Tag Archives: Manchester City

Chelsea vs Manchester City – Women’s FA Cup Final Preview

One thing we have come to expect from both Chelsea and Manchester City is trophies.

Funnily enough, the two sides met in their first final against each other earlier this year – having met in eight semi-finals in the past seven years alone.

The last five FA Cups have been won by either Manchester City or Chelsea, and this is something that the most successful club Arsenal will be trying to change next season.



Both sides are seen as favourites whenever they get to domestic finals, but we know that this time there can only be one winner. When the two sides met in the Continental Cup Final in February, it was City that were victorious – coming from behind to win 3-1.

When Chelsea manager Emma Hayes spoke about what would be different between that final and this weekends final, she mentioned that it was a depleted squad that competed for that last cup, and with this one, she thinks they’ll be more like their true selves, both in terms of squad availability, but also just mindset and mentality.

City arguably have had one of the biggest injury crises we have seen in the WSL for some time – going as far as having to use their third-choice keeper as well as playing wingers at full-back and midfielders at centre-back.

Luckily for them, City have been able to bring most of their players back from injury over the past few months and will be at full strength essentially for the final.

The strength of both squads is what makes this battle between two great clubs even more interesting and harder to predict.

Both teams seem to have adopted a winning culture, and anything less than that appears to be a disappointment for both players and managers. And having met as many times as they have in the latter stages of competitions, it doesn’t seem that it’s necessarily about surprises on the day – the key here will be execution.

Both sides have huge game changers, which is what makes them such competitive teams at the highest levels.

With City, it’s their wide threat through wingers Lauren Hemp and the newly fit Chloe Kelly.

Prior to her ACL injury last season, Kelly was probably the most in-form winger in the league. She’s someone that has beens able to provide important goals and assists, as well as causing defenders problems with her dribbling and speed.

They’re also able to suffocate opponents offensively because their full-backs, particularly Lucy Bronze, are able to get involved offensively too.

To add to this, City have goal scoring midfielders such as Caroline Weir and Georgia Stanway makes them even more of a threat because for opposition teams, there’s very few players in the City team that you can afford space to because they can hurt you both in the centre of the pitch and in the final third.

For Chelsea, their game changing aspect seems to be more varied. Their strength comes in the depth they have in the midfield and their versatility within middle of the pitch.

Hayes. who has often times this season changed formation during the game, knows that she can rely on experienced midfielder Guro Reiten – who has been in fine form in this second half of the season.

She’s contributing to goals weekly whether that be through goals or assists, but also she understands Hayes’ system so well that when tactical tweaks have to happen, she slots in seamlessly.

Erin Cuthbert is the same. The Scottish midfielder has been deployed in numerous positions for this Chelsea side and still churns out very high levels of performance.

The tenacity that can be found in this Blues midfield is what separates them from most clubs in the country.

When it comes to winning second balls, defending the first phase of set-pieces and crosses, Cuthbert always seems alert. This is something that is of extreme value especially in the games that are closely contested.

I don’t think much more has to be said on Sam Kerr’s big game record either – both for club and for country.

She constantly scores important goals when it’s needed on the big occasion and it won’t be a surprise to see her do the same this Sunday. Kerr seems to just have a knack for knowing both where to be but more importantly how to put the ball in the back of the net.

What do we know? That it will be an immense showcase of the talent that available in the WSL. Whether that will be from Chelsea retaining their title, or from City once again showing that they’re an extremely difficult team to beat in the FA Cup.

Sporting CP vs Manchester City – Champions League Last 16 predictions

The Champions League last 16 fixtures are finally upon us after a two month break since the group stages.

In a very exciting match up the Portuguese champions Sporting CP play host to the tournament favourites and current Premier League champions Man City.

Lets take a look at the tie in more detail and make our predictions to see who will progress into the last eight of Europe’s most prestigious cup competition.



Route to the last 16

In their first appearance in the Champions League for several years, Sporting made their presence felt by finishing as runners-up in the group of hipster teams.

Ruben Amorim’s side started poorly with defeats to Ajax and Dortmund in the opening two games, but back-to-back wins over Besiktas and then a huge home win against Dortmund saw them edge towards qualification.

In the end, it was Dortmund’s poor results against Ajax that cost them as they were eliminated on goal difference.

