Manchester United players "should be embarrassed" after their 6-3 defeat to local rivals Manchester City, says former Red Devils midfielder Roy Keane.

First-half doubles from Erling Haaland and Phil Foden had United four goals down at half-time, before they both capped off their hat-tricks after the interval as United conceded six in a Premier League game for just the fourth time.

And despite a late double from substitute Anthony Martial and a superb strike from Antony in consolation, Keane was fuming with United's performance after Sunday's match.

"It was the way they started - they were slow out of the blocks. City sent a message that they were up for it, and the first goal is huge," Keane told Sky Sports.

"United went down after eight minutes and they never recovered.

"There were spaces everywhere, they were sloppy in possession. Marcus Rashford never got hold of it, the wide players gave it away.

"Every time Man City went forward, they looked like they were going to score. It's a pleasure to watch City. They're one of the best teams I've seen live but for United this is a huge setback.

"There's nothing for United to take out from this game. The players should be embarrassed. You can't go into half-time 4-0 down in a derby game.

"It's hugely embarrassing, as brilliant as City were, United were desperate, particularly in midfield. They were overran in midfield and defensively they were all over the shop.

"Again we look at leadership - there was nothing there from Man United."

After a Europa League game away to Omonia Nicosia on Thursday, United return to Premier League action at Everton on October 9.

A hat-trick each for Erling Haaland and Phil Foden gave Manchester City a 6-3 win against Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

It was a ruthless performance from the Premier League champions, who were four goals up at half-time after tearing United apart time and again with their pass and move football.

Antony scored with an excellent strike early in the second half and Anthony Martial came off the bench to add two more late on to make the score a bit more respectable, but it was an otherwise dominant showing from City against Erik ten Hag's men.

Pep Guardiola saw his team go back to within a point of leaders Arsenal at the top of the league, and remain the only unbeaten team in England's top flight this season.

Phil Foden became the youngest player to hit 50 goals in a Pep Guardiola team as he scored two in a first-half rampage by Manchester City in Sunday's derby.

The England international scored City's opener and added their fourth as the home side led Manchester United 4-0 at the break. They were his first goals in Manchester derbies, with this his eighth appearance in such a game.

Between those goals, Erling Haaland delivered another masterclass of finishing with a clinical double strike, and it was Haaland's cross that Foden fired in to reach his half-century.

It meant Foden got to 50 goals in all competitions for City at the age of 22 years and 127 days.

Lionel Messi was 22 years and 164 days old when he reached 50 under Guardiola at Barcelona.

To give that some context, it is important to remember Messi had played four seasons for Barcelona before Guardiola took charge ahead of the 2008-09 season, while Foden has only ever played for Guardiola in City's first team.

Messi reached 50 for Guardiola in just his second season under the Spanish boss, while Foden made his City debut almost five years ago, in a Champions League game against Feyenoord.

Phil Foden has been a revelation since breaking into Manchester City's first team and the Premier League champions are eager to reward him with a new deal.

The England midfielder is under contract under 2024, but City are set to keep in at the club for the long term.


TOP STORY – CITY REACH FODEN AGREEMENT FOR BUMPER DEAL

Manchester City and Foden have reached an agreement in principle on a £78million deal according to Football Insider.

The mega-money deal is worth around £250,000 per week for the 22-year-old, pushing him close to the money Kevin De Bruyne and Erling Haaland are earning.

The length of the contract is six years for the Stockport-born star, who came through the academy at City.

ROUND-UP 

Arsenal have moved on from Dusan Vlahovic , according to Fabrizio Romano, who claims the Gunners are not interested in re-visiting a potential move for the Serbian who joined Juventus in January.

Manchester United will dangle a five-year contract for striker Marcus Rashford as they look to tie him down long term, reports The Express. Rashford's current deal expires at the end of this season.

– Calciomercato claims Alex Sandro will depart Juventus when his contract expires at the conclusion of this season. The Brazilian has previously attracted interest from Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain .

Romelu Lukaku has no plans to return to Chelsea when his season-long loan with Inter expires at the end of this season, reports La Gazzetta dello Sport.

