a heated exchange with a spectator at St James' Park.

It is understood 27-year-old Serbia
international Kolarov became involved in a lengthy exchange with a
supporter carrying an Albania flag as he warmed up on the sideline
during the game.

Northumbria Police confirmed they had received a complaint in the wake of City's 3-1 Barclays Premier League victory at Newcastle.

A spokesman said: 'Northumbria Police has received a report of racist language having been used at the St James' Park stadium during the Newcastle United v Manchester City match today.

Flare up: Aleksandar Kolarov is believed to have been involved in a spat with fans

Flare up: Aleksandar Kolarov is believed to have been involved in a spat with fans

'Northumbria Police takes such allegations extremely seriously and enquiries are ongoing into the incident.'

Neither club was commenting on the matter, although it is understood that Kolarov will be spoken to by police next week.

There is a long history of tension between Serbia and Albania, particularly over the disputed Kosovo region.

Sent tumbling: Aleksandar Kolarov is bundled over by Danny Simpson

Sent tumbling: Aleksandar Kolarov is bundled over by Danny Simpson

Sea of blue: City fans lit a flare during the match

Sea of blue: City fans lit a flare during the match

The defender was introduced as a
37th-minute replacement for the injured Samir Nasri, but was also
substituted 18 minutes from time after picking up a knock.

In an unrelated incident this afternoon, it is believed a flare was thrown from the Manchester City section into the Newcastle end. No one was injured.

Sergio Aguero and Javi Garcia opened the scoring for City, handing the champions a two-goal cushion going into the break.

Demba Ba offered the home crowd hope when he put the ball beyond Joe Hart's reach after some slack defending from City.

But Yaya Toure, who netted a marvellous brace when City visited Tyneside late last season, cleverly prodded a Pablo Zabaleta cross through the legs of Tim Krul to wrap up all three points.

The alleged incident involving Kolarov comes less than a week after ugly scenes marred a scintillating Manchester derby on Sunday.

After Robin van Persie's late goal sealed victory for United at the Etihad, Rio Ferdinand was struck by a coin thrown from the City fans' section as he celebrated, which opened up a nasty-looking gash above the defender's left eye.

Another one: Yaya Toure scored City's third to seal the victory

Another one: Yaya Toure scored City's third to seal the victory

Too easy: Sergio Aguero knocked home a sumptuous ball from Samir Nasri

Too easy: Sergio Aguero knocked home a sumptuous ball from Samir Nasri

Aleksandar Kolarov and Mario Balotelli star in Manchester City Christmas video

Balotelli and Richards kick off City's Christmas celebrations… but
hard man Kolarov steals the show with stirring rendition of Jingle Bells

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UPDATED:

12:26 GMT, 4 December 2012

Manchester City have got in the festive spirit by releasing a series of Christmas videos involving their first-team squad.

The celebrations kicked off with a typically jovial Mario Balotelli playing around with Christmas crackers, while Micah Richards shared his festive memories with City's official website.

Scroll down to watch the videos

Hard man: Kolarov tried his best to get in the festive spirit

Hard man: Kolarov tried his best to get in the festive spirit

But it is Serbian defender Aleksandar Kolarov who provided the most hilarity with his dead-pan rendition of the Christmas carol 'Jingle Bells'.

An uncompromising player on the pitch, Kolarov shows no signs of a soft side off it as he narrates the song in a deadly serious tone.

As long as he is pitch perfect for Sunday's Manchester derby though, City fans will forgive him for his lack of enthusiasm.

Edin Dzeko urges patched up Manchester City to salvage Euro campaign

Dzeko urges patched up Man City to seize chance and rescue Euro campaign

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UPDATED:

10:08 GMT, 4 December 2012

Manchester City striker Edin Dzeko hopes the team can shrug off the absence of key players to salvage something from their dismal European campaign.

City cannot reach the Champions League knockout stages and have just a consolation spot in the Europa League to aim for as they head into their final Group D game against Borussia Dortmund.

Main man: City striker Edin Dzeko

Main man: City striker Edin Dzeko

The English champions need to win in Germany to have any chance of achieving even that and they must do so without the inspirational pair of Yaya Toure and David Silva.

Toure is taking an enforced break ahead of Sunday's eagerly-anticipated derby against Manchester United through suspension while playmaker Silva did not travel due to a hamstring injury.

Midfielder James Milner and left-backs Gael Clichy and Aleksandar Kolarov are also injured for the clash at the Westfalenstadion.

