Hope for other EPL clubs after Manchester City draw with Tottenham

The Premier League season has started and 20 clubs will fight against each other for the coveted league title but also for European places & survival. In the first top clash of the season, a home match, Manchester City was all geared up to face Tottenham. In the last season, European finalists Tottenham knocked Man City out of the Champions League in the quarter-final.

Thus, the pressure was more on Manchester City as they have to give payback but also prove their mettle. The dreams and hopes of the supporters of City, as well as the players, involve winning as many trophies as possible this season. People who do sports betting invest a lot of money on these clubs through the real money casinos.

Manchester City were unable to defeat Tottenham. The match ended in a 2-2 draw. City players and fans will feel hard done by. Pep Guardiola’s champions will not have an easy time ahead. No team beat City since last season when Spurs accomplished a 1-0 victory in the Champions League. Since that loss, Guardiola’s men won many important matches, including two games versus Tottenham- one in the Champions League return leg and another in the league.

Last Saturday, a resounding 5-0 win in West Ham proved Manchester City will be aiming for another league title. Before Saturday 2-2 draw with Spurs, City had played 15 Premier League matches and won all of them to remain undefeated in the league since they lost 2-1 on January 29 in Newcastle. In the Champions League, Spurs defeated City and showed the other clubs that this was a possible feat. This led to a frantic second leg with more goals and much drama.

Manchester City set a record by winning 18 matches in succession in the Premier Leagues during the 2017/18 season. Unfortunately for City, they will not be able to beat or even match that record following the 2-2 home draw against bogey side Tottenham.

While records are good to have, what really matters to City and their fans is winning trophies, among them the coveted Premier League title. However, fans would love to see City lift the Champions League trophy as well. The 2-2 draw against Spurs has once again showed other English clubs that it is possible to derail this extremely talented City side.

For other clubs and in particular Liverpool, they must keep pace and they need to vanquish all the top 6 rival teams to maintain their extraordinary form. Last season, they gathered 97 points keeping the incredible form intact and lost only once in the entire season. Due to this loss, they came in second and Manchester City emerged as the winner last season. They lost the match to Man City and ended up losing the league by a single point which was quite saddening for Liverpool and their supporters. Liverpool beat Norwich 4-1 on opening weekend and followed that up with a second win away at Southampton meaning they are currently are on six points to City’s four.

That being said, for the coming three months, Liverpool may not be able to get close to the team of Guardiola again. This is because of the fixtures that are in front of them. Keeping the title race alive will be quite compelling just like it was last season. Manchester City was defeated last season by Newcastle and this simply showed how even struggling teams can play well and defeat the giants. 

Newcastle’s victory may be repeated by Norwich, Bournemouth or Brighton but it will be an extremely difficult feat against the talented and deep City side. Despite the 2-2 draw, it can be said that City’s players will have the opportunity to win match after match in the upcoming weeks and perhaps even build a small lead at the top before the trip to Anfield. Liverpool and Klopp are perhaps the only ones capable of stopping City from winning a third consecutive league title, However, watch out for Spurs would could still derail City when the two teams face each other in London.

Man City face first test of their Premier League title defence

In some ways, Manchester City strolled to the Premier League title last season. They might have had Liverpool keeping pace with them for the majority of the way, but nonetheless Pep Guardiola’s team still went much of the season unchallenged by the rest of the English top flight.

By doing this, City managed to retain a Premier League title for the first time and now there are signs that what Guardiola has built could become a dynasty. The 2019/20 Premier League season started last week and there’s no suggestion that City won’t be the frontrunners to win a third-straight title.

Only Liverpool and possibly Tottenham Hotspur can challenge Guardiola’s defending champions. We will find out more about Spurs this weekend when Mauricio Pochettino’s team travel north to take on Man City at the Etihad Stadium. It’s the first marquee, top-of-the-table clash and do a lot to determine the title race for the season ahead.

However, we will also learn a lot about City and whether they can be potentially caught. Spurs have made progress over the summer, signing Tanguy Ndombele, Ryan Sessegnon and Giovani Lo Celso to significantly strengthen what was already a strong squad. Pochettino led his team to the Champions League final last season, but he wants even more this season.

