Manchester City vs. Queens Park Rangers  3 - 2

Article

Barton apologises for brain snap

13 May 2012 20:30

Joey Barton has apologised to QPR fans after being sent off for violent conduct during their Premier League clash with Manchester City.

The former City man appeared to elbow Carlos Tevez on the edge of the Rangers' penalty area, with the linesman on the far side of the pitch spotting the incident immediately.

Following the brandishing of the red card, Barton kicked out at City striker Sergio Aguero and then appeared to attempt to headbutt Vincent Kompany, before confronting substitute Mario Balotelli on his way off the ground.

"Can do nothing but apologise to the players and the fans," Barton said via his Twitter account. "Still don't think its a sending off. Tried to take 1 of their players with me....

"Still not my proudest moment but who gives a f*ck, we are safe..........and that is all that matters."

Barton denied he lost control following his dismissal, and indicated he remains unrepentant for his violent reaction to the decision.

"The head was never gone at any stage, once I'd been sent off, one of our players suggested I should try to take 1 of theirs with me......Never worked but god loves a trier. #reallynotbother #wearesafe," he added.

QPR lost the match 3-2 but retained their top flight status, as City scored twice in injury time to claim their first ever Premier League title on goal difference on a day of incredible drama.

Barton incurs an automatic four-match ban for the straight red dismissal due to a previous dismissal against Norwich, but his violent reaction makes further punishment likely.

Article

Barry pays tribute to Mancini

12 May 2012 19:50

Gareth Barry believes Manchester City's resurgence in the Premier League title race is due to Roberto Mancini lifting pressure from his players.

The Italian boss repeatedly insisted Manchester United were favourites in the title race, even after Vincent Kompany's first-half header against United put City on top of the table at the end of April.

Barry said Mancini showed his experience of title run-ins, and thinks his mind games eased the tension in the City camp.

"We've got an experienced team, an experienced manager, I'm confident we can get the job done," Barry told The Telegraph.

"He's (Mancini) taken lot of the pressure off the players, that's worked really well for us. We've really raised our game since a couple of disappointing results.

"It looked like we were running away with it at one point, then at one stage bookies were paying out on Manchester United to have won the title."

Victory against QPR on Sunday will secure a first league title for the blue half of Manchester in 44 years.

Barry said the week had been dominated by the thought of lifting the title and he can feel the weight of expectation among the City fans.

"Supporters let you know how long it's been and it does build the tension around the place," he said.

"But before the season if anyone had said we'd have a home game against QPR to get three points to win the Premier League title, we'd have snapped their hands off to be in this position.

"I'd be lying to say I've not thought about (the title) this week, you play all these years to be in a position like this."

Article

Taraabt: Hughes supremely focused

12 May 2012 16:40

QPR forward Adel Taarabt says Mark Hughes 'looks more focused than ever' ahead of their final-day clash with Manchester City on Sunday.

The outcome of the match at the Etihad Stadium has ramifications at both the top and the bottom of the Premier League, as QPR are yet to reach safety, while City require a victory to be certain of pipping Manchester United to the title.

And Taarabt insisted Hughes is thinking only of securing survival and not of gaining revenge over City, who sacked him in order to recruit current coach Roberto Mancini in December 2009.

"Hughes looks more focused than ever ahead of Sunday's game, but I don't think it's because of his past at City, more due to his present with us," Taraabt told Goal.com.

"We all have so much to play for in this last match.

"QPR have played better this season against the big teams in the Premier League, but it will be a great achievement if we can get a point at City.

"I don't care if we hand the title to Manchester United because what really matters to me is staying in the Premier League with QPR.

"They (City) are the worst possible team we could be playing against on the last day of the season, but the calendar came out in the summer and we can't do anything about it."

Taarabt dismissed suggestions QPR would adopt a defensive mentality from the start against City because of the threat the current league leaders possess in the final third of the pitch.

"It's normal that City are favourites and that people are talking about the title race, but we are playing for survival and that's everything for a club," he said.

"A draw in Manchester would do but we have to play the game as best we can and go out in search of the victory. Shutting up shop to earn a draw won't be any good for us against a rival of this type and with the players they have in attack.

"City have perhaps the best attack in the whole Premier League. Any of their players can score against you at any moment, so we need total concentration for 90 minutes."

Article

Hughes: Survival the only concern

11 May 2012 20:19

QPR boss Mark Hughes says his sole focus is Premier League survival as his side prepare to face Manchester City in their final game on Sunday.

Hughes' team are two points clear of the relegation zone, but travel to Etihad Stadium knowing a victory for City would seal their first title for 44 years.

The Londoners will have one eye on Stoke, who they hope will deny 18th-placed Bolton victory, which would ensure QPR's survival whatever the result in Manchester.

The former City boss is in no doubt about the size of the task facing his side in Manchester.

"It's not going to be easy," he said. "Manchester City are an outstanding football team and the prize that they're going for is the ultimate prize.

"For us to deny them the opportunity to do that will be difficult for us, I think everybody acknowledges it but as we just alluded to I think that this season has been so unpredictable you can never say that a result is a given.

"We fully intend to go there with the intention of getting the points we need to be safe."

Whatever the outcome of Sunday's matches, Hughes feels his side is on the path to a bright future.

