Tag Archives: speaking

Southampton v Everton live

PREMIER LEAGUE LIVE: Southampton v Everton – as it happens from St Mary's

By
Joe Ridge

PUBLISHED:

04:00 GMT, 21 January 2013

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UPDATED:

20:05 GMT, 21 January 2013

Follow Sportsmail's coverage of the Barclays Premier League as Southampton host Everton at St Mary's to wrap up the weekend's fixtures. It's Mauricio Pochettino's first game in charge as Saints boss following the brutal sacking of Nigel Adkins and he faces a tough test with the Champions League chasing Toffees visiting the south coast.

Southampton 0 Everton 0

Southampton: Boruc; Clyne, Yoshida, Hooiveld, Shaw; Schneiderlin, Cork; Puncheon, Ramirez, Guly; Lambert.

Subs: K Davis, Richardson, Fox, S Davis, Chaplow, De Ridder, Rodriguez.

Everton: Howard; Coleman, Jagielka, Distin, Baines; Naismith, Neville, Osman, Pienaar; Fellaini; Jelavic.

Subs: Mucha, Duffy, Heitinga, Oviedo, Hitzlsperger, Mirallas, Anichebe.

4 mins: Close! Jagielka is inches away from turning the ball into his own net after Lambert breaks clear down the right and drills the ball across goal looking fro Guly at the back post.

3 mins: Plenty of early possession for Southampton who, as expected, start with Puncheon on the right, Guly on the left and Ramirez in the hole.

8.00pm: Chants of 'one Nigel Adkins' can be heard ringing around St Mary's at kick-off…

7.58pm: The players are out on the pitch and we're ready to go… No particularly loud booing can be heard though there's plenty of those white hankies around.

7.52pm: There are hordes of cameramen awaiting Pochettino's appearance through the tunnel… We're told there's plenty of Argentine journalists present at St Mary's too.

7.44pm: Southampton fans are planning on waving white handkerchiefs tonight in protest to owner Nicola Cortese's decision to appoint Pochettino. (White hankies are often waved to protest in Spanish-speaking countries by the way, the Saints faithful aren't going mad).

Gone but not forgotten: Ex-Southampton manager Nigel Adkins

Gone but not forgotten: Ex-Southampton manager Nigel Adkins

7.36pm: Everton boss David Moyes has just criticised Southampton's decision to sack Adkins in his pre-match interview. 'He's earned the right to be here,' said the Scot. 'I'm disappointed for Nigel and I would have liked to have seen him here tonight.'

7.30pm: So, Pochettino has brought back the big guns in Ramirez and Lambert – who were rested by his predecessor Nigel Adkins for the trip to Chelsea. You get the feeling Argentine knows he needs at least a point tonight otherwise the fans will be on his back straight away.

7.21pm: Everton make just one change from the side that drew 0-0 at home to Swansea with Steven Naismith coming in for Victor Anichebe.

7.20pm: The teams are in and Pochettino has made two changes from the team that started the 2-2 draw at Chelsea, with Rickie Lambert and Gaston Ramirez coming in for Steven Davis and Jay Rodriguez.

7.10pm: Good evening everyone and welcome to Sportsmail's live coverage of Southampton versus Everton in the Barclays Premier League. Tonight, of course, is the first game of Mauricio Pochettino's reign at Southampton. He's just given an interview to Sky Sports in Spanish through an interpreter … which I have to admit was rather surreal to witness following on from Nigel Adkins.

Going for the double: Everton defeated Southampton 3-1 at Goodison Park earlier in the season

Going for the double: Everton defeated Southampton 3-1 at Goodison Park earlier in the season

Fabio Capello booked to address the Cambridge Union

Capello is returning to England… but only to address the Cambridge Union

By
Liv Lee

PUBLISHED:

13:08 GMT, 12 January 2013

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UPDATED:

13:19 GMT, 12 January 2013

Ex-England manager Fabio Capello is probably more used to team talks than public speaking, but he will be making his best attempt when he addresses the Cambridge Union at the end of February.