City were mightily impressive in the opening Premier League fixture of the season, putting five past West Ham away from home. This will be more of a test, though. Spurs aren’t just a strong team, but a group of players with the golden carrot of a piece of silverware still in front of their nose, leading them on. They are a motivated bunch.

There is a certain pressure that comes with being the chased. Man City, as the two-time defending Premier League champions, now play every week with a target on their back. Opposition sides up their game to take on Guardiola’s men and this will certainly be the case when Spurs come to visit this weekend.

What’s more, this is a side that caused City problems at the Etihad as recently as April, when Spurs knocked out the Premier League leaders on their way into the final four of the Champions League. Guardiola and his players cannot afford to take their challenge lightly. We will learn more about the dynamic between the two teams after Saturday.

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Man City might have pulled off the deal of the summer

Having racked up an incredible 198 points over the past two Premier League seasons, it was difficult heading into the summer to envisage where Manchester City might improve. No team has dominated the English top flight like Pep Guardiola’s side has of late and so any signing would have be a big one to take them any higher.

The addition of Rodri for a club record £62.8 million went some way to meeting this benchmark. The midfielder is a player in the mould of Guardiola and will fit in well at the Etihad Stadium. He has previously been compared to Sergio Busquets and so it was natural that City should seek him to be Fernandinho’s long term successor at the club.

Beyond that, there was the re-signing of full back Angelino for just £6 million to provide some depth and most assumed that would conclude Man City’s transfer business for the summer. One last deal, concluded with just hours of the window left, has many praising the Premier League champions. Indeed, it might just be the deal of the summer.

The £28 million signing of Joao Cancelo was announced on Wednesday, with Danilo heading to Juventus as part of the deal. The Portuguese international represents a significant upgrade on City’s present full back options and gives Guardiola the right back he’s always wanted, the right back he always wanted Kyle Walker to be.

In the current inflated market, £28 million (even if it includes a player heading to Turin in part-exchange) for a player of Cancelo’s quality and pedigree is shrewd business. Consider that Manchester United were forced to pay over £50 million for Aaron Wan-Bissaka, a right back with only one season of senior experience under his belt, earlier in the window.

City have recognised the situation at Juventus, where they need to balance the books after the big money signings of Cristiano Ronaldo and Matthijs De Ligt in the past two summer windows, and have taken advantage of it by prising Cancelo from their grips for a fee that is surely well below market value.

Their ruthlessness must be admired. It’s just two years since they made Walker the most expensive full back in football history and now after one below-par season they have already replaced him with a stronger option. This is the sort of joined-up thinking that has made Man City the team they are today and the addition of Cancelo only underlines this further.

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Do Manchester City need another centre back this summer?

Vincent Kompany didn’t say a word. He knew all along that the FA Cup final against Watford would be his last match for Manchester City, that lifting aloft the famous trophy, City’s third piece of silverware in the one season, would be his last act as club captain. It wasn’t until the following day, though, that the Belgian announced he would be leaving.

He might have deteriorated somewhat in his final few years, but Kompany will go down as a City legend and one of the best centre backs the Premier League has ever seen. The 33-year-old could have played another season or two in England, but his decision to call it quits now means the memory of him at the top will be preserved forever.

Vincent Kompany

Kompany’s departure leaves City will a hole in their squad, though. The Belgian might have been in rotation with John Stones last season, with the two players vying to be Aymeric Laporte’s centre back pairing, but he was still a key figure. Look at the role he played towards the end of the season. Man City might not have kept their Premier League crown without him.

So will City need to enter the transfer market to find a replacement? They have already spent a club record fee of £62.8 million on Rodri £6 million also allocated to the re-signing of Angelino from PSV Eindhoven. Finding a top level centre back to fill the void left by Kompany would add to their summer outlay quite substantially.

“We are so happy with the squad we have,” Pep Guardiola explained when asked whether he intended to push for the signing of another centre back. “I don’t know if the players here will stay or new players will come, but since I came here I have been delighted with the players we have. Maybe we [will sign a replacement for Kompany], but we have three incredible central defenders. And Fernandinho can play in that position, also. We will see.”