Chelsea are ready to pay £30million for Fulham's 17-year-old midfielder Luke Harris , claims The Mirror. Harris was called up to Wales' Nations League squad, but is yet to debut for the Cottagers.

Liverpool and Arsenal are both considering a move next year for Villarreal's 21-year-old winger Alex Baena , reports the Daily Mirror.

Rio Ferdinand is calling 15-year-old Arsenal debutant Ethan Nwaneri a rare talent after he broke the record for the youngest Premier League player in history during his side's 3-0 win against Brentford on Sunday.

Nwaneri came on in stoppage time and had no effect on the outcome, but it was the next step in a rapid rise for the England under-17 representative, who is still classified as a schoolboy until he turns 16 in March.

Since his debut, a report from The Times has claimed Manchester United, Manchester City and Liverpool all have a strong interest in the impressive youngster, and Ferdinand believes it is not out of the blue.

Speaking on his Youtube channel FIVE, the United legend said he has heard from sources within the game that Nwaneri could be a once-in-a-generation prospect for the Gunners.

"There's no doubting this kid's ability," he said. 

"I've heard from coaches that are at the club and from various different people in the game at that level that there aren't many 15-year-olds in the last 10-or-so years that have got the ability that this guy's shown on a consistent basis.

"We are talking the [Phil] Fodens of this world. At 15, he's at a similar level they're talking."

Foden debuted for City at 17, and went on to become the youngest ever Premier League winner, while also being named PFA Young Player of the Year on two separate occasions.

At 22 years old, Foden has already earned 16 international caps, and is set for his first World Cup campaign in Qatar.

Here we go again. Some 69 days on from taking their latest Premier League title battle down to the final minutes of the final day of the last campaign, Manchester City and Liverpool prepare to face off in the 2022-23 curtain-raiser.

Liverpool not only missed out to City on the title but also tasted defeat to Real Madrid in the Champions League final the following week, although the 2021-22 season was not all bad as they lifted both the EFL Cup and FA Cup.

It has been a busy window for both clubs in terms of incoming and outgoing activity, but England's two dominant forces appear certain to battle it out for a share of the major honours once again this time around.

The first of the trophies up for grabs is the Community Shield this weekend, contested between the winners of the previous season's Premier League and FA Cup. 

While some question just how competitive the fixture exactly is – especially this campaign, with the match being held away from Wembley – it provides both sides with an opportunity to lay down an early marker for what is to come over the next 10 months. 


Community Shield with a difference

If Jose Mourinho was so eager to count it as a major honour, then who are we to argue against the Portuguese, who lifted the shield with both Chelsea and Manchester United.

This year's game is a little different in more ways than one, though, as for the first time since 1958 – when Bolton Wanderers beat Wolves 4-1 in the month of October – the showpiece will be held outside of August, a knock-on effect of the World Cup being staged midway through the campaign.

It is also the earliest in the calendar year the match has taken place since 1922 when Liverpool were beaten by Huddersfield Town in May.

Not only is the traditional date of the fixture different, so too is the venue. With Wembley being used for the Women's Euro 2022 final on Sunday, the contest will be held away from England's national stadium for the first time in a decade, since City beat Chelsea at Villa Park.

The game is instead being hosted by the King Power Stadium, and that could be bad news for Jurgen Klopp, who has lost more games at this venue (five) than he has at any other ground as Liverpool boss, excluding Anfield.

 

Reds' losing streak

There are plenty of familiarities this weekend, however, not least the fact that it will be City and Liverpool facing off for a trophy – albeit with this only their second encounter in the Community Shield, following City's penalty shoot-out success three years ago.

Liverpool are aiming to lift the trophy for a 16th time, which would move them level with Arsenal and behind only Manchester United (21), including occasions when the shield was shared. City are sixth on the list of all-time winners, seeking their seventh triumph this time around.

City may not have had as much success in the curtain-raising fixture down the years as Liverpool, but they have triumphed in three of their past five appearances – in 2012, 2018 and 2019.