The Italian is booked to appear at the historical debating society, which has hosted sporting names such as Lord Coe is the past.

Capello will be in good company, with the Dalai Lama, Winston Churchill, Ronald Reagan, Ian McKellen and Clint Eastwood all having made appearances.

Fabio Capello will address the Union at the end of February

Returning: The ex-England manager will address the Union at the end of February

The manager walked away from the England job after John Terry was
stripped of his captaincy by the FA in February last year, and since
then has been working with the Russian national team.

They are currently fighting for qualification for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

England rugby international James Haskell is also set to address the students of Cambridge this month.

Paul Gascoigne to attend Lazio v Tottenham

Gazza set to travel to Rome to watch former sides Lazio and Spurs in Europa League clash

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UPDATED:

19:10 GMT, 20 November 2012

Paul Gascoigne will now attend Tottenham's Europa League game against Lazio, the agent of the former England star confirmed on Tuesday.

Gascoigne became a cult hero at Spurs after four successful years at White Hart Lane and he then went on to achieve similar status at Lazio after moving to the Italian capital in 1992.

The affection with which he is remembered by the Italian club prompted their general manager Maurizio Manzini to immediately invite the 45-year-old to this Thursday's encounter between the two sides when they were drawn together in Group J in August.

Legend: Gascoigne at Lazio (above) and at Tottenham (below)

Legend: Gascoigne at Lazio (above) and at Tottenham (below)

Legend: Gascoigne at Lazio (above) and at Tottenham (below)

Gascoigne looked set to miss the game after being booked to speak at an event in Eastleigh on Friday night.

But the former midfielder has now
accepted the offer of a ticket to the match and will defy his fear of
flying to catch a plane to the Italian city on Thursday before coming
back the morning after the fixture so he can fulfil his speaking
engagement.

Gascoigne's agent Terry Baker said:
'Paul will now go to the Lazio game. He is looking forward to seeing the
fans because he has a great affection for them.'

Rare sighting: Gascoigne appears on TV back in May of this year

Rare sighting: Gascoigne appears on TV back in May of this year

Gascoigne declined an invite to September's reverse fixture at White Hart Lane due to 'personal reasons'.

Gascoigne, who played 57 times for his country, was regarded as the most skilful English player of his generation.

Remember this Gascoigne volleys home as England beat Scotland at Euro 96

Remember this Gascoigne volleys home as England beat Scotland at Euro 96

Remember this Gascoigne volleys home as England beat Scotland at Euro 96

The former Newcastle and Rangers star
has struggled to deal with alcohol problems since retirement but Baker
says Gascoigne is in good shape thanks to a rigorous exercise routine
that sees him spend two hours per day in the gym.

Mark Clattenburg uncomfortable with Chelsea players" visit

Race-row ref Clattenburg was 'uncomfortable' over Chelsea's visit to officials' room

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UPDATED:

23:53 GMT, 3 November 2012

Referee Mark Clattenburg’s report on last Sunday’s clashes at Stamford Bridge — when he was accused of racially abusing Chelsea’s John Obi Mikel by calling him ‘monkey’ — will centre on the visit Chelsea employees and players made to the officials’ room after the match.

And sources claim that the ‘extraordinary incident’ report will suggest Clattenburg was uncomfortable with what happened during that visit.

Contrary to some reports, Chelsea chief executive Ron Gourlay is understood to have played no part in confronting Clattenburg after the 3-2 defeat by Manchester United. One well-placed source claims that Gourlay actually ushered Chelsea personnel away from the officials’ room.

Claim: Mark Clattenburg allegedly racially abused Jon Obi Mikel (centre)

Claim: Mark Clattenburg allegedly racially abused Jon Obi Mikel (centre)

Clattenburg is the subject of ongoing
investigations by the Football Association and police into the racial
abuse accusation, which the 37-year-old has privately denied. He faces
the possibility of an FA charge, criminal action and the end of his
refereeing career.

