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Gareth Taylor insists Man City’s tough WSL start has still offered ‘something to build on’

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Gareth Taylor has insisted Manchester City’s performances have provided ‘something to build on’ despite suffering a pair of defeats in their opening two fixtures of the 2022/23 WSL campaign.

City have gone through a summer of high squad turnover, with seven new arrivals and eight permanent exits, and have begun the new season with a surprise 4-3 loss to Aston Villa and a 2-0 defeat to Chelsea.

“It’s not great but it is what it is,” said Taylor. “We’ve had two away games, two tough away games. We’ve gone to Villa who are a new team and have done tremendously well on the day, and coming here was always going to be difficult.

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“They don’t really give much away, Chelsea – they lost last week, something was going to give today but I think the reaction and the levels that we showed today was really impressive and gives us something to build on.”

City endured a similarly tough start to last season after contending with an injury crisis, but made up ground with a stunning second half of the campaign to secure a Champions League spot at the expense of rivals Manchester United.

Taylor admitted the lack of margin for error due to the size of the WSL – with just 12 teams and 22 games – makes early slip ups even more costly.

“That’s the nature of the league,” the City boss added. “I’ve always been negative about that. 22 games is nothing. It is what it is. Unless teams keep beating each other, you can probably get away with maybe four defeats in a season and still win the league.

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“We can’t do much about that; the rules are the rules, the teams are the teams. It wasn’t hard last season when we won 13 on the bounce – it was actually a lot easier when we had all of our players fit.

“Our situation now is slightly different to what we had last season – it’s not injuries, it’s just a new team and new players to bed in. These will be really good players and this will be a really good team. Unfortunately at the moment we’ve had a couple of defeats which are tough to take but I think there were really positive signs there today.”



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EPL

Man City face Chelsea; Man Utd host Everton

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Chelsea will travel to Manchester City in the headline fixture of the 2022/23 FA Cup thid round draw.

The two sides clashed recently at the same stage of the Carabao Cup, with City coming out on top 2-0 courtesy of goals from Rihad Mahrez and Julian Alvarez, and they’ll hope to replicate that in the next domestic competition.

Elsewhere, Manchester United’s quest for silverware kicks off with a visit from Everton, while Liverpool have their own all-Premier League affair to contend with as they prepare to host Wolves

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Arsenal face a trip to League One’s Oxford United, while Tottenham are braced for a Harry Redknapp derby against Portsmouth.



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Conor Coady responds to ‘daft’ question about Liverpool allegiance

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Conor Coady has told England teammate Jordan Henderson to do better in his goading after the Liverpool captain taunted him over his Everton connection.

Coady was a product of the Liverpool youth system and made a solitary appearance for his boyhood club in the 2012 Europa League. He has since moved on to Huddersfield Town and Wolves before joining Liverpool’s Merseyside rivals Everton on loan last summer.

Speaking on the latest episode of Lion’s Den from England’s World Cup camp, though, Henderson could not resist trying to wind up Coady by quizzing him on his allegiances.

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“Conor, we are all England here,” Henderson said. “But what I really want to know is: are you blue or red?”

Henderson then started laughing, which prompted a similar response from Coady, who appeared both irritated and amused by the question.

“It’s so poor from him,” Coady said while smiling. “We have banter all the time. Of course, I am playing for Everton. He knows deep down.

Harry Symeou hosts Scott Saunders and Toby Cudworth to look back on South Korea/Japan ’02 as part of the ‘Our World Cup’ series. We take a trip down memory lane – join us!

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If you can’t see the podcast embed, click here to download or listen to the episode in full!

“So, for him to come out there and ask that question is daft. Of course, I am blue. Of course, I am blue, without a shadow of a doubt.

“For him to say that…you know what I am going to go back there sit down and have a coffee with him. I will give him a bit. That’s nowhere near good enough from the big fella. Blue all day long.”

Everton have a clause allowing them to sign Coady permanently from Wolves this summer for a fee of just £4.5m.

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Club director leaves door open to Chelsea transfer in January

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Dynamo Moscow director Dmitry Gafin has admitted young midfielder Arsen Zakharyan could seal his move to Chelsea in January.

The Blues attempted to sign the 19-year-old during the summer transfer window but complexities involved in dealing with a Russian club left them unable to complete a deal for Zakharyan before the window closed.

Since then, sources have informed 90min that Chelsea have not given up on Zakharyan, who comes with a release clause of around £12.6m, and have remained in contact with all relevant authorities in an attempt to conclude a transfer.

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Talks have been held between Chelsea and FIFA, UEFA and the Premier League to try and find a way to work within the current rules regarding dealing with Russian clubs, with Blues co-owner Todd Boehly still very keen to get a deal done.

Harry Symeou hosts Scott Saunders and Toby Cudworth to look back on South Korea/Japan ’02 as part of the ‘Our World Cup’ series. We take a trip down memory lane – join us!

If you can’t see the podcast embed, click here to download or listen to the episode in full!

In Moscow, club director Gafin has conceded that talks with Chelsea could reignite in January.

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“We cannot rule out the resumption of history with Chelsea in winter, I cannot comment on the information that appears and will appear,” he told TASS.

Gafin was, however, quick to question claims that Zakharyan has already agreed personal terms with Chelsea, insisting Dynamo Moscow have not given the club permission to speak with the Russia international just yet.

“Regarding his alleged contract with Chelsea, we don’t know anything about this, we did not give permission for such contacts,” he said. “I think this is from the rumour mill.”



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