Dzeko said: 'We still have a chance to play in the Europa League.

'We will do our best to try to win because only if we win can we continue in the Europa League.

'It won't be easy and we have a few players missing but we will do our best because everything is possible in football.

'In the Champions League we didn't play like we wanted, I think in the Premier League we are playing very good.

City players on the pitch in Dortmund

Getting ready: City players on the pitch in Dortmund

Team photo: Maicon (right) takes a picture

Team photo: Maicon (right) takes a picture

'We haven't lost any games and I hope we will continue like that.

'If we can play in the Europa League that would be good for us.'

Silva could be doubtful for the United clash at the Etihad Stadium, when top spot in the Barclays Premier League as well as local pride will be at stake.

Manager Roberto Mancini said: 'We don't know if he can recover for the derby. We will try.'

While changes to the team are likely in Dortmund, Mancini insists the looming derby has not affected his preparations.

He said: 'We are a good team. We are a good club. We want to play well and try to win.

'We have brought here all the players that are available. The other players that stay at home are injured.

Upbeat: City boss Roberto Mancini

Upbeat: City boss Roberto Mancini

Bright sparks: Dortmund train in the dark

Under cover: Dortmund train in the dark

'The players that are here will do everything to win this game.

'It will be difficult because I think in this moment Borussia are one of the best teams in Europe.'

There is a feeling in some quarters that City might be better served in their title defence now by being out of Europe altogether.

Mancini acknowledges the second-tier competition would present difficulties but knows a good run in it could improve the club's ranking when it comes to seedings.

The Italian said: 'It could be difficult because in the Europa League you play Thursdays and you don't have a lot of days to recover for the Premier League, but we need to try to stay in Europa League.'

Manchester City 1 Everton 1: Roberto Mancini"s men frustrated as Marouane Fellaini hits the target again

Manchester City 1 Everton 1: Mancini's men frustrated by sticky Toffees as Fellaini hits the target again

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UPDATED:

17:34 GMT, 1 December 2012

Marouane Fellaini made significant contributions at both ends as Everton frustrated champions Manchester City yet again in the Barclays Premier League.

Fellaini headed the Toffees, victors in eight of their previous 10 clashes with City, into a first-half lead but then conceded a controversial penalty to allow Carlos Tevez to level.

Everton felt Edin Dzeko had gone to ground too easily to win the award but Tevez made no mistake and City went on to dominate the second half.

Back on terms: Carols Tevez celebrates the equaliser

Back on terms: Carols Tevez celebrates the equaliser

Match facts

Man City: Hart, Maicon, Kompany, Lescott, Kolarov (Zabaleta 7), Toure, Barry, Silva,Tevez (Aguero 68), Nasri, Dzeko (Balotelli 80). Subs Not Used: Pantilimon, Javi Garcia, Sinclair, Toure.

Yellow cards: Lescott, Zabaleta.

Scorer: Tevez 43 pen.

Everton: Howard, Hibbert, Jagielka, Distin, Baines, Gibson,Osman, Naismith (Oviedo 73), Fellaini, Pienaar,Jelavic (Heitinga 90). Subs Not Used: Mucha, Hitzlsperger, Gueye, Barkley, Vellios.

Yellow card: Fellaini.

Scorer: Fellaini 33.

Att: 47,386

Ref: Lee Probert (Wiltshire)

The latest Premier League table, fixtures and results

The result preserved City's unbeaten start to the season in the Premier League and prolonged their run of home games without defeat to 37, a sequence stretching back to a loss to Everton two years ago.

It was also Everton's seventh draw in their last nine games.

The match took some while to warm up and City suffered an early blow as Aleksandar Kolarov limped off after just six minutes.

Manager Roberto Mancini had opted to rest the hard-working Pablo Zabaleta but the in-form Argentinian was summoned from the bench straight away.

Joleon Lescott made an unexpected return to the side, to face his former club, in place of impressive youngster Matija Nastasic.

The England defender looked composed as he resumed his partnership with Vincent Kompany after more than a month out of the starting line-up.

Everton playmaker Leon Osman gave the City defence plenty to think about in the early stages without creating a clear-cut opening.

Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard had to pick himself up from a collision with Dzeko after coming to claim a cross from Maicon, who looked dangerous in attack but vulnerable in defence.

Calm customer: Carlos Tevez slots the penalty

Calm customer: Carlos Tevez slots the penalty

City threatened the Everton goal in the 20th minute when David Silva crossed and Dzeko headed wide.

