WHAT today’s papers are saying:
THE SUN: Manchester City hope to have the X Factor in tomorrow’s derby. Roberto Mancini’s stars will be at the competition’s final tonight. Also: Here’s a sight to lift the Blues. Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba were back to raise spirits at the Bridge after Chelsea’s Euro exit.
DAILY EXPRESS: Sir Alex Ferguson sparked a war of words with Roberto Mancini in the build-up to the Manchester derby with a jibe about city’s penalty record. Also: Arsene Wenger has hit back at the critics who say he is frightened of spending money.
DAILY MAIL: Chelsea have begun drawing up a list of second-choice managerial candidates as fears grow over their chances of luring Pep Guardiola to Stamford Bridge. Also: Sir Alex Ferguson and Roberto Mancini yesterday traded barbs over dodgy penalty decisions as they ramped up the pressure ahead of tomorrow’s Manchester derby.
DAILY MIRROR: Sir Alex Ferguson has sparked a penalty war of words with rival Roberto Mancini ahead of tomorrow’s Manchester derby showdown. Also: Rafa Benitez last night revealed he has held clear-the-air talks with John Terry and Frank Lampard to ensure both are on-side with his Chelsea reign.
DAILY STAR: Robin van Persie has revealed there was no chance of him joining Manchester City once he discovered Sir Alex Ferguson wanted him. Also: Michael Owen has joined forced with Sir Alex Ferguson in blaming Liverpool for his injury-hit career.
THE INDEPENDENT: Roberto Mancini was plunged into a war of words with Sir Alex Ferguson about the number of penalties Manchester City are awarded, after biting on a classic piece of sophistry from the Manchester United manager ahead of tomorrow’s derby clash between the sides. Also: The full cost of buying the Newcastle United striker Demba Ba could total a staggering #30million.
THE TIMES: Roberto Mancini accused Sir Alex Ferguson of hypocrisy as the Manchester City manager hit back last night at his counterpart’s gibes over the number of penalties the champions are awarded. Also: Harry Redknapp could attempt to persuade Robbie Keane to help his Queens park Rangers side in their fight to avoid relegation.
THE GUARDIAN: There was only one flicker of irritation from Roberto Mancini and it was disguised with a smile after he was made aware how Sir Alex Ferguson, that master of the wind-up, had been taking a keen interest in the number of refereeing decisions that have gone in Manchester City’s favour. Also: It was hardly surprising that aggravation was etched all over Arsène Wenger’s face as he contemplated some of Arsenal’s key problems. Form is flaky, the injury list is typically irritating, the atmosphere around the Emirates is pressured and, to cap it all, the Frenchman then faced the weekly inquisition about what he will do with Theo Walcott come January if the winger shows no inclination to sign a contract extension.
THE DAILY TELEGRAPH: Roberto Mancini responded to Sir Alex Ferguson’s insistence that Manchester City benefit from generous penalty decisions on Friday by accusing Manchester United winger Ashley Young of “swimming” to win spot-kicks last season. Also: After Arsenal’s worst start to a league season under Arsène Wenger, the fans may yet opt for the Christmas shops rather than today’s important date with West Bromwich Albion at the Emirates. The stay-aways may not like it, but they can count on one thing: the manager is not about to embark on a shopping spree of his own.