"In the whole context of QPR, I think if we don't stay in the Premier League, what is in place for QPR will still continue and still happen," he said.

"What we want to happen is to stay in the Premier League, that process is accelerated, and we can get on with really building this club to where we want it to be in the future. That's the exciting part and that's why I came here."

Article

Premier League preview: Manchester City v QPR

11 May 2012 19:57

Manchester City can clinch their first league title since 1968 with a win over Queens Park Rangers on the final day of a memorable season.

City, equal on 86 points with local rivals United but on top of the table with a superior goal difference, know three points at Etihad Stadium on Sunday will secure the trophy.

QPR on the other hand remain locked in a survival battle and need a result against the rampaging City to secure their top flight status for another season.

With Carlos Tevez and Sergio Augero firing up front for City, Yaya Toure, whose brace against Newcastle United last weekend guided City to their fifth win in as many outings, wants to finish the job.

"The job is not done yet," Toure told the official Manchester City website.

"We have to keep going because QPR need the points, but it would be amazing if we win.

"It is for occasions like this I came to City - to make history - and I hope I will make history at the weekend.

"Forty-four years is unbelievably long time to wait for another title - it is too many years. Now we have one game left and we have to deliver."

QPR are two points clear of Bolton Wanderers, who will be relegated with Wolverhampton and Blackburn Rovers should they fail to defeat Stoke City away.

Should Bolton win however, they would leapfrog QPR into Premier League safety if the London-based side left Manchester without a point.

"I can't wait for the game - I can't wait to go to Man City," QPR captain Joey Barton said.

"They expect us to turn up and them to probably stuff us and go on and win the league.

"If that is their attitude, they will get a reality check. It's 11 men against 11 men, there is a lot of pressure out there.

"We have one game to go and we are masters of our own destiny."

City edged out QPR 3-2 last time the sides met in November with Toure striking the winner at Loftus Road.

Article

Mancini unfazed by Hughes clash

11 May 2012 19:54

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has played down talk of a rift between himself and QPR boss Mark Hughes ahead of Sunday's title decider.

Rangers will head into the weekend knowing a point would ensure their safety, but they will also be aware a victory for City would secure the title for Mancini's team.

Hughes was in the hot seat at City before being sacked and replaced by Mancini in 2009 and was also a former player at their title rivals Manchester United.

But Mancini has played down any ill feeling, and said the threat of relegation is enough for his opposite number to be dealing with.

"This is not important - on Sunday we play Manchester City against QPR," the City manager told reporters.

"For me, they are a good team, they don't deserve to stay at the bottom.

"They want to do everything to stay in the Premier League and for this reason I think it will be a tough game.

"I don't know (Hughes) very well but it is not Mancini against Hughes or Hughes against Mancini. It is City against QPR.

"One team plays for the title, the other plays (to avoid) relegation."

With City leading the table on goal difference, both Mancini and his players know that they only need to match United's result to pick up their first title since 1968.

The Italian admits that come matchday there will be nerves, but insisted there has been no tension during the week's training.

"It is a normal week, without problem, without injury," he said. "We have worked well.

"The players are very well. I think maybe tomorrow, Saturday, we can have pressure - I don't know - because it is the last game, but it doesn't change our situation.

"We need to play another difficult game. We need only to have focus about the game."

Article

Aguero: Title could be tip of iceberg

10 May 2012 10:19

Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero said a Premier League win on Sunday would spark a trophy run at Eastlands.

The Blues are on the verge of their first league title in 44 years, with a victory over QPR at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday all that is needed to clinch it.

But, the Argentine international feels that there is still so much potential within the side yet to be seen, despite their impressive campaign.

"I want to win the title this season — and then many more seasons with City after that," Aguero told The Sun.

"We have had a great season but there is so much more to come from this team."

Manchester City have become a big club back home in his native Argentina and the diminutive forward believes this is as much to do with the attractive style of football that the team play as it is the make-up of the squad, which includes fellow countrymen Pablo Zabaleta and Carlos Tevez.

"Argentinians love good football - and City have played some great football this season. They appreciate that back home and it makes the team very popular," Aguero said.

"We have three Argentine players in the squad and that generates more buzz.

"Premier League games are shown live on TV, too, and that's also a boost."

Aguero has enjoyed a fantastic debut season in England, after moving from Spanish side Atletico Madrid in the summer for a fee in the region of 35 million pounds, and has gone on to make himself an integral part of the first team, scoring 29 goals so far.

He continued: "It's always gratifying to be considered an important member of the team by the fans and hearing your name being echoed around the stadium is quite a rush.

"It makes me want to give even more when I go out on the pitch.

"But being held in high regard is only useful if it’s useful for the team, so that we can reach our goals every season.

"The backing our fans give to me gives me confidence and I try to pay it back by playing my best football."

Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 38 +64 89
2 38 +56 89
3 38 +25 70
4 38 +25 69
5 38 +5 65
6 38 +19 64
7 38 +10 56
8 38 +7 52
9 38 -3 52
10 38 -7 47
11 38 -7 47
12 38 -14 47
13 38 -1 45
14 38 -17 45
15 38 -20 43
16 38 -16 38
17 38 -23 37
18 38 -31 36
19 38 -30 31
20 38 -42 25