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.

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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

Injured De Bruyne Out Of Belgium Euro 2020 Qualifiers Squad

Kevin de Bruyne

 

Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne was left out of Belgium’s squad for their upcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers due to a groin injury, coach Roberto Martinez announced on Friday.

De Bruyne, 28, missed City’s midweek Champions League win over Dinamo Zagreb after suffering the injury in the Premier League victory over Everton on September 28.

Former captain Vincent Kompany and Lyon defender Jason Denayer also miss out due to fitness issues.

There are doubts about goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, forward Romelu Lukaku and defender Thomas Meunier with Martinez saying a decision about the three will be made on Monday.

Martinez added he was “relatively optimistic” about Courtois who was replaced at half-time in Real Madrid’s 2-2 draw with Club Brugge on Tuesday due to a stomach problem.

The Red Devils sit top of their group unbeaten before hosting San Marino on October 10 before travelling to Kazakhstan three days later.

Belgium squad

Goalkeepers: Thibaut Courtois (Real Madrid/ESP), Simon Mignolet (Club Brugge), Matz Sels (Strasbourg/FRA), Hendrik Van Crombrugge (Anderlecht)

Defenders: Toby Alderweireld (Tottenham Hotspur/ENG), Dedryck Boyata (Hertha Berlin/GER), Timothy Castagne (Atalanta/ITA), Leander Dendoncker (Wolves/ENG), Brandon Mechele (Club Brugge), Thomas Vermaelen (Vissel Kobe/JAP), Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham Hotspur/ENG), Thomas Meunier (Paris Saint-Germain/FRA)

Midfielders: Yannick Carrasco (Dalian Yifang/CHN), Nacer Chadli (Anderlecht), Dennis Praet (Leicester City/ENG), Maxime Lestienne (Standard Liege), Youri Tielemans (Leicester City/ENG), Hans Vanaken (Club Brugge), Yari Verschaeren (Anderlecht), Axel Witsel (Borussia Dortmund/GER)

Forwards: Michy Batshuayi (Chelsea/ENG), Christian Benteke (Crystal Palace/ENG), Eden Hazard (Real Madrid/ESP), Thorgan Hazard (Borussia Dortmund/GER), Adnan Januzaj (Real Sociedad/ESP), Romelu Lukaku (Inter/ITA), Dries Mertens (Naples/ITA), Divock Origi (Liverpool/ENG).

AFP

De Bruyne Sidelined With Groin Injury

Manchester City’s Belgian midfielder Kevin De Bruyne (L) vies with Everton’s French defender Lucas Digne during the English Premier League football match between Everton and Manchester City at Goodison Park in Liverpool, north west England on September 28, 2019. Lindsey Parnaby / AFP

 

Manchester City midfielder Kevin de Bruyne will miss Tuesday’s Champions League clash with Dinamo Zagreb with a groin injury that could also see him miss Sunday’s Premier League meeting with Wolves.

The Belgian has been in sensational form for the English champions, scoring twice and providing nine assists in just nine appearances this season.

“Kevin De Bruyne suffered a groin injury in the win over Everton and will miss tonight’s game against Dinamo Zagreb,” City said in a statement on Tuesday.

“The extent of his layoff depends on how well he responds to the rehabilitation programme overseen by the Club’s medical staff.”

De Bruyne missed the majority of last season due to two serious knee injuries.

However, this latest setback is not expected to keep him out for long.

After Wolves’ visit to the Etihad on Sunday, City have a two-week layoff for an international break before travelling to Crystal Palace on October 19.

AFP

Man City Beat Cardiff To Leapfrog Liverpool In League Summit

Manchester City’s Belgian midfielder Kevin De Bruyne (C) celebrates scoring the opening goal during the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and Cardiff City at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north-west England, on April 3, 2019.
Oli SCARFF / AFP

 

Manchester City beat Cardiff 2-0 on Wednesday to return to the top of the Premier League, one point ahead of Liverpool.

Kevin De Bruyne gave City the lead in the sixth minute, firing in from a tight angle, and Leroy Sane doubled the advantage for the defending champions with a sharp finish just before half-time.

