Football

Manchester City Vs Everton, Mon 20 Dec 2010

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Manchester City will aim to create their own bit of history by beating Everton at Eastlands on Monday - but for Aleksandar Kolarov it will just be another minor milestone compared to what life as a kid was like.

The blizzard conditions which swept England on Saturday morning, and put paid to key Barclays Premier League matches at Arsenal and Chelsea, mean City will secure top spot on Christmas Day if they can overcome David Moyes' men.

It is something the Blues have not experienced since the new league was formed in 1992.

Indeed, the statisticians have to trawl back through the record books to 1929 to last find City in staring down at the pack on such a significant day in the season.

They would have played two more games than Manchester United, which takes the edge off the situation slightly.

Nevertheless, it shows just how far the Blues have come in the two-and-a-half years since they were taken over by Sheikh Mansour's Abu Dhabi United Group.

For Kolarov, though, it would be a small step in a journey that has taken him from the streets of war-torn Serbia to Premier League riches.

"Players from Serbia are very hungry to work," he told Manc, the official Manchester City magazine.

"We all want to do something because every one of us has some story in their life."

Kolarov's story involves dodging bombs dropped during a three-month NATO raid on "strategic" targets, which unfortunately also claimed civilian casualties.

The memories from 1999, when the defender was only 14 and training with his boyhood heroes Red Star, still burn deep.

"I don't have nightmares but I remember everything," he said. "You just want to play football but you can't because there are bombs in the city.

"The first couple of days you have fear for something. Then every day is the same.

"Bombs fell near my house. The windows blew in. There was a military airport near my house so that was a target.

"They bombed bridges, everything. There were concerts on the bridges. But I didn't go. I played football."

Football proved to be Kolarov's way out.

He still hopes to return to his native Belgrade to play for Red Star, however, for now, the 25-year-old has his sights set on silverware in England.

Even if they beat Everton, Roberto Mancini's men will still trail United, Arsenal and Chelsea in the betting.

But with cash at his disposal and at least one dissenting dressing room voice set to leave next month in Emmanuel Adebayor, the Blues have to be highly fancied.

It does appear the Carlos Tevez saga has been silenced for a short while, although the Argentina star is yet to offer his own view on City's assertion that he should remain at the club despite handing in a well-publicised transfer request.

Tevez did have his anticipated meeting with manager Roberto Mancini despite City's later than expected return from Turin following their Europa League tie with Juventus.

Mancini has already stated Tevez will face the Toffeemen, who did the double over City last season and have won on their last three visits to Eastlands without conceding so much as a goal.

Everton boss Moyes accepts his pre-season aspirations of pushing the likes of City at the top end of the league are now impossible.

Yet as the Toffees prepare for the trip, the Scot has lost none of the conviction that his team are as good a Mancini's expensively-assembled, title-chasing side.

Everton are labouring in the bottom half of the Premier League after seven games without a win but the Merseysiders have proved their quality in the past and Moyes expects them to again.

Moyes said: "I think City are a stronger side, they have had a year more of development.

"They have spent again to get themselves up there and they look as if they are a bit more established.

"They are a good side with good players and they have got themselves in a healthy position.

"You won't know until the end but I would still put them as outsiders to win the Premier League.

"I hoped we would have been in a similar position but our start and the way we are at the moment makes that look very impossible."

The Toffees are hoping midfielder Steven Pienaar proves his fitness from a groin injury.

The South African, who was forced off after 66 minutes against Wigan a week ago, tweeted last week that he felt the game might come too soon.

Moyes however has since said the Monday night fixture has afforded him extra time that gives him an "outside chance" of playing.

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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Football
Manchester City
Premier League

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