Tevez controlled well in the area but was unable to shoot and Dzeko inadvertently took the full force of a Samir Nasri shot in the back of his head.

Everton's 33rd-minute opener came in familiar fashion as the ever-dangerous Leighton Baines, who passed a fitness test to feature, crossed and Fellaini eventually headed in.

Main man: Marouane Fellaini scores for Everton

Main man: Marouane Fellaini scores for Everton

Kompany did well to divert the cross away from Nikica Jelavic but it dropped for Fellaini, who headed home at the second attempt at the far post after Joe Hart saved his initial effort.

It was the Belgian's eighth goal of an impressive season.

Out in front: Marouane Fellaini celebrates yet another goal

Out in front: Marouane Fellaini celebrates yet another goal

That brought the game to life and City almost found an immediate equaliser as Tevez met a Nasri cross with a deft header that Howard did well to save.

Gareth Barry then chested down another Nasri cross for Dzeko to turn and shoot but again Howard was alert.

Controversy followed the resulting corner as Dzeko tangled with Fellaini and went to ground. Referee Lee Probert sparked immediate protest from Everton by pointing to the spot and Toffees manager David Moyes clearly thought the award was harsh.

Having words: Everton players protest against the penalty award

Having words: Everton players protest against the penalty award

Tevez made no mistake as he stepped up to tuck home his eighth of the campaign.

Whether or not Fellaini was unfairly penalised, he almost produced the perfect response in the final moments of the first half with a glancing header from a Steven Pienaar cross, but Hart saved.

That proved the final on-field action before the players left the field but Moyes continued to voice his frustration, presumably about the penalty decision, to the fourth official.

Rough and tumble: Steven Pienaar goes down under a challenge from Manchester City's Joleon Lescott

Rough and tumble: Steven Pienaar goes down under a challenge from Manchester City's Joleon Lescott

City upped the tempo at the start of the second half but again it took time before the chances came, aside from a Tevez shot which was blocked by Phil Jagielka.

Tevez almost broke away after a miskick by Distin but the defender recovered quickly to nick the ball away from the striker. Tevez also headed over but it was not until just after the hour that City seriously threatened again as Maicon burst down the field and forced Howard to parry a powerful 18-yard drive.

No joy: Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini reacts

No joy: Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini reacts

City decided to freshen up their attack by sending on Sergio Aguero, but the crowd were not happy that it was Tevez he replaced and boos rang around the ground.

The game became scrappy as Everton's hard-working defence did their best to repel City's threat.

Mario Balotelli also entered the action for the last 10 minutes in place of Dzeko and did inject a bit of energy into the side.

Eight up: Marouane Fellaini scores

Eight up: Marouane Fellaini scores

His first chance to aim at goal, however, was probably best forgotten as he screwed a shot well wide. Nasri then combined well with Silva in the area but could only win a corner.

Everton went close in injury time from a Jelavic free-kick but Hart saved and the ball squirmed wide.

Manchester United or Manchester City will win title: Chelsea in freefall, Arsenal can"t get it right

Give the title to Manchester now! Chelsea are in freefall, Arsenal can't seem to get it right… so who CAN stop the red and blue corner from fighting it out at the top of the Premier League title

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UPDATED:

15:30 GMT, 29 November 2012

Take your pick, blue or red, the title is going back to Manchester.

While the rest of the Barclays Premier League flounders and flaps beneath them, champions Manchester City and their city rivals United continue to flourish. Chelsea are in disarray, Arsenal are nowhere near again, and the rest are only good enough to challenge for fifth.

The 2012/13 season is a two-horse race.

That's why we're champions: Mario Balotelli celebrates Manchester City's win at Wigan on Wednesday

That's why we're champions: Mario Balotelli celebrates Manchester City's win at Wigan on Wednesday

All too easy: Robin Van Persie and Wayne Rooney enjoy Manchester United's win over West Ham

All too easy: Robin Van Persie and Wayne Rooney enjoy Manchester United's win over West Ham

Next weekend’s showdown at the Etihad Stadium will of course not decide the outcome of the title race but it will give the victors a substantial advantage going into the Christmas programme.

The rest of them will merely have a say in the destination of the trophy by taking points off the Manchester giants. They can forget about winning it.