Harry Maguire has been linked with a move to the Etihad Stadium, but it seems unlikely that City will pay the £90 million Leicester City are demanding for the England international. Matthijs de Ligt was another mentioned, but City’s offer never seemed all that genuine, with the Dutchman eventually opting to sign for Juventus.

Besides these two, it has been slim pickings this summer. City have two first team centre backs in the form of Laporte and Stones, but with the latter prone to injuries they might well be taking a gamble going a full season with just the pair (assuming Nicolas Otamendi is sold). This is the situation City face.

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Man City might regret not making most of Leroy Sane’s talent

It is an illustration of Manchester City’s attacking depth that Leroy Sane has yet to nail down a starting spot. The German international is regarded as one of the best wide men in the European game right now, but when City have to pick their strongest side Sane is often left on the peripheries.

The 23-year-old was even exiled from the first team at the start of last season leading to suggestions that Pep Guardiola has an issue with Sane’s attitude. This was just weeks after he had been forced to watch from afar as Germany took part in the 2018 World Cup. Sane, of course, was not picked by Joachim Low for the squad.

Leroy Sane

Indeed, there’s just something about Sane that leaves coaches unconvinced. He would be a starter for pretty much any other team in Europe, but at Man City Guardiola often turns to Raheem Sterling, Gabriel Jesus, Bernardo Silva and even Riyad Mahrez ahead of the German.

This has led to reports that Sane could leave the Etihad Stadium this summer, with Bayern Munich apparently leading the pursuit to sign the 23-year-old. The Bundesliga champions haven’t even been put off by the reported £90 million transfer fee City are demanding for the wide man. They see him as a future face of the club.

Sane would likely thrive at the Allianz Arena. Bayern Munich are going through a transition, particularly on the wings. Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben leaving the club at the end of last season. This means there would be a void for Sane to fill should he pitch up in Bavaria before the start of the season.

City could come to regret not making the most of Sane’s talent. Guardiola has swung back and forth on his public opinion of the German, like the time he underlined his quality on the wings while highlighting his unreadiness to play through the middle as a central attacker.

“He’s not ready to play in the middle now, you have to be so good to control the spaces,” Guardiola said at a point last season. “Maybe in the future. Sane is the best in the world playing out wide. I’d prefer to use him where he is strongest, he’s an incredible player. I’m not saying he can’t [play in middle] but at the moment we have better players to do that job.”

If Sane is truly the best wide player in the world in Guardiola’s mind then why is he so often left on the peripheries at Man City? The German would be harnessed at Bayern Munich. If that is an option that is open to him this summer he could be forgiven for finding it attractive.

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Rodri is a boring, sensible signing, but that’s why City are so good in the transfer market

It had been rumoured almost from the very moment the 2018/19 season came to a close for Manchester City. In fact, there had been rumours even before then that the Premier League champions had identified Rodri as the man they wanted as their marquee addition this summer.

It’s easy to see why they were attracted to the midfielder. He is a player very much in the mould of a Pep Guardiola team, with many seeing Rodri as the natural successor to Sergio Busquets for Spain. At Atletico Madrid, Rodri showed his quality and capacity for the big time, but under Diego Simeone it felt like he was being held back somewhat.

Rodri

This won’t be the case at the Etihad Stadium. Rodri will now receive a footballing education like no other. Even players who have played at the top level for years talk about the shock of coming into a Guardiola side, but it is often players like Rodri, young, talented and hungry, who stand to benefit the most from this.

Not much fanfare greeted Rodri as he was officially announced as a Manchester City player earlier this week. That was largely down to the protracted nature of the transfer, with City’s pursuit of the 23-year-old reported as long ago as April. He is not a goalscorer or a flashy winger either.

Some might even say that City’s addition of Rodri is boring. But this is a symptom of what makes them so effective in the transfer market. Rodri was an obvious target for them. There was no surprise factor to their targeting of the Spanish international. He is a sensible, entirely logical addition.

Of course, City didn’t really need Rodri in the immediate term. Fernandinho had one of his best seasons for the club last term as the defending champions retained their crown with another incredible points tally. But Fernandinho is approaching his 35th birthday and so Man City saw the opportunity to secure his successor while they could.

