Man City’s Foden Voted Premier League Young Player Of The Season

Manchester City’s English midfielder Phil Foden celebrates after scoring his team’s third goal during the UEFA Champions League semi-final first leg football match between Manchester City and Real Madrid, at the Etihad Stadium, in Manchester, on April 26, 2022. Oli SCARFF / AFP

 

 

Manchester City forward Phil Foden was named the Premier League’s Young Player of the season for the second consecutive year on Saturday.

Foden has been instrumental in City’s bid to retain the Premier League title, scoring nine goals and producing five assists.

The 21-year-old has matched his goal and assist totals from last season and could surpass them in City’s vital Premier League title decider against Aston Villa on Sunday.

Pep Guardiola’s side are one point clear of second-placed Liverpool and will be guaranteed to win a fourth English title in five seasons if they beat Villa at the Etihad Stadium.

Liverpool would win the title if they defeat Wolves and City drop points.

“I’m very proud to have won this award for a second season in a row,” Foden told City’s website.

“There are so many talented young players in the Premier League this season and it’s a real honour to win it again.

“I have been really happy with my performances this season and it has been great to contribute to this team in what will hopefully be another successful year for us all.”

In an award voted on by fans, Foden finished ahead of Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold, Chelsea’s Mason Mount, West Ham’s Declan Rice, Arsenal duo Aaron Ramsdale and Bukayo Saka and Crystal Palace pair Conor Gallagher and Tyrick Mitchell.

AFP

Haaland Satisfies Man City’s Need For A Striker And Status

In this file photo, Dortmund’s Norwegian forward Erling Braut Haaland applauds after the German first division Bundesliga football match Borussia Dortmund v VfL Wolfsburg in Dortmund, western Germany, on April 16, 2022. INA FASSBENDER / AFP

 

Manchester City are still licking their wounds from another painful Champions League exit, but by winning the race to sign Erling Haaland they have established themselves as a go-to destination for Europe’s top talent.

The 21-year-old goalscoring phenomenon had his choice of the continent’s top clubs thanks to a reported buyout clause of 60 million euros (£51 million, $63 million) that will see him leave Borussia Dortmund well below his market value.

Real Madrid wanted to pair the Norwegian with Kylian Mbappe at the Bernabeu next season, Barcelona sought him as a successor to Lionel Messi, while Bayern Munich again aimed to swoop on their Bundesliga rivals.

Haaland, however, will instead line up in City blue next season, just as his father Alf-Inge did between 2000-2003 during a very different era for the club.

READ ALSO: Guardiola Hints Man City Closing In On Haaland Deal

The arrival of petrodollars from Abu Dhabi has long since transformed City’s fortunes, with Pep Guardiola’s men now on the brink of a fourth Premier League title in five seasons.

But Haaland is the man City need to fill a void if they are to reach the next level — a superstar striker.

City have played the best part of two seasons without a recognised number nine.

An attempt to land Harry Kane as Sergio Aguero’s successor fell short last summer and it may have cost City another shot at Champions League glory.

Despite beating Real Madrid 4-2 in the first leg of their semi-final, Guardiola’s men missed a series of sitters to put the tie to bed.

That came back to haunt them last week as Real miraculously hauled themselves off the floor to score twice in the final seconds of the second leg and set up a final against Liverpool, City’s nearest challengers for the Premier League trophy.

Haaland, however has scored 23 goals in just 19 Champions League appearances for Salzburg and Dortmund.

City Future-Proofing

What remains to be seen is how well he can be embedded into Guardiola’s system.

League titles won with Samuel Eto’o at Barcelona, Robert Lewandowski in his time at Bayern Munich and Aguero in his early years at City dispells the notion Guardiola’s football cannot accommodate a number nine.

But the recent story of City’s success under the Catalan coach has been one of collective brilliance.

Riyad Mahrez is their top scorer with 24 goals in all competitions this season, ahead of Raheem Sterling (16), Kevin De Bruyne (15) and Phil Foden (14).

Not all superstar signings have gone as planned for Guardiola in the past.

Haaland’s arrival has sparked comparisons with Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s ill-fated season at Barcelona in 2009/10.

And Jack Grealish, despite costing City £100 million to make him the most expensive player in English football history, has spent much of this season on the bench.

