Premier League: Manchester City v West Ham United

City have made history this season by becoming the first English top flight team to win 19 games in a row in all competitions – the latest of which coming on Wednesday night in the Champions League.

The 0-2 win over Borussia Monchengladbach puts Pep Guardiola’s side in pole position for safe passage through to the quarter finals.

With defender Nathan Ake the only injury absentee and the club ten points clear at the summit, Manchester City’s formidable form shows no sign of slowing.

Saturday’s opponents West Ham United know they need something special if they are to pull off a result – a win for the Hammers will be a shock despite them residing in the Champions League places.

West Ham are enjoying their best top flight season since 1985-86 and have a 2 point cushion in 4th, with Chelsea their closest challengers.

Considering relegation was very much on the cards last season, David Moyes has masterminded a remarkable campaign.

The Hammers travel to the Etihad without Andriy Yarmolenko and Angelo Ogbonna, but long term injury absentee Arthur Masuaku is edging closer to a recovery – but Saturday’s game comes too soon.

Man City v West Ham is a 12.30pm kick off on Saturday 27th February.

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Manchester City’s title machine rolls on with impressive 3-0 Tottenham win

City now look well placed to wrestle the title away from Liverpool, as a brace from the red hot Ilkay Gundogan sealed a record 11th successive league win.

Guardiola’s men looked the brighter of the two teams early on, but it was Spurs that carved the best chance, as England skipper Harry Kane twanged a free kick off the post.

And that little wake up got City back into their groove just after as Pierre Hojbjerg scythed down Gundogan inside the box.

But despite a brief flutter of excitement that Ederson might be the one to step, it was the steadier Rodri who powered past Hugo Lloris.

That goal proved to be exactly what City needed as they left Spurs simply chasing shadows after break.

German star Gundogan continued his brilliant form as he broke into the box to fire home Raheem Sterling’s pass.

And the former Dortmund man wrapped up a complete performance with to 20 go as he wriggled past Davinson Sanchez to thump home Ederson’s long pass.

With Jose Mourinho’s visitors offering zero resistance in the closing minutes, Sterling did almost grab a fourth, but Lloris reacted sharply to keep it at three.

Full Time at the Etihad Stadium it’s Manchester City 3 Tottenham 0

Premier League: Manchester City v Tottenham

Manchester City will aim to make it 16 consecutive wins in all competitions on Saturday tea time, as Jose Mourinho brings his Tottenham Hotspur side to the Etihad.

Pep Guardiola’s side have been incredible since dropping points in a 1-1 draw with West Brom back in December, going on a run that has seen them storm to the top of the table as we approach the end of February. Heading into the game, City are five points clear of closest challengers Manchester United with a game in hand, and 10 clear of defending champions Liverpool.

Things aren’t as rosy down in North London, as Jose Mourinho struggles to find some consistency with his side, who have lost four of their last six games in all competitions. From leading the Premier League in December, Spurs are now eighth in the table, and could go below Aston Villa if they don’t beat City on Saturday.

In order to do that, they’ll need to reproduce the attacking play on show in their FA Cup game against Everton earlier this week. Mourinho’s side have become known for their safety-first approach in recent months, but scored four in the space of 90 minutes at Goodison Park.

However, any positive result will only come if they’re able to improve defensively from that showing, as Everton ran in five to edge a nine-goal thriller and advance to the quarter finals. With City scoring 18 goals in their last six games, it could be a tough task.

One boost for Spurs in that department though could be that Ruben Dias is a doubt for the game. Pep Guardiola confirmed on Wednesday night that the Portuguese defender is struggling with a fever and still has some stomach issues that prevented him travelling to Swansea.

There are also doubts over defensive midfield pair Fernandinho and Rodri, who both have minor issues. Rodri came off against Swansea with what looked like an injury, and Fernandinho didn’t travel to Wales because of a thigh strain, but could be back in time for Spurs.

Sergio Aguero, Kevin De Bruyne and Nathan Ake are all definite absentees.

Spurs are without Giovani Lo Celso and Sergio Reguilon for the trip to Manchester, but could welcome back Serge Aurier after he missed the Everton game with an injury suffered in the win over West Brom last weekend.

Gareth Bale’s involvement is unclear, after Mourinho revealed that the Welshman asked for a scan on a muscle injury during the week, despite no injury being obvious to the medical staff. The on-loan winger requested to work with the sports science staff at the club during the week, leading to him missing the FA Cup exit at Everton.

