Kyle Walker

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Pep on near concession: “We were involved in their rhythm”

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Pep Guardiola even has the right description for his team’s near failure.

Newcastle United sprung late pressure on Manchester City at St. James’ Park on Wednesday, and the Magpies came close to getting a point from the Premier League leaders.

[ RECAP: Newcastle 0-1 Man City ]

They didn’t, however, with Dwight Gayle‘s header bounding wide of the far post, and emerged with an 18-straight league win (one shy of the record Guardiola set at Bayern Munich).

Guardiola knows his team deserved a win, but pay attention to his description of what didn’t work for his men in that final stage at SJP, as well as his mild shot at slipping Kyle Walker.

“We deserved to win by far. We did absolutely everything. They defended really well in the counter attack. They defended deep and it’s not easy when this happens but we created enough chances in the first half and the beginning of the second. In the last minutes, we were involved in their rhythm.

“We created chances through halftime, it could’ve been 3 or 4-0, or 4-1 because Kyle is sleeping. But if you have 18 games in a row winning, you may have to live 10-15 minutes in that way.”
He’s 100 percent right (and yes we’re fawning over Guardiola for knowing what didn’t work. Such is life with a 18-match win streak).

Young Man City wins in PKs (video)

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A penalty deep into eight minutes of stoppage time nearly cost Manchester City its chance at a quadruple.

The Premier League leaders’ B-Team led Leicester City 1-0 on a Bernardo Silva goal when Demarai Gray was awarded a controversial penalty.

The teams played 30 minutes of scoreless stoppage time before moving to penalty kicks, where Jamie Vardy missed Leicester’s fourth kick after Ilkay Gundogan, Yaya Toure, Lukas Nmecha, and Gabriel Jesus had connected for Man City. Claudio Bravo then saved Riyad Mahrez‘s attempt to seal it.

[ MORE: Arsenal eliminates West Ham ]

Manchester City really switched up its XI, with only Ilkay Gundogan and Gabriel Jesus semi-regular starters in the XI. Tosin Adarabioyo, Oleksandr Zinchenko, and Brahim Diaz were among the unusual starters.

Leicester City boss Claude Puel, having seen his side buried 3-0 by Crystal Palace at the weekend, did not start Riyad Mahrez, Jamie Vardy, or Demarai Gray.

But once down at halftime, Puel put Mahrez and Vardy into the fold.

Gray later entered, and just as Gundogan’s goal looked set to carry the match, hit the deck under Kyle Walker‘s challenge.

Vardy converted the penalty just into eight minutes of stoppage time to promise extra time.

Here is City’s goal: a nice pass from Gundogan, but what a tidy and powerful jab strike from Silva to make it 1-0.

Jesus turned a Walker cross onto Ben Hamer as extra time started at the KP.

Leicester had its chances, none better than Claudio Bravo’s dalliance with a clearance nearly caroming off Vardy and inside the goal.

Hamer then corraled a Yaya Toure free kick just before the break. Mahrez tested Bravo in the second frame, and Toure had another dig toward Hamer in the 120th minute.

Pep: Man City’s attacking away win is huge

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Spirits are high in Manchester City camp after Pep Guardiola‘s corps of backs helped the team to a 4-0 away win versus Feyenoord in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday.

John Stones scored twice, and both Benjamin Mendy and Kyle Walker had assists in the win, prompting Mendy to call out Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus (who also scored in the win).

[ RECAP: Feyenoord 0-4 Man City ]

As for the architect, Pep Guardiola pointed out that the road victory is a huge step for the club after going winless away from the Etihad Stadium last campaign.

And he pointed out that folks who were critical of his splashing cash on Mendy, Walker, Bernardo Silva, Danilo, and Ederson this summer just saw why City keeps spending big.

“We have made a huge effort to buy five players to make that step forward, like all the big teams have done in Europe. It’s important to see if we can go away and play with an attacking mentality, not conceding counter-attacks.”

