Monday, September 22, 2008

Premiership roundup : 21-09

The weekend offered a lot of skill and style with Manchester City mauling Pompey at City of Manchester Stadium,Everton had to stage a comeback to win over Hull,Villa won the Midlands derby over West Brom,Spurs are still winless in the Premiership and in the battle of the heavyweights,Kalou came to Chelsea's rescue.

Chelsea 1 - 1 Manchester United
Park 18'
Kalou 80'

Deco had pulled out before kick off during the warm up and things didn't get any better for Chelsea when in the 13th minute Carvalho hobbled off the pitch.

5minutes later,Manchester United opened their account when a low drive from Berbatov was spilled by Cech and Park was the first to react to lash the ball home.

A shaky Van der Sar was then replaced with Kuszczak following a challenge from Malouda which left the Chelsea man demanding a penalty.

Chelsea had glorious chances to score and possibly win the game although Cole and Anelka couldn't make the most of the opportunities.

Chelsea were getting impatient and piled on attack after attack and the attacking paid dividend in the 80th minute when Rooney conceded a free kick which was headed in the back of the net by Salomon Kalou.

Manchester United are placed 14th in the table with a game in hand and Arsenal stay top.

West Brom 1 - 2 Aston Villa
J.Carew 27'
Agbanlahor 29'
J.Morrison 33'

The faithfuls at Hawthorns had to bear some miserable defending from West Brom with many chances falling to Villa in the Midlands derby.

Villa took the lead courtesy John Carew who was left totally unmarked off an Ashley Young freekick.The Norwegian big man headed the ball beyond Scott Carson to make it 1-0 to the visitors.

Within a minute Villa capitalised on West Brom's awful defending by angling the ball in the back of the net and beyond Carson.Villa were up 2-0.

In the 33rd minute,Brad Friedel made a hash of Robert Koren's shot to spill in the path of James Morisson who snapped the rebound from close range.

In the second period,Villa could have increased their goal difference only to be disallowed by the goal post and a glorious chance lost by Luke Moore.

Manchester City 6 - 0 Portsmouth
Jo 13'
R.Dunne 20'
Robinho 57'
Wright Philips 68'
Evans 78'
Fernandes 83'

David James returned to his former club but only to go back home with head bowed and a game to forget.

Brazilian striker,Jo rounded off James in the 13th minute courtesy Robinho's slide-rule pass.Citeh were off to a flyer!

James then made a blunder by misjudging Elano's corner to allow Richard Dunne to head the ball in the back of the net.

Things got worse for Pompey in the second half.Steven Ireland who had a fabulous afternoon chipped a ball pass for Jo to control fabulously and his second touch landed on the feet of Robinho who put it past James.

The best of the lot came in the 68th minute from SWP who bulleted a ball past James with a very tight angle after another neat ball from Ireland.

Portsmouth's horrible defending and misery didn't stop there.Evans capitalised on a ball from SWP's clever flick for a number 5.Five Star Performace!

The afternoon was rounded off by substitute Fernandes capitalised on further dodgy goalkeeping by England's number one.

Manchester City 6 Portsmouth 0!!

Hull City 2 - 2 Everton
M.Turner 18'
P.Neville(o.g.) 50'
Cahill 73'
Osman 78'

Hull have come a far way to be disappointed with a draw against Everton.And indeed they will,after the squandered a two goal margin only to be getting a single point at the final whislte.

Michael Turner's header from a Dean Marney's corner and Neville's own goal from a similar set piece set the tone for a Hull win.

However Everton staged their comeback after a goal scrap which Cahill converted from made the final 17 minutes very interesting.

Although Everton were level after 5 minutes through a cross by Louis Saha which was converted to by Leon Osman.

Spurs 0 - 0 Wigan Athletic

Spurs continued to hold on to their not so wanted spot of the bottom of the table after a goal less draw with Wigan.

Clearly Spurs' new side is still in a transition phase but Ramos' needs to act quickly before they end up fighting for survival.

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Saturday, September 20, 2008

Premiership Roundup - 20/09

Chopra 81'
Chopra 90'

Michael Chopra started off his season in fabulous fashion after troubled personal life over the past few months.He got on the score-sheet twice.First on the 81st minute and then again he confirmed the 3points for The Black Cats.The two goals were the first home goals for Sunderland this season.

