Can anyone stop Manchester City?

By Mariah Ramharack March 22, 2021

#INCASEYOUMISSEDIT the 2021 edition with Mariah Ramharack On many a Sunday, I realize that people have looked at the stories they've seen throughout the week with different lenses. I have my own personal take on some of these trending issues and I will share them with you. Welcome to #INCASEYOUMISSEDIT the 2021 edition with Mariah

  Barring injury, Manchester City on track for a quadruple.\

Based on current form Manchester City is on course to secure four titles – the Champions League, Premier League, FA Cup, and the Carabao Cup.

The Citizens possess depth, quality and mental fortitude and guided by the tactical genius Pep Guardiola to sweep all that lies before them. In all competitions this season, Man City has won 25 of their last 26 games, their only defeat coming against Manchester United, who beat them 2-0 on March 7.

However, Guardiola will remind his players that there is no room for complacency as they have not won anything, yet. He will also be hoping that his players steer clear of injury during the international break.

Other than their silky smooth passing that break teams down with regularity, Manchester City have been blessed with an unyielding defence, which will be key to their success in the Champions League.

The first task will be overcoming German powerhouse Borussia Dortmund in the quarter-finals.

In the Premier League, City winning the title looks inevitable as with nine games to go, they hold a healthy 14-point lead over Manchester United who has 57 points.

The Manchester-based juggernauts have also sealed a place in the FA semi-finals following their recent 2-0 win over Everton. They are also set to face the inconsistent Tottenham Hot Sput in the Carabao Cup.

After a difficult start to the season, Manchester City has hit top form at the right time and as their genius coach explained, the secret to success is simple.

“It is not just tactics, it’s mental-being ready every game,” he said.

 

India showed its quality against England in the T20I series

India and England were locked at 2-2 heading into Sunday’s final T20I match of their closely fought series and the final match was no different.

 However, India showed their tremendous quality and class in securing a victory that was not as close as the scores suggested.

Sent to bat, India posted 224-2 in their 20 overs. It was a total that overwhelmed England, who fell short scoring 188-8 in 20 overs.

Opening the innings with Rohit Sharma, skipper Virat Kohli led from the front and was there at the end, scoring an unbeaten 80 not out from 52 balls, which prompted commentator Ian Bishop to tweet, “I would love to see Kohli open more often, especially when India bat first in T20I.”

The Indian captain and Sharma and Kohli mounted a 94-run partnership that laid the foundation for India’s mammoth score.

Sharma went on the attack early smashing 64 from 34 balls while Kohli supported from the other end.

Suryakumar Yadav’s 32 from 17 and Hardik Pandya’s unbeaten 39 not out ensured that India never lost momentum while Kohli played the perfect anchor taking over at the end to push India well beyond 200 runs.

 It was then the turn of their bowlers to defend the total on an excellent batting strip and they duly obliged. Bhuvneshwar Kumar was the difference maker taking 2-15 in his four overs. Shardul Thakur took 3-45 as England struggled to stay close to the required run rate.

“It was a complete game for us. We totally outplayed the opposition,” said Kohli afterwards. “The fact Rishabh and Shreyas didn’t get the chance to bat and still got close 230, is testament to how we did with the bat.”  

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    Real Madrid duo Karim Benzema and Thibaut Courtois, alongside Manchester City playmaker Kevin De Bruyne, are the three nominees for the 2021-22 UEFA Men's Player of the Year Award.

    The three are joined by bosses Carlo Ancelotti and Pep Guardiola, plus Liverpool's Jurgen Klopp, on the three-man shortlist for the UEFA Men's Coach of the Year Award.

    Ahead of this week's Ballon d'Or nominations, France forward Benzema has further enshrined his frontrunner status, after firing Madrid to a continental double last term in La Liga and the UEFA Champions League.

    But there is no room for any player from Liverpool, the side who Ancelotti's men vanquished in last season's final in Paris.

    Five Reds stars - Mohamed Salah, Virgil van Dijk, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Fabinho, plus the departed Sadio Mane - made the 15-man longlist, but none made the final cut for the eventual nominations.

    Other players included Robert Lewandowski and Luka Modric, who came fourth and fifth respectively, while Paris Saint-Germain forward Kylian Mbappe came eighth, one spot ahead of Madrid forward Vinicius Junior.

    Benzema is feted for his superb efforts in helping Madrid bounce back to glory under Ancelotti, with 44 goals in 46 games across all competitions, while Courtois is recognised for his superb feats between the posts.

