- Man City going for 13th-straight win
- Leicester have 1 defeat in last 7
- Man City 2 points behind leaders Liverpool
Manchester City’s season pretty much comes to down to this game. Pep Guardiola‘s side host Leicester City at the Etihad Stadium on Monday (Watch live, 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) and a win would see them take a one-point lead at the top of the table heading into the final day of the Premier League season.
WATCH LIVE ONLINE
Leicester have been in great form under new manager Brendan Rodgers and the former Liverpool boss could do his side a huge favor ahead of the season finale on Sunday, while the Foxes are also trying to seal an unlikely seventh-place finish. With City heading to Brighton on the final day and Liverpool hosting Wolves, Leicester taking points off Man City seems like Liverpool’s best remaining hope of winning the title.
In team news Man City are without Fernandinho and Kevin De Bruyne, while Leicester are without Daniel Amartey and Matty James.
What they’re saying…
Pep Guardiola on the title battle with Liverpool: “Arriving at this stage, two games left with 92 points, after 100 points last season, that is the most satisfaction I’ve had as a manager. It’s not easy, honestly, and the players did it again. I would not say that 100 points was bad and that we are not satisfied with what we did last season but, at the same time, we were seven points behind (earlier this season). You give credit for the titles and how huge our rival is. In my career as a manager, I played against incredible sides and there are two that were ‘wow’. One is the Barcelona of Luis Enrique with Neymar, (Lionel) Messi and (Luis) Suarez in front. The other is this Liverpool. I think they’re the best two sides I’ve faced as a manager.”
Brendan Rodgers on red-hot Jamie Vardy: “Well he does (strike fear into opponents) there’s no getting away from that. When I was preparing a team to play against him you just knew you’ve got to be really careful against him, because if you don’t counter-press the game well and there’s space to play that pass, he’s going to hurt you. And he’s a goalscorer. If you watch him and see his ability to score a goal, and his threat, you’ll always be mindful of it. But that’s the Premier League − top players, top strikers − and you’re always having to find a way to nullify that. But it’s absolutely brilliant to have him on your side!”
Leicester will make this very tough for Man City, and their threat on the counter will scare the life out of Guardiola. That said, City have been grinding out results in recent weeks and with this squad knowing two more wins seals the title, there will be an extra bit of determination. Man City to win 3-1 thanks to a late flurry of goals.
Even for talents of the highest levels with top soccer education, sometimes a kid’s gotta learn how to eat.
Richard “Richie” Ledezma, 18, is in the midst of his first year at Eredivisie side PSV Eindhoven, a spot which beckoned after a five-match, one-goal season in the USL with Real Monarchs of the USL.
[ MORE: Chicago adds USMNT hero ]
Ledezma starred for U.S. U-20 team at the World Cup after his first half-season with PSV, which saw him play with the U-19s while trying to lose some weight.
“PSV help me with my nutrition, with my food and how I eat. It’s the quantity of food you eat, I guess,” he added. “Because I came a little chubby, when I got here, I guess. They all called me ‘fatty’ and stuff, so I was like, cool, you know? So no more McDonald’s.”
Goal’s James Westwood had a wide-ranging interview with Ledezma and also spoke with soccer royalty: longtime Real Madrid and Manchester United scorer Ruud van Nistelrooy was Ledezma’s coach with the U-19s.
“He’s making a difference in midfield with very quick-thinking passes, movement, can score a goal, play people in, he’s creating chances for the whole team.”
That’s not just good praise from a legend, but a solid sign for fans of the United States men’s national team. A proper No. 10 or playmaking midfielder could allow Gregg Berhalter or another future USMNT coach to use Christian Pulisic on the wings.
Ledezma has some work to do before he breaks into the first team of the Dutch runners-up, who have signed former Stoke City man Ibrahim Afellay and has Gaston Pereiro in the fold as well.
L’Equipe says that Newcastle United have returned to Nice in the hopes of landing Allan Saint-Maximin.
The Ligue 1 outfit wants $28 million for the playmaker, who could team up with Miguel Almiron and (maybe) Joelinton to give the Magpies a much-improved attack.
[ MORE: Chicago adds USMNT hero ]
Saint-Maximin, 22, has 10 goals and 10 assists across his last two seasons with Nice, and played everywhere in attack for Patrick Vieira: both wings, center forward, second striker, attacking mid… even some left and right midfield.
The player, however, has been a headache for Vieira at times, with the manager saying Saint-Maximin believes that he has enough talent to reach the highest level without the required amount of work.
That said, the youngster’s skill set is electric. He’s a March birth date, too, so a relatively young 22. That $28 million would be another transfer record broken for Newcastle, assuming it happens ahead of the Joelinton move.
Or… as Newcastle fan knows, neither could go through.
Cristiano Ronaldo will not face sexual assault charges for a June 2009 incident in the United States, attorneys say.
An American woman filed a civil lawsuit against the Juventus superstar last year, claiming that Ronaldo forced himself upon her while she was in a prone position in his hotel room.
[ MORE: Bayern keen on Zaha ]
Ronaldo had expressed belief that he would be cleared of the claims, and claimed that graphic documents produced by German publication Der Spiegel were altered and fabricated.
Las Vegas police issued a warrant in a bid to get Ronaldo’s DNA, and the DA’s office says the woman’s refusal to name her attacker stopped them for collecting “vital evidence.” The woman reached a civil settlement with Ronaldo in 2010.
“Based upon a review of the information presented at this time, the allegations of sexual assault against Cristiano Ronaldo cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt,” the D.A.’s office said. “Therefore, no charges will be forthcoming.”
A sensational report is linking Wilfried Zaha not just with a move away from Crystal Palace, but a move clear of the Premier League altogether.
90min.com says that Bayern Munich has turned to Zaha, having been rebuffed in their pursuit of Manchester City’s Leroy Sane.
Palace wants $100 million for Zaha, but so far has only received a $50 million offer from Arsenal for his services. Reports Monday said Arsenal is upping its bid, and offering a loan of Reiss Nelson as a make-good. Palace has had good Fortune with loans from the big boys of the PL, in particular with Ruben Loftus-Cheek two seasons ago.
A lot of this makes sense for all parties, apart from Sane, and it will be interesting to see if the report brings a bigger bid from the Gunners.
Zaha is a sensational player, and has created chances year-after-year for the Eagles. He wants to taste the Champions League, but Palace is not willing to let him go for (much) less than its asking price given its sale of Aaron Wan-Bissaka to Manchester United.
Bayern will spend less on Zaha than it would on Gareth Bale or Sane, and get a determined player who is very much in his prime. Zaha would also get the chance to showcase himself with actual breathing room on the pitch, thanks to Serge Gnabry, Robert Lewandowski, and others.
And Palace, of course, will end up with between $80-100 million and the knowledge that it won’t need to mark Zaha on a Premier League pitch. More importantly, the money raised from Zaha and Wan-Bissaka will allow them to strengthen at nearly every position (above what they have now, not above AWB and Zaha).