Guardiola Hails Man City’s Mental Strength

In this file photo, Manchester City’s Spanish manager Pep Guardiola celebrates during the Premier League trophy award ceremony after the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and Everton at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England, on May 23, 2021. Dave Thompson / POOL / AFP

 

Pep Guardiola has praised the way his Manchester City players have dealt with adversity on and off the pitch after they strengthened their grip on the Premier League title race.

City, who beat Chelsea 1-0 on Saturday, are 11 points clear of second-placed Liverpool after 12 straight league wins and closing in on a fourth English title in five years.

Guardiola cited the example of full-back Joao Cancelo, who suffered facial injuries in an attack at his home last month.

Cancelo has started all three of City’s games since, helping them come through a tough period in which they have been badly hit by a coronavirus outbreak.

“In this season there are personal problems for the players,” said Guardiola. “They are human beings, they have families, there are problems sometimes.

READ ALSO: Nadal, Osaka Through After Djokovic Saga At Australian Open

“For example Joao — he had an incredible episode a couple of weeks ago with the family at home. How should you react in that situation?

“The way he reacted was exceptional. He said he wanted to play against Arsenal, in the cup (against Swindon) and play Saturday.”

Guardiola said he was satisfied more by the continuing success and high standards of his side than the trophies they win.

“These guys, every single game, give everything for this club and this is so hard to find in modern football,” he said.

“We are humble enough to run without the ball and try to do our best every single game. This is my — our — biggest achievement as a club, as a team, by far.

“To win and win after four years, in this country, in this league, this is outstanding. This, for me, is the best title I have or will have when I leave Manchester City.”

De Bruyne Haunts Chelsea Again As Man City Go 13 Points Clear

Manchester City's Belgian midfielder Kevin De Bruyne (R) scores the opening goal during the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and Chelsea at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England, on January 15, 2022. Oli SCARFF / AFP
Manchester City’s Belgian midfielder Kevin De Bruyne (R) scores the opening goal during the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and Chelsea at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England, on January 15, 2022. Oli SCARFF / AFP

 

Manchester City took another huge step towards retaining the Premier League title as one moment of inspiration from Kevin De Bruyne saw off Chelsea 1-0 to open up a 13-point lead at the top of the table.

A game of few chances was brought to life by the Belgian 20 minutes from time as he curled home the only goal from outside the box to seal a 12th consecutive league win for the champions.

Chelsea got the better of Pep Guardiola’s men in last season’s Champions League final, but securing their place in Europe’s top club competition next season now looks like the height of their ambitions for the rest of the Premier League season.

READ ALSO: Australian Open More Important Than Any Player, Says Nadal

The Blues remain second but have won just one of their last six league games.

Four of the five meetings between the sides since Thomas Tuchel took charge of Chelsea have been won by a single goal and another cagey encounter ensued.

City dominated possession but struggled to open up a makeshift Chelsea defence featuring second-choice goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga and Malang Sarr on just his second Premier League appearance.

Indeed City’s one clear chance before the break came from a Chelsea mistake.

Mateo Kovacic’s pass deflected off De Bruyne into the path of Jack Grealish, but the most expensive English player of all-time missed the chance to mark his biggest moment yet as a City player as his shot was turned behind by Arrizabalaga.

Chelsea’s own record signing Romelu Lukaku has had a similar underwhelming impact to Grealish.

The Belgian started for the fourth consecutive game since being dropped for a crucial clash against Liverpool earlier in the month for voicing his unhappiness at Stamford Bridge to Italian media.

Lukaku also had a huge chance to silence his critics early in the second half when he was picked out by Kovacic, but Ederson raced from his goal and made a fine save to low to his right.

Chelsea’s title challenge has faltered since losing the threat of wing-backs Ben Chilwell and Reece James to long-term injuries.

Chilwell’s understudy Marcos Alonso was given a torrid time by Raheem Sterling, but the England international lacked the finishing touch as he pulled a shot just wide after jinking past the Spaniard.

A top-of-the-table clash lacked the accompanying atmosphere for most of the match at a subdued Etihad.

However, the crowd were brought to their feet by the game’s outstanding moment as De Bruyne delivered what could be the knock out blow in the title race.

He held off the challenge of N’Golo Kante to spin onto Joao Cancelo’s pass before picking out the bottom left-hand corner of Arrizabalaga’s net.

Chelsea were unable to offer any response as they chased City shadows and could have lost by a more comprehensive scoreline.

Phil Foden shot over from Sterling’s cut-back, but one goal was all they needed to tighten their grip on a fourth league title in five years.