A win for Spurs could take them above Everton, West Ham and Chelsea before they all play later in the weekend, and back into the top five in the process. Meanwhile, if City make it 16 wins in a row they will stay at least five points clear going into a run of fixtures that sees them take on five of the Premier League’s top seven.

Manchester City take on Spurs at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday, February 13th. Kick-off is at 12.30pm.

Title chasing Manchester City edge out 1-0 win over Sheffield United

The struggling Blades could’ve snatched a point late but Gabriel Jesus’ strike keeps City unbeaten in 2021.

Pep Guardiola’s in form side were straight out of the blocks in this one as Jesus put them in front inside the first ten minutes.

Ferran Torres’ persistence forced him past two Blades tackles to find Jesus inside the box and the Brazilian quickly sorted his feet to slot home.

City looked nailed on to dominate from there on but Bernardo Silva’s poor header failed to get the better of Aaron Ramsdale before the break.

The hosts continued to edge it out again after restart with Oleksandr Zinchenko forcing a flying stop from Ramsdale.

And with City only able to maintain a single goal advantage late on John Fleck almost grabbed a late equaliser but the Scotsman’s effort flashed just wide.

Full Time from the Etihad Stadium it’s Manchester City 1 Sheffield United 0

Premier League: Manchester City v Sheffield United

Manchester City hope to extend the form that has seen them storm to the top of the Premier League table on Saturday afternoon, as they welcome bottom side Sheffield United to the Etihad Stadium.

The Blades have never been in better form than they are right now though, having won two of their last three league games to finally show some signs of life at the root of the table, including a stunning 2-1 win over Manchester United on Wednesday night.

It must be said that City do look on another level to everybody else right now though, having won their last seven league games in a row, scoring 18 goals and conceding just one along the way. Ruben Dias, John Stones and Ilkay Gundogan have all hit top form and been key to City’s run, with the German midfielder helping himself to two fantastic goals against West Brom in midweek.

The man Gundogan has been stepping up to replace, Kevin De Bruyne, remains out with a torn hamstring injury, and is joined on the treatment table by Nathan Ake. Sergio Aguero is also likely to miss out again, as he tries to regain some match fitness ahead of the Champions League resuming in February.

Aguero has managed just 140 Premier League action so far this season, and it’s testament to the rest of City’s team to be sitting top of the league after 19 games when they’ve missed their talisman for so long.

Chris Wilder managed to mastermind a win over Man United in the week despite being only able to name six substitutes, with former Man City academy graduate Kean Bryan getting on the score sheet.

The injury problems remain though, with 38-year-old Phil Jagielka possibly having to play his second game in four days as Wilder struggles to name a defence. Jack O’Connell and Jack Robinson are both injured, but John Egan could return after suspension.

Ben Osborn, Oli McBurnie, Enda Stevens and Sander Berge are all missing through injury and won’t make the trip to Manchester.

If Sheffield United can pull off a victory, it would probably go down as the greatest week any single team has had in Premier League history, and haul them off the bottom of the table for the first time in months.
19th-placed West Brom play at the same time as the Blades, with United boasting a goal difference which is 12 better than the Baggies, a win would see them go above Sam Allardyce’s side.

If Pep Guardiola’s side can make it eight straight wins, they’ll be certain to end the weekend top of the league, with title rivals Man United and Leicester City unable to close the gap sufficiently.

Manchester City take on Sheffield United on Saturday, January 30th. Kick-off is at 3pm.

Premier League: Manchester City v Crystal Palace

City’s enterprising 1-0 win over Brighton midweek was their fourth league win on the spin and seventh in all competitions, with victories over Chelsea and Manchester United in that time.

Phil Foden’s goal was the difference as Pep Guardiola once again opted against starting a recognised striker, largely due to the recent absence of Gabriel Jesus and Sergio Aguero.

Crystal Palace meanwhile did have forward options on the pitch in their clash with Arsenal on Thursday night, although the Eagles weren’t potent enough to register a goal against the Gunners with the game ending 0-0.

Palace reside 13th in the Premier League standings and as is often the case Roy Hodgson will look to Wilfried Zaha to make an impression, with the Ivory Coast international having scored a brace in away victories at Old Trafford and the Hawthorns already this season.

As for team news, fitness continues to be of concern to Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola, who will once again be missing defenders Nathan Ake and Aymeric Laporte for the game.

