Good morning to everyone whose football club are top of the league. Manchester City cashed in one of their games-in-hand on Sunday with a 1-2 win away to Fulham FC. The victory sent City ahead of Arsenal FC and into 1st place. The women came back from a goal down to defeat Reading 4-1 to keep their title dreams alive as well. Sky Blue News has all the latest to get you up to speed.
Julian Alvarez Scores Stunning Long-Range Goal As Man City Beat Fulham To Go Top - Robert Summerscales - FanNation Futbol
Alvarez won a penalty kick that was converted by Erling Haaland for City’s opening goal in the third minute.
That was Haaland’s 50th goal of the season for City.
Carlos Vinicius equalized for Fulham against the run of play but City retook the lead in the 36th minute thanks to a piece of individual brilliance by Alvarez.
The Argentina international beat keeper Bernd Leno with a stunning dipping shot from long range after getting the better of midfielder Joao Palhinha with some fancy foot work.
Alvarez has now scored 15 goals for City in all competitions since arriving from River Plate in July.
Historic goal masks hidden Erling Haaland improvement for Man City - Joe Bray - Manchester Evening News
Erling Haaland’s 50th goal of the season for Manchester City, and record-equalling 34th in the Premier League will naturally get all of the post-match headlines, and rightly so. After playing more of a provider role against Arsenal in the week, Haaland continued to show his improvement as a playmaker as well as a goalscorer at Fulham.
Against Arsenal, Haaland was tasked with coming as deep as the centre circle to drag defenders out of position and allow Kevin De Bruyne space to exploit. He stayed closer to the Fulham goal at Craven Cottage, but he was still doing everything he could to unsettle the Fulham centre-backs. Twice in the first half, Haaland dropped a couple of steps deep and cleverly flicked a ball into the path of an unmarked Jack Grealish.
Bernd Leno was equal to the efforts, but with Haaland now actively looking for the ball in the build-up, and City players more alert to where the space will open up, he is becoming an even more difficult player to stop. As his goal tally ticks into the 50s, that is a frightening prospect for the nine defences still to face him this season. It’s fair to argue that his two performances this week have been his best two in a City shirt in terms of all-round play.
Historic goal masks hidden Erling Haaland improvement for Man City | @_joebray #MCFC #FULMCI https://t.co/NQ0rqI29dO— Manchester City News (@ManCityMEN) May 1, 2023
Manchester City ‘set to open contract talks with Erling Braut Haaland’ - Ben Knapton - Sports Mole
Despite tying the Norway international down to a five-year deal last summer, Football Insider claims that Man City are already set to discuss an extension to Haaland’s contract until 2027.
Upon his £52.6m arrival from Dortmund last summer, Haaland is believed to have agreed to a £150m release clause, which clubs would have been able to trigger in 2024.
Links with Real Madrid began to resurface as a result, but with manager Pep Guardiola recently signing a new contract of his own, that nine-figure clause has been rendered null and void.
The report states that the Premier League champions intend to tie Haaland down for another two years until the summer of 2029, by which time he will be 29 years old, and the striker is happy in Manchester and willing to discuss an extension.
It is unclear if City will include any sort of release clause in the Norwegian’s new deal, but the Citizens want to ensure that their Premier League rivals cannot poach Haaland in the same manner that they did in 2022.
CITY COME FROM BEHIND TO CRUISE PAST ROYALS - Will Dickson ManCity.com
Manchester City Women shook off an early set-back to beat Reading 4-1 at the Academy Stadium as we continued our title push.
We found ourselves behind in the opening minute at the Academy Stadium when Sanne Troelsgaard fired past Ellie Roebuck.
Chloe Kelly drew us level inside a quarter of an hour before Khadija ‘Bunny’ Shaw’s header saw us hit the front before the half-time whistle.
Lauren Hemp struck early in the second half to put us firmly in control before Steph Houghton’s sweet free-kick rounded off the scoring in a well-deserved victory for Gareth Taylor’s side.
A Sunday!— Man City Women (@ManCityWomen) April 30, 2023
4-1 #ManCity pic.twitter.com/mKhoGQug2e
Pep Guardiola warns Manchester City against complacency after Fulham win - Jacob Steinberg - The Guardian
City moved a point above Arsenal thanks to goals from Erling Haaland, his 50th of the season, and Julián Álvarez but they were under pressure during a feisty second half at Craven Cottage. Guardiola was concerned that his team would struggle with fatigue after a tough run of games and he was delighted that they managed to hold Fulham off.
The message from City’s manager was to stay focused. Arsenal can go top again when they host Chelsea on Tuesday but Mikel Arteta’s side are up against it. City, who host West Ham on Wednesday, already have a game in hand on Arsenal.
“I think that our opponent is not going to drop many points,” Guardiola said. “That is our best mentality, to be humble enough to accept that every game – especially away – will be similar to today. The bar will be on Wednesday. Arsenal have a game on Tuesday, and we play on Wednesday. Now it’s one game in hand, and on Tuesday we will have two games in hand.”
Haaland’s penalty saw him become the first top-flight player since 1931 to score 50 goals in all competitions in a single season. The Norwegian, who missed a penalty against Bayern Munich earlier this month, also equalled the record set by Andy Cole (1993-94) and Alan Shearer (1994-95) of scoring 34 league goals in a season.
How European Failure has Toughened up Manchester City for Success - Emmanuel Odey - Bitter and Blue
In 2021 the team finally made it to the UCL final. Something that could be considered long overdue. Going in as favourites against Chelsea, the Blues came up short. Again.
But each failure has been breeding the ground for future success. Is this the year the club finally achieves the much sought-after goal of winning the Champions League? City’s results in the competition so far suggest that could be the case.
Six clean sheets in ten games so far with 26 goals scored and this is a balanced team both defensively and offensively. Over the years this balance in defence and attack has been a key sticking point for the team. Guardiola has often set up the team in a way that prioritises attack over defence.
While scoring goals is important to win games, leaving the back door open is usually a recipe for failure. Although the team could be seen as unlucky to have gone out twice based on away goals even when they scored the same number of goals as the opponents, winning the game outright is always preferable.
How European Failure has Toughened up Manchester City for Success https://t.co/P9hLdi6sNN pic.twitter.com/3IcXco1CAC— Bitter and Blue (@BitterandBlue1) April 30, 2023
And finally... Keep calm, and Come on City!
“Not even Winston Churchill was Prime Minister…” – Pep Guardiola’s hilarious response to Erling Haaland’s latest landmark - Harry Winters - City Xtra
Pep Guardiola’s side hung on for a crucial three points, overcoming a rallying Fulham team in the second half.
Sunday’s victory marked another landmark for Haaland, who became the first top-flight player to score 50 goals in a single season in over 90 years, joining Tom Waring, who reached the feat in 1931 for Aston Villa.
Reacting to the City forward’s latest record, Pep Guardiola said: “I knew that not even Winston Churchill was Prime Minister when the record that Erling broke today [was set]. So it’s pretty old.”
Haaland’s early penalty also moved the striker level with Alan Shearer and Andy Cole for the most goals scored in a Premier League season.
Pep Guardiola on @ErlingHaaland: "I knew that not even Winston Churchill was Prime Minister when the record that Erling broke today [was set]. So it's pretty old..." [via @SamLee]— City Xtra (@City_Xtra) April 30, 2023
There you have it. Have a wonderful Monday, and stay with Bitter and Blue as we build to a mid-week visit from West Ham United. Sky Blue News returns tomorrow with more headlines.