 

AFP

Chelsea Aim To Clip Manchester City’s Wings

A photo combination of Chelsea and Manchester City players.

 

Chelsea need a repeat of their Champions League final victory over Manchester City to rekindle their Premier League title challenge with the English champions threatening to build a realistically unassailable lead just days into the new year.

An 11-game winning run has taken City 10 points clear of the Blues at the top of the table, while third-placed Liverpool are 11 points back with a game in hand.

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel appeared to be the one coach with an Indian sign over Pep Guardiola with three wins in quick succession towards the end of last season, culminating in lifting the European Cup in Porto.

However, City’s 1-0 at Stamford Bridge in September proved to be a telling turning point in the campaign at a time when Chelsea led Guardiola’s men by three points.

READ ALSO: COVID-Hit Arsenal Ask For Postponement Of Tottenham Game

In contrast to City’s formidable form, Chelsea have faltered during the busiest spell of the Premier League season, winning just one of their last five games.

A coronavirus outbreak over Christmas combined with a series of injuries played its part in restricting Tuchel’s options, but they have bounced back over the past week to comfortably see off Tottenham 3-0 over two legs to reach the League Cup final.

“Here at Chelsea we don’t make selections of trophies, we go for everything,” said captain Cesar Azpilicueta.

“The big ones have more impact, but what we all want is to be able to celebrate silverware with the fans at the end of the season.”

City’s own mass Covid outbreak affecting 21 players and staff fell fortunately for the league leaders over a period of just one game in 14 days.

Guardiola was one of those to test positive and was absent for a 4-1 win at Swindon in the FA Cup last weekend as a result, but is expected to return to the touchline on Saturday.

Liverpool can take advantage of dropped points for one or both of the sides above them in the table when they host Brentford at Anfield.

However, the Reds will have to cope without Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, who are away at the Africa Cup of Nations.

Top 4 Up For Grabs

If the title race has descended into a procession over the past month, the race below the top three for a place in next season’s Champions League has heated up.

West Ham have moved back into the top four on the back of three straight wins and will be confident of extending their advantage over fifth-placed Arsenal when they host Leeds on Saturday, who they comfortably beat in the FA Cup last weekend.

Tottenham are four points back on the Hammers but would go above them should they win two of their three games in hand.

However, Spurs are in desperate need of a response from their meek exit in the League Cup when Arsenal visit for the first north London derby played in front of a full house at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday.

The Gunners have shot back into contention for a return to the Champions League as young talents such as Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli, Martin Odegaard, Emile Smith Rowe and Aaron Ramsdale have flourished since a miserable start to the season.

But Arsenal’s poor record on the road against the other members of the traditional top six has returned with crowds this season.

Mikel Arteta’s men were thrashed at City and Liverpool and blew a lead to lose 3-2 at Manchester United in December.

United also need to get back to winning ways in the league to remain in the hunt for the top four when they face Aston Villa for the second time in a week.

Villa were the better side despite losing 1-0 in the FA Cup at Old Trafford on Monday and have made the most exciting moves in the transfer window so far with Philippe Coutinho and Lucas Digne in line to make their debuts.

Fixtures (all times GMT)

Friday

Brighton v Crystal Palace (2000)

Saturday

Manchester City v Chelsea (1230), Newcastle v Watford, Norwich v Everton, Burnley v Leicester, Wolves v Southampton (all 1500), Aston Villa v Manchester United (1730)

Sunday

West Ham v Leeds, Liverpool v Brentford (both 1400), Tottenham v Arsenal (1630)

AFP

Man City Boss Guardiola, Burnley’s Dyche Test Positive For COVID-19

Manchester City’s Spanish manager Pep Guardiola looks on from the touchline during the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and Norwich City at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England, on August 21, 2021. Adrian DENNIS / AFP

 

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has tested positive for Covid-19 in a major outbreak at the Premier League club as Burnley also announced on Thursday that manager Sean Dyche had been sidelined by the virus.

Premier League champions City said 21 players and staff were now isolating for Covid-related reasons as the virus wreaked further havoc on English football.

“Pep Guardiola will miss tomorrow evening’s FA Cup trip to Swindon Town after testing positive for Covid-19,” the club said in a statement.

“The City manager recorded a positive test on Tuesday along with assistant Juanma Lillo. Both are now isolating, along with a number of other positive cases within the City first-team bubble.

“This brings the number of those isolating for Covid-related reasons amongst the group to 21. Of that number, 14 are backroom staff and seven are first-team players.