Eric Garcia seems a likely candidate to step in, although speculation around his future at the Etihad Stadium continues to swirl amidst strong interest from Barcelona – and a positive coronavirus test rules him out of this one too.

Covid-19 has also put a stop to Sergio Aguero’s involvement, with the striker in self-isolation due to coming in to close contact with a carrier of the virus despite testing negative himself.

Crystal Palace won’t have at least 6 first team stars available to them against Manchester City, although none of those absences are coronavirus-related.

Goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey remains a long term injury victim, as do defenders Martin Kelly and Nathan Ferguson with calf and thigh strains respectively.

Jeffrey Schlupp and Mamadou Sakho are also ruled out for the trip to the Etihad having picked up muscle strains last week also.

Manchester City v Crystal Palace kicks off at 7.15pm on Sunday 17th January.

Manchester City 1-0 Brighton: City gain ground on Premier League leaders as Seagulls continue to struggle

Foden netted his eighth of the season just before half-time – a superb low strike from the edge of the box – as City maintained their recent climb up the table with a fourth successive league win.

It should have been more comfortable for the dominant hosts as Raheem Sterling missed a late penalty, Bernardo Silva hit the woodwork and Seagulls keeper Robert Sanchez made a number of outstanding saves.

But the visitors were unable to capitalise on the reprieves and, even though they remained in the contest to the end, they rarely threatened and could not force an equaliser.

City are now unbeaten in 14 matches in all competitions and building momentum although, as the game comes under increased scrutiny, their goal celebration could attract criticism amid the coronavirus pandemic.

With Gabriel Jesus dropping back to the bench after only returning from a spell out with coronavirus at the weekend and Sergio Aguero isolating, City started without a recognised centre forward.

They probably missed the presence an established striker could have given them as Brighton defended solidly, but the hosts still created a number of chances in the opening period.

Kevin De Bruyne had some of the best of them, first going through on goal after exchanging passes with Ilkay Gundogan on the edge of the area but Sanchez stood up well to deny him.

De Bruyne tested Sanchez again with a powerful shot following a corner and the Belgian also had a free-kick blocked after Adam Webster was deemed to have passed back to his keeper.

Brighton were not completely devoid of ambition and went close when Leonardo Trossard curled a shot just beyond the far post.

Sanchez saved again from De Bruyne after City broke from one end of the field to the other in a flash following a Brighton corner and the hosts finally claimed a deserved lead a minute before the break.

Typically De Bruyne was involved, finding Foden outside the area but the goal owed all to the brilliance of the 20-year-old.

Foden took the pass in his stride and took out a defender with a clever first touch before steadying himself and firing a low shot into the bottom corner.

City’s relief at finally breaking through was evident, although amid renewed calls for players to curb goal celebrations, the large group hug that formed may attract scrutiny.

When the action resumed in the second half, City threatened to overwhelm the Seagulls. Riyad Mahrez shot wide and Gundogan brought another good save out of Sanchez before Silva thumped the follow-up against the woodwork.

Sanchez saved brilliantly again from a long-range De Bruyne effort and also kept out a Joao Cancelo strike.

Remarkably, however, Brighton remained in the game. Ederson, returning after missing three games following a positive Covid-19 test, was a bystander for much of the encounter but might have been called upon had John Stones not produced a fine tackle to block Neal Maupay.

City should have killed off the game in injury time as Sanchez brought down De Bruyne but substitute Sterling blazed over from the spot. It gave Brighton one last chance to get forward but they could not make it count.

Manchester City stroll in FA Cup Fourth Round with Birmingham City win

City were dominant through at the Etihad with the game wrapped up inside their first half thanks to a brace from Bernardo Silva and Phil Foden’s brilliant strike.

Silva has found himself on the edge of Guardiola’s plans so far this season but the Portuguese star crashed home a fine opener.

Birmingham never really recover form that setback as Silva quickly made it 2-0 before fans favourite Foden bulleted home a third.

And it was all one-way traffic again after the break as Silva was expertly denied a hat trick by visiting keeper Andre Prieto.

Birmingham did almost nick a consolation late on as winger Jeremie Bela tested Zak Steffen but it wasn’t to be on a straightforward afternoon for City.

Full Time at the Etihad Stadium it’s Manchester City 3 Birmingham City 0

Premier League: Manchester City 2-0 Newcastle United

Gundogan put Pep Guardiola’s side ahead on a wet Boxing Day night after fine work from Raheem Sterling with 14 minutes gone at the Etihad Stadium.

