Manchester City can’t afford to be complacent against Wolves

Manchester City v FC Barcelona - UEFA Champions League Group Stage - Group C

With nine dropped points in December, Pep Guardiola will be eager to keep the pressure on Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool when his Manchester City welcome Wolves to the Etihad Stadium on Monday night.

Being labelled as giant killers, the visitors have recently beaten Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool and so Guardiola will warn his team against complacency, despite coming into this fixture on the back of a morale boosting wins against Rotherham (7-0) and Burton Albion (9-0) in the FA Cup and Carabao Cup semi-final. Continue reading

Bernardo Silva: His importance to Manchester City

Bernardo Silva

Manchester City’s Portuguese magician Bernardo Silva put in a performance of a lifetime against Liverpool to keep their Premier League title hopes alive on Thursday night, just months after he was almost shipped out after struggling during his first season in Manchester. Continue reading

Manchester City gear up for busy Christmas period

Pep Guardiola is expected to make changes ahead of Manchester City’s Premier League clash against Bournemouth on Saturday afternoon as the reigning champions enter their Christmas period which includes nine games in December alone.

Gabriel Jesus, Ilkay Gundogan and Bernardo Silva all face a race against time to be declared fit and will undergo a late fitness test while Kevin de Bruyne remains on the sidelines with a knee injury he picked up in early November, with Manchester City’s match against Bournemouth coming too soon for the Belgian. Continue reading

Back to business for Manchester City

For the mess that Manchester City have been in off the pitch with these Football Leaks allegations, it was business as usual for Pep Guardiola’s team on Saturday afternoon after they made West Ham United look like a Championship club. David Silva, Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sané had the Premier League champions 3-0 up inside 35 minutes before the latter added a second in second-half stoppage time.

For the fans of Manchester City, it was a sense of relief. With an international break last weekend, the last two weeks have been torturous for City fans following allegations by Football Leaks suggesting that the club may have conducted itself dishonestly or sought to illegitimately evade financial fair play (FFP) rules, with UEFA officials now examining these allegations before a likely investigation.

These allegations made by German outlet Der Spiegel suggest that Manchester City had tried to cheat FFP rules by City selling image rights of players to a company, Fordham Sports Management, to lower their wage bill. Whether this is true or not, it could be damaging to Manchester City while the consequences could well be severe. Manchester City aren’t the only club involved in these Football Leaks but with the eye of the world watching, Guardiola would have been keen to not let it affect his team.

Their performance against West Ham United on Saturday afternoon suggests that normality has remained on the pitch with Guardiola’s side now two points clear ahead of closest challengers Liverpool following their 4-0 win in London. And while the score line may suggest City were in top form, it certainly wasn’t their best performance with West Ham under par, as has often been the case this season. As one of two remaining undefeated teams, Pep Guardiola’s task will be to keep his players focussed with an important Champions League fixture coming up.

Despite that, Manchester City have scored 21 goals in the first-half of Premier League games this season, more than Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur and 13 other clubs have in total, per Manchester Evening News journalist Simon Bajkowski. But while it’s an impressive stat, it still won’t be good enough for Pep Guardiola who rightly always wants more from his players.

“I give a lot of credit to our players for the victory, but it was not the best performance. I think we got a bit lucky. West Ham had a lot of chances and should have scored. But we will have more chances to be a lot better,” Guardiola said in his post-match press conference.

“We are consistent and we are a humble team, today we wasn’t so good but I love the way we run. The Premier League remains tough and we cannot deny this. I didn’t expect after what we achieved last season to have these results.”

Raheem Sterling integral to Manchester City’s season

One of those players that Pep Guardiola wants more of is perhaps Raheem Sterling, despite his impressive stats. Frustrating for England, Pep Guardiola has moulded the 23-year-old into one of the best players in the Premier League. In 44 Premier League fixtures, Sterling has 25 goals and 18 assists but Guardiola surely believes that the youngster can still do better. And maybe that’s just one reason why Manchester City have just extended the contract of Sterling until 2023, worth a potential £300,000 per week.

The understanding that Raheem Sterling has with both Sergio Aguero and Leroy Sané shares the same characteristics as that of Samuel Eto’o, Thierry Henry and Lionel Messi of Guardiola’s Barcelona side in 2009. And although Pep Guardiola has distanced himself from his time at Barcelona, this Manchester City side certainly shares the same philosophy to some degree.

Whether they retain their Premier League title this season, this Manchester City squad is frightening and will no doubt go down as one of the greatest teams in European history. Of course, winning the Champions League is the goal for everyone involved with the club, it’s the trophy that’s eluded them while many suggest winning the European competition eclipses that of winning another Premier League title.

They have the players, the staff and the backing to do so but it will be up to Pep Guardiola to guide them to a Champions League final, something they’ve yet to do.

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Frenkie de Jong: Manchester City hot on Ajax talent

It’s that time of the season again where the international break allows the media to perhaps give fans a false sense of hope with ludicrous transfer rumours. But if they are to be believed then Manchester City could well find themselves ahead of Barcelona and Real Madrid to land Ajax and The Netherlands defender/midfielder Frenkie de Jong.

The Premier League champions are ready to pay £61 million for Frenkie de Jong who could be a likely replacement for the ageing Fernandinho. The 21-year-old has also garnered interest from City’s neighbours, Manchester United however, the prospect of playing under Pep Guardiola as opposed to Jose Mourinho surely is a no brainer for the youngster. Continue reading

Raheem Sterling can become a Premier League great

Raheem Sterling

Putting pen-to-paper on a new bumper contract reportedly worth up to £300,000 per week, it’s hard to imagine that Raheem Sterling is just 23. Joining Manchester City from Liverpool back in 2015 for an initial £44 million, the England international has showcased that he has what it takes to potentially become a future Ballon d’Or winner. Now, there are probably people out there suggesting that he’s a long way off, but Sterling has shown time and again that’s he’s one of City’s most influential players under Pep Guardiola. Continue reading

Manchester City players must remain professional

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Pep Guardiola has been critical of his Manchester City players stating they need to remain professional should they be dropped. Although no problems yet, the Spaniard’s comments suggest that changes could be made ahead of their Premier League fixture against Tottenham Hotspur on Monday night while those who don’t make the starting XI must remain focussed. Continue reading

Kevin De Bruyne’s return a timely boost for Manchester City

Kevin De Bruyne

Pep Guardiola has suggested that Kevin De Bruyne is ready to feature for Manchester City against Burnley on Saturday which could prove influential in City’s title race. With just 30 minutes of Premier League football this season, the Belgium international couldn’t return at a better time with the Manchester club sitting joint first alongside Chelsea and Liverpool.

Just like 2016, his knee ligament injury has kept him out for 66 days and even though he’s been training the past two weeks, Guardiola is unsure as to whether De Bruyne will be able to last 90 minutes but one thing is for sure and that’s that the 27-year-old will be a welcomed returnee to Guardiola’s side given that Ilkay Gundogan has been ruled out. Continue reading

Are Bayern Munich in crisis?

It looked to have been a mere blimp in Bayern Munich’s season but picking up just one Bundesliga point from an available nine has raised questions around the Säbener Straße. A 1-1 draw against Bavarian rivals FC Augsburg was followed by a 2-0 defeat to Hertha Berlin and a 3-0 hammering against Borussia Mönchengladbach on Saturday evening.

Just one goal in three games isn’t your typical Bayern Munich. This is an elite European club that has won six consecutive Bundesliga titles and if things don’t change imminently, there could be real problems ahead. Continue reading