Category Archives: Manchester City

World Cup, VAR and more: What to expect from football in 2018?

mourinho

2018. To borrow from Star Wars, it’s a new hope. Every new season, every new year, is about hope. The hope that it will be better and never more so than in a World Cup year.

But what does the year hold in store for the English game as a whole?

  1. VARs

The FA Cup tie between Brighton and Crystal Palace is the first competitive match where the new technology will be used in an English club match. The authorities are hoping that it will reduce the number of incorrect decisions.

This past week saw officials under scrutiny with controversial penalties awarded at West Brom, Arsenal and Liverpool. Dare I mention Tottenham’s offside goals which brought them four points?

VARs come into their own this week with the Carabao Cup semi-finals using their services, but largely, everyone is waiting for the first controversy. And the reaction of the manager afterwards.

Will it make things better? We hope so. We hope that the referee on the pitch won’t be so egotistical or proud to reverse an ‘obviously wrong call’ even if he is the one who decides whether he’s been ‘obviously wrong’.

The system as proposed is flawed but only over time, when trust is imbued by a procession of correct decisions, the referees will accept the decision from the control room with its’ banks of monitors.

But every change must begin somewhere…

  1. Premier League Snobs Accept the Championship is Actually Quite Good

Any fan of a well-established top-flight club will deride the quality of football in the Championship. Yet it’s the most competitive division and probably the hardest one to get out of, in either direction.

The focus is always on the promotion race – as if there is some Promised Land in the Premier League.

The only promise is money and lots of it, which all end up in the hands of players, managers and agents anyway. And CEO’s; they do well out running a Premier League football club.

In general, the quality of football on offer is turgid. Local rivalries may see Stoke sneer at Burton or Chelsea laud it over QPR and Fulham but in all honesty, the quality of Premier League football is poor.

Highlight packages make it look glamorous but condensing 95 minutes of action into seven can make anything exciting. If we crammed everything good out of Eastenders into a seven-minute slot…no, that’s a step too far.

However, supporters need to look at the Premier League table. None of the bottom seven were promoted last year. None of last season’s relegated teams were promoted the season before.

At the other end of the table, any of the teams up to Nottingham Forest in 14th are looking nervously over their shoulders at the bottom three. Currently occupied by teams who weren’t promoted the season before.

The Championship is a division where the quality of football is a lot better than its’ given credit for. Little wonder those who come down find it hard to go straight back up.

  1. Manchester City Don’t Go the Whole Season Unbeaten

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It may seem harsh but in many ways, Manchester City remaining unbeaten in the Premier League would be a bad thing.

Not because they play awful football; far from it, City are probably the best footballing side the top flight has ever seen. Not the best side though; defensively, they don’t hold up to Manchester United in 1998/99 or Arsenal in 2003/04.

However, if they go unbeaten, they will never be given the credit they deserve. Pep Guardiola is already derided as a ‘chequebook manager’ and reference to the amount of money spent overshadows how well he is coaching the expensively assembled players.

Maybe, just maybe, the best thing to happen is they win whatever honours they win but don’t go undefeated in the Premier League. Then they might be given the credit they deserve.

  1. The FA Cup Finds Its’ Bristol City

Let’s be honest, even Bristol Rovers fans probably enjoyed the Robins giving Manchester United a bloody nose. Maybe not, but everyone else did.

The FA Cup has become the personal property of Arsenal in recent years but its always good for the game when the exploits of Lincoln, Reading and Wigan occur.

Nobody remembers how Liverpool fared in last season’s FA Cup but the name of Sutton United is not forgotten.

With the moneyed sides fielding youth and reserve teams, the Football League clubs have the chance of claiming a scalp or two. Record books don’t say anything other than the result and scorers on the day. No judgement is brokered on the standard of the side fielded.

Grab the opportunity with both hands and don’t let the big clubs diminish the early rounds of the competition.

  1. England Win the World Cup

OK, that’s a hope. In fact, it’s a dream; the hope is that for once England don’t embarrass English football.

Is that too much to ask for?

A Tale Of Two Unlikely Heroes Of The Manchester Derby

manchester-derby

A Tale Of Two Unlikely Heroes Of The Manchester Derby

One’s position in football is an aspect of the game that every single player is rather conscious and possessive of. Considering the kind of rigorous training they have to undergo, it becomes all the more necessary for them to identify and maintain the position they are good at.

