Saluting Aguero’s brilliance; Guardiola has one complaint

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Sergio Aguero is a goalscoring machine.

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The Argentine striker recorded his 10th hat trick for Manchester City on Saturday as Pep Guardiola’s men battered Watford 6-0 at Vicarage Road to go top of the Premier League table.

Starting up front with Gabriel Jesus, Aguero ghosted in three times to finish off flowing Man City moves — which were started time and again by Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva at the heart of their diamond formation in midfield — and the 29-year-old now has 175 goals in 259 games in all competitions for Man City as he continues to motor towards the 200 mark with six goals in six games to start the season.

Last weekend he became the highest-scoring non-European player in Premier League history while only Alan Shearer (11), Robbie Fowler (9), Thierry Henry and Michael Owen (8) have scored more hat tricks in the PL than his six.

Speaking after the game, Aguero was typically nonchalant after another deadly display of finishing.

“I am very happy and I will continue to work as it goes on. I am focused on scoring the next goal but what matters is that we won,” Aguero said.

Even if Aguero was modest, his teammates summed up his brilliance with Ilkay Gundogan calling him a “goal machine” and his last goal “incredible” while Raheem Sterling put it perfectly: “Give Sergio Aguero a chance and nine times out of 10 he’ll score.”

By now we all know about Aguero’s brilliance but the lingering notion that he may not get into City’s starting lineup ahead of Gabriel Jesus this season has well and truly been shelved. The duo have starred up front together in recent weeks and Aguero, for the second game running, set up Jesus for a goal as the South American duo tore Watford’s defense apart.

Guardiola applauded Aguero and the way his team played as City are living up to their tag as the preseason favorites to win the Premier League.

They’ve now scored 15 goals in their past three PL games and 19 in their last four games in all competitions after they thumped Feyenoord 4-0 in Rotterdam on Wednesday in the UEFA Champions League.

“It was so good. Especially after an away game in the Champions League. The way we played as a team, we are so happy,” Guardiola said. “I was lucky to manage Barcelona with many outstanding performances but this week has been a lot of goals. We have found our game, we can make short passes and we have a lot of energy from our full-backs.”

However, Guardiola did have one issue with Aguero. Seriously, he did.

In the 89th minute City were awarded a penalty kick after Sterling went down but Aguero let the England winger take the spot kick even though Guardiola wanted the Argentine to grab his fourth goal of the game.

“The people who come from the bench always give us something new. Clean sheets are a consequence of you controlling the game,” Guardiola said. “You have to be serious until the end, goal difference could be important but it is Sergio Aguero’s decision [to give the penalty to Raheem Sterling.]”

Your boatloads of goals can’t always please everyone, Sergio…

How can Chelsea, Arsenal challenge for the title?

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There are just 24 days until the 2018/19 Premier League season kicks off.

So, now seems like a good time to continue to focus on what the big boys need to do in order to challenge for the title and the top four.

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We’ve already focused on the top two from last season and what each of Manchester City and Manchester United need to do to get better, and Tottenham and Liverpool’s quest to remain among the top four.

But what about London giants Chelsea and Arsenal? They both finished outside the top four last season and they both have new managers heading into the new campaign.

Will Maurizio Sarri and Unai Emery adapt quickly to life in England? Or will the London rivals struggle to rebuild and reach the top four as they’ll both play in the UEFA Europa League?

Below we analyze the situation for both Chelsea and Arsenal and their biggest needs for the season ahead.


Chelsea


Arsenal

Perisic, Rebic linked with moves to Man United

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Following their superb displays for Croatia at the 2018 World Cup, Ivan Perisic and Ante Rebic are being linked with moves to Manchester United via a report from the Sun.

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It’s no secret that Jose Mourinho is a big admirer of Perisic as he tried to buy the left winger from Inter Milan last summer but saw plenty of bids turned down as United missed out.

Perisic, 29, then went on to become one of Croatia’s star performers this summer as he scored three goals and grabbed two assists combined with tireless displays on the left flank. Perisic grabbed 11 goals and added nine assists last season as Inter qualified for the UEFA Champions League.

[ MORE: Alisson to Liverpool back on?

