Premier League: Man City v Aston Villa

The last time any English side took points from City, it was Slaven Bilic’s West Brom outfit back in December, a result that saw him sacked 14 hours later. Since then, City have been perfect, and will go top of the league for the first time this season if they see off the Villans.

After a period of fixture instability thanks to a COVID outbreak at their training base, Villa haven’t played a league game since New Year’s Day, when they were beaten 2-1 at Old Trafford. Since then, their first-team has been out of action, with only what was essentially Villa’s under-18’s losing 4-1 in the FA Cup to a full strength Liverpool.

As a result of the extended break, Dean Smith has few injury concerns ahead of the trip to Manchester, with Ross Barkley training ahead of the game and expected to feature. Brazilian striker Wesley is closing in on a return but will likely miss out, while Trezeguet has had COVID issues and isn’t available either.

Anwar El Ghazi has been in fine form recently and should be available after a knock, while Bertrand Traore is also expected to be OK. Smith will need as many players as possible with a run of six games in 18 days coming up.

Manchester City have been full of goals despite having striker issues recently, and will be without Sergio Aguero once again when Villa come to town. The Argentine is still isolating after contact with a COVID positive person recently, with Saturday’s game against Cheltenham a potential return date.

Aymeric Laporte is back in training after a thigh injury, but Guardiola confirmed he won’t be part of the squad, but Eric Garcia could return. Nathan Ake is also missing but closing in on a return.

That all means John Stones and Ruben Dias will continue at centre-back, and look to build on their incredible run of form recently. The pair have only conceded one goal in their last five games, and Stones has even chipped in with three goals as he rediscovers the form that caused City to pay £50m for his services.

As mentioned, City will go top of the league if they see off Villa, providing Leicester don’t beat Chelsea by more than four goals on Tuesday night.

Villa have three games in hand on all of the top half of the Premier League, and the table is so congested that if they manage to win all three, they’ll be second when the table levels out.

Manchester City take on Aston Villa on Wednesday, January 20th. Kick-off is at 6pm.

Premier League: Manchester City v Brighton

Pep Guardiola enjoyed the luxury of rotating some of his top players in a comfortable win over Birmingham City in the FA Cup at the weekend, but should welcome the likes of Ederson, Raheem Sterling and John Stones back to the starting XI.

Sterling was nursing a slight knock when Birmingham were swept aside, but should make it for the visit of Graham Potter’s Brighton, who Guardiola said were a “joy to watch” in his press conference on Tuesday.

Whether or not Brighton fans would agree or not is debatable, with the club sitting 17th in the table after almost a third of the season, with their possession-based approach clearly not leading to enough results so far.

One of their main issues has been scoring goals, and they struggled again in the FA Cup, needing a 90th minute strike from Solly March against Newport County, before edging a nervy penalty shootout to progress to the fourth round.

Neal Maupay has scored two in his last three Premier League games though, and has declared this week that his confidence is back after a 649-minute goal drought. He’s likely to play in the absence of Danny Welbeck against the league’s most in-form defensive partnership of John Stones and Ruben Dias, fresh from a clean sheet against Manchester United in the Carabao Cup semi-final last week.

Adam Lallana, Tariq Lamptey and Aaron Connolly will all miss the game through injury, while Alireza Jahanbaksh will be assessed closer to kick-off. Polish midfielder Jakub Moder has joined the squad after spending the first half of the season on loan at Lech Poznan, and could make the bench.

Guardiola is without Sergio Aguero once again for the visit of the Seagulls, as he continues to isolate after being in contact with a COVID-positive person recently. Eric Garcia is in the same situation as the Argentine striker, while Aymeric Laporte and Nathan Ake are both injured.

As this is City’s game in hand left over from the start of the season, a win will see them close the gap on Liverpool to a single point and go above Leicester City in the top four. Brighton need the points to move further away from the relegation zone, having played two games fewer than Fulham, who are three points below them.

Manchester City take on Brighton on Wednesday, January 13th. Kick-off is at 6pm.

