The fixtures are coming thick and fast as we get ever closer to the start of Qatar 2022. Manchester City have just finished off their home victory over FC Copenhagen and are already preparing to host Southampton on Saturday. Here are the latest headlines from Sky Blue News to keep you up to speed.
Man City 5-0 FC Copenhagen: Erling Haaland scores two as Pep Guardiola’s side cruise to Champions League win - Adam Bate - Sky Sports
City were in control throughout against their Group G rivals.
Going into the seventh minute of the game, Copenhagen could not have kept Haaland quieter. He had yet to touch the ball. But Joao Cancelo’s cross was deflected into his path and he lashed the shot right-footed beyond Kamil Grabara and into the net.
The chances kept coming for City but the away side were grateful when they fell to others. Grealish had a couple of shots saved, while Ilkay Gundogan was denied well by Grabara. The problems came when the ball fell to the most lethal finisher in the land.
That is what happened when the goalkeeper could only parry Sergio Gomez’s shot into his path and Haaland measured the ball into the vacant net. The only man who could deny him his hat-trick was Guardiola - hooking him in favour of Cole Palmer at the interval.
Just halfway through the UCL group stage and the sky blues are already planning for the knockouts.
City had won their opening two fixtures and a double victory from back-to-back matches against the Danish champions would see them ease into the last 16 with two games remaining. As usual, they did it with aplomb, as they invariably do at the group stage.
It took City and Haaland just seven minutes to get on the scoresheet, with Joao Cancelo being the provider. Sporting the number seven shirt that made David Silva a hero at the Etihad Stadium, Cancelo has continually proved himself of being El Mago’s worthy shirt successor.
Ilkay Gundogan found the Portuguese defender in acres of space on the right-hand side, and the visiting defence seemed reluctant to get anywhere near him. Cancelo spotted Haaland in space inside the penalty area, and picked him out with the perfect pass between two defenders. The Norwegian adjusted himself before firing a vicious shot into the side of the goal with his weaker right foot.
Man City, England defender Kyle Walker doubtful for World Cup after groin surgery - Rob Dawson - ESPN
Poor timing for Kyle. Hopefully, he can find his way back to fitness soon.
Walker was almost certain to be part of Gareth Southgate’s squad for the World Cup but his participation in Qatar is now in jeopardy.
Southgate is set to name his squad on Oct. 20 giving Walker, who has won 70 caps, just two weeks to prove he will be fit enough to take part.
The 32-year-old posted a message on his social media account on Thursday and said: “As players, we have to appreciate injuries are part and parcel of the game we love.
“My operation on Tuesday was a success and now I can concentrate on my rehab and getting back to full fitness. I will be supporting my teammates every day in any way I can.”
England kick off their campaign against Iran on Nov. 21.
Kyle Walker and Man City issue statements on injury amid major World Cup doubt - Joe Bray - Manchester Evening News
Walker will have work to do if he is to be ready to play in the World Cup.
The right-back has not been completely ruled out of contention for England’s World Cup campaign; although a provisional squad could be named later this month, with the final 26-man group having to be confirmed by November 10.
A City statement read: “Kyle Walker has undergone surgery after suffering a groin injury to his left leg during the first half of our 6-3 win over Manchester United on Sunday.
“The surgery was successful and a more detailed prognosis will be provided in due course. Everyone at Manchester City wishes Kyle a speedy recovery.”
Riyad Mahrez: “We are very happy and I’m very happy to play for this team.” - Saul Garcia - Bitter and Blue
It doesn’t seem possible that Riyad has been with City long enough to make so many appearances.
Riyad Mahrez was on fire in the Champions League! He scored and proved his worth as he made his 200th appearance for the club, a real milestone. He spoke after the match about that and much more.
Let’s dive in-
“200 games is a lot to be fair,” he told City TV.
“It’s good, I wish for another 200 to play and keep going, scoring, assisting, winning titles with this team because at the end, that’s what we play for.
“We are very happy and I’m very happy to play for this team.”
“It’s always nice to score goals and to help the team to win,”
A tally from the penalty spot opens Riyad’s season account at last.
Mahrez added the fourth from the penalty spot, coolly slotting into the bottom left corner in his 200th appearance for City. Julian Alvarez added the fifth, tapping in from an accurate Mahrez cross.
The Algerian, who got his first goal of the campaign, admitted his delight at getting on the scoresheet.
“It’s always nice to score goals and to help the team to win,” he admitted.
“It’s always good to play Champions League games. It wasn’t easy at the start but we made it easy by scoring early and we controlled the game well.
And finally... If you can’t stop him on the pitch, find a way to keep him off it, I guess.
The petition has been named “Petition to get Erling Haaland banned from Association Football because it’s just not fair”. The organiser has also explained why they set up the petition, branding Haaland a “robot”.
The description of the petition reads: “It’s just simply not fair. We can make a change. Now is the time for us people to act. This robot should not be allowed to carry on in our country.”
It was started on Wednesday before Haaland scored two goals in City’s hammering of Copenhagen in the Champions League. At the time of writing, 47 people have signed their names to the petition, which has an initial target of 100 signatures.
✍️ Fans of Man Utd will certainly add their names following Haaland's hat-trick on in the derbyhttps://t.co/miDocYwi1A— Mirror Football (@MirrorFootball) October 6, 2022
There you have it. Stay with us here at Bitter and Blue for all the latest in the build-up to City v Saints.