Manchester City are back in Premier League action as they take on Leeds United at Elland Road. Sky Blue News has all the latest to get you up to speed before kickoff.
Mahrez challenges Man City to ‘hit the ground running’ on Premier League return to keep title hopes alive - Patrick Allen - Goal
WHAT HAPPENED? City returned to action on Thursday, beating Carabao Cup holders Liverpool 3-2 to set up a quarter-final tie away to Southampton. While their aspirations of reclaiming that trophy look good, they face a challenge to retain their Premier League crown because of the emergence of Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal. Losing their last top flight fixture at home to Brentford left City fans waiting weeks for a response, something they’ll be searching for against Leeds.
WHAT THEY SAID: Speaking to the club website, Mahrez said: “We have to hit the ground running. We are not currently top of the Premier League and that is where we want to be. We will take it game by game but our aim to try to win another title. There are lots of strong teams in England who could still win the league so we are not just focused on Arsenal, although they have been very good so far. If we want to win the league, we will have to be ready as soon as the league starts again.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: After Arsenal came from behind to beat West Ham 3-1 and Newcastle defeated Leicester 3-0 on Boxing Day, City go into the fixture at Elland Road third in the table and eight points behind the Gunners. The two will have played the same amount of games come full-time on Wednesday.
DE BRUYNE: FODEN HAS THAT LITTLE BIT OF MAGIC! - ManCity.com
As part of the City squad that has won four of the last five Premier League titles, Foden already has a healthy medal collection and De Bruyne believes his love of the game means he can stay at the top for a long time.
“He is still that young boy who just loves to play football,” the Belgian said about his City team-mate. “Every time you see a ball running around, he is running to it.
“Sometimes it is different with other players, but he is probably one of the biggest talents that I have played with and his ceiling can be so high.
“He has already won four Premier Leagues and he is 22. He is doing well for himself. He is very smart as a player. Where there are a lot of tactics, you still have that guy who has that little bit of magic and he is one of these guys who has that magic so he can just do a lot of different stuff.
“[He can achieve] whatever he wants. The ceiling is so high. He has already done so much at that age playing for a team like us who have to win all of the time.
Enjoy every @PhilFoden goal and assist in the @premierleague's first half of the season! ✨ pic.twitter.com/VaoAmSjIQ4— Manchester City (@ManCity) December 27, 2022
Kevin De Bruyne sends message to Man City teammate Julian Alvarez - Daniel Murphy - Manchester Evening News
Despite being the reigning South American footballer of the year, Alvarez’s arrival from River Plate in the summer was overshadowed somewhat by the signing of fellow striker Erling Haaland. The Norwegian sensation is understandably the first choice to lead the line which has meant the majority of Alvarez’s Premier League appearances have come off the bench.
The 22-year-old has still made a promising start, however, with seven goals and took that confidence into the World Cup where his introduction into the starting XI turned Argentina’s fortunes around and spurred them on to lift the famous trophy. De Bruyne is pleased for Alvarez and assessed the impact he’s made at the Etihad.
“I think when he came into the club they were speaking about this young talent from Argentina and at the beginning we saw that he was a really talented player,” he told City’s official website.
“You don’t know what will happen when players come from South America, but he already seemed like an adult player playing for us. I am happy for him, he is a really nice guy and really shy. But he can call himself a world champion, so he will feel great!
“It will come down to luck” – Leeds manager outlines plan to try stop Manchester City striker Erling Haaland - Harry Winters - City Xtra
Alfie Haaland played 72 matches for Leeds before signing for Manchester City, where he made 47 appearances over two seasons.
Further links between Haaland and Wednesday’s opponents also exist, with Jesse Marsch having managed the Norwegian striker in 2019 at RB Salzburg.
And, the Leeds boss claims that he is hoping to draw knowledge from his time working with the Norwegian in an attempt to prevent the City striker from adding to his goals tally in midweek.
“It will help us [Leeds] I think a little bit. It will motivate him on the day a little bit, but it will motivate me as well. The time I had with Erling was just outstanding and we had an incredible relationship.
“In general, I have some ideas of things we will try to do [to stop him], but it will come down to luck on the day in certain moments and finding ways to contain him and hoping that we can still find ways to punish him as well.”
Jesse Marsch on @ErlingHaaland: “Obviously I know how good he is and how good he can be at his best. It’ll be important to manage him on the day. I’ve been asked many times, how do you do that? The answer is I think you have to have a keen awareness of where he is at all times…”— City Xtra (@City_Xtra) December 27, 2022
EDERSON ON HAALAND: HE HAS AN ABSURD MENTALITY - ManCIty.com
Haaland has hit the ground running so far this season, scoring 18 goals in the Premier League to date and 24 goals across all competitions.
That strike rate has helped enhance an already-flourishing reputation in the world of football.
But, working with the summer signing day-in and day-out, Ederson has also been struck by Haaland’s attitude and approach off the pitch as well as his clinical edge on it.
He said: “I hope he can continue being the magnificent player he is.
“He has an absurd mentality and I hope he can keep evolving like he is.
“What I think and what most of the people think is that he is a striker, a goalscorer that works for the team, is always trying to find passes, looking to finish, is a presence in the box.
“He came to our team to aggregate a lot. He showed that in Dortmund and he’s showing now at City.
From costing Man City 22 million, the price of Julián Álvarez after winning the World Cup - William Estrella - El Futbolero
The ‘Spider’ Alvarez arrived at Manchester City this season in exchange for 22 million euros. The transaction was finalized at the beginning of the year, but the british team decide that he would remain at River Plate for six more months to later make the move to European Football, where he bossted his level.
Now after the four goals he svored in the Worls Cup in Qatar, the ‘Tranfermatkt’ portal revealed the value of Julian ALvarez is appraised, who is with his family in Calchin before returnung to England, where he hopes fight for a position with Erling Haaland.
The ‘Spider’ has a new market value as a result of his great performance in the World Cup, where he took ownership against Poland and never released it again. Now, Julian costs 50 million euris, accorcing to the specialized portal. However, before a possible negotiation, the value could increase considerably,. The world champion has a contract with Manchester City until 2027.”
Enzo Fernández y Julián Álvarez los jugadores más revalorizados, tras la consagración de la Selección Argentina en el Mundial de Qatar https://t.co/32BHsCB55F— Iña ⭐⭐⭐ (@Gonzaa2005) December 27, 2022
And finally... Sounds like a bit of a stretch, but I’m okay with it.
MANCHESTER CITY WILLING TO SWAP £270,000-A-WEEK PLAYER FOR CHELSEA TARGET - Subhankar Mondal - HITC
The £270,000-a-week (SalarySport) attacker has struggled to make a huge impact at City since his move from Villa, and the Citizens are ready to cut their losses and bring in 23-year-old Leao, described as “a real firework” by ex-Chelsea and Liverpool star Joe Cole on ITV According to CMW, Milan are not open to such a swap deal.
City’s reported plan regarding Leao will come as a blow for Chelsea as well as Tottenham Hotspur.
Both Chelsea and Tottenham have been linked with Leao, who starred for Portugal at the 2022 Qatar World Cup.
There you have it Cityzens. Stay with us throughout the day as we get ready for Leeds away. Be sure to follow @BitterandBlue1 on Twitter to keep up with all the reactions.