But the possibility also remains that one or more
Chelsea employee could face FA action for their part in confronting the
referee. It is understood that statements from assistant referees Simon Long and Michael McDonough and fourth official Mike Jones will support Clattenburg’s assertion that he made no racially abusive remarks.

All three were able to hear and speak to Clattenburg throughout the game using an earpiece system which provides digital quality sound that cuts out background noise.

Flashpoint: Clattenburg sent off Fernando Torres

Flashpoint: Clattenburg sent off Fernando Torres

Chelsea have not disputed the fact that Mikel heard the claim he had been abused by Clattenburg only after the match when he was told by non-English-speaking team-mate Ramires.

His version of the exchange was translated from his native Portuguese by his Brazilian team-mate David Luiz. United’s players have been asked by the club whether they heard any abusive comments by Clattenburg during the match and none reported anything untoward.

United are particularly sensitive to the issue of racism after Patrice Evra’s experience in the Luis Suarez case and the John Terry affair involving Rio Ferdinand’s brother Anton.

Evidence is still being gathered in the latest case, but it is expected that the FA will have a clear picture of what happened within days and may be in a position to announce whether any individuals will face disciplinary charges by the end of the week.

No decision has been made over when Clattenburg can return to work. The final say rests with the match officials’ controlling body — the PGMOL.

Chelsea are also under investigation because of the behaviour of their fans at last weekend’s match. Further action against the club could result from their failure to keep sections of the crowd under control after coins, lighters and a seat were thrown onto the pitch during the game.

The club have been further embarrassed by photographs of Chelsea fan Gavin Kirkham apparently making monkey gestures towards United striker Danny Welbeck in the return Capital One Cup game last Wednesday.

Unacceptable: Gavin Kirkham appears to make a 'monkey' gesture

Unacceptable: Gavin Kirkham appears to make a 'monkey' gesture

Clattenburg has received staunch support from United manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

On Friday the United boss said he did not believe Clattenburg had made a racist remark. In his programme notes on Saturday, he added: ‘I felt every sympathy for Mark Clattenburg last Sunday. He was pilloried and didn’t deserve it. The officials made two mistakes — one that went against us and one that did us a huge favour — and I don’t hold either error against them.

‘I would have thought Chelsea would have been grateful to the referee rather than going on to give him a hard time.’

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer closer to Bolton job

Man United legend Solskjaer in the frame for Bolton job after skipping talk in London

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UPDATED:

06:51 GMT, 12 October 2012

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer mysteriously went to ground after emerging as Bolton’s first-choice to become their new manager.

Bolton chairman Phil Gartside was in London when Solskjaer pulled out of a speaking engagement at the Leaders in Football conference at Stamford Bridge.

The Molde boss was due to appear on stage and face questions alongside David James and Paolo Di Canio, but was replaced at the last minute by Red Bull Salzburg sporting director Ralf Rangnick.

Bolton-bound Solskjaer is wanted by the Trotters

Bolton-bound Solskjaer is wanted by the Trotters

The official reason was that Solskjaer is recuperating from illness at home in Norway, but the former Manchester United striker is known to have been in England during the international break and was spotted at a United Under 21s game on Monday night.

The 39-year-old, who has also been linked with Blackburn, fits the profile of the young up-and-coming manager Gartside wants to succeed Owen Coyle.

However, Mick McCarthy remains in contention, along with Billy Davies, Roy Keane and Portsmouth boss Michael Appleton.

Ole gunnar Solskjaer skips appearance at Leaders in Football conference as Bolton rumours grow

Solskjaer skips appearance at Leaders in Football conference as Bolton rumours grow

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UPDATED:

21:39 GMT, 11 October 2012

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer mysteriously went to ground after emerging as Bolton’s first-choice to become their new manager.

Bolton chairman Phil Gartside was in London when Solskjaer pulled out of a speaking engagement at the Leaders in Football conference at Stamford Bridge.

The Molde boss was due to appear on stage and face questions alongside David James and Paolo Di Canio, but was replaced at the last minute by Red Bull Salzburg sporting director Ralf Rangnick.

