Manchester City 3-2 Aston Villa: Stunning finish sees City hold on after Guzan’s blunder

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Manchester City beat Aston Villa 3-2 at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday as a breathtaking finale took some of the attention way from a horrendous goalkeeping blunder from Brad Guzan.

[ RELATED: Watch full match replays ]

City went 1-0 up as Guzan shanked the ball straight to Sergio Aguero to score and in the second half Aleksandar Kolarov whipped home a free kick to make it 2-0. To Villa’s credit they never stopped believing and were level after Tom Cleverley and Carlos Sanchez scored to make it 2-2 with five minutes to go. Then the game winning moment arrived as Fernandinho finished coolly in the 89th minute to sent City momentarily into second place.

With the win City move up to second on 67 points, while Villa remain in battle against relegation as they sit two points above the bottom three with four games to go.

[ RELATED: Latest PL standings ]

City took an early lead after Guzan’s horrendous mistake let in Aguero. The U.S. international goalkeeper recieved the ball back from Villa’s center back Ron Vlaar and as he went to play a pass out to his right with his left foot, the ball hit his standing feet and skewed right into the path of Aguero who couldn’t believe his luck before tapping home his 27th goal of the season. 1-0 to City, as Guzan’s name will join the pantheons of soccer gaffes.

The Illinois native continued his rough start to the match as he completely missed a cross moments later but Fernando failed to head home. Yaya Toure had a low drive which Guzan collected and 22 minutes in, Villa had still not woken up as Leandro Bacuna sent a terrible back pass toward his own goal which Aguero picked up and the move ended with Jesus Navas having a thunderous shot well blocked.

That effort seemed to finally wake the Villans from their slumber and in the 26th minute Benteke, who looked offside, was denied by a brilliant sprawling stop from City’s goalkeeper Joe Hart after the ball pinballed around the box and found Villa’s towering Belgian striker in acres of space. For the rest of the first half Villa gradually got into the game but couldn’t equalize before the break.

In the second half City eased into a 2-0 lead as Kolarov found a huge hole in Villa’s defensive wall from a free kick 25-yards out and the Serbian left back bent it through the gap and into the near post. 2-0 to City.

Just when you thought the Citizens were going to flip the switch to cruise control, Villa were handed a lifeline. A looping free kick from the left flank saw Hart come running out of his goal but the ball dropped to Benteke and as City’s defenders half cleared, Cleverley ran onto the loose ball and hammered it into the ground and into the net. 2-1.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Hart rushed out again five minutes later to thwart an onrushing Charles N’Zogbia, but Villa kept coming at City and were level after 85 minutes when a corner from the right caught Hart in a crowd as he came to collect and Sanchez calmly volleyed home. 2-2 as City’s 2-0 lead had evaporated.

A poor giveaway from Martin Demichelis then looked to have let Villa in for what could have been a winner but Benteke, who looked to be onside, was flagged for offside as he was fouled by Hart. City then launched an attack which would see them win the game, as a corner from the left found its way through to Fernandinho at the back post who chested the ball and acrobatically finished in the 89th minute. 3-2 to the Citizens as Pellegrini breathed a huge sigh of relief.

LINEUPS

Manchester City: Hart, Zabaleta, Demichelis, Mangala, Kolarov, Fernando, Lampard (Milner, 57′), Navas, Yaya Toure (Fernandinho, 45′), Silva, Aguero (Bony, 83′)

Goals: Aguero (3′), Kolarov (66′), Fernandinho, (89′)

Aston Villa: Guzan, Bacuna (Lowton, 87′), Okore, Vlaar, Richardson, Sanchez, Westwood (N’Zogbia, 68′), Cleverley, Delph, Grealish, Benteke. Subs: Given, Weimann, Cole, Senderos, Cissokho, N’Zogbia, Lowton

Goals: Cleverley (68′), Sanchez (85′)

Miami ready to arrive as global soccer city

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This weekend the Premier League on NBC Sports crew are heading to Miami Beach to host the second Premier League Mornings Live Fan Fest of the season.