But by landing one of Europe’s hottest properties, City are also looking to a future beyond Guardiola, whose current contract runs out in 2023.

Now they will have at least one season together to try to satisfy City’s desperate desire for a first Champions League title.

AFP

Guardiola Hints Man City Closing In On Haaland Deal

Manchester City’s Spanish coach Josep Guardiola (2R) watches his players (LtoR) Manchester City’s Portuguese midfielder Bernardo Silva, Manchester City’s Brazilian midfielder Fernandinho and Manchester City’s Algerian midfielder Riyad Mahrez, during the UEFA Champions League.
ATTILA KISBENEDEK / AFP

 

Pep Guardiola said Tuesday he could not comment on Manchester City’s move for Erling Haaland until “it’s completely done”, all but confirming that a deal for the forward is imminent.

There were reports on Monday that the Norway international had already undergone a medical after agreeing personal terms with the Premier League champions.

The club have not officially commented but manager Guardiola gave a clue that the 21-year-old is on his way to the Etihad when speaking at a press conference on the eve of his side’s match against Wolves.

“Everybody knows the situation,” said Guardiola. “I shouldn’t talk because I don’t like to talk about the future or next season. Borussia Dortmund and Man City told me I’m not allowed to say anything until it’s completely done.”

It has been reported that Haaland is set to sign a five-year contract to move to the Etihad for the start of next season after City formally triggered his release clause, reportedly £63 million ($78 million).

Guardiola said: “I’d love to talk but they tell me don’t say anything until (after) the legal actions. We’ll have time to talk, not because I don’t want to.”

The signing of Haaland would end City’s long search for a specialist centre-forward to replace record goalscorer Sergio Aguero, who left last year.

City then tried but failed in a high-profile attempt to prise England captain Harry Kane away from Tottenham.

Haaland, whose father Alf-Inge played for City from 2000 to 2003, has been prolific since joining Dortmund from RB Salzburg in January 2020, scoring 85 goals in 88 appearances for the German side.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, whose side are involved in a tight title race with City this year, said he would expect the transfer to set new boundaries.

“I signed a new contract knowing City would not stop developing,” he told Sky Sports. “If Erling Haaland went there he would not weaken them, definitely not.

“I know a lot of people talk about money but this transfer will set new levels, let me say it like this.”

Man City Title Would Have ‘More Sugar’ For Fernandinho

Manchester City's Brazilian midfielder Fernandinho reacts after he scored an own goal during the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and Crystal Palace at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England, on January 18, 2020. Oli SCARFF / AFP
Manchester City’s Brazilian midfielder Fernandinho reacts after he scored an own goal during the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and Crystal Palace at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England, on January 18, 2020. Oli SCARFF / AFP

 

Manchester City captain Fernandinho has said winning the Premier League title this season would be especially sweet.

The 37-year-old Brazilian midfielder is set to leave the Etihad Stadium at the end of the season after nine years at the club.

Reigning champions City have been involved in a protracted battle for the title with Liverpool but established a three-point lead at the top of the table last weekend by thrashing Newcastle 5-0 while their rivals could only draw 1-1 at home to Tottenham Hotspur.

It was just the result City needed after an agonising 6-5 aggregate semi-final loss to Real Madrid still left them waiting for a first European Champions League title after they conceded two goals in the closing seconds of normal time.

“Every title is sweet,” Fernandinho, bidding for his fifth Premier League winner’s medal, told reporters.

“It’s going to be one more… with a little more sugar.

“It was a great response but at the same time we are focusing on ourselves and know the title is in our hands.”

He added: “It doesn’t matter what they do over there, we have to keep going through all the hard games.

“This is what we are trying to do, focus on ourselves, but I thought it was a great response after defeat in Madrid, especially for our fans and ourselves because when you lose a match like this, the confidence can go a little bit down.

“But not just the result, the performance overall was really good and we are really happy about that.”

One downside for City in their win over Newcastle was when Ruben Dias went off injured at half-time.

The Portuguese has now joined fellow defenders John Stones and Kyle Walker among City’s casualty list, with none of the trio expected to play again this season.

Fernandinho, deployed as a makeshift centre-back after Dias’s departure, said: “We have some injury issues now but — at the end of the season — that is normal.”

