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Sky Blue News: No Punishment for Pep, Erling’s Return, Akanji Prediction, and More...

Bitter and Blue presents Tuesday headlines.

Manchester City v Liverpool FC - Premier League Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

The Manchester City men are enjoying a few days off from training ahead of a trip to Southampton this weekend. The women’s team has dispersed for the international break. Sky Blue News is here with the latest to keep you current with all things Man City.

FA make punishment decision on controversial Pep Guardiola celebration in Man City vs Liverpool game - Liam Wood - Manchester Evening News

Tsimikas was making his way back into the dugout when the Catalan stepped in his way as he made it clear what the equaliser meant. Liverpool midfielder Arthur was also involved as Guardiola shook his hand.

In the aftermath, some observers suggested the City manager had taken his celebration too far, while it was argued he might have even breached FA Rule E3 - which states that participants must not “act in any manner which is improper or brings the game into disrepute” during matches.

Ultimately, there will be no FA charges made. Guardiola has already defended his actions.

Addressing the moment during his press conference, the 52-year-old said: “I was happy and I said; ‘How nice was our goal’? That’s all. Of course [he was having fun], come on.”

Guardiola added: “I’m so sorry. Speak with Tsimikas. Speak with Arthur for a lack of respect. Ask them if I lack respect. I celebrated the goal.

Manchester City Disrespecting Football Once Again. Nothing Changes eh? - Manc Pete - Bitter and Blue

Disrespect and lacking class! This is from the supporters who sent bricks and bottles flying at City’s team bus prior to a Champions League clash. This is from supporters who launched pint pots of coins at kids in the stands below. This is from the supporters who cry, whinge and moan about ticket allocations being reduced, yet vacate the ground with 15 minutes remaining!

But Pep celebrating his team’s goal has not only triggered them, but provoked a bizarre media response, with Pep being asked if he was being disrespectful. Pep, of course in his usual way, dismissed the questions by giving a half-arsed ‘sorry,’ which is his own unique way of telling the journalist to f*** off!

And, to make it worse, You’ve then got Rio Ferdinand saying he was surprised Tsimikas didn’t shove Guardiola out of the way. There we have it. A former footballer advocating violence. That’s just the Rio Ferdinand way and we’re glad that he’s not a manager with that sort of attitude. The former United man’s words make it seem like Melo showed a huge amount of restraint to stop him from acting, when in fact, he was just being a grown-up, something Ferdinand could learn from. You only have to look at his reaction in 2011 when Mario Balotelli wound him up after the FA Cup semi-final. His response to a bit of goading, and that’s all it was, is to react violently. And he thinks he’s a role model in the game?

Man City fans claim Jack Grealish is now playing well because one player is no longer in the team - Patrick Rowe - Sport Bible

While the form of Cancelo is yet to take flight in a Bayern shirt with just 371 minutes of action to his name, his former City teammate Jack Grealish is currently thriving in Manchester.

The England international has scored four goals and provided five assists in 22 games for City this season - relatively low figures which do not accurately reflect his growing importance to the team.

Grealish has produced several big performances for City in recent weeks, including a man-of-the-match outing against Liverpool on Saturday in which he scored the final goal in a 4-1 win for Guardiola’s side.

City fans are now linking his upturn in form with the departure of Cancelo.

“Say it very quietly but Jack Grealish has took his game to a different level ever since Cancelo left,” added another.

A third wrote: “Cancelo was holding him back.”

“Cancelo technically better than him, with Ake being him he probably feels less pressure,” added another.

Potential Erling Haaland return date revealed following Liverpool absence - Harry Winters - City Xtra

Following Saturday’s win over Liverpool, Pep Guardiola hinted that the Blues’ talisman could return from injury next week, when the Champions travel to St Mary’s to face Southampton in the Premier League.

“Hopefully this week he will have time to be ready for Southampton and Bayern and he can help us in the way he has done all season,” said Guardiola.