Torres added the second early in the second half and Bernardo Silva struck the post as City, who face a trip to Everton on Monday, eased to victory.

Both sides were without key players following positive Covid-19 tests, with City’s Gabriel Jesus and Kyle Walker following Newcastle pair Allan Saint-Maximin and Jamaal Lascelles into self-isolation.

Not surprisingly, it was star-studded City who coped with the absences better. Again manager Pep Guardiola saw no need to rush record goalscorer, Sergio Aguero, into his starting line-up, naming the Argentinian on the bench as he eases back into action after knee trouble.

Steve Bruce tried to shake his Newcastle side up after their Carabao Cup quarter-final loss to Brentford. Federico Fernandez, Fabian Schar, Joelinton and Matt Ritchie came in while Callum Wilson was on the bench and Jonjo Shelvey was left out altogether.

With the win, Pep Guardiola’s side climb to 5th in the league table on Monday night whilst Steve Bruce’s Newcastle remain just shy of mid-table in 12th.

Premier League Preview: Manchester City v Newcastle United

Pep Guardiola’s side have quietly been rediscovering their best form in the last month and the Spanish boss finally looks to have hit on winning formula this season.

However, despite being in the middle of their best run of the campaign, the demands of a packed schedule means he will be forced to rotate against the Magpies.

Pep’s defence should stay the same over the festive period but the returning Fernandinho, Phil Foden and Sergio Aguero could be drafted in.

As for Newcastle, Steve Bruce will continue to wing in terms of his line up with a Covid-19 outbreak at the club still forcing his selection.

Key pair Allan Saint-Maximin and Jamal Lascelles remain sidelined due to the virus.

But Federico Fernandez and Jamal Lewis should shake off knocks in time to start.

And Kick Off is a late one on Boxing Day with an 8pm start at the Etihad Stadium.

Manchester City defender Eric Garcia targeted by Arsenal

The Spanish international has made clear his intention to leave City when his contract expires at the end of campaign despite being elevated into a first team role.

Former club Barcelona have reportedly reached out over a deal with Garcia keen on a return to Catalonia.

However, according to reports from Metro, Arteta could challenge Barcelona with a January swoop.

City rejected a £15m offer from Ronald Koeman’s side during the summer, but due to his expiring contract situation that could now be open to bids.

Arteta is keen to improve his Gunners defence after a poor start to the season with Shkodran Mustafi and Sokratis both almost certain to leave the club in 2021.

And that’s your latest from the Etihad Stadium check back in again soon for more with the Sport Social.

Manchester City’s reserves can win the Champions League claims Marseille manager Villas-Boas

The French side are expecting to find out just how strong City’s so-called second string can be when the clubs meet at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday.

Having already secured a place in the Champions League last 16, City manager Pep Guardiola has suggested he will make wholesale changes for the Group C encounter.

Porto have already taken the runners-up spot in the pool but the game is still important for Marseille as they look to pip Olympiacos to the consolation of a Europa League place.

Villas-Boas, the former Chelsea and Tottenham manager, said: “Qualifying is not in our hands.

“Hopefully Porto will do us a favour but we know it is going to be hard against Manchester City. They have so many options, and so many top-level options as well.

“We cannot rely on Porto but we must be at our best to get a positive result because City’s ‘B’ team are strong enough to win the Champions League, I think.”

City have become regulars in the latter stages of the competition, their performances this season having seen them power through to the last 16 for an eighth successive year.

Yet winning the tournament has been elusive so far despite boasting a star-studded squad. They have just one semi-final showing to their name, in 2016, and Guardiola – a two-time winner as Barcelona boss – has overseen three consecutive quarter-final defeats.

Villas-Boas said: “The expectations have been very high for City but there will be nobody with more willingness to win it than Pep at this moment.

“Every year that they start they believe it’s going to be their year and they have the capacity and the squad, but it’s down to small details.

“In the Champions League I’m no expert. Pep is the expert, he’s won it twice as a manager.

“City have been waiting so long, and the quality they have is second to none, the options they have.”

Marseille, who are fourth in Ligue 1, lost their first four group matches – including 3-0 to City at home – but kept themselves in the Europa League picture by coming from behind to beat Olympiacos 2-1 with two Dimitri Payet penalties last week.