The Reds' record is far less impressive in recent times, having lost four of their past six Community Shield matches, including each of the past two against City in 2019 and Arsenal in 2020.

 

Goals galore in Leicester?

If recent encounters between these sides have taught us anything, it is that we can expect to be entertained at the King Power Stadium on Saturday. 

Both teams have scored in eight of the past nine meetings between City and Liverpool in all competitions, including each of the past five in a row. Across those most recent nine matches, 33 goals have been netted in total – an average of 3.7 per game.

Last season alone saw both sides score at least twice in their three meetings in all competitions, which finished in a couple of four-goal draws in the league and a 3-2 win for Liverpool in the FA Cup semi-finals.

 

All eyes on Salah

Both sides will look slightly different following a busy period of transfers, and seeing how the likes of Erling Haaland, Kalvin Phillips, Darwin Nunez and Fabio Carvalho perform – if indeed used – will be one of the most exciting aspects.

There will be plenty of familiar faces on show, too, including Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah, who has been involved in 11 goals in 14 games against City for the Reds, making them his second-favourite opponent behind West Ham (12 goal involvements).

Pep Guardiola will also hope to get some minutes out of Phil Foden, who has yet to feature in pre-season due to visa issues that prevented him travelling to the United States.

The England international enjoys playing against Liverpool, scoring and assisting a combined five goals against them in five starts, although he has failed to do so in his past two outings in this fixture.

Phil Foden can see similarities between Erling Haaland and Manchester City great Sergio Aguero when it comes to his new team-mate's "scary" finishing ability.

Haaland joined City in a £64.2million (€75m) deal earlier this transfer window on the back of scoring 86 goals in 89 appearances in all competitions for Borussia Dortmund.

Across his two-and-a-half years with Dortmund, only Robert Lewandowski (122) and Kylian Mbappe (89) scored more times among players from Europe's top five leagues.

Indeed, Lewandowski (1.81) – who recently left Bayern Munich for Barcelona – is the only player to boast a better goals-per-game ratio than Haaland (1.07) during that period.

A year on from Aguero's exit for Barca, where the Argentine managed just five appearances before a heart issue forced him to retire, Haaland has big boots to fill at the Etihad Stadium.

Aguero scored 257 goals in 384 appearances for City, but Foden believes the reigning Premier League champions are in good hands with Haaland.

"In front of goal he's scary," the England international told Sky Sports. "Everyone knows his goal record, how many he scores.

"But he's coming into a completely different league, much faster football so it might take him time to get used to, but I'm sure when he's in his flow he's going to be unstoppable.

"Aguero is very similar. Haaland has got all different types of finishes as well. 

"He's scary in front of goal and if we can get him the ball in the right areas he's going to be really important for us this year."

Haaland was restricted to 30 games in all competitions for Dortmund last season, yet he still managed 29 goals at a rate of one 1.14 per 90 minutes.

Of those 29 strikes, which came from an expected goals (xG) return of 25.84, five were scored with his head, three with his right foot and 21 with his stronger left.

The Norway international scored the winner on his first outing for City in last week's friendly against Bayern Munich, and the field is not the only place he is making an impact.

"He's a top guy off the pitch, a great character, a great addition to the team," Foden explained.

"He makes everyone laugh and he's dead humble, which is important when you come into a team. He's hungry to achieve things with us, so it can only mean good things."

Haaland is set to make his domestic bow for City when Pep Guardiola's side take on FA Cup winners and Premier League rivals Liverpool in the Community Shield on Saturday.

John Stones is confident Manchester City will continue to perform at an elite level following a period of change, with the Premier League champions recruiting the likes of Erling Haaland and Kalvin Phillips amid the departures of several big names.

Meanwhile, Stones' City and England team-mate Phil Foden has hailed Pep Guardiola's style of management as the biggest factor in creating a harmonious atmosphere at the Etihad Stadium.

Having clinched a second consecutive Premier League title – their fourth in six seasons under Guardiola – with an exhilarating comeback victory over Aston Villa in May, City have used the transfer market to kick-start an evolution of their squad.

