The football world has lost its largest icon. Edson Arantes do Nascimento, better known as Pelé, has passed away at the age of 82. We expect many tributes throughout the weekend in honor of the three-time World Cup winner, and we share in the sorrow of Pelé’s family, the people of Brazil, and football fans the world over. Rest in Power O Rei.
Ederson has now won 150 games in the Premier League - becoming the quickest player to reach that milestone in the competition.
He’s done it in just 197 games, which is 16 faster than former Man Utd defender, Patrice Evra (213).
Also in the Top 5 list are Man City pair Kevin De Bruyne (215) and Fernandinho (216) as well as Chelsea’s Petr Cech (217).
Games to reach 150 Premier League wins
197 – Ederson
213 - Patrice Evra
215 - Kevin De Bruyne
216 – Fernandinho
217 - Petr Cech
Pele’s passing was confirmed to the Associated Press by his agent this evening. A post on Pele’s official Instagram account read: “Inspiration and love marked the journey of King Pelé, who peacefully passed away today. On his journey, Edson enchanted the world with his genius in sport, stopped a war, carried out social works all over the world and spread what he most believed to be the cure for all our problems: love.
“His message today becomes a legacy for future generations.
“Love, love and love, forever.”
Unsurprisingly, tributes have flooded in on social media as the football world and beyond rush to honour the legendary Pele. Riyad Mahrez was the first City player to make his tribute as he posted a praise, doves and love heart emoji.
Erling Haaland is making winning the Golden Boot look easy! Four top-flight greats reveal how they won the award for top scorer... and hail the Manchester City star who’s ripping up the rule book with 20 goals ALREADY - Jack Gaughan, Kieran Gill, and Matt Barlow - The Daily Mail
There are bigger targets in the Manchester City man’s sights. Forty goals, perhaps? Certainly overtaking Alan Shearer and Andrew Cole’s 34 in a campaign — when there were an extra two teams in the division — is well within his grasp.
Erling Haaland bagged his 19th and 20th goals of the season in Man City’s victory over Leeds
Haaland is the quickest player to reach 20 Premier League goals, overtaking Kevin Phillips, who got there in 21 matches with Sunderland in 1999. He averages 1.6 goals per 90 minutes and, amazingly, his manager Pep Guardiola insists that the 22-year-old is not fully match fit because of a foot injury he sustained in October.
Since joining Manchester City in the summer, the 22-year-old has written his name all over the record books. The following are just a few worthy of note:
The first player to score nine goals in his first five Premier League matches.
The first player to score three consecutive hat-tricks in Premier League home games.
The player with the most Premier League goals scored in the month of August (nine).
The only player to score 20 goals in his first 14 Premier League matches. Previous record holder Kevin Phillips scored 20 in his first 21 games.
From RB Salzburg in the Austrian league, Borussia Dortmund in the German Bundesliga, and now City in the Premier League, the towering striker has been a wonder everywhere. Yet, at just 22, he is just getting started.
Erling Haaland: When Ripping Records Apart Becomes a Hobby https://t.co/mCpGN8MaGu— Bitter and Blue (@BitterandBlue1) December 29, 2022
Former Premier League star says Man City hero Kevin De Bruyne ‘would struggle in an average team’ - Jimmy Johnson - Manchester World
A heated debate raged on Talksport on Wednesday evening - who is the best midfielder in the rich history of the Premier League? While many Manchester City supporters would likely say Kevin De Bruyne, Jermaine Pennant offered an alternative point of view.
Instead, the former Liverpool winger picked Steven Gerrard. Pennant played alongside Gerrard for three years during his time at Anfield - he joined Liverpool in the summer of 2006 and left in 2009.
To justify his claim, Pennant cited Gerrard’s extensive abilities as a midfielder, saying “Gerrard was the complete midfielder. He could defend like a centre-back, he could score goals and finish like a striker, he could ping like Scholes. He had everything to his game.”
Additionally, he praised Gerrard’s record of performing well in an “average” Liverpool team (which, as mentioned, Pennant himself was a part of). This was something he criticised De Bruyne for, stating that he “disappears” in less-than-stellar teams.
Rodri lauds Manchester City teammate Jack Grealish after Leeds redemption - Vayam Lahoti - City Xtra
Speaking to Prime Video Sport after the win, Rodri leapt to Grealish’s defence and hailed his City teammate for grabbing his first couple of assists this season.
“I think we demand a lot (from Grealish), the quality of player he is, we demand goals and assists, that’s why we push him until the end,” the Spaniard said, as quoted by Manchester Evening News.
“Today (against Leeds), he was great. He missed a few chances he knows he has to score, but he helped the team with two assists.”
With Phil Foden and Bernardo Silva starting the win over Leeds on the bench, it remains to be seen if Guardiola rewards Grealish for his second half redemption by starting him against Everton on Sunday.
And finally... The Manchester Blues are laser-focused on the target as we head into the second half of the Premier League season.
Man City answers to Arsenal questions show mindset has changed over World Cup break - Joe Bray - Manchester Evening News
After defeat by Brentford in November, in the last game before the World Cup, and two subsequent wins for Arsenal, City had slipped eight points behind the Gunners. And the travelling squad were all too aware of it.
Before the game, both Rodri and Pep Guardiola spoke of the need to close that gap, and the challenges that an eight-point difference presents. At full time, with the deficit back to five points, Arsenal was again the focus in post-match interviews.
“We had a good feeling vs Liverpool, now in the Premier League we want to do the same,” said Rodri pre-match. “We had a great first leg [of the season] and now we have to have a second run to open more the gap.”
His manager concurred, saying: “I had the feeling that if Arsenal play the way they’ve been playing all season, just lose one game, draw another, they have to be there.
“The reality is eight points [to Arsenal] is a lot, we have two games in hand [over Newcastle]. We know if we want to be there we have to win games otherwise it will not be possible to catch them.”
Even before arriving at Elland Road, captain Ilkay Gundogan posed the idea of a ‘big run’ in an interview with Arab News , suggesting that the whole squad believe they must replicate their long winning runs of previous seasons to stand a chance of winning the title.
There you have it. Be sure to come back tomorrow for a dose of match-day headlines from your friends at Bitter and Blue.