Are Manchester City vulnerable?

Manchester City suffered their second Premier League defeat of the season after a brace from Adama Traore in the final 10 minutes put the reigning champions eight points behind leaders Liverpool. Dropping five points from their opening four home games, it’s only the second time City have failed to find the in 45 league games. Injuries have certainly caught up with Pep Guardiola’s side, and it’s making them look vulnerable.  Continue reading

Phil Foden must demand more game time from Pep Guardiola

Phil Foden was given the grand total of one minute of game time at the end of Manchester City’s Champions League group stage game against Dinamo Zagreb, but that’s all he required to make an impression, finding the net to cap a comfortable, if uninspiring, win on Tuesday night.

The 19-year-old must have felt a burning sense of vindication. Foden has found himself on the peripheries of the City first team so far this season, making just one substitute cameo in eight Premier League games. In fact, his only start this season came in the Carabao Cup win over Preston North End.

After the Champions League win over Dinamo Zagreb, Guardiola was keen to apologise to Foden for not giving him more time on the pitch. “He deserves to play. I want to give him minutes. Every time I don’t play him, I am in front of him saying I’m sorry,” said the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss.

“But it’s Kevin de Bruyne there, Rodri, Bernardo Silva, David Silva, Ilkay Gundogan, I’m so sorry. I know the best way to grow up is to play minutes, but he’s so young. I don’t know how many players that age play have played more minutes in the recent past, the minutes he has played the last season with us, but he’s going to be an incredible player for us in the future. We trust in him a lot. But it is what it is.”

But Guardiola needs to stop apologising to Foden and start giving him the game time he deserves. This is a player who has been billed as a one in a generation talent. A player Guardiola has gushed about time and time again. But the Catalan’s team selections paint a very different picture.

It’s time for Foden to start demanding first team football or start plotting a route out of the Etihad Stadium. Now 19 years old, the midfielder must start developing week-on-week. Guardiola has previously said that he wants Foden to be more vocal, to find his voice. Well, now is the time for the teenager to knock on the manager’s door.

There is no denying Foden’s talent and there is some weight in the theory that he is in the best possible place for his development. He is a City academy product and Guardiola has a track record in bringing through players of his type. But that theory falls down if he’s only being given next to no game time.

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West Ham- the surprise team of the Premier League so far

Not many pundits or fans would have predicted that West Ham would be in 4th position in the Premier League after 7 games but that is exactly where they are, and they still have room for improvement.

It started off so badly in the league for the Hammers, who were literally hammered at home by champions Manchester City 5-0. Sometimes you have to hold your hands up against the champions and a loss is a loss. But it was the manner in which West Ham gave up and complete with a toothless performance which led many to think that Manuel Pellegrini’s team could struggle this season, not so.

That loss has been the only one so far for the Irons who have gone on to win 3 and draw 3. They have now gone 6 games unbeaten, with the best of the bunch result arguably being against Manchester United where the club won 2-0.

The winning feels great but any fan will tell you they have seen much better, even in recent seasons and there is a sense that the Hammers aren’t playing great football, but are getting the positive results.

This is all fantastic news for a club that usually have to step back into the shadows when it comes to the big London teams of Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham. But as it stands West Ham are proving their worth.

A lot of credit needs to go down to manager Manuel Pellegrini, who has taken his time with a squad that have faced many long term injuries last season. One such player was Andriy Yarmolenko who missed almost the entire season. Well he has already bagged a few goals this term and is turning into somewhat of a cult hero. Good times are here at West Ham, and perhaps they deserve it after all of the problems they have been through.

The club play Crystal Palace at home next weekend and then Everton away followed by Sheffield United at home. One could expect at least 6 points from those games.

There are still the question marks, like for example how can a team who dream of finishing high up and then to play in Europe justify losing to Oxford United 4-0 and get knocked out of the Carabao Cup. True Pellegrini did make 9 changes but even so, there was plenty of quality on the field.

It was a huge loss, and maybe the only way to chase those demons is to watch again in a few years. Finally Pellegrini seems to have the team he wants and he is implementing perfectly. The game should be a classic.