“He felt a little better yesterday than the previous two days.”

News of a possible return prior to a crunch Champions League quarter-final first-leg with Bayern Munich will be a welcome boost to Guardiola as the Catalan also deals with the absence of Phil Foden, who underwent surgery due to appendicitis last month.

Premier League Team of the Week - Kevin De Bruyne, Gabriel Jesus, Jack Grealish - Ben Knapton - Sports Mole

Manchester City had briefly closed in on the Gunners thanks to their triumph over Liverpool by the same scoreline, while Newcastle United have nabbed the final podium spot, beating Manchester United 2-0 to demote the Red Devils to fifth place.

The 10 men of both Tottenham Hotspur and Everton shared the spoils in a 1-1 draw on Monday - allowing Spurs to move back into the top four - while Brighton & Hove Albion and Brentford remain neck-and-neck in the European fight after their 3-3 stalemate at the Amex.

Chelsea pulled the trigger on Graham Potter after losing 2-0 to Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge, while Roy Hodgson’s first game back at Crystal Palace proved to be Brendan Rodgers’s last with Leicester City, as the Eagles left it late to record a 2-1 win.

Elsewhere, Bournemouth boosted their survival prospects with a 2-1 win over Fulham, Nottingham Forest and Wolverhampton Wanderers shook hands on a 1-1 draw, while West Ham United earned the basement bragging rights in a 1-0 success over Southampton.

Manuel Akanji makes Arsenal prediction as he assesses Man City title chances - Michael Plant - Manchester World

Speaking after Saturday’s win at the Etihad, Akanji said: “There are still a lot of games to go but we probably have to win all the games, and that is what we aim for, and we hope we can do that.

“It’s coming towards the end of the season,” he added. “And it’s tough games, and we need to win in all of the games in these competitions. That is what we are working for and what we want. We have done a good job recently.”

Despite joining City a few weeks into the campaign, Akanji has started more games this season for the Blues in all competitions than his four centre-back colleagues Ruben Dias, John Stones, Nathan Ake and Aymeric Laporte. The Swiss international feels that healthy rivalry between the five defensive options is helping to push City on in the final weeks of the season.

“It’s a good competition [for places]. Everyone wants to play,” said the former Borussia Dortmund man. “That is what we show in training and try to show in the game, and in the end it’s the coach that picks the team and I would be really happy to stay in the team, but it’s decided game by game and I have to keep working hard.

And finally... THB is gaining attention form several Premier League clubs.

Newcastle among Premier League clubs keen on Man City defensive starlet - Graeme Bailey - 90min

Harwood-Bellis is highly rated at City, and with his current contract due to expire next summer, plans are afoot to hold extension talks at the end of the season.

However, sources have told 90min that although the Stockport-born stopper would like to make the grade at the Etihad Stadium, he recognises he is some way down the pecking order.

Indeed, Harwood-Bellis is yet to play for City in the Premier League, though he has made a handful of cup appearances for the club. The England Under-21 international has also chalked up over 100 games at senior level thanks to loan spells with Blackburn, Anderlecht, Stoke and now Burnley.

90min understands that Burnley are hoping to bring Harwood-Bellis back to the club next season, and City legend Kompany is hopeful that his former employers will sanction a deal - whether it be another loan or a permanent deal.

However, Kompany is not alone in his admiration of Harwood-Bellis, who City would consider selling if he does not agree a new contract, and sources have confirmed to 90min that Newcastle are considering making a summer move.

Signing at least one new central defender is on Eddie Howe’s summer wish list. Fabian Schar has performed brilliantly next to Sven Botman at the heart of the Newcastle defence, but the Magpies want to bolster their options beyond the likes of Jamaal Lascelles, who could leave this summer, and Dan Burn, who has spent most of the season at full-back.

There you have it Cityzens. Stay with your friends at Bitter and Blue as Man City prepare for a seaside trip to St. Mary’s. Sky Blue News returns tomorrow.