Grealish And Haaland Destroy Wolves As Man City Go Top

Manchester City’s Norwegian striker Erling Haaland celebrates scoring his team’s second goal during the English Premier League football match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Manchester City at the Molineux stadium in Wolverhampton, central England on September 17, 2022. (Photo by Geoff Caddick / AFP)

 

Jack Grealish scored his first goal this season and Erling Haaland extended his record-breaking hot-streak as Manchester City powered to a 3-0 win over 10-man Wolves on Saturday.

Pep Guardiola’s side needed just 56 seconds to take the lead at Molineux as Grealish finally enjoyed a day to remember after a difficult time since joining City from Aston Villa last year.

Haaland doubled City’s advantage with his 14th goal in 10 games in all competitions following a £51 million ($58 million) move from Borussia Dortmund that already appears a bargain.

Wolves lost any chance of a fightback when Nathan Collins was sent off for an ugly stomach-high foul on Grealish in the first half.

Phil Foden capped City’s stroll in the midlands sunshine as the Premier League champions moved to the top of the table.

Unbeaten City are two points clear of second-placed Arsenal, who would regain pole position if they win at Brentford on Sunday.

“The game started really well for us with the two goals and the red card. After the Champions League to come here at 12:30 with the quality they have, it was an incredible victory,” Guardiola said.

Guardiola said this week that the “exceptional” Haaland was the “perfect” person to manage because his personality ensured he always remains hungry to improve.

Even Guardiola may run out of superlatives to describe the 22-year-old Norwegian if he continues this astonishing run.

Haaland was named Premier League Player of the Month for August after his blistering start to the season and he is already making his case for the September award.

He has netted in seven successive games for City and is the first player to score in their first four Premier League away appearances.

Showing their hunger to win the title for a fifth time in six seasons, City are unbeaten in a club record 22 away league matches since losing at Tottenham in their opening game last season.

Lethal Haaland

Goalscorers Manchester City’s English midfielder Jack Grealish (L), Manchester City’s Norwegian striker Erling Haaland (C) and Manchester City’s English midfielder Phil Foden celebrate after the English Premier League football match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Manchester City at the Molineux stadium in Wolverhampton, central England on September 17, 2022. (Photo by Geoff Caddick / AFP)

 

After a poignant tribute to the late Queen Elizabeth II, City reduced Molineux to silence with a beautifully crafted opener in the first minute.

Foden’s audacious backheel sent Kevin De Bruyne away down the right flank and the Belgian’s low cross was perfectly placed for Grealish, who timed his run to poke home from close-range.

It was a much-needed contribution from Grealish, who was making just his second league start this term after struggling to reach peak form since his British record £100 million transfer.

Guardiola might feel vindicated as well after defending the England forward following his anonymous display against Dortmund on Wednesday, blaming an ankle injury for his woes and telling him to ignore the doubters.

“Jack played really good. He was strong and he made a good goal,” Guardiola said.

Grealish added: “I’m always going to have people talking about me with the amount I got bought for.

“I owe the manager thanks for sticking with me after I didn’t play well in midweek.”

Haaland doubled City’s lead in the 16th minute with his first goal from outside the area for his new club.

His spectacular late winner against Dortmund led Guardiola to compare Haaland’s improvisation to Dutch legend Johan Cruyff.

This was a more prosaic strike, but it was no less effective.

With Wolves defender Max Kilman fatally backing off outside his own penalty area, Haaland was allowed to advance unchecked before drilling an unerring finish into the bottom corner.

It was Haaland’s 100th goal in his last 99 games in all competitions since leaving RB Salzburg for Dortmund in 2020.

Collins’ reckless foul on Grealish, the Wolves defender leaping into the air to kick him in the midriff, drew an inevitable red card that effectively ended the contest in the 33rd minute.

Foden added City’s third goal in the 69th minute, arriving in the six-yard box to flick in De Bruyne’s cross after Haaland’s flick teed up the Belgian.