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In other English Premier League results;

Chelsea 3-0 Brighton (Giroud 38, Hazard 60, Loftus-Cheek 63)

Tottenham 2-0 Crystal Palace (Son 55, Eriksen 80)

Guardiola Hopeful De Bruyne Fit For Crucial Liverpool Clash

Kevin de Bruyne

 

Kevin de Bruyne could return from injury as Manchester City bid to inflict Liverpool’s first Premier League defeat of the season and put pressure on them in the title race, City manager Pep Guardiola said on Wednesday.

The return of De Bruyne would boost City’s hopes of beating Liverpool and reducing their lead at the top to four points.

It would also be a filip to their title defence which suffered a serious blow with three defeats in their last five league matches.

The 27-year-old Belgian midfielder, City’s player of the year, has endured an injury-affected campaign, restricting him to just six league appearances.

He was out of action from August until late October with a knee injury, then suffered a calf problem in early November that sidelined him for more than a month.

Having returned again in mid-December, he suffered a muscle problem during the defeat at Leicester on Boxing Day.

Guardiola, though, is hopeful De Bruyne can feature on Thursday as City look to drag themselves back into the title race.

“He trained today,” said Guardiola at his eve of the match press conference.

“Tomorrow (Thursday) we need another check in the morning but he is much better.”

 ‘The best team in Europe’ 

In contrast to City’s indifferent recent league record Jurgen Klopp’s side have won nine league matches in a row, and have the best defensive record, conceding eight goals in 20 matches this season.

During that nine-match winning run, Liverpool have kept six clean sheets and conceded just three goals, and Guardiola acknowledges his own team have to improve their defensive record, as well as becoming more ruthless in attack.

“You have to see how many chances we concede,” said Guardiola.

“We are the second-best team in Europe in terms of the chances we create, so we are not precise enough.

“In the past few games, we have conceded more goals than usual but the number of chances we have conceded is not too much.”

Guardiola has tried to play down suggestions defeat on Thursday would effectively end City’s chances of retaining the title they won with a competition record of 100 points last May.

“The reality is clear. We are seven points down, but it is the second game of the second half of the season, so there are a lot of points to play for,” said Guardiola.

“I have the feeling it is a big opportunity for us to reduce the gap.

“Everybody is asking what will happen if we lose but we are going to try to win.

“It is our chance to fight for the Premier League, to go as far as possible,” added the 47-year-old Spaniard.

Liverpool have dropped just six points all season, and Guardiola believes they are currently the most consistent team in Europe.

“It is Liverpool, the best team in all England in history.

“We can beat them. I know today nobody trusts us but it is what it is.

“They are in the moment the best team in Europe, in their consistency, the way they control the details in their game.”

AFP

Man City Sweat On De Bruyne After Knee Injury

Kevin de Bruyne

 

Manchester City midfielder Kevin de Bruyne could face a spell on the sidelines after injuring his right knee in training, the Premier League champions said Wednesday.

The 27-year-old, who enjoyed a superb World Cup as Belgium reached the semi-finals, is undergoing tests to assess the seriousness of the injury.

“Kevin De Bruyne is undergoing tests on his right knee after sustaining an injury at training on Wednesday,” read a club statement on its website.

“The extent of the problem is not yet known and we will bring you further updates on Kevin’s condition in due course.”

De Bruyne, who has been at City since 2015, scored eight goals and provided 16 assists last season in a series of dynamic performances for the champions.

According to www.metro.co.uk, De Bruyne faces around two months out after suffering the injury when he caught his studs in the turf before leaving the training ground on crutches.

The Daily Telegraph said he had suffered knee ligament damage similar to the injury he sustained in a league game with Everton in January 2016 and which kept him out of the team for two months.

Due to being given three weeks off following the World Cup he did not play a role in the Community Shield win against Chelsea but came on for a cameo role of half an hour in the 2-0 opening Premier League victory over Arsenal last Sunday.