The game would have held a different outcome had Stewart Downing converted the second half penalty.As like his previous penalty miss against Stoke,the English player hit the ball over the bar.

Boro started the game without Mido who injured himself during the warm up.His place was taken by Alfonso Alves.

Chopra got the first with a nicely put through ball by Richardson which he put on the keepers left with a defender sliding in.

The second goal arrived on the tip of full time when Malbranque slipped the pass for Chopra to tap in the open goal after it took a wicked deflection.

Liverpool 0 - 0 Stoke City

Liverpool welcomed Stoke City on the back of a fabulous 2-1 win over Manchester United last week and then a 2-1 win away to Marseille in the Champions league.

Liverpool and Steven Gerrard thought they were up to a great start within two minutes when a Gerrard freekick bounced inside the box without taking a touch on the way although their celebration were cut short by the offside flag where probably Kuyt was ruled offside.I don't understand the offside rule! The player is supposed to touch the ball to be flagged offside,right?

Liverpool piled on the pressure throughout the 90minutes but the scoreline read 0-0 when the referee blew the full time whistle.

Despite the 24 shots and 19 corners,Liverpool weren't able to make Sorensen do much with the defense holding Torres and Kuyt back very well. These would be two points dropped for Liverpool and the first clean sheet for Stoke City.

Blackburn Rovers 1 - 0 Fulham
Derbyshire 84'

Blackburn Rovers were riding on a drubbing last week against Arsenal and had conceded 8goals in the past two games.

Paul Ince gave the most impressive display of his managerial career at Blackburn with an extraordinary attacking game against Fulham.

There were plenty moments of brilliance for Rovers who created chance after chance and showed signs of the play that was there when Mark Hughes was the manager.

The goal came in the 84th minute when Santa Cruz's cushion header lay in the path of Derbyshire who volleyed it home with his left foot.

West Ham United 3 - 1 Newcastle United
D.Michele 8' Owen 67'
D.Michele 37'
Ethrington 53'

Newcastle United continued their bad run and slumped to a third consecutive defeat at West Ham.

This was the first game for new boss Zola and the first start for Italian D.Michele. Both got off to a celebratory beginning with Zola and his Hammers grabbing three points and D.Michele getting on the sheet twice.

D.Michele started the scoring with a deflected shot off Taylor which flew over Shay Given's head and into the back of the net.

The second was a reflection of Newcastle's woeful defending and to some extent the skill of D.Michele.After a super save from Given the ball still found D.Michele who after a touch past the defender put the ball in the back of the net,on the near post of Given.

The third arrived in the second half when Newcastle were left exposed as Michele beat the offside trap and made the run towards the box and despite being on the verge of a hattrick he passed the ball towards the running Ethrington who put the ball past the keeper with ease.

Newcastle however managed a consolation goal when Michael Owen continued his impressive form against West Ham by putting a curler round the keeper to get his 4th goal against the Londoners in 2 games.

Certainly warning signs for the Magpies.

Bolton Wanderers 1 - 3 Arsenal
K.Davies 13' Eboue 26'
Bendtner 27'
Denilson 87'

Arsenal went top of the table with Chelsea due to play Manchester United tomorrow and as Liverpool slipped up against Stoke City.

Arsenal haven't had easy time at the Reebok in their previous visits.They have always been their bogey team but today's win was by far the most comfortable wins as compared to their win last season when they had a man sent off and recovered three points in the dying stages.

Bolton showed their set pieces prowess when they took the lead courtesy Kevin Davies who climbed over an Arsenal player to give the home side the lead.

This spurred the Gunners who put on many attacks thereafter.It paid dividends when Arsenal got two goals in a minute.

Arsenal equaled the scoreline when Eboue stroked the ball into the back of the net with suspicion of offside.

The next goal came from Bendtner who slid in from 6 yards out after a neat cross and an opening down the left from Denilson.

Theo Walcott was instrumental for the third goal when he made a lung bursting run from the halfway line to create open space for Adebayor who crossed the ball on the far side of the goal for Denilson to tap into open goal.