The fixtures that will decide the title

Sunday December 9:
Manchester City v Manchester United
1:30pm KO

Saturday April 6*:
Manchester United v Manchester City
3pm KO

*Date subject to change

Fourteen games into the campaign and City remain the only unbeaten team in the land.

Roberto Mancini’s tinkering may be perplexing at times, but the Italian is getting away with it at the moment. And City look invincible at home.

Take his substitution at Wigan last night. City fans were scratching their heads when the City boss gave striker Sergio Aguero the hook and sent on Aleksandar Kolarov in his place, leaving Mario Balotelli to plough a potentially lonely furrow as the spearhead of City’s attack. Within seconds, the Italian striker had scored his first of the season and City were on their way to their ninth league win, which leaves them just a point behind United.

There is talk that Mancini will not
be strengthening his squad in January’s transfer window. But he has the
resources should he decide to do so, as do United.

But
if he can leave Carlos Tevez, Edin Dzeko and Scott Sincalir unemployed,
as he did at the DW Stadium last night, why splash the cash
unnecessarily

Not good enough: Fernando Torres and Chelsea are in disarray under interim manager Rafa Benitez

Not good enough: Fernando Torres and Chelsea are in disarray under interim manager Rafa Benitez

In form: Theo Walcott

In form: Gareth Bale

In form: But despite Theo Walcott and Gareth Bale, neither Arsenal or Spurs are good enough to win the title

The riches he can turn to, and the ability of the likes of James Milner and Dzeko to vent their frustration on opponents is one of City’s primary strengths. And it’s matched only by their great rivals.

The impact Robin van Persie has made at Old Trafford does not come as a great surprise.

The former Arsenal striker’s 31 second blast against West Ham was his 12th already in a United shirt, and his 105th in the Premier League since he moved from Feyenoord eight years ago.

And his partnership with Wayne Rooney has barely started to register yet as Sir Alex Ferguson tries to find the right formula to make them the deadliest duo in the league.

United are not playing that well. They have been behind in nine of their league encounters so far and although van Persie’s early opener gave them the cushion required against Sam Allardyce’s side, they were never completely comfortable, even on home territory.

But they have already established that healthy champions’ habit of wining matches when they are not firing on all cylinders, a trait which has proved so useful to Ferguson’s teams over the years.

It is all new to City, as is defending your title. And if they can’t do that efficiently over the next six months, starting with United’s visit on December 9, they will be handing the coveted title back to Sir Alex in May.

AND WHO COULD FORGET WHAT HAPPENED IN LAST YEAR'S EPIC MANCHESTER DERBIES

Why always him Mario Balotelli's double at Old Trafford last October inspired City to an incredible 6-1 win

Why always him Mario Balotelli's double at Old Trafford last October inspired City to an incredible 6-1 win

Noisy neighbours: Vincent Kompany screams with delight after heading the winner at the Etihad Stadium in April

Noisy neighbours: Vincent Kompany screams with delight after heading the winner at the Etihad in April

Blue Moon rising: The two derby victories proved crucial as City won the title on goal difference

Blue Moon rising: The two derby victories proved crucial as City won the title on goal difference

Manchester United OR City will win Premier League title… and derby is around the corner

It's not yet December and there's plenty more twists and turns to come… but the title IS going back to Manchester (now start the real battle between United and City)

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UPDATED:

13:51 GMT, 29 November 2012

Take your pick, blue or red, the title is going back to Manchester.

While the rest of the Barclays Premier League flounders and flaps beneath them, champions Manchester City and their city rivals United continue to flourish. Chelsea are in disarray, Arsenal are nowhere near again, and the rest are only good enough to challenge for fifth.

The 2012/13 season is a two-horse race.

That's why we're champions: Mario Balotelli celebrates Manchester City's win at Wigan on Wednesday

That's why we're champions: Mario Balotelli celebrates Manchester City's win at Wigan on Wednesday

All too easy: Robin Van Persie and Wayne Rooney enjoy Manchester United's win over West Ham

All too easy: Robin Van Persie and Wayne Rooney enjoy Manchester United's win over West Ham

Next weekend’s showdown at the Etihad Stadium will of course not decide the outcome of the title race but it will give the victors a substantial advantage going into the Christmas programme.

The rest of them will merely have a say in the destination of the trophy by taking points off the Manchester giants. They can forget about winning it.

The fixtures that will decide the title

Sunday December 9:
Manchester City v Manchester United
1:30pm KO

Saturday April 6*:
Manchester United v Manchester City
3pm KO

*Date subject to change

Fourteen games into the campaign and City remain the only unbeaten team in the land.