Man City Move Closer To Premier League Title, Arsenal Boost Top Four Bid

Manchester City’s Spanish midfielder Rodri (C) celebrates scoring the team’s third goal with Manchester City’s English midfielder Raheem Sterling during the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and Newcastle United at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England, on May 8, 2022. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP)

 


Manchester City moved a step closer to retaining the Premier League title with a 5-0 demolition of Newcastle, while Arsenal beat relegation-threatened Leeds 2-1 to boost their bid for a top four finish on Sunday.

Pep Guardiola’s side took control before half-time at the Etihad Stadium thanks to goals from Raheem Sterling and Aymeric Laporte.

Rodri got City’s third after the break before Phil Foden and Sterling struck in stoppage time as they stormed back to the top of the table.

Liverpool had knocked the champions out of pole position with their 1-1 draw against Tottenham on Saturday.

But City are now three points clear of Liverpool, with three games left for both teams. Guardiola’s men hold a goal difference four better than the Reds.

Quadruple chasing Liverpool are next in action at Aston Villa on Tuesday, while City head to Wolves 24 hours later.

City’s stroll against Newcastle was the ideal way to recover from their painful Champions League semi-final exit against Real Madrid on Wednesday.

Real had scored twice in the final seconds of normal time before winning in extra-time, leaving Guardiola to lament there were “no words to help” his players get over the loss.

But City can exorcise those demons by winning a fourth English title in five seasons and this was a step in the right direction.

In the 19th minute, Joao Cancelo nodded an Ilkay Gundogan cross towards Sterling and he dived to head in from close-range.

City doubled their lead after 38 minutes when Newcastle keeper Martin Dubravka was unable to hold onto Gundogan’s volley and Laporte scrambled home.

Rodri scored with a 61st minute header from Kevin De Bruyne’s corner, then Foden diverted Oleksandr Zinchenko’s shot into the net in the 90th minute.

Sterling rounded off the rout in stoppage-time with a cool finish from Jack Grealish’s pass.

Eddie Nketiah netted twice in the first 10 minutes at the Emirates Stadium as Mikel Arteta’s side earned their fourth successive win.

Leeds had skipper Luke Ayling sent off and, although Diego Llorente got one back in the 66th minute, it was too little, too late for Jesse Marsch’s strugglers.

Fourth placed Arsenal are four points clear of fifth placed Tottenham, with three games left for both teams in the race to qualify for next season’s Champions League via a top four finish.

– Everton out of bottom three –

Arsenal will visit Tottenham on Thursday knowing a win in the north London derby would guarantee their first Champions League campaign since 2016-17.

Nketiah spent time on loan at Leeds earlier in his career, but the Arsenal forward showed no mercy to his old club.

In the fifth minute, Nketiah punished a poor touch from Illan Meslier, closing down the Leeds keeper and tapping into the empty net.

Nketiah struck again five minutes later, this time meeting Gabriel Martinelli’s cross with a fine finish from 12 yards.

Ayling was sent off after a VAR review of his crude lunge on Martinelli in the 27th minute.

Leeds slump into the relegation zone, sitting third bottom due to having a worse goal difference than Burnley.

Everton made the most of Leeds’ stumble to climb out of the bottom three as they won 2-1 at Leicester — their first away success in the league since August.

Ukrainian left-back Vitaliy Mykolenko ran onto Alex Iwobi’s flick and netted with a stunning volley from the edge of the area in the sixth minute.

Everton surrendered the lead five minutes later as Yerry Mina and Seamus Coleman went up for a header, only to collide and allow Patson Daka to run through and beat Jordan Pickford.

However, Mason Holgate won it for Everton in the 30th minute, the defender converting the rebound after Kasper Schmeichel saved Richarlison’s header.

Everton, hoping to avoid playing in the second tier for the first time since 1954, are one point above the relegation zone with a game in hand.

West Ham crushed relegated Norwich 4-0 at Carrow Road to ease the pain of their Europa League semi-final defeat at Eintracht Frankfurt on Thursday.

‘No Words Can Help’ Ease Man City Euro Exit – Guardiola

Manchester City’s Spanish manager Pep Guardiola reacts during the UEFA Champions League semi-final second leg football match between Real Madrid CF and Manchester City at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on May 4, 2022. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP)

 

Pep Guardiola admits “no words can help” ease the pain of Manchester City’s elimination from the Champions League as he refocuses on his side’s Premier League title challenge.