Haaland and Phillips represent City's two marquee signings during the off-season, while the likes of Gabriel Jesus, Raheem Sterling, Oleksandr Zinchenko and Fernandinho have all sought pastures new.

While Stones told the club's website he was sorry to see some of their most storied players depart, he is confident City's new arrivals will keep Guardiola's team competitive. 

"I'm always confident we can be successful," Stones said. "Whoever has come in, they have always been great from the start.

"We obviously spend that much time together and get to know people on a personal level first and then we go out on the training pitch and see what they can bring and the quality they have.

"Whoever has come in has stepped up. It's sad to see people go, whether it is retirement or wanting a new challenge and that's hard because we have so many good friends and good memories on the pitch, but we won’t forget those.

"But that’s football, there is always new people coming in and it is credit to the backroom staff and people involved in recruiting that the character fit of players that have come in do so well in the team."

Haaland's arrival should provide City with the focal point they missed at times last term – Kevin De Bruyne top-scored with 15 league goals for a side that shared the attacking burden during 2021-22.

Meanwhile, Phillips appears the ideal Fernandinho replacement in midfield after making more recoveries per 90 minutes (10.16) than any other outfield player to make a minimum of 15 Premier League appearances last season.

The intense competition for places at the Etihad was suggested as the reason for both Jesus and Sterling departing for domestic rivals in Arsenal and Chelsea respectively.

But Guardiola handed at least 900 minutes of Premier League football to 18 different players last campaign, a tally only bettered by four clubs, and Foden has hailed the tactician for his approach to squad management.

"He's really good at it, bringing everyone together," the creative midfielder said. "We have a big squad and everyone has to be ready to play.

"You see that all year round, everyone has to be ready to step up. Everyone sticking together in moments like those is so important and that's why we win a lot of trophies."

Erling Haaland has revealed that Riyad Mahrez told him to sign for Manchester City last year, and the striker is also looking forward to playing with Phil Foden.

The Premier League champions announced on May 10 that an agreement was in place to sign Haaland from Borussia Dortmund after triggering his reported €60million (£51.2m) release clause, and Haaland has now officially put pen to paper on a five-year contract at the Etihad Stadium, with the deal to go through on July 1.

Haaland scored 86 goals in 89 games for Dortmund upon joining from Salzburg in January 2020, averaging a goal every 84 minutes across all competitions.

The 21-year-old was pictured with Mahrez while on holiday in Greece in 2021, and Haaland told City's official website that the Algeria international had spoken to him about moving to Manchester at the time.

"He told me to come to City!" he said in the interview published on Monday. "He was right about that. He said some good things about the club."

Haaland also expressed his excitement at the prospect of linking up with another highly-rated young player in Foden.

The England international recorded 11 assists in 45 games in all competitions for City last season, while creating 63 chances overall and 18 big chances, which is an opportunity from which a goal would normally be expected.

 

"I have been watching a lot of City games for as long as I can remember. Of course, then I also watched Phil and he is an amazing player," Haaland said.

"He is still a talent because he is still young, but he is an amazing player.

"He still has to develop and then we can really talk."

Mohamed Salah has been named the PFA Players' Player of the Year, while Phil Foden has successfully defended his Young Player of the Year award.

Manchester City edged out Liverpool by a point in a thrilling Premier League title battle, but Salah again claimed a plethora of the individual awards after another fine campaign.

The Egypt international scored 23 top-flight goals to share the Premier League Golden Boot accolade with Son Heung-min, while also securing the Playmaker of the Season award for most assists.

Salah added the Premier League Goal of the Season trophy to his haul, alongside both the FWA and PFA Fans' Player of the Year awards.

Indeed, no player in the English top flight could match the Liverpool forward's 36 goal involvements (23 goals, 13 assists), setting him a class above his competitors.

Kevin De Bruyne was widely expected to be the frontrunner alongside Salah for the PFA Players' Player of the Year title, but the latter has pipped the Belgium international to yet another personal accolade.

