MANCHESTER, England (AP):Louis van Gaal was careful to downplay talk of a permanent power shift in Manchester after United’s 4-2 victory over City in the most recent derby game.Old Trafford was rocking that evening in April. After four straight losses to their neighbours, United finally owned local bragging rights. City were on a downward spiral – behind their neighbours in the standings, their title defence in tatters and with manager Manuel Pellegrini’s job under serious pressure.But Van Gaal wasn’t getting carried away, and he was right.Since that painful loss six months ago, the blue half of Manchester has recovered to remain the dominant force in the city – as they have been since the end of Alex Ferguson’s 26-year tenure at United in 2013.City won six straight games after that derby, to finish the Premier League nine points above United and in second place.After two months of this season, City are in first place, the top scorers in the division and the favourites to capture the title for the third time in five years.The derby mauling in April seems a distant memory now as City head back to Old Trafford on Sunday for the 161st Manchester derby, the headline game in the 10th round of Premier League fixtures.The momentum seems to be with Pellegrini’s men, who have won their last two league games 6-1 and 5-1. City also had the advantage of playing at home in the Champions League on Wednesday – beating Sevilla 2-1 – while United had to travel back from a game in Moscow on the same night.However, United are at home – where they are unbeaten this season and have won seven of eight games – and has the incentive of potentially going top of the league with a win. United are third, tied for points with second-place Arsenal, but behind on goal difference.Arsenal are at home to Everton on Saturday.’PERFECT’ DE BRUYNEThe absence of striker Sergio Ag¸ero and playmaker David Silva, who were injured during the recent international break, has robbed City of their two most influential attacking players for the derby. But in Kevin De Bruyne, City has one of the most in-form players in the league, proving so far that he’s worth the US$85 million the club spent to make him their record signing.Pellegrini even called him the “perfect” signing after De Bruyne scored an injury-time winner against Sevilla on Wednesday.De Bruyne has been rotating, with great effect, with Raheem Sterling for central or left-wing roles in City’s attack in recent games. He is hard to pick up and his eye for a pass is arguably as good as Silva’s.Pellegrini’s biggest call this weekend is whether to recall captain Vincent Kompany, or retain the centre-back partnership of Nicolas Otamendi and Eliaquim Mangala.TRAVEL TIMEUnited must make a 1,600-mile journey back from Moscow on Thursday after the 1-1 draw with CSKA in the Champions League, putting the team at a disadvantage ahead of the derby, according to van Gaal.”Manchester City don’t have the travel. We have, so they have more rest,” Van Gaal said. “There is nothing you can do. They have the benefit.”United are in mixed form heading into the weekend, having lost 3-0 to Arsenal and won 3-0 at Everton in their last two Premier League games.
Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Report: Disney dropping the ‘Fox’ from movie studio names A relatively routine 6-2, 6-4 semifinal victory over 13th-seeded Julia Goerges of Germany on Thursday put Williams into her 10th final at the All England Club and moved her closer to a 24th Grand Slam title, which would equal Margaret Court’s record.“It’s crazy. I don’t even know how to feel, you know, because literally, I didn’t expect to do this well in my fourth tournament back,” Williams said. “I just feel like when I don’t have anything to lose, I just can play so free, and that’s kind of what I’m doing.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSAfter winning title, time for LA Tenorio to give back to Batangas folkSPORTSTim Cone still willing to coach Gilas but admits decision won’t be ‘simple yes or no’After hitting five aces with a serve that reached 119 mph, delivering 16 winners to only seven unforced errors, and covering the court so well with speed and effort against Goerges, Williams will face another German, 11th-seeded Angelique Kerber, on Saturday.“Whatever happens, honestly it’s an incredible effort from me,” the 36-year-old Williams said, “and good motivation to keep going for the rest of my career.” Serena Williams of the United States celebrates defeating Germany’s Julia Gorges in their women’s singles semifinals match at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships, in London, Thursday July 12, 2018.(AP Photo/Tim Ireland)LONDON — It’s almost as if Serena Williams never left.Even after more than a year away from the tour, even after a health scare while having a baby a little more than 10 months ago, Williams is still capable of dominance. Especially at Wimbledon, where she’s one victory from an eighth championship.ADVERTISEMENT Trump assembles a made-for-TV impeachment defense team LATEST STORIES Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Putin’s, Xi’s ruler-for-life moves pose challenges to West MOST READ Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award Volcano watch: Island fissures steaming, lake water receding The left-handed Kerber, a former No. 1 and two-time major champion, used a seven-game run to beat 12th-seeded Jelena Ostapenko 6-3, 6-3. Kerber did not dictate much, content to let 2017 French Open champion Ostapenko determine the outcome of nearly every point.By the end, Ostapenko had far more winners, 30-10, but also far more unforced errors, 36-7.Williams vs. Kerber will be a rematch of the 2016 final at Wimbledon. Williams won that for a second consecutive title at the All England Club, then sat out the grass-court tournament last year while pregnant, part of a 16-month gap between majors.“Seeing her back, it’s great,” said Kerber, who has lost six of eight previous matches against Williams. “I know that she is always pushing you to the limits to play your best tennis. This is the only chance to beat her.”After giving birth to daughter Olympia last September, Williams dealt with issues including blood clots, and she’s been wearing compression leggings this fortnight as a precaution. Her first Grand Slam tournament back was the French Open, where she won three matches before withdrawing last month because of an injured chest muscle.ADVERTISEMENT ‘High crimes and misdemeanors’: Trump impeachment trial begins All of the time away pushed someone who’s spent more than 300 weeks ranked No. 1 down the rankings — she began Wimbledon at 181st, but was seeded 25th on account of her past success — and no one could quite be sure how the American would fare over these two weeks.Not even Williams knew.“This is not inevitable for me. I had a really tough delivery, and I had to have multiple surgeries and almost didn’t make it, to be honest,” Williams said. “I remember I couldn’t even walk to my mail box, so it’s definitely not normal for me to be in a Wimbledon final. So I’m taking everything as it is and just enjoying every moment.”The victory over Goerges extended Williams’ winning streak at Wimbledon to 20 matches, dating to the start of the 2015 edition. She’s also won her past 15 Grand Slam matches, going to the start of the 2017 Australian Open, which she won while pregnant.That title pushed her past Steffi Graf’s record of 22 majors in the half-century professional era; Court won some of her Slams during the amateur era.Williams’ match against Goerges featured two of the best servers around, and began quite evenly, until 2-all, 30-all. Goerges, the first seeded player Williams faced these two weeks, showed she was capable of trading power from the baseline with Williams.There were moments when watching Goerges made it easy to wonder how it could be possible she never had been past a major’s fourth round until now. Or, more to the point on this afternoon, how such a stinging serve and big groundstrokes didn’t help her avoid first-round exits each of the past five years at Wimbledon.But she couldn’t keep up with Williams, who grabbed 18 of 22 points and five consecutive games to close the first set and begin the next. Williams broke for a 4-2 lead in the second when Goerges tried a rare drop shot that caught the top of the net tape and fell on her side. There was one brief blip to come: Williams got broken for the only time while serving for the match at 5-3.Immediately, though, Williams broke back at love to end it, smiling widely and placing her left fist on her chest when Goerges’ last shot landed long. Racela stays positive despite TNT exit: ‘We got a fair chance’ Nadine Lustre’s phone stolen in Brazil Palace OKs total deployment ban on Kuwait OFWs In fight vs corruption, Duterte now points to Ayala, MVP companies as ‘big fish’ Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew View comments