Tag Archives: Pep Guardiola

Bayern Munich agree fee for Manchester City winger

Manchester City have agreed a £54.8 million fee for Leroy Sane to complete a move to Bundesliga Champions Bayern Munich. Sane will reportedly sign a four-year deal worth around £385,000 a week.

The German international turned down a new contract with City, who had been willing to pay only around half the wages Bayern have agreed.  The Citizens ultimately decided to sell him rather than risk losing him for free next year when his contract expired.

Sane will now fly out to Munich to complete the move and will stay in Germany for the rest of the season, rather than return for City’s Champions League campaign.

A move to the German giants was on the cards last summer, only for Sane to suffer a serious knee injury during the community shield which ruled him out of action for ten months.

Despite City valuing him at an astonishing £140 million a year ago, getting almost £55 million for the 24-year-old would appear to be some exceptionally good business done by Pep Guardiola.

However, this move would be a disappointing end to Sane’s City career that appeared at one time to be heading for great things at the Etihad after he was crowned PFA Young Player of the Year in 2018.

Sane, was understood to be shocked to be left out of Joachim Low’s German World Cup squad- at the time a move that was quiet baffling- after his magnificent contribution of 10 goals and 15 assists to the record breaking City side, who became the first to break the 100 points barrier in an English top flight season.

In his total appearances of 90 games for City in the Premiership, he has scored 25 goals with 28 assists in a side that has won 68 times, with only nine defeats.

Sane, certainly looks likely to become one of the key components of Hans Flick’s German machine. Not only will the German Champions have the likes of Thiago, Javi Martinez and Alphonso Davies in midfield, they will be now able to throw Sane into the mix as well.  Ultimately, City’s loss looks to be Bayern’s gain, with the German champions squad for next season enhanced by the signing of Leroy Sane.

Already this season Bayern’s strength in depth of their squad is frightening. Enough already to secure the Bundesliga title and the possibility of the Champions League, which is still up for grabs. Adding Sane into this quality squad will only see Der FCB continue to dominate German football for the foreseeable future.

 

Chelsea defeat Manchester City, help Liverpool clinch first Premier League title

“You’ll Never Walk Alone.”

The famous anthem for Liverpool has been around since April 27, 1963, after the club’s FA Cup semi-final defeat against Leicester at Hillsborough. Apparently, Chelsea got the memo and helped guide Liverpool to their first ever Premier League title by defeating Manchester City 2-1 at Stamford Bridge.

 Entering the match, the Blues were considered the underdogs against the two-time defending champions of the league. A loss for the South London-side would have not only been detrimental in their quest for a Champions League spot but would also mean that Liverpool fans would have to wait to celebrate.

For the opening half-hour of the match, the visitors dominated possession but were unable to capitalize on any chances. 

After Kevin De Bruyne’s free kick was cleared away by the Chelsea defence, a mix-up in the back between Benjamin Mendy and Ilkay Gündogan caused Christian Pulisic to punish the defence with his pace and slot the shot past Ederson in the 36th-minute. 

This goal helped the American’s former manager at Borussia Dortmund, Jürgen Klopp, and The Reds get one step closer to clinching the title as pointed out by The Black and Yellow.

 

The Citizens tied the game up in the 55th-minute courtesy of a De Bruyne free kick that goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga had no chance of saving. This happened due to Riyad Mahrez being fouled by N’Golo Kante just outside the penalty area.

Two minutes after the De Bruyne goal, Raheem Sterling had an opportunity at a counter-attack goal but was denied by the post, giving Liverpool fans a chance to breathe.

In the 71st-minute, Pulisic seemed to have an easy chance to get his second goal on the night but was denied by Kyle Walker, who, slid across the goal line to keep the game even at one.

 Four minutes after that incident, Ederson and the defence looked to have had more goal line stops after shots from Tammy Abraham and Pulisic were denied. However, VAR awarded The Blues a penalty and Fernandinho was shown a straight red for handling Abraham’s final shot in the sequence. This caused Willian to score from the spot, helping Chelsea get a crucial three points and securing the title for Liverpool.

 

Frank Lampard and Chelsea, who have now accumulated 54 points for the season, take on Leicester City in the FA Cup quarterfinals on Sunday before returning to league action on Wednesday at West Ham United. Meanwhile, Pep Guardiola and Manchester City will face off against Newcastle United in the FA Cup on Sunday, before hosting the newly crowned champions on Thursday.

What is going wrong at Arsenal?

In years gone by the defensive woes that have plagued Arsenal would surprise many. Now it’s commonplace, and there are many fans bemoaning the lack of improvement in the last three to four years. The same soft underbelly is hurting them and defensive mistakes seem to never go away.

