Category Archives: Manchester City

What’s Up With City?

Manchester City hit another bump in the road on Sunday as they slipped to a second defeat of the season against Wolverhampton Wanderers. Two late Adama Traore goals gave Wolves all three points at the Etihad.

In the skewed reality of this latest iteration of the Premier League, where Liverpool and City are essentially both gunning for record breaking points tallies, every dropped point by the two runaway leaders is infinitely more drastic. 

It means that Liverpool’s eight point lead early in the season feels like a cavernous gap – the Merseyside tectonic plate shifting away from the East Manchester one. So what exactly is going wrong for City?

Their latest defeat against Wolves was an example of something that has been heralded as a weakness throughout Pep Guardiola’s managerial career: counter-attacks. 

It’s common to see just City’s centre-backs not joining the attack, leaving them exposed to teams adept at transitioning quickly up the pitch on the counter.

And Wolves are a side that specialise in hitting the opposition in such a way, as shown by their excellent record against the ‘big six’ since their promotion back to the Premier League. 

Nuno Espirito Santo had his Wanderers side play a wonderful counter-attacking game on Sunday. Part of this was, of course, through excellent defending. They were able to funnel City wide and force them to go wide and cross the ball – playing straight into the hands (foreheads) of Willy Boly, Connor Coady and 13th minute substitute Ryan Bennett. 

Their defensive organisation was supreme, and further drew in City to leave them more vulnerable at the back for when Wanderers did strike. And when they did, they did so with excellently. 

Raul Jimenez terrified Nicolas Otamendi and Fernandinho with his dribbling ability, and should probably have given Wolves the lead in the first half. But City clung on, and it was Santo’s tactical shift that helped bring about Wolves’ two late strikes. 

In January of last season, Wanderers fell 3-0 against City at the Etihad Stadium after Boly’s first half red card. At half time, Traore was brought on to offer a direct counter-attacking threat with his pace in behind.

Although it didn’t work out then – Wolves were down to 10 men and completely pinned in by City – Santo used this tactic again on Sunday in far more positive circumstances. 

In the 68th minute, Matt Doherty was brought on for Patrick Cutrone. The Irishman took up his usual slot at right wing-back, with Traore moving up front alongside Jimenez. 

The Mexican frontman again terrified Otamendi and Fernandinho with his dribbling on the counter, and this time had Traore haring up the pitch with him to finish.

Counter-attacking isn’t the only way to exploit City. Set pieces are a well known weakness, and generally getting at their centre-backs can cause real trouble. Especially with Otamendi the most experienced available player in that position, with his sudden decisions to forget how to be a footballer. 

Norwich were able to target City’s weaknesses in devastating fashion with their victory at Carrow Road earlier this season. 

The Canaries opened the scoring with a set piece goal, before continuing to cause City problems with their boldness in playing out from the back. 

It was the style that saw Norwich promoted last season as champions, and they showed that if you can break the Citizen’s initial press and go at their centre-backs, City are vulnerable – as proved with Norwich’s second.

Otamendi got himself in a pickle, while at full-back Kyle Walker sat far too deep to play Teemu Pukki onside. For the third goal, Otamendi was caught in possession as he made one of his sudden decisions to forget how to be a footballer. 

Of course, there are some mitigating circumstances. The centre of City’s defence is a key issue, which is somewhat understandable considering the injuries to Aymeric Laporte and John Stones, as well as the departure of the ageing Vincent Kompany. 

There is also some transition in midfield, with Rodri still adapting to his role at the base of midfield in front of the defence. Kevin de Bruyne is also a huge loss in the middle of the park. 

But these weaknesses also seem to be systematic, and it looks like Premier League sides are starting to target them more and more. 

Guardiola has adapted before upon his arrivals in Germany and England. Now, it is looking like he must continue to evolve his City side to tend to their weaknesses, before Liverpool build up an even healthier lead at the top of the table.

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Has Bernardo Silva’s critism been unfair?