Bolton-bound Solskjaer is wanted by the Trotters

Bolton-bound Solskjaer is wanted by the Trotters

The official reason was that Solskjaer is recuperating from illness at home in Norway, but the former Manchester United striker is known to have been in England during the international break and was spotted at a United Under 21s game on Monday night.

The 39-year-old, who has also been linked with Blackburn, fits the profile of the young up-and-coming manager Gartside wants to succeed Owen Coyle.

However, Mick McCarthy remains in contention, along with Billy Davies, Roy Keane and Portsmouth boss Michael Appleton.

The making of mighty Michu: He grew up with Cazorla, scored for fun in La Liga and now he"s a flying Swan

The making of mighty Michu: He grew up with Cazorla, scored for fun in La Liga and now he's a flying Swan

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UPDATED:

22:05 GMT, 12 September 2012

Michu apologises a lot. He says sorry for eating during this interview, he says it again when his phone buzzes. Most often, he says sorry for his expanding but incomplete vocabulary. Speaking English is a big deal to him.

‘I am not happy when I do not do it right,’ he says. ‘I want to say what I think and that is hard. I must get better.’ He then mutters in Spanish before throwing his hands in the air when the right word comes to mind. ‘Practice,’ he says. ‘In two months I will be very good, I promise. A teacher comes to my flat three nights a week for two or three hours so I can learn. I will soon speak well.’

It’s Michu, not Swansea City, who pays for the lessons and when it comes to Facebook and Twitter he does the English translations. Angel Rangel, the elder statesman among the club’s Spaniards, helped with this when Michu first joined from Rayo Vallecano in July, but now the midfielder wants to do it himself. ‘I want to learn and this is the best way,’ he adds. ‘I like to read English newspapers, watch the television, talk to people. I can then learn more from my team-mates. I will be better when I talk English properly — I believe that.’

Pleased to Michu: Swansea's new star shows off his trademark celebration

Pleased to Michu: Swansea's new star shows off his trademark celebration

This interview took place on Tuesday;
Aston Villa host Swansea on Saturday. He will be at least two hours of
lessons further into his learning by kick-off and that doesn’t bode
well for Villa boss Paul Lambert. The less articulate version of Michu,
26, has already made something of a mark on the Barclays Premier League.

Midfield maestro

Full name: Miguel Perez Cuesta
Age: 26
Height: 6ft 1in
Club: Swansea
Fee: 2million
He scored 15 goals for Rayo Vallecano last season — his first in La Liga. His celebration of holding his hand to his ear stems from silencing the Granada crowd when he scored in Rayo Vallecano’s 1-0 victory last season. They had abused him after a missed penalty the season before.

Two goals, one delightful in its
execution, came on his debut at QPR. Then there were strikes against
West Ham and Sunderland, making it four in his first three games. Like
Gylfi Sigurdsson, his predecessor in Swansea’s midfield, he rarely
scores a bad one. Unlike Sigurdsson, his team-mates don’t complain
privately about his work-rate.

He is perfect for Swansea but also
not what you might expect. From an advanced position behind the striker,
he passes well, beats players, can poach and shoot from distance with
either foot. Above all, he’s a thinking footballer — and man — who is
comfortable taking possession in small spaces.

But he’s also 6ft 1in, dwarfing Leon
Britton, Wayne Routledge and Nathan Dyer in Swansea’s midfield. He wins
headers; he is the target for long balls and crosses. When Michael
Laudrup spoke of adding a Plan B and a greater goal threat he was
thinking of Michu as key to both. And to think he cost just 2million.

Say my name: Michu celebrates pulling Swansea level in the 2-2 draw against Sunderland

Say my name: Michu celebrates pulling Swansea level in the 2-2 draw against Sunderland

‘The Spanish market, because of the
economy at home, is good for foreign teams now,’ Michu says. ‘Santi cost
Arsenal 15m, 16m. That is not much for him.’ He is talking, of
course, about Arsenal midfielder Cazorla. The pair grew up at Real
Oviedo, in Michu’s home city in northern Spain.