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Chelsea vs Manchester United : Preview

Although Premiership football is very unpredictable and any game can spring a surprise and there are many many interesting games and matches that decide the fate of the clubs when the season comes to a close be it on the top side of the table or the bottom.

This game however could decide the title winner.John Terry who has already been in the news after his red card was overturned which obviously wasn't taken well by Sir Alex, would be the center of attention after his famous slip in the penalties during the Champions League final in Moscow which eventually went to Old Trafford.

Chelsea who haven't lost a home game in the Premiership since February 2004 and are unbeaten this season as well.They haven't been performing upto the expectations of manager Scolari despite winning their Champions League tie against Bordeaux 4-0.

Manchester United however are running slowly. On the back of a defeat to Liverpool at Anfield and a dull goal-less draw against Villareal isn't showing positive signs for Sir Alex's team to manage 3 points or even a single point out of The Blues.One positive thing however is the return of Cristiano Ronaldo to the first team.It would be an interesting selection if Berbatov is declared fit too.

My prediction is a 2-1 win for Chelsea.Lampard to be on the scoresheet.

Time : 1400 GMT (1930 IST)

Watch it on : ESPN(India)

Other games taking place this weekend in the Premiership include :

Sunderland vs Middlebrough
Blackburn Rovers vs Fulham
Liverpool vs Stoke City
West Ham United vs Newcastle United
Bolton Wanderers vs Arsenal


West Brom vs Aston Villa
Hull City vs Everton
Manchester City vs Portsmouth
Spurs vs Wigan

Enjoy the weekend!!

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Thursday, September 11, 2008

World Cup Qualifiers : Europe Results

A massive massive win for England against the Croats and a disappointing last few minutes for Portugal to go down to Denmark.
France finally win.
Czechs won't be happy not to have won against the Northern Ireland.
Germany after an astounding win played catch-up against the Fins.
Bosnia killed Estonia,were they playing baseball?
European champions,Spain continued their march with an impressive 4-0 win.
After a bad day over the weekend for the Dutch,they won over Macedonia.
Ireland lost their chance to get in 3points courtesy a goal-less draw against Montenegro.

So without much further ado here are the results for tonight's games :

Group 1
Sweden 2 - 1 Hungary
(Kallstrom 55',Holmen 64',Rudolf 90')
Albania 3 - 0 Malta
(Bogdani 45',Duro 83',Dallku 89')
Portugal 2 - 3 Denmark
(Nani 42',Bendtner 84',Deco(pen.) 86',Poulsen 90',Jensen 90')

Group 2
Moldova 1 - 2 Israel
(Picusciac 1',Golan 39',Saban 45')
Latvia 0 - 2 Greece
(Gekas 10',Gekas 49')
Switzerland 1 - 2 Luxembourg
(Strasser 29',NKufo 43',Leweck 86')

Group 3
San Marino 0 - 2 Poland
(Smolarek 35',Lewandowski 69')
Northern Ireland 0 - 0 Czech Republic
Slovenia 2 - 1 Slovakia
(Novakovic 23',Novakovic 81',Jakubko 83')

Group 4
Russia 2 - 1 Wales
(Pavlyuchenko (pen.) 22',Ledley 67',Pogrebnyak 81')
Azerbaijan 0 - 0 Liechtenstein
Finland 3 - 3 Germany
(Johansson 32',Klose 38',Vayrynen 43',Klose 45',Sjolund 53',Klose 83')

Group 5
Turkey 1 - 1 Belgium
(Sonck 31',Belozoglu(pen.) 74')
Bosnia 7 - 0 Estonia
(Misimovic 25',Misimovic(pen.) 29',Misimovic 57',Muslimovic 58',Dzeko 60',Dzeko 72',Ibricic 88')
Spain 4 - 0 Armenia
(Capdevila 7',Villa 16',Villa 79',Senna 82')

Group 6
Kazakhstan 1 - 3 Ukraine
(Nazarenko 45',Shevchenko 54',Ostapenko 68',Nazarenko 80')
Andorra 1 - 3 Belarus
(Verkhovstov 37',Pujol(pen.) 68',Rodionov 79',Hleb 89')
Croatia 1 - 4 England
(Walcott 26',Walcott 59',Rooney 63',Mandzukic 78',Walcott 82')

