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Wright urges Arsenal fans to keep protesting; talks MLS, Palace, England

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Arsenal legend Ian Wright, 52, believes Gunners fans are well within their rights to continue to vent their anger after yet another season of seeing a charge for the Premier League title falter.

[ MORE: Leicester’s biggest-ever party ]

In an exclusive interview with ProSoccerTalk, Wright also spoke about his sons Bradley and Shaun Wright-Phillips playing in MLS, discussed the chances of his former club Crystal Palace winning the FA Cup and talked up England ahead of this summer’s 2016 European Championships.

As we’ve come to expect with Wright, he tells it like it is.

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Speaking to PST from London while at a charity event to raise money for Arms Around the Child, Arsenal’s second-leading goalscorer of all time certainly feels just as frustrated as some of their fans about the lack of a PL title in the last 12 years.

Here’s the full transcript from our chat with Wright.


Can you explain why you got involved with Arms Around the Child and why it is important to you?

My friend Mervyn Lyn, who I’ve known for many years, has been involved with Arms Around the Child and it is to do with the children who have been left as orphans due to aids in South Africa and India. Any time I can, I try to raise awareness I can. When you consider this kind of charity and how these children are orphaned and the plight they are in, anything you can do that can help is good. This is one of those causes that deep down in your heart you genuinely want to try and help out any way you can.

Modern day Premier League footballers do a lot for charities and give back but the good they do is never documented as much as the so-called mistakes they sometimes get themselves involved in. Those are more highlighted but a lot of the players and the Premier League itself do a lot for charities around the world. Some of the guys aren’t fussed with the publicity they get from doing charity work. They are just doing it because that is what they want to do.

Your sons Bradley and Shaun Wright-Phillips are currently playing together for the New York Red Bulls in Major League Soccer, how are they enjoying it?

I’m really pleased with the way it has gone for Bradlley. He has always been a very good goalscorer, a very good finisher and player, in terms of a focal point to hit the ball up to and keep the ball and set play up. He can bring midfielders into play and set the play up and he has done well. I am very proud of what he did last season and even more so when he scored that fantastic goal against Bayern Munich in the All-Star Game. A couple of years before he scored against Arsenal… he scores against everybody! He is scoring and he is enjoying playing over there.

Bradley Wright-Phillips, New York Red Bulls

You watch the razzmatazz and everything that goes with MLS and it is really, really exciting. A lot more players over here are thinking about MLS and thinking of it at a time when they’re younger. Normally people think about going there at a really late stage of their career but now people are starting to think, ‘actually, this is a good move for me to go there in my late 20s.’

Do you wish MLS would have been a better known option for you when you were playing? 

I’m quite pleased with the time that I had and when I finished at 36 I was fine with it. Like I say with Bradley and Shaun, they were very fortunate to have the opportunity to go to America at a time when American soccer is really booming and go over at a good time in their careers. It was going pretty well for me throughout my career in the Premier League, I didn’t really have much desire to leave it, whatever was going on. But of course, if MLS was around at the time you would think about it but I was quite happy with the way it ended in the end.

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My ankle was killing me, so I had to stop anyway! It wouldn’t have wanted to go to somewhere like America and not do myself justice and not be what people knew me for. That’s why I’m quite pleased that Bradley and Shaun, who has still got some good football left in him, have got a lot to offer. I think the American game and MLS is booming, there are some good players over there and long may that continue for my boys.

There’s been a lot of unrest among Arsenal’s fans recently, can you understand their frustration?

It is frustrating, especially when you look at Leicester winning the league. They deserve all the plaudits they are getting because it is an amazing feat and I don’t think it is one that we will see again soon. What they’ve done is go against the grain, against all the so-called money and everything that goes with having to buy the so-called best players in the world, and players leaving and saying they want to play Champions League football, Leicester have bucked that trend and have shown you don’t have to. If you are willing to work as a unit, work for a manager and have good fans and good owners, you can do whatever you want.

10 JAN 1996: Ian Wright of Arsenal listens to the cheers of the supporters after he scored in the Coca Cola Cup quarter final match against Newcastle at Highbury.

I think that the Arsenal fans, with Leicester winning the league it is frustrating because they’ve done what they’ve done for many years. That is, after Christmas they seem to fall away. When you consider the amount of money the Arsenal fans are paying on a yearly basis, it is the most expensive in Europe if not the world and it is getting more frustrating. I do feel for them because I think that the players are good enough to be able to make a better fist of it than they did this season. Especially since the main protagonists such as Chelsea, Manchester City, Man United, Liverpool, all the people Arsenal have had problems beating in the past, they weren’t really in it this year and it was a great opportunity.