AFP

Premier League Clubs Shatter Spending Record In £1.9bn Spree

In this file photo taken on August 12, 2017 The Premier league trophy sits beside the pitch ahead of the English Premier League football match between Brighton and Hove Albion and Manchester City at the American Express Community Stadium in Brighton. CHRIS J RATCLIFFE / AFP
In this file photo taken on August 12, 2017, The Premier League trophy sits beside the pitch ahead of the English Premier League football match between Brighton and Hove Albion and Manchester City at the American Express Community Stadium in Brighton. CHRIS J RATCLIFFE / AFP
 

Premier League clubs shattered their single-season spending record during an incredible £1.9 billion ($2.1 billion) spree during the summer window.

Deloitte’s Sports Business Group estimated the gross spending by the 20 English top-flight clubs during the transfer window that ended on Thursday was the highest in the history of the competition.

Despite the cost-of-living crisis gripping Britain, Premier League teams needed just one window to break the £1.86 billion mark set in the summer and winter transfer periods combined during the 2017-18 season.

According to Deloitte, the gross spend on a total of 169 players was also 34 percent higher than the previous record for a single window of £1.4 billion in the summer of 2017.

It was 67 percent higher than last year’s total Premier League summer window spend of £1.1 billion.

“Gross spend was so high among Premier League clubs this summer that, before this season’s January transfer window had taken place, the 2022/23 season already has the highest transfer spend since the two-window season began, exceeding the previous record by 3 percent (2017/18’s £1.86 billion),” Deloitte said.

Nine Premier League clubs spent over £100 million each as expenditure recovered dramatically after two seasons of decline caused by the financial fall-out from the coronavirus.

In total, the Premier League spent more than Spain’s La Liga, Italy’s Serie A and Germany’s Bundesliga combined.

Tim Bridge, lead partner in Deloitte’s Sports Business Group, said: “The record level of spending during this transfer window is a clear indication of Premier League clubs’ confidence, as fans return to stadia and a new broadcast cycle begins.

“It’s now become part and parcel of the Premier League that clubs are willing to pay significant sums to maximise performance.

“This season, the desire to acquire playing talent has reached new levels as the pressure for clubs to stay in the competition is higher than ever.”

READ ALSO: Super Eagles Striker Sadiq Joins Real Sociedad For 20m Euros

Chelsea Splurge

New ownership at Chelsea, with Todd Boehly’s consortium taking over from Roman Abramovich, acted as a catalyst for the increased spending.

With a £255 million splurge, Chelsea spent more in one window than any team in Premier League history.

Their spending was £53 million more than Manchester United, who were the next biggest in this window at £202 million.

United’s £82 million signing of Ajax forward Antony on deadline day was the fourth biggest transfer in Premier League history.

Liverpool’s move for Benfica forward Darwin Nunez could eventually beat that fee, with the initial £67 million outlay potentially rising to £85 million depending on contract clauses and add-ons.

Chelsea’s biggest deal during the window was the £70 million purchase of French defender Wesley Fofana from Leicester.

Boehly also funded moves for Marc Cucurella (£60 million), Raheem Sterling (£50 million), Kalidou Koulibaly (£33 million) and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£10.3 million)

At Old Trafford, Casemiro (£60 million) and Lisandro Martinez (£51 million) joined Antony in United’s top 10 most expensive signings of all time.

Champions Manchester City strengthened their squad with the £50 million move for Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland, who has already started to repay that fee with nine goals in five games.

Newcastle striker Alexander Isak and West Ham midfielder Lucas Paqueta were among seven players to be signed for over £50 million this summer, while 19 players were signed for £30 million or more.

Even Nottingham Forest, back in the Premier League for the first time since 1999, recorded a gross spend of £126 million on an astonishing 21 players.

That was only the third time Deloitte has reported any club spending over £100 million immediately after promotion to the Premier League.