Despite the outbreak, the third-round FA Cup tie is still scheduled to go ahead with another of Guardiola’s assistants, Rodolfo Borrell, taking charge of the team.

The Omicron variant of coronavirus has resulted in record case numbers across Britain, forcing the postponement of many matches over the past month.

City are one of the few clubs not to have had a match called off yet and they have amassed a 10-point lead at the top of the Premier League.

The first leg of Liverpool’s League Cup semi-final against Arsenal, which had been due to take place on Thursday, was rescheduled after an outbreak forced Liverpool to close their training ground.

READ ALSO: Arsenal Star Aubameyang Tests Positive For COVID-19, Says Gabon Coach

Dyche tested positive on Tuesday, the club said in a statement.

The Premier League announced on Monday that 94 positive cases were detected on 14,250 tests carried out on players and staff between December 27 and January 2.

It was the first week-by-week decrease in positive tests since early November, with a record 103 positives recorded the previous week.

None of the 32 FA Cup third-round ties set for this weekend have yet been postponed.

Rodri Scores Late Winner To Help Man City Edge Ten-Man Arsenal

Manchester City's Spanish midfielder Rodri (L) celebrates with teammates after scoring his team's second goal during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Manchester City at the Emirates Stadium in London on January 1, 2022. Ian KINGTON / IKIMAGES / AFP
Manchester City’s Spanish midfielder Rodri (L) celebrates with teammates after scoring his team’s second goal during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Manchester City at the Emirates Stadium in London on January 1, 2022. Ian KINGTON / IKIMAGES / AFP

 

Rodri scored a 93rd-minute winner as Manchester City took another huge step towards retaining the Premier League title with a 2-1 win over 10-man Arsenal.

Pep Guardiola’s men are now 11 points clear at the top thanks to an 11-game winning run, but were made to toil until deep into stoppage time by the Gunners.

A 5-0 thrashing to City when the sides last met in August saw Arsenal off to their worst start to a league season in 67 years.

READ ALSO: Premier League Stars Set For ‘Exceptional’ Africa Cup Of Nations

But Mikel Arteta’s men have rallied to rise to fourth in the table and showed why as they deservedly led at half-time through Bukayo Saka’s seventh goal of the season.

Riyad Mahrez levelled from the penalty spot before Gabriel Magalhaes stupidly got himself sent off for two quickfire bookings just before the hour mark.

And the 10 men just failed to hold out for a point when Rodri poked home from close range after Aymeric Laporte’s shot was blocked.

Plastic bottles rained down on the Spanish international as he celebrated with the Arsenal supporters furious as they voiced their frustration at the officiating after seeing a penalty appeal of their own waived away in the first half.

However, it was Gabriel’s indiscipline that cost his side the chance to extend a four-point cushion over the chasing pack for a place in next season’s Champions League.

Arteta was forced to watch the game from home after he tested positive for coronavirus for the second time earlier this week.

However, that did not disrupt the Gunners’ fine form as with assistant Albert Stuivenberg directing operations they ran the champions and runaway leaders ragged in the first half.

The first big decision to go against the home side came on 12 minutes when Martin Odegaard went down as he tried to round City goalkeeper Ederson.

The Brazilian was given the benefit of the doubt by the referee and VAR, but Ederson appeared to have gone through the Norwegian’s foot to get to the ball.

Martinelli’s missed chances

Gabriel Martinelli’s form has played a big part in Arsenal’s resurgence in recent weeks, but it was a day of missed opportunities for the Brazilian.

Martinelli fired powerfully into the body of Ederson and saw two more efforts fly just wide of the target before the break.

But Arsenal did get the half-time lead they deserved when Saka swept home Kieran Tierney’s pass into the bottom corner.

That was just the second Premier League goal City had conceded in the first half all season and Guardiola’s men bounced back in a dramatic second period.

Arsenal were furious when Stuart Attwell was sent to review Granit Xhaka’s pull on Bernardo Silva seven minutes after the break when he had not been for Odegaard’s penalty appeal.

Mahrez made no mistake from the spot in his final City appearance for a while due to his participation in the African Cup of Nations with Algeria.

The game then turned in the course of an incredible 60 seconds.

Firstly, Arsenal somehow did not retake the lead when Nathan Ake rescued Laporte’s wayward header from crossing his own line before Martinelli hit the post with an open goal on the rebound.

From the resulting goal kick, Gabriel Jesus turned onto Ederson’s pass and was hauled down by Gabriel, who had already been booked for scuffing up the penalty spot as Mahrez prepared to take his spot-kick.

City went on to dominate possession without creating many big chances and grabbed the winner in uncharacteristic fashion.