Most expected City to pick up a win on Wednesday, but this sort of decisive victory with so many new faces on the road staked a claim to the group.

Manchester City sign Walker in reported record transfer

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Never shy to splash the cash, Manchester City has reportedly spent enough to break a new transfer record.

The club announced Friday the signing of England international right back Kyle Walker on a five-year contract, reportedly joining for more than $65 million, with another $4 million in add-on fees. If the add-on fees are paid, Walker would be the most-expensive transfer for a defender, breaking Chelsea’s record that it spent on David Luiz in 2016.

Walker was rumored to be on his way out of Tottenham at the end of the last Premier League season and with Bakary Sagna and Gael Clichy both departing Man City, Pep Guardiola‘s side was in need of new fullbacks.

The move appears to make sense for both sides. Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino appeared to prefer Kieran Trippier over Walker in the second half of last season and with the influx of cash, Pochettino can use that money to improve his squad.

Meanwhile, Guardiola adds an international right back who can play in a back four or potentially as a right wing back in a 3-4-3 or 3-5-2, and Walker is also a home-grown player, which helps Man City for UEFA Champions League squad registration purposes.

Reports say Man City close in on deals for Walker, Mendy

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Manchester City are said to be close to signing Kyle Walker and Benjamin Mendy with Pep Guardiola about to spend $120 million on a new right and left back.

[ VIDEO: Lacazette scores on Arsenal debut ]

City need these two additions badly, but that’s a lot of cash.

Multiple reports state that Walker, 27, has agreed to join Man City from Tottenham Hotspur in a $65 million deal (that would make him the the most-expensive defender in history) with the England international set to have a medical later this week and then jet off with City on their preseason tour of the U.S. next week. After losing out on Dani Alves to Paris Saint-Germain signing Walker was a priority for City.

As for Mendy, the 22-year-old French international has an incredible engine and his displays last season in the UEFA Champions League have convinced City to spend over $55 million with reports stating City and Monaco are close to an agreement and Mendy could be a City player early next week.

Now, we all know defense was the main issue for City last season and quite frankly it’s been that way for the last five seasons.

After letting Pablo Zabaleta, Bacary Sagna and Gael Clichy leave this summer, Guardiola badly needed full backs and although he has overpaid for them, just like he did for goalkeeper Ederson earlier this summer, he’s got what he wanted.

Walker will provide pace and power from the right back slot and City finally seem to have broken Daniel Levy’s resolved as Spurs’ chairman has played this perfectly. At the end of last season Walker fell out with Mauricio Pochettino and Kieran Trippier impressed as he slotted into the team, so know Spurs already have a replacement for Walker and they’re getting $65 million.

Mendy is the latest in the mass exodus from AS Monaco as the French champions have also sold Portuguese playmaker Bernardo Silva to Man City earlier this summer for $55 million and are set to lose Tiemoue Bakayoko to Chelsea while Arsenal are chasing Thomas Lemar and Kylian Mbappe seems destined for Real Madrid.

Back to City though, and if they complete this double swoop it will be a huge upgrade on their defense from last season as ageing full backs struggled to cope with the extra demands placed on them by Guardiola, and a shaky central defense didn’t help matters with John Stones struggling and Vincent Kompany only able to play the second half of the season when he returned from injury.

Balance is everything for Guardiola and with two attack-minded full backs he now has that. Just like he did at Barcelona with Dani Alves, Maxwell and Eric Abidal, he has full backs who can keep the ball and join the attack but are also quick enough to recover and keep a solid defensive shape after a turnover.

Walker and Mendy will basically play as wing backs for City and will be asked to move inside with the ball, something Walker isn’t too comfortable doing but he has everything else needed to excel at the Etihad Stadium.

Yes, they overpaid, like they usually do for defenders, but City have addressed their needs perfectly just as their preseason kicks up a few notches with the small matter of playing both Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur in the U.S. over the next two weeks.