The plan will be to ease Rodri in gently to his new surroundings. There is no need to drop him in at the deep end and perhaps by the end of the season he will have replaced Fernandinho in the City starting lineup. If not, that transition will happen some enough. The Etihad Stadium side might not be making many headlines with their transfer moves, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t doing the right thing.

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Has there ever been a better Premier League midfielder than David Silva?

At the time, it was considered a good signing, but the transfer of David Silva to Manchester City wasn’t given the sort of reaction the likes of Robinho and Sergio Aguero received. The Spaniard had shown his quality at Valencia, but nobody predicted that he’d become the face of the Etihad Stadium side.

Some might argue that 10  years later Silva has never been the face of Man City. At times, Silva has flown under the radar, never receiving the credit he probably deserves. With the 33-year-old now preparing for his final season as a City player, there is a question worth asking – has there ever been a better Premier League midfielder?

David Silva

“This is the last one,” Silva explained in an interview. “Ten years for me is enough. It’s the perfect time for me. Initially, City were talking about two [more] years. It completes the cycle. It’s a nice round figure. I can never see myself playing against City for another team. So 10 years – that’s it.”

Of course, some will put forward the likes of Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard and Paul Scholes as contenders for that unofficial accolade – best midfielder in the history of the Premier League. There’s also a case of classification – how can someone like Roy Keane or Ngolo Kante be compared to Robert Pires, for instance? And what about wingers? Do they count as midfielders?

Nonetheless, it’s worth considering the legacy Silva will leave behind at Manchester City and in the Premier League. The technical level he has brought to the English game has raised the water level of the whole league. Now, midfielders in particular are expected to be able to dictate the pace of games in the way Silva does and has done for the past decade.

The exit of Silva will mark the end of an era at the Etihad. He was central to the first phase of the Abu Dhabi project at Manchester City, helping to establish the club as a force. City made a habit of making statement signings in the early days of the Abu Dhabi takeoever (see Robinho, Aguero and Samir Nasri), but it was Silva who set a precedent on the pitch for the club.

Finding a replacement for Silva won’t be easy. City will hope Phil Foden can step into the void left by the Spaniard, but there’s no guarantee that the teenager will continue his development. Otherwise, they will have to spend big to find a successor for a player who holds a claim to being the Premier League’s best ever midfielder.

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Do Manchester City really need Harry Maguire?

So impressive have Manchester City been over the past two seasons, collecting 198 points over the 2017/18 and 2018/19 campaigns, it’s difficult to envisage how they could possibly improve this summer. But this is the task they must take on otherwise risk being leapfrogged by Liverpool, who are expected to strengthen again this summer, at the top of the English game.

The past week has seen the Premier League champions spring into action, with Rodri expected to make the move from Atletico Madrid to the Etihad Stadium in the coming days. Another rumour has seen City enter the race for Harry Maguire and now it seems likely that the Leicester City defender will indeed be Pep Guardiola’s latest signing.

maguire

Maguire has become a key member and a mainstay of the England team over the past two seasons, also impressing for Leicester in the Premier League. There is a sense that he is ready to take the next step in his career and a move to Manchester City would certainly represent progression.

But is Maguire really the player that Man City need at this time? Nicolas Otamendi is expected to leave the club this summer, with Guardiola keen to move the Argentinean on. Vincent Kompany has already departed the Etihad Stadium for Anderlecht and so there is a vacant spot in the Man City defence right now.

Maguire doesn’t appear to be a Guardiola type of player, though. The 26-year-old is an extremely solid centre back, possessing all the fundamental skills required for someone to succeed in that position, but he has some way to go before he can match the likes of Gerard Pique or Aymeric Laporte for playing out from the back.

Of course, some will argue, with good reason, that Maguire would be an upgrade on John Stones, with the 25-year-old’s capacity for making big mistakes in big games once again exposed in England’s defeat to Netherlands in the semi finals of the Nations League. But surely City can do better.