 

 

Defensive woes as Pep Guardiola says Manchester City won’t spent

Manchester City were made to work hard for their 3-1 win against a resilient Everton on Saturday afternoon. Their performance put them five points behind Manchester City but problems within the side was still evident. Had it have not been for Raheem Sterling and Riyad Mahrez, Pep Guardiola could well have been looking at a different scoreline. Continue reading

Was Manchester City’s Bernardo Silva really being racist towards Benjamin Mendy?

It started with a laugh, banter between two friends, ended up with a tweet and then finished up with Kick it Out getting involved and reporting Manchester City’s Bernardo Silva for a racist tweet.

A few days ago Silva tweeted a photo of team mate Mendy as a baby next to a Spanish chocolate logo of what looks like a black child, and made a comparison joke about it. Uproar soon followed and the FA got on the case and now inevitably Kick it Out are asking the FA to punish Silva.

Let’s first study the facts; Silva and Mendy are very close friends off the field and get on very well. Mendy responded to Silva’s tweet with laughter, so certainly Mendy isn’t taking it seriously and can see the joke. The problem is that what you do on the internet is always seen differently, out of context if you like, and it does look like on first impact that Silva’s tweet makes him out to be a racist. Once we understand a friendly personal relationship that in fairness we know nothing about since it’s private then we would understand more about Silva and Mendy’s friendship and how they work off of one another.

At the same time Silva brutally opened those doors to a public, and really he should have known better, and should have thought about it sharing something that is obviously very sensitive to an unsuspecting eye, not involved in any way shape or form in that friendship, and will never be.

The problem for Silva is that he has allegedly done this before, and to the same player. When Mendy was wearing a black t shirt he said why did you turn up naked? It’s very possible that again the two of them laughed it off, but guess what, the joke was very much on Mendy. Does Mendy give it back? At this point in time we have no idea.

Silva could be facing up to a 6 game ban which would make his manager Pep Guardiola absolutely livid, if nothing else and even if Silva is not a racist, why not share what could be very sensitive in a personal email or message to Mendy rather than to his 603,000 followers?

There is no historical evidence that Silva is a racist, and he seems very much like a good person within football. However that doesn’t dispel what he did and what he did was an act of ignorance which could be deemed racist. It is important to note that one can say or do a racist thing without having hate towards a certain race and it does seem this is what Silva has done, it certainly wasn’t correct to compare a logo to a black player, even if the two of them found it funny.

Bans or fines make no sense and whilst Kick it Out needs to bring Silva’s actions to attentions their suggestions seem draconian and fruitless. Rather spending some time with minorities a few educational classes would be the better way to go here, and again no one is suggesting Silva is a racist, but it was a joke in poor taste.

Kick it Out and the FA were absolutely right to not let this just lie and forget about it. The Italian FA and UEFA do a good enough job of that, and look at what has happened there. Racism in any walks of life needs to be attached with a zero tolerance attitude even in Silva’s case when it clearly was edgy banter between two good friends.

Once these tweets are left to slip, others are too and that disease called racism will then grow and grow as our tolerance becomes more accepted to the fact. Give Silva some educational tips but don’t condemn him to the sidelines or empty his bank account just yet.

 

 

More Premier League action coming up? Check out our match previews here!

Round seven of the English Premier League season takes place this weekend.

Here’s a look at all the upcoming fixtures this weekend.

Sheffield United v Liverpool

Key men: John Egan (Sheffield United); Roberto Firmino (Liverpool)

Prediction: Sheffield United 0 – 2 Liverpool Continue reading

Is Marco Silva’s time up at Everton?

Everton lost again at the weekend and this time it would have hurt for long suffering fans. At home against newly promoted Sheffield United and the final score was 2-0. The club didn’t even have a sniff at victory and one wonders now how long manager Marco Silva has left?

Silva spent in the summer bringing in the likes of Alex Iwobi from Arsenal and Moise Kean from Juventus. But the club seem to be failing on all counts.

True the league season is only 6 games in, but that still represents almost 20% of the season gone already and the story does not look good for the club. The problem is that there has been 3 defeats already and all against teams who could finish in the bottom half of the league- Aston Villa ended 2-0, Bournemouth 3-1 and Sheffield United 2-0. The club have conceded 9 goals in their last four games and defensively they look all over the place.