Group 7
Faroe Islands 0 - 1 Romania
(Cocis 59')
Lithuania 2 - 0 Austria
(Stankevicius 53',Danilevicius 58')
France 2 - 1 Serbia
(Henry 54',Anelka 64',Ivanovic 76')

Group 8
Montenegro 0 - 0 Ireland
Italy 2 - 0 Georgia
(D.Rossi 17',D.Rossi 90')

Group 9
Iceland 1 - 2 Scotland
(Broadfoot 18',Robson 59',Gudjohnsen(pen.) 77')
Republic of Macedonia 1 - 2 Holland
(Heitinga 46',Van der Vaart 60',Pandev(pen.) 78')

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Sunday, September 07, 2008

West Ham shortlist four candidates

West Ham have short listed four candidates for its managerial position.

West Ham were left without a man in charge after Alan Curbishley resigned from the post.

West Ham announced the four candidates which they were looking at to take over.The four candidates being Slaven Bilic,Gianfranco Zola,Roberto Donadoni and Michael Laudrup.

West Ham directors further said Zola and Donadoni had impressed hugely during their interviews and they are looking forward to meeting Laudrup on Monday.

Bilic looks to be the weakest contender because of his prior commitments with Croatia's national side.West Ham however have to wait until England's game on Wednesday to talk to him personally.

Mike Lee,West Ham director said this when speaking to BBC's Radio Five :
"We have a very strong shortlist and it's going to be a tough decision with some exciting candidates.

"From the meetings that have taken place so far the two that have really shone have been Donadoni and Zola."

The biggest advantage for Zola and Donadoni is that they both are Italians which is what the helm of the club want which Curbishley couldn't deliver.(at least as per them!)

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Funny Video : Spoof on Manchester City

Check out this video in our Multimedia section,its bloody amazing.

Brought to my attention by The Spoiler.

Click Me!

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World Cup Qualifiers : Europe Results

World Cup qualifiers for South Africa 2010 got underway yesterday and following are the results.

Europe-Group 1
Albania 0 - 0 Sweden
Hungary 0 - 0 Denmark
Malta 0 - 4 Portugal
(B.Said(o.g.) 24',Almedia 61',Simao 70',Nani 78')

Europe-Group 2
Moldova 1 - 2 Latvia
(Karlsons 8',Astafjevs 22',Alexeev 79')
Israel 2 - 2 Switzerland
(Yakin 45',NKufo 56',Benayoun 73',Sahar 90')
Luxembourg 0 - 3 Greece
(Torosidis 38',Gekas 45',Charisteas(pen.) 76')

Europe-Group 3
Poland 1 - 1 Slovenia
(Zewlakow (pen.) 17',Dedic 35')
Slovakia 2 - 1 Northern Ireland
(Skrtel 46',Hamsyk 70',Durica(o.g.) 81')

Europe-Group 4
Wales 1 - 0 Azerbaijan
(Vokes 83')
Liechtenstein 0 - 6 Germany
(Podolski 21',Podolski 48',Rolfes 65',Schweinsteiger 66',Hitzlsperger 75',Westermann 86')

Europe-Group 5
Armenia 0 - 2 Turkey
(Sanli 61',Senturk 78')
Belgium 3 - 2 Estonia
(Sonck 38',Zenjov 57',Defour 75',Sonck 80',Oper 90')
Spain 1 - 0 Bosnia
(Villa 58')

Europe-Group 6
Ukraine 1 - 0 Belarus
(Shevchenko (pen.) 90')
Andorra 0 - 2 England
(Joe Cole 49',Joe Cole 55')
Croatia 3 - 0 Kazakhstan
(Kovac 12',Modric 35',Petric 80')

Europe-Group 7
Romania 0 - 3 Lithuania
(Stankevicius 31',Mikoliunas 70',Kalonas 86')
Serbia 2 - 0 Faroe Islands
(Jacobsen (o.g.) 29',Zigic 87')
Austria 3 - 1 France
(Janko 8',Mexes(o.g.) 42',Govou 62',Ivanschitz 73')

Europe-Group 8
Georgia 1 - 2 Ireland
(Doyle 13',Whelan 70',Kenia 90')
Montenegro 2 - 2 Bulgaria
(Petrov 11',Vucinic 62',Jovetic 81',Georgiev 90')
Cyprus 1 - 2 Italy
(Natale 8',Alonefits 29',Natale 90')

Europe-Group 9
Macedonia 1 - 0 Scotland
(Naumoski 5')
Norway 2 - 2 Iceland
(Iversen(pen.) 36',Helguson 39',Iversen 50',Gudjohnsen 69')

Check out the tables on FIFA's official website here.

