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Sky Blue News: Wrapping Up Leipzig, New City Standard, Mac Allister Talks, and More...

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Manchester City v RB Leipzig: Round of 16 Second Leg - UEFA Champions League Photo by Pedro Salado/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Manchester City are moving on in the Champions League. Before we turn our eyes to the UCL Quarterfinal draw on Friday or the FA Cup Quarterfinal match against Burnley at the weekend, let’s catch up on the news from around the web.


Haaland moved on to a sensational 39 goals from 36 games across all competitions with his quintet in the 7-0 win over RB Leipzig.

This broke Tommy Johnson’s club record of 38 goals in a single season, which has stood for 94 years.

Johnson set it in 1928/29, across 40 matches, in a campaign which saw City finish eighth in the old Division One.

In total, Johnson played 355 games for the sky blues, scoring 166 goals across 11 seasons, which puts him third on the all-time scoring charts behind Sergio Aguero in first (260) and Eric Book in second (177).

Manchester City Run Rampant in UCL: Reaction & Tweets - Saul Garcia - Bitter and Blue

Seventh heaven! A complete and thunderous match by the City boys as they won a 7-0 win. What a match as the star was Erling Haaland and his five goals, but the team played so well around him including a rejuvenated Kevin De Bruyne.

On to the reaction-

“Five goals, what can I say?” Guardiola said. “I said many times, he’s a joyful guy. His mood in the locker room is always happiness.

“He is a gift to all of us. He is a huge competitor, his mentality is there. He scored five goals which is not easy.”

“Today he scored five goals and I think he made 30-35 ball contacts and this is what we are looking for,” the boss added.

“I had the feeling when you are involved in the game offensively, defensively, when the ball comes to score a goal, you are more clever, more precise, you are in the game.

Stones masterclass proves he could yet fulfil Pep Guardiola’s vision - Jamie Jackson - The Guardian

From the first whistle Stones left his right-back berth to drift inside and pass and receive, create space, pull Leipzig about and be the extra man that caused a midfield overload. The 28-year-old was spied as far from his official post as inside left, tapping the ball to Ilkay Gündogan, Jack Grealish, De Bruyne and company before, when his on-field sat-nav blinked red, racing back into position to help thwart any rare Leipzig foray.

Stones was the vision of a footballer Guardiola imagined seven years before. While Guardiola was still Bayern Munich head coach he had shown YouTube videos to the club executive of the then Everton defender, and informed those present at his Bavarian home that Stones was key to his plans.

The clips revealed a 21-year-old whose fluidity had him purring out from the back in possession, seeing a clear map of the game and selecting the right option with a schemer’s eyes. Then came a £47.5m transfer and problems. Stones proved injury bedevilled and performed unevenly, Guardiola offered intermittent mutterings about the player’s private life, and the England international admitted three years ago that he might depart – after Guardiola had previously insisted that as long as “I am manager Stones will be at the club”.

Man City have quietly set a new standard to define their season - Simon Bajkowski - Manchester Evening News

Haaland’s performance came as part of a stellar team display though, with Bernardo Silva, Ilkay Gundogan, Jack Grealish and Kevin De Bruyne all ensuring the attack had far too much for their opponents, overrunning RB Leipzig to make the second leg so much easier than the first. Rodri was of course central to cementing the links between defence and attack.

A word is needed for the defence too. They may not have had to do too much but the team did not appear to have lost much creativity through playing four centre-backs in the starting XI yet gained a huge amount of stability. Just as at Crystal Palace, there was barely anything for Ederson to do.

Having looked unusually shaky in the months after the World Cup and conceding more goals than they are used to, City have sharpened up. The consistency of Nathan Ake and Manuel Akanji has been bolstered by the return from injury first of Ruben Dias and then John Stones.

The defence have now kept clean sheets in four consecutive games, something they had not done at any other point in the season previously. Statistically speaking, this is the best shape the defence has been in all year.

And that matters. Obviously, Haaland and his team of attackers will be relied upon to score the goals to win the games but everything has to be built from a stable foundation. It is how every successful team works, and a mean defence has underscored City’s Premier League title wins under Guardiola and also their best run in the Champions League.

Who can Manchester City draw in Champions League quarter finals 2023? Teams and potential opponents - Joshua Thomas - The Sporting News

After a 1-1 draw with RB Leipzig in their Round of 16 first leg in Germany, City channelled all of their attacking talents to smash their German opponents 7-0 in the return leg at the Etihad.

Man City are no strangers to reaching the Champions League quarter finals, and they’ll now eagerly await their next opponent in the competition as they look to go all the way.

Who can Man City draw in Champions League quarter finals?

The calibre of possible opponents only gets tougher from here, and there’s no shortage of imposing teams awaiting Manchester City in the quarter finals this season, including the defending champions of Germany (Bayern Munich), Spain (Real Madrid), and Italy (AC Milan).

An Italian side is also a high probability given there are three in the quarter finals. And Man City boss Pep Guardiola might also fancy coming up against his former club Bayern Munich, though the Germans look like one of the best teams in the competition after making light work of PSG in the Round of 16.

From Argentina: Pep Guardiola holds talks with star midfielder as ‘serious option’ in summer transfer window - Freddie Pye - City Xtra

Pep Guardiola has now held talks with Brighton & Hove Albion midfielder Alexis Mac Allister, according to reports from Argentina.

The Premier League champions are expected to undergo a significant overhaul of their first-team playing squad over the course of the coming months, with the midfield areas set to be a focal point in those plans.

In recent weeks, Manchester City have made progress in identifying a list of possible targets for the midfield position, with Borussia Dortmund’s Jude Bellingham widely reported as being their primary target.

However, a new report emerging from Argentina has suggested that a player closer to home is a ‘serious option’ for Etihad Stadium officials, and could see a reunion between Julian Alvarez and one of his World Cup-winning teammates.

That is according to the information of Ariel Helueni of TNT Sports, who reports that Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has now held talks with Brighton and Argentina’s Alexis Mac Allister.

And finally... The hottest commodity on the upcoming summer transfer market is set to have talks about the future.

Jude Bellingham to decide future during international break? - Oliver Thomas - Sports Maole

Premier League quartet Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea are all said to be interested in his services, with the former allegedly growing increasingly confident about winning the race for his signature.

However, Spanish giants Real Madrid are hopeful of luring Bellingham to the Santiago Bernabeu, and are understood to have made first contact with the midfielder’s family and representatives to discuss a summer transfer.

Dortmund remain in a strong position to keep hold of Bellingham, who is valued at €150m (£133.1m) by the Bundesliga club and is under contract at Westfalenstadion until June 2025.

BVB are keen to tie Bellingham down to a new long-term contract, but it is thought that the teenager is ready to seek pastures new after nearly three seasons in Germany.

According to Bild, via OneFootball, Bellingham and his representatives are set to hold a meeting with Dortmund chiefs during the international break to discuss his future at the club.

The report adds that Bellingham will reveal whether he wishes to leave this summer or stay for at least another season, and Dortmund feel at present that they have a 50-50 chance of keeping hold of their star man.

Should Bellingham agree to remain at Dortmund and sign a new contract, the midfielder will likely see his €6m (£5.2m) annual salary significantly increase.

There you have it Cityzens. Stay with Bitter and Blue for all the latest regarding Manchester City. Come back tomorrow for more from Sky Blue News.