‘I remember one funny game,’ Michu
says. ‘Santi was on the left, going on the outside and beating two,
three players. So good. Then they started saying to themselves, “Push
him in on to his right foot”. They did and he beat three players. He is
right-footed but they could not tell because he was so good with his
left. I think he is the best player at Arsenal — 15m for him is a very,
very good deal. You’ll see.’

Michu, otherwise known as Miguel
Perez Cuesta, is from a sporty, middle-class family. His father, a
manager at an electricity supplier, claims to his sons that he was good
enough to be a professional. Brother Hernan, 31, played for Real Oviedo
and their mother is a teacher who ‘also likes football’.

Michu started young, signing for
Oviedo at ‘five or six’ and stayed until 21, but missed the club’s
better days, playing more than 100 games in the third and fourth tiers.
‘We were a big team,’ he says. ‘I remember Stan Collymore coming for a
very short time when we were in La Liga. But then we had money
problems.’

On the front foot: Michu goes past Samba Diakite in the 5-0 rout at Loftus Road

On the front foot: Michu goes past Samba Diakite in the 5-0 rout at Loftus Road

In 2003, shortly before Michu scored
on debut, the club were relegated to the third tier and immediately
forced down another level because they had not paid their players. Michu
hedged his bets by studying business administration and management at
the University of Oviedo — ‘I did the first year of a four-year course
and it went well. I will definitely return and finish it at some point’ —
but decided to focus on football.

He stepped up in 2007 to the second
tier to join Celta Vigo, another former La Liga team suffering after
over-spending, but progress was slow. ‘I was there four years and I
think we had eight trainers,’ he says. ‘None really believed in me. I’d
play one game and be on the side for three. A footballer needs to feel
his trainer believes in him.’

That figure came in Jose Ramon
Sandoval, the coach of Rayo Vallecano. He had won promotion to La Liga
playing passing football and wanted Michu to be a creative force in his
midfield in 2011-12, but the club were pitifully poor.

Against a backdrop of strike threats
from players (Michu says he was always paid on time despite reports he
occasionally went unpaid at each of his Spanish clubs), Michu
flourished. ‘Money is not too important to me,’ he says. ‘Winning is
important. Goals are important.’

Making an impression: Michu battles against Kaka at the Bernabeu

Making an impression: Michu battles against Kaka at the Bernabeu

He scored 15 — the most of any
midfielder in La Liga — and some pundits now tip him for a place in the
national squad. In a cheap frame in his tiny office, Sandoval kept a
picture of Michu, the star of a swashbuckling little team that somehow
stayed up. The parallels with Swansea were obvious.

‘I watched them on TV last season,’
he says. ‘When the offer came I was very happy. In Spain every person
knows Michael Laudrup.’

Vallecano needed money and Swansea
made the best offer, despite Michu’s agent approaching ‘nearly every
club in the Premier League’, according to one prominent figure at
Swansea. ‘It has been a dream,’ Michu says.

And what about the interest from other teams ‘I am sorry, I know there was interest but I do not know what clubs they were.’

They are probably feeling quite sorry about it as well.

Robin van Persie will stay and Yann M"Vila should join Arsenal, says Bacary Sagna

Sagna wants M'Vila to join him at Arsenal as defender insists RVP will stay

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UPDATED:

14:10 GMT, 26 May 2012

Join us: Sagna would like Yann M'Vila to sign for Arsenal

Join us: Sagna would like Yann M'Vila to sign for Arsenal

Bacary Sagna is confident Arsenal can keep hold of captain and star striker Robin van Persie this summer – and wants French compatriot Yann M'Vila to join them.

The Holland frontman is likely to be in demand this summer following a season in which he scored 30 Barclays Premier League goals to fire the Gunners to third place, and has been linked with champions Manchester City.

But Sagna told the Daily Mirror: 'I'm confident Robin will stay. He was a complete professional from the beginning until the end (of the season) and helped us into third.

'We want to keep him. Everyone is so grateful to him for what he's done for the club and how important he is.