Man City on the other hand cruised to victory in their group of death, winning five of six games against Paris Saint-Germain, RB Leipzig and Club Brugge.

Their only defeat came to PSG in Paris, when they played brilliantly but were caught out twice by Pochettino’s side.

They scored 18 goals in the group stages, more than everyone else bar Ajax and Bayern Munich, and come into the game in excellent form.

Team news

Sporting are likely to be without excellent midfielder Pote this season, who has been one of the best performing players in their team.

Joao Palhinha, Pablo Sarabia and Paulinho are the key men in midfield and attack and should all be available to start the game, while Sebastian Coates will lead the defence as captain.

Amorim’s 3-5-2 formation is likely to be set up to contain City rather than attack them too much, so expect Nuno Santos to play a little bit deeper than usual.

City will be without £100m man Jack Grealish and Gabriel Jesus, while Kyle Walker is set to start a three-game suspension for his red card on the final match day of the group stages.

Raheem Sterling has been in fine form in recent weeks, bagging a hat-trick at the weekend while Kevin De Bruyne has had his minutes managed and is in peak physical condition for the business end of the season.

Ederson, Ruben Dias, Bernardo Silva and Joao Cancelo will know the opposition well having previously played for Benfica and will all likely start the game.

Breakdown and Prediction

This is a game that is due to be really exciting and full of excellent tactical battles across the pitch.

Sporting play a high-intensity system with a big emphasis on scoring goals and controlling the ball, much like Pep Guardiola at City.

The difference here of course is that the quality of player that Guardiola has available to him is far greater than that of the Portuguese outfit.

Kevin de Bruyne of Manchester City celebrates after scoring his teams first goal during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Chelsea...

Because of that, plus the experience at the top level, it’s fair to expect City to be able to dominate the game and implement their game plan on Sporting rather than the other way around.

With that being said, it’s hard to look past a relatively comfortable City win over the course of two legs.

Sporting will cause them problems over the course of the 180 minutes, but ultimately the added quality on the pitch and the touchline will pay dividends and City will progress to the next round.

Sporting CP 0-2 Man City
Man City 3-1 Sporting CP
(Man City qualify 5-1 on aggregate)

Ferran Torres close to joining Barcelona in £55m move from Manchester City

Barcelona are close to agreeing a £55m deal with Manchester City for forward Ferran Torres to join the club in January.

The La Liga giants are looking to add firepower to their squad after the retirement of Sergio Aguero earlier this month due to heart problems and have returned to the Etihad Stadium to get a deal done.

Torres is keen to join the club and return to Spain, just 18-months after joining the Premier League champions from Valencia.



Torres started the season well with Man City, taking ownership of the central striking position following the departure of Aguero and the failure of the club to sign a striker in the summer window.

However an injury on international duty with Spain meant his campaign was cut short and he hasn’t featured for City since October.

His form for the international team under Luis Enrique in the number nine position has convinced Barcelona that he is the answer to their attacking problems and according to The Times a fee agreement has been reached.

Barcelona will pay £46.7m up front for the 21-year-old, with add-ons of £8.5m allowing the deal to reach almost triple the amount that they paid for him.

The deal makes a lot of sense for all parties too, so the fact they could agree on a fee is a positive.

Torres wants to play more regularly and as a Spaniard, playing for either Barcelona or Real Madrid is always the pinnacle of their career.

He will start far more regularly at Barcelona than at City, where he was competing with six other players for just three positions in a highly successful team. Even playing extremely well doesn’t guarantee your spot in the team.

Torres will be back with his family in Spain, will be a key player for a team looking to rebuild as one of the best in the world again and City make good money on a player who doesn’t weaken their squad with his absence.

Leeds United in serious trouble as Man City cruise to 7-0 thrashing

Marcelo Bielsa’s reign as Leeds United manager is surely hanging by a thread after they were thumped 7-0 by Man City at the Etihad Stadium.

City were dominant for the entire 90 minutes after they altered their formation to play with an extra attacker, and found the back of the net seven times with little defending to do.

Kevin De Bruyne (2), Phil Foden, Riyad Mahrez, Jack Grealish, John Stones and Nathan Ake were all on the scoresheet as City outshot Leeds by 31-6, with 15 shots on target compared to just three for the visitors.



