PL to stick to its guns
Wed, 17 Apr 2013 21:07:00
A piece of individual magic from Carlos Tevez handed Manchester City a 1-0 win against Wigan in a dress rehearsal for next month's FA Cup final.
The Argentine bagged the winner after turning past two players on the edge of the box before crashing his shot into the roof of the net with seven minutes remaining.
Franco Di Santo and Arouna Kone missed good chances for the Latics who remain in the relegation zone and three points from safety.
The first half was rather low key as both sides returned to league action after their emotionally and physically-draining semi-final victories last weekend.
Wigan started confidently, stroking the ball around neatly but without great penetration. They won two corners inside the first four minutes, but failed to capitalise.
Aleksandar Kolarov flashed his free-kick wide before Sergio Aguero shot across goal and failed to win a free-kick outside the area, but other than that there was little activity of note in the opening 30 minutes.
There then followed a flurry of activity as Wigan produced a sparkling move with Kone bursting forward and Shaun Maloney backheeling into the path of Di Santo.
The Argentinian did brilliantly to jink round two defenders and open his body to shoot but Hart parried low to his left. City raced upfield in response but Aguero failed to get a touch on Tevez's dangerous low cross.
City survived a couple of scares soon after the restart as first Maloney wrongfooted Micah Richards and beat Hart with a shot from a tight angle only for Joleon Lescott to clear off the line.
Wigan appeared to go close again when Paul Scharner headed against the bar from a free-kick but the flag had been raised for offside.
After that near miss, heartbreak followed for Wigan as Tevez struck a typically sublime winner. The Argentinian turned away from two defenders on the edge of the area and jinked past a third before curling a shot into the top corner.
It was his eighth goal in nine games and left Wigan in the bottom three as one of their valuable games in hand had slipped away.
City, meanwhile, cut Manchester United's lead at the top to 13 points, and now the side's must do it all again at Wembley next month.
Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini blamed too many games for their lacklustre victory over relegation threatened Wigan at the Ethiad.
He said: "It was hard work because we were so tired because we played two important games in five days and we played the last game three days ago.
"It was a difficult game but we knew this before the game. Wigan play good football, they play really well."
Meanwhile, Roberto Martinez admitted his side's defeat was 'hard to take' after Carlos Tevez's late winner.
He said: "Obviously in this moment of the season the points are vitally important otherwise I would tell you it doesn't matter.
"The way we performed was outstanding. I don't think for one second we deserved to draw the game, never mind lose it."
Well Society chairman Graham Barnstaple and colleague Brian McCafferty have both been made full directors of the club.
Motherwell chief executive Leeann Dempster told the club's official website: "In what has been a fairly difficult few days for Scottish football, we are really pleased to have some good news to report.
"We started the Well Society as the vehicle towards full fan ownership and have overcome many hurdles since 2011.
"Graham and Brian's appointment to the club board is another major milestone in our adventure and something that is really worth celebrating.
"They take full part in the direction of the club, including a say on all issues and have equal voting rights to other board members.
"We would encourage as many fans as possible to join the society and together we can continue the fantastic success we have enjoyed in recent years, both on and off the park."
McCafferty said: "This is a significant step towards reaching our ultimate goal of gaining a controlling interest in the club on behalf of the fans."
The society will assume majority control of the club once fans have raised enough money to provide long-term financial security.
The 72 Football League clubs met in Derby on Wednesday and agreed to push for a better deal over solidarity payments - with some chairmen claiming that boosting parachute payments from ?16million to ?23million for the first year after relegation will give relegated clubs an unfair advantage.
As far as the Premier League is concerned, the level of parachute payments is non-negotiable.
A Premier League spokesman said: "Parachute payments are based on a formula that is part of the Premier League's constitution and have proven a necessary mechanism for clubs both coming up and down over the years.
"There is no evidence to suggest they prevent non-parachute payment receiving clubs getting promoted from the Championship - the contrary in fact. Over the past 15 seasons two-thirds of clubs promoted to the Premier League did so without parachute payments."
The Premier League's proposals are for relegated clubs to receive ?23million in the first year, ?18million in the second and ?9million in years three and four. It would mean a possible total of ?59million over four years compared to the maximum now of ?48million.
Clubs in the Championship not receiving parachute payments would get ?2.3million in solidarity payments - but still more than the money from their own TV deal.
The offer of solidarity payments for League One and League Two clubs is ?360,000 and ?240,000 respectively, a 6.6 per cent and 5.4 per cent rise.
The increase in parachute payments from ?16million is because of the rise in the Premier League's TV rights from 2013-16 - and it effectively decides on the level it pays.
Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore said last month he understands anxieties over a proposed increase in parachute payments for relegated clubs but claims the evidence shows the system is fair.
He pointed to the fact that of all the clubs promoted in the last 15 years, 60% had not been receiving parachutes.
Scudamore said then: "It's nothing new - there have been those concerns from the day the parachute system was introduced. What we did three years ago in extending the period to four years was potentially giving 12 Championship clubs parachutes.
"That is better for the Football League and not worse because it means more clubs have got substantial amounts of money."