'He is our captain and takes his role and responsibilities very seriously. He gives everything as a player and captain.'

Manager Arsene Wenger is seeking to strengthen his squad early in this summer's transfer window as the club look to persuade Van Persie they can match his ambitions.

Germany forward Lukas Podolski has already been signed from Cologne and Arsenal are thought to be close to adding the signing of Sagna's France team-mate, Rennes midfielder M'Vila – a move which would please the full-back.

'We want more players to come to the team,' he said.

'Lukas Podolski has arrived already and he is a German international and a quality player.

Staying put: Sagna is confident Dutch striker Robin van Persie won;t quit the Gunners this summer

Staying put: Sagna is confident Dutch striker Robin van Persie won;t quit the Gunners this summer

'M'Vila can make a great impact. I'm not sure about his English but it took me time to learn. But I think he would suit us as well. Arsenal is a French-speaking team and it will help him settle.

'I think we can be contenders this coming season. We showed a lot of people what we could do last season.'

M'Vila is part of France's 25-man provisional squad for this summer's European Championship, but Sagna will miss the tournament after breaking his leg against Norwich late in the Premier League season.

That will deprive him of a meeting with England, but he says he will offer advice on how to deal with his Emirates Stadium colleagues Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain should they be selected to cover for the suspended Wayne Rooney in Donetsk on June 11.

On his way: Germany forward Lukas Podolski has already been snapped up by Arsene Wenger

On his way: Germany forward Lukas Podolski has already been snapped up by Arsene Wenger

He told the Daily Express: 'Wayne Rooney is England's main striker, so of course it is good for France that he is not playing. (But Walcott and Oxlade-Chamberlain) are ready to shine for England.

'Both of them are very quick and can change games on their own. I know they will have a good tournament, so I will make sure everybody in France is aware of them.'

On England's chances, he added: 'The fact they have not got much time for the new manager to get his ideas across could make the team stick together even more.

'They have very good players in every position. It will be a very good game to watch. You know that playing the England team is never easy and it will be a very difficult game for France.'

Andre Villas-Boas says there is no need to patch things up with Frank Lampard

Lampard is not my wife, I don't need to patch things up, insists Villas-Boas

Chelsea boss Andre Villas-Boas insisted there was no need for him to patch up his differences with Frank Lampard, joking: 'We are not married to each other!'

Lampard last week admitted for the first time his relationship with Villas-Boas had 'not been ideal', but Villas-Boas reiterated it was 'good, excellent'.

The Blues manager claimed that did not mean he and Lampard needed to hold clear-the-air talks on the matter, insisting they were still on speaking terms.

No issue: Andre Villas-Boas says there are no issues with him and Frank Lampard

No issue: Andre Villas-Boas says there are no issues with him and Frank Lampard

'It's just a manager-player relationship in the end,' Villas-Boas said.

'Frank's words are genuine.

'They are genuine from a player that has a reflection of a relationship between us.

'For me, it's fine, I have no problems with it.'

Star midfielder Lampard has been unhappy with the number of games he has missed this season but Villas-Boas said: 'I have to choose the team and I try to choose the best team for every single game.

'It hasn't involved Frank a couple of times but it doesn't mean I have a personal problem with him.

Difference of opinion: Lampard has found him self on the bench for a number of important games this season

Difference of opinion: Lampard has found him self on the bench for a number of important games this season

'His own interpretation of the relationship is his own but I have no problem with it and I explained it to him.

'They are decisions I have to take for the benefit of the team, always.'

Chelsea fans left little doubt who they would back in any dispute between Villas-Boas and Lampard during last weekend's Barclays Premier League win over Bolton, repeatedly singing the latter's name throughout.

Villas-Boas was not worried about losing the battle for hearts and minds, saying: 'No, not at all. I think the fans take the team's side.

