Manchester City welcome Crystal Palace to the Etihad Stadium on Saturday looking to keep the pressure on Liverpool in the Premier League title race. Manchester City will be looking to avoid a repeat of last season when the Eagles pulled off a shock victory with goals from Jeffrey Schlupp, Andros Townsend and Luka Milivojevic.
Pep Guardiola will need to end a Premier League jinx to extend their recent winning run. Guardiola celebrates his 49th birthday on Saturday which could be bad news for City. None of the previous four City managers to take charge of a game on their birthday have managed to leave with three points.
Since the start of December Manchester City have rediscovered their attacking mojo. In the last 12 games they’ve plundered 37 goals and while that average of just over three a game wasn’t enough to avoid defeats to Manchester United and Wolves, it has signalled a welcome return to seeing the Blues at their blistering best in attack. The glut of goals recently has seen Kevin De Bruyne at this best, while Riyad Mahrez and Bernardo Silva are both rediscovering their best form. The way Rodri has found his feet in defensive midfield has also freed up City’s more attacking midfielders to roam forward.
For all the above attacking prowess, key to the play has been Joao Cancelo who finally served notice of his own attacking instincts in the Midlands.Cancelo regularly looked to link-up with Mahrez down City’s right-hand side, going round the outside when the Algerian came infield but also showing a willingness to make central runs himself, breaking into the penalty area in dangerous positions on a couple of occasions.The Portuguese full-back has always had plenty of attacking ability in his game, although it’s rarely been seen to its full potential at the Etihad.
Pep Guardiola said “Joao is adapting and he has a special quality and he can help us in many, many games. This player we bought him for many years, not for six months, but what happens happens. As I said, I don’t know what will happen in a few weeks and the players and in the summer we will discuss. If a player wants to leave, it’s simple, the agent has to call to the club, arrive at an agreement, and he will leave.”
Cancelo has had to make do with a bit-part role at the Etihad Stadium since transferring last summer from Juventus. The 25-year-old – who cost £60 million, offset by Danilo moving to Juve for £34.1 million – has made 18 appearances for the club so far, 13 of which have been starts. Tottenham Hotspur manager Jose Mourinho reportedly wants to pull off an unlikely January transfer for Manchester City defender Joao Cancelo.
PEP GUARDIOLA hailed Sergio Aguero as a Manchester City legend who will ‘die scoring goals’ after his record-breaking hat-trick demolished Aston Villa. The Argentina star’s treble in City’s 6-1 romp made him the Premier League’s record overseas scorer with 177 goals, moving ahead of Frenchman Thierry Henry and drawing level with Frank Lampard in fourth spot in the all-time stakes.
Pep Guardiola said: “Sergio Aguero is a legend and the legend rose tonight. Henry is one of the most incredible players I have seen in this league. He was a legend and with Sergio it’s the same. He will die scoring goals. He has a gift — when the ball is at his feet, he is amazing.”
Vincent Kompany insists Pep Guardiola is the right man to bring further success to Manchester City – despite seeing his former club fall behind Liverpool in the Premier League title race. Kompany, 33, won four titles at the Etihad Stadium before leaving to become player-manager of Anderlecht last summer.
Kompany feels Guardiola is a key figure at City and should not be dismissed after one season where they have fallen behind Jurgen Klopp’s impressive Reds.
Vincent Kompany said “Manchester City have Pep and no matter what, Pep is the right guy. You never say over with City. But it isn’t in the hands of City but that is unfortunate but there is so much to look forward to. When you look how they have been performing in cups and the Champions League is still a massive target for the club, there is no reason to be disappointed about the season at this stage.Manchester City players should stay calm. Manchester City is an experienced team and they don’t have to prove anything to anyone. They have done it, they know what it takes. It isn’t about one season, it is about an era, a period of time.”
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