EPL

BREAKING NEWS: Kompany leaving Manchester City after 11 years

By Sports Desk May 19, 2019

Vincent Kompany has played his final game for Manchester City, with the Premier League champions confirming that their captain is leaving the club.

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  • He is important for Arsenal – Emery defends Xhaka after fans turn on him He is important for Arsenal – Emery defends Xhaka after fans turn on him

    Arsenal head coach Unai Emery defended Granit Xhaka after he was booed by his own supporters during Sunday's pulsating 3-2 Premier League win over Aston Villa.

    The Gunners, who had Ainsley Maitland-Niles sent off in the first half, looked to be heading for a sorry home defeat as John McGinn and Wesley scored for Villa either side of Nicolas Pepe's first goal for the club.

    Calum Chambers levelled in the 81st minute, though, and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang sealed a dramatic three points with a superb free-kick six minutes from time.

    That late jubilation was a far cry from the scenes that greeted Xhaka's removal for Joe Willock earlier in the half, with large numbers of the home faithful audibly expressing their dissatisfaction with the Switzerland international's display.

    Emery, however, said the 26-year-old Xhaka is still very much part of his plans and wants to see more support for him from fans.

    "We need our supporters and we need them helping each player," he told a media conference. "It is our responsibility to transmit our commitment and Xhaka is doing this.

    "He played very well on Thursday [against Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League] and last week at Watford he did well. Here, I changed him because he played for 90 minutes on Thursday and I wanted to bring fresh players on.

    "But Xhaka is a very important player for us. He has a big commitment here, he is improving. I am not asking people to support him but I assure you he is going to achieve his best things if the supporters help him.

    "We are professional; Xhaka is an experienced player and he knows sometimes we can receive criticism and we need to be mature and continue working.

    "For me he is a very important player and I am going to support him. I am going to decide when he plays and when he doesn't, but he is important for us because his commitment and behaviour is great and he is a good player."

    Matteo Guendouzi was central to Arsenal's stirring second-half display, winning the penalty which was converted by Pepe and driving forward the Gunners at every opportunity.

    Emery was full of praise for the 20-year-old and said he has exactly the kind of attitude he wants from his players.

    "With Matteo, last year when he came here he progressed and he is progressing," he said. "Really, I like that spirit he has. He has talent but above all I like his attitude, his energy, his commitment and his behaviour.

    "He's one player who is angry when he is not playing but I like that. When you decide that they play you know they will give you what you need.

    "I want to be calm with him. He is humble, continuing to improve and growing up with us."

  • De Bruyne majesty makes Guardiola wonder how Manchester City star can still make simple errors De Bruyne majesty makes Guardiola wonder how Manchester City star can still make simple errors

    Pep Guardiola marvels at the defence-splitting passes from Kevin De Bruyne that drive Manchester City to new heights – and it makes him wonder how the Belgian occasionally bungles the elementary side of the game.

    It was a case of De Bruyne at his brilliant best in City's 8-0 thumping of Watford on Saturday, a result he capped with a sublime late strike.

    City would love him to reproduce the devastating playmaking skills that tore a hole in the Hornets' defence on a match-by-match basis, but not even De Bruyne can be perfect every day.

    Since De Bruyne made his City debut in September 2015, however, he has provided more Premier League assists than any other player, with 52 goals laid on for team-mates so far.

    There has been the odd stray pass, the odd near-anonymous performance.

    And Guardiola – a top-class midfielder himself before turning to coaching – stops to wonder how, when a player can be so peerless one day, at other times, no matter how infrequent, he can still look mortal.

    "He was quite good, yeah?" said Guardiola after De Bruyne's masterclass in the Watford match. "The guy has a future, yeah?"

    Guardiola's deadpan handling of questions about De Bruyne signals his appreciation of the 28-year-old's ability.

    "Kevin is a special player, sometimes he sees something the other guys cannot see on the pitch," said the former Barcelona head coach.

    "Sometimes I'm a little bit like 'Grrr', when it's a simple ball and he loses it. How, with your quality, can you lose it?

    "But he's an incredibly talented player, with his vision up front and the quality he has.