AFP

Premier League Clubs Shatter Spending Record In £1.9bn Spree

Leeds United’s English striker Patrick Bamford (C) jumps to head home the opening goal past Sheffield United’s English goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale during the English Premier League football match between Sheffield United and Leeds United at Bramall Lane in Sheffield, northern England on September 27, 2020. (Photo by Alex Livesey / POOL / AFP)

 

 

Premier League clubs shattered their single-season spending record during an incredible £1.9 billion ($2.1 billion) spree during the summer window.

Deloitte’s Sports Business Group estimated the gross spending by the 20 English top-flight clubs during the transfer window that ended on Thursday was the highest in the history of the competition.

Despite the cost-of-living crisis gripping Britain, Premier League teams needed just one window to break the £1.86 billion mark set in the summer and winter transfer periods combined during the 2017-18 season.

According to Deloitte, the gross spend on a total of 169 players was also 34 percent higher than the previous record for a single window of £1.4 billion in the summer of 2017.

It was 67 percent higher than last year’s total Premier League summer window spend of £1.1 billion.

“Gross spend was so high among Premier League clubs this summer that, before this season’s January transfer window had taken place, the 2022/23 season already has the highest transfer spend since the two-window season began, exceeding the previous record by 3 percent (2017/18’s £1.86 billion),” Deloitte said.

Nine Premier League clubs spent over £100 million each as expenditure recovered dramatically after two seasons of decline caused by the financial fall-out from the coronavirus.

In total, the Premier League spent more than Spain’s La Liga, Italy’s Serie A and Germany’s Bundesliga combined.

Tim Bridge, lead partner in Deloitte’s Sports Business Group, said: “The record level of spending during this transfer window is a clear indication of Premier League clubs’ confidence, as fans return to stadia and a new broadcast cycle begins.

“It’s now become part and parcel of the Premier League that clubs are willing to pay significant sums to maximise performance.

“This season, the desire to acquire playing talent has reached new levels as the pressure for clubs to stay in the competition is higher than ever.”

– Chelsea splurge –
New ownership at Chelsea, with Todd Boehly’s consortium taking over from Roman Abramovich, acted as a catalyst for the increased spending.

With a £255 million splurge, Chelsea spent more in one window than any team in Premier League history.

Their spending was £53 million more than Manchester United, who were the next biggest in this window at £202 million.

United’s £82 million signing of Ajax forward Antony on deadline day was the fourth biggest transfer in Premier League history.

Liverpool’s move for Benfica forward Darwin Nunez could eventually beat that fee, with the initial £67 million outlay potentially rising to £85 million depending on contract clauses and add-ons.

Chelsea’s biggest deal during the window was the £70 million purchase of French defender Wesley Fofana from Leicester.

Boehly also funded moves for Marc Cucurella (£60 million), Raheem Sterling (£50 million), Kalidou Koulibaly (£33 million) and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£10.3 million)

At Old Trafford, Casemiro (£60 million) and Lisandro Martinez (£51 million) joined Antony in United’s top 10 most expensive signings of all time.

Champions Manchester City strengthened their squad with the £50 million move for Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland, who has already started to repay that fee with nine goals in five games.

Newcastle striker Alexander Isak and West Ham midfielder Lucas Paqueta were among seven players to be signed for over £50 million this summer, while 19 players were signed for £30 million or more.

Even Nottingham Forest, back in the Premier League for the first time since 1999, recorded a gross spend of £126 million on an astonishing 21 players.

That was only the third time Deloitte has reported any club spending over £100 million immediately after promotion to the Premier League.

Bournemouth Sack Scott Parker As Head Coach

Bournemouth’s English head coach Scott Parker reacts after they concede their ninth goal during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Bournemouth at Anfield in Liverpool, northwest England on August 27, 2022.  (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP)

 

English Premier League strugglers Bournemouth on Tuesday sacked head coach Scott Parker, days after they were thrashed 9-0 at Liverpool.

In a parting shot at Parker, owner Maxim Demin said in a statement that “in order for us to keep progressing as a team and a club as a whole, it is unconditional that we are aligned in our strategy to run the club sustainably.

READ ALSO: Barcelona Striker Aubameyang Victim Of Armed Home Robbery

“We must also show belief in and respect for one another. That is the approach that has brought this club so much success in recent history.”