City were just moments away from claiming a place in the final against Liverpool before Real Madrid staged a stunning fightback at the Bernabeu on Wednesday.

Real scored twice in the final seconds of normal time and eventually won the game 3-1 after extra-time, taking the semi-final tie 6-5 on aggregate.

Asked on Friday what he said to his players, Guardiola told reporters: “We didn’t speak. No words can help what we feel.

“It’s a question of time, try to sleep and think of the targets. Tomorrow we will talk.”

READ ALSO: Three Things We Learned From Real Madrid Vs Manchester City

Real Madrid players celebrate their victory at the end of the UEFA Champions League semi-final second leg football match between Real Madrid CF and Manchester City at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on May 4, 2022. (Photo by JAVIER SORIANO / AFP)

 

The City boss must now pick his men up for the Premier League run-in.

City, who lead Liverpool by just one point with four games left, host mid-table Newcastle on Sunday, a day after Jurgen Klopp’s team play Tottenham.

“We’re not thinking about the title, we’re thinking about Newcastle,” said Guardiola.

“That’s enough to focus on. Then Wolves, then West Ham. It’s not necessary to listen to what people are saying we can achieve.”

Guardiola, speaking at his pre-match press conference, made a passionate defence of his side after their latest stumble on the European stage.

City have dominated English football over the past decade but have yet to be crowned European champions despite huge investment from their Abu Dhabi owners.

“If people say it’s a failure then I disagree,” said Guardiola, whose team lost last year’s Champions League final to Chelsea.

“The people in the squad know how difficult it is. But they accept it. I’m not going to make a debate.

“In the club the feeling we have is we try to do it again. We are sad, of course, because we were close.”

Guardiola, who won two Champions League titles when in charge of Barcelona, said Real deserved their victory but vowed City would not give up on their Champions League dream.

“The players wanted to play the final but for this club to compete against Real the way we did is a joy,” he said.

“I say congratulations to Liverpool and Madrid, they deserve it. Next season we try again and if it doesn’t work we try again.”

AFP

Man City Suffer Most Painful Champions League Meltdown In Madrid

Manchester City's English midfielder Phil Foden (R) celebrates scoring his team's first goal with Manchester City's Portuguese midfielder Bernardo Silva (L) during the English Premier League football match between Everton and Manchester City at Goodison Park in Liverpool, north west England on February 26, 2022. Oli SCARFF / AFP
Manchester City’s English midfielder Phil Foden (R) celebrates scoring his team’s first goal with Manchester City’s Portuguese midfielder Bernardo Silva (L) during the English Premier League. Oli SCARFF / AFP

 

Manchester City have become accustomed to Champions League heartache, but the manner of their latest collapse against Real Madrid might be the most painful defeat of all.

Four times Pep Guardiola’s men held a two-goal advantage in a classic semi-final tie they eventually lost 6-5 on aggregate.

Thirteen-time champions Madrid somehow found a way to win as City, last year’s defeated finalists, melted away in the white-hot atmosphere of the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday.

For 89 minutes, the English champions showed the maturity built up over a decade of experience in the competition but in 90 seconds their best-laid plans were destroyed.

Riyad Mahrez’s stunning strike 17 minutes from time put the visitors 1-0 up on the night and 5-3 on aggregate, apparently ending the contest.

Madrid had not even mustered a shot on target until Rodrygo swept home Karim Benzema’s cross as stoppage time approached.

Suddenly, the Bernabeu believed and yet another of the world’s most expensively assembled squads succumbed to the Real rope-a-dope just as Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea had done in the previous two rounds.

READ ALSO: Andy Murray Forced To Miss Djokovic Clash In Madrid

Rodrygo headed in again after less than a minute of the six added on and could even have had a hat-trick before extra-time started.

In the end, fittingly, it was Benzema who delivered the final blow from the penalty spot to earn an unlikely victory in a tie in which Madrid had trailed for 178 minutes.

It was a case of history repeating itself — both in terms of the Madrid fightback and also a Guardiola team failing to negotiate the fine margins that define the latter stages of the Champions League.
– Near misses –

It is now 11 years since he won the second of his two European Cups as a coach at Barcelona.

