Man City predicted lineup vs Chelsea
Manchester City could find themselves ten points behind surprise Premier League leaders Arsenal by the time their next Premier League clash rolls around.
The Gunners have a big opportunity to extend their lead at the top when they take on the albeit impressive Newcastle at the Emirates on Tuesday night, while City travel to Chelsea on Thursday ahead of a weekend of FA Cup fixtures.
The Citzyens have plenty of work to during the second half of the season if they’re to win yet another Premier League title after they once again dropped points at home on the weekend.
Pep Guardiola has had plenty to say regarding his recent team selections ahead of Thursday’s trip to Stamford Bridge, and here’s how he could line his City side up for their upcoming league fixture.
GK: Ederson – A shoo-in.
RB: Joao Cancelo – He’s got to come back into the starting XI at some point, right? Young Rico Lewis has been excellent in an idiosyncratic inverted function, but Cancelo’s quality in and around the final third cannot be replicated.
CB: John Stones – Stones is, like, really good. The England defender is in immense form and should be regarded as one of Europe’s, let alone the Premier League’s, very best centre-halves. The technically proficient defender is hugely important to Guardiola.
CB: Manuel Akanji – The human calculator has settled in nicely since he joined from Borussia Dortmund in the summer. With Ruben Dias and Aymeric Laporte likely to be absent, Akanji should partner Stones at Stamford Bridge.
LB: Nathan Ake – The Dutch defender enjoyed a fine World Cup in Qatar and has played every minute for City since returning. That trend should continue on Thursday.
CM: Rodri – An imperious performer at the base of midfield for the Cityzens, Rodri was on the scoresheet in the 3-1 victory at Elland Road and he should’ve bagged a late winner against Everton last time out. Kalvin Phillips is waiting patiently in the wings, but Pep simply can’t drop Rodri.
CM: Kevin De Bruyne – De Bruyne has fond memories of Stamford Bridge since he was cast aside by Jose Mourinho all those years ago. The Belgian, who disappointed in Qatar, will start in his usual midfield function on Thursday.
CM: Ilkay Gundogan – Bernardo Silva is an option for Guardiola, but the Spaniard could use the Portuguese international further forward and return the intelligent Gundogan to his midfield. The German produced one of his finest City performances at the Bridge two years ago.
RW: Bernardo Silva – Riyad Mahrez hasn’t exactly shone in City’s previous two outings and Pep could make a change to his frontline for this one. The Spaniard doesn’t have too many options to replace the Algerian down the right, but Bernardo Silva is one of them.
ST: Erling Haaland – Julian Alvarez could be back in contention for City’s upcoming bout, but the World Cup hero hasn’t got a sniff of making the starting XI while this monster is still fit and firing. Haaland notched his 21st Premier League goal of the season on Saturday as he seeks to break a whole manner of scoring records by the time the campaign’s up.
LW: Phil Foden – Foden has been strangely underutilised since returning from the World Cup, but perhaps Guardiola’s body language rationale has something to do with that. Nevertheless, like Cancelo, it’s about time the English superstar returned to the starting XI.
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Tottenham director Fabio Paratici banned from football worldwide by FIFA
Tottenham managing director of football Fabio Paratici has been banned from football worldwide after FIFA extended the punishment imposed in Italy following his involvement in Juventus’ penalised accounting practices.
In January, the Italian giants suffered a shock 15-point deduction after the club was deemed to have inflated player transfer values in swap deals among other financial offences.
Paratici joined the Juventus hierarchy in 2010 and was the club’s sporting director between November 2018 and the summer of 2021, before he took up a similar role at Tottenham. The investigation into Juve’s accounts scrutinised transactions between 2019 and 2021 – when Paratici was at the heart of the club’s dealings.
At the start of the year, Paratici was one of several former Juventus board members that were banned from football following the conclusion of the investigation by the Italian Football Federation. Initially, Paratici was handed a 30-month ban from just Italian football, although the threat of extending the scope of that punishment internationally always loomed.
On Wednesday, FIFA released a statement confirming that they had indeed taken up that option, extending the ban handed out to Paratici and the other Juventus board members – including former owner Andrea Agnelli – worldwide.
The statement read: “FIFA can confirm that following a request by the Italian FA (FIGC), the chairperson of FIFA disciplinary committee has decided to extend the sanctions imposed by FIGC on several football officials to have worldwide effect.”
Paratici was due to be in court this week for a a preliminary committal hearing regarding a portion of the charges levelled at Juve, but the date for those proceedings have been shunted back to 10 May. Juve appealed their 15-point penalty – which the prosecution only recommended as a nine-point punishment – and will hear the ruling of which on 19 April.
On this edition of Talking Transfers, part of the 90min podcast network, Scott Saunders, Graeme Bailey & Toby Cudworth discuss Julian Nagelsmann’s future and links to the vacant Tottenham head coach role, Barcelona’s ambition to bring Lionel Messi ‘home’, Brighton teenager Evan Ferguson, Florian Wirtz, Kalvin Phillips and more!
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Sir Alex Ferguson & Arsene Wenger inducted into Premier League Hall of Fame
Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger have become the first managers to be inducted into the Premier League Hall of Fame.
The duo won 16 Premier League titles between them across respective long-term spells with Manchester United and Arsenal.
With 13 of those championships, Ferguson is the most decorated manager in the history of the competition. He is the only coach to have won the Premier League three times in a row, doing so on two different occasions.
Ferguson said: “I’m truly delighted to be inducted into the Premier League Hall of Fame. It’s an honour when you receive recognition like this. However, it’s not just about me as a person. It’s about the job at Manchester United and the bond we had over many years, so I’m also proud for the club, the staff and my players.
“My job was to send the fans home happy. United’s history and my own expectations were the things that drove me, and I then had to try and develop all my players with the same expectations and make sure we could go out and achieve them.
“I feel Arsene is a very worthy inductee as he transformed Arsenal Football Club fantastically. They became a tough team to compete with and we both wanted to win, which motivated us further. Through the years since retirement, we’d go for dinner together in a little restaurant he knows well in Switzerland. He is a really interesting man and I enjoy his company, but it is still my job to pick the wine!”
Wenger arrived in England in 1996 as one of the Premier League’s first foreign coaches, and quickly proved sceptics wrong, transforming Arsenal into title winners and changing English football’s culture with his scouting and dietary expertise.
The Frenchman won three Premier League titles with Arsenal, including an unbeaten ‘Invincibles’ season in 2003/04.
Wenger said: “I am very grateful to have been selected for the Premier League Hall of Fame. We always wanted to give something special to the fans and when you have players capable of remarkable things, the most important thing for me is the obligation of perfection.
“I’d like to be known as someone who loved Arsenal, who respected the values of the club and left it in a position where it can grow and become even bigger.
“To share this with Sir Alex is a great honour for me. It’s like two boxers, you fight like mad and go the distance together. At the end of the day, you have respect and it will be a great opportunity to meet with him, share a good bottle of wine and memories of our old battles.”
In addition to Ferguson and Wenger, there are 16 other inductees in the Premier League Hall of Fame.
Alan Shearer and Thierry Henry were the first two people inducted when the Hall of Fame was created in 2021. They were followed later that year by Eric Cantona, Roy Keane, Frank Lampard, Dennis Bergkamp, Steven Gerrard and David Beckham.
In 2022, Wayne Rooney, Patrick Vieira, Sergio Aguero, Didier Drogba, Vincent Kompany, Peter Schmeichel, Paul Scholes and Ian Wright were inducted.
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