He added: “Our search for a new head coach will begin immediately.”

Parker had taken several public swipes at Bournemouth’s management over their failure to strengthen the squad after the south coast club’s return to the top flight.

He was especially blunt following the Liverpool match, saying the Cherries were “ill-equipped” following a rout which came after a 4-0 loss at champions Manchester City and a 3-0 defeat by Arsenal.

“I can see some more (heavy losses),” Parker said during his post-match press conference at Anfield.

“We need to make a decision. I have been clear how this season could look for us and I stick by that.

“We need to make a decision and try and help this young group who at times are struggling for air.

“We have been trying to get more quality in and there are a million reasons why (they have not).

“I feel sorry for the fans. I feel sorry for the players because we are ill-equipped at this level.”

Gary O’Neil will take interim charge of the team, who are 17th in the Premier League and have lost three of their four opening games, conceding 16 goals.

The 41-year-old Parker, a former England international midfielder, had taken Bournemouth to promotion last season from the second-tier Championship.

“I would like to place on record my gratitude to Scott and his team for their efforts during their time with us,” said Demin.

“Our promotion back to the Premier League last season under his tenure will always be remembered as one of the most successful seasons in our history.”

While it is unusual for a Premier League manager or head coach to be sacked in August, more games than normal have been played at this point after the start of the season was brought forward in response to a World Cup in Qatar commencing in November.

Bournemouth’s next match is at home to second-bottom Wolves on Wednesday.

AFP

Nunez Saves Liverpool From Opening Day Defeat At Fulham

Liverpool's Uruguayan striker Darwin Nunez celebrates after scoring their first goal during the English Premier League football match between Fulham and Liverpool at Craven Cottage in London on August 6, 2022. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP)
Liverpool’s Uruguayan striker Darwin Nunez celebrates after scoring their first goal during the English Premier League football match between Fulham and Liverpool at Craven Cottage in London on August 6, 2022. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP)

 

Jurgen Klopp admitted Liverpool deserved no more than a 2-2 draw against newly-promoted Fulham in a pulsating start to their Premier League season on Saturday.

Aleksandar Mitrovic twice put the impressive hosts ahead, but Darwin Nunez came off the bench to make a huge impact on his Premier League debut.

The Uruguayan, who arrived at Anfield in a deal that could rise to 100 million euros ($102 million) from Benfica, flicked home to level at 1-1 and then teed up Mohamed Salah for an equaliser 10 minutes from time.

Liverpool’s season had got off to a flying start by getting the better of Manchester City to win the Community Shield in what was billed as an early showdown between the two title contenders.

READ ALSO: Arsenal See Off Palace In Strong Start To Premier League Season

However, the Reds were punished for a sluggish performance in the first hour in what could prove a costly concession of two points.

“The best thing about the game was the result,” said Klopp. “We got a point from a really bad game.

“The result was fine, I don’t think we deserved more than that. The performance can be massively improved.”

Mitrovic scored 43 goals in as many games last season as Fulham romped to the Championship title and gave Liverpool an early warning as he stabbed just wide inside the first minute.

Much to Klopp’s frustration on the touchline, the visitors did not wake from their slumber and were finally punished on 32 minutes when Mitrovic outmuscled Trent Alexander-Arnold at the back post to head in Kenny Tete’s cross.

“We have to respect Liverpool but of course do our job and trust ourselves,” said Fulham boss Marco Silva. “We did a great first half, almost perfect the way we controlled and blocked. Second half, we matched them.”

Liverpool flickered into life before the break as Luis Diaz smashed against the post from a narrow angle.

However, it was not until the introduction of the towering presence of Nunez that the Champions League finalists began to pose a persistent threat.

Nunez was at fault when Fulham were inches away from doubling their lead when he was caught in possession and the ball was fed to Neeskens Kebano, who drilled off the inside of the post.

At the other end, Liverpool’s new striker quickly made his presence felt as an audacious flick from Salah’s cross was saved by Marek Rodak.