Bernardo Silva in recent weeks has faced criticism for a twitter post, in which he compared long standing team mate Benjamin Mendy to a child in a French children’s cartoon. The post was quickly deleted but did not escape the mainstream media’s attention, and instantly labelled him as racist.

All bodies involved disregarded any prior knowledge that the two have been teammates for the past four years at Monaco. Manchester City and Pep Gaurdiola saying the two ‘are like brothers,’ and regularly exchanged jokes about one another.

KickItOut condemned the tweet and exclaimed that they were ‘extremely disappointed’ with Bernardo’s behaviour, furthermore the FA opened an investigation into the tweet. In response, Silva and Mendy both wrote open letters to The FA, with Bernardo apologising if he caused offence, and Mendy saying no offence was taken from Benrardo’s tweet and that it was a ‘friendly joke’.

The lack of context shown with Bernardo’s case is definitely worrying. The two are very close friends and have been for a number of years, constantly seen to be having banter on their respective social media accounts, and on the Netflix All of Nothing series. Without context this case, which is how a number of media outlets reported, it could possibly be seen as offensive. However, John Barnes, former Liverpool and England striker, was also to Bernardo’s defence with the accusations of racism as “ridiculous,” and called for context while also saying that KickItOut and The FA having bigger racial problems that they should be focusing on.

Do you think Bernardo should be punished by The FA? Or should they focus on more serious problem involving racism?

Premier League teams attempt to rise on Matchday 2 of Champions League

As the second matchday of the UEFA Champions League commences later today, Tottenham and Manchester City begin their quests of making it to knockout rounds after having successful tournament results last year. Reigning Champions League winners Liverpool and former winners Chelsea are set to play on Wednesday – aiming to get back in the standings after devastating losses to Napoli and Valencia respectively.

Tottenham, fresh off a Champions League campaign in which they finished as the runner-up, started this edition of the tournament with a 2-2 draw against Olympiacos. Scoring two early goals from Harry Kane’s penalty in the 26th minute, followed by a Lucas Moura goal in the 30th minute – goals from Daniel Podence in the 44th minute and Mathieu Valbuena in the 54th minute were enough to seal a draw at Karaiskakis Stadium. Tottenham will host German giants Bayern Munich at 8 p.m. GMT for its fifth-ever meeting against the club. Bayern are coming off a 3-0 victory over Crvena Zvezda after goals from Kingsley Coman, Robert Lewandowski, and Thomas Müller took all three points at The Allianz Arena.

Manchester City had a huge victory 3-0 over Shakhtar Donetsk at The Metalist, with Riyad Mahrez, Ilkay Gündogan, and Gabriel Jesus providing the necessary goals. They will face off against Dinamo Zagreb at Etihad Stadium at 8 p.m. GMT. The Croatian side defeated Atalanta 4-0 on Matchday 1 after Mislav Orsic’s hat trick at Stadion Maksimir. This will be the first-ever matchup between the two clubs – who do you think will end up in top spot?

Liverpool, fresh off of their recent Champions League winning campaign, started their campaign off with a dud as they lost 2-0 to Napoli. Late goals from Dries Mertens in the 82th minute and Fernando Llorente in injury time, helped the Italian team embarass the holders. Now, Liverpool will have to get back on track as they host Red Bull Salzburg at 8 p.m. GMT. The Austrian side had a 6-2 victory against Genk on the first matchday, led by a hat trick from Norwegian teen sensation Erling Braut Haaland at Red Bull Arena. The matchup between tonight’s game will be the first-ever matchup between the two clubs.

Chelsea, the champions of last year’s edition of the Europa League beating London compatriot Arsenal, did not get off to a great start in the Champions League as new coach/former club legend Frank Lampard and The Blues suffered a 1-0 loss at the feet of Rodrigo at Stamford Bridge. Considered the favorites of the group before the start of the tournament, Chelsea will have to get back in gear as they head to Stade Pierre Mauroy to battle Lille OSC at 8 p.m. GMT. Lille suffered a 3-0 defeat in their last game against Ajax due to goals from Quincy Promes, Edson Álvarez, and Nicolás Tagliafico at Johan Crujiff ArenA. The two clubs will face off against each other for the first time.

