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Sky Blue News: Conti Cup, Erling Injury, Penalty Takers, and More...

Headlines from your pals at Bitter and Blue for your Thursday.

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Manchester City v Blackburn Rovers - FA Women’s Continental Tyres League Cup Photo by Lynne Cameron - Manchester City/Manchester City FC via Getty Images

Manchester City Women are off to a flying start in the Continental CUp with a 6-0 win over Blackburn Rovers. The Men’s side are focused on a weekend trip to King Power Stadium, and Sky Blue News has all the latest to get you ready.


Six goals and a clean sheet for the Women against Rovers.

We came into the match 16 places above our Championship opposition and our quality in possession was on show early on.

But the visitors were defending valiantly, with Leila Ouahabi’s dangerous cross along the face of goal our best early chance.

The deadlock would eventually be broken 16 minutes in though, when Hayley Raso drove into the box and fired the ball into the bottom corner to secure her first goal of the season in her maiden start of the campaign.

City came into the League Cup clash on the back of consecutive league victories, and our confidence on the pitch was apparent to those in attendance as we pushed for a second.

In what was her 215th appearance for the Club, captain Steph Houghton was next to test the abilities of Alex Brooks as the England international’s well-struck free-kick was held by the goalkeeper.

QMR: Manchester City Share Points, Win Group in 0-0 Draw - Saul Garcia - Bitter and Blue

Saul gives us his quick reactions to the UCL match against Dortmund.

A big part of the game hinged on the Riyad Mahrez failure to notch a penalty about 3⁄4 of the way through the match. After that it was pretty much a possession match.

A football game was played as the Cityzens have won the group with the point and are now assured a spot in the next round as a header team.

In terms of performances, Ortega and John Stones played really well. At least we had that. We’ll take it as we move back to PL action soon.

A functional day of football.

Erling Haaland spotted limping into Man City assessment amid anxious wait over injury - Daniel Orme - The Mirror

Haaland has his knock checked out back in Manchester.

The Norwegian was clad in casual clothing and it appears that club officials can relax over his fitness. According to the Daily Star, the striker has been cleared of a serious foot injury having left the medical centre without a protective boot.

Speaking to reporters in Germany, Guardiola said: “[There were] three things. I saw him [Haaland] so tired. Second one, he had a little bit of influenza in his body. Like Joao - Joao had a fever.

“Then the third, he had a knock in his foot. That’s why he was not able to play the second half. I spoke with [the medical staff] at half-time and they were a little bit concerned, but I saw him walking more or less normally. We will see.”

Erling Haaland injury would deny Leicester City centre-back ‘amazing’ game - Jordan Blackwell - Leicester Mercury

Faes is relishing the possibility to test himself against Haaland. Let's hope he gets the chance.

For Leicester, Haaland’s absence would be good news. Man City have scored a whopping 36 goals in their 11 Premier League games, an average of more than three a game, and the Norwegian bagged 17 of those.

After seven matches, Leicester had the worst defensive record of any side in the Premier League era. Since then, they have kept four clean sheets in five games and now rank second in the division for shut-outs. Summer recruit Wout Faes has been instrumental in City’s defensive progression, and he was enthusiastic about the prospect of facing Haaland.

“It’s amazing to play against such strikers,” Faes said, speaking before news of Haaland’s injury emerged. “It’ll be an amazing game and we’re going to continue with the whole team and let’s see what we can do. Everyone sees the same, it’s unique what he’s doing but I hope this week he’s not going to score!

Man City’s woeful penalty record under Guardiola continues with Mahrez’s latest miss in Champions League - Chris Wright - ESPN

Look, penalties have been an issue for a while, okay?

City have cultivated a reputation for botching penalties in recent years, with Mahrez’s unsuccessful shot against Dortmund the fifth spot kick that Guardiola’s team have failed to convert in 19 attempts from the start of last season.

Indeed, while his general penalty record of 10 goals in 14 attempts for City is decent, Mahrez has now missed three of the past four spot kicks he has taken for the club in all competitions (including one in the aforementioned 0-0 draw against Copenhagen), signalling a rapid decline in his efficiency from 12 yards.

Speaking after the match, Guardiola was quick to praise the Algeria international’s character for being brave enough to step up again on the big stage, while also confirming that the winger would be taken off spot kick duties for the foreseeable future.

“Listen, I admire the courage and bravery of the guys who take the penalties. I don’t know how many million of penalties we’ve missed,” the City head coach said. “We’ve done it in this competition many times.

“Riyad was exceptional two or three years ago, he shoot the pen to go 1-1 here [against Dortmund in 2021-22] to help us reach the semi for the first time. Lately, he missed. He will reflect. He can take a break now with the penalties.”

Man City have two obvious Erling Haaland penalty deputies after Riyad Mahrez miss - Alex Brotherton - Manchester Evening News

KDB... Gundo... at this point, it just can’t be Riyad for a while.

The signing of Erling Haaland appeared to have solved the issue; the 22-year-old striker has scored 22 goals in 15 games for City, two of which have been emphatically-struck spot-kicks. Haaland is pretty much a nailed-on starter at this point, but the last two times City have missed penalties he has not been on the pitch.

Given his record from the spot, Mahrez was the obvious candidate to deputise. After blazing his first City penalty over the crossbar in a goalless draw against Liverpool in October 2018, the Algerian winger converted nine penalties in a row, the last in that run coming against Tottenham in February this year.

He has missed three of his four attempts since then, with Guardiola saying the attacker will take a ‘break’ from penalty duties.

Other potential takers include Kevin De Bruyne (seven of nine converted, 78% conversion rate) and Ilkay Gundogan (four of six converted, 67% conversion rate), although both have missed efforts in important games, both against Liverpool.

City have not had a regular penalty taker since Sergio Aguero’s game-time began to wain, but even he was less than reliable. The striker converted 20 of his 28 attempts.

Sergio Aguero’s title-winning Manchester City shirt up for sale - BBC

And finally... Does anyone have £20,000 I can borrow?

The unwashed and champagne-stained number 16 shirt is expected to fetch at least £20,000.

The match-winner, four minutes into stoppage time, clinched City’s 3-2 victory, ensuring Aguero’s team beat rivals Manchester United to the Premier League title.

It was Manchester City’s first league title since 1968 with the goal widely held to be one of the Premier League’s greatest, and prompting broadcaster Martin Tyler’s famous “Aguerooo!” commentary line.

The striker, who won 15 major trophies in 10 years with City and is the fourth-highest scoring player in Premier League history with an impressive 184 goals in 275 games, recently unveiled a statue marking the tenth anniversary of the goal.

There you have it Cityzens. Stay with us at Bitter and Blue as we head for the Men’s trip to Leicester and the Women’s match at home to Liverpool.