Laporte made the most of a hopeful ball into the box and the ricochet fell kindly for Rodri to prod past the helpless Aaron Ramsdale.

 

AFP

Iheanacho Scores As Leicester Lose To Rampant Man City


Leicester City’s Nigerian striker Kelechi Iheanacho (R) scores his team’s third goal past Manchester City’s Brazilian goalkeeper Ederson 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

 

Nigeria’s Kelechi Iheanacho scored but Manchester City powered six points clear at the top of the Premier League after quashing Leicester’s comeback bid in a pulsating 6-3 win on Sunday.

Pep Guardiola’s rampant side scored four times in the opening 25 minutes of a Christmas cracker at the Etihad Stadium.

Kevin De Bruyne struck first before Riyad Mahrez converted a penalty.

Ilkay Gundogan bagged City’s third and Raheem Sterling scored a penalty of his own.

James Maddison, Ademola Lookman and Kelechi Iheanacho all netted for Leicester in the space of just 10 minutes early in the second half.

But Aymeric Laporte killed off the visitors’ hopes of an incredible escape act by heading City’s fifth goal before Sterling scored again in the final minutes.

READ ALSO: Saka Stars In Ruthless Arsenal’s Mauling Of Norwich City

It was the highest-scoring match in the top-flight on Boxing Day since Manchester United won 6-3 against Oldham in 1991.

With second-placed Liverpool’s match against Leeds on Sunday postponed due to the coronavirus, City were able to extend their lead over their main title rivals.

Guardiola’s champions have won nine successive league games, scoring 17 goals in their last three matches as they end 2021 in scintillating style.

City’s 4-0 win against Newcastle last weekend made them the first top-flight team to win 34 league games in a calendar year, beating Liverpool’s 1982 record.

A 36th league victory at Brentford on Wednesday would send City into the new year firmly cemented as title favourites.

Phil Foden and Jack Grealish were again among the substitutes after irking Guardiola with their off-field antics, while Rodri, John Stones, and Kyle Walker were absent from the matchday squad altogether.

Guardiola’s rotation worked perfectly as City made a blistering start, taking the lead in the fifth minute.

Laporte to the Rescue 


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, northwest England, on December 26, 2021.
Anthony Devlin / AFP

 

Bernardo Silva found Fernandinho and his chipped pass reached De Bruyne, who deftly controlled with his first touch before curling a fine finish past Kasper Schmeichel from inside the Leicester area.

It was just De Bruyne’s sixth goal of a difficult injury and Covid-hit season for the Belgian midfielder, who finally looks closer to his peak form.

City had hit seven against Leeds in their previous home game and they were on the goal-trail again in the 14th minute.

Youri Tielemans needlessly pulled down Laporte at a City corner and Chris Kavanagh awarded a penalty after checking the pitchside monitor.

Mahrez dispatched the spot-kick with ease, giving the former Leicester winger four goals in his last four appearances.

City cut through the Leicester defence again to make it three in the 21st minute.

Joao Cancelo drove in a low cross which Schmeichel could only parry into Gundogan’s path, presenting the German with a simple tap-in.

City were red-hot and Tielemans’ response was a flustered hack on Sterling that conceded another penalty in the 25th minute.

Mahrez ceded spot-kick duties to Sterling and the forward fired into the top corner for his seventh goal in his last 10 matches.

Maddison’s solo effort reduced the deficit in the 55th minute.

Flicking his pass around Ruben Dias to Iheanacho, Maddison timed his run onto the return ball perfectly and produced a clinical finish.

Suddenly, City were creaking at the back and four minutes later Iheanacho picked out Lookman, who scampered clear to fire past Ederson.

As Guardiola fretted on the touchline, Iheanacho increased the anxiety around the Etihad in the 65th minute with a close-range finish after Maddison’s drive was tipped onto the bar by Ederson.

But Laporte quelled Leicester’s stunning revival in the 69th minute with a powerful header from Mahrez’s corner.

And, with three minutes left, Sterling completed City’s goal-spree with a simple finish from Dias’ header.

AFP

Wolves Frustrate Chelsea As Man City Crush Newcastle

Chelsea
Chelsea had earlier called for the postponement of the game.

 

Covid-hit Chelsea were held to a goalless draw by Wolves on Sunday after the Premier League rejected their request to postpone the game as Manchester City put struggling Newcastle to the sword.

Just four games were left on the schedule this weekend out of the original 10 as Britain’s worsening coronavirus crisis took its toll on the English top flight.