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Friday, September 05, 2008

Barton banned for 12 games

Troubled midfielder Joey Barton has been banned for 12 games.

Barton,contracted with Newcastle United has been banned for 12 games and 6 of which are suspensions for his assault on his former team mate Dabo at Manchester City.

Barton who was earlier given a four month suspended prison sentence after he pleaded guilty to the attack.

Along with the ban,Barton has been ordered to pay 25,000 pounds for violent conduct.

All of the suspended matches will be invoked should he be found guilty of similar charges of violent conduct or on the pitch for violent actions.

The judgment seems to be lenient considering there was positive feedback given by Newcastle United and especially by Kevin Keegan,ex manager of Newcastle.

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..King Kev exits too

Kevin Keegan has quit Newcastle United.

After Alan Curbishley's exit yesterday,its the turn of Kevin Keegan at Newcastle United.

St.James' Park had been under dark clouds for the past three days with no presence of Keegan on the pitch,training the players.And heavy speculation of either Keegan leaving or Executive director,Dennis Wise leaving.

The former turned out to be true.Kevin Keegan has handed out his resignation a few hours back through the League Managers Association website which also took the Magpies by surprise.

The reason for Keegan's premature departure is the same as with Curbishley's resignation over the lack of say of the managers in the transfer activity of the club.

The major reason is when owner,Mike Ashley and Dennis Wise wanted to sell off Michael Owen and Joey Barton in the summer transfer window which didn't go down well with the "man in charge".

It didn't get any better when new signings Xisco and Ignacio Gonzalez arrived on the final day who both weren't on "King Kev's" wishlist.

Talks had been going on for the past two days to keep Keegan at Newcastle and an angry set of Jeordie's didn't wait to express their displeasure when the news broke out by calling for the head of Ashley.

However things didn't go as planned as Keegan resigns and leaves Newcastle looking for their sixth manager in four years.He had been in charge of 21 games when he took over in the winter of 2007/08 season.

Dennis Wise is the safest bet right now to replace King Kev who had earlier been manager at Tyneside for 5years(1992-97) and has faced the effects of the game changing from a sport to a marketing gimmick for billionaires to maximize their profits and leave the image of the game to be the least important thing.

Frankly I thought things would work out for Newcastle as I really expected Keegan to stay but I think Newcastle managerial position is a very hard place to fit in to right now.

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Thursday, September 04, 2008

Alan Curbishley resigns as a hammer

Alan Curbishley resigns as manager of West Ham.

Curbishley has become the first casualty for the new season.Although the exit was on the cards for quite some time but the reason for his resignation is quite an interesting one.

You would expect a manager to resign if your team isn't playing well or not up to the expectations of the fans or the board?But I don't think 6points out of a possible 9,best start in 9years and on the back of a 10th place finish in the previous season.I think you're doing pretty well for a "middle level" club.

The reason however is very different and doesn't bear any links to on the pitch activities of the London club.Alan Curbishley passed on the resignation because of his lack of control over the transfer situations at the club.

He was completely miffed over the outward transfers of George McCartney and Anton Ferdinand to Sunderland despite a depleting squad courtesy the ever growing injured list for the Hammers.

Interestingly Curbishley had met the CEO on Sunday to ask for some loan deals and was told to offload some players before any new ones could come in to which Alan didn't agree.Despite the managers decision,the owners still sold the players which didn't go down well with the Englishman.

He had this to say upon his exit,
"I was vehemently against the transfer of McCartney because of the injuries to other defenders.

"I was looking at that, along with the sale of Anton Ferdinand, and thinking we are quite stretched. That got to me more than anything."

For now the reign goes into the hands of Kevin Keen,reserve team coach until a full time manager could be found.Croatian national team coach and former West Ham player,Slaven Bilic is touted to be the successor.

