It’s still another 9 days until the Manchester City Women return to the pitch. The City Men are set for a Saturday visit from Leicester City who are 3 points from safety in the relegation zone. Sky Blue News is here with the latest to get you ready for the weekend.
Masterful Silva sees the future for Manchester City in win over Bayern - Barney Ronay - The Guardian
Just before the hour in this match at the Etihad Stadium, Bernardo Silva took the ball on the right flank and began to drive inside, not so much sprinting as ambling urgently, like a man running a little late to deliver a lecture, scarf flapping absently over one shoulder.
Casually, more just to hold on to the ball, he nutmegged Alphonso Davies. Then he did something impossible, seeming somehow to walk through Davies’s legs in pursuit of the ball, reappearing on the other side of his man via some invisible hobbit tunnel.
As an afterthought, he also nutmegged Matthijs de Ligt, then looked up to find Davies back hounding him, forcing him to stop and spin and drag the ball back, making snow angel patterns in the grass before eventually being scragged to the ground.
Ten minutes later Silva was in the same space, choosing this time to draw another character from his complete one-man ensemble cast performance. This time judging the delicate flight of Erling Haaland’s cross and launching himself like some anvil-headed goal-pylon of the 1950s to butt a power-header past Yann Sommer and high into the net to make the score 2-0 in the first leg of this quarter-final, and in the process confirming two things.
First, that City are just too good, too settled, too grooved right now to fall for the off-chance of a little Thomas Tuchel voodoo. And second, that Silva is one of the most extraordinary footballers in the elite modern game. Haaland will take the headlines, the difference‑maker who made one and scored one. But Silva was utterly masterful here, starting the game in the bespoke right-wing super‑presser role that Guardiola has set aside for him in the current version of City.
Provoked Pep, Fed up Fans and the Return of Ruben Dias: How Man City Reinvigorated the Title Race - Dillon Meehan - City Report
Things hadn’t exactly been going great for City since returning from the World Cup. First, it was a string of bad performances and mixed results, then crashing out of the Carabao Cup, a shocking refereeing decision cost them points against Manchester United, Joao Cancelo’s temper tantrum sent him to Germany, all of which happened before yet another loss away to Spurs.
Less than 24 hours later, the Premier League announced their charges, and it began to feel all too similar to the 2019/20 season: City’s quest for a three-peat stifled by injuries and poor performances, cultivating in a bombshell allegation that threatened to destroy everything the project stood for.
Fast forward to Guardiola’s press conference, and once again, the Catalan was tasked with answering for alleged crimes he is not responsible for, many of which happened while he was still a Barcelona manager. It’s no secret that Pep has gradually become much more comfortable speaking his mind in press conferences, and this was his boldest example yet.
He emphatically called out the nine Premier Clubs who wrote to UEFA calling for City to be excluded from European competition, he emphasised his trust in “his people” time and time again, he sarcastically accepted responsibility for Steven Gerrard’s slip, all while looking like a Bond villain.
“Like Julius Caesar said, ‘In this world, there are no enemies or friends, just interests’” – Pep Guardiola
Pep Guardiola: "I am not moving from this seat. I. Can. Assure. You. Now more than ever, I want to stay. Sometimes I have doubts: seven/eight years is a long time. Now, I do not want to move on." pic.twitter.com/srrhrIwM7u— City Report (@cityreport_) February 10, 2023
Man City vs Leicester team news - One doubt & five ruled out for Premier League clash - Michael Plant - Manchester World
Should Guardiola opt to freshen up his side, Kyle Walker, Aymeric Laporte, Riyad Mahrez and Julian Alvarez are options to come into the team. There is also a very slight doubt surrounding Kevin De Bruyne, who Guardiola said on Wednesday night was replaced for tactical reasons against Bayern and not because of an injury. However, the Belgian midfielder received treatment at the side of the pitch after appearing to pick up a slight knock and he didn’t appear to be moving freely before coming off.
As for Leicester, they will be without Harvey Barnes after the winger sustained a hamstring injury in last weekend’s loss to Bournemouth and Dean Smith confirmed that the 25-year-old will miss his first match in charge of the Foxes.
“Harvey Barnes will be out certainly on Saturday,” said the former Aston Villa manager. “He’s touch and go for next Saturday.” Smith also confirmed right-back Ricardo Pereira will be ruled out through injury.