Clubs will meet on Monday to discuss what action to take, with growing questions over the integrity of the competition as the busy festive period looms.

Stumbling Chelsea, who have struggled with illness and injuries in recent weeks, were only able to name four outfield players on the bench for their match at Molineux.

The visitors, who have now won just two of their past six league games, enjoyed the bulk of possession but mustered just one shot on target and are now six points behind leaders City.

Thomas Tuchel was without Romelu Lukaku, Timo Werner, and Callum Hudson-Odoi, who have all tested positive for Covid-19. Jorginho, Kai Havertz, and Ruben Loftus-Cheek were also not in the squad.

Chelsea earlier confirmed that their request to have the game called off been turned down.

The European champions’ appeal is understood to have been rejected because the Blues were deemed to have had enough players to fulfil the fixture.

“I gave my opinion and you can do with it what you want,” a frustrated Tuchel told the BBC after the match. “I can’t compare to other games, it is just our situation.

“It is not safe. We talk about protecting players and a safe environment but it is not safe. I would not be surprised if the next test shows up and we have more positives.

“How should it stop if we sit in the bus and have dinners and just stay together like nothing happened?”

READ ALSO: Why Is FIFA Proposing A Biennial World Cup? 

Newcastle Calamity

Manchester City’s English midfielder Raheem Sterling (2nd R) celebrates with teammates after scoring their fourth goal during the English Premier League football match between Newcastle United and Manchester City at St James’ Park in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, north east England on December 19, 2021. Oli SCARFF / AFP

 

Defending champions City crushed Newcastle 4-0 to confirm their position at the top of the table at Christmas.

Eddie Howe’s side shot themselves in the foot in just the fifth minute, when calamitous defending handed City the lead after goalkeeper Martin Dubravka had carelessly conceded a corner.

The defence only half-cleared and Joao Cancelo hooked the ball back into the six-yard box. Newcastle appeared to be in little danger but Ciaran Clark inexplicably chose not to make a simple headed clearance and Ruben Dias headed the loose ball into the net.

The home side rallied and Joelinton went close to equalising with a stinging shot from distance that flew just wide of Ederson’s right-hand post.

But City silenced the passionate crowd at St James’s Park shortly before the half-hour, when Cancelo jinked his way past Joe Willock and Isaac Hayden before smashing a right-footed shot past the helpless Dubravka from the edge of the area.

City maintained their firm grip on the match in the second half, with Riyad Mahrez and Raheem Sterling doubling their lead.

City manager Pep Guardiola was surprisingly harsh on his team, saying their first-half performance was one of the worst of the season before an improved showing after the break.

“Records show consistency we have as a team — it is not winning titles or finals but it is winning and winning,” he said. “Records are there to be broken and happy to have them.”

City have now won eight league games in a row to move four points clear of second-placed Liverpool, who are in action at Tottenham later on Sunday.

But relegation-threated Newcastle remain three points from safety having now played two games more than Watford, who are just outside the drop zone.

The Magpies’ wealthy new Saudi-backed owners have indicated they will invest significantly in the squad but before the January transfer window opens they have fixtures against Manchester United and Everton.

Liverpool’s preparations for their Premier League visit to Spurs were hit after Thiago Alcantara became the latest of Jurgen Klopp’s players to return a suspected positive test for Covid.

AFP

Sterling Bags 100th Premier League Goal As Man City Beat Wolves

Manchester City's English midfielder Raheem Sterling (R) takes a penalty and scores his team's opening goal during the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and Wolverhampton Wanderers at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England, on December 11, 2021. NIGEL RODDIS / AFP
Manchester City’s English midfielder Raheem Sterling (R) takes a penalty and scores his team’s opening goal during the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and Wolverhampton Wanderers at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England, on December 11, 2021. NIGEL RODDIS / AFP

 

Raheem Sterling scored his 100th Premier League goal as the Manchester City forward’s penalty fired the leaders to a 1-0 win against 10-man Wolves on Saturday.

Sterling netted from the spot in the second half at the Etihad Stadium to clinch City’s sixth successive league victory.

City’s cause was aided by a needless first half red card for Wolves striker Raul Jimenez, who was dismissed for failing to retreat the required 10 yards before a free-kick he had been booked for conceding seconds earlier.

Sterling’s landmark goal ensured City capitalised on Jimenez’s blunder as they survived an average display to get back on track after the midweek Champions League defeat at Leipzig.

READ ALSO: Eto’o Elected Head Of The Cameroon Football Federation

After struggling to get into Guardiola’s starting line-up at times this season amid talk of a potential transfer, Sterling is finally showing signs of recapturing the scintillating form that made him such a dangerous force.

