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

Manchester City cruise to 3-1 Premier League win at Chelsea

City impressive run of recent form puts them just four points behind leaders Liverpool as goals from Ilkay Gundogan, Phil Foden and Kevin De Bruyne secured a massive result in London.

Guardiola’s team were on their A game from the start in this one with a 20-minute blitz putting them 3-0 up before the break.

German star Gundogan smashed home his third goal in four games to get City going before Foden brilliantly swept home De Bruyne’s cross.

And the Belgian talisman wasn’t to be denied his own goal before the half time break as he started and buried an emphatic City counter attack.

Chelsea’s chances of a comeback vanished almost immediately after the restart as wave after wave of City pressure kept Edouard Mendy busy from Rodri and De Bruyne.

The hosts did notch a consolation in added time, as Kai Havertz’s cross was slid home by fellow sub Callum Hudson-Odoi, but there was very little to shout about at the end as the pressure grows on Frank Lampard.

Full Time at Stamford Bridge it’s Chelsea 1 Manchester City 3

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.

Riyad Mahrez nets a hat trick as Manchester City crush Burnley 5-0

Pep Guardiola’s side have been in dire need of a dominant performance in recent weeks, and a hat trick from Riyad Mahrez power his side to all three points.

City dominated this one from start to finish at the Etihad, with Mahrez edging them in front after six minutes.

James Tarkowski gifted possession to Kevin De Bruyne just inside his own half and the Belgian fed the rampaging Mahrez to fire a brilliant effort past Bailey Peacock-Farrell.

And Burnley were to shoot themselves in the foot yet again on 24 minutes, as Mahrez seized on a loose ball on the edge of the box and fired an unstoppable effort home.

With the Clarets simply chasing shadows before the break, a brilliant team goal from Benjamin Mendy essentially sealed the tie before the break.

De Bruyne was once again at the heart of it for City, finding Mendy on the overlap after a 25 pass move, and the French full back powered into the far corner.

And there was to be no slowing down from Pep’s men after the break as they continued to tear Burnley to bits.

Ferran Torres got himself in on the act on the hour as he tucked home another City passing carousel, before Mahrez completed a hat trick just after.

The Algerian was unplayable for Burnley on the day and he bulleted home a header from Phil Foden’s clever cross to make five goals and three points for Pep.

Full Time at the Etihad Stadium it’s Manchester City 5 Burnley 0

Southgate impressed with Foden’s England application after Reykjavik rule break

Having long been tipped as a future international star, the Manchester City talent was called into the senior set-up for the first time as the Three Lions finally kicked-off their international calendar with September’s Nations League matches.

Foden made his senior debut in England’s first match of that doubleheader against Iceland along with Manchester United’s Mason Greenwood, but the pair were soon sent home after beaching the strict bio bubble in Reykjavik.

They were left out of October’s fixtures as punishment but Foden returned to the fold for this month’s tripleheader and, having come off the bench against the Republic of Ireland, is set to feature in the Nations League against Iceland on Wednesday.

“It has been good to have him back this week,” the England boss said of the 2017 Under-17 World Cup Golden Ball winner.

“Phil has trained really well this week and it was good to get him into the game against Ireland.
“Given the players in the squad and the way it is emerging and evolved over the week, it will be good to get Phil into the game tomorrow.

“I am sure he has relished the chance to be back with the squad, we know he is a very exciting talent and he is a player who we have a lot of belief in and who Manchester City have a lot of belief in, so this could be a good opportunity for him to show everybody what he can do really.”

Foden’s third cap will come as the playmaker completes a senior England camp for the first time.

Southgate stressed at this month’s squad announcement that there would be “no sort of carryover from what happened” during his previous senior involvement – something he underlined to the 20-year-old at the start of the international meet-up.

“I made sure we chatted on the first day and put that behind us immediately,” the Three Lions boss said.

“It was done once we had made the decision on the October squad. That was it. From then on it was always going to be a judgment on football.

“I’m sure for anybody walking back in initially that is going to feel a little bit… especially when you’re young but definitely as the week has gone on he has been more relaxed.

“I gave him a bit of a hiding at two touch yesterday which he was probably a little bit upset about but he’s in with the group, he’s relaxed and that’s what’s important because to be able to play his football properly that’s where everybody needs to be.”

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.

FULL TIME AT THE LONDON STADIUM IT’S WEST HAM 1 MANCHESTER CITY 1

Manchester City clinch narrow 1-0 win over Arsenal

Raheem Sterling’s first half strike proved to be the difference between the two sides as Pep Guardiola got revenge for City’s FA Cup semi-final defeat in July.

City enjoyed the bulk of possession in the opening stages as Arsenal set their stall out to counter at pace.

But with the Gunners struggling to cope as City went up through the gears Sterling tucked home brilliant opener.

Riyad Mahrez’s pass cut out three Arsenal defenders and after Bernd Leno could only parry Phil Foden’s effort, Sterling pounced on the rebound.

That gave the impetus to City and Leno had to be at his sharpest to deny Mahrez and Foden.