Rebic, 24, also had a fine tournament with his powerful surges forward from the right flank as the Eintracht Frankfurt star scored in the win against Argentina and went close to scoring in the World Cup final but his drive was saved by Hugo Lloris. He also committed more fouls than any other player at the tournament as he tracked back and dug deep in Croatia’s best-ever finish at a World Cup.

Do United really need these two attacking wide men?

Mourinho loves to add pace and power to his teams and they certainly fit the bill in that regard, with the likes of Juan Mata, Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and even Alexis Sanchez not out-and-out wingers. The transfer values of Perisic and Rebic will have soared due to Croatia finishing the tournament as runners up with Perisic valued at around $63 million and Rebic at $57 million.

Perisic only signed a new contract at Inter last season but given United’s long-time pursuit of him, he may feel like this could be his last chance to move to the Premier League, if that’s what his heart desires. While Rebic only just arrived at Frankfurt on a permanent deal after scoring twice in their German Cup final win last season, helping them win their first trophy since 1988.

If one or both of these players arrive at Old Trafford, serious doubt will be put on the future of Martial and Rashford as neither will seriously challenge Romelu Lukaku for the central strikers role.

Man City reveal squad for US tour

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Reigning Premier League champions Manchester City have announced their squad for their U.S. tour this summer.

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Pep Guardiola is without several first team stars as City had more players at the 2018 World Cup (16) this summer than any other team on the planet.

New club-record signing Riyad Mahrez will travel Stateside though, so too will Joe Hart, Claudio Bravo, Aymeric Laporte, Leroy Sane, Bernardo Silva and Benjamin Mendy, with promising youngsters Patrick Roberts, Phil Foden and Brahim Diaz also included.

Former New York City FC star Jack Harrison will also be part of Man City’s traveling squad as he returns to American soil after starring in MLS over the past few years before his move to City and subsequent loan to Middlesbrough in England’s second-tier.

City have a busy schedule of games in the States as they kick things off on Friday against Borussia Dortmund in Chicago. They then travel to New York City and play Liverpool at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey on July 25 before heading to Miami to play Bayern Munich on July 28 to round off their International Champions Cup action.

Take a look at the squad in full below.


Manchester City squad for US tour – 2018/19

Claudio Bravo
Joe Hart
Aymeric Laporte
Leroy Sane
Bernardo Silva
Benjamin Mendy
Tosin Adarabioyo
Riyad Mahrez
Patrick Roberts
Jason Denayer
Daniel Grimshaw
Oleksandr Zinchenko
Douglas Luiz
Jack Harrison
Lukas Nmecha
Phil Foden
Aro Muric
Eric Garcia
Nabil Touaizi
Brahim Diaz
Iker Pozo
Tom Dele-Bashiru
Benjamin Garre
Luke Bolton
Cameron Humphreys
Rabbi Matondo
Tyreke Wilson
Nathanael Ogbeta

Report: Liverpool in talks for Alisson

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It appears Alisson to Liverpool could be back on again.

A report from Di Marzio in Italy claims that AS Roma and Liverpool are in discussions over the transfer of Brazilian goalkeeper Alisson, with further reports from the UK stating Liverpool have offered $81 million for him.

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Their star goalkeeper, 25, was the subject of interest from Liverpool and Real Madrid before the 2018 World Cup began but Brazil’s starting goalkeeper didn’t have an outstanding tournament and Roma’s previous $100 million asking price may now have dropped.

Real may well turn their attention to Thibaut Courtois considering his recent comments that he could leave Chelsea with just a year left on his contract. As for Liverpool, their need for a new goalkeeper remains urgent following Loris Karius‘ mistakes in the UEFA Champions League final and Simon Mignolet falling out of favor.

With Karius backed by Jurgen Klopp several times over the past few months following his UCL final meltdown, Karius has continued to make mistakes in preseason games which may have accelerated Liverpool’s search for a new goalkeeper.

Although both Jack Butland and Nick Pope may well be cheaper options and have Premier League experience, Alisson is highly-regarded for his displays in Serie A and for Brazil and he is not only good with his feet but also a fine shot stopper. I mean, you have to be some goalkeeper to keep out Manchester City’s Ederson as the starter for the Brazilian national team.