With the Champions League still in the beginning stages, time will tell if England will have back-to-back winners in the tournament for the first time since Liverpool and Aston Villa won the 1981 and 1982 editions.

Pep Guardiola admits Gabriel Jesus dilemma ahead of trip to Everton

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has confessed that he is struggling to keep Gabriel Jesus happy at the club.

The Brazilian centre-forward has this week revealed that he is growing increasingly “impatient” with a lack of game time.

Jesus, now 22, signed for the Manchester club in 2017 but still finds himself as second-choice to Sergio Aguero – City’s all-time leading goalscorer.

Despite Jesus starting two of Man City’s last three matches, and scoring in both, Aguero is set to lead the attack away at Everton on Saturday evening.

And Guardiola has admitted that he is finding it difficult to keep Jesus happy.

“He’s special,” said Guardolia. “Of course he wants to play. He’s the No.9 for Brazil. I understand completely.

“All the players want to play all the games. It’s normal. No player will be happy if they don’t play regularly.

“He’s happy when he plays, not happy when he doesn’t.

“They have different qualities. Sergio is one of the most outstanding players I’ve seen in the small spaces.

“But I try to let them both play as much as possible. There are little details that make the difference.

“In some games, Gabriel gives me something Sergio can’t – and also the other way around.

“But both guys are incredible. Sergio is one of the nicest people I’ve ever met, a top player, a legend, incredibly humble and a funny guy.

“They’re upset if they don’t play, of course. How can they be happy? It’s impossible. All I can say is that I’m sorry.

“The same happened in the midfield, with Ilkay Gundogan, David Silva, Kevin De Bruyne or Phil Foden. I have to choose. We have many games and everyone is necessary.”

City go into the match on the back of three straight wins, scoring 14 goals and conceding none.

Their opponents have struggled of late in the Premier League, winning just one of their previous four matches, and two of those losses coming against newly-promoted sides.

Despite a lack of form for the Toffees, Guardiola still expects a tough match against Marco Silva’s team.  

“They are an incredible team with a top manager,” said Guardiola. “Goodison Park is one of the toughest games you can play and we know it. We’ve prepared for that and the players know how difficult it is.”

Expected line-ups

Manchester City (4-3-3): Ederson; Cancelo, Fernandinho, Otamendi, Zinchenko; De Bruyne, Rodri, D Silva; B Silva, Aguero, Sterling.

Everton (4-2-3-1): Pickford; Coleman, Keane, Mina, Digne; Delph, Schneiderlin; Richarlison, Sigurdsson, Iwobi; Calvert-Lewin.

Reports: David Beckham, Inter Miami set to sign Man City star David Silva

According to several reports, midfielder David Silva is reported to likely join Major League Soccer’s newest franchise Inter Miami after the end of the Premier League season, making it David Beckham’s first big signing for the club.

David Beckham entered the MLS as the league’s first worldwide soccer star in 2007, after arriving from powerhouse Real Madrid. He wants the league to continue to bring in superstars and is hoping to bring them to his franchise in South Beach. Although Silva is not a household name like Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi, he is a player that a team can easily build around.

Since Silva arrived from Valencia nine years ago for £26 million, he has been a catalyst in Man City’s success over the past few years. He has won four Premier League titles, two FA Cups, and four League Cups. Silva has also been a pivotal part in Spain’s history as he was won two European championships and the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. 

Although Silva would miss the first three months of the inaugural season as the MLS campaign starts in March, he may not be the only player arriving in Miami late. There have been several reports that Paris Saint-Germain and Uruguayan striker Edinson Cavani is also a target for the team. Also, it was reported that Beckham and his partners Jorge Mas and Paul McDonough were in Barcelona this month, apparently approaching Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez.

Inter Miami had already signed three players prior to the Silva reports. Forward Julián Carranza (Banfield) and midfielder Matías Pellegrini (Estudiantes) are both on loans at their respective teams in Argentina’s Primera División, while Venezuelan defender Christian Makoun arrives after being on loan at Juventus’ U-23 team.