Pep Guardiola’s side are four points clear of second placed Liverpool, who can close the gap if they beat Aston Villa at Anfield later on Saturday.

Kyle Walker was dropped to the bench after City’s right-back was criticised by Guardiola following his red card at Leipzig.

Guardiola made eight changes from the Leipzig game, with Phil Foden, troubled by an ankle problem, and Kevin De Bruyne, recovered from the coronavirus, named as substitutes.

Bernardo Silva had scored six goals in his previous eight league appearances and the City playmaker was inches away from adding to that total when he bent a curler just over the bar in the opening minutes.

Joao Cancelo’s lung-bursting breaks from right-back were a constant threat in the first half and he advanced again for a low strike that tested Wolves keeper Jose Sa.

Sterling strikes

Wolves duo Max Kilman and Ruben Neves needed lengthy treatment after a nasty clash of heads that left Kilman with blood pouring from a cut.

Jimenez, the victim of a fractured skull in a collision with David Luiz at Arsenal last season, was quick to check on his team-mates, who were both able to continue playing.

It was Jimenez who didn’t make it to half-time as the Mexican saw red in needless fashion.

Booked for a tug on Rodri, Jimenez stupidly stuck out a foot to block the resulting free-kick without retreating 10 yards, earning his second yellow card 48 seconds after the first.

Jimenez ripped off his protective headband and swung it around in frustration, but he could have no complaints about his self-inflicted exit.

With the numerical advantage, City monopolised possession after the interval.

Ilkay Gundogan met Cancelo’s pin-point cross with a looping header that Conor Coady nodded off the line.

Silva and Sterling got in each others way as they failed to finish off Oleksandr Zinchenko’s cross.

City’s pressure finally produced a goal in the 66th minute.

Joao Moutinho blocked Silva’s cross with a raised arm and, although the ball appeared to hit the midfielder’s armpit, VAR confirmed Jon Moss’s decision after a check.

Sterling stroked the spot-kick down the middle for his fifth goal in his last eight City appearances.

Jack Grealish poked wide from close range and Jesus was denied by Sa in the closing stages.

City had done just enough but Ederson had to tip over Kilman’s header before the points were secured.

AFP

Walker Sent Off As Man City Crash At RB Leipzig

Manchester City's English defender Kyle Walker (2nd L) is shown a red card by the Swiss referee Sandro Schaerer during the UEFA Champions League, Group A, football match RB Leipzig v Manchester City in Leipzig, eastern Germany on December 7, 2021. Ronny HARTMANN / AFP
Manchester City’s English defender Kyle Walker (2nd L) is shown a red card by the Swiss referee Sandro Schaerer during the UEFA Champions League, Group A, football match RB Leipzig v Manchester City in Leipzig, eastern Germany on December 7, 2021. Ronny HARTMANN / AFP

 

Kyle Walker was shown a late red card as Manchester City suffered a shock 2-1 defeat at RB Leipzig Tuesday, but City still advanced to the Champions League’s last 16 as group winners.

Walker was dismissed seven minutes from time for kicking Leipzig striker Andre Silva, who had earlier doubled the hosts’ tally after Dominik Szoboszlai gave Leipzig a first-half lead.

Before Walker’s dismissal, City had pulled a goal back when Riyad Mahrez finally headed past Leipzig goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi, who had previously pulled off a string of saves.

READ ALSO: Chelsea’s Kovacic Tests Positive For COVID-19 After Injury Return

Walker will now be banned for the first leg match in the last 16 tie.

Despite PSG’s 4-1 win against Club Brugge, City will go into the last 16 draw on Monday as Group A winners while third-placed Leipzig head into the knock-out stages of the Europa League.

Leipzig rallied in their first game since American coach Jesse Marsch was sacked after inconsistent results. His assistant Achim Beierlorzer was on the home bench.

After the final whistle, City coach Guardiola was left fuming on the sidelines at the near-deserted Red Bull Arena as the game was played behind closed doors due to high numbers of Covid-19 cases in Saxony.

In the build-up, Guardiola warned Kevin De Bruyne that he faces a fight to win back a regular place in the City side after a campaign marred by injuries and a coronavirus infection.

The Belgium midfielder fired wide after 17 minutes with the goal at his mercy, then had a thumping free-kick saved by Gulacsi in his best chances of the game.

Leipzig took the lead against the run of play when Konrad Laimer unleashed a superb pass which beat three defenders and put Szoboszlai in behind the City defence.