The return to the Premier League has probably left most, if not all Arsenal fans wishing it had never come back. Their 3-0 defeat to Manchester City was gifted to their opponents on a platter by David Luiz ( a real symbol for the defensive woes) and plenty of fans were straight on his back.

The issues stem further than simply David Luiz however. Despite his dismal performance, mistakes have always been in his DNA and with their other defenders not really up to scratch, you have to wonder what Arsenal’s recruitment system is doing.

The Brazilian is also set to sign his one-year extension, albeit as a 5th choice centre-half, if talks go smoothly. This ultimately shows how Arsenal are seemingly content with average players.

Aside from that there seems to be attitude problems at the club, issues that were brought to light by Neal Maupay in his post-match interview after Brighton’s 2-1 win.

The centre-half position has been a real issue for the Gunners and for several years they have failed to replace what is a glaring issue. Pablo Mari was brought in on loan in January but he’s only played two times and picked up an injury against Man City.

Sokratis had the potential to be an excellent addition but has proved inconsistent too. The same issues have also affected Shkodran Mustafi, who was solid at Valencia but has struggled in London. It seems as though no matter who they sign, the deals don’t work out.

The higher-ups at the club also have to take responsibility for the clubs failings, fans were crying out for defensive reinforcements this summer but the club spent £72 million on Nicolas Pepe instead.

While fans were pleased, you have to sit and wonder why they couldn’t have spent that on their defence. Kieran Tierney was a decent signing for £25 million but one man won’t be able to fix the issues they currently have.

Mikel Arteta said from the start he had a lot of work to do when he joined the club, and the Spaniard was certainly right on the mark. His starting lineups against Manchester City and Brighton weren’t convincing and the mystery surrounding Mesut Ozil is confusing as ever.

He hasn’t started either games, they surely needed him against Brighton but he was nowhere to be seen. The decision to bring Luiz on has to rest with Arteta but even he couldn’t have predicted the ‘disasterclass’ his player would’ve produced.

He has a lot to do with this squad of players, and he needs quality to be able to play the style of football he wants. Whether the club back him is another story.

Charlie Nicholas stated for Sky Sports:

“Wednesday was what I expected. The one scenario I did not expect was the team that Mikel Arteta picked. Mesut Ozil was dropped – he has been dropped before in these types of games. He went for youth and he can see where the future is,” 

Nicholas continued:

“I do not see it as a massive debate or crisis for Arsenal. They are ninth for a reason. There is a reason behind just the nine wins from 29. Over the last five or six years, Arsenal’s defence has been poor, not average, but poor. How a team can let this go on for so long is mind-blowing.

“They spent around £8m on David Luiz, who has won the Premier League and the Champions League. The craziness is that he was better than what was already there. That should show those players just how bad it is and also how bad it is for Arteta.

“There is nothing to say that it will take years. The board and owners do not have years as the crowd will turn on them if they do not identify that the defence is everything. It is the area that matters right now. If they do not address it they will get further and further away from it. This is a must. Whoever you must sell, the funds must go on defenders, and you start building again.”

Arteta will need time but the Emirates has become a toxic place over recent years and whether time is even a factor here is another question altogether. They played City with the mentality of a side scrapping around the relegation places rather than a team competing for titles.

The club very much needs a change in the way they think if they are to progress, in other words being a ‘big club’ with actions instead of pretending to be like one.

A lot of issues come down to Stan Kroenke and his mismanagement of the club. They had hope when Sven Mislintat joined the club as Recruitment Chief to try and revolutionise the way the club approached the transfer market.

The German had great success at Borussia Dortmund but things didn’t quite work out well for either party. Their Director of Football Raul Sanllehi has come under fire recently, with some of their signings under-performing.

Many fans are discontent with Kroenke’s reign and a lot feel there is no clear plan for Arsenal moving forward. They’ve taken a chance in a promising young coach in Arteta and if he’s anything like his former boss Pep Guardiola then they have a great coach at their disposal. However, he needs the support of a stable board and you have to question whether Arsenal have that at the moment.

The post-Wenger Arsenal was supposed to be one of promise and endeavour. Many neutral fans did say to be careful what you wish for and it looks like there could be more truth in that than first thought. Without a revamp in the board we might not see Arsenal improve much over the next couple of seasons.

‘Rooney rule needed at all levels’ AS bame candidates are still a huge minority

During Sky Sports’ Sunday Supplement show there was a big discussion on the current situation with BAME candidates for roles in football. With the current political landscape switching its primary focus to Black Lives Matter after the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, discussions about race in football have been brought to the forefront.