Some players are a bit more versatile and can be deployed in one or more positions around their area. For example, a midfielder could play either as an attacking, central or left midfielder whereas a forward could play as a striker or on the wings. Similarly, in defence, a centre-back could play as on the left and right depending on the situation and what the manager requires.

Very rarely though, a bunch of players crop up that are mercilessly dragged out of their comfort zones to be deployed in positions that are totally opposite to their natural style. Even more rarely, these players actually manage to excel.

Normally when a footballer is taken out of his position, they look like a fish out of the water – gasping and struggling to breathe. And then there are same that soldier through and come out on top. The Manchester derby in December last year was one match wherein we got to see two such remarkable players battle it out for their respective teams far from their natural positions.

Ashley Young and Fabian Delph – both deployed as left-backs – have been playing outside their intended positions throughout this season so far. Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola are renowned for their charisma and tactical intelligence but both of them are also quite capable of extracting the best out of their players and that is exactly what they have done with Young and Delph.

Manchester United v Manchester City - Premier League

To take a winger and a midfielder out of position and make them play in defence is something that seems bizarre, to say the least. In fact, most players may have even protested or failed to deliver results and yet the duo continue to impress for respective Manchester clubs.

Luke Shaw was brought to Old Trafford from Southampton for the sole purpose of playing as a left-back but after an injury forced him off the field, United were left with a few makeshift options but none of them produced effective results. And then stepped in Young to make things look a lot stronger on that side. His experience and wing play proved to be crucial and soon enough, he became the Red Devils’ top choice for makeshift left-back. There has been no looking back for him ever since and he continues to be a solid presence at the back.

Delph endured a similar fate at Manchester City as well. After having played only 7 times in the league under the Catalan manager last season, he seemed to be out of favour but the midfielder impressed greatly when he was recalled to fill in for Benjamin Mendy at left-back. What started off as a trial ended up being his constant position for a good majority of this season, and judging from his performances, Guardiola has very little to worry about Mendy’s absence right now.

At the beginning of every season, football fans and pundits earmark a couple of games to watch out for and the Manchester derby is highly likely to have made into every list. However, at that point, nobody might have thought that Young and Delph would emerge as two key players in that encounter. With the power of Young and Valencia on either flank, United have developed a counter-attacking style of play on each side, which goes back and forth between the duo at the back to their wide attackers at the front.

fabian-delph

City’s formation is also quite similar – Kyle Walker surges to link up with Raheem Sterling on the right while Delph and Leroy Sane do the same job on the left. And in a situation like this, the two most unlikely full-backs in the form of the two Englishmen have gone on to dictate proceedings in clubs like Manchester United and Manchester City.

Two clubs with an intense rivalry that dates back to ages and yet both seem to be embroiled in a similar situation when it concerns their left-backs. However, both of them need to be applauded for their unselfish sense of adaptability and commitment to their respective teams. It almost seems like their former duties as a winger and a midfielder have only prepared them for this moment. Young’s spectacular crosses yielded goals for United against the likes of Crystal Palace and Newcastle United. His accuracy and trickery provide quite a lot of activity and support for the Red Devils from the left side.

Delph, meanwhile, has used his strengths to adapt better to his role at City. Call it Guardiola’s tactical wizardry or just a sheer stroke of luck, the former Aston Villa man’s prior role as a midfielder has turned him into a strong option at left-back – perhaps even stronger than the injured Mendy.

It will be interesting to see what Guardiola does once Mendy returns from injury. Considering the way Delph has been performing, it would be criminal to drop him immediately. At United, however, Shaw is fit and raring to go but he has hardly been allotted game time so far. It is impossible to peek into either Guardiola’s or Mourinho’s heads to see how they feel about this but one must laud them for their man management skills.

Regardless of what the future holds for Young and Delph, nothing can take the magic they conjured this season away from them. They say when the going gets tough, the tough get going and both of them have proven to be one of the toughest players in the Premier League right now.

English Premier League – An Era Of Underrated Players

Shaka Hislop
Shaka Hislop

English Premier League – Rating The Underrated Players

Ever since the Premier League began, we have had the good fortune of watching some of the best footballers play against each other. These players were famous for their many talents on the field and even today, there are so many players in the league that are worshipped and idolised by their fans across the world. Love and support for them only seem to be increasing as commercial factors like merchandising and advertising have come into play. They are endorsing some of the biggest companies while also proving to be marvellous on the field.