It was an opportunity Arsenal missed and that is why the fans are upset and they’ve got every right to be because they just wanted a bit more out of the players and they didn’t get it.

Where do you think Arsenal need to strengthen this summer?

People have been saying for years about the center half pairing, you can always strengthen there. The midfield, I feel that they aren’t too far away with the players they need in midfield but it is up in the striking department where they need somebody who is capable of getting 15-20 Premier League goals a season. I think the goals can be shared out at Arsenal and if they can get a striker that can deliver at least 20 goals, someone like what Aguero does for Manchester City, what Harry Kane does for Tottenham or Jamie Vardy does for Leicester, somebody like Jermain Defoe and what he’s done for Sunderland, somebody you know who is going to score 15 to 20 goals a season.

That’s what Arsenal have needed for many years and that’s what they’ve not had. Some games, you can see where they’ve needed that player but he’s not been there to score that goal which could take them over the line.

For many, it seems like Wenger will decide when he leaves and not the board. Is this why fans are so frustrated and almost stuck in limbo?

I’m not going to get too deep into the that but the fact that they are frustrated is because they want to win things. They want to win things with a manager who has been there for many years. He says things that maybe they don’t believe anymore. About how the squad is a very good squad and he says they are a very hard-working squad and determined squad, one of the best squads he’s worked with, and then what happens is when you look at the way results have gone, especially the last five, six, seven years in respects of winning the Premier League, they fall short.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 14: Commentator Ian Wright smiles prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Queens Park Rangers at Selhurst Park on March 14, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images)

So, the fans are tired of hearing the same stuff. They are tired of the fact that the board are satisfied that Arsene has qualified for the Champions League for 20 years and that is a lot of money to the football club. Of course the board are going to be very happy with a manager who can deliver and help balance the books and make money. The club is doing that in abundance. The people who are spending the money at the top end are pleased to see that the books are being balanced but the fans who are frustrated because other fans are winning things, they are the ones who are making all the noise at the moment.

I hope they continue to make the noise and I hope that people upstairs will listen. I don’t think it’s fair on the Arsenal fans that they should continue to be paying the money they are paying and at the end of the day they aren’t really getting anything back for it.

Your old club Crystal Palace, back into an FA Cup final and just like 1990 playing against Manchester United. Must bring back some great memories for you? 

Of course. It shot me into the national consciousness. Scoring those goals against Manchester United, coming on as late as I did, it was one of the greatest moments of my life. For Palace to get back to the cup final against a Man United side who, I think if Palace have got all their players fit and ready to go, they will cause them a lot of problems. It was a different Man United side we played, full of internationals, full of top, top players. It was one of those where we were really up against it and we gave them a good go in the first game and unfortunately we weren’t so good in the replay but it is brilliant for Palace to be there. The fans are amazing when they go to a place like that. When they’ve got that kind of opportunity to go to Wembley, to show what kind of support they have, they are amazing.

Jul 1991: Portrait of Ian Wright of Crystal Palace during a match played at Selhurst Park in London, England. Mandatory Credit: Ben Radford/Allsport

It is a one-off game, Palace have match winners in Bolasie and Zaha and maybe even Dwight Gayle off the bench. Just like United have Martial, Rashford and Lingard, those players will cause Palace problems. It is a finely poised final and I am pleased Palace are there. They started the season brilliantly, faded off a little bit but now they’ve finished off by securing their place in the Premier League and now, hopefully, they can really make a good fist of the FA Cup final and maybe get something.

When it comes to the England squad for EURO 2016, as a former England striker who would you start up front?

Vardy has been fantastic, Kane has been fantastic. Roy Hodgson will probably start with Harry Kane and I would probably start with Harry Kane and Vardy, I would start with the pair of them because you get something from both of them.

24 May 1997: Ian Wright of England celebrates after scoring a goal during the International Friendly against South Africa at Old Trafford in Manchester, England. England won the match 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Ben Radford /Allsport

Harry Kane can hold the ball up and Jamie Vardy can stretch teams and then we can leave space in the midfield for people like Rooney, if he plays, and Dele Alli to exploit the space that people like Vardy create. We have a very good mixture in respects of the forwards that we can play. I think that if he starts Vardy or Kane, it wouldn’t make much difference to me because I think they both offer so much in different ways.