In the 10 seasons he has been in charge of Barca, Bayern Munich and City since, he has lost a final — last year’s 1-0 defeat to Chelsea, five semi-finals and three quarter-finals.

“Always I had defeats so tough in the Champions League,” said the 51-year-old. “It’s tough for us, we cannot deny it, we were so close to a Champions League final.”

City, who have never been crowned European champions, will have another go next season, possibly armed with the extra artillery of Erling Haaland, with reports suggesting the Norwegian will move to the Etihad from Borussia Dortmund.

Before then, Guardiola must rouse a group of mentally and physically exhausted players to avoid ending the season without a trophy for the first time since the 2016/17 campaign.

City hold a one-point lead over rampant Liverpool — who reached the Champions League final by beating Villarreal — at the top of the Premier League with four games to go.

“We need time now,” admitted Guardiola, whose side host Newcastle on Sunday, a day after Liverpool play Tottenham. “One or two days but we will rise, we have to do it.

“The players gave everything. We were so close but in the end we could not do it.”

A much-anticipated clash between England’s top two teams will now not take place in Paris on May 28, with Liverpool instead facing Madrid for the third time in a European Cup final.

But it is still in City’s hands to deny the Reds a historic quadruple.

Win their final four games and Guardiola will claim a 10th league title in 13 seasons at Barca, Bayern and City.

That record is what makes the Catalan coach one of the most revered of all time.

But the trophy he and City were brought together to win remains out of reach.

Despite the huge sums invested by their Abu Dhabi-based owners, the club cannot buy the belief that decades of Champions League success has brought to both Madrid and Liverpool.

Real go for European Cup number 14 in Paris, while Liverpool would join AC Milan as the second most successful club in the competition’s history on seven titles with victory at the Stade de France.

City would be delighted with just one.

Liverpool Overcome Everton Battle To Keep Pressure On Man City

Liverpool’s Portuguese striker Diogo Jota (L), Liverpool’s Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Salah (C) and Liverpool’s English defender Trent Alexander-Arnold applauds the fans following the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Everton at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on April 24, 2022. Liverpool won the match 2-0.
Paul ELLIS / AFP

 

Liverpool kept the pressure on Manchester City at the top of the Premier League table and pushed local rivals Everton towards relegation with a 2-0 win in the Merseyside derby on Sunday.

The Toffees’ day got off a terrible start even before a ball was kicked at Anfield as Burnley’s 1-0 win over Wolves dumped Everton into the relegation zone.

Second-half goals from Andy Robertson and Divock Origi ensured they remained there despite a spirited display in a feisty encounter.

A 12th consecutive home league win for Liverpool cuts City’s lead at the top of the table back to one point with five games remaining.

“Thank God a football game has two halves,” said Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp.

“I’m really happy because it isn’t about flying every week, it is about getting results.”

Everton have still not won away from home in the league since August, but they dispelled criticism of being a soft touch away from Goodison Park by showing the fight they will need in the remaining six games to maintain their 68-year stay in the top-flight.

In stark contrast to Manchester United’s capitulation in losing 4-0 at Anfield in midweek, Frank Lampard’s men at least managed to make the Reds earn the three points.

“The important thing is to stick with it. The attitude and the way the lads stuck to their task today was really, really good,” said Lampard, despite his side enjoying just 17 percent possession.

Everton trail Burnley by two points and could be five adrift of safety by the time they are next in action against Lampard’s old club Chelsea.

“We’ve got six games to Burnley’s five left,” he added.

“We had to expect Burnley might win today and worry about our own job. It’s important not to get sucked into that in a negative way.”

A Sadio Mane dipping effort from the edge of the box was the sum total of the threat to the Everton goal in a scrappy first 45 minutes littered with stoppages in play.

Mane was lucky just to see yellow from one melee involving almost all 22 players after Liverpool refused to put the ball out of play with Richarlison down injured.

‘Legend’ Origi to Rescue

Everton’s 32 completed passes in the first half was the fewest of any team in a Premier League game since 2006.

However, they posed the greater threat early in the second half and were made to rue Anthony Gordon’s chance to open the scoring when he dragged his shot across goal with just Alisson Becker to beat.

Gordon also had claims for a penalty appeal waved away to Lampard’s dismay for a push by Joel Matip.

“If that is Mo Salah down the other end, Liverpool get the penalty,” argued Lampard.