Be it a Beckham or a Ronaldo, there appears to be no end to the list of companies wanting them to endorse their products. However, amidst all the glitz and glam, there are some players who get lost. In every field, there are a number of people who do a fair share of the work and walk away with accolades while there are also others who do the real work but get lost somewhere in the middle. Football is no different and even more so in Premier League. Calling them the underdogs seems rather unfair given their contribution, so let’s stick with calling them underrated.

Underrated. That is the favourite word of many pundits to describe a player who does his work on the field but seemingly ends up receiving less credit for it. So, what really makes a player underrated? Is it the lack of endorsement deals or the lack of recognition for their hard work? To understand the answer to that question, one must keep in mind that players have been dubbed ‘underrated’ from a time when the commercial aspect of football hardly mattered.

To take you back in time, Shaka Hislop was one such player. Newcastle United were expected to win the 1995/96 Premier League season but an injury to their goalkeeper Hislop changed the course of their fortune and they failed to make it. Hislop may have won two runners-up medals but he was of pivotal importance for the Magpies as well as his country Trinidad and is arguably one of their best goalkeepers till date. Hislop was not a celebrated player but he was crucial for his teams in an unparalleled sense.

Ray Parlour of Arsenal
Ray Parlour of Arsenal

When it comes to defenders, Bobby Moore is undoubtedly touted as one of England’s best defenders. However, Nottingham Forest fans may disagree. A central defender by trade, Des Walker was famous for making his well-timed surges to manoeuvre the ball away from even the toughest of opponents. In fact, very few central defenders have been able to match his level of craftiness and speed, which further establishes his credentials. And yet, he is not one of the more popular names in football.

Cut to not-so-long ago and you have Emile Heskey. Now, a lot of Liverpool, Wigan Athletic, Aston Villa and Leicester City fans might get put off by the mere mention of his name but the fact remains that his contribution was necessary to every club he played for. He lacked self-belief to a large extent and one cannot really blame him for that. Playing in the Premier League is a tough job as it is and to have scores of fans hating you makes it all the more difficult. However, very few players lacked his creative vision up front and for all that he did, Heskey truly deserves more appreciation.

As long as we are talking about Liverpool forwards, names like Dalglish, Rush and Aldridge come to our mind. And yet one of their most prolific strikers till date continues to be Peter Beardsley. To be honest, he was the one who kept creating scoring outlets for Rush and Aldridge. Without him, could the duo have proven to be as effective? Most likely not.

Speaking of making contributions, we all know of players like Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira, Pires and Bergkamp. After all, they were all crucial parts of Arsene Wenger’s stunning ‘Invincibles’ side. But how many of us rate Ray Parlour? The midfielder often filled in for either Vieira or Gilberto Silva and often lit up the stadium with his unlimited energy. He always boasted of an important eye for the goal and was truly one of Arsenal’s finest.

Fernandinho
Fernandinho

This trend of overlooking players making important contributions seems to have continued until today. Unless a player is snazzy enough with blue hair like Tiemoue Bakayoko or possesses the goal-scoring skills like Harry Kane, it seems quite tough for them to shine through and make a name for themselves. One such player in our present crop of the Premier League’s unsung heroes is Harry Arter. He is one of Bournemouth’s most influential players and his energy has been key to a lot of their good fortune this season. He may not score flashy goals but he is the glue that holds the Cherries together.

Even Manchester City’s Fernandinho is underrated in a similar fashion. He does play for an attack-oriented team with some of the best players like Sergio Aguero, Kevin De Bruyne, David Silva and Raheem Sterling, which often sees his fame get lost amidst all the power up front. But his influence in terms of holding the defence and the attack together has been spectacular to watch this season. Adept at making a mean, tenacious tackle and boasting of smoothness while in possession, Fernandinho can even be regarded as one of the best midfielders in the Premier League right now.

It seems unfair for them to not receive their share of credits but it is what it is. Perhaps even a decade or two down the line, we will have these underrated players who work tirelessly for their team and yet their contributions would not be celebrated as such. Regardless, what makes these players all the more remarkable is the fact that they continue to do their job despite this sense of unfairness.

Can This Be Manchester City’s Season In The Champions League

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Manchester City has never won the Champions League and Pep Guardiola has not won it since during his spell at Barcelona in 2012. The coveted trophy eluded him during his three years reign at Bayern Munich. But a 3-1 win at home over former club Barcelona in the mid-week has made their of winning the competition to slash.

Their most successful outing since they return to the elite competition was last season when they made it to the semi-final earlier before then they have always been sent out of the competition either at the second round stage or quarter-final stage.

