Malaga's coach Pellegrini is pictured before Champions League quarter-final second leg soccer match against Borussia Dortmund in Dortmund

Manuel Pellegrini’s winning plans don’t include English players


Manchester City, led by manager Manuel Pellegrini, possess the epitome of the new-look Premier League, no longer the English born-and-bred league of years past, as most of his best players, Yaya Toure, Vincent Kompany and Sergio Aguero among them, are foreign, coming to City for large price tags in hopes of dominating the BPL.

On Saturday, Arsenal blanked City 3-0, and the Sky Blues’ manager didn’t entertain the thought of playing any Englishmen. All 11 of his starters were from different countries, with Scott Sinclair, Micah Richards and James Milner coming off the bench.

“I repeat this was a special game but during the year I don’t look at the nationality of the players,” he said.

This offseason, the departures of Jack Rodwell, Gareth Barry and Joleon Lescott marked the squad’s under reliance on English-born footballers. Barry and Lescott were aging, unable to provide the high-caliber football that City desires from men who are brought into the team to win. Rodwell, only 23 years of age, has some promise, but once again, City wants midfielders taking the pitch to be capable of immediately providing first-class play.

In the end, City’s main focus is to have the best players in the PL, and with a heavy dosage of cash to acquire vital transfer targets, City has been catapulted to the top of the league table, right past inter-town, more celebrated rival Manchester United. Catering to the English representation wouldn’t have the reigning champions anywhere. Pellegrini recognizes that fact.

“I use the players I think are the best players to win that game. It doesn’t matter where they come from,” Pellegrini reiterated.

The real problem faced by City is not actually the lack of British presentation, but the way in which they acquire their marquee players from other countries. Along with Paris Saint-Germain and seven other clubs, UEFA penalized City for breaching the financial fair play (FFP) rules back in May because the team failed to live up to the “break even” test.

How can Man United qualify for last 16 of Champions League?

Wayne Rooney, Manchester United FC

Heading into the their final UEFA Champions League Group B game, Manchester United hold their destiny in their own hands, but any slip-up could mean it’s Europa League on Thursday nights for Louis Van Gaal‘s men.

[ MORE: Champions League standings ]

The Red Devils would have advanced to the knockout stage with a victory over third-place PSV Eindhoven on Wednesday, but slumped to an ugly 0-0 draw instead.

[ MORE: Three things we learned from Man United 0-0 PSV ]

So, here’s all of the scenarios for the final matchday of the group stage, away to Wolfsburg, in which United would advance to the round of 16 advance:

  • A Man United win will see Man United finish top of Group B
  • A Man United draw, coupled with a PSV draw or loss (vs. CSKA Moscow), will see Man United finish second in Group B
  • A Man United draw, coupled with a PSV victory, will see Man United finish third in Group B
  • A Man United loss, coupled with a PSV loss, will see Man United finish second in Group B
  • A Man United loss by more than one goal, coupled with a PSV draw, would see Man United finish third in Group B
  • A Man United loss, coupled with a PSV win, would see Man United finish third in Group B

[ MORE: Champions League schedule

There are your scenarios for Man United as it’s pretty simple to break it down: Win, and they go through. Fail to win, and their fate is completely in the hands of PSV.

VIDEO: Can Leicester stun the world? Man United title favorites?

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The Foxes are top of the Premier League and are led by a surging Jamie Vardy but how long can they keep shocking the world?

With six tough games coming up between now and the start of 2016, Claudio Ranieri‘s men will be pushed to their limit but so far this season they’ve been sensational and Vardy has equaled Manchester United legend Ruud van Nistlerooy’s record of scoring in 10-straight PL games.

[ MORE: Full PST Extra archive ]

Can he make it 11 in a row on Saturday (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via Live Extra) when United visit the King Power Stadium? As for the Red Devils, they sit in second place and are just one point behind the flying Foxes’. Louis Van Gaal‘s men have certainly flown under the radar so far and our churning out wins at an impressive rate.

Jenna Corrado and I discuss that and more in the latest edition of PST Extra. Click play on the video above to see our chat in full.

Men in Blazers podcast: The Leicester fairytale goes on

Men In Blazers - Sept. 22
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Rog and Davo revel in another chapter of the Leicester City fairytale, break down Liverpool’s shock dismantling of Manchester City and discuss Arsenal’s slip against West Brom.

Listen to the latest pod by clicking play below.

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Pellegrini updates status of Joe Hart’s hamstring injury

Joe Hart, Manchester City FC
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Joe Hart was forced to leave Manchester City’s 1-0 defeat to Juventus in UEFA Champions League play on Wednesday due to a hamstring injury, which he seemed to incur while making a spectacular one-on-one kick-save late in the second half.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Man City manager Manuel Pellegrini confirmed after the game that Hart’s injury is indeed a hamstring issue, and went on to say that he would need further tests once the team arrives back in Manchester to determine the severity and how long, if at all, City and England’s no. 1 would be out of action.

Man City, currently third in the Premier League on 26 points, will host eighth-place Southampton at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday (Watch live at 10 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via Live Extra).