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Barca attack picking up steam

Barcelona about an hour ago
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By ESPN Staff
Aug 15, 2007

Man City can emulate Arsenal's style - Ireland

Stephen Ireland claims Manchester City could emulate Arsenal's attacking style under Sven-Goran Eriksson.

The Swede's £40million spending spree has seen players bought from across the globe by City, but 20-year-old midfielder Ireland has been stunned by how quickly they have gelled.

Ireland said: 'We are a flair kind of team now, we have a lot of attacking players, a lot of Brazilians and perhaps we can become like an Arsenal.

'At times last year I was afraid to express myself but the way the manager speaks to you man to man is excellent, he's a good team talker and everyone responds to him.'

City entertain Derby tonight for their first home Barclays Premier League game under Eriksson with expectations already soaring following their 2-0 dismissal of West Ham on the opening day of the season.

But Eriksson said: 'We have to take it easy and not start talking about the big four. When the squad is complete then I will put a target to the players.

'We played very good football for large parts of the 90 minutes against West Ham and I was surprised by that because the new players did it so quickly - but Derby will be a new challenge.'

The first task for Eriksson's side is to remove the stigma of not having scored a league goal in the City of Manchester Stadium since New Year's Day.

The City manager added: 'It's a long time and we will try to play good football but we cannot guarantee anything.

'That is our target and we have been working very hard on that, but in football you have to defend as well.'

Eriksson, who is still searching for a new goalkeeper, may be tempted to tinker with his starting line-up to make space for two strikers and change the 4-5-1 winning formula he used at West Ham.

Bulgarian striker Valeri Bojinov is the most likely change, replacing Michael Johnson, but Emile Mpenza came through a reserves match last night after recovering from a hamstring problem and is also in contention.