The Sky Blues were humbled 4-0 on Guardiola return to the Nou Camp in what could arguably passed for their worst night in Europe in the reverse fixture making football pundits to consider them as an underdog in the competition, until they redeem their image with the win over the Spanish giants who remain arguably bookmakers’ strongest favourites to lift the trophy, ending Barcelona run of successive seven win against English opponents.

The Guardiola side delivered the result the fans and the City hierarchy has been yearning for at the six attempts and since their foray into the elite competition this decade and looked ready to make a statement this season.  The first time an English club had scored three or more goals against Barcelona at the group stage since Manchester United did it in 1998/1999 season.

The win, no doubt would have boosted their confidence, a statement Guardiola is likely to passing round now and the three goals meant they have scored more than they had scored in their five previous losses against the Catalans. The players work harder than they have probably done in previous meetings and were a good one for their result.

Currently occupying the second position of the group C Champions League table with seven points, two points behind leaders Barcelona and with two matches remaining, City have a good chance of qualifying for the knock-out stages if they could take their chances.

Their next two matches are against German club Borussia Monchengladbach and at home to Scottish side Celtic, the same opponents Barcelona will play against as the group stage draws to a close.  But Celtic are no walkover as City had to fight back three times to draw 3-3 in the first leg at Celtic Park.

While Barca looks good to finish on top of the table, topping the table may enable Man City to avoid clubs like Bayern Munich and Real Madrid in the round of 16. City title credential will be put to real test in the knock out stages. It could turn to be City season after all.

What’s Going On With Arsenal, Chelsea And Other English Teams In The Champions League?

The English are having a tough time in Europe at the moment. Three points apiece for Chelsea and Manchester City put them both third on their respective groups; two losses for Arsenal mean they are at the bottom of Group F; and although Man United’s group look fairly equal, manager Louis van Gaal has said his team needs to improve dramatically if they want to progress further in the competition.

What are the odds of having an English team reach the final, let alone make it further than the group stages? Let’s take a look at all our men in the Champions League and the issues that might be holding them back.

Arsenal with Security Issues

Following their second embarrassing defeat of the tournament to Olympiacos at the Emirates, Arsene Wenger’s men will not be feeling great about their chances. Since the Champions League began in 1955, a total of 110 teams have lost their opening two games, of which just 9 have ever managed to qualify. Arsenal’s hopes are therefore very slim indeed: just 8.2% in fact!

What’s been going so wrong for the team that currently sit second in the Premier League? It has to be said that Arsenal got particularly unlucky in their Olympiacos match: a horrifying error from the new Colombian keeper, David Ospina, kept the team on the back foot for most of the game, which for an inherently attack-minded team turned out to be fatal.

Concentration was rattled, and although they didn’t concede many chances they were hit extremely hard when they did. No one could have predicted that 3-2 loss though – in fact many bookmakers confidently backed them for big 3-0 and 4-0 wins!

They face Bayern on 20th October, which is certainly not going to be an easy match to claw their way back into this competition (they are currently 7/2 to win this game).

Chelsea Lacking Managerial Leadership

Chelsea have not had a good season so far in either Leagues. They made a poor start in their attempt to retain the Premier League title, and crashed 2-1 at Porto (Jose Mourinho’s former club, who he made his name with). This leaves them with a mountain to climb if they want to get back into Europe.

Mourinho in particular has faced an onslaught of criticism over these recent events, accused of sending out mixed messages and not inspiring solid leadership within his squad. Ultimately, it seems like the manager is just as confused as the pundits as to why his team are performing so poorly – he’s clearly not used to losing!

Manchester City Under Pressure

City may have not finished outside of the Premier League’s top three since 2010, but they are struggling to translate this domestic success overseas. After losing their first contest, they were forced to come from behind after Borussia Monchengladbach converted an early chance, and just managed to kick start their Champions League campaign with a 2-1 win.

But although some, including Joe Hart, may not be pleased with the performance, the win does put them in a good position. City have often misfired in this championship, but have won four of their last nine Champions League away games. The away win is therefore a high possibility (with odds of 8/13) and would put them in good stead to qualify second.

It all depend if City – who go into this match as the favourites – can hold it together when the pressure is on. Are their players up to it? Recent games against Tottenham and West Ham perhaps suggest not.

Manchester United Fatigued?

City’s rival have also found it tough to get off the mark this competition. Although the latest home win against Wolfsburg got them the three points they badly needed, Man United looked anything but Champions League winners – they also had to come from behind, and then just managed to hang on towards the end.