The attacking midfielder kept his nerve, rounded City goalkeeper Zach Steffen and fired into the empty net with 24 minutes played.

Leipzig nearly made it 2-0 with half-time approaching when Szoboszlai squared to Silva, but the Portugal striker headed straight at Steffen.

Guardiola responded at half-time by swapping England midfielder Phil Foden for Raheem Sterling, but Leipzig held firm.

A huge roar from the home bench echoed around the stadium when Silva thumped home Emil Forsberg’s final pass to make it 2-0 on 71 minutes.

Leaking a second goal caused City to rally and they pulled one back when Oleksandr Zinchenko floated in a cross to the back post which Mahrez buried.

Walker’s dismissal only served to reduce City’s numbers for the final seven minutes as Leipzig held on.

AFP

Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne Tests Positive For COVID-19

Manchester City’s Belgian midfielder Kevin De Bruyne warms up ahead of the UEFA Champions League first leg quarter-final football match between Manchester City and Borussia Dortmund at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England, on April 6, 2021. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP)

 

Manchester City’s playmaker, Kevin De Bruyne, will miss Sunday’s game against Everton after testing positive for COVID-19 whilst on international duty with Belgium.

City boss, Pep Guardiola, revealed this in a press interview after being informed of the Belgian’s situation on Wednesday

“He is positive. He has to recover well and try and be healthy. The human being is more important than anything else,” he said on Friday.

“[We have to] be careful because people are still dying. He was vaccinated, so he is more protected. Hopefully, his symptoms will be minor.

De Bruyne returned home and will observe COVID-19 protocols by isolating for  10 days.

West Ham End Man City’s Four-Year Hold On League Cup


Manchester City’s US goalkeeper Zack Steffen catches the ball during the English League Cup round of 16 football match between West Ham United and Manchester City at The London Stadium in east London on October 27, 2021. Glyn KIRK / AFP

 

West Ham ended Manchester City’s four-year hold on the League Cup on Wednesday as Liverpool and Tottenham booked their places in the quarter-finals.

City’s record run in the competition came to an end at the London Stadium as the Hammers emerged 5-3 winners from a penalty shootout after both sides were guilty of missing plenty of chances in a 0-0 draw.

Phil Foden was the only man to miss from the spot as Mark Noble, Jarrod Bowen, Craig Dawson, Aaron Cresswell, and Said Benrahma all found the net for David Moyes’ men.

“Nothing is eternal,” said City boss Pep Guardiola. “We fought a lot to win and win and win this competition.

“Four times in a row is a fantastic achievement and next season we come back to try and win it again.”

West Ham United’s Algerian midfielder Said Benrahma (C) celebrates with teammates after he scores his penalty in the shoot-out to put West Ham through in the English League Cup round of 16 football match between West Ham United and Manchester City at The London Stadium in east London on October 27, 2021. Glyn KIRK / AFP

 

Nathan Ake, John Stones, Ilkay Gundogan, and Raheem Sterling all wasted big opportunities to extend City’s 21-game unbeaten run in the competition as the scoreline belied a contest that raged from one end to the other.

Foden was thrown on along with Jack Grealish in an attempt to win the game from Guardiola.

But the England international pulled City’s first penalty wide and stand-in goalkeeper Zack Steffen could not bail his teammate out despite getting a hand to Bowen and Benrahma’s strikes.

Liverpool players celebrate a goal against Preston. Photo: Facebook/Liverpool FC

 

Liverpool will now fancy their chances of winning the League Cup for the first time in nine years, but had to overcome a poor start to win 2-0 at Preston.

The Reds had scored 30 goals in eight previous away games this season, but a much-changed side from Jurgen Klopp failed to hit the heights of Sunday’s famous 5-0 win at Manchester United.

“As a team we can play better, but individually I saw a few really nice performances and that’s absolutely OK,” said Klopp.

“It’s all about getting through to the next round, that’s what we did. That it would be difficult with 11 changes was clear.”

Preston had by far the better of the first half as Adrian made a point-blank save from Sean Maguire, Neco Williams cleared off the line and Brad Potts fired over within a matter of seconds.

Liverpool were clinical as they went in front with their first shot on target just after the hour mark as Williams’ cross was acrobatically flicked home by Takumi Minamino.

Klopp’s men then controlled the final half-hour and doubled their lead in spectacular fashion when Divock Origi’s back heel dinked the ball over Declan Rudd.

Tottenham’s bid for a first trophy since they last won the League Cup in 2008 remains on course as Nuno Espirito Santo was rewarded for naming a strong side with a 1-0 win at Burnley.

