Ranking impact of each Man City player in title success

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Manchester City won the Premier League title on Sunday after West Bromwich Albion beat their crosstown rivals Manchester United to hand City the title without kicking a ball.

[ MORE: Full reaction to Man City’s title win ]

With five games of the season still to go, they have equaled the earliest title win in English top-flight history and Pep Guardiola‘s men are on course to break records for most wins in a season, most goals scored and the highest number of points in a single PL campaign.

But which players have been most responsible for their success this season?

Here’s a mark out of 10 for the impact each player in Man City’s squad have had in their title-winning season.


Ederson – 10 – Elevated himself to the conversation as the best goalkeeper on the planet. Not only is he wonderful with his feet, he also provides City’s entire defensive unit with extra confidence.

Claudio Bravo – 4 – Made just one PL appearance so far but was in the team that won the League Cup and his experience will have helped Ederson have a fine season.

Danilo – 7 – A decent stand in at either left back or right back. The Brazilian filed in whenever needed and did a steady job. Fine goal at Burnley.

Kyle Walker – 9 – One of the main reasons City won the title. Walker’s $75 million arrival from Tottenham was scoffed at due to the huge price tag but he added pace and power going forward and he has excelled defensively as well as improving with the ball at his feet and moving inside.

Nicolas Otamendi – 8 – Much improved this season and likely to be in the PFA Team of the Year. A few shaky displays here and there but this was by far, by far, his best season in a City shirt. Dangerous from set pieces with five goals.

Vincent Kompany – 9 – Stunning season from Kompany. The captain for all three of City’s PL titles was finally back to full fitness after a nightmare stretch and he also came up big in the League Cup final, scoring to lead the way. Always led by example and this season he rescued his career after multiple injuries.

John Stones – 6 – Stop-start would be the best way to sum it up. Plenty of injuries and a drop in form but still some promising displays. Guardiola bringing in Laporte will be a worrying sign for Stones.

Eliaquim Mangala – 4 – Loaned out to Everton in January after nine PL appearances but some shaky displays before his season-ending injury. Unlikely to be at City beyond this season.

Fabian Delph – 7 – Stood in admirably at left back for the injured Benjamin Mendy for most of the season and got back into the England squad. Calm on the ball and despite a few bad challenges and getting caught out of position, filled in at left back really well.

Aymeric Laporte – 6 – Only arrived in January but in his limited minutes City’s club-record signing showed he is a solid defender. Much better at center back than left back and will probably play as one of a back three moving forward.

Benjamin Mendy – 5 – Really tough for him to get injured so early after some incredible displays from left back. His #SharkTeam moments made sure he remained in the headlines (plus got him a higher rating) and he seems to be at the heart of City’s locker room. Mendy is almost back and will be the best left back on the planet very soon.

Oleksandr Zinchenko – 5 – Did fine when called upon, which wasn’t often, but Pep used him more as a left back than an attacking midfielder.

Fernandinho – 8 – The Brazilian’s season was a fine one as he put aside injuries and suspensions to become a guaranteed starter. His defensive work went unnoticed but there’s a reason why Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva were so good. Fernandinho did a lot of their dirty work.

Kevin de Bruyne – 10 – Simply stunning, especially in the opening months of the season in his new deeper role in central midfield. Leads PL with 20 assists and has scored 11 goals so far. Some of his assists, passes and crosses were out of this world. KDB will fight with Mohamed Salah to win all of the player of the year awards in the PL.

David Silva – 10 – Like KDB, his passing, movement and creativity was sublime and Silva was reinvented as a deeper central midfielder. Like a fine wine, Silva is getting better each season and he is working with a manager who truly understands him. Majestic. Nine goals and 11 assists.

Yaya Toure – 4 – Didn’t play a lot this season but was kept around for his influence behind-the-scenes. This will be his last season at City and this is the season when he has had the least impact, at least on the pitch.

Ilkay Gundogan – 7 – Struggled to get in the team week in, week out but when he did, he often made a difference with goals and assists. The German playmaker can sometimes get overrun in midfield but he oozes class on the ball.

Bernardo Silva – 7 – Some stunning goals later in the season after he settled in the PL and the Portuguese playmaker will surely take over from David Silva in the future in a more central role. Seven goals and 10 assists a very decent return.

