Man City Cruise To Victory Against West Ham

Manchester City’s Belgian midfielder Kevin De Bruyne (C) celebrates with teammates after scoring their second goal during the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and West Ham United at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England, on February 19, 2020.
Anthony Devlin / AFP

 

Manchester City cruised to a 2-0 win over West Ham on Wednesday as Pep Guardiola’s side returned to action for the first time following the club’s shock two-year ban from European competitions.

Goals from Rodri and Kevin De Bruyne lifted City’s spirits as they cemented their hold on second place in the Premier League.

The Champions League and Europa League suspension for alleged financial fair play regulations drew a furious response over the weekend from City supporters who have long believed UEFA hold an agenda against their Abu Dhabi-owned club.

Yet the attendance at the Etihad Stadium for the visit of David Moyes’ struggling side was disappointing, with approximately 10,000 empty seats greeting the two sets of players before kick-off.

READ ALSO: British Footballer Fashanu To Be Inducted Into Museum Hall of Fame

That may have been due, in part, to the fact the fixture was rescheduled from its original date 10 days earlier due to storms.

Live TV coverage and gridlocked early evening Manchester traffic also did not help supporters arrive in good time for a fixture in which their team was seeking to close the 25-point gap to leaders Liverpool.

It was a curiously subdued atmosphere, therefore, rather than the expected frenzied demonstration of anti-UEFA rhetoric.

There were a couple of home-made banners proclaiming “UEFA Cartel” and “UEFA Mafia”, as well as chants of adulation praising City owner Sheikh Mansour and boss Guardiola.

There were also taunts to UEFA that “we’ll see you in court” and crude songs aimed at the governing body.

But not until Rodri headed City into a 29th-minute lead did City fans become truly animated as their team maintained their complete dominance against the visitors.

It is fair to say, however, that there will be a very different atmosphere when City next play at the Etihad in the Champions League, with Real Madrid the visitors on March 10 in the last 16-second leg.

Combative Attitude

City’s chief executive Ferran Soriano was clearly in a combative mood when discussing the approach to their latest confrontation with UEFA.

“The fans can be sure of two things. The first one is that the allegations are false,” said Soriano, who confirmed the club will take the matter to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

“And the second is that we will do everything that can be done to prove so.”

Guardiola was equally defiant when asked to comment on the suspension before kick-off.

“The first moment was impacted but after a few hours we cannot control, we support the club 100 percent,” he said.

A second-half goal from De Bruyne at least ensured that City returned from the winter break, and five days of controversy, with the minimum of fuss.

However, it promises to be events in European law courts, rather than a football pitch, that has a greater impact on the club over the coming months.

AFP

Guardiola On Joe Hart: I Am Here To Make Decisions

Bayern_GuardiolaOver the alleged exit of Manchester City Goal keeper, Joe Hart, the Clubs Manager, Pep Guardiola says he understands the fans love for the player, but he is in the club to make decisions.

City are close to sealing a £17 million deal for Barcelona keeper Claudio Bravo, casting doubts over Hart’s future at the Etihad as Guardiola preferred second choice goalkeeper, Willy Caballero for the start of the new season.

“Joe is still our player. I know he’s a legend for this club — one of the reasons this club is what it is is because of Joe. He helped to make this team one step above so I’m so happy with the way the people treated him tonight, Pep told ESPN.

“I’m here to take decisions — I made a lot of mistakes in my career as a coach — sometimes good decisions, sometimes bad. I can’t deny what I feel. I was honest with Joe, the club and myself and that’s what I always try to do. I would like if everyone was happy with all the decisions I take but that’s impossible.

“The coach has to take decisions which influences the players’ lives and that’s not easy. We have 28 players, so 17 players are always not playing. Do you think they are happy with the coach? They are not happy about that.

“I can completely understand if the fans are not happy. Joe did a lot with this club in the years, he’s been, more than I have done — I’ve only been here for one month, he’s been here many years.

“I respect all of the guys here but I’m here and I have to take decisions and that’s what I feel.”

Pep Guardiola gave Joe Hart his first start of the season on Wednesday’s 1-0 Champions League win against Steaua Bucharest.

Ilkay Gundogan Joins Manchester City

Ilkay Gundogan, Manchester CityGerman midfielder, Ilkay Gundogan has joined Manchester City from Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund on a four-year deal.

The 25-year-old is the club’s first signing since they confirmed Spanish coach, Pep Guardiola will take over at the Etihad from Manuel Pellegrini prior to the start of next season.

City’s Director of Football Txiki Begiristain, has described Ilkay is an excellent addition to the Cityteam and the club are delighted to have him on board.

“He is an intelligent and versatile midfielder who can operate in a number of different roles. I think our supporters will enjoy his work ethic and technical ability and I believe he will be a very important player for us in the coming years.”

Gundogan made 157 appearances over the past five seasons for Borussia Dortmund and has won 16 caps for Germany, scoring four goals.

The injury-prone German international dislocated a kneecap in training in May, ruling him out of the 2016 European Championships in France.

“I’m thrilled to have signed for Manchester City,” said Gundogan. “When I learned of City’s interest my heart was set on coming here and things have moved very quickly.

“I have loved my time with Borussia Dortmund and I would like to thank the club and the supporters for the five very happy years I spent there.

“They gave me a platform to play on and I became a better player because of the belief, patience and trust they showed in me.

“Now I have a new challenge and that is to achieve great things with City. The opportunity to work with a coach like Pep Guardiola is something I am really looking forward to and I am flattered to be the first signing the Club has made this summer.

“I can promise the City fans I will give everything to help us win titles both in England and the Champions League. These are exciting times.

“I have my best years ahead of me and I think we can achieve great things together. I can’t wait to begin this new chapter in my career.”