With the scores still level on the hour mark, Klopp was forced to turn to his bench with Luis Diaz and Origi, a perennial scourge of Everton in derbies past, thrown on.

The all-important goal, though, came from an unlikely source as Robertson headed in just his second goal of the season from Mohamed Salah’s dinked cross to the back post.

Origi looks set to depart Liverpool at the end of the season after falling further down the pecking order since the January arrival of Diaz.

But the Belgian signed off with his sixth goal in 10 Merseyside derbies when he headed in at the far post five minutes from time.

“He doesn’t always make the squad which is ridiculous, but he is there when we need him every time,” added Klopp.

“He is a world-class striker, he is a legend and will stay a legend forever.”

Guardiola Keeps Mum On Haaland To Man City Talks

Dortmund’s Norwegian forward Erling Braut Haaland applauds after the German first division Bundesliga football match Borussia Dortmund v VfL Wolfsburg in Dortmund, western Germany, on April 16, 2022. INA FASSBENDER / AFP

 

Pep Guardiola has refused to respond to reports that Manchester City are close to completing a blockbuster deal for Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland.

City are reported to be set to pay the £63 million ($81 million) release clause in Haaland’s Dortmund contract after agreeing to personal terms with the Norway international’s agents this week.

It was said that Haaland’s deal with City would include weekly wages of £500,000 per week.

The 21-year-old is one of the game’s hottest properties and has also been strongly linked with Real Madrid.

READ ALSO: Thiem Suffers Loss To Millman In Serbia Open

Asked about a possible swoop for Haaland, City boss Guardiola would not be drawn on the speculation when he spoke to reporters on Tuesday.

“No answer to your question,” he said ahead of Wednesday’s Premier League clash with Brighton.

“I have another concern and business in my head right now than to think what will happen in this club next season.”

Premier League leaders City have lacked a prolific striker this season following the departure of record goalscorer Sergio Aguero last year.

After failing in a high-profile attempt to sign Harry Kane from Tottenham last year, Haaland would fit the bill as the kind of lethal finisher City require.

But with City in the middle of a battle to retain the Premier League title and win a first Champions League crown, Guardiola was keen to focus on the present rather than future deals.

“We don’t know what is going to happen in the future. For many years I never talk about transfer windows, especially when we have incredible things to play for this season,” Guardiola said.

City are one point clear of Liverpool in the Premier League and the Reds can temporarily go top if they avoid defeat against Manchester United on Tuesday.

Their hopes of a treble ended on Saturday as they were beaten 3-2 by Liverpool in the FA Cup semi-finals at Wembley.

Guardiola had made seven changes for that clash as his players felt the effects of the previous Wednesday’s bruising Champions League tie at Atletico Madrid.

Asked if he had any regrets about his selection at Wembley, Guardiola said: “No. I understand the opinions of my fans. They have all my respect to give their opinions but my selection was for many reasons.

“Kevin (De Bruyne) wasn’t ready, Kyle (Walker) wasn’t ready, (Ilkay) Gundogan wasn’t ready. They (the players who played) were ready.”

De Bruyne and Gundogan are back in contention for the Brighton game, but Walker remains sidelined with an ankle injury.

“For tomorrow he is not available. We will see how he reacts with his ankle,” Guardiola said.

AFP

Liverpool, Man City Face Defining Moment In FA Cup Clash

Manchester City’s English midfielder Phil Foden (L) crosses the ball during the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and Liverpool at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England, on April 10, 2022. Paul ELLIS / AFP

 

Liverpool will put their unprecedented quadruple bid on the line against treble-chasing Manchester City on Saturday in an FA Cup semi-final that will make or break one club’s dream of football immortality.

Jurgen Klopp’s men are in contention to become the first English team to win all four major trophies in one season.

They lifted the League Cup in February and advanced to the last four of the Champions League after surviving a late scare in their quarter-final second leg against Benfica on Wednesday.

With Liverpool expected to see off Spanish side Villarreal in the semi-finals of Europe’s elite club competition, it is Premier League leaders City who will provide the major obstacle to their ambitions.

READ ALSO: Benzema To The Rescue As Real Madrid Beat Chelsea On Aggregate To Reach Semi-Finals

City are just one point ahead of their title rivals in the Premier League with seven games left after last weekend’s 2-2 draw.