Roberto Mancini’s tinkering may be perplexing at times, but the Italian is getting away with it at the moment. And City look invincible at home.

Take his substitution at Wigan last night. City fans were scratching their heads when the City boss gave striker Sergio Aguero the hook and sent on Aleksandar Kolarov in his place, leaving Mario Balotelli to plough a potentially lonely furrow as the spearhead of City’s attack. Within seconds, the Italian striker had scored his first of the season and City were on their way to their ninth league win, which leaves them just a point behind United.

There is talk that Mancini will not
be strengthening his squad in January’s transfer window. But he has the
resources should he decide to do so, as do United.

But
if he can leave Carlos Tevez, Edin Dzeko and Scott Sincalir unemployed,
as he did at the DW Stadium last night, why splash the cash
unnecessarily

Not good enough: Fernando Torres and Chelsea are in disarray under interim manager Rafa Benitez

Not good enough: Fernando Torres and Chelsea are in disarray under interim manager Rafa Benitez

In form: Theo Walcott

In form: Gareth Bale

In form: But despite Theo Walcott and Gareth Bale, neither Arsenal or Spurs are good enough to win the title

The riches he can turn to, and the ability of the likes of James Milner and Dzeko to vent their frustration on opponents is one of City’s primary strengths. And it’s matched only by their great rivals.

The impact Robin van Persie has made at Old Trafford does not come as a great surprise.

The former Arsenal striker’s 31 second blast against West Ham was his 12th already in a United shirt, and his 105th in the Premier League since he moved from Feyenoord eight years ago.

And his partnership with Wayne Rooney has barely started to register yet as Sir Alex Ferguson tries to find the right formula to make them the deadliest duo in the league.

United are not playing that well. They have been behind in nine of their league encounters so far and although van Persie’s early opener gave them the cushion required against Sam Allardyce’s side, they were never completely comfortable, even on home territory.

But they have already established that healthy champions’ habit of wining matches when they are not firing on all cylinders, a trait which has proved so useful to Ferguson’s teams over the years.

It is all new to City, as is defending your title. And if they can’t do that efficiently over the next six months, starting with United’s visit on December 9, they will be handing the coveted title back to Sir Alex in May.

AND WHO COULD FORGET WHAT HAPPENED IN LAST YEAR'S EPIC MANCHESTER DERBIES

Why always him Mario Balotelli's double at Old Trafford last October inspired City to an incredible 6-1 win

Why always him Mario Balotelli's double at Old Trafford last October inspired City to an incredible 6-1 win

Noisy neighbours: Vincent Kompany screams with delight after heading the winner at the Etihad Stadium in April

Noisy neighbours: Vincent Kompany screams with delight after heading the winner at the Etihad in April

Blue Moon rising: The two derby victories proved crucial as City won the title on goal difference

Blue Moon rising: The two derby victories proved crucial as City won the title on goal difference

Chelsea 0 Manchester City 0 – match report

Chelsea 0 Manchester City 0: Poisonous welcome for Benitez as Torres draws blank

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UPDATED:

00:45 GMT, 26 November 2012

Dave Sexton, a good man, a fine coach and a servant of Chelsea to the last. Just when the mood at Stamford Bridge threatened to turn thoroughly poisonous, it was only the sad news of his passing at the age of 82 that restored calm.

Normally, a new manager, even an interim, would be paraded on the pitch to greet the supporters before the game. No doubt predicting jeers, there was no such ceremony for Rafael Benitez.

His appointment has been greeted with hostility around these parts and, while Benitez stayed in the safety of the bench area, the pre-match announcer cannot have whipped with greater speed through his name.

Unpopular: Rafa Benitez was taking charge of Chelsea for the first time since Roberto Di Matteo's sacking

Unpopular: Rafa Benitez was taking charge of Chelsea for the first time since Roberto Di Matteo's sacking

Unpopular: Benitez was taking charge of Chelsea for the first time following Roberto Di Matteo's sacking

MATCH FACTS

CHELSEA: Cech, Azpilicueta, Ivanovic, Luiz, Cole,
Ramires, Mikel (Romeu 79), Oscar, Mata, Hazard (Moses 71), Torres. Subs
Not Used: Turnbull, Ferreira, Marin, Cahill, Bertrand.

