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Sky Blue News: Respect John Stones, City’s Last Chance, Veiga Management, and More...

Your Thursday headlines from SBN.

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

Manchester City are getting ready to face Southampton in a Premier League clash. The Women’s international break sees MCWFC off until April 23. Sky Blue News has collected the best headlines from around the web to keep you current.


The four-time Premier League winner suffered with injuries earlier in the campaign but with the run-in just starting, he appears to be returning to the peak of his powers.

A centre back for most of his career to date, the No.5 has recently been asked to play in the unique right-back/midfield hybrid role which Pep Guardiola has made a regular feature of our play.

After a stellar showing in that role against Liverpool, Guardiola was full of praise for Stones.

“I thought when I arrived that he has the quality to play there,” he said.

“It is different when you see all the game in front of you. In that position he is surrounded from Henderson, Salah, Fabinho, Elliott, Gakpo.

“He is surrounded like a bubble. To play there is not really easy. You have to have a lot of personality.”

With Guardiola asking his players to build up from the back, defenders and deep midfielders have a crucial role in progressing the ball up the pitch in a controlled manner.

Opta’s latest Premier League data proves just how effective Stones has been on the ball at centre back, right-back and when venturing forward to play alongside Rodrigo.

The 28-year-old has only lost possession of the ball with 6.7% of his touches this season in the Premier League (87/1300), the lowest rate of any player with more than 150 touches.

Manchester City: Let’s Put Some Respect on John Stones - Saul Garcia - Bitter and Blue

After his incredible performance on Saturday’s really good win over Liverpool, he has attracted plenty of attention and praise.

In and out of possession, the England man is again showing why, for many, he is one of the best defenders in world football.

Despite injuries this season, he has had so much faith put onto him by Pep Guardiola.

A centre back by trade usually, many have noted how he has recently been asked to play in the unique right-back/midfield hybrid role which Pep Guardiola has made as a new wrinkle on his spectacular tactics.

From Pep after the Pool match:

“I thought when I arrived that he has the quality to play there,” he said.

“It is different when you see all the game in front of you. In that position he is surrounded from Henderson, Salah, Fabinho, Elliott, Gakpo.

“He is surrounded like a bubble. To play there is not really easy. You have to have a lot of personality.”

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

The coolest man in the stadium when Liverpool took a shock lead at the Etihad Stadium, the perennially slick Kevin De Bruyne was unsurprisingly at the heart of Man City’s merciless second-half performance, beating Virgil van Dijk for pace to tap home his side’s second goal before cutting back for Jack Grealish to complete an Etihad drubbing.

Despite failing to add to his goals column at the Amex, Brentford attacker Bryan Mbeumo was the driving creative force for the Bees, playing through Ivan Toney before bagging his second assist of the day with a sumptuous cross for Pinnock to poke home.

Speaking of a creative masterclass, Jack Grealish’s purple patch in a Man City shirt continued with a dangerous display during the thumping of Liverpool. Proving to be a constant menace on the left-hand side and giving Trent Alexander-Arnold a torrid time all afternoon, Grealish’s pass was inch-perfect for Julian Alvarez to equalise, and he found the bottom corner with aplomb in the second half during a man-of-the-match display.

Southampton is the last Man City chance for upgrade on their Premier League title schedule - Simon Bajkowski - Manchester Evening News

Irrespective of the table, the signing of Haaland in particular has led to much debate over whether City are better this season or not. Has their considerable change over the summer where they sold a number of experienced winners and brought in fresh-faced replacements had an immediate benefit?

After 28 league games last season, they were top of the table with 68 points - four more than they currently have. A different way of looking at it though is to compare their results against the same opposition; for instance they beat Liverpool at home this year where they only drew last year, but also lost at Brentford where last year they won.

Taking those results across the season, City are currently one point behind the side that went on to win the title last year. However, given their last league visit to St Mary’s resulted in a 1-1 draw this Saturday gives them the opportunity to move back ahead of their marker; three points at the weekend will put them one point ahead of their comparative total from last season.

FA confirms unacceptable Old Trafford incident will impact Man City as Man Utd could also be affected - Ben McKenna - Manchester World

Aleksandar Mitrovic has been banned for eight games by an independent panel following his red card against Manchester Untied in the FA Cup last month.

The Serbian was sent off for pushing referee Chris Kavanagh at Old Trafford, as the Red Devils came from behind to set-up a semi-final tie with Brighton at Wembley.

The striker was automatically handed a three-match ban however that has been increased to eight games which will rule him out of this month’s Premier League clash with Man City. Fulham boss Marco Silva has also been sanctioned.

However, the FA intend to appeal the length of the punishment, which could see Mitrovic miss the final game of the season against Man United on May 28.

There is precedence for a longer suspension, as in 1998 Paulo Di Canio was given an 11-match ban for pushing over a referee.

Pep Guardiola’s brother leading race to represent Manchester City midfield target Gabri Veiga - Harry Winters - City Xtra

Pere Guardiola, the brother of Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola, is leading the race to represent Celta Vigo midfielder Gabri Veiga.

Veiga, who has a £35 million release clause, is attracting notable attention from potential Premier League suitors ahead of the summer transfer window.

Manchester City are one of five English teams reportedly interested in signing the 20 year-old midfielder, with the Spaniard having been directly involved in 13 goals in 26 La Liga appearances so far this season.

City are rumoured to be planning an overhaul of their midfield ahead of the 2023/24 campaign as the futures of both Ilkay Gundogan and Bernardo Silva remain uncertain.

Gundogan is out of contract at the end of the season and is wanted by Barcelona, while PSG have recently reignited their interest in Bernardo Silva, who has remained tight-lipped about his plans beyond the current campaign.

And finally... Roy Keane backs City to pip Arsenal FC to the title.

‘I don’t think they’ll do it... I still have to fancy Manchester City’: Roy Keane claims Arsenal will CHOKE and fall to Pep Guardiola’s side in the Premier League title race - as he is unsure if the Gunners can handle ‘pressure games’ - Max Mathews - MailOnline

Pep Guardiola’s side are the defending champions and have won four of the last five championships.

City have played one game fewer than the Gunners, meaning they will be just five points behind Mikel Arteta’s men if they win that.

With City only having 10 games left this season, and Arsenal nine, Manchester United icon Keane admitted the latter are clear favourites to secure the title.

But speaking on Gary Neville’s The Overlap show, the Irish pundit claimed Arsenal will choke and fall to City in the title race - because he is unsure if they can handle the pressure.

He said: ‘They (Arsenal) are in a great position, wouldn’t have thought that at the start of the season but they’ve been brilliant, a lot of the young players have been very consistent, they can just focus on the league.

‘They’re definitely favourites for the title. I don’t think they’ll do it. I still have to fancy City but Arsenal have got themselves in a great position. You need a little bit of luck, injuries over the last few months, they’re in a great position and you have to admire them for that - can’t begrudge them.

There you have it Cityzens. Stay with Bitter and Blue for all the latest from the build-up to the trip to Southampton. Sky Blue News returns tomorrow with more headlines.