Category Archives: Manchester City

The Paul Pogba Saga

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been apart of top-level football for the longest time which gives him the unique ability to quickly identify a crucial moment when it surfaces, so the manager for Manchester United should be well aware of the challenges that are on the horizon. The head coach for Man Utd is currently fighting for credibility, among supporters and in the dressing room, and it’s got nothing to do with Paul Pogba and his intentions of leaving the club.

The Saga of Paul Pogba

It seems to be the standard for Manchester United to implement preparations for the pre-season. In the background, while a saga is presented to supporters around the world where, as the squad landed in Australia earlier this week for the first leg of their exciting summer tour that will also take place in China and Singapore, Pogba has managed to take centre stage in this year’s soap opera.

The midfielder from France, who posted a video clip on social media recently on his running sessions that occur in Central Park, has confessed on numerous occasions on his desire to locate a new challenge during the summer. While this was taking place, his manager also confirmed a week ago that Paul Pogba is currently seeking a new home before the 2019/2020 season gets underway.

Manchester United have confirmed on several occasions that Paul Pogba is not for sale. However, multiple reports have surfaced since then stating that the Man Utd coaching staff and Solskjaer were well prepared for a public war that involved the players and the club, knowing full well that every single comment and decision needed to be carefully considered to maintain at least some sort of control over the entire situation. However, it seems like the saga that is Paul Pogba is regarded as the natural part for Solskjaer.

Solskjaer’s Predicament

If Solskjaer decided to keep Paul Pogba in his team, he would permanently hold on to the best player in his squad. However, if Solskjaer chooses to let him go, the manager of Manchester United will instantly have the backing of all Man Utd supporters that have grown extremely frustrated with the French midfielder and his unconvincing skills at times along with his awful behaviour that goes along with it.

Reports are also floating around that Paul Pogba is not regarded as a popular figure within his squad where some teammates are quite annoyed with his transfer from Juventus and his failure to live up to his puffed-up reputation as one of the best midfielders in the world. However, while there’s scepticism over his desire and ability to make a difference, there’s plenty of players at Manchester United that would like to see the coaching staff and the manager do more to ensure the club is heading in the right direction.

The 2019/20 season will be able to tell us a great deal about Manchester United and where they stand with a new manager in charge. Only time will tell!

Champions League Quarter Final Predictions

The draw for the quarterfinals of the Champions League has provided some genuinely classic ties as the biggest clubs in Europe attempt to reach the Champions League final in Madrid. Manchester City will face Tottenham Hotspur, Juventus will face Ajax, Liverpool will go head-to-head with Porto, and Barcelona will take on Manchester United. So, how exactly will the Champions League quarterfinals play out?

Juventus vs Ajax

Juventus are heading into this tie, which is necessarily a repeat of the final in 1996, as clear favourites to reach the Champions League semi-finals, even though Ajax managed to defeat Real Madrid during the round of 16. Ajax has been one of the most glorious stories in the Champions League this season, with emerging stars, such as Matthijs de Ligt and Frenkie de Jong blending with experienced players, including Dusan Tadic and Daley Blind to restore Ajax’s reputation in the world’s biggest football tournament. However, are they able to provide another shocking upset against Christiano Ronaldo and Juventus? Highly doubtful.

Porto vs Liverpool

Liverpool enjoyed a 5-0 win against Porto in the round of 16 last season before they were held to a 0-0 draw in the second leg at Anfield so that Liverpool will have no fear against the champions from Portugal. Porto managed to overcome Roma in the round of 16 and have loads of experience in Hector Herrera, Pepe, and Iker Casillas as their goalkeeper. However, it’s impossible to imagine that Liverpool is not the overwhelming favourites to go through to the semi-finals to face Barcelona or Manchester United.

Manchester City vs Tottenham

Tottenham is a dangerous team at home, and they will play at their brand-new stadium for the quarterfinals against Manchester City. However, City has far more quality and depth along with the experience of being in this position before. Manchester City is also attempting to secure a quadruple by winning the FA Cup, the Premier League, and the Champions League cup. They are also looking to keep the Carabao Cup that they recently claimed against Chelsea in a penalty shoot-out. Therefore, it will not be surprising to see Manchester City enter the semi-finals to play against Juventus or Ajax.

Barcelona vs Manchester United

This is undoubtedly the best tie of the Champions League. This will mark the first time two of the biggest clubs in the world meeting during the quarterfinals. This hasn’t happened since Manchester United won during the 2007/08 semi-finals on route to winning their third trophy in the Champions League. Since then, Barcelona has defeated Manchester United in two finals, including 2011 and 2009, and there’s no doubt that Barcelona is considered the overwhelming favourites in this tie this time around as well.

Manchester United need to find a brilliant way to stop the incredible Lionel Messi. However, that is just one of the enormous challenges that await Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his team. If Manchester United can win against Barcelona, they will pull off the most significant result in European history. They haven’t seen the semi-finals since 2011.

Big clubs set for a nervy time in the Champions League

Some of Europe’s biggest clubs are in for a nervy night as they bid to qualify for the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

Manchester City are the 5/2 favourites to win the tournament in the Champions League betting odds and predictions from most pundits say they will progress to the last eight.

Raheem Sterling’s last-minute goal gave City the advantage with a stunning 3-2 comeback win in the reverse fixture and they should comfortably make it through.

Juventus face a huge task as they try and overturn a two-goal deficit against Atletico Madrid at the Allianz Stadium in Turin.

Late goals from Jose Maria Gimenez and Diego Godin secured a 2-0 victory for Atletico in the first leg and Juve will have their work cut out to reach the last eight.

The result saw Atletico’s Champions League odds slashed to 9/1 and they are sure to be cut further if they can see off the current Serie A leaders.