    De Bruyne meanwhile helped City and Guardiola to another Premier League crown, while Klopp steered Liverpool to two domestic trophies, plus a second-place league finish and the Champions League final.

    The winners will be announced at the ceremony for the 2022-23 Champions League group stage draw in Istanbul on August 25.

  • Guardiola: Man City signing Sergio Gomez 'for now', not the future Guardiola: Man City signing Sergio Gomez 'for now', not the future

    Pep Guardiola revealed Sergio Gomez will compete for a place in Manchester City's first team as he confirmed reports the Premier League champions are set to sign the young left-back.

    City have reportedly agreed an £11million (€13m) deal to sign the 21-year-old Anderlecht player, having missed out on Marc Cucurella to Chelsea earlier this month.

    Guardiola has been chasing another left-back to compete with Joao Cancelo since Oleksandr Zinchenko departed for Arsenal, with Atletico Madrid's Renan Lodi and Wolves' Rayan Ait-Nouri also touted as potential targets.

    Although some have suggested Gomez represents a development project, with a loan move to Girona mooted, Guardiola is confident in his ability to contribute immediately.

    "You know the club is always working on many possibilities and chances in all positions, and this one target is a young player," Guardiola said ahead of City's Premier League fixture against Bournemouth on Saturday. 

    "In the [2017 Under-17] World Cup years ago, the best player was Phil Foden, and he was the second-best player in this tournament, then he played for Spain's under-21s.

    "He was a young talented player from the academy in Barcelona, he went to [Borussia] Dortmund and didn't get many minutes, and the last year he played in the good hands of Vincent Kompany at Anderlecht and played really well.

    "We targeted him and could bring him here."

    Asked whether Gomez was one for the future, Guardiola responded: "No, for now, he's going to stay with us and will be alongside Joao, for left-back."

    Full-backs have a vital role in Guardiola's team, with the ability of Cancelo to drift into the middle of the midfield seen as key.

    Playing in this way, Cancelo laid on seven Premier League assists in 2021-22 – a tally only beaten by Gabriel Jesus and Kevin De Bruyne (both eight) among City players – and created 36 chances from open play.

    He also topped the club's charts for passes ending in the final third (1,112 – over 300 more than second-placed Bernardo Silva's 769) .

    Cancelo and Kyle Walker each impressed as City enjoyed over 75 per cent of the possession in a routine win at West Ham last Sunday, and Guardiola highlighted the way his full-backs must adapt against different opponents.

    "It's not the first time I've done it; for many years, I've done it," he added.

    "Last season, with a proper striker with Gabriel or Raz [Raheem Sterling] playing that, or with a false nine, we played it, too.

    "And in many games, we didn't play it, and many games this season we are not going to play. It depends on the qualities of opponents, especially the shape of how they defend.

    "The way we attack depends on how they defend. It's different to attack a four or five at the back, to see how the wingers behave, to defend narrow or wide – this affects your attack.

    "You have to adapt. Since, I would say, at Bayern Munich, especially in the second season, I always used it many, many times."

  • Haaland has 'a lot of margin to improve', says Man City boss Guardiola Haaland has 'a lot of margin to improve', says Man City boss Guardiola

    Erling Haaland has "a lot of margin to improve" with Manchester City, according to Pep Guardiola.

    The Norway international made the move from Borussia Dortmund to the Etihad Stadium ahead of the new season, as a flagship signing for both the club and the Premier League.

    Despite drawing a blank in the Community Shield loss to Liverpool, the Leeds-born star responded with a brace on his league debut for the club last weekend against West Ham.

    For Guardiola, however, Haaland still has plenty of scope to get better at City, suggesting he must work more to find the ball and bring himself into the thick of the action.

    "In the process to score a goal, I do not like the striker just waiting for balls to come," he said ahead of Saturday's home clash with Bournemouth.

    "If he wants to drop, he can do it. Erling has a lot of margin to improve. I would not make out he is done. He can be a better player and [he] has the will to do it.

    "He likes to play football. I [have] never seen a player, [except] maybe [Lionel] Messi, who is a finished article. Always, you can improve.

    "We will try to make him a better player, all our players have a lot of margin to be better. That is the reason why we are here, to try to help them."

    Guardiola also touched on the title rivalry his side have shared with Liverpool over the past few seasons, framing their relationship as something that pushes City forward to new heights with each year.

    "We were able to create this rivalry," he added. "The biggest opponent we face is Liverpool [and] it is an honour. Sport like this, individual [or] collective, you need someone to [make] you better."

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