The result means City will stay at the top of the Premier League for another game week, with with seven wins in a row and nine wins from the last ten games.

But for Leeds however, the defeat means it’s just one win in seven games and three wins all season for the Yorkshire side.

Bielsa is now under pressure to not undo the great job he has done at Elland Road, after helping them get promoted after 17 years away from the top flight and then keeping them in the division at the first attempt.

Leeds have now become increasingly easy to play against, with most sides figuring out their man-to-man approach and being adaptable enough to change it up and beat them at their own game.

They have been without main man Patrick Bamford for much of the campaign so far and will be without star player Kalvin Phillips for two months after he suffered a serious hamstring injury, but that isn’t an excuse for such lacklustre performances.

The players look tired and out of sorts, bewildered by what they’ve been asked to do on the pitch and it seems as though the quality level has caught up with them at this point.

With their next three fixtures coming against Arsenal, Liverpool and in-form Aston Villa this could mark the beginning of the end for the Argentine’s reign.

His contract is set to expire at the end of the season and there is little suggestion it will be renewed this time, so maybe pulling the trigger six months early and finding someone to reinvigorate the team is what’s needed.

Whatever the solution, it needs to be found as soon as possible, or Leeds are in very real danger of relegation back to the Championship come May.

Full redrawn Champions League Last 16 draw – Fixtures and dates

The UEFA Champions League last 16 draw has been re-drawn after a botched attempt on Monday morning, and has thrown up some cracking ties.

At the second attempt of trying, Manchester United were drawn with Spanish champions Atletico Madrid while Real Madrid will take on Paris Saint-Germain in the tie of the round.

Manchester City will face Sporting CP, while Liverpool take on Inter Milan. Chelsea were the winners of the redraw, keeping their original opponents in Ligue 1’s Lille.



The original draw saw Manchester United once again set to face off against Paris Saint-Germain, with Cristiano Ronaldo to go head-to-head with Lionel Messi once again in the tie of the round.

Atletico Madrid were scheduled to take on Bayern Munich in the other mega tie, while the other English sides would have been happy with their draws as Liverpool faced Salzburg, Man City faced Villarreal.

However UEFA accidentally put Manchester United into the pot to be drawn against Villarreal and then they were selected, despite being ineligible to do so having come from the same group.

United then weren’t put into the pot for the potential opponents of Atletico amid the confusion, meaning they could never have been drawn against each other.

The draw will now be re-done at 14:00 UK time after several complaints that the botched draw affected the integrity of the competition going forward.

The fixtures will take place in February, with the first legs taking place on February 15/16 or 22/23 with the second legs taking place on March 8/9 or 15/16. Group winners will play their home game in the second leg.

Full draw and fixture dates:

FC Salzburg vs Bayern Munich – February 16th 2022
Bayern Munich vs FC Salzburg – March 8th 2022

Sporting CP vs Manchester City – February 15th 2022
Manchester City vs Sporting CP – March 9th 2022

SL Benfica vs Ajax – February 23rd 2022
Ajax vs SL Benfica – March 15th 2022

Chelsea vs Lille – February 22nd 2022
Lille vs Chelsea – March 16th 2022

Atletico Madrid vs Manchester United – February 23rd 2022
Manchester United vs Atletico Madrid – March 15th 2022

Villarreal vs Juventus – February 22nd 2022
Juventus vs Villarreal – March 16th 2022

Inter Milan vs Liverpool – February 16th 2022
Liverpool vs Inter Milan – March 8th 2022

Paris Saint-Germain vs Real Madrid – February 15th 2022
Real Madrid vs Paris Saint-Germain – March 9th 2022

Barcelona keen on signing Ferran Torres from Manchester City

After starting the season as Manchester City’s first-choice striker, it now seems that Ferran Torres could be on his way back to Spain in the January transfer window.

The Spain international started the season well in the number nine role for Pep Guardiola’s side and with his performances for the national team too, Barcelona are reportedly very interested in bringing him to the club.

All three parties are reportedly willing to make a deal happen during the winter window, but what would that mean for Man City’s season?



Torres had made the central striker role his own ahead of Gabriel Jesus and Raheem Sterling at the start of the season, before suffering an injury while on international duty with Spain.