Raheem Sterling – 9 – His best goalscoring run in his career with 22 goals and nine assists and he could have scored at least 10 more. Sterling has kept his pace and trickery but can now see a pass and in the opening months he scored plenty of clutch late winning goals. A superb season.

Leroy Sane – 9 – Like Sterling, the winger matured this season with both nominated for the PFA Players’ Young Player of the Year award and Sane also nominated for the main POTY gong. The German winger has wonderful balance and his direct running scares the life out of defenders. Star for the future.

Phil Foden – 5 – Only played in a handful of games and he will be disappointed to have been injured just when he was breaking into the team on a regular basis. The time will come for the “Stockport Iniesta” to shine (he’s still just 17) as Pep has high hopes for the academy graduate who led England’s U-17 side to glory during the season.

Brahim Diaz – 3 – Like Foden, used mostly in the cup competitions but showed plenty of promise. Will surely get minutes in the remaining games of the season.

Gabriel Jesus – 8 – Scored 14 goals and added three assists as the young Brazilian battled back from a knee injury around the turn of the year. He’s shown he can step in for Aguero long-term and will only get better.

Sergio Aguero – 9 – Was benched at times this season but broke Man City’s scoring record and definitely adapted his style to Guardiola’s philosophy of high-pressing from the front. 30 goals and seven assists in all competitions says it all.

LAFC’s Adama Diomande voluntarily enters MLS’s health program

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LOS ANGELES (AP) Los Angeles FC forward Adama Diomande has entered Major League Soccer’s substance abuse and behavioral health program.

[ Premier League Previews: Leicester City v. Tottenham | Man City v. Watford ]

MLS announced Diomande’s voluntary decision Friday.

Diomande won’t play for LAFC at least until the program’s doctors complete their evaluation and he is cleared by program officials.

The 29-year-old Norwegian scorer has eight goals and seven assists in 25 appearances this season, including 15 starts. He has played a valuable complementary offensive role alongside MLS scoring leader Carlos Vela.

[ MORE: Report: Netherlands FA to meet with Sergiño Dest ]

Diomande is in his second MLS season after joining LAFC from Hull City. He also previously played under LAFC coach Bob Bradley in Norway.

LAFC (19-4-7) has clinched the Western Conference title, and it leads the overall MLS table by seven points despite a four-game winless streak.

Premier League Preview: Newcastle v. Brighton

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  • Early-season relegation battlers meet on Saturday
  • 18th-place Newcastle to host 16th-place Brighton
  • Brighton won at Newcastle, drew at home last season

Newcastle United and Brighton & Hove Albion, a pair of Premier League sides with just two wins from the first five weeks of the season between them, will meet at St. James’ Park on Saturday (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN and NBCSports.com) for what could prove to be a retrospective relegation six-pointer when May rolls around.

Each side replaced its manager — Steve Bruce for Rafa Benitez at Newcastle; Graham Potter for Chris Hughton at Bright — in the summer and neither of the new bosses has had a particularly enjoyable start to the 2019-20 campaign. Brighton won on the opening day of the season, but have taken just two points from the following four games. Newcastle lost their first two games, won their third, and have drawn and lost again since. It’s the kind of form that’ll see both sides stuck in the high-teens of the PL table if they don’t find their footing in the coming weeks.

[ STREAM: Every PL match live

Things are particularly worrying for Newcastle, who didn’t they’d be without Benitez until the end of June and didn’t appoint Bruce until mid-July. Key players had already left the club and reinforcements for few and far between. Forward Joelinton joined for $50 million and is one of four players with a single goal scored thus far.

Last week was nearly fruitful for the Seagulls, until the conceded a stoppage-time equalizer and settle for a point at home against Burnley. Summer signing Neal Maupay bagged his second goal for Brighton earlier in the game, giving Potter a potential trump card over a handful of other relegation-threatened sides without a consistent goalscorer.

