Vincent Kompany

Getty Images

Pochettino, Guardiola preview key UCL clashes

Leave a comment

Tottenham and Manchester City begin their UEFA Champions League knockout rounds on Tuesday, with Spurs heading to Juventus and Man City at Basel.

[ MORE: JPW’s UCL last 16 predictions ]

Both Mauricio Pochettino and Pep Guardiola have been speaking about the importance of getting their UCL knockout stages off to the perfect start.

Speaking in Turin ahead of Spurs’ clash with Italian champions and last seasons’ runners up Juve, Pochettino revealed that his side will go all out for victory in the first leg in Italy.

“We are going to be brave, we are going to try to win,” Pochettino said. “We need to play with freedom and clear ideas. It’s a game we must enjoy.”

With Spurs top of the form table in the Premier League over the past six games, Harry Kane in superb goalscoring form and the likes of Dele Alli, Heung-Min Son and Christian Eriksen back to their best, it’s no wonder that Pochettino is feeling confident.

Most Spurs fans would take a draw or even a one-goal loss away at Juve in the first leg but given that this is an ageing Juventus side, it seems like a winnable tie for Tottenham.

In team news Toby Alderweireld was left at home by Pochettino as the Belgian continues to recover from a long-term hamstring injury. The Belgian defender was fit enough to start last week in the FA Cup replay win against Newport County, and declared himself fit to play against Arsenal in the north London, but Pochettino left him out of the win against the Gunners and explained why.

“He is 28 and it was a massive injury that we need to care about, because we could not put at risk his career,” Pochettino said. “We designed a plan to try to provide him with the best tools to recover as soon as possible and be stronger than before. In that period that he started to work with the team, under our judgement, he needs to build his fitness slowly. He needs to work hard. To play this type of game (against Juventus) you need to be 200 per cent.

“It’s not the same as training to compete, and that’s why we are caring about him with our plan, to try for him in to be at a high level of condition again, (and) can be competing for one place in the starting eleven. That is always what we try to do with different players. Of course we are sorry for him because when you miss some games like Arsenal or the Champions League, and we work a lot to play this type of game, I can understand that (he is frustrated). We are frustrated too because, when you cannot play, it is difficult to accept.”


As for Guardiola and Man City, their focus is not only on getting by Swiss champs Basel but being crowned European champs.

The Premier League’s runaway leaders are the bookies favorites to win the UCL, but Guardiola is understandably cautious as they head into the latter stages of a tournament they’ve slipped up in many times before.

“I don’t know,” Guardiola said when asked if they will win the Champions League. “Our target is to do better than last season. The teams are so clinical and we have to be. Basel have shown good performances in the group stage. They are good opponents. We will have difficulties here.”

Skipper Vincent Kompany, who reached the UEFA Champions League semifinals with City in 2015-16 under Manuel Pellegrini, believes that City now feel as if they belong among Europe’s elite.

“If there is a year, a moment when the club is ready to feel at home, then it’s now,” Kompany said.

City have Leroy Sane back in their squad after he made a quick recovery from the horror tackle he suffered at Cardiff City in the FA Cup last month, but Gabriel Jesus and Benjamin Mendy remain out injured and David Silva could be a doubt.

WATCH LIVE: Man City vs. Leicester City

Martin Rickett/PA via AP
Leave a comment

Riyad Mahrez is on the bench for Leicester City as the Foxes look to keep up their decent record against league leaders Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday (Watch live at 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via NBCSports.com).

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

Leicester starts Jamie Vardy and Fousseni Diabate in attack, while Man City keeps John Stones and Vincent Kompany on the bench.

LINEUPS

Manchester City: Ederson, Walker, Laporte, Otamendi, Zinchenko, Fernandinho (C), Gündogan, De Bruyne, Sterling, Bernardo, Agüero. Subs: Bravo, Danilo, Kompany, Stones, Nmecha, Foden, Diaz

Leicester City: Schmeichel (c), Dragović, Maguire, Fuchs, Albrighton, Silva, Ndidi, James, Chilwell, Diabaté, Vardy. Subs: Jakupović, Simpson, Benalouane, Iborra, Gray, Mahrez, Iheanacho.