Salah becomes the seventh men's player to win the PFA award twice, along with Mark Hughes, Alan Shearer, Thierry Henry, Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo and De Bruyne.

De Bruyne, Harry Kane, Ronaldo and Salah's club-mates Virgil van Dijk and Sadio Mane were also in the running to land the award, with Tottenham's Son surprisingly overlooked.

"It's a great honour to win a trophy, individual or collective and this one is big so, very happy and very proud of that," Salah said after winning the award.

"This one is a really good one to win, especially because it's voted by the players. It show you that you've worked really hard and you get what you have worked for.

"I have my room with trophies in a cabinet and I made sure that I had another space for one more. I always keep space and just try to imagine that the trophies are going to come."

Foden became the fifth men's player to win the PFA Young Player of the Year award in consecutive seasons, meanwhile, joining a list that includes Ryan Giggs, Robbie Fowler, Wayne Rooney and Dele Alli.

The City midfielder played an integral role as Pep Guardiola's side lifted their fourth Premier League title in five seasons under the Catalan coach.

The 22-year-old ended the league campaign with nine goals and five assists from his 28 outings.

"I'm really honoured to be honest, especially to win it back-to-back, it shows that I've come a long way this year with the consistency of my game, and I'm really pleased to win it again," Foden said. 

"All the best players in the world have got to show consistency and keep performing at a higher level, and this year I've just tried to do that and try and help my team as much as possible.

"I've been really happy with my performances this year. Hopefully, I can win the main award in the future, but it's all about taking small steps and improving.

"I always love winning individual awards, it's just nice to look at and how far you've come."

Kylian Mbappe, Vinicius Junior and Erling Haaland are the three most valuable players in world football, according to research group CIES Football Observatory.

Mbappe comes in as the most valuable having had a stellar season with Paris Saint-Germain, with 60 goal involvements (39 goals, 21 assists) in 46 games in all competitions.

Vinicius won the LaLiga and Champions League double with Real Madrid, while Haaland is soon to make a lucrative move from Borussia Dortmund to Manchester City after scoring 86 goals in 89 games during his time in Germany.

Mbappe turned down a move to Madrid to sign a new three-year deal with PSG last month, and the France international and World Cup winner is valued at an estimated €205.6million (£175.7m) by the CIES.

 

Vinicius is second at €185.5m (£158.3m), while Haaland supposedly has a value of €152.9m (£130.4m) despite costing City just €60m (£51m) thanks to a release clause.

The rest of the top 10 includes Barcelona trio Pedri, Frenkie de Jong and Ferran Torres, City's Phil Foden and Ruben Dias, Dortmund's Jude Bellingham and Liverpool's Luis Diaz.

CIES' research is based on a range of measures such as age, value of club, level of player performance and inflation.

The CIES report states: "The statistical model to estimate the transfer values for players from teams of the five major European leagues was built from a sample of 1,790 paid transfers carried out between July 2012 and January 2020.

"The correlation between the sums paid and estimated is greater than 80 per cent. This shows that the variables taken into account explain more than four-fifths of the gaps in the level of fees paid for transfers included in the model."

 

Top 10 valued players in world football (according to CIES Football Observatory)
1. Kylian Mbappe (PSG) - €205.6m (£175.7m)
2. Vinicius Junior (Real Madrid) - €185.5m (£158.3m)
3. Erling Haaland (Borussia Dortmund) - €152.9m (£130.4m)
4. Pedri (Barcelona) - €135.1m (£115.4m)
5. Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund) - €133.7m (£114.2m)
6. Phil Foden (Man City) - €124.0m (£105.9m)
7. Frenkie de Jong (Barcelona) - €112.5m (£96.1m)
8. Luis Diaz (Liverpool) - €110.1m (£94.0m)
9. Ruben Dias (Man City) - €109.6m (£93.6m)
10. Ferran Torres (Barcelona) - €109.5m (£93.5m)

Phil Foden will miss England's UEFA Nations League trips to Hungary and Germany after testing positive for COVID-19, Gareth Southgate has announced.