However, Arsenal worked hard to stay in the game before the break as new England international Bukayo Saka brought an instinctive stop from Ederson.

The Gunners looked to take advantage of City’s struggles to find a second after the restart as Nicolas Pepe tested Ederson.

Mikel Arteta’s side bossed the closing stages with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Granit Xhaka both testing Ederson but in the end the home side have enough to hold on for the win.

FULL TIME AT THE ETIHAD STADIUM IT’S MANCHESTER CITY 1 ARSENAL 0

Wolves 1-3 Manchester City: City get season off to winning start against Wolves.

The midfielder’s penalty and goals from Phil Foden and Gabriel Jesus gave Pep Guardiola’s side a statement victory to open their Premier League campaign.

City were unplayable at times before losing their way after the break and Wolves made it nervy when Raul Jimenez pulled a goal back before Jesus struck in stoppage time.

Guardiola’s men still sent out a message to champions Liverpool as they look to reclaim the title they surrendered last season.
De Bruyne, last term’s Professional Footballers’ Association player of the year, delivered a near faultless display while debutant Nathan Ake was assured.

City finished last season – just over a month ago – in disarray after their Champions League quarter-final exit to Lyon but immediately ended any fears of a hangover with a dominant first-half display.
They quickly swarmed all over Wolves and the hosts’ night was made harder when Ruben Vinagre replaced the injured Marcal after just eight minutes.

City pinned them back and Wolves needed Rui Patricio to parry De Bruyne’s free-kick but the dominant visitors kept probing and got their reward after 20 minutes.

Foden slipped De Bruyne in on the right and Romain Saiss’ foolish lunge brought the midfielder down just inside the box.

The Belgium international buried the penalty and Guardiola’s unrelenting side continued to pile the pressure on.

City threatened to slice through Wolves several times before they did again to double their lead after 32 minutes.

De Bruyne had conducted City and he was at the heart of a slick move involving Ake, Rodrigo, Fernandinho and Foden.
De Bruyne then slipped in Raheem Sterling to cross for the arriving Foden to finish as Wolves were torn apart.

Wolves hit back from 2-0 down at Molineux last season to win 3-2 but without the backing of a vociferous fan-base – and the fact City were just too good – there was no way back.

Jimenez headed Adama Traore’s cross wide five minutes before the break but it was Wolves’ only opening of a chastening half.

It would have been worse had Patricio not turned De Bruyne’s shot over after he was sent clear by Jesus’ header.

There was no desire from City to sit on their lead after the break, demonstrated by their fierce pressing and Jesus’ shot at Patricio.
But Wolves finally found their spark and created a flurry of chances, starting when Daniel Podence curled wide.

Ruben Neves’ low drive was then cleared by Kyle Walker in a warning to City and Podence went closer after 59 minutes.

The forward was sent through by Neves only to chip over and, a minute later, Jimenez side-footed Traore’s cross wide from six yards.

The striker did pull a goal back with 12 minutes left when Podence nutmegged De Bruyne and crossed for him to head in.

But Jesus ended any City fears when he made it 3-1 in injury time, his shot deflecting in off Conor Coady.

Final score: Wolverhampton Wanderers 1 – Mancheter City 3.

Manchester City get season off to winning start against Wolves (1-3).

The midfielder’s penalty and goals from Phil Foden and Gabriel Jesus gave Pep Guardiola’s side a statement victory to open their Premier League campaign.

City were unplayable at times before losing their way after the break and Wolves made it nervy when Raul Jimenez pulled a goal back before Jesus struck in stoppage time.

Guardiola’s men still sent out a message to champions Liverpool as they look to reclaim the title they surrendered last season.
De Bruyne, last term’s Professional Footballers’ Association player of the year, delivered a near faultless display while debutant Nathan Ake was assured.

City finished last season – just over a month ago – in disarray after their Champions League quarter-final exit to Lyon but immediately ended any fears of a hangover with a dominant first-half display.
They quickly swarmed all over Wolves and the hosts’ night was made harder when Ruben Vinagre replaced the injured Marcal after just eight minutes.

City pinned them back and Wolves needed Rui Patricio to parry De Bruyne’s free-kick but the dominant visitors kept probing and got their reward after 20 minutes.

Foden slipped De Bruyne in on the right and Romain Saiss’ foolish lunge brought the midfielder down just inside the box.

The Belgium international buried the penalty and Guardiola’s unrelenting side continued to pile the pressure on.

City threatened to slice through Wolves several times before they did again to double their lead after 32 minutes.

De Bruyne had conducted City and he was at the heart of a slick move involving Ake, Rodrigo, Fernandinho and Foden.
De Bruyne then slipped in Raheem Sterling to cross for the arriving Foden to finish as Wolves were torn apart.

Wolves hit back from 2-0 down at Molineux last season to win 3-2 but without the backing of a vociferous fan-base – and the fact City were just too good – there was no way back.

Jimenez headed Adama Traore’s cross wide five minutes before the break but it was Wolves’ only opening of a chastening half.

It would have been worse had Patricio not turned De Bruyne’s shot over after he was sent clear by Jesus’ header.