But what has also been striking is that Silva doesn’t seem to have  a plan and know what his best team is, he is also panicking over selections. Why for example would you drop Dominic Calvert-Lewin from the team when he scored in the last game? What does that say about him? Why does he keep dropping Kean? If not deemed good enough then Kean must earn his place, but he keeps getting time.

The shape of the club looks wrong and one has to wonder why did Everton pursue Silva in the first place? They had to, in the end, pay Watford a handsome fee for his services, although Silva’s short time at the club was not good. Silva simply hasn’t been able to prove himself in a major league and for the money that Everton gave Watford they most probably could have chased after a known and successful manager, it seems that the club have been chasing up the wrong tree.

On Tuesday Everton will be back in the Carabao Cup where they will face Sheffield Wednesday away from home. They are the odds on favourites to win, but will Silva chop and change the team? It does seem likely, but he must be aware that Everton need a trophy or at least a deep cup run, and should take this game seriously. After that the club face the champions Manchester City and good luck with that even if they are at home.

One feels that if Everton lose to City that won’t be the end of Silva but if they do a Watford and lose heavy it could well be.

Surely the club will be looking to the future and at different managers now.

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Premier League 2019-20: New signings, new rules

The premier leagues kicked off a few weeks ago. Manchester City is striving to win the championship for the third time in a row.

Liverpool, runners-up team in the last season, opened the campaign against Norwich. However, two main points of contention have been the rules and the video assistant references, both seemingly a big factor in the battle for the championship this season.

The Premier League has experienced three managerial appointments, and 11 football clubs made significant transfers. The 2019-2020 premier league season is expected to be more exciting than any other, and Betway gives you an opportunity to place your bets, so don’t miss that chance.

Manchester City gathered 198 points in the previous two seasons. They are battling to be recognized as the first club to with the title for a third consecutive year since a hat-trick of titles for Manchester in the 2007 to the 2009 era. Liverpool, who collected 97 points is expected to be the leading rival team for City.

New signings

The premier league has experienced the normal turnover of teams, managers, and players this season. Manchester United signed England defender Harry Maguire at £80m from Leicester City. This was one of the biggest signings of this summer, as the Red Devils received £74m from Italian club Inter for Romelu Lukaku.

Arsenal spent £72m to get winger Nicolas Pepe from Lille while Manchester City welcomed Atletico Madrid’s midfielder Rodri for £62.8m. They also bought Juventus full-back Joao Cancelo at £60m. Tottenham Hotspur spent £53.8m to get Tonguy Ndombele from Lyon. Note that this was their first signing since January 2018. Chelsea signed Mateo Kovacic from Real Madrid at £40m and this was possible despite the transfer ban due to the fact he was registered with the team last season (on loan).

Sheffiled United, a promoted club broke the transfer record for the fourth time as Aston Villa spent more than £100m on transfers. Furthermore, another promoted team, Norwich, has signed 11 new players for smaller fees, free transfers, and loans.
Brighton, Newcastle, and Chelsea hired new managers. Maurizio Sarri resigned from Chelsea to join Juventus and Frank Lampard, a club legend, took up the mantle. Rafael Benitez’s contract at the Magpies ended, and he was replaced by Steve Bruce, the former Sheffield boss. Chris Hughton’s contract at the Seagulls was
terminated, and management hired Graham Potter.

Video assistant referee and new laws

The video assistant referee device that is now a common thing in football has been introduced to the premier league.

This is the first time the system will be used in EPL. According to the EPL’s guiding principle, the VAR will be used for visible and clear mistakes, missed incidents in the
four forms of match-changing events. They include mistaken identity, straight red cards, goals, and penalties. The Premier League intends to use this technology less frequently for other competitions to keep minimum intrusion to the game.
Many new rules have been introduced this summer, and they will make a debut in the EPL.

For instance, there are some changes in the wording of the handball rule. Unintentional handball is a crime in case it results in a goal. However, the law applies if the arm of the player is above the shoulder or makes the body bigger.

The Premier League will consider the head-to-head outcome to separate clubs level on goals scored, goal difference and points. The league has also introduced a winter break. However, there will be games on two weekends. Five games will be played
on the weekend of 8th February while the other five on the following week. Remember to take advantage of Betway and to place your bets so you have a better chance to make money.