As expected Manchester City wrapped up the $54 million capture of French international defender Eliaquim Mangala on Monday.
Manuel Pellegrini had spoke about the possibility of Mangala joining the Citizens following their Community Shield defeat to Arsenal on Sunday and within 24 hours City have completed the deal.
[RELATED: City close in on Mangala]
Mangala joins from FC Porto and becomes City’s sixth, and most expensive, signing of a frugal summer transfer window so far. He adds a real presence in the heart of their defense and at just 23 years of age he will be an integral part of the clubs future.
Speaking about his move to the Etihad Stadium, Mangala is delighted to be joining City.
“City is a top club in Europe. For me, it was an important step to leave Porto and join Manchester City in order to continue my progress. I want to win titles and I believe I can do this. I am ambitious and this is why I am here. I’m very happy to come to England because for me, the Premier League is the best league in the world. It is a very intense and very aggressive competition. There are plenty of goals, so it is also really nice to watch and I can’t wait to get started. The fact that Fernando is here is better because I played with him at Porto but there is also other players that I know like Sagna, Clichy and Nasri.”
Grabbing a new central defender was a key part of Pellegrini’s summer transfer plans and he has finally done so. Mangala is likely to partner Vincent Kompany in central defense and has been chased by plenty of Europe’s top clubs. With Martin Demichelis coming towards the end of his career and Matija Nastasic out of favor with Pellegrini, getting a fourth central defender on board was a priority.
Mangala’s speed, power and size will suit the Premier League well. Expect him to become a star alongside Kompany as City aim to further shore up their defense as they aim to defend their PL title and go further than ever before in the UEFA Champions League.
Goals and controversial penalty decisions are a big part of Saturday morning’s quartet of Premier League matches, all of which are at the break.
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Arsenal 1-1 Stoke City
Joe Allen took an elbow from Granit Xhaka inside the 18, and Lee Mason awarded a PK that Charlie Adam converted to give the visitors an early lead. But Theo Walcott scored his 100th goal as a Gunner off a classy Hector Bellerin cross to make it 1-1 before the break.
Burnley 2-1 Bournemouth
The Cherries will have to dig out of another hole this week, and it all began with Jeff Hendrick‘s phenomenal opener. Fellow Irishman Steven Ward scored an economical to goal to double the lead.
But Ryan Fraser continued his fine December with an assist on Benik Afobe‘s goal before halftime.
Hull City 1-0 Crystal Palace
Robert Snodgrass drew a penalty with a pretty easy grass grab, and the Tigers have a
Swansea City 0-0 Sunderland
Not much cooking at the Liberty Stadium.
One win in 10 for Ronald Koeman‘s Everton has the Dutchman on the hot seat.
Koeman seems to be clawing for air after the Toffees’ latest setback, a 3-2 loss at Watford.
The loss puts the Hornets ahead of Everton on the PL table, and — while unlikely — it’s a mathematical possibility that the Toffees could be a bottom half team by the end of the weekend.
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That’s a brutal development for a club expected to challenge for a European place this season.
“I see a lot of similar problems in the team. The team is too much reactive. Of course it’s maybe a lack of confidence, but if you start the game well, 1-0 up, you need a bigger belief in the team and not going back and defending, and nervous, and not enough ball possession. In my opinion that’s a problem.”
A big problem with that? It can be put down to the manager. Is Koeman in trouble already?
Jeff Hendrick, take a bow.
Burnley’s Republic of Ireland international midfielder pulled off a stunning piece of skill on Saturday to put the Clarets ahead against Bournemouth.
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A long ball forward was flicked on to Hendrick and he took a stunning first touch to tee himself and then settled himself before spanking a volley into the top corner.
Sensational goal from Burnley’s club-record signing.
Click play on the video above to watch it.
There’s a danger in observing Lionel Messi on a week-by-week basis, and it has a lot to do with how he makes greatness look routine.
So while it’s easy to dismiss yet another mazy dribble through a defense, one of those “Frogger” style with calm-but-vicious cutbacks, try to consider everything that goes into Messi’s second goal against Osasuna early Saturday.
[ MORE: Watford 3-2 Everton ]
On first look, you might count 9 touches for Messi starting with his right-footed collection of the ball. But move to the slow motion replays, and recognize the truth: Often Messi is letting the ball do the work for him, essentially moving the duo closer to goal while he used his preferred left foot as a must-respect threat.
That he does it in such traffic and at full speed is incredible. It’s literally one of those goals in which a linguistic luminary like Ray Hudson would have trouble over-emphasizing the greatness.
Messi now has 11 La Liga goals in 12 matches, and 22 in 19 overall.