MAN CITY: Hart, Zabaleta, Nastasic, Kompany,
Kolarov, Silva, Toure, Barry, Dzeko (Tevez 69), Aguero (Balotelli 86),
Milner. Subs Not Used: Pantilimon, Maicon, Nasri, Javi Garcia, Toure.

Booked: Zabaleta, Kolarov, Balotelli.

Attendance: 41,792

Referee: Chris Foy (Merseyside).

This was the first match of new manager ‘Rafabenitez’, he garbled, without a pause in which fans could voice their opinion. They did so anyway, boos replacing the traditional fanfare.

'Ladies and gentlemen,’ said the announcer, struggling to be heard. ‘Please, ladies and gentlemen.’ He asked for quiet maybe five times before hurrying out the news of Sexton’s death, with the minute of applause to follow. He sounded desperate.

How long the opprobrium would have lasted had there not been a handy tragedy to restore order, who knows Even the sombre atmosphere did not stem the chants for deposed manager Roberto Di Matteo or prevent a show of support for him on 16 minutes, his shirt number here.

Frustrations: Fernando Torres endured another difficult day, with Vincent Kompany looking after him

Frustrations: Fernando Torres endured another difficult day, with Vincent Kompany looking after him

Frustrations: Fernando Torres endured another difficult day, with Vincent Kompany looking after him
TORRES WATCH

BODY LANGUAGE
Torres had been all smiles during the warm-up and was quickly looking for possession. However, following a couple of poor early touches, that confidence quickly drained and never looked like it would come back today.

Torres' afternoon was summed up by the expression when picking himself off the floor after being barged out of possession by City captain Vincent Kompany in the closing stages.

MOVEMENT
The Chelsea frontman covered plenty of ground, but often ran into spaces where the ball did not follow. When he did get a pass into feet at the edge of the City penalty area, Torres was slow to turn and soon hounded out.

LINK-UP
Far too often, Chelsea looked to hit Torres with a long ball, bypassing midfield. When Juan Mata or Eden Hazard did get involved, they were more often than not on a different wavelength to the No 9, who spent most of the second half working the channels.

FINISHING
Torres was given little opportunity in front of goal in the first half, as Kompany kept him in close quarters. Just after the hour, he linked up well with Mata and Hazard for an opening, but blazed his shot over the crossbar.

Benitez has a thick skin, say those
who know him. He will need it. Whether his players have thick skins too
is debatable, but they will need to be equally resilient unless results
improve.

A dry spell tolerated when local hero — and Champions League winner, never forget — Di Matteo was in charge will now be met with fury under Benitez. The pressure at Chelsea has multiplied overnight with his arrival. Yesterday’s goalless draw with the champions was a fair result, but greeted with disinterest.

Roberto Mancini said the only way Benitez could be loved here would be to ‘win, win, win, win, win’, but that might not be enough, either. The best he can hope for is a grudging respect.

Booing a manager into a job does seem faintly ridiculous. It happened to Gary Megson at Bolton Wanderers, too. Yet the club were bottom of the Premier League when he arrived and finished 16th that season and 13th the year after. The supporters never took to him and he left during his third campaign amid another relegation battle, but he did a better job than expected; Benitez might, too.

His problem is that the very nature of his appointment — interim manager — marks him out as a stop-gap, a temp. The fans have no imperative to learn to love him and nor do the team. A player who does not enjoy Benitez’s methods can simply wait him out and hope he has a better relationship with his successor.

Trickster: The likes of Oscar and Juan Mata struggled to impress their new manager

Trickster: The likes of Oscar and Juan Mata struggled to impress their new manager

Trickster: The likes of Oscar and Juan Mata struggled to impress their new manager

A clean sheet, the first in the league since September 22, was the best of it for Benitez against a Manchester City side that tried Sergio Aguero, Edin Dzeko,

Carlos Tevez and even Mario Balotelli for six minutes (during which time he picked up another preposterous yellow card from referee Chris Foy for simulation after running into David Luiz).

The disappointment was that Chelsea had just one shot on goal in a home game. It is the first time they have failed to score here since May 2, against Newcastle United. The time before was March 24. Chelsea do not draw blanks here very often.

Try as he might: Benitez was animated throughout on the touchline, but couldn't inspire

Try as he might: Benitez was animated throughout on the touchline, but couldn't inspire

If Benitez has been hired to work magic on Fernando Torres, it was more like pulling teeth than producing a rabbit from a hat. Liverpool failed to score in his last two games there, too.