Jack Wilshere has returned in recent weeks for Arsenal, should he start for England this summer?

Jack’s been out for how many months now? Literally the whole season. We can’t really say I would start Jack, of course you can’t start Jack in front of Eric Dier or Alli or people like that. If Jack is fit enough by the time they get to the Euros and has proven he is fit enough and remember, people at Arsenal are going to be a little bit like ‘hang on a minute, don’t use him so much just because he’s got back’ but the mere fact that Jack can be in the squad, people should be happy. When you start talking about whether people would start him, it is a little bit too much because he’s literally just got back.

Finally, can England win EURO 2016 this summer? Do you have high expectations? 

I do, yeah. Simply because people are saying things like, ‘we should get to the quarterfinals and we should be happy’ but if you’re going into a tournament, we’ve beaten Germany and were fantastic and we weren’t so good against the Netherlands, but you have to look at the best possible scenario.

27 May 1998: Captain, Paul Ince of England and Liverpool sings the National Anthem with fellow team-mates Ian Wright and Paul Gascogne during the match between Morocco v England in the King Hassan II Cup played in Casablanca, Morocco. England won the match 1-0. Mandatory Credit: Shaun Botterill /Allsport

If we are capable of beating Germany we’ll be one of the favorites going into the tournament. I think we should be looking to go all the way in the tournament. Why wouldn’t you? I wouldn’t want to be in a tournament where people say, ‘oh yeah, it will be alright if we get to the quarterfinals’ because subconsciously if you get to the quarterfinals you can relax. You’ve got to want to get to the final. We should want to get to the final. That’s what I’m hoping the guys will be thinking.

Serie A wrap: ‘Benjamin Button’ Zlatan nabs 2; McKennie debuts for Juve

Serie A results
Photo by Filippo Alfero - Juventus FC/Juventus FC via Getty Images
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Catch up on all you missed from the opening week of calcio with the Serie A wrap.

[ MORE: Serie A schedule ]

Fourteen of the league’s 20 teams debuted this weekend, as European combatants Atalanta and Inter Milan will start the season late along with Serie B playoff winners Spezia.

That leaves opponents Lazio, Benevento, and Udinese also waiting to start their 2020-21 seasons.


Benjamin Button’s brace leaves Milan

Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored twice as AC Milan started the Serie A season with a 2-0 defeat of Bologna on Monday.

The humble Swede said that if he were 18 years younger he would’ve scored two more.

“I am not old, I am like Benjamin Button, I start old and die young,” Ibrahimovic said after the win. “Kidding aside, the team worked well, we are not at 100 percent and therefore made some mistakes we usually avoid, but it bodes well.”

Ibrahimovic is 38 years old and demanding he not be held to any less of a standard than his prime, which is incredible considering his prime is better than 99 percent of top soccer careers.

“I don’t want people to talk about my age, I want to be treated at the same level as everyone else,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if I am 38, I want to be treated like someone aged 20 and do the same work.”

Milan is coming off seven-straight seasons outside of the top four, six of those coming behind their city rivals Inter Milan.

But Ibrahimovic’s 2019-20 half-season in Italy showed he can still bring the goods, with 14 goals and five assists in 20 appearances

Now he’s scored thrice in two competitive fixtures after opening his campaign with a goal against Shamrock Rovers in Europa League qualifying.

Milan is aiming high and is tied for the fifth-best odds to win the scudetto this season due to a talented squad that features Ibrahimovic, Alessio Romagnoli, Gianlugi Donnarumma, and Theo Hernandez.

“This year, we have to take it one game at a time, play with confidence and treat every match like a Cup Final.”

Serie A results
MILAN, ITALY – SEPTEMBER 21: Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Photo by Mattia Ozbot/Soccrates/Getty Images)

McKennie impresses as Juve rolls again

Playing under Andrea Pirlo has started well for USMNT midfielder Weston McKennie.

The 22-year-old Texan went 90 minutes in central midfield with Aaron Ramsey and Adrien Rabiot as Juventus beat Sampdoria 3-0 in Turin.

McKennie had 94 touches and completed 88 percent of his passes, with one key pass and four-of-five crosses in that mix.

[ MORE: Americans abroad in Bundesliga, Week 1 ]

He took two shots and converted his lone dribble attempt, the busy midfielderwinning six of 12 duels while registering four tackles, three interceptions, and two clearances. SofaScore did hit him with a “big chance missed” on debut.