Lucas Moura scored the only goal 22 minutes from time with a powerful downward header from Emerson Royale’s cross.

Leicester also needed penalties to see off Brighton after an entertaining game ended 2-2.

The Foxes twice pounced on Brighton gifting possession away in dangerous areas to take the lead through Harvey Barnes and Ademola Lookman in the first half.

Adam Webster and Enock Mwepu levelled for the Seagulls, but Mwepu and Neal Maupay failed to beat Danny Ward from the spot.

Brentford reached the last eight for the second consecutive season with a 2-1 win at Stoke thanks to first-half goals from Sergi Canos and Ivan Toney.

AFP

Liverpool, Man City Share Points In Four-Goal Thriller


Liverpool’s Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Salah (L) challenges Manchester City’s Spanish midfielder Rodrigo during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Manchester City at Anfield in Liverpool, northwest England, on October 3, 2021.
Paul ELLIS / AFP

 

Pep Guardiola said Manchester City’s pulsating 2-2 draw with Liverpool on Sunday exhibited why he believes the Premier League is the best in the world.

The points were shared between the two sides that have dominated English football for the past four years after a breathless second-half that saw City twice come from behind having dominated the first 45 minutes.

Liverpool weathered that storm and hit the English champions with a sucker punch when Sadio Mane opened the scoring just before the hour mark.

Phil Foden levelled before Mohamed Salah looked to have won the game with a moment of individual brilliance as he jinked around four defenders before firing past Ederson.

However, Kevin De Bruyne’s shot that deflected in off Joel Matip nine minutes from time salvaged the point Guardiola’s men at least deserved.

“What a game! That is the reason the last years Man City and Liverpool were always there because we try to play in this way,” said Guardiola.

“That’s why the Premier League is the best. It was really great. Unfortunately we couldn’t win, but we didn’t lose.”

A share of the spoils leaves the title race tantalisingly poised with Liverpool a point behind leaders Chelsea and City two points off the top in third.

It could have been much worse for City as a 0-0 draw at home to Southampton two weeks ago left them three points off the top of the table ahead of two of the most daunting away trips in the Premier League either side of a Champions League trip to Paris Saint-Germain.

However, rather than being cut adrift from the contenders to take their title, they have laid down a marker in schooling Chelsea on their own patch last weekend and doing the same to Jurgen Klopp’s men for the majority of a thrilling contest.

“The way we played at Stamford Bridge, in Paris and today shows we are a great team,” added Guardiola.

Jurgen Klopp admitted he was happy to hear the half-time whistle as City failed to turn their dominance in the first 45 minutes into goals.

Alisson Becker twice saved one-on-ones with Foden, who also saw strong penalty appeals for a push by James Milner waived away, while De Bruyne headed over a glorious chance at the back post.

READ ALSO: Messi Suffers First PSG Defeat In Loss At Rennes

Sucker Punch 


Manchester City’s Spanish midfielder Rodrigo (R) challenges Liverpool’s Senegalese striker Sadio Mane during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Manchester City at Anfield in Liverpool, northwest England, on October 3, 2021. Paul ELLIS / AFP

 

But Klopp reorganised his troops at the break to turn the game into a far more competitive contest in the second-half.

“I was more than pleased when I heard the whistle for half time because we had to adjust a lot of things and we did,” said Klopp.

“Second-half was completely different. If we only played the second-half I would have loved to have win, but with the first half I am happy with the point.”

Mane hit City with the sucker punch as Salah skipped past Joao Cancelo and played in the Senegalese to slot calmly into the far corner.

Anfield was suddenly stirred and Liverpool’s players crashed into challenges in response as they didn’t allow City to get into the rhythm they enjoyed before the break.

However, one slick move from Guardiola’s men finally saw them find the net to level 21 minutes from time.

Gabriel Jesus skipped across the face of the Liverpool box before finding Foden, who this time drilled the ball low into Alisson’s far corner.

Guardiola was then infuriated as Milner avoided a second yellow card after chopping down Bernardo Silva.

And moments his later his mood soured even more when Salah’s stunning solo goal swung the game in Liverpool’s favour.

The Egyptian danced around Cancelo, Silva and Aymeric Laporte before firing on his weaker right foot high past Ederson.

Guardiola was then booked for taking his protests too far, but five minutes later he was screaming in celebration as De Bruyne’s effort from the edge of the box deflected in off Joel Matip.

Liverpool had the best chance to win the game in an end-to-end finale, but Rodri blocked Fabinho’s goal-bound effort after Ederson flapped at a free-kick.

AFP