Getty Images

Manchester City 2-1 West Ham: Silva the hero this time

Leave a comment
  • Ogbonna put West Ham 1-0 up in 1st half
  • West Ham out-shot Man City in 1st half for efforts on target
  • Otamendi, Silva score to complete 2nd half comeback

Manchester City may have its flaws, but Pep Guardiola is a master at covering them up.

A swarming second half performance saw Manchester City complete its second come-from-behind victory in as many Premier League games with a vicious final 45 minutes that saw Nicolas Otamendi score the equalizer and David Silva win it with seven minutes remaining.

The two City goals overshadowed a solid performance from the Hammers, especially in the first half, who found themselves in front at halftime thanks to a goal from Angelo Ogbonna. David Moyes shuffled the deck with Michail Antonio up front as the lone striker and benching Marko Arnautovic for 21-year-old Swiss Edimilson Fernandes. He also was forced to play Adrian in goal with Joe Hart ineligible against his parent club, and the Spaniard came up big on multiple occasions.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

West Ham defended quite well throughout the first half, with Man City holding over 70% possession but hardly finding a shot on net, while the Hammers didn’t simply park the bus but instead pushed forward hard when they were able to win the ball.

In the seventh minute, Antonio nearly had the opener as Cheikhou Kouyate flicked on a corner at the near post and it floated perfectly to the far post but it was just out of reach of the Hammers striker. City had their best chance of the first half as David Silva ripped a shot from outside the box that deflected off a defender’s back, but Adrian was there to acrobatically tip it over the bar.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

West Ham, surprisingly the better side in the first half, eventually earned a stunning opener just a few minutes before the halftime whistle. The Hammers took a short corner that allowed Aaron Cresswell to work some more space, and his cross reached the head of Ogbonna who struck it magnificently to dispatch the game’s first goal past Ederson.

After halftime, Pep Guardiola brought on Gabriel Jesus to keep the ball in West Ham’s half, and the change worked to perfection. The Brazilian made a stellar run through the right side of the box and he fed Nicolas Otamendi in front of net for the equalizer before the hour mark.

The league leaders pummeled the West Ham back line the entire second half searching for a winner. Adrian was required again to deny Jesus with 20 minutes to go, while Raheem Sterling whiffed on an absolute sitter at the right post.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

With City pouring men forward, it was only a matter of time. In the 83rd minute, Kevin De Bruyne lofted a ball towards a host of streaking City attackers, and David Silva met it at the back post with a fabulously ugly finish, having to throw his foot at the ball under pressure from the defender, and he connected for the winner.

The win gives City an eight point lead at the top of the Premier League table, and their 13th straight victory in league play equals the Premier League record. West Ham, meanwhile, suffers its fourth defeat in its last five matches and remains in the relegation zone, three points from safety.

Berhalter trims USMNT roster to 23, awaits Pulisic update

Photo by John Walton/PA Images via Getty Images
Leave a comment

Here we go!

Gregg Berhalter has taken the axe to his training camp roster and announced the 23 men who will hopefully lead the USMNT into the CONCACAF Nations League semifinals.

[ MORE: Liverpool’s title to lose ]

The Yanks need to beat Canada in Orlando on Friday and then Cuba in the Cayman Islands four days later, having lost to the Canucks 2-0 in Toronto and blasted Cuba in Washington, D.C.

Christian Pulisic remains a question mark with a hip injury and is not currently listed amongst the 23, with the USSF saying in a press release:

After originally being named to the roster last week, the availability of attacker Christian Pulisic remains uncertain after he suffered a hip injury during Chelsea’s match against Crystal Palace on Saturday. He continues to be evaluated and a decision on whether he will join the U.S. camp in Orlando is expected soon.

Doesn’t sound great, to be honest, if only because his name’s not on the list. Why not just name 24? Surely, because there are rules!

The USSF also announced that Michael Bradley suffered an ankle injury playing for Toronto FC in the MLS Cup Final and is unavailable for duty.

Berhalter sent Corey Baird and Chase Gasper home, electing to call-up MLS Cup winners Jordan Morris and Cristian Roldan.