McKennie kept some very good players on the bench in the forms of Arthur and Rodrigo Betancur. It’s going to be a battle to keep his place in the Starting XI but it’s clearly one he’s prepared to fight.

Cristiano Ronaldo, Leonoard Bonucci, and Dejan Kulusevski all scored for The Old Lady, who is bidding to win its 10th-straight title. That would double Inter’s second-best five-consecutive title run earlier this century.


Week 1 scoreboard

Fiorentina 1-0 Torino
Hellas Verona 0-0 AS Roma
Parma 0-2 Napoli
Genoa 4-1 Crotone
Sassuolo 1-1 Cagliari
Juventus 3-0 Sampdoria
AC Milan 2-0 Bologna


Week 2 fixtures

Bologna v Parma
Cagliari v Lazio
Crotone v AC Milan
Inter Milan v Fiorentina
Napoli v Genoa
AS Roma v Juventus
Sampdoria v Benevento
Spezia v Sassuolo
Torino v Atalanta
Verona v Udinese


Standings

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
 Genoa 1 1 0 0 4 1 3 1-0-0 0-0-0 3
 Juventus 1 1 0 0 3 0 3 1-0-0 0-0-0 3
 Milan 1 1 0 0 2 0 2 1-0-0 0-0-0 3
 Napoli 1 1 0 0 2 0 2 0-0-0 1-0-0 3
 Fiorentina 1 1 0 0 1 0 1 1-0-0 0-0-0 3
 Cagliari 1 0 1 0 1 1 0 0-0-0 0-1-0 1
 Sassuolo 1 0 1 0 1 1 0 0-1-0 0-0-0 1
 Hellas Verona 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0-1-0 0-0-0 1
 Roma 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0-0-0 0-1-0 1
 Atalanta 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0-0-0 0-0-0 0
 Benevento 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0-0-0 0-0-0 0
 Inter Milan 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0-0-0 0-0-0 0
 Lazio 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0-0-0 0-0-0 0
 Spezia 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0-0-0 0-0-0 0
 Udinese 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0-0-0 0-0-0 0
 Torino 1 0 0 1 0 1 -1 0-0-0 0-0-1 0
 Bologna 1 0 0 1 0 2 -2 0-0-0 0-0-1 0
 Parma 1 0 0 1 0 2 -2 0-0-1 0-0-0 0
 Crotone 1 0 0 1 1 4 -3 0-0-0 0-0-1 0
 Sampdoria 1 0 0 1 0 3 -3 0-0-0 0-0-1 0

Champions League qualifying: How to watch, start times, odds

UEFA Champions League qualifying
Photo by Raddad Jebarah/NurPhoto via Getty Images
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The 12 clubs remaining in the race for the final UEFA Champions League group stage slots will be pared down to six in the next eight days.

There are American connections to two of the six ties.

Former USMNT midfielder Jesse Marsch manages Austria’s Red Bull Salzburg toward the next round, while Molde right back Henry Wingo came up with the Seattle Sounders.

VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

Salzburg are significant favorites to advance over two legs, odds accentuated by Maccabi Tel-Aviv’s seven players absent due to positive COVID-19 tests.

Marsch had previously said he did not want to go to Israel due to COVID-19 concerns, calling it “dangerous,” but has accepted the task at hand.

From Austrian publication Kronen Zeitung:

“The moment UEFA said we were going to play in Tel Aviv, it wasn’t a problem for me. Maccabi has a great team. We are not naive. We understand that we have to fight tomorrow.”

At 3:10 in some sportsbooks, Marsch’s men are the only club favored to win the first leg away. Salzburg is led by Dominik Szoboszlai and Patson Daka, who’ve helped the team thrive despite the sales of several stars including Erling Haaland and Takumi Minamino.

Molde has a much tougher test with Hungarian side Ferencvaros, who knocked off Celtic. That tie could go either way, while Slavia Prague and Olympiakos are respectively noticeable favorites to beat Midtjylland and Omonia Nicosia.

Dynamo Kiev will be expected to outlast Gent over two legs, while it would be a minor upset if PAOK takes down Krasnodar.


UEFA Champions League playoff round matches

All 12 legs will kickoff at 3 pm ET between Tuesday and Sept. 30.