Hope for the future: Villas-Boas hopes in the future he will have the same appreciation from Chelsea fans that Lampard does

Hope for the future: Villas-Boas hopes in the future he will have the same appreciation from Chelsea fans that Lampard does

'We were winning 3-0 – everybody's happy, no'

He added of Lampard, who broke another two Chelsea goalscoring records on Saturday: 'He's a legend of the football club. If they chant his name during the whole game, it's because he represents exactly that.

'He achieved two great individual records in that game and I think he fully deserves it.

'I hope one day to have the curriculum that Frank has at this football club, which is amazing in terms of trophies.

'If that is the case, that means that I will be a successful manager and my shadow will be lurking over other managers of this football club.'

Manchester United"s spirit helps them beat Arsenal

United spirit keeps the old fires burning as Arsenal are put to the sword

Gary Neville picked his Team of the Season (thus far) ahead of Sunday’s fixtures and did not include a single Manchester United player.

He did, however, find a way to keep on speaking terms with his former Old Trafford team-mates by listing an additional team, those he would want alongside him as Squeaky Bum Time neared.

This was a team packed with seven United names like Wayne Rooney, Patrice Evra, Ryan Giggs, Michael Carrick and Antonio Valencia, who did enough to prove Neville’s point at the Emirates.

Together: Manchester United celebrate opening the scoring at Arsenal

Together: Manchester United celebrate opening the scoring at Arsenal

New heroes are emerging too. Danny Welbeck made a case for inclusion, as did Chris Smalling. The champions are not conceding their crown without a fight.

If last season’s triumph was sweeter for Sir Alex Ferguson because it knocked Liverpool from their perch, finishing this campaign in first will offer the United manager equal satisfaction by silencing the noisy neighbours for another 12 months.

As the players lined up and shuffled their studs in the tunnel, Neville and Graeme Souness were on Sky Sports discussing the impact Mario Balotelli’s late penalty might have on the title race.

‘Big moment’, they agreed after Balotelli eased Manchester City six points clear.

United responded, averting any attempt from Arsenal to avenge August’s 8-2 defeat.

On a day when substitutions were the talk of the Emirates, Ferguson got his right, refusing to fret about damage to Rafael’s ego when he hooked him an hour after sending him on to replace the injured Phil Jones.

Next generation: Danny Welbeck (centre) has come through the ranks

Next generation: Danny Welbeck (centre) has come through the ranks

Rafael stormed towards the tunnel before something changed his mind, and he veered left to take a seat on the United bench.

It seemed to contrast with the mood simmering in the home team, with Robin van Persie shaking his head as Arsene Wenger sent on Andrey Arshavin for Alex Oxlade Chamberlain.

Valencia switched to right back, and, from there, created the winner, over- lapping and tormenting Arshavin, trading passes with Park Ji-sung and setting up Welbeck’s goal.

What a contrast to Arsenal’s emergency right back Johan Djourou, who was removed at half-time, presumably to spare him further humiliation at the hands of Nani.

It was clearly a tactic to target Djourou and Thomas Vermaelen, both playing out of position at full back. The tactic worked, although no-one expected Valencia to open the scoring by towering above Vermaelen to head home.

Struggling: Arsene Wenger

Struggling: Arsene Wenger

‘Winning after City had won, that was the important thing,’ said Ferguson. 'We said that before the game. But we did it in the right way. We played football, were adventurous.

‘We had belief in ourselves. I’m delighted with that at this time of the season.

‘It’s always difficult coming to the Emirates. Arsenal are a top side. We had to play well for most of the game and we did. The first half in particular was a golden period for us.

‘We should have rammed home the advantage.’

The glory was Welbeck’s but Smalling grows in stature. It is telling that he was preferred to Jones in a central defence charged with keeping Robin van Persie out.

Van Persie did score his 23rd of the season, from a chance many times harder than the one he somehow missed, early in the second half.

But, despite almost costing his side a goal with a near- suicidal attempted ‘Cruyff turn’ in the second half, Smalling, earned praise from his manager for handling big Per Mertesacker when he was sent up front in a desperate bid to salvage a point.

It may not be a vintage United team but the new breed have certainly acquired the old spirit.