Moments later a replica move did deliver Nunez’s first Premier League goal as he backheeled in from Salah’s low cross 26 minutes from time.

At that point there appeared only one winner, but Mitrovic showed a surprising fleetness of foot to turn Virgil van Dijk, who clipped the Serbian striker inside the box.

Mitrovic coolly slotted the resulting penalty low past Alisson Becker, but Fulham failed to hold out in the final 18 minutes for a famous win.

Another long ball into the box towards Nunez caused panic in the Fulham defence and the ball eventually fell kindly to Salah to score on the opening weekend of the Premier League for a sixth consecutive season.

Liverpool could even have snatched victory five minutes into stoppage time when Jordan Henderson’s long range strike came back off the crossbar.

But a point was the least Fulham deserved as they made a strong start in their bid to avoid relegation for a fourth consecutive season when in the top flight.

 

AFP

Haaland’s Debut Headlines Opening Weekend Of Premier League Season

Haaland is one of the new signings expected to bring fireworks to the EPL. [email protected]

 

Arsenal’s trip to Crystal Palace lifts the curtain on the new Premier League season on Friday, with Erling Haaland’s debut in the English top flight the highlight of the weekend as champions Manchester City travel to West Ham.

Haaland has been the marquee arrival to the Premier League from over £1 billion ($1.2 billion) spent on transfer fees ahead of the new campaign.

The Norwegian is expected to further strengthen Pep Guardiola’s side, who have won the title in four of the last five seasons.

However, Haaland and City’s season did not get off to a good start as perennial title rivals Liverpool won the Community Shield 3-1 last weekend.

A trip to the London Stadium is a good early-season test of City’s revamped squad with Julian Alvarez and Kalvin Phillips also coming in to replace the departed Oleksandr Zinchenko, Fernandinho, Raheem Sterling, and Gabriel Jesus.

West Ham nearly denied City the title last season as they led 2-0 at half-time in the penultimate game of the campaign before the visitors rallied to salvage the point which won them the league.

The Hammers have also strengthened with the signing of Italian international striker Gianluca Scamacca as David Moyes’ men look to close the gap on the top four after qualifying for Europe in the past two seasons.

READ ALSO: Chelsea Sign Cucurella From Brighton

“We know what the standard is and we will reach the standards as quickly as possible and maintain what we have done always,” said Guardiola.

“I don’t feel, because we know each other well, that we are far, far away.

“But the games against West Ham and after Bournemouth will dictate our level and what we have to do.”

 Chelsea ‘Not Ready’

In this file photo, supporters gather outside the ground to welcome the arrival of the team coaches ahead of the English Premier League football match between Everton and Chelsea at Goodison Park in Liverpool, north west England on May 1, 2022. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP)

 

Chelsea’s visit to Everton on Saturday pits together two sides who have reason to fear the season ahead at different ends of the table.

The start to Chelsea’s new era under the ownership of Todd Boehly’s consortium has not gone smoothly with manager Thomas Tuchel blaming an exhausting schedule on a pre-season tour to the US and a lack of signings for feeling “not ready” for the new season.

Tuchel is also unhappy with a number of key players, including captain Cesar Azpilicueta, still looking to leave the club before the end of the transfer window.

Chelsea were thrashed 4-0 in pre-season by Arsenal in Orlando, but Everton suffered an even more embarrassing 4-0 defeat to Minnesota United on their tour to the States.

After narrowly surviving last season, the Toffees have since sold Richarlison to Tottenham.

But Everton have beaten Chelsea on each of the Londoners’ last four trips to Goodison Park.

Ten Hag’s First Impression 

Manchester United’s Harry Maguire talks to manager Erik ten Hag (R) during a training session at the WACA stadium in Perth on July 21, 2022, ahead of the tour match between Manchester United and Aston Villa. (Photo by Trevor Collens / AFP

 

Should Chelsea fail to hit the heights they previously have under Tuchel, Manchester United will be one of the sides hoping to take their place in the top four.

A 4-0 thrashing at the hands of Brighton in May summed up a miserable season for the Red Devils as they finished sixth.

