Manchester City on right track to satisfy FFP demands

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Commercial growth: Chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak praised the financial results.

Manchester City should be assured of complying with UEFA’s financial fair play rules this season after drastically cutting their losses compared to last year.

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The club’s annual report shows City had record revenues of £346.5million (Dh2bn) for the year ending May 31 2014, a 28 per
cent increase thanks to finishing as Premier League champions, the bumper new TV deal and commercial income rises.

City’s overall losses have halved to £23m (Dh132.5m) – of which £16m (Dh92m) was the fine imposed by UEFA last season for
FFP rule breaches and does not count towards this year’s calculation.

The results also show City are no longer the club with the biggest wage bill in the Premier League – they are now second on £204m (Dh1.2bn) behind neighbours Manchester United’s £214.8m (Dh1.23bn).

In terms of UEFA’s FFP rules, City’s results should mean that the full £50m (Dh288m) conditional fine announced in May will not
apply and that the financial penalty will be limited to £16m (Dh92m). 

City, who are due to unveil their new academy next week, are also able to write off large sums spent on youth development as far as FFP is concerned, with the club confident they have a cushion of £20m (Dh115m) to £25m (Dh144m) above UEFA’s allowed losses.

The figures underline the stridesthe club has made since the takeover by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, of the Abu Dhabi ruling family, since he bought City in August 2008.

Wages are now 59 per cent of turnover, compared to 86 per cent a year ago. The drop in the wage bill is partly explained by the fact the previous figure included significant pay-offs to former manager Roberto Mancini and his coaching team.

Chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak said in the annual report: “We have moved beyond the period of heavy investment that was
required to make the club competitive again, it is commercial growth of the kind we are seeing today that will underpin and support our operations in the future.”

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EPL: Man City hit four, Chelsea still unbeaten

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Unstoppable: Sergio Aguero scores Manchester City's first goal

Sergio Aguero turned on the magic once more as Manchester City maintained the pressure on Premier League leaders Chelsea by cruising to a 4-1 win over Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.

Aguero rammed home his 18th goal of the season two minutes after Connor Wickham had given the hosts a shock early lead, and scored again with 19 minutes remaining as City turned on the style to shatter their four-year hoodoo against the Black Cats.

City had been downed by Sunderland 1-0 in each of their four previous league visits to the north-east and a repeat performance might have been on the cards when Wickham got a fortunate deflection off Pablo Zabaleta's attempted clearance to put his side in front.

But Aguero quickly equalised and then played a delightful flick for Stevan Jovetic to put his side in front before the break, before second half strikes from Zabaleta and Aguero completed an impressive victory.

"I think we are returning to the performances we had last season," Pellegrini said.

"I think if we continue playing this way of course we will fight for the title, but I think three or four other teams will also be there."

Didier Drogba scored his 162nd Chelsea goal during Chelsea's 3-1 defeat of Tottenham

Ruthless Chelsea extended Tottenham's torment at Stamford Bridge with a 3-0 win that saw Jose Mourinho's unbeaten Blues consolidate their lead at the top of the Premier League.

Spurs were bidding for a first win at their rivals' west London home since February 1990 and began well, with Harry Kane hitting the bar with an early header.

There was a sense that the visitors had to take an opportunity during their early supremacy, and their failure to do so was punished by two goals in four first-half minutes by Eden Hazard and Didier Drogba.

Drogba, deputising for suspended striker Diego Costa, returned a pass to Hazard, whose shot squirmed under Hugo Lloris to give Chelsea a 19th-minute lead.

Worse was to follow for the France goalkeeper as his dreadful clearance went straight to Hazard, who found Oscar, with the Brazilian playing the kind of pinpoint pass Drogba relishes.

The striker's fifth of the season — and 162nd Chelsea goal — effectively ended the match as a contest and ensured Mourinho's men would extend their unbeaten start to the season to 21 matches ahead of the weekend trip to Newcastle.

Substitute Loic Remy embarrassed the hapless Jan Vertonghen in netting Chelsea's third to complete a comfortable victory.

It was not all positive for Chelsea, as Nemanja Matic will miss the trip to St James' Park through suspension after picking up his fifth booking of the campaign, while Gary Cahill could be a doubt after going off at half-time following an earlier clash of heads.

Meanwhile, Alexis Sanchez fired Arsenal to a late 1-0 victory over Southampton at Emirates Stadium to narrow the gap on the Premier League top four to two points.

Sanchez drilled home Aaron Ramsey's pass in the 88th minute following a frantic passage of play, with the Gunners taking full advantage of Saints having been reduced to 10 men.

Hull City's run of defeats came to an end as an equaliser from substitute Sone Aluko secured a 1-1 draw at Everton.

The Toffees appeared very much in control at half-time of the Premier League contest, going in a goal up thanks to Romelu Lukaku's 34th-minute strike from a Kevin Mirallas cutback.

But Hull battled back after the break and were level in the 59th minute when Aluko, only just introduced to the action, got past Sylvain Distin and put a nice finish past Tim Howard at the near post.

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Steven Gerrard coy over Liverpool contract talks

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Not ready yet: Liverpool's Steven Gerrard has not made a decision yet about the contract extension.

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard refused to be drawn on his future at the club after scoring in his side's 3-1 Premier League success at Leicester City on Tuesday.

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The 34-year-old midfielder was restored to the starting XI after starting Saturday's 1-0 win over Stoke City on the bench and responded by scoring the crucial second goal as Liverpool came from behind to win.

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers revealed before the game that Gerrard has been offered a new contract, but when asked if he was ready to put pen to paper, he told BT Sport: "I'll decide when I'm ready.

"There's nothing to say on the contract at the moment. When there is, the fans have known me long enough, I'll come out and say what I need to say."

Liverpool fell behind in the 22nd minute at the King Power Stadium when Leonardo Ulloa's shot hit the post and ricocheted into the net off visiting goalkeeper Simon Mignolet's back for a cruel own goal.

But Adam Lallana equalised almost immediately and Gerrard put Liverpool in front nine minutes into the second half, steering home his first goal since September after Raheem Sterling's cross was partially cleared.

After Leicester centre-back Wes Morgan had been sent off for hauling back Rickie Lambert, Jordan Henderson made the game safe in the 83rd minute.

When pressed on his future, Gerrard again refused to answer, focusing instead on his team's improved form since their 2-2 Champions League draw at Bulgarian side Ludogorets Razgrad last week.

"I think the last three performances have been superb," he said.

"We need to keep trying to improve on that. The reason I don't want to answer your question tonight is because it's not about me; it's about a great team performance and a great three points."

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