Pep Guardiola’s team are also in the hunt for the Champions League crown and could face Liverpool in the final if they beat Real Madrid in the semis.

City have a rare feat of their own to aim for as they seek to become only the second English side to win the prized treble of the Premier League, Champions League, and FA Cup.

The grand goals of both City and Liverpool mean the stakes could not be higher when they clash for the second time within a week, this time at Wembley for a place in the FA Cup final.

One team will leave the national stadium on a high, the other having to quickly refocus.

Having closed the gap to City from a 14-point margin in January, Liverpool are living up to Klopp’s desire to be as “annoying as possible” to the Premier League champions.

Their two league meetings this season both ended in 2-2 draws and it could take extra time and penalties to separate them this weekend.

“City were really strong last week, we were not at our best,” said Klopp. “I would like to see a game where we are at our best as well.”

He added: “The boys did a lot of good stuff in the game, but I really think in a couple of positions we are really able to perform on a completely different level.”

‘Many Difficult Games’ 

As Klopp concedes, Liverpool were slightly fortunate to escape the Etihad Stadium unscathed last Sunday but they could have a significant advantage for the rematch.

Klopp was able to start with Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Virgil van Dijk on the bench for Wednesday’s 3-3 draw against Benfica, keeping his three key players fresh for the latest City showdown.

In contrast, City were left battered and bruised after an ill-tempered 0-0 draw against Atletico Madrid in their Champions League quarter-final second leg.

Although City progressed to the last four, Guardiola said they are in “big trouble” after Kevin De Bruyne and Kyle Walker limped off injured and Phil Foden finished the game with a bandaged head.

City were planning to travel straight to London from Madrid to prepare for the Liverpool match but their Spanish midfielder Rodri admitted the hectic schedule was taking its toll.

“The calendar is crazy. We’ve had these two games against Atletico, the other day against Liverpool. You have to work 100 percent and now we have Liverpool again, too many difficult games at the same time but it is what it is,” he said.

“We have to refresh our minds, recover and give the best shape in the next game.”

In Sunday’s semi-final, Chelsea face Crystal Palace looking to show they have recovered from their painful Champions League exit against Real Madrid.

Chelsea overturned a 3-1 first-leg deficit to lead 4-3 on aggregate in the Bernabeu on Tuesday, only for Real to grab a late equaliser and dump the holders out with an extra-time winner.

AFP

Man City Top Deloitte Money League For First Time

Manchester City’s German midfielder Ilkay Gundogan (2L) celebrates scoring his team’s third goal during the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and Leicester City at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England, on December 26, 2021. Anthony Devlin / AFP

 

Manchester City have topped Deloitte’s Football Money League for the first time in their history after emerging from the coronavirus crisis in a stronger position than their rivals.

The Premier League champions, bankrolled by their Abu Dhabi owners, are only the fourth club to top the rankings after Real Madrid, Barcelona and Manchester United

City’s revenue of 644.9 million euros ($712 million, £541 million) in the 2020/21 season — up 17 percent — propelled them from sixth position to the top on the list of the 20 highest revenue-generating clubs in world football.

However, some of City’s commercial deals — which account for nearly half of revenue — are a source of controversy, with a number key partners such as shirt and stadium sponsor Etihad having links to the club’s owners.

The club were 4.2 million euros ahead of Spanish giants Real Madrid, with German champions Bayern Munich next followed by Barcelona and Manchester United.

A total of 11 English clubs were in the top 20, with Wolves making their first-ever appearance as the Premier League continued to flex its financial muscle.

Average revenue of the 20 clubs on the list was 409 million euros — a marginal increase on the 2019/20 season thanks to broadcast deferrals due to Covid disruption, but a 12 percent decrease on the 2018/19 season because of the absence of fans.

The clubs in the Money League have missed out on more than two billion euros of revenue over the 2019/20 and 2020/21 seasons as a result of the pandemic, the Deloitte report said.

Premier League clubs were more insulated due to the much larger television rights deals they enjoy compared with their competitors in the other top European leagues and the gap is likely to widen.

“Premier League broadcast rights values are set to pull further away from the other ‘big five’ European leagues from the 2022/23 season with the rollover of existing domestic arrangements on the same terms and the total value of international rights reportedly set to increase by 30 percent and exceed the value of domestic rights for the first time,” said Dan Jones, head of Deloitte’s Sports Business Group.