But there’s better news on Youri Tielemans, who is back in contention for the first time since February. “He’s available for selection,” Smith said on Friday when asked about the Belgian. “He hasn’t done a lot of minutes in training. We’ll asses whether he can start or come on as a substitute.”
Phil Foden return date earmarked for major upcoming Manchester City clash in promising recovery update - Harry Winters - City Xtra
Pep Guardiola’s side face Leicester City on Saturday evening in the Premier League before travelling to Bavaria for the second-leg against Thomas Tuchel’s Bayern Munich on Wednesday.
The Blues also have an Emirates FA Cup semi-final upcoming, with City meeting Sheffield United at Wembley Stadium on Saturday 22nd April.
Foden looks set to miss next weeks clash against the Bundesliga league leaders in Germany but is reportedly targeting a return to action for City’s key Premier League meeting with Arsenal on Wednesday 26th April.
The Sun report that Foden is expected to begin bike and strength work this week, with City looking to ease the England international back ahead of the crunch clash against the Gunners.
Manchester City legend is the new favourite to manage Tottenham Hotspur - Kian Long - The Top Flight
There are many names in line to replace Conte, including the exceptionally talented Julian Nagelsmann, Luis Enrique and even former boss Mauricio Pochettino has been mentioned. But there’s a new recruit, and he’s flied straight to the top of the pecking order.
That’s according to The Sun, who have reported that Manchester City legend and current Burnley boss Vincent Kompany is the new favourite to take charge at Spurs. The news comes after he promoted Burnley back to the Premier League at the first time of asking.
Spurs aren’t in the Championship and they’re by no means at the level which Burnley were last season. However, the way the club is heading, they need someone who’s managed at the bottom and had success to come in and show the players why they need to step it up.
Of course, the news comes as mixed reception to the Spurs faithful. While they’ve had no direct rivalry with Manchester City (except putting the pressure on them a couple of times), they won’t like Kompany’s past with the club. Also, it seems like a stepping stone to what is Kompany’s dream role, managing at Manchester City.
Man City have been handed further evidence of how they’ve left Manchester United trailing - Joshua Smith - Manchester Evening News
On Tuesday night, City had the perfect theatre to show off the incredible progress that has been made by the club in recent years. The Etihad pitch was nothing less than the carpet that Guardiola has come to expect his players to entertain on, the fanbase bouncing, the spectacle utterly faultless.
It was exactly the sort of atmosphere the UK and Ireland’s joint bid to host Euro 2028 will want to replicate after naming the Etihad alongside Wembley, The National Stadium of Wales, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Everton Stadium, St James’ Park, Villa Park, Hampden Park, Dublin Arena and Casement Park as the venues for their bid.
But one stadium, in particular, was notable for its absence from the list.
While success has been becoming a part of the furniture at the Etihad, across the city, Old Trafford has been crumbling. Complaints from United fans over the state of their stadium have become commonplace.
The absence of United’s stadium on the list is just further evidence of how the mighty have fallen. While one club’s ownership have fought tooth-and-nail for gains in every area you can think of, another has been seemingly neglected by the stewards put in charge (by themselves) of running it.
City have largely had the better of United on the pitch for the best part of a decade - and the Euro 2028 bid is proof they can now boast of having the better stadium. And, whisper it, but City might even win themselves a treble this year to boot.
And finally... The fixtures list for next year’s Premier League is soon to be revealed.
The Premier League have confirmed that the fixture schedule for the 2023/24 season will be revealed on Thursday 15 June.
At 9:00 (UK), City’s 38 league fixtures for the new campaign will be released.
The Premier League have also confirmed the start and end dates for the 2023/24 season. The campaign will begin on Saturday 12 August, with the final day of match scheduled for Sunday 19 May 2024.
Each team’s fixture schedule will consist of 34 weekend games, three midweek rounds and one Bank Holiday match round. For City, our fixture schedule may change depending on progression in domestic cups and European football.
We will also see the return of the mid-season break after the 2023 World Cup paused this season’s schedule.
The break will take place between 13–20 January 2024. In addition to this, no two rounds across Christmas and New Year will take place within 48 hours of each other to address the congested festive schedule.
There you have it. Be sure to stay with Bitter and Blue for all the latest and follow along on Twitter for reactions from the match with Leicester. Sky Blue News returns Monday with more headlines.