Mbappe and Rashford the present and future of football – Pogba

By Sports Desk May 04, 2021

Related items

  • Aguer-woe! Sergio apologises for fluffed Panenka in Man City's defeat to Chelsea Aguer-woe! Sergio apologises for fluffed Panenka in Man City's defeat to Chelsea

    Sergio Aguero has apologised to Manchester City's supporters after his dismal penalty in Saturday's 2-1 home defeat to Chelsea. 

    Pep Guardiola's side would have wrapped up the Premier League title with victory over the Blues in a rehearsal of this month's Champions League final. 

    They would have been well on their way to sealing a third championship in four seasons had Aguero – who will leave City at the end of the season – added a swift second to Raheem Sterling's breakthrough strike on the stroke of half-time. 

    Yet City's record goalscorer got it all wrong.

    His tame Panenka attempt from 12 yards was comfortably gathered by Edouard Mendy, with Chelsea subsequently roaring back to seal all three points through Hakim Ziyech and Marcos Alonso. 

    City have now failed to score more penalties (four) than any other side in the Premier League this season, while they are the first side to miss at least four spot-kicks in consecutive top-flight seasons since Tottenham in 1993-94 and 1994-95.

    Writing on Twitter, Aguero said: "I would like to apologise to my team-mates, staff and supporters for missing the penalty. It was a bad decision and I take full responsibility."

    Guardiola refused to be too critical, saying: "Always I say to the player in the penalties, take one decision. Panenka, right, left, short, whatever you want, but commit.

    "He was committed. If he misses it, he misses it. Everyone is disappointed but the first disappointment is for him."

    Including his spot-kick, Aguero had two attempts on Saturday, while also creating two chances, albeit one of those came with his seemingly inadvertent assist for Sterling's opener – the 32-year-old taking a heavy touch when presented with a gaping goal.

    He registered 23 touches in total, the lowest of any City outfield player to start the match, but did complete all 11 of his passes before making way for Phil Foden in the 70th minute.

  • Liverpool 2-0 Southampton: Mane and Thiago keep Reds in hunt for Champions League Liverpool 2-0 Southampton: Mane and Thiago keep Reds in hunt for Champions League

    Liverpool kept themselves in the hunt for a top-four Premier League finish as they earned a 2-0 win over Southampton at Anfield.

    Sadio Mane's 31st-minute header and a late Thiago Alcantara strike - his first for the club - proved the difference as the hosts ensured their slim hopes of clinching Champions League qualification remain alive.

    The Saints, meanwhile, failed to make themselves mathematically safe from relegation as they suffered defeat, though with 10 points separating them from 18th-placed Fulham, it is highly unlikely they will be dragged into the mix.

    Liverpool's last two outings - 1-1 draws against Leeds United and Newcastle United - were largely defined by a failure to take their opportunities, rather than any issues creating them.

    And Jurgen Klopp could have been forgiven for worrying that a familiar pattern was once again emerging as his team missed chance after chance in the opening 25 minutes.

    Mohamed Salah was guilty of twice finding Fraser Forster's gloves when he might have done better, while Diogo Jota and Mane each shot over from good positions.

    And when Alisson did brilliantly to close the angle on a Che Adams one-on-one created by Nathan Tella just after Georginio Wijnaldum hit the bar, it looked like the Reds were in for another forgettable outing.

    However, from the resulting attack, Liverpool went ahead, Salah sending in an inswinging cross that Mane simply could not fail to head home from close range.

    The fragility of that lead was underlined before the break when Tella headed straight at Alisson with the goal at his mercy, and the Brazilian needed to show sharp reactions again to deny substitute Michael Obafemi just past the hour mark as the Saints pushed.

    Clearly enjoying his starring role, the goalkeeper even gave himself another huge stop to make as he passed the ball to the feet of Adams before getting down to block the subsequent shot.

    A nervous finish could have been avoided had Mane stayed onside before lashing home a recycled ball beyond Forster late in the second half, but the hosts wrapped things up in the 90th minute through Thiago's low finish from the edge of the box.

