Manchester City – Chelsea: Reaction, updates, analysis

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Manchester City – Chelsea did not go as expected.

It was a crazy, topsy-turvy clash and saw Chelsea surge back to win in stoppage time and halt City’s title win, at least for another day.

[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ]  

A huge game at the Etihad Stadium saw City take the lead through Raheem Sterling but then Sergio Aguero missed a penalty kick right at the end of the first half.

Hakim Ziyech equalized as Chelsea were much better in the second half and Marcos Alonso won it for the Blues right at the death, as Thomas Tuchel’s men took a huge step towards securing a top four finish.

Here’s everything you need to know from Manchester City – Chelsea with reaction, analysis and more from on-site.

[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ]  


Live analysis, reaction from Joe Prince-Wright at Etihad Stadium

Reaction from players and managers: Pep Guardiola and Raheem Sterling thought he should have had a penalty kick late on, while Thomas Tuchel says he didn’t see it… Tuchel says Sterling was lucky to be on the pitch for his foul on Werner and should have been sent off. Hmmm.

Tuchel also said that luck may have been on Chelsea’s side today, but was delighted with the way his team played in the second half and battled back. He admitted Guardiola’s tactics in the first half were a bit of a surprise but he and his players made a few small adjustments to figure it out.

Guardiola wasn’t too unhappy given all of the changes he made, while Tuchel was delighted with the effort of his players who stood in as Thiago Silva, Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell were all totally rested. This will be a heck of a UEFA Champions League final when they clash a few weeks from now.


FINAL THOUGHTS: What a wild finish! Chelsea were great in the second half and Aguero’s penalty miss right on half time, which would have put City 2-0 up, was pivotal in this game.

City have to wait another day, at least, to win the title. Pep Guardiola made a lot of changes for this game and they did not pay off. Chelsea made changes too, but Tuchel got it spot on and ahead of the Champions League final, that will be a psychological boost.

GOALLLLL! They have done it. It was coming. Chelsea snatch it late on as Marcos Alonso shanks home a cross and wins it for Chelsea. What a moment. Thomas Tuchel and his players go wild at the final whistle. Game over. City will have to wait for at least another day to seal the title.

What a great, wide-open game this has turned out to be! Hudson-Odoi has a chance now but his cross is saved by Ederson. City and Chelsea benches are well into this.

NO PENALTY KICK! That looked like a penalty kick. Raheem Sterling had his heels clipped by Kurt Zouma when he was clean through. The Manchester City staff and players are going absolutely bonkers here at the Etihad. No penalty kick. Wow.

NO GOALL x 2! Christian Pulisic is now playing centrally and is ripping Manchester City apart. The USMNT star just surged forward and set up a cross, as Hudson-Odoi tapped home but he was offside. Just. Pulisic is on fire. Before that Werner scored but was offside, again. 

GOALLL! Chelsea equalize, deservedly. Hakim Ziyech with a lovely low strike. Ziyech nicked the ball off Rodri, then Christian Pulisic and Azpilicueta combined to tee up Ziyech to hit a super finish home. Champagne back on ice for City…

60th minute: Pulisic lashed a shot way over from a good position as Chelsea push for an equalizer.

55th minute: City dominating play and Chelsea just can’t get going in the second half.

Second half kicks off! City pushing hard at the start of the second half to put this game to bed. Sterling is causing Chelsea a lot of problems.

HALF TIME + MISSED PENALTY KICK! Billy Gilmour gives away a penalty for a clumsy challenge on Gabriel Jesus as he pulled him back, and Sergio Aguero has the chance to put City 2-0 up right on half time… but he Panenka’s it straight at Edouard Mendy. Wow. That was the chance to pretty much wrap it up. In the middle of all of that, Andreas Christensen has hobbled off for Chelsea and Kurt Zouma is on. Oh, and it is half time. City are 45 minutes away from winning the title.

GOALLLL! Raheem Sterling taps home after a fine move from Manchester City. Gabriel Jesus raced clear of Christensen and set up Aguero who took a touch and Sterling tapped home. City’s players and staff sat on the bench, which is very close to the press box, go wild. They are close to a title.

43rd minute: Hakim Ziyech has a shot from distance, which Ederson pushes away.

40th minute: Chelsea have improved after a tough start, but City still look more dangerous.

31st minute: Timo Werner has the ball in the net… but is clearly offside. He directs Reece James’ shot in. Moments later he is clear again, but looks offside again. He doesn’t make the most of the chance.