Here is the full roster, again without Pulisic

Goalkeepers: Brad Guzan (Atlanta United, Sean Johnson (New York City FC), Matt Turner (New England Revolution)

Defenders: John Brooks (Wolfsburg), Reggie Cannon (FC Dallas), Sergiño Dest (Ajax), Nick Lima (San Jose Earthquakes), Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls), Daniel Lovitz (Montreal Impact), Tim Ream (Fulham/ENG), DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle United, Walker Zimmerman (LAFC)

Midfielders: Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy), Weston McKennie (Schalke), Alfredo Morales (Fortuna Düsseldorf), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders FC), Jackson Yueill (San Jose Earthquakes), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew)

Forwards: Paul Arriola (D.C. United), Tyler Boyd (Besiktas), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders), Josh Sargent (Werder Bremen), Gyasi Zardes (Columbus Crew)

Mancini says he wants Balotelli back with Italy on merits

Getty Images
Leave a comment

FLORENCE, Italy (AP) — Italy coach Roberto Mancini says he prefers to recall Mario Balotelli for his qualities as a player, not as a message against racism.

Balotelli has not been called up by Mancini in more than a year but Italian soccer federation president Gabriele Gravina has said naming him in the squad would send a strong message after the Brescia forward was racially abused recently.

Mancini said Monday that “if Balotelli gets another chance, it will be because he deserves it from a technical point of view.”

Balotelli was included in Mancini’s first two squads but again was omitted from upcoming European qualifiers against Bosnia-Herzegovina and Armenia.

Balotelli has long said his goal is to rejoin the national team for next year’s European Championship.

The 29-year-old striker has scored two goals in seven matches this season.

Cardiff City parts ways with Neil Warnock

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Cardiff City has fired manager Neil Warnock with the 70-year-old boss in his fourth season with the club.

The Bluebirds sit 14th in the Championship table, on a six-match run that features just a single win.

Warnock’s tenure at Cardiff City featured promotion from the Championship in 2017/18 via a second-place finish in the league table. It wouldn’t last long, as they were relegated the next year, finishing 18th, two points back of Brighton Hove & Albion in safety.

“I am leaving my beloved Bluebirds after over three years of which have been some of the best days in my long football career,” Warnock said, with the club officially stating the decision came via mutual consent. “It is a shared belief that this is the right time for a new voice as we believe this squad of players is more than capable of getting success.”

“On behalf of Cardiff City Football Club, I thank Neil for his invaluable contribution to the future of this great Club,” said Cardiff City FC Chairman Mehmet Dalman in a club statement. “He not only gained promotion in his first season but played a pivotal role in uniting the fans and the club. I am personally upset by his departure and wish him the very best for the future.”

At 70 years old and completing his 17th managerial stint with 15 different clubs, it is possible that Warnock’s managerial career is complete. The Sheffield-born former Barnsley player, who turns 71 in less than a month, has taken charge of 112 Premier League games and overseen a record eight promotion campaigns in his career to date.

At Cardiff, Warnock took charge of 144 matches total, with 59 wins. He was in the position for the death of Emiliano Sala, which he called “by far the most difficult week of my career.”

Arsenal front office gives Unai Emery vote of confidence

Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Arsenal front office has publicly issued support for manager Unai Emery despite the negative run of results that has left fans wondering what is next for the Gunners.

Speaking at a pre-planned meeting with over 200 Arsenal staff members in attendence, head of football Raul Sanllehi and the managing director Vinai Venkatesham were the ones to deliver Emery’s vote of confidence.

“We are as disappointed as everyone else with both our results and performances at this stage of the season,” they said in the meeting as quoted by The Guardian and Goal.com. “We share the frustration with our fans, Unai, players and all our staff as they are not at the level we want or expect. Things need to improve to meet our objectives for the season, and we firmly believe Unai is the right man for the job, together with the backroom team we have in place.”

“We are all working intensively behind the scenes to turn things around and are confident we will. We never take our fantastic support for granted. We hope we can all stick together and get behind the team in this challenging period, as together we are stronger.”

Calls for Emery’s job have grown louder in recent weeks as the club flounders in both Premier League and Europa League competition. The Gunners have failed to win its last four league matches in a row with losses to Sheffield United and Leicester City sandwiching a pair of draws with Crystal Palace and Wolves. They also looked lackluster in a 1-1 draw against Vitoria Guimaraes in European play.

Most alarmingly, Arsenal continues to throw away winning positions, coughing up leads in both recent Premier League draws as well as the Vitoria Guimaraes match. They also threw away a two-goal lead to Watford earlier this season, and nearly lost at home to newly-promoted Aston Villa, requiring a last-gasp winner from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

The Granit Xhaka affair has also blighted Emery’s time, with the Swiss midfielder looking to earn his place back in the squad after being stripped of the captain’s armband for negative gestures towards the booing Arsenal crowd.