England will face Hungary at the Puskas Arena on Saturday in their Nations League Group A3 opener before meeting old rivals Germany in Munich on Tuesday, but Foden will play no part in those contests after being forced to leave the Three Lions' camp.

Foden enjoyed a stellar club campaign as Manchester City won their fourth Premier League title in the last six seasons, racking up 25 goal involvements (14 goals, 11 assists).

He was one of just three City players to record double figures for both goals and assists in all competitions (also Kevin De Bruyne with 19 goals and 14 assists, and Gabriel Jesus with 13 goals and 11 assists).

Southgate is hoping to have the 22-year-old back and available when his team return to England to host Italy and a return contest with Hungary, both to be played at Wolves' Molineux Stadium.  

"Phil Foden, unfortunately, has tested positive for COVID-19, so he's had to leave," Southgate told reporters on Friday.

"Hopefully he'll be able to meet up once we get back from Germany. 

"That very much depends on symptoms and how his breathing is when he gets back into training. Of course, it affects everybody differently. I think every team in the world is getting used to dealing with this kind of situation, really."

Elsewhere, Southgate will assess Raheem Sterling's fitness after the winger suffered from an illness, and will definitely be without young defenders Fikayo Tomori and Marc Guehi for the trip to Hungary, but hopes to have both available later this month. 

"Fikayo and Marc Guehi both arrived with injuries but they're progressing well. They won't be involved in tomorrow's game but there's a chance for some involvement against Germany," he added.

"They should be fine for the games from there on. Other than that, Raheem has missed a couple of days' training with an illness, so we'll assess whether we involve him tomorrow, but everyone else is fully fit."

Son Heung-min can count himself unlucky after the Tottenham star missed out on a nomination for the PFA Player of the Year.

Spurs forward Son scored 23 Premier League goals in the 2021-22 season, sharing the competition's Golden Boot award with Mohamed Salah.

The Liverpool talisman is included on the list of six nominees, alongside team-mates Virgil van Dijk and Sadio Mane.

Son's strike partner Harry Kane does make the cut, while Kevin de Bruyne is the sole representative of champions Manchester City.

His team-mates Bernardo Silva and Rodri may also consider themselves hard done by, having both enjoyed wonderful campaigns.

Cristiano Ronaldo could not take Manchester United into the Champions League on his return to the club, but his 18 league goals have seen him receive a nomination.

The PFA also confirmed the list of nominees for the Young Player of the Year award, with City attacker Phil Foden joined by Arsenal winger Bukayo Saka and his club-mate Emile Smith Rowe.

That trio will go up against Chelsea pair Conor Gallagher, who shined on loan at Crystal Palace this season, and Reece James, as well as Aston Villa's Jacob Ramsey, for the award.

Manchester City's Phil Foden has been named the 2021-22 Premier League Young Player of the Season.

The England international, who was awarded the gong last term after helping Pep Guardiola's side to the title, picks it up for a second time after another fine season.

Foden is the first man to win the award in successive campaigns, and is feted for a season that saw him establish himself as a mainstay of the City squad.

Only Rodri, Bernardo Silva and Kevin De Bruyne have featured for more minutes among the team's midfielders than the 21-year-old, who beat off stern competition for the prize.

Arsenal duo Aaron Ramsdale and Bukayo Saka were among those also shortlisted, as was Liverpool full-back Trent Alexander-Arnold.

Crystal Palace pair Conor Gallagher and Tyrick Mitchell, alongside Chelsea's Mason Mount and West Ham's Declan Rice, completed the eight-man nominee list.

Foden won the award after receiving the most combined votes from the public and a Premier League panel. 

He has scored nine goals and assisted a further five in 27 top-flight outings this term, with 23 of those being starts.

Look away Liverpool, this may make for painful reading. Manchester City are not quite home and hosed in the Premier League title race, but all signs point to them brushing off Aston Villa on Sunday to clinch the trophy.

Another gripping race for domestic dominance culminates in City hosting Villa, while rivals Liverpool face Wolves at Anfield.