And Rebecca Lowe, Robbie Earle, Robbie Mustoe and Kyle Martino, along with several high-profile guests, will be arriving in a city which is primed to re-enter the discussion as a truly global soccer city.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule

With David Beckham’s Inter Miami CF franchise arriving in Major League Soccer for March 2020, CONCACAF’s HQ in Miami, plus many of the biggest clubs in the world visiting Miami to play in friendly games each summer — and of course the USMNT and USWNT both playing regularly in South Florida — Miami is already well on its way to becoming a key U.S. hub for the global game.

But things are changing. Rapidly.

After the Miami Fusion folded in early 2002 and the heyday of the NASL long gone, there was a soccer void in MIA, but now teams are popping up in both MLS and USL, and if you wander around Miami you will spot jerseys from just about every club on the planet.

Peter Smith (who played for the U.S. Futsal Team in the 1989 world championships) is involved in soccer in the Miami area where he runs his company, Smash Soccer, a consultancy agency.

He has seen a huge upturn in the popularity of the sport in and around Miami in recent years.

“There will be a big turnout and a great atmosphere at the Clevelander because their is such a passion for the sport in Miami and South Florida,” Smith said. “Miami is more of an international city than an American city. You always see Barcelona, Real Madrid, PSG, Juventus, Boca Juniors, River Plate and Flamengo jerseys, as well as plenty of Liverpool, Man United, Man City and Chelsea shirts and there is so much interest in the global game.

“Miami has such a mix of tourists and residents that you will always have PL interest in and around the bars and on the streets and there really is a growing interest in the Premier League. There are plenty of fan bars on gamedays, and in particular areas of Miami where you have specific bars for fans supporting clubs in South America and Europe. It’s a real mix and it is wonderful.”

[ MORE: How to attend the Miami Fan Fest ]

When you start to ask around the Miami area, it is clear soccer is on the minds of many.

Mike Ryan Ruiz is the Executive Producer for The Dan Le Batard Show and Host of Chelsea’s new U.S. focused podcast, “Chelsea Mike’d Up.” 

Aside from his focus on all things Premier League with the Blues, Ruiz believes the arrival of Inter Miami CF will be a key part of the puzzle in soccer getting back on the map in Miami.

“The soccer community is really buzzing down here for Inter Miami, even though it’s in Fort Lauderdale initially. Our supporters groups, I think, are going to be the talk of MLS. There are three main groups but the wildest is Vice City,” Ruiz explained. “I really think Inter is going to be a success story. The town is desperate for a winner and I think they’re well positioned even as an expansion team. We’ve been waiting on this for so long. It felt like the day might never come… but we’re here.”

It is sure to be one heck of a party at the Clevelander Hotel in Miami Beach this weekend as Miami continues to grow as a worldwide soccer destination.

All the details for our Fan Fest can be found right here.

LIVE, Europa League: Group stage finale arrives

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The group stage finale of the 2019-20 UEFA Europa League campaign is here.

Everything is set up for an epic Thursday of action.

[ LIVE: Europa League scores  ]

Arsenal need a point away at Standard Liege to reach the Round of 32, while Wolves and Man United are already safely through to the knockout rounds.

Wolves must win to stand a chance of winning Group K, while a point for Man United will be enough for them to win Group L.

Plenty of intrigue remains around Glasgow Rangers as any team from Group G can still reach the knockout round going into the final 90 minutes of action. If Steven Gerrard‘s men beat Young Boys at Ibrox then they will definitely be through as group winners.

Groups B, C and J are all so tough to call heading into the final games with giants such as Roma, Basel and Dynamo Kiev all in danger of being knocked out.

Below is the schedule in full for Thursday’s games, while you can click on the link above to follow all the action as it happens.