Jose Mourinho masterclass seals 2-0 Tottenham Premier League win over Manchester CIty

Goals from the on-fire Son Heung-min and substitute Giovani Lo Celso were enough to seal all three points for Spurs, as City lost on the road for the first time since July.

On a night of very few clear chances in North London, it was City’s lax defending that gifted their hosts the opener after five minutes.

Tanguy Ndombele’s clipped pass caught Guardiola’s back four way out of position and Son calmly and clinically tucked past Ederson.

City did look to muster up a quick reaction to Son’s goal, but their tame response amounted to an easy stop for Hugo Lloris from Rodri’s header.

The visitors did get the ball in net on the half hour mark though, as Aymeric Laporte nodded home Gabriel Jesus’ cross.

But VAR chalked off his effort after a blatant handball by the Brazilian.

Guardiola’s side continued to pose the bulk of the threat after the restart, with Jesus testing Lloris and Kevin De Bruyne firing just wide.

But with an inefficient City being smothered out of the game, Mourinho’ plan worked perfectly, as Lo Celso made it 2-0.

The Argentinian had been on the pitch less than a minute as he latched on to Harry Kane’s through ball, but he showed no
rustiness to fire past Ederson.

That strike effectively ended this as a contest as Mourinho’s Spurs continued their case as Premier League title challengers.

Full Time at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium it’s Tottenham 2 Manchester City 0

West Ham secure 1-1 Premier League draw at home to Manchester City

Moyes’ team staged a dramatic recovery to draw 3-3 at Tottenham last weekend and they survive a late scare to snatch a draw in this one.

Neither side created much in a scrappy opening at the London Stadium before Michail Antonio ruthlessly put the Hammers in front on 18 minutes.

Vladimir Coufal whipped in a cross from the right and Antonio was too strong for Aymeric Laporte as volleyed past Ederson.

City struggled to respond to that setback with tame efforts from Riyad Mahrez and Sergio Aguero failing to test Lukasz Fabianski.

Pep Guardiola threw on Phil Foden at the break in an attempt to turn the tide and the England international produced an instant equaliser.

Joao Cancelo’s cross was just behind him but he showed brilliant calmness to tuck past Fabianski.

That tipped the balance in City’s favour as Guardiola brought on Kevin De Bruyne to try and turn the screw on West Ham.

Sterling was presented with a brilliant late late chance to win it but Fabianski stayed sharp to preserve a vital point.


Premier League Preview: Manchester City Kick Off Their 2020-21 Season at Wolves

City are the last Premier League club to kick off their season, with Guardiola’s side already playing catch up to their rivals.

However, despite being granted an extra rest period ahead of the new campaign, Guardiola does still have injuries to contend with.

Sergio Aguero is ruled out until October following knee surgery last month, and centre back Aymeric Laporte has only just returned to full training.

Riyad Mahrez and Bernardo Silva are both expected to be fit to start, with summer signing Nathan Ake potentially replacing Laporte at the back.

Wolves beat Sheffield United 2-0 on the opening day, and Santo is set to recall his big hitters after resting them in the midweek cup defeat at Stoke.

Fernando Marcal, Pedro Neto and Raul Jimenez should all come back into the team, but Jota is out after he completed a £45m move to Liverpool yesterday.

City get their season going in tomorrow’s late-night kick off, with an 8.15pm start at Molineux.

Manchester City sign Nathan Ake from Bournemouth

City agreed a £40million fee, rising to a potential £41m, with the relegated Cherries last week and the 25-year-old has signed a five-year contract.

Ake is City’s second signing of the delayed summer transfer window, after the club landed Spain Under-21s winger Ferran Torres from Valencia.

With Aymeric Laporte missing five months of the current season through injury and Guardiola appearing to lose faith in a John Stones-Nicolas Otamendi partnership, midfielder Fernandinho often played as a makeshift centre-back.

Ake comes to the Etihad to strengthen City’s options at the back.

Ake was a youth player at Chelsea and had loan spells at Reading, Watford and Bournemouth before joining the Cherries permanently for £20m in 2017.

Chelsea reportedly had a buy-back option but chose not to exercise it.