Pep Guardiola

Getty Images

West Bromwich rejects latest bid from Man City for Evans

Leave a comment

Manchester City’s latest transfer target is a Premier League veteran, but he’s not going without a fight.

West Bromwich Albion manager Tony Pulis confirmed that the club had rejected a transfer bid for former Manchester United centerback Jonny Evans from Manchester City. It’s reported that the transfer bid was worth $23.2 million and that Man City are willing to up it to around $28.3 million, though Pulis isn’t budging.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

“We have turned down an offer for Jonny,” Pulis said. “We do not want to sell Jonny and we do not need to sell him. It would have to be a very, very good offer.

“Jonny understands the situation and where everything is. Jonny is happy here and wants to get on with his football. He is one of our best players. We all understand where we are.”

Evans has made 61 starts over the past two seasons for West Bromwich but it’s a question as to whether he’d be first choice at Manchester City, with Vincent Kompany, John Stones and even Nicolas Otamendi ahead of Evans in the pecking order.

Meanwhile, it doesn’t make sense for West Bromwich to sign one of its top players at this point in the transfer window, with less than a month to find a replacement in both the dressing room and on the field.

For all the talk about needing to improve defensively over the offseason, Man City manager Pep Guardiola has so far only been able to bring in new fullbacks, but perhaps his 3-5-2 formation displayed in the opening match of the season can provide more defensive stability for the team, even if Kompany misses extensive time with injury like in the past.

Man City signing Mendy back in training

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Coming off an opening weekend win to start the Premier League, Manchester City delivered some more good news for its fans.

The club announced on Monday that for the first time, $67 million signing Benjamin Mendy participated in full training with Man City. The 23-year-old full back, who joined Man City from Monaco on July 24, has been dealing with a thigh strain, forcing him to miss the tail end of the club’s preseason schedule and the opening match of the Premier League season.

[ READ: PL Playback: Ranking New Stars ]

Mendy now could make his unofficial debut for the club in a friendly match on Tuesday at Girona, as Man City spends a week in warm-weather training in Catalonia.

Having Mendy available for selection gives Pep Guardiola another dynamic attacker from the fullback position, but one who has proven he can defend in Ligue 1 and in the UEFA Champions League.

Guardiola fine with favorite tag after Chelsea “killed” Man City

Leave a comment

BRIGHTON — Pep Guardiola‘s Manchester City are favorites to win the 2017-18 Premier League.

He’s fine with that.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Guardiola’s men brushed off a stubborn Brighton & Hove Albion side on Saturday to win their Premier League opener 2-0 at the Amex Stadium, but his Man City side will have to cope with the pressure all season long of being title favorites off the back of a $260 million summer spending spree.

With nine-man Chelsea losing 3-2 at home to Burnley on Saturday, plus Liverpool drawing 3-3 at Watford and Arsenal struggling in a 4-3 win against Leicester City on opening weekend, Guardiola was asked if making his team the favorites again was about right 12 months on from his arrival in England.

He hasn’t forgotten how last season went when they finished third, 15 points off title winners Chelsea.

“Last season I was sitting here after the Sunderland game and you said you are the favorites, most beautiful handsome and nice guys in the league. And after, you know what happened last season? Chelsea kill us,” Guardiola said. “Okay, we accept what the people say and all we have to try is improve and improve.”

Guardiola was happy with the patience of his players on the ball and praised the workrate of his team as he aims to kick on in his second season in charge at the Etihad Stadium.

“We run a lot. People say we are a big team but we run like a team like a League One or a Conference. You don’t see one player on my team who doesn’t run. That is what I am proud of the most,” Guardiola said. “When you see how Sergio[Aguero] and Gabriel [Jesus] run backwards, Kevin and David. When that happens that is the first step to create something. Last season we run a lot and did many, many good things but in the boxes we weren’t good but today in the boxes we were perfect.”

New signings Kyle Walker and Danilo provided width for City and although new goalkeeper Ederson dropped one cross to almost allow Brighton to take the lead, Pep’s men stuck to their task and dominated the newly-promoted as they secured a routine win when many of their main title rivals struggled on opening day.

Guardiola will never shake off the favorite tag so long as he keeps spending big.

Premier League roundup: A wild return for the top flight!

Leave a comment

The Premier League kicked off with a furious Friday match between Arsenal and Leicester City, and kept that vibe going when Saturday began at Vicarage Road.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

A wild draw between the Reds and Hornets is a highlight of the first Saturday of PL football for the 2017-18 campaign, and the day definitely did not rest over the remaining six matches.

[ MORE: Lineups, stats, box scores ]

Welcome back, you beautiful league, you.


Watford 3-3 LiverpoolRECAP

Marco Silva‘s men went nickname-appropriate, refusing to leave the Reds’ lead alone until Miguel Britos won a 1v1 battle with Simon Mignolet to prod Richarlison’s rocket home in stoppage time (Multiple Liverpool-supporting friends texted wildly about obstruction and offside, so probably should be noted).