    What does it mean? Reds still in top-four running

    Chelsea may well be out of reach for Liverpool as they look to sneak into the Champions League places late in the season, but Klopp's squad have every reason to believe they can catch Leicester City.

    The fading Foxes are now just six points ahead of the Reds having played a game more and must take on Manchester United, Chelsea and Tottenham in their final three games.

    Alisson the hero

    It always felt like Liverpool's goalkeeper could be in for a busy game with such an inexperienced centre-back pairing ahead of him, Nathaniel Phillips partnering Rhys Williams in defence.

    But the Brazilian was more than up to the task, with almost all of his six saves across the 90 minutes coming in situations where the opposing player looked the clear favourite to win the duel.

    Wijnaldum toils

    A Liverpool team that has prided itself on midfield solidity in recent years lacked that for large periods of this game, and the typically reliable Wijnaldum cannot escape his share of the blame for that.

    The Dutchman made just 41 passes, zero tackles and zero interceptions in an anonymous showing that perhaps shows why Klopp might be willing to let him go this summer.

    What's next?

    Southampton are back in action as early as Tuesday when they host Crystal Palace, while Liverpool head to Old Trafford on Thursday in order to fulfil their postponed meeting with bitter rivals Manchester United.

  • Guardiola fumes at officials as Man City pay penalty against Chelsea Guardiola fumes at officials as Man City pay penalty against Chelsea

    Pep Guardiola had no doubt Raheem Sterling should have been awarded a late penalty before Manchester City went down to a 2-1 defeat against their Champions League final opponents Chelsea.

    Sterling gave City a 44th-minute lead at the Etihad Stadium in a game where victory would have secured a third Premier League title in four seasons.

    Sergio Aguero, so synonymous with such triumphs during his decade at the club, had a glorious chance to bring glory much closer when Billy Gilmour blundered into Gabriel Jesus, but City's all-time record goalscorer chipped a Panenka attempt into Edouard Mendy's arms.

    Chelsea made the most of that let-off by turning in a superb second-half display – Hakim Ziyech equalising after the hour and Marcos Alonso sealing the points in stoppage time after Timo Werner and Callum Hudson-Odoi had efforts chalked off for offside.

    However, Guardiola's post-match ire was focused upon a clumsy challenge on Sterling by Kurt Zouma when the England forward went through on goal in the 88th minute.

    Referee Anthony Taylor opted not to give a penalty and the VAR did not think it was necessary for him to consult the pitchside monitor, which Guardiola felt would have painted a very clear picture.

    "It's a penalty," he told Sky Sports when asked for his thoughts on why the spot kick was not awarded.

    "It's a penalty, that's all. It's happened. It's football.

    "Try the next to time to score our penalty and that's all.

    "The opinion of the fourth official and Anthony, they know it. That’s all.

    "Sometimes we make mistakes, maybe they believe they didn't make a mistake. Okay. I saw it on the TV and it's a penalty.

    "You have to score, of course, but what can I say?

    "In 21 days we are going to face them again in the Champions League, we have to learn from that. Now, we try for the three points we need to be champion."

    How much of a psychological advantage Chelsea will claim for the European showpiece is up for debate given Guardiola made nine changes to the line-up that beat Paris Saint-Germain in midweek.

    Still, Thomas Tuchel's side also beat a heavily rotated City in the FA Cup semi-final last month, meaning they should not be short of confidence the next time the sides meet.

    It might have been very different if Aguero had opted for a more conventional spot-kick, but Guardiola – who reacted furiously on the touchline at the time – refused to lambast the striker, who will leave City at the end of the season.

    "He is selfish because he misses?" he responded to a question making that suggestion in his post-match media conference. "If he scores he is a genius. That is the reality.

    "Always I say to the player in the penalties, take one decision – Panenka, right, left, short, whatever you want. But commit.

    "He was committed, if he misses it, he misses it. Everyone is disappointed but the first disappointment is for him."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.