AFP

Liverpool Close Gap On Man City, Spurs Rocked By Wolves


Liverpool’s Brazilian midfielder Fabinho (C) celebrates scoring the opening goal during the English Premier League football match between Burnley and Liverpool at Turf Moor in Burnley, northwest England on February 13, 2022. Paul ELLIS / AFP

 

Liverpool kept the pressure on Premier League leaders Manchester City as Fabinho sealed a 1-0 win over Burnley, while Tottenham’s top-four bid suffered a fresh blow in a 2-0 loss to Wolves on Sunday.

Fabinho struck late in the first half at windswept Turf Moor to give Liverpool their fourth successive league victory.

Liverpool are nine points behind City with one game in hand as the Reds refuse to let the title race become a prolonged coronation for Pep Guardiola’s men.

City made it 14 wins from their last 15 league games on Saturday as Raheem Sterling’s hat-trick inspired a 4-0 win at lowly Norwich.

But Guardiola is convinced Liverpool will push the champions all the way to the finish line and the way they ground out a hard-fought success against bottom of the table Burnley suggests he is right not to count them out.

“It is nine points and then it is 12 points because most of the time City play before us. These are really difficult games. That is why we don’t think about the title race,” Reds boss Jurgen Klopp said.

READ ALSO: Why Zouma Missed West Ham’s Match Against Leicester City – Moyes

After a shaky start, during which Burnley threatened a shock opener, Fabinho restored order five minutes before half-time.

The Brazilian poked home a fifth goal in his last seven games after Mane headed on Trent Alexander-Arnold’s corner.

“A perfect afternoon. Raining and windy,” Klopp said. “Everything today was set up to be a banana skin for us. We played the circumstances rather than suffered from them.”

Spurs Implode  


Tottenham players react to their defeat after the English Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Wolverhampton Wanderers at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, on February 13, 2022. Daniel LEAL / AFP

 

In north London, Tottenham lost a second successive home game as Wolves followed Southampton’s victory on Wednesday.

Antonio Conte’s side loudly booed off at full-time, dropped to eighth place, five points adrift of the Champions League places.

“We created chances but in the end, we are talking about another defeat. We have to work and to know it won’t be easy for us. It’s difficult to explain the way we started,” Conte said.

Raul Jimenez gave Wolves the perfect start in the sixth minute, the Mexican volleying home after Tottenham keeper Hugo Lloris weakly spilled Leander Dendoncker’s effort.

In the 18th minute, Lloris was involved again with a woeful pass to Ben Davies, prompting the startled defender to gift possession to Wolves.

Daniel Podence’s shot was deflected onto the post by Davinson Sanchez and Dendoncker bundled in from close-range.

Wolves, who climbed one point above Tottenham into seventh, have won four successive top-flight away games for the first time since 1980.

Shamed West Ham defender Kurt Zouma withdrew from his side’s 2-2 draw against Leicester just minutes before the kick-off as David Moyes’ men snatched a controversial last-gasp equaliser at the King Power Stadium.

Zouma was fined two weeks’ wages by West Ham after a video emerged showing the French defender kicking and slapping his cat.

Despite criticism of his stance, Hammers boss David Moyes had selected Zouma for a second successive game since the incident, only for the 27-year-old to pull out when he felt sick during the warm-up.

Fourth-placed West Ham took the lead through Jarrod Bowen’s clinical finish in the 10th minute.

Youri Tielemans equalised with a penalty just before half-time after Aaron Cresswell’s handball.

Ricardo Pereira headed Leicester in front after 57 minutes but, in stoppage-time, Dawson deflected Bowen’s corner into the net via his upper arm, with the goal surviving a VAR review for handball.

“He was ill before the game, wanted to play, we wanted him to play as well. Once he got out he did not think it was possible,” Moyes said of Zouma.

Newcastle boosted their survival bid as Kieran Trippier’s free-kick clinched a 1-0 win against Aston Villa at St James’ Park.

The Magpies, winners of three consecutive league matches for the first time since 2018, are four points above the relegation zone.

Trippier smashed his free-kick past, Emiliano Martinez, in the 35th minute for his second set-piece goal in successive games.

AFP