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Premier League Preview: Manchester City vs. Bournemouth

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  • Manchester City will be without midfielder Phil Foden, while there are doubts over both Vincent Kompany and David Silva.
  • AFC Bournemouth has injury concerns regarding Jermain Defoe (ankle), Harry Arter and Charlie Daniels. Joshua King (hamstring) is a doubt, but Callum Wilson is available.
  • Manchester City has won nine and lost none of their 11 previous league matches against AFC Bournemouth (D2), winning all five in the Premier League. 
  • AFC Bournemouth has never won a match in Manchester against either City or United in 11 previous attempts in all competitions (W0 D2 L9).

Manchester City takes its 16-match run of victories back to the Etihad Stadium this Saturday as the Citizens host Eddie Howe and Bournemouth (Watch live, 10:00 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com).

[MORE: Top Premier League storylines — Week 19]

Pep Guardiola‘s side has scored four goals in each of its last two games, including a 4-1 demolition last week against Tottenham at home as Kevin De Bruyne, David Silva and Raheem Sterling are running riot. Even with a mostly second-string side on Tuesday, Man City advanced on penalty kicks past Leicester City in the Carabao Cup.

Bournemouth meanwhile are hovering over the relegation zone, with no wins in its last six matches along with getting knocked out of the Carabao Cup this past week.

On paper, Manchester City is the heavy favorites, but it’s never smart to count out an Eddie Howe-coached team.

What they’re saying

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola on his side’s last game against Bourmenouth, which started the 16-game winning streak: “It was so important because we drew the game before against Everton at home. Nobody expected then that we would win 16 games in a row in that moment. It was so important because after that came the international break and after that came the game against Liverpool. It was so important, but so was the one against Southampton in the last second. When you are able to win a lot of games, some you win because you played much better and are able to win comfortably, in terms of the result. The other games you have to win in that situation. You cannot win all 16 games with a big gap of goals. We were lucky in that moment so hopefully tomorrow we can make a good game.”

Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe on facing Man City: “We have to believe, I always maintain that and we believe we can. Saying that it will be incredibly difficult. We will need to be defensively very good considering the attacking players they have, but as importantly we will need a bit of luck. In recent games we’ve played well but not always got what we deserved. That includes the game at Chelsea on Wednesday night.”

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Prediction: Manchester City is showing no signs of slowing down as we enter the festive period of matches and Saturday should be no different. Bournemouth will likely put up a fight but won’t have the answers for De Bruyne, Silva, Aguero and co. Manchester City 4-0 Bournemouth

UEFA Champions League semifinal predictions

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With the semifinals of the UEFA Champions League to kick off over the next few days, let’s take a look at both games and predict which teams will make it to the final in Kiev on May 26.

[ MORE: Champions League scores

Liverpool or Roma? Real Madrid or Bayern Munich?

Here’s the lowdown as two eagerly anticipated games take center stage across Europe.


Liverpool vs. AS Roma
First leg: Apr. 24, 2:45 p.m. ET at Anfield
Second leg: May 2, 2:45 p.m. ET at Stadio Olimpico

This should be one heck of a tie with defending optional for both teams but both have very different ways of playing. Jurgen Klopp will unleash the fluid trio of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino on an often brittle Roma defense but the Italian giants have a giant in their own up top in the shape of Edin Dzeko. How Virgil Van Dijk and Liverpool’s defense deal with the threat of Dzeko will likely decide the outcome of this game. Liverpool will look to feed off the famous Anfield atmosphere to wrack up a big first leg lead before they head to Roma for Leg 2, and I fancy Salah to blow his old team away in the first leg. Liverpool to advance 4-2 on aggregate.

Bayern Munich vs. Real Madrid
First leg: Apr. 25, 2:45 p.m. ET at Allianz Arena
Second leg: May 1, 2:45 p.m. ET at Santiago Bernabeu

A proper heavyweight clash as Bayern and Real do battle knowing that whoever wins will be the favorites in the final. Cristiano Ronaldo is in the form of his life (again) after a slow start to this season and Zinedine Zidane’s side made hard work of it against Juventus in the last round but are on course for a third-straight UCL trophy. As for Bayern, they have been in imperious form and you feel like Robert Lewandowski can get the better of Real’s center backs. Expect this to be a tight game with extremely high quality from both teams. Real being at home in the second leg is a big advantage. Real Madrid to advance 3-2 on aggregate. 

Cologne’s Hector extends contract despite likely relegation

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COLOGNE, Germany (AP) Germany defender Jonas Hector has shunned reported interest from Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund by extending his contract with Cologne – despite the club’s almost certain relegation from the Bundesliga.

Cologne, eight points from safety with three games remaining, says its 27-year-old captain has signed a two-year extension to 2023 instead of using a release clause in his contract.

Hector, who has been at the club since 2010, says, “It wouldn’t have been a problem to switch to another club after this season but it didn’t feel right for me. I belong to Cologne and want to tackle the new season with the team and the fans behind us.”

Cologne sporting director Armin Veh says Hector’s decision is, “a great signal for the team, the club and our fans.”

Klopp talks politics: “Brexit makes no sense”

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Jurgen Klopp isn’t a fan of Brexit and he doesn’t care who knows it.

Liverpool’s German manager has spoken in the past about his disdain towards the vote by British citizens to leave the European Union, with Brexit officially planned for March 2019.

Klopp sat down with the Guardian to chat about a whole host of topics but it was his political views which will get the headlines ahead of Liverpool’s huge UEFA Champions League semifinal first leg against AS Roma at Anfield on Tuesday.

The man who has Liverpool on the cusp of reaching a major European final and comfortably in the top four of the Premier League also admitted that he has a “helping syndrome” and wants to help out everyone and he cares about them greatly.

It is worth letting the words speak for themselves when it comes to Klopp’s comments on Brexit as it is clearly something else he cares a lot about.

Take it away, Jurgen…

“When Mr [David] Cameron had the idea [of a referendum] you thought: ‘This is not something people should decide in a moment.’ We are all influenced by the way only some of the argument is given, and once the decision is taken nobody gives you a real opportunity to change it again. The choice was either you stay in Europe, which is not perfect, or you go out into something nobody has any idea how it will work.

“So you give people the chance to make this big decision. And then it’s a 51-49 [51.9%-48.1%] vote and you’re thinking: ‘Wow, 49% are not happy with the decision that’s going to change the country.’ For the 51%, I’m sure they realized pretty early after the vote: ‘What have we done?’ The two leaders of the leave campaign then stepped aside. It was a pure sign they were surprised themselves by the vote. OK, that can happen. But then, come on, let’s sit together again. Let’s think about it again and let’s vote again with the right information – not with the information you’ve got around the Brexit campaign. They were obviously not right, not all of them. It makes no sense at all.”

“The EU is not perfect but it was the best idea we had. History has always shown that when we stay together we can sort out problems. When we split then we start fighting. There was not one time in history where division creates success. So, for me, Brexit still makes no sense.”

VIDEO: Napoli fans celebrate Juventus win

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It is safe to say Napoli’s fans were pretty happy with the 1-0 win their team secured at Juventus on Sunday.

Kalidou Koulibaly powered home a header in stoppage as Napoli moved just one point behind Juventus, who sit top of the Serie A table, with four games to go. The title race is well and truly on in Italy.

The scenes across Naples after the game were incredible and when the players arrived back at the airport at around 3 a.m. local time they were greeted by thousands of adoring fans.

Take a look at the video below. Wow.