AFP

League Cup Just The Start For Manchester City – De Bruyne

League Cup Just The Start For Manchester City – De Bruyne
Manchester City’s Belgian midfielder Kevin De Bruyne (2nd L) poses for a photograph with the trophy after their victory in the English League Cup final against Arsenal at Wembley stadium in north London on February 25, 2018. Glyn KIRK / AFP

 

Manchester City didn’t get carried away with their League Cup celebrations, midfielder Kevin De Bruyne revealed, with bigger targets in their sights for the remainder of the season.

City picked up their first silverware of the Pep Guardiola era by sweeping aside Arsenal 3-0 at Wembley on Sunday.

However, a second trophy in the Premier League seems merely a matter of time with City enjoying a 13-point lead over Manchester United with a game in hand.

And Guardiola’s men are also well set to make the Champions League quarter-finals after thrashing Basel 4-0 away in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie.

“It was quite mellow,” said De Bruyne of City’s dressing room celebrations just four days ahead of another meeting with Arsenal in the Premier League.

“It is very nice to win but it is just the beginning, we still have a lot to play for and Thursday is another game.

“It is very nice to already have a title in the bag, we have had a wonderful season until now and I think we fully deserved it.

“Now we have to go on and try to win the Premier League and do well in the Champions League.”

Guardiola’s revolution at the Etihad Stadium has built a team ready to compete for honours for years to come with a host of expensive young recruits like Leroy Sane, Gabriel Jesus, Bernardo Silva, John Stones and Aymeric Laporte.

However, it was three of City’s old guard who got the goals at Wembley as Sergio Aguero, Vincent Kompany and David Silva sealed the victory.

And De Bruyne hopes their experience and that of tasting trophy success will spur City’s young guns onto greater heights.

“I think they help the younger lads to focus on what they have to do,” added De Bruyne.

“A lot of young players didn’t win a lot in their career.

“So it will help them to get the experience of playing this game, the way you need to handle it, the way you need to end it, yes it will help them in the end.”

Chelsea Trash Man City For 8th Straight Win

Chelsea Trash Man City For 8th Straight WinChelsea rallied from a goal down to overcome Manchester City and stretch their winning sequence to eight Premier League matches.

Gary Cahill’s own goal gave City the lead but strikes from Diego Costa, Willian and Eden Hazard earned Antonio Conte’s side victory.

Chelsea fell behind when Cahill’s attempted interception looped over Thibaut Courtois but, moments after Kevin De Bruyne hit the bar, the Blues levelled.

Costa took his goal tally to 11 for the season with a turn and shot on the hour and 10 minutes later Willian produced a second, celebrating by holding aloft his armband honouring the victims of the Chapecoense air disaster.

Hazard’s late breakaway goal decided matters before Sergio Aguero and Fernandinho were sent off.

Guardiola Says Manchester City Win Against Barcelona Is Vital

Pep Guardiola, Manchester City, Barcelona
Pep Guardiola, Manchester City, Barcelona

Pep Guardiola has described Manchester City’s 3-1 win over Barcelona as momentous, considering he has only been working at the club for four months.

Guardiola, who believes it is just a beginning for City, however, says it shows his team is on the right track.

It was a dream come true for the coach as two goals from Ilkay Gundogan and Kevin De Bruyne’s fine free-kick handed the hosts a famous win.

Five-time Ballon d’Or winner, Lionel Messi had open the scoring in the 21st minute with the aim to replicate the Spanish side’s 4-0 win at Camp Nou.

However, the story changed down the line, as the match ended 3-1 on Tuesday at the Etihad Stadium.

This means Manchester City have one foot in the UEFA Champions League knockout stages.

Ozil Again Secures Arsenal’s Victory Against Razgrad

Arsenal, Ludogorets Razgrad, Mesut Ozil, Manchester United, BarcelonaArsenal have yet again beaten Ludogorets Razgrad 3-2 in a UEFA Champions League return match on Tuesday night.

Although the Gunners had a poor beginning, they later displayed a brilliant performance at the Ludogorets Arena in Bulgaria.

Goals from Jonathan Cafu and Claudiu Keseru had set Razgrad on the spot before Granit Xhaka gave the English visitors a reason not to lose their winning hope.