Louis van Gaal, although pleased with the result, knows his side needs to improve. He has suggested that the players are simply suffering from fatigue: this was their sixth in 18 days, after all. Since then they already suffered a crushing defeat at Arsenal in the Premier, but now have just one game prior to their showdown against CSKA Moscow on 21st October. Let’s hope this break puts them in good stead to take the 13/8 win.

Manchester City v Watford: Lineups, Stats, Preview And Prediction

Manchester City v Watford

Saturday 29th August, 15:00

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 Manchester City are the league’s only side to have won their first three matches, and are the season’s early pace setters. The blue half of Manchester will be hoping that their team can continue in the same vein this weekend, having already scored eight goals without reply.

Newly promoted Watford are the league’s draw specialists, having picked up a point a piece in each of their first three matches on their return to England’s top flight. They will be hoping to go one better and take their first major scalp of the season on their trip up North to Manchester.

 Watford will be more than aware of the danger of Yaya Toure, especially given his early season form, and the job of stopping him will likely fall upon the shoulders of Etienne Capoue. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index can reveal that he has hit the target with 83.3% of his six shots so far this season, turning two of those into goals. His good work doesn’t stop there, as he has also assisted two further goals, completed 100% of his six dribbles and 91.6% of his 202 passes.

Capoue will know the gravity of the task at hand, but the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index highlights precisely how he can be effective come this weekend. Capoue has won 80% of his 10 tackles so far this season, also making nine interceptions and eight clearances, and he will need to further add to those statistics if he is to win the battle of the engine rooms. He has also completed 86.3% of his 161 passes so far this term, and will need to ensure that he doesn’t give the ball away to help build momentum on the break for the Canaries.

sergio aguero

Up top, both Manchester City and Watford will be looking for their main strikers to deliver the goods. Sergio Aguero needs no introduction, and the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index highlights his efficiency. Aguero has hit the target with 77.8% of his shots this season, and his accuracy will be a concern to the Watford goal as he looks to add to his one goal for the season. Not only hard to tackle, he rarely gives the ball away having completed 91.7% of his 48 passes, so Watford will need to figure out exactly how to stop him. He is 5/9 to score anytime with 888sport.com.

At the other end, Watford skipper Troy Deeney is a handful to mark, and the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index highlights his strengths on the pitch. Deeney will be searching for his first goal of the season this weekend and looking to further boost his ratio of 50% of his shots on target, and adding to his tally of four shots. He has laid on one assist so far this season, and his ability to create adds a second threat to his game.  He’s also not afraid to help out with the defensive workload having made four clearances already this season, and his good work may have to come at both ends of the pitch once more this weekend, to help keep City at bay. He is 19/5 to score anytime with 888sport.com.

Manchester City v Watford Possible Lineups:

Man City: Hart; Sagna, Kompany, Mangala, Kolarov; Delph, Fernandinho, Navas, Nasri, Silva; Aguero

Watford: Gomes; Nyom, Cathcart, Prodl, Holebas; Capoue, Behrami; Jurado, Ighalo, Anya; Deeney

Manchester City v Watford Stats:

  • Manchester City are unbeaten in their last seven league and cup games against Watford (W5, D2).
  • City claimed home wins against Watford in the FA Cup in 2013 and 2014, winning 3-0 and 4-2 respectively – coming back from 2-0 down in the latter game.
  • Watford’s last win against City was by 1-0 at Vicarage Road in a Division Two match in March 1989.
  • The last time the Hornets beat City in a top-flight match was in April 1987, when Worrell Sterling and David Bardsley scored in a 2-1 victory at Maine Road.
  • City are chasing a club record 10th consecutive top-flight win, having equalled the current record – set in 1912.
  • The Hornets are unbeaten in their last five Premier League games, keeping clean sheets in the previous two.

Stats via BBC

Manchester City v Watford Prediction:

A 3-0 win for the Citizens.

Data supplied by the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index. Select and manage your own team of stars with at http://fantasy.premierleague.com/ or with FIFA Ultimate team.

Manchester City vs Chelsea – Preview, Lineups, Match Facts And Prediction

Manchester City vs Chelsea

Sunday 16th August, 16:00

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Manchester City host the champions this weekend in an early title-race crunch match. City got off to a flying start, beating West Brom 3-0 on Monday night, whilst Chelsea stuttered to a 2-2 draw at home to Swansea.