Tuesday

Maccabi Tel-Aviv v. Red Bull Salzburg
Slavia Prague v Midtjylland
Krasnodar v PAOK

Wednesday

Gent v Dynamo Kiev
Molde v Ferencvaros
Olympiakos v Omonia

Sept. 29

Ferencvaros v Molde
Dynamo Kiev v Gent
Omonia v Olympiakos

Sept. 30

Midtjylland v Slavia Prague
PAOK v Krasnodar
Red Bull Salzburg v Maccabi Tel-Aviv

Bundesliga: Takeaways from Week 1

Bundesliga Week 1
Photo by M. Donato/FC Bayern via Getty Images)
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With all due (and perhaps a bit) biased respect to Giovanni Reyna and Borussia Dortmund’s decisive beating of fellow title hopeful Borussia Monchengladbach, the Bundesliga’s top story came Friday with the champions.

[ MORE: Bundesliga season preview ]

Bayern Munich thumped Schalke 8-0, running its win streak in all competitions to 22. That’s just two behind the world record set by Brazil’s Coritiba in 2011.

It’s not just about the extension of the streak, but about the pure domination from the champs.

Hat trick hero Serge Gnabry and midfield prototype Joshua Kimmich continued to play as well as any midfielder in the world. New pal Leroy Sane played a role in three goals while Robert Lewandowski, Thomas Muller, and Leon Goretzka all scored before German-English teenager Jamal Musiala scored to make it eight.

As a domestic bonus, American defender Chris Richards played the final 17 minutes and completed 95 percent of his passes while making an interception.

[ MORE: Bundesliga odds 2020-21 ]

As for the record, Bayern will have to work for it. The Bavarians need to beat Sevilla in Thursday’s UEFA Super Cup before visiting a decent Hoffenheim side.

If they win both, Bayern will have a chance to set a Guinness Book record by beating… Borussia Dortmund in the German Super Cup on Sept. 30.

Now let’s talk about Schalke. While sold midfielder Weston McKennie was starring for Juventus, the remaining players had little to like about their day.

A team that failed to win its final 16 league matches of the 2019-20 season, losing 10, was again oh-so-poor.

If manager David Wagner wanted to get some heat off his back after holding onto his position, this wouldn’t have helped things.


Americans Abroad

— Tyler Adams went the distance at midfield in RB Leipzig’s 3-1 win over Mainz. He was typically tidy at 78-of-82 passing including a perfect 4-for-4 on long balls. Adams had four tackles and won 4-of-9 duels.

— Werder Bremen’s Josh Sargent was deployed as more of a left-sided attacking midfielder in a lopsided loss to Hertha, making one key pass and putting a matching shot on target in an uneven performance.

— John Brooks helped Wolfsburg keep a clean sheet and posted three clearances, three interceptions, and a tackle at center back. He wasn’t as clean passing as usual, but connected on 7-of-13 long balls.

— There were just a few minutes for 88th-minute Eintracht Frankfurt sub Timothy Chandler. He won his only duel and completed his only dribble in the waning moments of a 1-1 draw with Arminia Bielefeld.

— Reyna scored his first Bundesliga goal and won a penalty in 78 strong minutes that featured a perfect 29-for-29 in passes.

— Bayern’s Richards, 20, went 17 minutes and completed 19-of-20 passes while making an interception.

— Stuttgart manager Pellegrino Matarazzo, a New Jersey-born Columbia University product, saw his promoted side lose at home to Freiburg.

— U.S. eligible Norwegian youth international Julian Ryerson was an unused sub for Union Berlin.

Bundesliga Week 1
John Anthony Brooks (Photo by Peter Niedung/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Player of the Week

Serge Gnabry was absolutely marvelous. Even considering the lack of, well, everything from Schalke, Bayern’s hat trick man had as many key passes as goals.

Gnabry hit 30-of-35 passes in doing all of his damage on 57 touches over 72 minutes.

The German made three tackles and two interceptions to edge opposite wing Leroy Sane’s 1-goal, 2-assist, 5-key pass day and the hat trick produced by Hoffenheim’s Andrei Kramaric in giving his team three leads and the win.