A sad end to what seemed like a good season for Curbishley.

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Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Transfer Madness : Last day!

I bring this post at 4am (IST) or around midnight in GMT and the day for transfers isn't over yet.There is still almost an hour and a half left for the transfer deadline to complete.

It would be hard to give details of all deals that were completed today so I would give all the major signings and the clubs involved along with the transfer value.

Real Madrid have confirmed the transfer of Robinho to Manchester City instead of Chelsea who had been pursuing the Brazilian for the past few weeks.The fee is around 32.5million pounds.The contract is for a span of four years.
Mark Hughes had this to say on Manchester City's official website:

"I am absolutely delighted to get the opportunity to work with such an incredible talent like Robinho."

It would be interesting to see Chelsea's reaction to the late twist in the Robinho saga.

Berbatov has undergone a medical at Manchester United and looks likely to snub Manchester City who were also linked to the Bulgarian after Abu Dhabi based consortium purchased the Eastlands club.To add to that,Manchester United have added youngster Frazier Campbell.
However,Spurs manager Juande Ramos isn't too happy and has claimed he hasn't spoken with the player and Manchester United are accused of contacting the player without the approval of the London club.

UPDATE:Berbatov's move has been confirmed by both Spurs and Manchester United with the player signing a four year deal worth a record British fee of 30.7million pounds and Frazier Campbell has been added as an on loan player.

Inter Milan have confirmed the signing of Ricardo Quaresma from Porto.Pele would go in the other direction as part of a swap deal.Quaresma signed a deal for 5years with the Italian champions.The deal is made for around 30.6million euros which also adds Pele as a swap player.
This marks an end to months of speculation with Quaresma joining Inter and former Porto manager,Jose Mourinho.

Liverpool have signed Albert Riera from Espanyol for an undisclosed fee but believed to be around 8million pounds.
Riera had also been pursued by Everton and he had been Rafa Benitez' number one signing after he failed to bring Gareth Barry from Aston Villa.

Irishman,Steve Finnan has signed for Espanyol from Liverpool for a 2year contract.Finnan had been a Liverpool player for the past 5years.
Finnan would be out for international duty for the next week or so but Espanyol expect him back in time for the game against Getafe on September 21.

Hertha Berlin have acquired the services of Andriy Voronin from Liverpool on a one year loan deal.
The Ukranian joined Liverpool last year from Leverkusen on a free transfer but couldn't make way into the starting lineup for Liverpool.He scored 6 goals in his 27 appearances. He was further not expected to get a start after reds signed Robbie Keane during the summer.

Roman Pavlyuchenko has signed a five year contract with Spurs worth 14.2million pounds.The Russian player arrived in London yesterday to complete the medical and by today morning the deal was complete.
Spurs were otherwise looking for Andrei Arshavin but no consent was reached between Spurs and Zenith St Petersburg.

Spurs also signed veteran Manchester City defender,Vedran Corluka on a six year deal.The fee is reported to be 8.5million pounds.
The Croat had earlier decided to join Spurs last month only to be recalled by City but after City signed Zableta,Corluka handed in the transfer request.
He joins his national side team mate,Luka Modric.

Newcastle United have confirmed the double signing of Xisco from Deportivo La Coruna and Ignacio Gonzalez from Valencia.
Xisco has agreed for a five year contract at St.James' Park.Gonzales joined on a one year loan deal irrespective of the fact that the player had penned a four year deal with the Mestalla club.

If anything more happens,you know where to find it...

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Monday, September 01, 2008

Manchester City bought by Abu Dhabi Group

Eastlands cup,Manchester City has been purchased from Thaksin Shinawatra.

Thai leader Shinawatra has sold his majority stake in Manchester City to Abu Dhabi based Abu Dhabi United Group.

Manchester City website confirmed that a memorandum of understanding has been reached between the two parties and the sale would be confirmed in some time.

The money involved in the acquisition is still not confirmed but the reason for the sale is probably the Thai's inability of making further investment in the club.

The sale has fuelled transfers news too where Berbatov has been bid for and it has been accepted by Spurs.The transfer looks to be completed soon and is in the range of $54million.
Interestingly,Manchester United had been after the Bulgarian but looks like the other side of Manchester has outbid them.

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