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Five moments that defined Manchester City’s second Premier League title

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source: AP

 

October 19, at West Ham United – Manchester City started the season with one point in its first three road games, sparking myriad speculation as to whether Manuel Pellegrini was having trouble adapting to the Premier League. Just as that theory started to gain momentum, City got two goals from Sergio Aguero at Upton Park, with David Silva adding a third in the Citizens’ 3-1 win. After going 0-1-2 in its first three, City would finish with 34 points away from home. Only Arsenal and Liverpool (35, each) had more.

 

source: Reuters

 

December 14, vs. Arsenal – Throughout the season, Pellegrini was never shy about going for goals, often leaving Vincent Kompany and Martín Demechlis isolated as City committed players forward. For those doubting whether the approach would hold up, Arsenal’s late-fall visit offered a proof of concept. Five different players would combine for six goals as City downed the Gunners, registering 22 shots while winning, 6-3. The Citizens’ 102 goals would fall one short of the league record.

 

source: Getty Images

 

December 21, at Fulham – If City’s road form wasn’t the first major test of the Pellegrini era, the goalkeeping position was. After Joe Hart’s mistake cost the Citizens a point at Stamford Bridge on Dec. 14, the England number one was benched, with Costel Pantillimon taking over for the next seven games. At Fulham, after City gave up three to Arsenal, Hart was back in the starting XI. City would go on to win their next seven in a row, with Pellegrini having successfully put his goalkeeper on track without sparking lingering controversy.

 

source: Getty Images

 

April 27, Liverpool vs. Chelsea – Stumbles at Anfield and at home to Sunderland gave control of the title race to Liverpool, who had won 11-in-a-row before its visit from Chelsea. Despite the Blues starting a depleted squad, Chelsea used goals from Demba Ba and Willian (and a memorable slip from Steven Gerrard) to take three points from the leaders. City was back in control of its destiny.

 

source: Getty Images

 

May 3, at Everton – Those who forecast another turn in the title race after City regained control were looking at the Citizens’ trip to Goodison. After Ross Barkley’s highlight reel goal put Everton up after 11 minutes, those predictions were set to come true, but thanks to a quick response from Sergio Aguero and two goals from Edin Dzeko, City recovered. The 3-2 win proved the Citizens’ final major hurdle on its way to a second Premier League crown.

Pogba’s agent pumps brakes hard on imminent Manchester United move

PARIS, FRANCE - JULY 10: Paul Pogba of France wins the ball from Joao Mario of Portugal during the UEFA EURO 2016 Final match between Portugal and France at Stade de France on July 10, 2016 in Paris, France.  (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)
Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images
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Super agent Mino Raiola has injected a ray of light into the hopes of both Juventus and Real Madrid fans when it comes to Paul Pogba.

The terrific midfielder has been widely reported as an imminent arrival at Manchester United, but Raiola has taken to Twitter to blast journalists who’ve reported the move and medical as done.

[ RANIERI: Mahrez will stay at LCFC ]

Pogba was photographed in Los Angeles amid claims he was undergoing a physical at United. Multiple reports have said he passed the medical and that Juventus has agreed to sell Pogba to United for a world record fee.

Raiola says different, though taken with the grain of salt that he’s set to make as much as $30 million on the deal and his job is to squeeze every possibly penny from suitors.

Ranieri says “intelligent man” Mahrez will stay at Leicester City

LEICESTER, ENGLAND - MAY 07:  Claudio Ranieri Manager of Leicester City instructs Riyad Mahrez during the Barclays Premier League match between Leicester City and Everton at The King Power Stadium on May 7, 2016 in Leicester, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
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Claudio Ranieri seems to be genuine and honest in his evaluations, as we’ve seen in his dealings with Jamie Vardy and N'Golo Kante amongst others.

And the manager is making no bones about what he thinks is best for another Leicester City star in Riyad Mahrez.

[ MORE: Gameiro joins new club ]

Ranieri says the Algerian will face far more pressure at a new club then he will face still competing in the UEFA Champions League with the Foxes.

In other words, the 25-year-old should stick around. From Sky Sports:

“I speak often with him and say stay with us, it’s much better for your future, I think he is an intelligent man and he will stay,” Ranieri told Sky Sports News HQ.

“We support him very well, this is important, when you change teams maybe you don’t find team-mates who help you at the same level.

“He improves more if he stays with us for another year, maybe next year he can think about another solution. If he goes for a lot of money, everybody will be expecting something special. He can do something special, but with us.”

We tend to agree. Whereas N’Golo Kante was prepared to use Leicester as a stepping stone — and it seems Ranieri knew it — Mahrez has been with the Foxes since 2014 and seen his stature skyrocket.

Let’s see what happens, Riyad. Cool?

Atletico signs striker Kevin Gameiro from Sevilla

BASEL, SWITZERLAND - MAY 18:  Kevin Gameiro of Sevilla celebrates scoring his team's first goal during the UEFA Europa League Final match between Liverpool and Sevilla at St. Jakob-Park on May 18, 2016 in Basel, Switzerland.  (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)
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MADRID (AP) Atletico Madrid says it has acquired French striker Kevin Gameiro from rival Spanish club Sevilla.

In exchange, Atletico has agreed to loan Argentine striker Luciano Vietto to Sevilla for one season.

Atletico says Gameiro will sign a four-year contract after undergoing a standard medical exam.

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The 29-year-old Gameiro scored 67 goals during three seasons with Sevilla, helping it win three Europa League titles.

Gameiro will join countryman Antoine Griezmann and Fernando Torres to form the attack of an Atletico side that reached the final of the Champions League last season.

Atletico did not reveal the financial details of Gameiro’s transfer.

Ex-Guatemalan soccer chief pleads guilty in FIFA bribe case

PRATO, ITALY - APRIL 13: General view during the FIFA Futsal playoff match between Italy and Hungary on April 13, 2016 in Prato, Italy.  (Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images)
Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images
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NEW YORK (AP) A former Guatemalan soccer federation president has pleaded guilty in New York to charges related to a sprawling corruption investigation of world soccer.

[ MORE: Christian Vieri ready for return, pursuing Chinese Super League ]

Brayan Jimenez pleaded guilty Friday to federal racketeering conspiracy and wire fraud conspiracy charges, each carrying up to 20 years in prison. It’s unclear when he’ll be sentenced.

The 62-year-old Jimenez is among 40 people from around the world charged in a FIFA bribery scandal over lucrative broadcasting rights.

Prosecutors say Jimenez accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes from a Florida-based sports marketing company. They say in exchange for the money Jimenez awarded the company media marketing rights to the Guatemalan soccer team’s World Cup qualifying matches in 2018 and 2022.

Jimenez’s attorneys haven’t returned a message seeking comment on his guilty plea.