It means he hasn’t featured for City since scoring in the 6-1 Carabao Cup win over Wycombe Wanderers back in September.

Despite that though, City have been able to top their Champions League group ahead of Paris Saint-Germain and currently sit second in the Premier League table just one point behind Chelsea.

Only Chelsea and Liverpool have scored more goals than the 27 they have managed in the 13 Premier League games they’ve played so far, while Phil Foden, Riyad Mahrez, Bernardo Silva, Gabriel Jesus and more recently Sterling have all been having good seasons. They’ve not missed him much.

Head coach Pep Guardiola of Manchester City and Ferran Torres of Manchester City gestures during the UEFA Champions League group A match between...

However allowing him to leave mid-season is unlikely to be much help to City, so if the reports are true then they will need to replace him adequately.

Whether City will renew their push for Harry Kane as a central striker option or whether they would rather target a wide man to replace Torres is unknown, but the apparent €70million fee would open up plenty of potential options for them.

After spending just €20m on him from cash-strapped Valencia two summers ago, it would be a deal that represent big profit for a player who’s hardly ripped up any trees since joining.

Torres is a good young player with plenty of potential and talent, but he’s far from indispensable to this City side and they’re more than capable of replacing him if they need to.

Ferran Torres of Spain celebrates his team's fifth goal during the UEFA Nations League group stage match between Spain and Germany at Estadio de La...

He would fit in well at Barcelona with their new crop of young players coming through and would be able to establish himself with the national team while earning regular minutes at club level.

It’s a move that suits all if they can get it done, but the replacement will be key to if this one gets over the line.

Man City can help Manchester United by beating PSG

It isn’t often that Manchester City winning a game is in any way helpful for Manchester United, but Wednesday’s Champions League tie against PSG could be exactly that.

The French giants travel to the Etihad Stadium for a crunch Champions League group stage game, with City intent on exacting revenge for their meeting earlier this season where PSG earned a 2-0 win at the Parc des Princes.

But while a win for City obviously is ideal for them, it could also be ideal for their city rivals United in their managerial hunt.



Manchester United finally sacked Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on Sunday following a 4-1 defeat to Watford, making it four defeats in six Premier League games.

A statement by the club revealed that Michael Carrick would take charge of upcoming fixtures while they looked for an interim coach until the end of the season, sparking confusion among fans and media about why they would take that approach.

Since then though, it has become apparent that Paris Saint-Germain boss Mauricio Pochettino is their number one target to take over in the summer, making it a bit more obvious.

What they perhaps didn’t envisage though, is that the former Tottenham boss is keen to take over immediately and is willing to leave Paris mid-season to take the job of his dreams.

While he is at PSG, a club he played for and captained during his career, he will give 100 percent, but their Champions League position could look quite bleak if they are defeated on Wednesday night.

The Champions League group currently stands with Man City sitting at the top on nine points, with PSG just behind them on eight. Club Brugge have earned four points so far while RB Leipzig have capitulated and already been eliminated, earning just one point so far.

If City win the game they will guarantee that they finish top of the group, while a win for Brugge agains the already eliminated Leipzig means PSG would be forced to go into the final game-week before trying to claim qualification.

That final game will see them host Brugge in Paris, with a draw all that’s needed to secure progression to the next round. But the pressure will be on Pochettino for it even getting that far with the squad he has assembled, and speculation linking him to the United job is only likely to increase the longer it goes on.

Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino and Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane greet prior to the UEFA Champions League group H match...

PSG aren’t usually ones to act impulsively when it comes to the managerial situation, but with Champions League qualification on the line it’s possible they could opt for stability and to let Pochettino go ahead of that game if he were to fail against City.

That would make it much easier for United to get their man and for Pochettino to get his move, while PSG are expected to move for Zinedine Zidane should the Argentine leave the club mid-season.

For that reason, and that reason only, United fans might be quietly cheering for a City win for a couple of hours on Wednesday night. But don’t tell anyone.

Sergio Aguero forced to retire with heart problems

Sergio Aguero has been forced to retire aged 33 after being diagnosed with heart problems.

The Argentina striker joined Barcelona in the summer on a free transfer after 10 years with Manchester City in the Premier League, where he became the club’s all-time top goalscorer.

