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Sky Blue News: Fixture Shuffle, Conti Cruise, Five Men Out?, and More...

Thursday morning headlines from Bitter and Blue.

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Manchester City Women are through to Continental Cup Semi-Finals after a 0-6 win away to Bristol City. Pep Guardiola’s men look to advance to the FA Cup Fifth Round with a home match against Arsenal FC tomorrow. Start your day with seven stories cultivated by your friends at Sky Blue News.

Arsenal & Manchester City’s next five games - How Premier League title rivals’ upcoming fixtures compare - Anslem Noronha - Goal

Mikel Arteta’s men have won seven of their last eight league fixtures barring the goalless draw against Newcastle United, after which the Gunners clinched the North London derby with a 2-0 result over Tottenham and got the better of Manchester United in a five-goal thriller.

On the other hand, City have responded to the 2-1 Manchester derby defeat at the hands of Manchester United by beating Tottenham 4-2 but have played a game more than Arsenal after the Wolves win.

The sides are yet to play each other in the Premier League - a game that could potentially define the title race - and before they do, the two teams have several crucial fixtures to come.

Three Manchester City Fixtures Amended - Manc Pete - Bitter and Blue

The blues face Newcastle at home on March 4th, however, rather than the scheduled 3pm kick-off, we have the delights of a 1230 kick-off. City have featured in four midday kick-offs so far this season, winning two (away to Wolves and Leicester) and losing two (Home to Brentford and some other irrelevant match). BT Sport will screen the soon-to-be-named all-English dirty oil human rights derby.

The trip to Palace also remains on the same day, but will have a 5.30 kick-off, just great for travelling fans returning from London. City have taken part in just one 5.30 start this season, a 1-1 draw at Aston Villa, and the blues have an indifferent record when kicking off at this time.

Sporting Lisbon ‘fearful of Manchester City move for Pedro Porro’ - Darren Plant - Sports Mole

The Spaniard did not play a single fixture for the Premier League giants during his three years contracted to the club, instead spending loan spells at Real Valladolid and Sporting.

Nevertheless, when Sporting were able to sign Porro for £7.2m last summer, it came with City inserting a buy-back clause which is allegedly set in the region of €20m (£17.65m).

According to 90min, Sporting have concerns that City will eventually want to activate that option if they do not cash in on Porro beforehand.


The reigning champions took an early lead when Hayley Raso ghosted in at the far post to meet Alex Greenwood’s teasing cross from the left.

And that early goal set the tone for a dominant display at Ashton Gate, with the Australian doubling her tally for the evening four minutes later.

Khadija ‘Bunny’ Shaw added a third on the half hour, before Lauren Hemp found the net against her former employers from a tight angle soon after.

Mary Fowler would continue her fine Conti Cup form with a fifth before the break, with Hemp doubling her personal tally on the hour to round off the scoring.

Why Kylian Mbappe could impact Man City’s summer transfer plans - with two big departures ‘expected’ - Michael Plant - Manchester World

Paris Saint-Germain forward Kylian Mbappe could play a big role in Manchester City’s summer transfer plans, according to reports.

The Sun claim the influential Frenchman will try and bring Bernardo Silva to PSG this summer given the good relationship between the pair from their time at Monaco. The outlet adds Mbappe ‘will urge them [PSG] to make a renewed bid to land him [Silva] when the summer window opens.”

The City midfielder was heavily linked with a move away from the Etihad last summer, with Barcelona making no secret of their desire to sign the Portugal international. Pep Guardiola admitted in the latter stages of the window that he was not sure whether Silva would remain with the club, following an interview with ESPN in August when the 28-year-old heavily implied he would like to leave.

FIVE Manchester City stars could leave this summer in ‘major exit operation’ from the club - Freddie Pye - City Xtra

The conclusion of the ongoing campaign has long been expected to bring about a major refresh of Pep Guardiola’s first-team squad, as the Catalan coach looks to build his squad for the next two years of his contract – after extending with the club last year.

In recent days, contract talks have been the stand-out process mooted in various quarters, as Manchester City look to extend the deals attached to both Ilkay Gundogan and Julian Alvarez, while they will also seek to gauge an understanding as to where Bernardo Silva’s head lies in regards to his own future.

However, a fresh report emerging from Spain on Wednesday afternoon would suggest that not only is Gundogan not interested in signing a new deal, but also that Manchester City should be bracing themselves for a streak of exits from the first-team squad in the coming months.

That is according to a new claim from journalist Jose Alvarez, who reports that Joao Cancelo, Bernardo Silva, Kyle Walker, Ilkay Gundogan and Aymeric Laporte could all leave Manchester City this summer.

While many are expecting a big upcoming summer transfer window in the way of arrivals, Jose Alvarez states that the same could be said for exits, as he explained, “A major exit operation because there is a lot of wear and tear among the heavyweights in the dressing room.”

And finally... Can City summon the strength and determination of the teams of the recent past?

Man City might have to repeat 2014 mentality after seeing Arsenal’s next 12 fixtures - Joe Bray - Manchester Evening News

City fans still sing about Gerrard’s unfortunate role in Liverpool’s eventual fall from champions-elect to runners-up, and their ability to pounce in the final week is still one of City’s more satisfying title wins since their first in 2012. Liverpool were probably the best team in the Premier League that season, but they didn’t have the mentality (or the correct studs) when it mattered the most.

By comparing City’s fixture list to Arsenal for the second half of the season, maybe the Blues will have to raise the spirit of 2014 rather than more recent title chases to inspire their success. Aside from welcoming City to the Emirates in three weeks, Arsenal have 10 or 11 relatively straightforward fixtures to keep the Blues at arm’s length.

They face Everton, Brentford, Aston Villa, Leicester, Bournemouth, Fulham, Crystal Palace, Leeds, West Ham and Southampton before taking on City at the Etihad in April. All of those are games that any title contender should be expecting to win, as should a more difficult trip to Anfield given Liverpool’s struggles this season. A yet-to-be-rearranged clash with Everton provides another winnable game that could be fit in before the last six games.

There you are. Stay with Bitter and Blue for all the latest as we build toward the match against the Gunners. Check back tomorrow for more from Sky Blue News.