24th minute: Timo Werner had a chance over the top which led to a set piece, but he looked offside. Nothing was given and City’s players and staff around me aren’t happy, at all, with that. Chelsea a bit sluggish in attack.

17th minute: Nathan Ake flies in to head a corner towards goal, but it goes wide. Great play by Aguero, Sterling and Mendy to set up a shot for Rodri just before that. City looking more dangerous.

13th minute: Heavy tackle from Raheem Sterling on Timo Werner as Sterling gets booked and gives away a free kick on the edge of the box. Reece James slams the free kick into the wall. Real edge to this game already. Lots of encouragement from the City players and staff sat around me here. Kevin de Bruyne and John Stones (neither involved today) sat just to my left weren’t happy with that foul being called…

8th minute: Man City again break free centrally and Mendy drags a shot wide.

KICK OFF! Manchester City are playing a 3-3-2-2 formation, and are causing Chelsea problems. Ferran Torres was clean through but skewed his shot over under pressure from Rudiger. City dominating early on.

Teams are out, here we go!

Pep Guardiola and Thomas Tuchel go way back and they had a lovely pre-match chat on the sidelines here. Legend has it in 2014, they had a very animated chat in a bar in Munich which involved talking tactics with salt and pepper shakers.

They were pretty much doing that again today! These two coaches square off in the Champions League final in a few weeks and it will be intriguing to see how their teams line up on May 29 compared to today.

Welcome to Manchester! There is a party atmosphere here, as Man City fans are already celebrating in the streets and cheering the team bus on its way to the Etihad Stadium.

The equation is simple for City: win today against Chelsea and they win a third Premier League title in the last four seasons. For Chelsea, they need to win to keep themselves in the top four. This is, of course, a tasty preview of the UEFA Champions League final in a few weeks’ time. These two are the best two teams in Europe right now. It will be a treat.


Team news

Manchester City have one absentee and that is John Stones who is suspended.

Chelsea also have just one player out, with Mateo Kovacic suffering a small setback in his return from a thigh injury.


Pre-game

Manchester City – Chelsea is a huge game on Saturday (start time 12:30pm ET on NBC and online via NBCSports.com) and is a tasty preview of the UEFA Champions League final.

STREAM MANCHESTER CITY – CHELSEA LIVE

Pep Guardiola’s City know if they win this game they will win the Premier League title and it would cap off an incredible few weeks. After winning the League Cup and then getting past PSG to reach their first-ever Champions League final, Guardiola would love to seal the title this weekend.

As for Chelsea, they are also celebrating reaching the Champions League final for the first time since 2012 and just the third time in their history as Thomas Tuchel continues to work wonders in his first few months in charge. After reaching the FA Cup final (by beating Man City in the semifinal) and now the Champions League final against City in Istanbul on May 29, finishing in the top four is the big target for Chelsea.

A win at City would not only put down a huge marker ahead of the Champions League final, it would also push them even closer to securing a top four finish.

Odds and ends (full odds provided by our partner, PointsBet)

Manchester City are the heavy favorites at -110, while Chelsea are +320 to win. The draw is +235.

PointsBet is our Official Sports Betting Partner and we may receive compensation if you place a bet on PointsBet for the first time after clicking our links


Prediction

Well, this will be very, very interesting. City need a win to seal the title, while Chelsea are pushing hard to finish in the top four. Add in the subplot that this is a preview of the Champions League final in a few weeks and it will be fascinating. I’m going for City to overpower Chelsea and get the win they need to clinch their third title in four seasons. Manchester City 2-0 Chelsea.


How to watch, stream and start time

Kick off: 12:30pm ET, Saturday
TV Channel: NBC
Online: Stream via NBCSports.com

Morocco celebrates winning group, keeps Canada pointless at World Cup

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Morocco is the surprise group winner of the 2022 World Cup after beating Canada 2-1 on Thursday in Al Khor.

The Atlas Lions took a 2-0 lead on goals from Chelsea’s Hakim Ziyech and Sevilla’s Youssef En-Nesyri and overcame an own goal to hold on for the win and a place above drawing Croatia in Group F.

STREAM LIVE CANADA vs MOROCCO

Canada remains winless at the World Cup, going 0-3 In 1986 and 0-3 again this year, though this tournament will go down as a much better performance for the Canadians. They’ll wonder “What if?” from their opening 1-0 loss to Belgium for some time.