There was no desire from City to sit on their lead after the break, demonstrated by their fierce pressing and Jesus’ shot at Patricio.
But Wolves finally found their spark and created a flurry of chances, starting when Daniel Podence curled wide.

Ruben Neves’ low drive was then cleared by Kyle Walker in a warning to City and Podence went closer after 59 minutes.

The forward was sent through by Neves only to chip over and, a minute later, Jimenez side-footed Traore’s cross wide from six yards.

The striker did pull a goal back with 12 minutes left when Podence nutmegged De Bruyne and crossed for him to head in.

But Jesus ended any City fears when he made it 3-1 in injury time, his shot deflecting in off Conor Coady.

Final score: Wolverhampton Wanderers 1 – Mancheter City 3.

Phil Foden Apologises for Breach of Coronavirus Protocol

The Football Association have also announced a full investigation into the incident.

Within 48 hours of making their Three Lions debut against Iceland, the Manchester City playmaker and Manchester United forward are having to leave the camp after breaching the strict bio-bubble in Reykjavik.

Allegations emerged in the Icelandic media on Monday that Foden and Greenwood had spent time with two girls during the trip, with media outlet DV publishing purported footage filmed by one of them.

With an FA investigation now hanging over the pair, Foden issued an apology via Twitter and vowed to “learn a valuable lesson from this error in judgement”.

“I apologise to Gareth Southgate, to my England team-mates, to the staff, supporters and also to my club and my family,” he wrote.

“I am a young player with a lot to learn, but I am aware of the huge responsibility I have in representing Manchester City and England at this level.

“On this occasion I made a poor decision and my behaviour didn’t meet the standards expected of me.

“I breached Covid-19 protocols put in place to protect myself and my England colleagues. As a consequence I will now miss the opportunity to travel to Denmark with the squad, and that hurts.

“I will learn a valuable lesson from this error in judgement and I wish Gareth and the team good luck this week.”

Speaking on Monday afternoon, Southgate said: “It’s a very serious situation and we have treated it that way and have acted as quickly as we have been able to.”

The FA has vowed to fully investigate the circumstances leading up to the breach in Reykjavik.

“Whilst in Iceland, both Phil Foden and Mason Greenwood spent time outside of our private team area, which was a breach of our Covid-19 duties,” the governing body said in a statement.

“While they did not leave the team hotel, it was an unacceptable breach of our protocol. They have both apologised for their serious lack of judgement.

“The FA will be launching a full investigation into the circumstances leading up this breach. We have spoken to the Football Association of Iceland to offer our apologies for this incident and to ensure them that we are taking the appropriate steps.”

The youngsters’ behaviour has not only gone down badly with the FA but their respective clubs, with City swiftly condemning Foden’s behaviour.

A club statement read: “It is clear that Phil’s actions were totally inappropriate. His behaviour not only directly contravenes strict guidelines related to Covid-19, but also falls well below the standard expected of a Manchester City player and England international.

“The club supports the FA regarding this incident, and officials from the club are now in touch in relation to Phil’s enforced early return to the UK.”

Manchester United released a statement at a similar time, saying: “We are liaising with the Football Association and are disappointed with the actions of Mason Greenwood over this situation.”

Southgate – who called the pair “naive” – also refuted suggestions that players may feel they can flout the rules because he gives them plenty of leeway.

“I think we like to have a good relationship with the players, but the players that have worked with me for a long time know I’m not afraid to make tough calls, so no, I don’t agree that is the case,” he replied when he was asked if players may see him as a ‘soft touch’.

“I don’t think I can be responsible for discipline when players are not with us. We then have to make decisions on how we approach it.

“I think whenever there have been issues, whether it’s been as an Under-21 coach or senior coach, we’ve dealt with them internally, so I think we’ve been very strict and firm.”

While this is the latest off-field incident which Southgate has had to contend with he maintains he is honoured by his position and can deal with the extra baggage that comes with managing his country.

“You’re in a position where you’re answerable pretty directly to government, you’re in a situation where you’re dealing with the royal family, dealing with the nation,” he said.

“You happen to be a spokesman for the nation. So, it is completely unique – it has been great to get on the pitch and work with the players – the rest, I have to park and accept that as part of the job.

Manchester United’s Mason Greenwood issues apology for breach of Covid-19 regulations

The 18-year-old insists he has learned a lesson from the incident, which resulted in him being sent home ahead of the Nations League match in Denmark.

“Having now had the chance to reflect on what’s happened, I can only apologise to everyone for the embarrassment I have caused,” he said in a statement.

“It was irresponsible of me to break the Covid-19 protocols which are in place to protect players, staff and the public.

“In particular, I want to apologise to Gareth Southgate, for letting him down when he had shown great trust in me.”

The Football Association has launched a full investigation after allegations emerged in the Icelandic media on Monday that Greenwood and Manchester City’s Phil Foden had spent time with two girls during the trip, with media outlet DV publishing purported footage filmed by one of them.

Greenwood added: “Playing for England was one of the proudest moments in my life and I only have myself to blame for this huge mistake.

“I promise my family, the fans, Manchester United and England that this is a lesson I will learn from.”