Manchester City 2-1 Swansea City: Jesus rises to save City on Sunday

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Manchester City dominated possession, pummeling Swansea in the opening 45 minutes, but only managed one early goal and gave it away as Gylfi Sigurdsson drew level with 10 minutes to go. It appeared City had squandered another three points, but there was Gabriel Jesus to win it in added time.

The first half was all Manchester City. Jesus, starting in place of Sergio Aguero for the second straight match, had the game’s best early chance as he possessed the ball on the penalty spot in the eighth minute, but was unable to get a shot off under heavy pressure from Federico Fernandez.

He would make up for the early slip-up by atoning just moments later with the opening goal. David Silva slipped his way into the box along the end line and delivered a ball into the front of net. The ball bounced off the feet of Raheem Sterling as he was bundled over, but Jesus pounced to pummel the ball assuredly past Lukasz Fabianski for the 11th minute strike.

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City continued to pound the Swansea area, and Yaya Toure forced an athletic save from Fabianski in the 21st minute with a powerful free-kick destined for the top-left corner before the Swansea goalkeeper lept high to punch it away. Sterling nearly fed Jesus a second on 26 minutes, but as the Brazilian came barreling in to meet the low cross, he couldn’t get a touch again marked by Fernandez.

There was a controversial moment just before halftime as Sterling burst into the box and was challenged by Fabianski who came off his line to dispossess Sterling. The English international went to ground, and was booked by referee Mike Dean for diving, but replays clearly showed Fabianski catching Sterling’s leg. While it may not have been enough to award City a penalty, it was certainly enough to rule out a dive.

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In the second half, Swansea saw more of the ball in the opening moments, with Sigurdsson nearly bringing the visitors shockingly level with an exquisite free-kick, but Willy Caballero was there to produce a top save similar to Fabianski’s on Toure in the first half. Moments later, Leroy Sane almost scored a stunner, striking the post with a shot from an impossibly tight angle, with Fabianski’s face showing surprise at a shot produced from that position as opposed to a cross.

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The Swans were unable to capitalize on their bright spell, and the game snoozed to a crawl as the hosts possessed the lion’s share of the ball yet again, looking to see the game out. That left Swansea to snag the initiative again, and they took advantage. Sigurdsson grabbed the ball above the top of the box, and surprised everyone by shooting low to the right corner. His shot seemed to catch Caballero off guard as well, as the Manchester City goalkeeper dove late, unable to stop the equalizer with 10 minutes remaining.

That forced Guardiola to bring on Sergio Aguero, and City pushed hard for a late winner, but they were uninspiring and unable to find a way through Swansea’s packed midfield until the winning moment two minutes into injury time. David Sliva delivered a perfect ball into the box, and Jesus rose high to head the chance. The initial effort was saved by Fabianski, but the ball trickled free and Jesus was there to pounce on the winning goal.

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The win sees Manchester City above both Arsenal and Liverpool into third with the Gunners and Reds both falling on Saturday. Swansea remains above the relegation zone despite the loss, but their margin of error is slimmed thanks to Hull City and Sunderland both winning below them.

Premier League Preview: Chelsea vs. Watford

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  • Chelsea are without N'Golo Kante, Victor Moses (both hamstring) and Danny Drinkwater (calf) is still absent.
  • Watford remain without Younes Kaboul and Sebastian Prodl (both thigh), plus long-term absentees Craig Cathcart, Nathaniel Chalobah and Isaac Success (all knee).
  • Watford have not won against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge since 1986, but the Hornets have won 10 points of a possible 12 on the road. 
  • Chelsea have lost three of their first eight matches this season. No team has ever lost this many of their opening eight matches and still won the Premier League title.

Watford heads south for another London derby with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Saturday at 7:30 a.m. (Watch live on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

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The Hornets have had an amazing start to the season and currently occupy fourth place on 15 points, two points ahead of fifth-place Chelsea, which has lost two-straight Premier League games. The Blues have struggled without N’Golo Kante and Alvaro Morata and there have been reports of grumbles from the squad about dissatisfaction with Antonio Conte‘s training methods, but the Chelsea coach has brushed those rumors off.

Meanwhile Watford is coming off a confidence-boosting win last weekend against fellow Londoners Arsenal, and the club is looking to take down another big club for a second-straight week.

What they’re saying

Watford manager Marco Silva on his team’s start“I want everybody to be really calm. We did really in the first eight matches but it’s too early. We want to continue to work hard every day. Everything changes fast and you need to keep going and treat the next game as the most important. But of course I feel proud.”

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte on being under pressure: “‘Do I feel the pressure? Every manager feels pressure, but I try to give all of myself into my job, so I’m happy when I go home because I know in every moment I give all of myself for the fans, the players and the club. In football you know anything can happen, but the most important thing is to work.”

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Prediction

Chelsea has its back against the wall but the team’s overall quality should be enough to see them through with all three points against Watford. The Hornets luck runs out in Stamford Bridge as Chelsea hold on for a late win. Chelsea 2-1 Watford

Leicester City record massive earnings from UEFA Champions League

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Leicester City’s UEFA Champions League campaign may have ended without a trophy, but the Premier League side pipped the European champions in the bank account.

UEFA announced on Friday that Leicester City earned $96,167,125 during the Champions League run that ended in the quarterfinals, the farthest of any Premier League club. Real Madrid, the back-to-back champions, earned a slightly less $95,385,679. Much of the difference comes from TV rights deals in England, which pays out more to teams compared to the TV rights deal in Spain.

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Juventus, the Italian giant, earned the most of any club in last year’s Champions League, making a whopping $129,965,357, mostly thanks to the TV rights again.

Mourinho: Ibrahimovic could return in December

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Dare to Zlatan? It could be only a couple of months away.

That’s according to Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho, who said the veteran striker could return from his torn ACL before the end of the calendar year.

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“Zlatan is here, he’s working here and under our control,” Mourinho told reporters. “He’s working as you would expect so, so, so hard. But he’s not to be back in the next week or next couple of weeks. Do I believe he’ll be back in 2017? Yes, I do. But it’s just a feeling.”

The big Swede scored 28 goals for Man United last year in all competitions, proving that he’s still got it at the age of 36, but it’s going to be tough for him to find his old form coming off an ACL injury at such an old age. After suffering the injury last April, it’s been a long road to recovery for Ibrahimovic.

However, with the play of Romelu Lukaku up top, Ibrahimovic would only play from time to time, which could help in his recovery both from the knee injury and just the general recovery between games.

Manchester City quartet called up by Brazil for friendlies

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Brazilian National Team coach Tite has decided on calling up a full-strength squad for November’s upcoming friendly matches in Europe, including four Manchester City players in his 25-man squad.

Gabriel Jesus, Fernandinho, Danilo and Ederson all made the squad as Tite looks to develop more chemistry among his side ahead of the 2018 World Cup, which Brazil breezed into after Tite took over in 2016.

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Luckily for Manchester City and the other European-based players in the squad, Brazil’s friendly matches will be played in Western Europe. The Selecao first faces Japan in Lille, France on November 10 before taking on England at Wembley Stadium on November 14.

The call-ups may be a tough pill for Guardiola to swallow though. As of Friday, Manchester City has 17 games remaining in the calendar year, and surely he would prefer for some of his starters to get a two-week break in November to preserve some energy instead of play in friendly matches.