Team of the Week

Casteels (Wolfsburg)

Framberger (Augsburg) — Lacroix (Wolfsburg) — Pieper (Bielefeld)

Kimmich (Bayern)

Kramaric (Hoffenheim) — Reyna (Dortmund) — Cunha (Hertha)

Sane (Bayern) — Haaland (Dortmund) — Gnabry (Bayern)

  • All three of Koen Casteels’ saves in Wolfsburg’s 0-0 draw with Bayer Leverkusen came inside the box, while Lacroix put together a gaudy stat line in front of him: 10 clearances, four interceptions, three tackles.
  • No one completed more dribbles than Matheus Cunha’s five. The Brazilian also scored as Hertha hung four on Werder Bremen.
Bundesliga results
Bremen’s Josh Sargent and Maximilian Eggestein couldn’t stop Hertha’s Matheus Cunha (Photo by PATRIK STOLLARZ/AFP via Getty Images)

Week 1 results

Bayern Munich 8-0 Schalke
Union Berlin 1-3 Augsburg
Stuttgart 2-3 Freiburg
Eintracht Frankfurt 1-1 Arminia Bielefeld
Werder Bremen 1-4 Hertha Berlin
Koln 2-3 Hoffenheim
Borussia Dortmund 3-0 Borussia Monchengladbach
RB Leipzig 3-1 Mainz
Wolfsburg 0-0 Bayer Leverkusen


 

Week 2 fixtures

Hertha Berlin v Eintracht Frankfurt — 2:30 pm ET Sept. 25
Bayer Leverkusen v RB Leipzig — 9:30 am ET Sept. 26
Augsburg v Borussia Dortmund — 9:30 am ET Sept. 26
Borussia Monchengladbach v Union Berlin — 9:30 am ET Sept. 26
Arminia v Koln — 9:30 am ET Sept. 26
Mainz v Stuttgart — 9:30 am ET Sept. 26
Schalke v Werder Bremen — 12:30 pm ET Sept. 26
Hoffenheim v Bayern Munich — 9:30 am ET Sept. 27
Freiburg v Wolfsburg — Noon ET Sept. 27


Standings

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
 Bayern Munich 1 1 0 0 8 0 8 1-0-0 0-0-0 3
 Hertha BSC 1 1 0 0 4 1 3 0-0-0 1-0-0 3
 Borussia Dortmund 1 1 0 0 3 0 3 1-0-0 0-0-0 3
 Augsburg 1 1 0 0 3 1 2 0-0-0 1-0-0 3
 RB Leipzig 1 1 0 0 3 1 2 1-0-0 0-0-0 3
 Freiburg 1 1 0 0 3 2 1 0-0-0 1-0-0 3
 Hoffenheim 1 1 0 0 3 2 1 0-0-0 1-0-0 3
 Arminia Bielefeld 1 0 1 0 1 1 0 0-0-0 0-1-0 1
 Eintracht Frankfurt 1 0 1 0 1 1 0 0-1-0 0-0-0 1
 Bayer Leverkusen 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0-0-0 0-1-0 1
 Wolfsburg 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0-1-0 0-0-0 1
 1. FC Köln 1 0 0 1 2 3 -1 0-0-1 0-0-0 0
 Stuttgart 1 0 0 1 2 3 -1 0-0-1 0-0-0 0
 Mainz 05 1 0 0 1 1 3 -2 0-0-0 0-0-1 0
 Union Berlin 1 0 0 1 1 3 -2 0-0-1 0-0-0 0
 Werder Bremen 1 0 0 1 1 4 -3 0-0-1 0-0-0 0
 Mönchengladbach 1 0 0 1 0 3 -3 0-0-0 0-0-1 0
 Schalke 04 1 0 0 1 0 8 -8 0-0-0 0-0-1 0

Guardiola expected Man City rust in ‘good win’ over Wolves

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Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola got what he expected from a 3-1 season-opening win over Wolves at the Molineux.

Kevin De Bruyne won and converted a penalty before playing a role in goals from Phil Foden and Gabriel Jesus.

VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

City was very good early but Wolves took hold of the game for part of the second half and had the scoreline at 2-1 before Jesus put the result to bed.

Guardiola expected periods like that given Wolves had played more matches. Neighbors Manchester United had that problem for almost all 90 minutes of a loss to Crystal Palace.

“It’s a good win,” Guardiola said, later saying, “In the period that we are and the situation that we had these last two weeks, I expected that in some moments we’d suffer but in general we did well.”

Guardiola was asked about Foden, who was very good.

The English youngster made headlines off the pitch earlier this month but was very good back on it.

He passed at 94 percent, completed 4-of-5 dribbles, and won 8-of-13 duels.

The goal and the second half he played incredibly well,” Guardiola said. “He helped us keep the ball. We could not run much because we’re tired in our legs.”

Perhaps it’s reading too much into it, but Guardiola was short and maybe even a bit testy in his post-match remarks.

“It’s just a 3-1 game so there were 114 points to play for (and) now there are 111.”