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Archives for April 2011

Do you agree with PFA awards?

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Alistair Magowan - BBC Sport | 17:50 UK time, Monday, 18 April 2011

As expected, Tottenham's Gareth Bale picked up the Professional Footballers' Association Player of the Year award on Sunday, while Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere was named Young Player of the Year.

Both were deserving winners, according to former Manchester United and England defender Gary Pallister, who was PFA Player of the Year himself in 1992.

But the timing of the awards, voted for by players in March, has brought some debate as to whether they are truly reflective of the whole season.

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Was Toure's intervention a telling sign for City?

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Alistair Magowan - BBC Sport | 23:48 UK time, Sunday, 17 April 2011

Defending higher up the pitch is not a new concept by any means but it has become more notable recently because of the way Pep Guardiola's Barcelona side has employed the tactic so effectively.

England boss Fabio Capello adopted a similar ploy in the recent Euro 2012 qualifying victory over Wales after making his players watch videos of the La Liga champions.

And in a season where his team has been criticised for being too passive, Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini used the tactic to great effect as his side recorded a surprise FA Cup semi-final win over Manchester United on Saturday.

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Who would make your all-time Manchester XI?

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Alistair Magowan - BBC Sport | 11:35 UK time, Thursday, 14 April 2011

A bit of a departure from the usual tactical analysis this week, more a debate on team selection ahead of Saturday's mouth-watering FA Cup semi-final between Manchester City and Manchester United at Wembley.

With both sides packed full of star names, it looks like being a fantastic occasion. But to whet the appetite ahead of what is sure to be a hotly contested match, our colleagues at Radio 5 live have posed the following question:

Who would get into your all-time Manchester XI?

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Mancini gives Johnson chance to flourish

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Alistair Magowan - BBC Sport | 00:10 UK time, Monday, 4 April 2011

So that's what Manchester City look like when they play with one less central midfielder in the side as they did in the 5-0 drubbing of Sunderland on Sunday?

Following a defeat by Chelsea two weeks ago where Roberto Mancini's side rarely threatened the goal with a familiar midfield of Nigel de Jong, Gareth Barry and Yaya Toure, this time City ditched Barry and started with a two-man frontline of Carlos Tevez and Mario Balotelli.

At this point it should be mentioned that Sunderland are not Chelsea, City were without Tevez for the loss at Stamford Bridge and they preferred Edin Dzeko as a lone front man.

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Can Young and Downing help Villa pull clear?

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Alistair Magowan - BBC Sport | 11:40 UK time, Friday, 1 April 2011

Fresh from encouraging displays for England against Wales and Ghana during the past week, Ashley Young and Stewart Downing must now focus on the small task of keeping Aston Villa in the Premier League.

The wingers have perhaps been the chief beneficiaries of England boss Fabio Capello's change in tactics, which has seen him opt for a 4-3-3 system, giving more fluidity to a side often criticised for being too rigid.

Striker Darren Bent also enhanced his reputation by scoring against Wales last Saturday and with these three Villa players seemingly in form, plus others in the England Under-21s, it begs the question why manager Gerard Houllier's side are only a point above the relegation zone in 14th place in the Premier League.

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