If City drop points, a Liverpool win would make Jurgen Klopp's team the champions. Yet recent history shows us that City rarely stumble against Villa, so a slip-up in the clash with Steven Gerrard's side would be a monumental shock.

A sixth title in the Premier League era beckons, which would rank City outright second behind Manchester United's haul of 13 championships.

Stats Perform takes a look here at key Opta numbers ahead of the final-day showdown

Saving the best for last

Pep Guardiola has repeatedly denied City lost their nerve against Real Madrid, when they remarkably surrendered what should have been a match-winning lead in the Champions League semi-finals.

Such wild things happen in football, Guardiola has reasoned, which is why he will take a meticulous approach to preparation for the Etihad Stadium clash with Villa. There could yet be an extraordinary finish to the season, but not if Guardiola can help it.

City have kept running through the tape in each of Guardiola's seasons in England, winning all five of their final league games under the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss. That ranks as the best such 100 per cent record for a manager in the competition's history.

Going back even further, to the start of the Abu Dhabi ownership era, City have lost just one of their final league games in the last 13 campaigns (W10 D2). That loss came when they went down 3-2 at home to Norwich City in 2012-13 when Brian Kidd was in caretaker charge for the last game. A year previously, they famously beat QPR by that same scoreline to clinch a first Premier League title.

This season, City have lost just one of their last 27 Premier League games (W22 D4), and are unbeaten in 11 since losing 3-2 at home to Spurs in February.

 

What it would mean for Guardiola

The City manager, who reports have claimed is ready to extend his contract until 2025, stands on the brink of Premier League history.

Should his side keep Liverpool at arm's length, Guardiola will become the outright leader for English top-flight titles among non-British managers, going one clear of both Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho.

This would be his fourth such Premier League title success in England, with only Manchester United's Alex Ferguson winning more. Guardiola has no intention of staying long enough to match Ferguson's staggering stack of 13 titles.

City have won 168 of the 227 Premier League games they have contested in the Guardiola era, scoring 562 goals in that time. Those are inevitably league-best figures, and it would be hideously out of character for them to crack against Villa.

A one-sided rivalry

It was not always this way, of course. Villa finished ahead of City as recently as the 2008-09 season (finishing sixth to City's 10th), but the tables turned in the dynamic between the teams when the Abu Dhabi investment began at the Etihad Stadium.

In recent years, this has been almost a formality victory for City, who have won nine of their last 10 Premier League games against Villa (D1), including the last six in a row.

City's last defeat to Sunday's opponents was a 3-2 loss at Villa Park in September 2013.

It is even more of a grim story when the focus falls solely on the games in Manchester. Villa have lost 15 of their last 16 away league games against City, losing each of the last 11 in a row since a 2-0 win in April 2007. This run of 11 is Villa's longest away losing streak against an opponent in their league history.

What's more, Villa's record when facing any league-leading team is unimpressive. They have won just one of their 21 Premier League away games against league leaders (D3 L17), beating Leeds United 2-1 in January 2000, and have lost the last seven by an aggregate score of 21-1.

Villa pulled off a shock of sorts when beating fourth-placed finishers Chelsea on the final day of last season, but they have not won their last game of a league campaign in consecutive seasons since the 1996-97 and 1997-98 seasons. The second of those wins came against champions Arsenal, but that is almost a quarter of a century ago.

 

Doubling up on the last day?

City will have Erling Haaland on board next season, so a flip of tactics seems inevitable to accommodate the prolific striker. This term, City have tended to rely on their midfield and attacking wide players to deliver in front of goal, and three players have reached double figures: Kevin De Bruyne (15 goals), Raheem Sterling (13) and Riyad Mahrez (11).

Now it could be Phil Foden's turn.

Foden has scored nine Premier League goals this season, and if he scores against Villa it would make this season the first for City with two English players (Foden and Sterling) scoring at least 10 goals in a league campaign since 2004-05, when Robbie Fowler and Shaun Wright-Phillips were the pair.

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