Barcelona will fancy their chances of progressing when they go head-to-head with Lyon at the Nou Camp.

The two sides drew 0-0 in the first fixture, but Barca should prove far too strong back on home soil. The Spanish side are unbeaten in their last 10 matches in all competitions and look good value at 9/2 to win the Champions League.

The most intriguing tie of the round is the heavyweight clash between Bayern Munich and Liverpool at the Allianz Arena.

The two sides drew 0-0 at Anfield and Bayern’s recent home record against English clubs makes them favourites to reach the last eight.

The Bundesliga side have won their last four matches at home to English clubs, while Liverpool have suffered four successive away Champions League defeats.

Liverpool were beaten by Real Madrid in last year’s final, while Bayern have lost in the semi-finals in four of the last five campaigns, including last season’s defeat by Madrid.

The Reds have pulled off remarkable results in this competition before, but Bayern look great value at 10/11 to progress to the next stage.

Manchester City Prove They Can Still Win the Premier League Title

Manchester City managed to disprove the old proverb in the previous season that the title race in the Premier League is a marathon instead of a sprint. Manchester City was so far ahead of other clubs last season that they managed to win by 19 points after accumulating a total of 100 points. It was seen as a progression instead of a gruelling slog to glory. However, things will certainly be different this time around if they reclaim the title.

Manchester City’s Win Over Everton

Manchester City’s 2-0 victory over Everton on Wednesday at Goodison Park managed to take the reigning champions to the top of the table once again. This allowed them to move ahead of Liverpool thanks to goal difference. However, they played one more match than Liverpool and the match against Everton was considered an ugly victory as they didn’t display any flair that usually accompanies the title success from last season. At least none of that will matter when it comes to the final reckoning. The Premier League title race this season will be determined by substance as opposed to style and, at the moment, Manchester City has the edge over all the other clubs.

Even Pep Guardiola hinted after the victory against Everton that the challenges of the title race this year are far more demanding than a year ago. “I’m not 100% sure how far we will get in the Premier League this year, perhaps we will flake out on the road,” stated Guardiola. “However, we will continue to try. Although we played one more match than Liverpool, it’s fantastic to be at the top. However, Liverpool does have a game in hand at Old Trafford against Manchester United. Should they win, we will lose our spot at the top and will need to wait once again.”

Early Signs of Fatigue

Maybe this is the inevitability of a Premier League season following a World Cup that the huge clubs, along with their players, are starting to feel the strain much earlier than usual. Although we are still in midseason in early February, both Liverpool and Manchester City are starting to show signs of fatigue, mentally and physically. Neither of them is performing as good as they did at the start of the season. Liverpool has managed to drop more points in the last six weeks when compared to the points they lost from August through to December.  Manchester City is still licking their wounds after the devastating loss against Newcastle in the previous week.

Most opponents are now entering matches against these title chasers and believe they can emerge with 1 point at the very least. That has a huge impact on Liverpool and Manchester City, who needs to work harder than before to secure a win. The title race will be determined by these two clubs, even though Tottenham is only 5 points behind. It will all come down to how each club handles fatigue at the end.

Manchester City’s Defeat Against Newcastle

Manchester City’s hopes for the title suffered a massive blow after a shocking 2-1 defeat against Newcastle United. After just 24 seconds into the match, Sergio Aguero managed to give the champions a lead. However, a penalty from Matt Ritchie along with a goal from Salomon Rondon stunned every visitor in the stadium.

Manchester City Positives

Manchester City’s imposing trio at midfield, including Fernandinho, David Silva, and Kevin De Bruyne managed to start together for the second time in the 2018/19 season and was the first time this occurred in the Premier League. One of the most impressive players for Manchester City is undoubtedly Bernardo Silva. However, the three midfielders that started when they faced Newcastle United were the pivot of the side that managed to produce a record-breaking title pace during the previous season.

Manchester City Negatives

Manchester City’s hopes for the title is hanging by a thread following yet another shocking defeat at the hands of a football club that is currently on the bottom half of the Premier League table. Manchester City will fall 7 points behind Liverpool should they manage to claim a victory against Leicester on Wednesday evening.

What’s truly surprising is that Manchester City’s challenge for the title has been derailed by inferior clubs when they have managed to cope extremely well against their top-tier rivals. However, the champions, unfortunately, lacked the killer instinct that they had during their title season. They are simply sloppy and lethargic at the moment.

Pep Guardiola

The Manchester City manager didn’t make any changes during half-time when the club needed a fresh pair of legs after enduring a horrible first half. He continuously wants his team to push forward and obtain goals. However, they didn’t pose a huge treat following their first-minute goal.

Manchester City Player Ratings

Ederson – Was unable to keep Rondon’s overhead kick out and Ritchie’s spectacular penalty from skidding underneath him.

Kyle Walker – Was quite solid in terms of defense but was unable to get forward like he usually does.

John Stones – Had an extremely difficult time against Rondon who managed to grab the equaliser.

Aymeric Laporte – His passing skills were not on par this time around. He managed to give the ball away on more than one occasion and placed Fernandinho in massive trouble for the unfortunate penalty.

Danilo – He managed to settle in at left-back but experienced one of his most difficult nights and was out of position a few times during the match.

Fernandinho – Solid performance throughout the match until he was unfortunately caught in possession in the box before he gave away a penalty.

Kevin De Bruyne – He was all over the field and managed to unlock the defense of Newcastle. A smart free-kick should have provided a second goal for Aguero. However, the referee booked him due to the fact that he took it too quickly.

David Silva – Was very unfortunate not to score in the match with his header. His touches were also quite heavy which is not normally the case.