Olivier Giroud also made good use of Aaron Ramsey’s assist to level the score for Arsenal in the 42nd minute.

After a strong battle for the winner, Mohamed Elneny made a superb pass which led to Mesut Ozil’s 88th minute goal.

In an earlier visit to the Emirates Stadium, Arsenal humbled the Bulgarian side 6 – 0.

Ozil netted a hat-trick while Alexis Sanchez, Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scored a goal apiece.

Dream Come True

Meanwhile, it was a dream come true for Coach Pep Guardiola as Manchester United thrashed Barcelona 3-1 at the Etihad Stadium.

Pep Guardiola: Champions League: Guardiola Wants New Mindset Against Barcelona
Pep Guardiola

Football legend, Lionel Messi had open the scoring in the 21st minute with the aim to replicate the Spanish side’s 4-0 win at Camp Nou.

However, the story changed down the line, as Ilkay Guendogan equalised for City.

The first half subsequently ended 1-1.

Kevin de Bruyne netted a brilliant goal few minutes after the second half began before Guendogan scored his second goal.

Messi, Ronaldo Others Contend For 2016 Ballon d’Or

Ballon d'Or, Lionel Messi, Cristiano RonaldoFootball legend, Lionel Messi has been shortlisted alongside Cristiano Ronaldo for the 2016 Ballon d’Or award.

France Football magazine reveals that the 30-man list is being released in bunches of five players throughout Monday, October 24.

The award which has been given annually by France Football since 1956 has become the FIFA Ballon d’Or for the past six years.

Barcelona forward, Messi has bagged the honour for a record fifth time while Real Madrid’s Ronaldo has won the award three times.

ronaldo_2788476b
Cristiano Ronaldo

The French magazine has released the names of 30 nominees of the 2016 Ballon d’Or.

Full List
Sergio Aguero (Manchester City & Argentina)
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Borussia Dortmund & Gabon)
Gareth Bale (Real Madrid & Wales)
Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus & Italy)
Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City & Belgium)
Paulo Dybala (Juventus & Argentina)
Diego Godin (Atletico Madrid & Uruguay)
Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid & France)
Gonzalo Higuain (Napoli/Juventus & Argentina)
Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Paris Saint-Germain/Manchester United & Sweden)
Andres Iniesta (Barcelona & Spain)
Koke (Atletico Madrid & Spain)
Toni Kroos (Real Madrid & Germany)
Robert Lewandowski (Bayern München & Poland)
Hugo Lloris (Tottenham Hotspur & France)
Riyad Mahrez (Leicester City & Algeria)
Lionel Messi (Barcelona & Argentina)
Luka Modric (Real Madrid & Croatia)
Thomas Müller (Bayern München & Germany)
Manuel Neuer (Bayern München & Germany)
Neymar (Barcelona & Brazil)
Dimitri Payet (West Ham & France)
Pepe (Real Madrid & Portugal)
Paul Pogba (Juventus/Manchester United & France)
Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid & Spain)
Rui Patricio (Sporting CP & Portugal)
Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid & Portugal)
Luis Suárez (Barcelona & Uruguay)
Jamie Vardy (Leicester City & England)
Arturo Vidal (Bayern München & Chile).

 

Klopp, Son Named Manager, Player Of The Month

Jurgen Klopp,Heung-Min Son, Liverpool, TottenhamLiverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has been named Premier League manager of the month.

The 49-year-old becomes the first German winner of the award after three straight wins over Leicester City, Chelsea and Hull, scoring 11 goals in the process.

He beat off competition from Manchester City boss, Pep Guardiola, Crystal Palace Manager, Alan Pardew, Tottenham’s Mauricio Pochettino and Arsenal Manager, Arsene Wenger to secure the award.

Tottenham’s Heung-Min Son was also named Premier League player of the month.

The 24-year-old becomes the first Asian player to claim the prize after scoring four goals and adding two assists in four matches.

Romelu Lukaku, Theo Walcott, Adam Lallana and Kevin De bruyne were the other contenders for the award.