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Sky Blue News: Julian Hits!, Rafael Rumours, Women’s FA Cup Foes, and More...

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Argentina v Croatia: Semi Final - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

Julian Alvarez is showing the world what Manchester City supporters already knew, La Araña is world-class. As we cheer on young Julian, Sky Blue News has all the latest to keep you up to date.

‘Remember the name’ - Man City fans go wild for Julian Alvarez after World Cup wonder goal - Jack Flintham - Manchester Evening News

Manchester City fans have been sharing their delight after Julian Alvarez scored a wonderful solo goal in the first half of Argentina’s World Cup semi-final against Croatia.

Alvarez has been in the thick of the action in Lusail this evening as Argentina dominated the first 45 minutes against the European side. In the 34th minute, City’s youngster was brought down by Dominik Livakovic for a controversial penalty.

Lionel Messi took responsibility from 12 yards and hammered the ball home to give the South Americans the advantage. However, it was Alvarez’s moment to shine just five minutes later.

Having done well to win the ball back from a Croatia corner, Alvarez received possession of the ball inside his own half. A piercing run saw the 22-year-old evade the challenges of several defenders before lifting his effort beyond Livakovic for one of the great World Cup goals.


City’s number 19 was making his sixth consecutive appearance at the World Cup and he was continuing to cause Croatia problems.

He shook off his marker with 30 minutes remaining, utilised his pace to break down the wing before squaring to Fernandez who couldn’t quite reach his pass.

Zlatko Dalic’s side created their best opportunity with just over 25 minutes remaining when an inviting cross into the box was met by Dejan Lovren’s goalbound header, which was blocked and then cleared by Argentina.

It didn’t take long, however, for the South Americans to pull further ahead and it was Alvarez again who tormented the Croatia backline.

‘Guardiola won’t leave Man City for England, why would he?!’ - Eriksson sees Pochettino as Southgate successor - Chris Burton - Goal

WHAT HAPPENED? There is no role to be filled with the Three Lions at present as Gareth Southgate remains under contract until 2024. Questions are, however, being asked of his future on the back of a quarter-final exit at the 2022 World Cup. Various names have been offered up as potential candidates to succeed Southgate, with former England manager Eriksson of the opinion that an ex-Tottenham and Paris Saint-Germain coach may be the best man for the job.

WHAT THEY SAID: Eriksson, who became the Three Lions’ first foreign coach when taking the reins in 2001, has told OLBG: “I could imagine Mauricio Pochettino as the manager of England. When he was with Tottenham, he did a great job, I still don’t understand why he was sacked. The football players play under him is fantastic too.

“Most of the big managers are busy with their clubs, if you look at Pep Guardiola, he will not leave Manchester City, why would he do that? You have many coaches like that who England will be unable to appoint if Gareth Southgate was to leave. Mauricio Pochettino and Thomas Tuchel are two very good names, but I hope England keep Southgate for another two years, why not keep him?”

Man City handed huge Rafael Leao boost as contract details ‘emerge’ plus other transfer rumours - Alex Brotherton - Manchester Evening News

City are widely reported to be interested in signing AC Milan and Portugal attacker Leao, although they are expected to have serious competition for his signature. The 23-year-old has scored six goals and provided five assists in 14 Serie A games this season, the kind of form that has got top European clubs sniffing around.

Now, according to Sky Sports Germany journalist Florian Plettenberg, Leao does not want to stay in Milan beyond the end of his current contract in 2024. Plettenberg tweeted: “At this stage he doesn’t want to extend beyond 2024. Not confident with the offer. Chelsea, City, Real in. #CFC held talks about him in Qatar. Milan refused Chelsea’s offer (€70m). They want €150m. The amount of the release clause.”

If that proves to be the case, then it seems likely that City will face a battle to sign Leao next summer, as Milan will want to take a transfer fee rather than let his contract run down.

Man City star enters race for BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2022 - Graham Falk - Manchester World

Though she is an outsider for the award at 66/,1 being one of the leading names for the award is a sign of the strength Citizens star has shown over the last 18 months. Kelly, 24, had suffered a career threatening ACL injury back in May 2021 which put her out of the game for almost a year, ending her season prematurely after a promising start to her City career. She would be ruled out for the bulk of the following campaign and forced out of the Olympic Games later that year.

Forced to watch her team mates fly to Tokyo in an attempt to lift an Olympic gold, Kelly admitted the injury left her feeling “worthless” and even threatened her place in Sarina Wiegman’s Euro 2022 squad as she raced to get fit for the tournament.

Thankfully, she did return to the City side late in the 21/22 season and was named as part of Wiegman’s squad for the home tournament shortly afterwards, making for her first international appearance since the injury in a pre-tournament friendly against Belgium.

The rest, as they say, is history with the image of her waving her shirt around her head after scoring the winning goal in the Euro 2022 final at Wembley now immortalised in English football history. And while she may not win the award, her England team team mate Beth Mead is the currently the clear favourite, and 2022 is a year that showed the City striker’s strength in adversity. Kelly can certainly look back on 2022 as the year she will never forget.


The draw was made live on the FA Player by former Tottenham defender Jenna Schillaci and ex-Arsenal, Chelsea and Aston Villa centre-half Anita Asante.

Sheffield United are currently seventh in the Women’s Championship, while Forest sit second in the third tier.

We last faced the Blades in the quarter-finals of the Continental Cup in January 2020, running out 4-0 winners.

Meanwhile, our latest clash with Forest came at this stage of the FA Cup last year, running out 8-0 winners at the City Ground in a match where Georgia Stanway became our record goalscorer.

City have won the FA Cup three times - most recently in the 2019/20 competition having also lifted the trophy in 2017 and 2019.

And finally... It looks like City are set to make a move for Gvardiol.

Man City convinced to shatter historic record on Man Utd target after recent Guardiola contact - Samuel Bannister - Yahoo Sport

The 20-year-old has been an important figure in his country’s journey to the semi-finals in Qatar. In the process, he has been reinforcing the idea that he would be a good signing for many elite clubs.

A recent report suggested that Manchester United were ready to step up their interest in Gvardiol. However, they were warned about competition from arch-rivals Manchester City, whose pursuit has now reached the next level.

According to Foot Mercato, the Premier League champions have already made a huge offer to RB Leipzig for the defender.

With bonuses included, they would be willing to pay €110million (£94.3million). In the process, Gvardiol would become the most expensive defender in history, surpassing Harry Maguire.

Manchester City’s plan, per the report, is to sign Gvardiol in January but allow RB Leipzig to keep him on loan until the end of the season.

There you have it Cityzens. Stay with us at Bitter and Blue as we prep for Saturday’s friendly with Girona.