Surely the player they should be targeting this summer is Matthijs de Ligt, the Dutch teenager seemingly built to play for a Guardiola team. Of course, he is the most sought after defender in the European game right now, with almost every member of the continental elite vying for his signature, but if City want the best then he is who they should be going after.

 

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Liverpool is More Efficient than Manchester City

At the end of the English Premier League season,  Daily Mail has published a prime money prediction for 2018-2019. The sum was formed by using three sources: an equal share, which is distributed among all teams (79.4 million pounds each), bonus for a placing at the end of the season, and money from sold TV rights for matches involving the club. This is not an official source, and the final figures will be published this fall. But the table gives a rough understanding of how the television market is arranged in the English Premier League. Plus, you can estimate the mechanics of prize distribution.

For example, the system of distribution of income from TV rights is as follows. All clubs must receive 12.3 million pounds. And then the clubs get paid only if they’ve appeared on TV more than 10 times. Each match above this mark brings 1.2 million pounds. This season, the minimum amount was received by 4 clubs: Bournemouth, Southampton, Huddersfield, and Watford. All of them got 12.3 million pounds. The leader in terms of TV matches is Liverpool – their matches were broadcasted 29 times.

This brought Jurgen Klopp’s team 33.5 million pounds. Manchester City, by the way, is only the third in terms of televised matches (26). The second is Manchester United, which had 27 televised matches. Due to this, MC is only the second in terms of total prize money: 148.1 million pounds as compared to Liverpool’s 149.5 million pounds. By the way, last season, Manchester United also took the second place in terms of revenue once again because of the number of televised matches. A year ago, Man United took the first place, and MC took the second place.

However, there is yet another table by Daily Mail, which is a bit more interesting. They figured out the approximate amount of money for every point won during the season. They just took the average weekly salary that a club has to pay to its players and divided that number by the number of points a team won during the season. All the stages of the season were taken into account, but the last stage didn’t bring any changes. Wolverhampton became the leader in this table: they’ve spent £30,835 for every point that they’ve won during the season. Liverpool, for example, spent £50,133 for every point, and MC spent 61,153. As for the top 6 clubs of the season, the most economically profitable one is Tottenham, with £49,518 for every point that they’ve won during the season.

As for the final placements, the Huddersfield players were frankly overpaid: 82,533 pounds for each point they’ve won during the season. Here’s the fun part, the most unprofitable turned out to be Manchester United with £99,010 for every point that they’ve won during the season. That’s one and a half times more expensive than their neighbors pay to their players. Their players are twice as inefficient as the ones in Liverpool.

At the same time, this isn’t really anything new, as Manchester United were thinking about reducing the payrolls of their players for the past three years, but not at the expense of selling high-paid football players. And not by reducing wages. They decided to implement changes to the system of bonuses for every goal and assist. For example, Alexis Sanchez has a bonus of 75 thousand pounds for each goal, and each assistant brings him 25 thousand pounds. Paul Pogba earns a bit less: 50 thousand pounds for a goal and 20 for an assist.

It’s fun to watch Sanchez’s matches, he is a very good player. If you want to engage your partner or a friend into football – then Liverpool is a good team to cheer for; their performance in the last season was truly great. But if you don’t have a partner right now, then be sure to check out VavaDating.com, the best dating service on the internet.

They say it is because of these aspects of their contracts that Sanchez and Pogba had a few disagreements during the past season. A year ago, there was an interesting situation, during which there was a big disagreement between the two players – they had to choose a player who is going to shoot the penalty against Lester. Now it is obvious that, for each of them, it was a matter of a serious financial bonus. This whole system, as the British media say, is having a very negative effect on the atmosphere in the Manchester United’s dressing room. And it’s no wonder that both Pogba and Sanchez are considered to be the main candidates for leaving the club next summer.

 

Pep Guardiola’s strive for greatness brings the best out of Raheem Sterling

“The boy who grew up in the shadow of the Wembley arch.” A tattoo on his left forearm depicts a young Raheem Sterling wearing his favourite No. 10 shirt, holding a football and looking at the famous Wembley arch. To the Englishman, this place has always been home. It’s only fitting that Sterling bagged a brace in his first FA Cup final for Manchester City. Continue reading