City set for Old Trafford showdown

Man Utd host Man City with Alex Ferguson's men hoping to halt rivals' title charge after Liverpool court battle opens.

    Tevez should be fresh for the clash at Old Trafford having been dropped by Argentina

    Manchester United have the chance to severely dent Manchester City's title chances when the bitter rivals meet at Old Trafford on Saturday, while Liverpool's former owners are doing battle with the club as the Reds take on less formidable opponents in the shape of Wigan Athletic.

    United lost their first league game of the season to bottom club Wolverhampton Wanderers last week, but with Arsenal drawing and Chelsea losing, their position at the top of the Premier League was barely affected.

    City did manage a 3-0 win over West Bromwich Albion but they remain in third place on 49 points, one behind Arsenal and five behind United having played a game more than the top two.

    Since Ferguson made his "noisy neighbours" comment in September 2009 in the wake of United's last-gasp 4-3 league win, City have continued to invest heavily in their playing squad.

    But their wait for a first title since 1968 looks certain to go on for at least another year while United are closing in on a record 19th – the tally Ferguson has long targeted to "knock Liverpool off their perch" as the country's most successful club in its domestic league.

    United still have to play Chelsea home and away and to visit Arsenal so the title is far from in the bag but three points on Saturday brings it a little closer.

    EPL fixtures

    Saturday February 12

     Man Utd v Man City
     Arsenal v Wolves
     Birmingham v Stoke City
     Blackburn v Newcastle
     Blackpool v Aston Villa
     Liverpool v Wigan
     West Brom v West Ham
     Sunderland v Tottenham

    Sunday February 13

    Bolton v Everton

    Monday February 14

    Fulham v Chelsea

    "It's a terrific game for us now," Ferguson told MUTV.

    "It's a massive game that we've got to look forward to. Unfortunately we have got international matches in midweek which in my view is crazy, but we have to get on with it."

    Rooney unscathed

    Wayne Rooney, starting to look more like the player who tore up the league a year ago, came through unscathed from his 45 minutes' duty in England's 2-1 win in Denmark.

    City face similar demands on their multinational squad, though Carlos Tevez should be fresh having been left out of Argentina's game against Portugal in Geneva because of "attitude problems".

    After their remarkable 2-1 win over United last week Wolves could hardly have had a tougher follow-up away to Arsenal.

    Having blown a 4-0 first-half lead to draw 4-4 at Newcastle United last week Arsene Wenger's team are unlikely to be anything like as generous a second time.

    Chelsea are not in action until Monday when they visit Fulham, giving Tottenham the chance to climb three points ahead of them into fourth place if they can win at Sunderland.

    Sixth-placed Liverpool, on a run of four wins and four clean sheets, have a good chance of making it five of both at home to Wigan Athletic.

    Should they do so the team who were 12th and three points above the relegation zone when Kenny Dalglish took over just a month ago, could move within three points of Chelsea.

    Court battle

    The bitter court battle over the sale of Liverpool resumed on Wednesday with the former American co-owners seeking approval to pursue a $1.6 billion damages claim for what they called a "giant swindle."

    The case in London comes as Liverpool's fortunes on the pitch have been revived for the first time since Tom Hicks and George Gillett Jr were forced to sell the club against their will to the owners of the Boston Red Sox in October.

    The wrangling over Liverpool's sale to New England Sports Ventures last year is still not over [EPA]

    Lawyers for Hicks and Gillett need a High Court judge to lift an order preventing them from pursuing damages against the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and three then-club directors who approved the $476 million sale to New England Sports Ventures (NESV).

    In October, Hicks and Gillett had to withdraw a temporary restraining order blocking the sale, which they had obtained in a Texas court, to avoid being declared in contempt of the London court.

    "There is no settled decision by us to sue in England or abroad," Paul Girolami, representing Hicks and Gillett, told London's High Court on Wednesday.

    Hicks has claimed "the British Establishment" conspired to sell the club for less than half of what it was worth to NESV, which is led by Red Sox owner John Henry.

    RBS, which held the bulk of Liverpool's debt, wants to prevent the former owners from suing the bank in the United States, where the original suit was filed claiming the Liverpool board ignored other more lucrative offers and excluded the duo from takeover talks.

    "RBS isn't seeking to stop Hicks, Gillett or any of their companies from suing," Richard Snowden, representing RBS, said in court.

    "If they want to do so they are free to provided they do it in this jurisdiction (Britain)." 

    SOURCE: Agencies


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