Stefano Okaka gave Watford an eighth minute lead, and Abdoulaye Doucouré made it 2-1 before half only to see the Reds claim a 3-2 lead with two goals in three second-half minutes.

Philippe Coutinho did not play, while Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino, and possible Man of the Match winner Sadio Mane scored for Liverpool as Jurgen Klopp‘s men continued last season’s underwhelming work versus perceived lower half sides, at least for a day.

Chelsea 2-3 BurnleyRECAP

Of all the things expected from Stamford Bridge on Saturday, it’s safe to say the reigning champions going down 3-0 and finishing with nine men were not part of the plan.

Sam Vokes scored twice and Stephen Ward scored a stunner as the Clarets built a 3-0 lead against 10-man Chelsea, down a man thanks to a 14th minute challenge from Gary Cahill. Substitute striker Alvaro Morata made it 3-1 before Cesc Fabregas was sent off, then Morara assisted David Luiz to make it 3-2.

Everton 1-0 Stoke CityRECAP

Hate him or love him, there’s something right about Wayne Rooney scoring the lone goal in his long-awaited Premier League return to Goodison Park.

Crystal Palace 0-3 Huddersfield TownRECAP

This was perhaps the biggest surprise of the day given the newly-promoted side’s status as visitors to a Palace side which finished last season red hot behind its attack. Instead Steve Mounie scored twice to join a Joel Ward own goal as Town ruined Frank De Boer‘s Palace opener.

West Bromwich Albion 1-0 BournemouthRECAP

Ahmed Hegazy‘s header was enough for the hosts as Tony Pulis‘ men start the season on the right foot.

Southampton 0-0 Swansea CityRECAP

Swans were under siege for most of the day, but an ineffective Manolo Gabbiadini and a bit of bad luck helped the Welsh side to a point at St. Mary’s.

Brighton and Hove Albion 0-2 Manchester CityRECAP

Pep Guardiola‘s club didn’t have its finishing boots for most of the match, but looked very much the well-organized and possession-oriented unit. A plucky day that will give Brighton hope, Man City fans will just look to the next test.

Premier League Preview: Brighton and Hove Albion vs. Manchester City

Getty Images
Leave a comment
  • Brighton and Hove Albion set to make Premier League debut.
  • Benjamin Mendy is out but Manchester City can debut Ederson, Kyle Walker, Danilo and Bernardo Silva.
  • Manchester City has won each of their last six opening matches in the Premier League, the best current run in the competition.
  • Brighton’s Beram Kayal set to miss 12 weeks with broken leg.

Pep Guardiola and Manchester City look to rebound from a disappointing season as the Sky Blues start off on the road against newly-promoted Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday afternoon (Watch live at 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

The 2016-2017 season was the first since 2008 that Guardiola didn’t win a single trophy in a season. It was also the first empty campaign for Manchester City since the 2012-2013 season. That means the heat is on full blast under Guardiola’s seat and while he’s spent upwards of $270 million on new signings, he’ll have to quickly get his team to the top of the table to satisfy the critics.

In advance of its first Premier League season, Brighton and Hove has been busy in the transfer marking, signing ten new players including Dutch international Davy Propper and Chelsea and England youth international Izzy Brown. After scoring 74 goals in the Championship last year, plenty will be expected from Brighton’s strikeforce of Glenn Murray, Tomer Hemed and  Sam Baldock.

Ahead of its opener, Brighton suffered a bit of a blow, as starting holding midfielder Beram Kayal suffered a broken fibula, ruling him out for 12 weeks. Baldock too, who underwent calf surgery over the summer, is still working on his recovery.

What they’re saying

Guardiola on if Manchester City are title favorites: “Last season at my first press conference we were favorites, so nothing has changed. I was confident then too.”

Guardiola on spending so much on transfers this summer: “We make good things last season with the players we had. But we were not able to achieve what we were looking for. Like a lot of top teams here in England and around the world, always they are looking for the best possible. But we had one of the oldest teams in the Premier League and we decide to put energy and new players for the next four, five, six years.

“Our average is 24, so it means a lot for the future of the Club.”

Chris Houghton on starting life in the Premier League: “We’re all glad that it has come around, because when you have that initial excitement, you know that has to drop down at some stage, and the reality is we’re playing in arguably the toughest league there is.

“The work starts from the day you get promotion. It’s normal that the players and supporters are going to be celebrating for a period of time, but we have had to come down to reality. We’ve got a very level-headed group of professionals that have trained well every week and have applied themselves very well for games.

“But this division is far tougher and we’ll certainly need all of the experienced heads around us.”

Video Preview

Prediction

Manchester City may have retooled much of its team this offseason but it is still one of the title favorites. Brighton and Hove meanwhile will just be happy to stay up. While Brighton should put up a fight, especially at home, this one should go easily to Manchester City. Manchester 3-0 Brighton and Hove