Full Europa League schedule

12:55 p.m. ET
Eintracht Frankfurt v. Vitoria
CFR Cluj v. Celtic
LASK v. Sporting Lisbon
Copenhagen v. Malmo
PSV Eindhoven v. Rosenborg
Qarabag v. Dudelange
Standard Liege v. Arsenal
Basel v. Trabzonspor
Dynamo Kiev v. Lugano
APOEL Nicosia v. Sevilla
Rennes v. Lazio
Getafe v. Krasnodar

3 p.m. ET
Rangers v. Young Boys
Wolves v. Besiktas
Espanyol v. CSKA Moscow
Gent v. Oleksandriya
Borussia Monchengladbach v. Istanbul Basaksehir
Porto v. Feyenoord
Ludogorets Razgrad v. Ferencvaros
Slovan Bratislava v. Braga
Roma v. Wolfsberg
Manchester United v. AZ Alkmaar
Wolfsburg v. Saint-Etienne
Partizan Belgrade v. Astana

Michael Bradley re-signs with Toronto FC

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Toronto FC captain Michael Bradley has re-signed with the Major League Soccer franchise.

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Bradley, 32, saw his previous contract run out at the end of the 2019 season but he has now agreed a new deal with the Canadian side and Toronto have squeezed him into their salary cap by using Targeted Allocation Money (TAM).

During his six season stint so far in Toronto, Bradley has led the team to three MLS Cup finals as TFC stunned MLS with a run to the final against Seattle in 2019. They lost on that occasion but beat Seattle in 2017 and Bradley’s displays, along with that of Sebastian Giovinco, Jozy Altidore and now Alejandro Pozuelo have seen Toronto become one of the most consistent teams in MLS.

Explaining his reasons for signing a new deal in Toronto, Bradley revealed that he wants to take them onto bigger and better things.

“I feel so attached to the city of Toronto, the club, the team. I love it here and I am really proud of what we’ve been able to do over the past six years,” Bradley said. “Beyond the success, I am equally as proud of the mentality and identity this club has taken on. The relationship between the club and the city, the club and the fans are both very special and I’m proud to have played a part in that. What we have in Toronto doesn’t exist everywhere. My family and I are so happy to remain in Toronto and we’d like to thank everyone at Toronto FC for ensuring that this process was done quietly and professionally behind the scenes. I’m looking forward to continuing to play in the biggest games and competing for trophies every year.”

Bradley still has plenty left in the tank, as last season showed, and despite rumors that he would link up with his father, Bob Bradley, at LAFC, he is staying in Ontario.

That’s great news for Toronto FC as despite plenty of criticism from USMNT fans over recent years, Bradley has continued to deliver consistency and leadership at BMO Field.

Premier League player Power Rankings

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Our latest Premier League player Power Rankings have landed.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule

Matchweek 16 followed a similar pattern to recent weeks as players from Liverpool, Leicester City, Spurs and Man United dominated our top 20 with so many games played over the last seven days.

Remember: this is a list of the top 20 performing players right now in the Premier League. If they didn’t play in the last matchweek, they aren’t getting in this list!

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]  

Let us know in the comments section below if you agree with the selections.


1.  Jamie Vardy (Leicester) – Even
2. Heung-Min Son (Tottenham) – Up 7
3. Marcus Rashford (Man United) – New entry
4. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) – New entry
5. Harry Kane (Tottenham) – Up 6
6. Jonjo Shelvey (Newcastle) – New entry
7. Jonny Evans (Leicester) – New entry
8. Sadio Mane (Liverpool) – Down 4
9. Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Everton) – New entry
10. Danny Ings (Southampton) – New entry
11. Aaron Wan-Bissaka (Man United) – New entry
12. Virgil Van Dijk (Liverpool) – Down 2
13. Caglar Soyuncu (Leicester) – Even
14. Dele Alli (Tottenham) – Down 11
15. Kevin De Bruyne (Man City) – Down 10
16. Raul Jimenez (Wolves) – Down 3
17. Christian Pulisic (Chelsea) – Down 1
18. Anthony Martial (Man United) – New entry
19. Diogo Jota (Wolves) – New entry
20. Nicolas Pepe (Arsenal) – New entry