Erik ten Hag has the chance to make a good first impression as United boss when the Seagulls visit Old Trafford.

But hopes of a new dawn for United have been dashed by another difficult summer off the field.

Cristiano Ronaldo has made his desire to leave clear, but a buyer cannot be found for the five-time Ballon d’Or winner, while United’s prolonged chase of Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong appears set to fail.

Fixtures (all times GMT)

Friday

Crystal Palace v Arsenal (1900)

Saturday

Fulham v Liverpool (1130), Bournemouth v Aston Villa, Leeds v Wolves, Newcastle v Nottingham Forest, Tottenham v Southampton (all 1400), Everton v Chelsea (1630)

Sunday

Man Utd v Brighton, Leicester v Brentford (both 1300), West Ham v Man City (1530)

AFP

Chelsea Sign Raheem Sterling From Manchester City

File photo of Raheem Sterling. AFP

 

England international Raheem Sterling on Wednesday became Chelsea’s first signing since Todd Boehly’s consortium bought the club, ending his successful spell at Manchester City.

The 27-year-old forward signed a five-year contract for a fee reported to be £50 million ($59 million).

“England star Raheem Sterling has joined Chelsea from Manchester City on a five-year contract,” said the buying club in a statement on their website.

Sterling had pre-empted his move earlier on Wednesday by posting a goodbye message on social media saying he left City as a “man” having arrived from Liverpool as a 20-year-old.

However, once the signing became official Sterling — who is with Chelsea on their pre-season tour of the United States — turned his attention to what he hopes to achieve under Thomas Tuchel.

“I’ve obviously achieved a lot in my career so far, but there is still so much more to achieve and I’m really looking forward to doing that in a Chelsea shirt, under Thomas’s management,” he said in a statement.

“London is my home and where it all started for me, and it’s amazing I now have the opportunity to play in front of friends and family week in, week out at Stamford Bridge.”

Sterling, capped 77 times and won four Premier League titles among nine major trophies since joining City from Liverpool in 2015.

A key player in the early years of Pep Guardiola’s reign at City, Sterling scored 131 goals in 337 appearances for the English champions.

However, his regular place in the starting line-up at City came increasingly under threat from the signing of Jack Grealish for a Premier League record £100 million last year, plus the emergence of Phil Foden from the club’s academy.

AFP

Salah And Son Heung-Min Share Premier League Golden Boot

A photo combination of Son and Salah holding their gongs.

 

Mohamed Salah and Son Heung-min shared the Premier League Golden Boot on Sunday after both forwards scored on the final day of the season.

South Korea’s Son netted twice in Tottenham’s 5-0 win at Norwich to move to 23 goals — one clear of Salah, but the Egypt forward struck late in Liverpool’s 3-1 win at home to Wolves.

Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo finished third with 18 goals in his first season back in the Premier League.

Salah’s goal was ultimately in vain as Jurgen Klopp’s team finished one point behind Manchester City, who scored three goals in five minutes to beat Aston Villa 3-2.

Tottenham’s win secured a fourth-place finish, meaning they qualify for next season’s Champions League.

READ ALSOArsenal Miss Out On Champions League For Fifth Season In A Row

Son, 29, said it was “incredible” to have the award.

“I can’t believe it,” he told the BBC. “I got really emotional. I dreamed of it as a child. Literally it’s my in hands. I can’t believe it.

“Until my goal I was really frustrated that I missed big chances. I told the players I missed the easiest chances and scored one of the toughest ones.

“I didn’t give up. I wanted to score today. The team helped me a lot at half-time. They wanted to help me, you could see it today.”

Spurs manager Antonio Conte was delighted to see club and individual ambitions realised with the rout of the Canaries at Carrow Road.

“This was our target,” he told the BBC.

“First to get in the Champions League but then when there was a chance to help Sonny reach the top scorer, we enjoyed it,” the Italian added.

“I have seen his team-mates try to help him. The award is for Son but it’s for the whole team. They helped him reach this big achievement.”

