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Sky Blue News: City v Forest, Pep Presser, Akanji Imminent?, and More...

Matchday headlines to get you ready for Nottingham Forest.

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Manchester City Press Conference Photo by Matt McNulty - Manchester City/Manchester City FC via Getty Images

City are playing an early season Wednesday evening Premiere League match against Nottingham Forest today!! Sky Blue News is here to get you ready for all the action.


It’s been a long time since Forest have visited the blues. George Kelsey gets us caught up with our old friends.

Forest come into the tie on the back of a 2-0 home defeat to Tottenham Hotspur, but claimed a point at Everton in their most recent away match.

Steve Cooper’s side have made an incredible 18 signings this summer, with Atletico Madrid left-back Renan Lodi the most recent through the door.

The Reds certainly aren’t here to make up the numbers in their first Premier League campaign since 1999, meaning City will need to be at our best to claim all three points at the Etihad.

Alvarez and Haaland start in Man City predicted team to face Nottingham Forest - Joe Bray - Manchester Evening News

It’s Joe’s guess at City’s starters. He has both of Pep’s recent forward signings in the lineup together for the first time.

After Ederson in goal, the back four may have to wait to be rotated with Aymeric Laporte out and Nathan Ake missing the Palace win and Barcelona friendly. Kyle Walker and Joao Cancelo may have to start most of these fixtures until the international break, with Sergio Gomez an option off the bench to get more minutes for the team if City are winning comfortably.

If Kalvin Phillips is fit, this could be a chance to give him more minutes, although he missed the Palace win, so Rodri may be a safer bet to start against Forest. Kevin De Bruyne wasn’t at his best against Palace and may be managed in the coming weeks, although he remains City’s best player and creator, so should continue. Ilkay Gundogan’s runs from midfield could be a key factor against Forest, with Bernardo then a dangerous option from the bench after a busy week.

In attack, Guardiola has already suggested that Erling Haaland won’t play every game when the fixtures are coming every three days, and the boss has talked up Julian Alvarez this week. However, on the back of a hat-trick at the weekend, he surely can’t drop Haaland, who could help win this game early before being withdrawn in the second half.

“People are talking about Haaland, but Alvarez is an exceptional player...” – Pep pre-Forest Presser - Nabeel - City Report

The boss is already impressed with his new Argentinian attacker.

The Catalan discussed Erling Haaland, Julian Alvarez, Ilkay Gundogan, Kevin De Bruyne seven years to the day he joined the Blues and spoke briefly on transfer business ahead of Deadline Day.

On Erling Haaland:

“We are delighted. Hopefully, he feels good being here. We didn’t have doubts. We still have margins to improve to be a better player and we’re working on that.”

Potentially rotating Haaland with Julian Alvarez and what has impressed about the Argentine:

“When Erling doesn’t play, we play Julian. Almost sure. We are all really impressed with his pace, sense of goal, his work ethic, for many things.”

Pep Talk: “We concede few chances and few goals. We’ll adjust something, it’s normal in that period...” - Saul Garcia - Bitter and Blue

Saul gives us the latest from Pep’s pre-Nottingham Forest presser.

Pep Guardiola has some thoughts. He talks Nottingham, defense issues, Haaland and much more. The presser comes as the first two matches in one week is here. We hope for good performances and no injuries.

Let’s dive in:

“Everyone talks a lot, we’re delighted. Hopefully he feels good. We didn’t have doubts, we only had one month of competition. We still have margins to improve to be a better player and we’re working on that...”

“When Erling [Haaland] doesn’t play, we play Julian. Almost sure. We are all really impressed for his pace, sense of goal, his work ethic, for many things...”

“Just one, two days and finally the window will be over and everyone will be focussed on what we have to do. I don’t know what will happen [with remaining business].”

“We have to try to avoid it. In the past years, when we were down, it was difficult to come back. We’ve improved and can do it. We have to avoid it as much as possible. It’s risky, one day we won’t be able to come back...”

Man City close to signing of Manuel Akanji from Borussia Dortmund - sources - Rob Dawson - ESPN

Perhaps just one more summer signing for Txiki.

The 27-year-old is set to leave the Bundesliga side after four-and-a-half years during which he made more than 150 appearances.

He has also been capped 41 times by Switzerland. Akanji could come up against Dortmund for City this season after they were drawn together in Group G of the Champions League.

Speaking at a news conference on Tuesday, manager Pep Guardiola left the door open for more business to be done before the close of the transfer window, insisting that he “didn’t know” if there would be ins and outs ahead of Thursday’s deadline.

Akanji is set to become City’s fifth summer signing following the arrivals of Erling Haaland, Kalvin Phillips, Sergio Gomez and Stefan Ortega.

Manchester City closing in on Manuel Akanji signing from Borussia Dortmund - Harry Winters - City Xtra

Akanji would represent some timely reinforcement at centre-back.

Manchester City are currently struggling in central defence, with both Nathan Ake and Aymeric Laporte sidelined due to injury.

Laporte is continuing to recover from an injury sustained at the backend of last season, while Ake was forced off during the Sky Blues’ recent 3-3 draw with Newcastle United at St James’ Park.

On Tuesday, Pep Guardiola refused to rule out any further signings, saying during his press conference: “I don’t know what will happen.”

Amid continued injury problems at centre-back and an incredibly hectic fixture schedule, The Athletic report that Manchester City are close to signing Manuel Akanji as cover.

David Ornstein and Pol Ballus claim that the Premier League Champions are close to an agreement for the 27-year-old.

Whatever Happened to Manchester City’s £60m Reject? - Manc Pete - Bitter and Blue

And finally... Pete reminds us that not everyone saw the potential of KDB when he signed 7 years ago. It’s gone pretty well btw.

His first season brought seven goals and nine assists as City scraped into the Champions League ahead of United on goal difference. The following season saw Pep Guardiola arrive and the blues reached the FA Cup semi-final and finished third in the Premier League. De Bruyne helped himself to six Premier League goals, but doubled his assist count to 18.

City won the 2017/18 Premier League title at a canter, with de Bruyne claiming 8 goals and 16 assists and the pundits were now starting to take notice. the Belgian was performing at such a high level that a general feeling of gloom was felt amongst the faithful when he suffered injury spells during the 18/19 season, and even the pundits thought the blues would miss the midfield genius.

City won the title in any case and, while they lost their crown a season later during the pandemic months, de Bruyne still racked up 13 goals and 20 assists. Two more titles followed with de Bruyne at the very heart of the City team, notching 15 goals last season.

That’s all for the headlines. Be sure to follow along with @BitterandBlue1 for all the latest throughout the day as we get ready for Nottingham Forest. Come on City!!!