After joining the Camp Nou side to play with Lionel Messi, he was left angered when Messi was forced to leave the club after financial problems meant his contract could not be renewed.



Aguero suffered a calf injury which delayed his debut for the club until October, before scoring his first goal for the club as a substitute in El Clasico during the 2-1 defeat to Real Madrid.

He completed his first 90 minutes for the club in a defeat to Rayo Vallecano, but in his next appearance ‘Kun’ would only last 42 minutes before going down unchallenged with breathing problems.

He has since been diagnosed with a cardiac arythmia and although Barcelona announced that he would unavailable for a period of three months while his health was monitored, it’s now believed he will retire.

According to leading Barcelona journalist Gerard Romero, the club will host a press conference this week to officially confirm the player’s retirement from professional football at the age of 33.

Aguero scored an amazing 260 goals for Man City in 390 appearances for the club during a ten-year stint where he won five Premier League titles, six Carabao Cups and an FA Cup.

The shock retirement will come as a blow to new Barcelona boss Xavi, who earmarked Aguero’s experience and quality as something to build on when taking over from Ronald Koeman.

It means Memphis Depay will be tasked with being the club’s chief goalscorer this season along with youngster Ansu Fati, while Luuk de Jong, Martin Braithwaite, Ousmane Dembele and Phillipe Coutinho will also need to chip in when they play.

Three things we learnt from Women’s Football Weekend

Women’s Football weekend took place last week and was a rousing success for the women’s game in the United Kingdom.

Games across the top league were screened on television as exciting matches were played and new stars were born.

But what did we learn from the weekend as a whole and how did it help to shape the Women’s Super League season? Lets take a look at three things in particular that came to my attention.



Vivianne Miedema is clutch

Although this should have been common knowledge prior to Women’s football weekend, Vivianne Miedema showed once again why she is deemed one of the best in the world.

With Spurs on the brink of a historic victory against their north London rivals, Miedema rose the highest from a corner in the 92nd minute of the match to grab a point for her side.

Her stoppage time equaliser epitomised everything she’s about within the box – not only a hugely physical presence, but more so her desire to sniff out danger and weakness of the opposition.

Viv seemed to understand what was at stake as she headed the ball into the back of the net and her reaction to the goal summed up just how clutch she is.

Immediately after scoring, she instructed Nikita Parris to grab the ball and for the rest of her teammates to focus – shouting “THINK!” as her side sought after a winner. What a player. What a team.

Arsenal are becoming used to winning and it’s a feeling that Miedema wants to have running through the club. She embodies everything that the coach Jonas Eidvall is trying to create.


Rehanne Skinner is building a resilient team at Spurs.

Having taken over this Tottenham team mid-season, Rehanne Skinner was thrown into the deep end in regard to the fact that the Spurs team that she joined had yet to win a single game, despite being six games into a 22 game season.

She was tasked with steadying the ship last season and starting to build a team that would last in the WSL long term. After having worked with the players now for a year, this Women’s football week match epitomised everything that a Skinner team is about.

Spurs had never beaten Arsenal before, and this task was made even more difficult because of the great form that Arsenal are in – before the weekend, they were yet to drop a single point. However, Spurs were able to take away a point and were unlucky not to walk away with all three.

Rehanne Skinner, Head Coach of Tottenham Hotspur looks on following the Barclays FA Women's Super League match between Tottenham Hotspur Women and...

The amount of defensive discipline on display from the whole team just shows how well drilled they’ve been by Skinner. Their awareness of high danger moments also points towards being an extremely well prepared team as well as the fact that they created many goal scoring opportunities down the other end.

You can really see the changes that Skinner is implementing with the team and everyone seems to be buying into her philosophy. A competitive Spurs only bodes well for making WSL derbies more competitive.


Manchester City are really in a tough spot right now

Manchester City’s injury crisis is unlike one that I’ve seen in recent time. At certain points, they’ve had 5 of their usual starting 11 out with long term injuries – luckily they’ve had Keira Walsh return to the starting line up following her injury lay-off.

It’s less than ideal having your first and second choice keepers out injured and it once again was an area that opposition looked to exploit. Normally these Chelsea vs Manchester City matches end up being the title deciders, however we were met with the opposite of that during Women’s football weekend.