Injuries/suspensions

Newcastle: OUT – Matt Ritchie (ankle), Florian Lejeune (knee), Dwight Gayle (calf); QUESTIONABLE – DeAndre Yedlin (groin)

Brighton: OUT – Leandro Trossard (groin), Jose Izquierdo (knee), Ezequiel Schelotto (knee)


Projected lineups

Newcastle: Dubravka – Krafth, Schar, Lascelles, Dummett, Willems – Almiron, Hayden, Shelvey, Atsu – Joelinton

Brighton: Ryan – Duffy, Dunk, Webster – March, Stephens, Propper, Burn – Gross, Maupay, Murray


What they’re saying

Joelinton, on Andy Carroll: “It’s always great to have experienced players in the group, and he’s one of them. He can help the club, he can help the young players. Andy Carroll has scored a lot of goals in the Premier League, and it’s great to be playing alongside him. He’s a calm guy. I still haven’t spoken to him a lot because my English isn’t great! But every day he’s trying to help. He’ll help me before the games, he’ll give me positional advice and suggest what I’ve done both good and bad.”

Graham Potter, on the trip to Newcastle: “Newcastle away is a tough game just like all the others. We don’t target particular matches — it’s about what we need to do to get a positive result. They have an experienced manager who I came across last year and he’s someone I have a lot of respect for. They have good quality players and we know it can be a hostile environment, it’s a big club and we know we have to play well to get something.  Steve has a lot of games under his belt – he’s had a lot of success and he’ll understand the challenge that lies ahead.


Prediction

Newcastle haven’t scored multiple goals in a game yet this season, and they’ve conceded twice as many as they’ve scored (four). It’s hard to trust them to be anything resembling consistent from game to game. It wouldn’t be surprising if they battled to a boring 0-0 draw, or conceding three times before halftime. It’ll probably be closer to the former, a 1-1 stalemate.

AC Milan announces internal anti-racism task force

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MILAN (AP) AC Milan has announced it will establish an internal task force to address racism in Italian football.

[ Premier League Previews: Leicester City v. Tottenham | Man City v. Watford ]

The club says the task force will be supported by “an external consultancy” and “develop a program of activities to increase awareness, monitor and address racist behavior on social media and in the stadium, and drive the adoption of global best practices on diversity and inclusion.”

The move comes after reports of racist chants directed at Milan midfielder Franck Kessie, who is black, during a match at Hellas Verona last weekend.

Milan says the anti-racism initiative will be launched during Saturday’s derby against Inter Milan.

[ MORE: Premier League TV, streaming schedule ]

Inter striker Romelu Lukaku was subjected to racist chants in a match at Cagliari this month.

Milan CEO Ivan Gazidis, who is South African, says: “Italian football needs to wake up and take a strong stance against racist behaviors. AC Milan will take a leadership position on this issue. . We believe that we have a moral obligation to do everything we can to address this issue.”

Slow start dooms Southampton again: ‘We lost the game in first half’

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Slow starts are, ironically, quickly becoming the story of Southampton’s Premier League season. It happened again on Friday, resulting in a 3-1 home defeat to Bournemouth in the Premier League‘s budding south coast rivalry

[ Premier League Previews: Leicester City v. Tottenham | Man City v. Watford ]

Through six games, Saints have conceded the first goal four times. In those four games, they have taken just one point. When scoring the game’s first goal, they have two wins and two clean sheets.

It would appear that Ralph Hasenhuttl‘s side is set up to play one way, and one way only. Speaking after Friday’s defeat, Hasenhuttl lamented his side’s slow start, conceding that the game was all but lost when they fell 2-0 behind in the 35 minutes — quotes from the BBC:

“The finish was not important anymore. If you lose 2-1 or 3-1 it does not make too much difference. We lost the game in the first half.

“In the second half, we were sharp. Had about 26 shots to six from Bournemouth but the most important stat is the goals. They scored three, we scored once.

“We weren’t aggressive enough and too easy in the first half. It is not easy to be 1-0 down after 10 minutes. We had a lot of blocked shots and misses near the post. It was a good performance in the second half but without a result.

“For the second goal was had a lot of players in our attacking box so it was not easy to defend.

“We showed a good reaction because we knew we needed to be brave. We changed our shape and were aggressive for the second ball. It gave us 64% possession and we had a lot of shots. Maybe we didn’t deserve to take something because of our first half.”

Southampton’s next chance to start a game quickly will come in an away bout with Tottenham Hotspur next Saturday.