    "We had an incredible season, winning four titles, but we missed him a lot last season, because he's a special player. I'm happy he's here, happy for the club. When nobody knew him or nobody talked about him, the club were there and said, 'He can help us'."

  • Reds extend record after champions run riot – the Premier League Data Diary Reds extend record after champions run riot – the Premier League Data Diary

    Manchester City sent a message to the Premier League with an 8-0 thrashing of Watford on Saturday, but Liverpool claimed victory at Chelsea to ensure they maintained the lead in this season's title race.

    The Reds held their nerve in the wake of City's emphatic performance, taking a first-half lead at Stamford Bridge and withstanding a late wave of Chelsea pressure to emerge with a 2-1 win.

    While the top two attempt to outstrip each other, Tottenham and Arsenal are lagging behind and there were mixed fortunes for the North London rivals in matchweek six.

    After a thrilling weekend of top-flight action, the Opta data sheds light on the important details.

     

    REDS SET RECORD AS FLYING START CONTINUES

    Liverpool's 2-1 win at Chelsea made them the first team in top-flight history to win the opening six matches in two consecutive seasons.

    Goals from Trent Alexander-Arnold and Roberto Firmino helped maintain the European champions' unstoppable league form as they clinched their 15th consecutive domestic victory.

    Even champions Manchester City have been unable to keep pace with the Reds this season, but Pep Guardiola's men remain the only team in top-flight history to have achieved a longer winning sequence (18 wins between August and December 2017).

    It was Jurgen Klopp's 92nd victory in his 150th Premier League game in charge of the Reds, and former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho (105 wins) is the only manager who can boast a better return from his first 150 matches in the competition.

    Blues manager Frank Lampard is still without a home win after taking charge of four matches in all competitions at Stamford Bridge, making him only the second Chelsea boss to start with such a long winless run after Bobby Campbell in 1988.

    RECORDS TUMBLE AS CITY RUN RIOT

    With the champions determined to return to winning ways after last weekend's shock defeat to Norwich City, poor Watford never stood a chance against Guardiola's rampant side.

    The records tumbled as City recorded their biggest ever victory in the English top-flight and inflicted the Hornets' heaviest ever defeat in the top four tiers of English football.

    David Silva's opener after just 52 seconds was the fastest goal in the Premier League this season, while City's five goals in just 18 minutes made them the fastest team to go 5-0 up in the competition's history.

    Not only did Sergio Aguero bring up 100 Premier League goals at the Etihad Stadium with his early penalty, he also became the first player to score in seven consecutive Premier League appearances since Romelu Lukaku in December 2015.

    SPURS LET LEAD SLIP AGAIN AT LEICESTER

    Tottenham's stuttering season continued at the King Power Stadium as they slipped to a 2-1 defeat to Leicester City despite Harry Kane's goal giving them a 1-0 lead at half-time.

    Ricardo Pereira equalised in the 69th minute before James Maddison struck the winner five minutes from time, condemning Spurs to a third consecutive Premier League away game in which they led at half-time but failed to win – their first such run since March 2008.

    Maddison's goal was his first in the Premier League since he scored against Huddersfield Town in April, ending a frustrating run of 31 shots without finding the net as he clinched three impressive points for the Foxes.

    There were some positive stats for Kane, who has scored more goals (14 in 13 games) against Leicester than any other side in his professional career and more away goals (13) than any other Premier League player since the start of last season.

    But those figures will feel meaningless to the England man after his side lost for the second time in four league games.

    GUNNERS PULL THROUGH AFTER MAITLAND-NILES SEES RED

    Arsenal were 1-0 down at home to Aston Villa when Ainsley Maitland-Niles was sent off for a second bookable offence but Unai Emery's men prevailed 3-2 after an impressive second-half performance with 10 men.

    It was the ninth time in Premier League history that a team had won a match after having a man sent off while trailing and Arsenal had Nicolas Pepe, Calum Chambers and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to thank for finding the net.

    Aubameyang scored the winner in the 84th minute and his goal-scoring record stands at 16 in his past 16 games in all competitions for Arsenal, including goals in each of his last four outings.

    Maitland-Niles, meanwhile, became the first Arsenal player to be sent off more than once in the Premier League in the same calendar year since Laurent Koscielny in 2013 (both players sent off twice).

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