AFP

Fuelled By Premier League Dynasty, Man City Crave Champions League Legacy

Manchester City’s Brazilian midfielder Fernandinho lifts the Premier League trophy as City players celebrate on the pitch after the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and Aston Villa at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England, on May 22, 2022. Oli SCARFF / AFP

 

Manchester City’s latest Premier League title triumph established the champions as a burgeoning dynasty, but Pep Guardiola won’t be satisfied until their domestic bliss becomes the catalyst to conquer Europe.

City’s fourth title in five seasons is arguably the greatest achievement of Guardiola’s glittering career as he found a way to hold off Liverpool’s relentless challenge by one point.

“The magnitude of our achievement is because of the magnitude of this rival,” said Guardiola. “Never ever I had a rival like Liverpool in my career as a football player or manager.”

But even Jurgen Klopp’s men, in the midst of one of the best seasons in their history, were unable to surpass City, leaving them with just one Premier League title in 32 years.

Lauding his players’ remarkable staying power, Guardiola said: “You cannot be here over the last five years if you don’t have that resilience.

“We have the desire to win. To win titles, especially the Premier League, is not just how good we are with the ball.”

Manchester City’s Spanish manager Pep Guardiola (R) and Manchester City’s English defender John Stones (L) celebrate with the Premier League trophy on the pitch after the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and Aston Villa at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England, on May 22, 2022.  Oli SCARFF / AFP

 

Nothing resembled that resilience more than the manner of City’s latest title triumph.

Losing 2-0 to Aston Villa with 15 minutes to go, City rallied in remarkable fashion to score three times in five minutes.

Yet, while Guardiola celebrates the ninth major prize of his six-year City reign, Klopp will be planning to add another chapter to Liverpool’s rich Champions League history.

Liverpool face Real Madrid in the Champions League final on May 28 and Guardiola would dearly love to swap places with Klopp in Paris.

Since winning the second of his two Champions League crowns with Barcelona on 2011, Guardiola’s relationship with Europe’s elite club competition has been scarred by one agonising failure after another.

This season was no different as City crashed to a devastating semi-final exit against Real Madrid, blowing a 5-3 aggregate lead in the final seconds of normal time before losing in the extra period.

That heartache at the Bernabeu came a year after City’s limp loss to Chelsea in their first ever Champions League final.

READ ALSOArsenal Miss Out On Champions League For Fifth Season In A Row

Haaland The Perfect Fit? 

In this file photo, ex-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

 

With that in mind, Guardiola knows City cannot afford to stand still if they are to finally triumph in Europe and keep Liverpool at bay in the Premier League.

A £51.5 million ($63 million) swoop for Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland earlier in May was the opening salvo in their bid to achieve those two targets.

Haaland scored a remarkable 86 goals in 89 games for Dortmund and appears an ideal fit for City.

The 21-year-old son of former City defender Alfie Haaland will arrive in time for next season, bringing his elite predatory instincts and physical presence to a City attack lacking both those qualities despite their success.

With the Norway international in the fold and Guardiola also looking to upgrade his options at left-back and in central midfield, it would be a major surprise if City were missing from the title race next term.

The only threat to City’s dynastic ambitions comes in the shape of Guardiola’s future plans.

Guardiola’s current contract expires in June 2023, by which time he will have spent seven years with City, three seasons longer than he managed Barcelona and four more than his spell with Bayern Munich.

The 51-year-old revealed amid the title celebrations he is “exhausted” and will not discuss a further extension to his time in Manchester until next season.

However, it is unlikely he would be able to find a better working environment than the one he enjoys with City.

City’s Abu Dhabi-based owners are never afraid to flex their financial muscle in the transfer market and have surrounded Guardiola with the lieutenants of his choice in director of football Txiki Begiristain and chief executive officer Ferran Soriano.

The quirky Spaniard marches to the beat of his own drum and a game-changing departure cannot be completely ruled out.

But the fierce competitor that lies beneath Guardiola’s urbane demeanour could be the key to his decision.