Manchester City will be hoping that Yaya Toure can repeat his Monday night performance where he bagged a brace. Toure made 66 passes in the opposition half, the second highest total in the division. He is clearly trusted by his teammates too as he received 78 passes, the fourth highest in the Premier League. Toure has enjoyed some good battles with Chelsea midfielder Nemanja Matic in the past and this weekend should be no different. Matic covered the ninth most ground in the league on the opening weekend, running 11.72km. In addition, Matic won four tackles, ranking him 11th in the division.

David Silva was in inspired form against West Brom and was in fact the only player to have completed more passes in the opposition half than teammate Yaya Toure, with an incredible 79 passes. Silva set up four goalscoring opportunities for his teammate, and could well prove to be a tricky customer for the Chelsea defence. At the heart of that Chelsea defence is John Terry and Gary Cahill, who have been in 19 duels between them – and look sure to add to that total this weekend.

Eden Hazard completed by far and away the most dribbles of any Premier League player last season and has started this campaign in a similar fashion. Hazard sits third in the dribbling rankings, on five successful dribbles, after the first weekend. Bacary Sagna started in the fullback role often occupied by Pablo Zabaleta last season. Should Sagna start again, he will need another strong performance against the reigning PFA Player Of The Year. Sagna won 100% of his tackles last week as well as succeeding in 95.2% of his passes.

Cesar Azpilicueta will occupy what has now become his regular spot at left back. He will likely come up against his Spanish compatriot Jesus Navas. Azpilicueta last week managed to complete 100% of his tackles, and made five important clearances for Chelsea. Navas covered an impressive 11.59km last week, with a top speed of 32.2km/h, and his energy is likely to challenge Azpilicueta. Navas is 16/1 to score first with 888sport.com.

Manchester City vs Chelsea Match Facts:

  • Chelsea are unbeaten in their last four Premier League games against Manchester City (W2, D2).
  • However, Chelsea have won just one of their previous seven games at the Etihad Stadium in all competitions (W1, D1, L5)
  • Manuel Pellegrini’s side have won their last seven Premier League home games, keeping clean sheets in six of those matches.
  • The last time they failed to win a top-flight home game was on 7 February, when they drew 1-1 with Hull City.
  • City completed 693 passes against West Brom – 212 more than any other team in the opening round of Premier League fixtures.
  • Chelsea have not lost any of their last 28 Premier League games in the month of August (W23, D5) since a 2-1 defeat at Middlesbrough in 2006.
  • The last time they failed to win either of their opening two Premier League games was in 1998.

Stats courtesy BBC.

Manchester City vs Chelsea Possible Lineups:

Manchester City: Hart; Sagna, Kompany, Mangala, Clichy; Fernandinho, Toure, Silva, Navas, Sterling; Aguero

Chelsea: Begovic; Ivanovic, Terry, Cahill, Azpilicueta; Matic, Fabregas; Moses, Hazard, Willian; Costa

Manchester City vs Chelsea Prediction:

A 1-1 draw.

 

Data supplied by the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index. Select and manage your own team of stars with at http://fantasy.premierleague.com/ or with FIFA Ultimate team.

Man City Set To Hijack Manchester United’s Bid For French Superstar

Paul Pogba

Many Premier League and European giants have been in the hunt for French powerhouse Paul Pogba without much success till now. Big names from England like Manchester United, Chelsea and Manchester City have been in the chase for the midfield superstar, who is at the moment with Italian Champions Juventus. All three clubs have contacted the Italians who have till now, not accepted any bid for their 21 year old sensation, who has been in superb form offlate.

Now, recent reports suggest that The Citizens are planning to use their 25 year old striker Stevan Jovetic as part of a big money deal to bring Pogba to The Etihad. Manchester United and Chelsea have also been quite desperate as an intense top of the table race is on to sign him. It is believed that Jovetic’s past in Italy could prove a tempting prospect to Juventus and a deal may work out soon, once the two clubs start talking about a possible deal.

The Montenegro striker had previously made a name for himself after scoring a total of 35 goals in 115 appearances for Fiorentina and has recently shown similar glimpses of that promise for City over the last few months. Also, with the arrival of Wilfried Bony from Swansea City in the January transfer window would probably push Jovetic further down the pecking order and he would have to struggle a lot more, for first team action.

There is already a lot of competition for places in the City squad at the moment, due to a lot of highly rated players. The Champions of England at present have attacking options in the form of Sergio Aguero, Edin Dzeko, Jovetic and Bony, which makes their attack really powerful. Manuel Pellegrini may look to offload one of his strikers and Jovetic might be the one sacrificed to add more midfield quality, in the near future.