City right now, especially in defence, look bereft of confidence and that is heavily down to the fact that they’re having to use a makeshift back four.

Ellen White of Manchester City is seen dejected during the Barclays FA Women's Super League match between Manchester City Women and Chelsea Women at...

Though Chelsea seemed to show no mercy as Jessie Fleming scored within the first 90 seconds of the game, I actually thought City did well with the ball and we saw shades of what we expect from them – a team that uses the ball really well and can carve out chances from any area of the pitch.

The main issue was that it seemed as though every single shot on target that Chelsea had was resulting in a goal, whilst City were less clinical offensively.

As their injured players trickle back into the squad I expect City to turn it around soon, but they’re definitely in a bad spot right now as results don’t seem to be going their way – suffering heavy defeats to the other “Big 3” members.

What is best for Raheem Sterling’s future?

After Euro 2020, it seemed as though Raheem Sterling had got his career back on track after a stellar tournament for England.

The winger chipped in with three goals in the first four games, then assisted Harry Kane’s first goal in the quarter-final against Ukraine before winning a penalty in extra-time of the semi-final against Denmark to help England to their first final since 1966.

But despite that form and level of performance, Sterling has found himself on the periphery at Manchester City once again this season.



After losing his place to Phil Foden in the second half of last season, Sterling was named as a starter in the Champions League final defeat to Chelsea which gave many some hope that he would be involved going forward.

Fast forward to the start of the season though and Pep Guardiola had signed Jack Grealish from Aston Villa for £100m and only Sergio Aguero had left the club. Sterling’s place was under more threat than ever before.

As we approach the mid-point of November, Sterling has started just four games in the Premier League and Champions League combined. With one goal in each, plus an assist in Europe, it’s not a surprise that he is struggling to get game time.

But for England, it’s a totally different story. Gareth Southgate continues to select him as a key member of the attack and he is performing to a high level still, albeit against lesser opposition.

Raheem Sterling of England is challenged by Ardian Ismajli and Ylber Ramadani of Albania during the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifier match between...

With his contract due to expire in June 2023, it’s crunch time for his Manchester City future now.

Reports suggest that clubs such as Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain are keen on recruiting the former QPR and Liverpool man, but while Man City won’t stand in his way should he look to move thy will demand a relatively high fee for their asset.

That leaves Sterling in a predicament, as he risks isolating himself by asking for a move and then not getting one.

But as it stands, asking for a move is the best thing he could possibly do. Sterling is 26-years-old and will turn 27 by the time the January transfer window opens, meaning he is in the absolute peak years of his career.

He has done most things at City, winning three Premier League titles with the club, an FA Cup, four Carabao Cups and reaching a Champions League final. He is also the player who has scored the most goals under Pep Guardiola for the club.

Raheem Sterling of Manchester City poses with the Premier League trophy during the Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion and Manchester...

But you need to know when to cut your losses, and it seems as this point that Guardiola has moved away from needing Sterling in the team and is taking his squad in a different direction.

Instead of fighting a losing battle, Sterling should cash in on the fact his contract is running down and get the big-money move that is inevitable should he depart.

A move to Barcelona would be great from a status point of view, playing for one of the biggest and most prestigious clubs in the world on a weekly basis and trying to help them re-find their former glory.

But a better option would be a move to the French capital to another mega-rich team in Paris Saint-Germain, who look certain to lose star-man Kylian Mbappe to Real Madrid on a free transfer in the summer.

Marco Verratti of PSG, Raheem Sterling of Manchester City during the UEFA Champions League group A match between Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester...

They will surely look to make a statement signing to replace him and with Lionel Messi, Neymar and Angel Di Maria in their ranks already, Sterling would add some youth and more top level experience to an already star-studded squad.

PSG would likely be able to afford any fee that City would demand for him and he would be an excellent addition. For Sterling, he almost guarantees more trophies for his own personal cabinet, gets to play for one of the best teams in the world with some of the best players and ultimately get back to competing at the highest level week in and week out.

It seems like a no-brainer, but whether Sterling is serious about potentially playing abroad in the future or not is a different matter. If he is, Paris is likely his best option to get his career back on track.