He sees Liverpool as a worthy opponent and, as a title race for the ages proved, pitting his wits against Klopp is the toughest, and most rewarding, challenge he could face.

AFP

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

Liverpool Still Chasing Man City Like ‘Mad’ In Title Race – Klopp

In this file photo, 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 are still “chasing like mad” after Manchester City at the top of the Premier League, said Jurgen Klopp after coming from a goal down to beat Aston Villa 2-1 on Tuesday.

The top two are now level on points, but City stay top on goal difference and have a game in hand away to Wolves on Wednesday.

Liverpool could ill-afford another slip up after being held 1-1 at home by Tottenham at the weekend and got off to the worst possible start when Douglas Luiz fired Villa in front after three minutes.

But Joel Matip quickly levelled and Sadio Mane’s fine header 25 minutes from time kept the Reds in contention for a historic quadruple of trophies.

“We are still chasing like mad,” said Klopp. “We just know we have to win, that didn’t change and now we have to recover to play the FA Cup final. There is no mercy.”

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However, victory came at a cost as Fabinho limped off with a muscle injury that makes him a major doubt for both Saturday’s FA Cup final and the Champions League final against Real Madrid on May 28.

“He felt a muscle, not too much,” added Klopp. “He is quite positive but I’m not sure what I can make of that to be honest.”

With one eye on Wembley, Klopp rolled the dice with his team selection as Mohamed Salah and Thiago Alcantara were left on the bench, while there was no place in the squad for Andy Robertson.

The visitors looked like a much-changed side as Villa sprang out of the traps and caught them cold.

Alisson Becker had already denied Ollie Watkins by the time Steven Gerrard’s men took the lead on three minutes.

Luiz’s header was parried by Alisson, but only back into the path of his Brazilian international teammate to hammer the rebound high into the net.

Villa won this fixture 7-2 last season, but Liverpool this time bounced straight back from the early blow of conceding.

The hosts did not deal with a free-kick into the box and the ball eventually broke for Virgil van Dijk to square for his centre-back partner Matip to apply the finishing touch.

Chances continued to come at both ends in a frantic first half.

Mane headed inches wide and Naby Keita missed his kick with the goal gaping for Liverpool, while, at the other end, Danny Ings just failed to keep his header down from Lucas Digne’s inviting cross.

Mane Header

Liverpool's Senegalese striker Sadio Mane (L) celebrates scoring the team's second goal with Liverpool's English midfielder Jordan Henderson (C) and Liverpool's Portuguese striker Diogo Jota during the English Premier League football match between Aston Villa and Liverpool at Villa Park in Birmingham, central England on May 10, 2022. Paul ELLIS / AFP
Liverpool’s Senegalese striker Sadio Mane (L) celebrates scoring the team’s second goal with Liverpool’s English midfielder Jordan Henderson (C) and Liverpool’s Portuguese striker Diogo Jota during the English Premier League football match between Aston Villa and Liverpool at Villa Park in Birmingham, central England on May 10, 2022. Paul ELLIS / AFP

 

Liverpool’s heavy schedule began to show physically when Fabinho limped off with a hamstring injury midway through the first half.

However, Liverpool went through the gears in the second period to show the gulf in class between the sides.

“We’ve got to take the big moments we created in the game,” said Gerrard. “I’m frustrated we didn’t score more than once.

“We were ambitious, brave, and courageous against one of the best teams in the world.”

Luis Diaz’s arrival in January has played a huge part in keeping Klopp’s men in contention for four trophies.

The Colombian created the winner as he teased Tyrone Mings before delivering a pinpoint cross for Mane to head in his 22nd goal of the season.

There were still nervy moments for Liverpool to see out in the final quarter as Villa sought to expose their high line.

Twice Ings failed to capitalise when played through on goal before being flagged offside when he did finally put the ball in the net.

But Liverpool held on and will hope Gerrard can finally come to their rescue in a title race.

Gerrard famously never won a league title during his decorated playing career at Anfield but will take Villa to face City at the Etihad on the final day of the season.

AFP