WATCH: Sterling misses all-time sitter; Man City’s Pep, Kompany react

Richard Sellers/PA via AP
Leave a comment

Sometimes the photo tells the story, yes?

Mistakes happen, but sometimes they come from your best player and are really, truly ugly.

[ RECAP: Burnley 1-1 Man City ]

Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling had a chance to bury hosts Burnley in the 71st minute of what would wind up a 1-1 draw at Turf Moor on Sunday.

City had been knocking on the door of an insurance goal for some time, and Kyle Walker sent a medium-hit low cross across the face of Burnley keeper Nick Pope.

All Sterling had to do was place a semi-confident foot on the ball.

He didn’t, and Burnley scored about 10 minutes later to earn a quality point against the champions elect.

Both manager Pep Guardiola and captain Vincent Kompany were asked about Sterling’s miss on the NBCSN broadcast.

“He’s been incredible for us,” Kompany said, after laughing. “He’s scored more goals last minute goals than anyone in this league but today it didn’t quite happen. But again I give top marks to everyone for effort.”

“It’s football, sometimes things happen,” Guardiola said. “Next game he’s going to score.”

Burnley 1-1 Man City: Clarets snatch late point

Leave a comment
  • Man City extend lead atop the table to 16 points
  • Burnley just fourth team to take points off City this season
  • Clarets without a win in nine PL games

Burnley battled to a 1-1 draw against Premier League leaders Manchester City at Turf Moor on Saturday, with the Clarets making the most of City’s wasteful finishing.

City took the lead in the first half via a stunner from Danilo, but Johann Berg Gudmundsson’s late equalizer grabbed a point for Burnley.

With the win City briefly extend their leat atop the table to 16 points, while Burnley stay in seventh place.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]  

City dominated early on with Vincent Kompany going close at the back post, then Ben Mee clearing expertly under pressure at the back post.

The opening goal of the game arrived via a stunner from Danilo as the Brazilian full back curled home a beauty from outside the box following a short corner to make it 1-0.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

Burnley responded well to going behind as Mee was found unmarked 12-yards out and volleyed at goal but Ederson saved well.

Mee also had an effort at the back post he couldn’t bundle home, but City looked dangerous on the break as De Bruyne forced a good save from Nick Pope.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

City pressed relentlessly for the second goal at the start of the second half with Sergio Aguero denied by Matt Lowton‘s block and going close from several short corner kick routines. A beautiful counter from City then saw Aguero tee up Sterling but under pressure he put his shot over.

Burnley hung in their valiantly and Mee had another chance from a set piece situation but couldn’t get enough on his header.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Sterling had a glorious chance to wrap up all three points for City as KDB’s killer ball found Kyle Walker who crossed to the back post and unmarked and three yards out, Sterling somehow put the ball wide.

City were punished for that miss as Burnley finished the game strong. First a flowing move saw Aaron Lennon played in and on his first start for the club he smashed a shot on goal which looked destined for the net but Ederson pushed his effort onto the post.

Burnley kept pushing forward and were rewarded late on as Lowton’s long ball forward found Gudmundsson at the back post to slot home and seal a point for the home side.

Watch Live: Burnley v. Manchester City

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Burnley host Manchester City at Turf Moor on Saturday (Watch live, 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) with hopes of a huge upset.

WATCH LIVE ONLINE

The Clarets haven’t won any of their last eight games in the Premier League, while Man City can go 18 points clear atop the Premier League table.

In team news Burnley make two changes from the team which drew at Newcastle as Aaron Lennon makes his first start and Sam Vokes comes into the team.

City bring in Vincent Kompany and Danilo for Aymeric Laporte and Oleksandr Zinchenko, while David Silva misses out after picking up a knock and City only named six players on the bench.

LINEUPS

Burnley: Pope; Bardsley, Long, Mee, Taylor; Lennon, Hendrick, Cork, Gudmundsson; Barnes, Vokes. SubsLowton, Nkoudou, Westwood, Wells, Lindegaard, Arfield, O’Neill.

Manchester City: Ederson; Walker, Kompany, Otamendi, Danilo; Fernandinho, Gundogan; De Bruyne, Bernardo, Sterling; Aguero. Subs: Bravo, Laporte, Adarabioyo, Zinchenko, Yaya Toure, Diaz