Torres hurried, scurried, but was too often beaten off the ball by City’s back line, with Vincent Kompany outstanding. Torres had a couple of bursts but was quickly reined in, and one shot with his unfavoured left foot that flew over from close range. He should have done better. You might have heard that before.

For City, this was two points lost. Chelsea are a very different side to the one that lost to Manchester United with Mark Clattenburg’s aid on October 28. Chelsea looked strong that day. Yesterday, they were damaged goods.

Rough and ready: Chelsea's defence were well-drilled, keeping City's attacking talent at bay

Rough and ready: Chelsea's defence were well-drilled, keeping City's attacking talent at bay

The fluid players expensively
assembled over two summers — Oscar, Eden Hazard, Juan Mata — now appear
unsure of their roles. Mata was played very wide to better supply Torres
(left), but only shone in the second half when he appeared to drift off
message. Hazard was substituted early, a shadow of his early-season
self.

His replacement, Victor Moses, set up
Chelsea’s best chance, a fierce shot from Ashley Cole that Joe Hart
tipped over, although he got no credit from Foy, who awarded a goal
kick. On the plus side, Benitez seems to have instilled greater
discipline in Luiz but it would be hard to instil less. Luiz recovered
from an early mistake — Cole rescued him by blocking a shot from Pablo
Zabaleta — to come on to a decent game.

City dominated the first half and
created good chances for David Silva (header, over), Zabaleta (one-two
with Dzeko, shot saved) and Aguero (poor header, straight at Petr Cech)
before half-time, after which Chelsea showed greater initiative.

Rough and ready: Chelsea's defence were well-drilled, keeping City's attacking talent at bay

Only late did City come again, a Dzeko cross intercepted by Cole by the line, one from Tevez that appeared to surprise Cech as he tipped round. In the last minute, Matija Nastasic rose to meet a corner from Silva, Cech doing well to keep out his header.

Benitez shrugged off his reception by claiming he did not understand some of the chants. He would have to be a fool, though — and he is not — to fail to get the gist. Wednesday brings Fulham to Stamford Bridge and, if Chelsea cannot win, not even the late, gentle Sexton will be able to shield him from the full force of public opinion.

Chelsea

VIDEO: GRAHAM CHADWICK'S PICTURES FROM CHELSEA V MANCHESTER CITY

Manchester City 5 Aston Villa 0 match report:

Manchester City 5 Aston Villa 0: Brilliant Aguero, Tevez and Silva brush visitors aside

PUBLISHED:

16:50 GMT, 17 November 2012

|

UPDATED:

17:16 GMT, 17 November 2012

Sergio Aguero and Carlos Tevez each struck twice as Manchester City fired a warning to their critics with an emphatic win over Aston Villa.

The Barclays Premier League champions went ahead through David Silva at the Etihad Stadium and then clicked into gear after being awarded a controversial penalty early in the second half.

Aguero struck from the spot and added another while Tevez, who celebrated by pretending to drive after his Porsche was impounded by police, added his own penalty and a close-range finish.

Up you get: David Silva (left) celebrates with Carlos Tevez (right) after the goal

Up you get: David Silva (left) celebrates with Carlos Tevez (right) after the goal

MATCH FACTS

Manchester City: Hart, Maicon, Kompany, Clichy (Kolarov 73), Nastasic, Nasri, Barry, Silva (Sinclair 76), Y Toure, Aguero (Dzeko 69), Tevez

Subs not used: Pantilimon, Zabaleta, Lescott, Sinclair, Garcia

Goals: Silva 43, Aguero 54 pen, 67, Tevez 65 pen, 74

Aston Villa: Guzan, Vlaar, Clark, Stevens, Lowton, Ireland (Albrighton 62), Westwood, Bannan, Agbonlahor, Benteke (Bowery 83), Weimann (Holman 62),

Subs not used: Given, Baker, El Ahmadi, Delph

Booked: Bannan

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Villa may rue the decision which led
to City's second, apparently given for handball against Andreas Weimann,
but they were well beaten in the end.

The performance of City in the latter
stages, particularly that of Aguero and Tevez, took the talk away from
the absence of Mario Balotelli.

The Italian, who played in Italy's
friendly against France on Wednesday, did not even make the bench for
his club side for a second successive week, although the striker was
reportedly injured.

City controlled the early stages but
did not create a serious chance aside from a scuffed Aguero shot which
bounced awkwardly and Tevez headed over.

Maicon, initially seeing plenty of the
ball after being preferred to Pablo Zabaleta, also found space to shoot
but his effort went well wide.

