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Sky Blue News: Villa Preview, Ilkay Aids Quake Victims, Foden Returns?, and More...

Friday morning headlines from Bitter and Blue.

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Manchester City v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Manchester City head to the weekend looking to put the weekend behind them. The women face Arsenal FC on Saturday looking to get even for the Gunners knocking them out of the Conti Cup. The men are eager to return the focus to football as they prep for their match against Aston Villa on Sunday. Sky Blue News has all the latest to get you ready.

How Manchester City could line up against Aston Villa - Ben Knapton - Sports Mole

Riyad Mahrez - who was sacrificed for De Bruyne last weekend - provided the brightest spark for City at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, and he should hold his place on the right, while Jack Grealish also provides support to Erling Braut Haaland against his former club.

Rodri may very well be the only member of the Citizens’ engine room to keep their place, with Ilkay Gundogan pushing to come back in over Bernardo Silva, while alterations could be in order at the back as well.

Nathan Ake, Manuel Akanji and Rico Lewis should not be in any danger of dropping out, but the latter may take up a more conventional right-back role in place of Kyle Walker, whose spot in the backline could be taken by Aymeric Laporte.


Rather than dwell on the disappointment of that 1-0 loss in the capital however, Alvarez says he and his teammates are focused on quickly bouncing back to winning ways.

And with 17 games remaining in the Premier League calendar, including pivotal assignments both away and at home to leaders Arsenal, Alvarez says second placed City are focused on the task in hand with a lot of football still to be played between now and the end of May.

“It was frustrating to lose at Tottenham but we’re still aware that we have a lot of games to go,” the Argentine striker pointed out.

“We also have two matches to come against Arsenal. They are matches against our direct rivals, there is no other way of putting it.

“In between time, it’s about picking up as many points and wins as possible and being almost perfect.

Manchester City Girls Fall To Arsenal - Manc Pete - Bitter and Blue

It was a difficult pill to swallow on a cold night at Borehamwood after a game that had been back and forth throughout. Both sides had chances during normal time, with Arsenal hitting the bar and goalkeeper Sandy MacIver called into action to keep Arsenal out.

At the other end, City pressed the Gunners and for long periods of the game kept them pinned inside their own half, but ultimately, the blues couldn’t find a path to goal.

MacIver, in for Ellie Roebuck as she has been for all but one of City’s League Cup matches, was called into action early on to deny Laura Wienrother within the first five minutes. Lauren Hemp saw her attempted lob cut out by the keeper and Bunny Shaw went agonisingly close with a volley that whistled over the bar.

City continued to apply the pressure but the Gunners defence was holding firm, and it would take something special to break down the home side’s well-organised back four.

Man City captain Ilkay Gundogan makes heartfelt pledge to Turkish and Syrian earthquake victims - Kyle Newbould - Manchester Evening News

A massive 7.8 magnitude quake struck southern Turkey in the early hours of Monday morning, shortly followed by a 7.5 magnitude quake further north and multiple aftershocks. As of Thursday afternoon, the death combined death toll between the two countries surpassed 19,000 and is expected to continue rising.

As well as the tragic fatalities, tens of thousands of people have been left homeless and without food as buildings and infrastructure collapsed, with growing worldwide efforts trying to deliver aid to those in need.

And City midfielder Gundogan, along with his wife Sara, have made a heartfelt gesture in sending two trucks full of bread, with the German’s father reportedly in Balikesir trying to arrange transport.

As reported by BILD, the German international said: “My family and I were very busy with the events. Our thoughts are now with the people in the crisis areas. It is essential that we all stick together now. The people depend on our help.

All English clubs to be EXCLUDED from new 80-team European Super League prompting outrage from Premier League - Sohan Mukherjee - Goal

WHAT HAPPENED? Rumours of a new European Super League (ESL) format have surfaced, which will include 60-80 teams in a four-tier system as Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus refuse to give up on their dreams of forming an alternative continental competition to the UEFA Champions League. All the divisions would be created based on sporting performance and merit, with no founding members’ privilege.

However, according to The Sun, the new format will not include any Premier League outfits, with Madrid-based sports marketing firm A22 citing the financial success story of the English clubs as a justification for the new competition.

WHAT THEY SAID: One of the insiders said: “ This is a reverse Brexit. We are talking about a closed league that is trying to justify itself by pitting Europe against England. At the same time, they claim they want to emulate the Prem’s success. To say people are bemused is an understatement.”

Man City receive fitness boost ahead of Aston Villa clash with key player returning to training - Michael Plant - Manchester World

Foden has missed the last four City matches due to injury and illness, with the latter preventing him from playing in Sunday’s 1-0 loss away to Tottenham Hotspur. In fact, it’s nearly a month since Foden last played for the Premier League champions, when he started in the 2-1 loss to Manchester United on 14 January.

The England international has struggled to recapture his best form since returning from the World Cup and has fallen behind Jack Grealish and Riyad Mahrez in the pecking order at the Etihad. Foden had started all of City’s opening 10 league matches of the campaign, but has started just three of the subsequent 11 in the English top flight.

And finally... Some news to give Pep a happier face.


Guardiola led City to a remarkable fourth Premier League title in five years capped by a pulsating finale to the 2021/22 campaign when we fought back from 2-0 down to beat Aston Villa 3-2 in a dramatic last match of the season.

Once again, City earned widespread plaudits for the eye-catching manner of our latest title success, with the Club scoring 99 goals across the campaign and again producing a blend of bewitching, attacking football

The Catalan also led City through to the semi-finals of the Champions League before we suffered an agonising extra time second leg exit to Real Madrid.

There you have it Cityzens. Stay with Bitter and Blue all weekend long for all the latest. Sky Blue News returns Monday morning.