What is the Rooney Rule?

The Rooney Rule is an NFL ruling that requires teams to interview ethnic minority candidates for head coaching and senior roles. This was started in America in 2002 in order to make sure African Americans has the same chances as their white counterparts. It was brought over to English football 2016 in order to try and initiate more equal management across the football league.

What was Discussed?

The panel suggested that the Rooney Rule should be strengthened across the EFL and used at boardroom level. Currently there are only six BAME managers that are employed across the 91 league clubs in England. The EFL introduced a ruling at the start of the season that clubs have to interview a BAME candidate for a vacant job. There are, however, loopholes to the rule as it only applies when there is a shortlist of interviewees. This assumes there is a an interview process, however, with this not being obligatory clubs can easily just appoint a manager without the need for such measures.

Some of the statements put forward in the panel discussion were that:

“The Rooney Rule should really be implanted properly across all 91 clubs and then also to have transparency, to have data to show who you’ve interviewed.

The FA have had a very positive policy recently in having a BAME coach in every single age group for England, from U15s to Gareth Southgate’s senior squad. I don’t see why that can’t be implemented for the 20 teams in the Premier League and possibly Championship. I don’t think it would be a financial problem for that to happen.

There are only 32 BAME coaches with the UEFA A licence. The LMA have said themselves they want coaches fast tracked for this qualification, to have more black coaches would mean a greater chance of getting a job. So that’s absolutely vital as well – and could happen very easily.”

It was also stated that clubs must be more vigilant with their reactions to racism. Rob Draper, chief football writer for the Mail on Sunday said:

“Clubs will sign up for anti-racism campaigns and they’ll all wear Black Lives Matter next week but when it comes to a player in their club accused of racism, you see the response and it can be quite different.”

He referred to the incidents between Luis Suarez and Patrice Evra alongside the one including Benjamin Mendy and Bernardo Silva. Liverpool have come under fire for defending Suarez after he was accused of racially abusing the Manchester United left-back. The team decided to wear t-shirts in support of their Uruguayan forward. This decision was subsequently condemned by former club captain Jamie Carragher. Bernardo Silva also came under a lot of bad press for tweeting out an image comparing Mendy to a black caricature with a design similar to early forms of blackface. While the criticism was actually split on two sides, Pep Guardiola came out and defended Silva for his actions.   The FA eventually did sanction Silva but it was for causing offence – not for being racist.

Whether the ruling is strengthened will be a matter for the EFL to work upon. With the lack of current diversity there will be many people hoping for change within the next fews years. In an era of political change this could be another step to reaching equality within sport.

Another injury blow for City before the Liverpool clash?

Manchester City could be without Ederson going into Sunday’s clash against Premier League leaders Liverpool after the goalkeeper picked up a muscular injury during Wednesday’s match against Atalanta.

The Brazilian shot stopper was substituted at half-time of the Champions League fixture, and was replaced by 36-year-old Claudio Bravo, who was later sent off, forcing right-back Kyle Walker to finish the match in goal.

And City boss Pep Guardiola is unsure whether Ederson will be fit in time for Sunday’s crucial trip to Anfield.

“Honestly, right now, I don’t know.

“It’s a muscular problem. It was not big but [we took him off] to avoid risk. He didn’t feel comfortable in the last minutes and that’s why we decided to make a substitution.”

Manchester City managed to hold out for a 1-1 draw against Atalanta, despite Walker being summoned to play in goal for the final ten minutes.

The visitors got off to a quick start, taking the lead at the San Siro after just seven minutes – a slick passing move slotted home by English superstar Raheem Sterling.

City looked well in control and had the opportunity to double their lead just before half-time having been awarded a penalty, which Gabriel Jesus scuffed wide of the upright – a miss which proved costly, as Mario Pasalic levelled the scores the other side of the break.

Despite City’s continued possession dominance, they were unable to break through their host’s defence, before the game took an unexpected turn. The Blues replacement keeper Bravo was red carded for a challenge on Josip Ilicic, leaving Guardiola with no option but to place an outfield player between the sticks.

Ederson, if unavailable for Sunday’s match, will add to an ever-growing list of injuries for Pep Guardiola to deal with. Long-term absentees Aymeric Laporte and Leroy Sane remain sidelined, while David Silva, Rodri and Oleksandr Zinchenko are all set the miss out.

City travel to Anfield on Sunday afternoon to face Premier League leaders Liverpool, with kick-off scheduled for 16:30 GMT.

What do you think the outcome will be?