After seeing very little of the ball,
Villa finally launched a significant attack in the 12th minute but
Vincent Kompany blocked a shot from Christian Benteke.

Dynamic duo: Tevez's Argentina team-mate Sergio Aguero also got in on the act

Dynamic duo: Tevez's Argentina team-mate Sergio Aguero also got in on the act

Class act: David Silva scored on the stroke of half-time to get the ball rolling for City

Class act: David Silva scored on the stroke of half-time to get the ball rolling for City

Quids in! Tevez scored two on the day, including one from the spot

Quids in! Tevez scored two on the day, including one from the spot

City goalkeeper Joe Hart's form may
have been under scrutiny of late but there was nothing wrong with his
reflexes as Kompany almost sliced a Matt Lowton cross into his own net.

Hart reacted brilliantly to produce a
one-handed save and Kompany recovered to block Weimann's follow-up
attempt, although a flag had been raised.

Hart then showed all of his class to
keep out a header from Benteke after the Belgian outjumped Matija
Nastasic to reach an Enda Stevens cross.

City interrupted Villa's good spell as
Yaya Toure drove forward and Samir Nasri teed up Gael Clichy but Brad
Guzan was equal to the Frenchman's shot.

At the other end Maicon then got in the way of a Gabriel Agbonlahor shot but City then began to reassert themselves.

Ron Vlaar blocked from Toure, Tevez dragged an effort wide and Nasri shot straight at Guzan.

Toure missed the target with a header
from a Nasri corner and Guzan kept out a low attempt from Tevez that
appeared destined for the bottom corner.

There was little quality about City's opener when it arrived two minutes before the interval.

Dominated: Yaya Toure (left) bossed the midfield for Manchester City

Dominated: Yaya Toure (left) bossed the midfield for Manchester City

You again: Edin Dzeko (right) replaced Aguero, but was unable to grab a customary goal

You again: Edin Dzeko (right) replaced Aguero, but was unable to grab a customary goal

Villa failed to deal with a Nasri
corner but Tevez could not connect properly with a shot. The ball
bobbled dangerously inside the goal area and Silva reacted quickest to
tuck home from close range.

Silva almost added a second before the break but Guzan saved with his feet.

City started the second half brightly, with Tevez shooting across goal and Silva playing in Aguero with a fine ball.

Aguero shaped to shoot but was perhaps punished for a split-second's hesitation as Vlaar denied him with a fine tackle.

Aguero was not to be denied for long
but plenty of controversy surrounded his penalty as the assistant
referee flagged for an offence as Silva swung in a corner.

What it was awarded for was not immediately apparent, not least to the majority of the Villa team who surrounded the officials.

Brazilian connection: Maicon (left) chases Gabby Agbonlahor (right)

Brazilian connection: Maicon (left) chases Gabby Agbonlahor (right)

Sneaking it in: Aguero's deflected shot left Guzan stranded before it hit the back of the net

Sneaking it in: Aguero's deflected shot left Guzan stranded before it hit the back of the net

Job done: Tevez, Silva and Samir Nasri celebrate when City were well on their way to victory

Job done: Tevez, Silva and Samir Nasri celebrate when City were well on their way to victory

Replays suggested Weimann may have handled the cross but the debate continued long after Aguero had dispatched the spot-kick.

Villa felt wronged and were unable to recover.

There was little debate over the second penalty they conceded for handball as Barry Bannan was penalised after 65 minutes.

Tevez sent Guzan the wrong way and ran off pretending to be at the wheel of a car.

No chance: Aguero rifled his penalty past Brad Guzan

No chance: Aguero rifled his penalty past Brad Guzan

Are you kidding Andreas Weimann and Barry Bannan were incredulous after Jonathan Moss gave the first penalty

Are you kidding Andreas Weimann and Barry Bannan were incredulous after Jonathan Moss gave the first penalty

Things got worse almost immediately
for Villa as Hart launched a counter-attack and Aguero burst into the
area and finished inside the near post from a tight angle.

It proved his last involvement as Edin
Dzeko came off the bench and the Bosnian was soon in the action as City
piled on the misery for the visitors.

Dzeko found Nasri and the Frenchman's
ball across the area was tapped in from six yards by Tevez, who repeated
his earlier car celebration.

Villa were well beaten but City
continued to press for a sixth and substitute Scott Sinclair twice
narrowly missed the target in a strong finish.