Morocco, meanwhile, will dream of what’s to come in the Round of 16: The runner-up of Group E from Thursday’s 2pm ET matches, as Spain, Japan, Germany, or Costa Rica could all still finish second.

[ LIVE: World Cup 2022 schedule, how to watch, scores, hub ]


Morocco fights on as Canada’s obvious weakness kills CONCACAF upstarts

A nation can, especially under the mass media radar in Northern Africa, apparently build a golden generation without the attention of the entire world, and Morocco’s performance in Qatar should send a strong message to knockout round opponents.

From goalkeeper Yassine Bounou to a back four that more than half the tournament field might envy, the Atlas Lions will like their chances against anyone as the tournament moves into the Round of 16.

Romain Saiss. Hakim Ziyech. Youssef En-Nesyri. Achraf Hakimi. The list of top-end players with great club resumes who are in their primes, whether just reaching or exiting that stage of their careers, is long amongst Walid Regragui’s men.

Meanwhile, Canada’s firepower was enough to reach the World Cup but its failure to defend was exposed time and again by all three opponents at the tournament.

This isn’t a shot against the effort of Alistair Johnston or Kamal Miller, as Canada’s defenders did a lot of yeoman’s work in Qatar, but the Canadians have developed so many intriguing attacking talents without a focus on how to stop those same-style players on the other team.

Maybe it’s a nation that, unlike the USMNT, has quickly piled its best talents into attack, who knows?  But Canada was a nation counting on its European hero goalkeeper Milan Borjan, who did not have his best fortnight in Qatar, to bail out a group of backs who may not be top five in CONCACAF in terms of talent but had overperformed via effort and system.


Stars of the show

 

Canada vs Morocco
fotmob.com

Hakim Ziyech goal video

Youssef En-Nesyri goal video


How to watch Canada vs Morocco live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 10am ET, Thursday Dec. 1
Stadium: Al Thumama Stadium, Al Khor
TV channels en Español: Telemundo
Streaming en Español: Peacock (all 64 matches)


Key storylines, players to watch closely

How will Canada respond to its 4-1 loss to Croatia? Superior against Belgium and essentially until Croatia equalized on Monday, John Herdman has to decide who will have the mettle to pop off the mat and challenge unbeaten Morocco. One of those faces will surely be Alphonso Davies. Who will join him? Jonathan David and Cyle Larin could use redemptive performances, to be sure.

Morocco looks very, very strong, especially out wide where Hakim Ziyech, Achraf Hakimi, and Sofiane Boufal operate the machine. A coming-out party for Sevilla’s Youssef En-Nesyri could go a long way toward stretching the Atlas Lions’ tournament well into December.


Canada quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 41
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 2
How they qualified: Qualified from CONCACAF (1st place)
Coach: John Herdman
Key players: Alphonso Davies, Jonathan David, Milan Borjan, Jonathan Osorio

Morocco quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 22
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 6
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from CAF
Coach: Vahid Halilhodzic
Key players: Achraf Hakimi, Yassine Bounou, Youssef En-Nesyri, Romain Saiss

Croatia blanks Belgium as snakebit Lukaku denied super sub status

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Belgium’s golden generation crashed out of the World Cup following a scoreless draw with Croatia, who will finish second to victorious Morocco in Group F at the 2022 tournament in Qatar.

Romelu Lukaku came off the bench and came close to being the hero on several occasions, but the Red Devils could not find the goal needed to send Croatia home and visit the Round of 16.

STREAM LIVE CROATIA vs BELGIUM

How’d we get here? Croatia snapped off a 4-1 win over Canada to move atop the group following an opening draw with Morocco, while Belgium fell to the Moroccans after beating the Canadians.

[ LIVE: World Cup 2022 schedule, how to watch, scores, hub ]


De Bruyne, Lukaku can’t save the day as Belgium whimpers out

Romelu Lukaku finally made his tournament debut, a halftime sub with the Red Devils requiring a win to claim a spot in the knockout rounds.

The Belgian was cued up by Kevin De Bruyne and Thorgan Hazard amongst others, the latter lifting a ball onto Lukaku’s chest inside the six in the 90th minute, but the Inter Milan man just couldn’t get it over the line.

Croatia vs Belgium
fotmob.com / Josko Gvardiol

His xG over 45 minutes of work was 1.67 and De Bruyne was credited with three chances created, but Croatia stood firm and got the point required to line up against Group E’s winner in the Round of 16.

RB Leipzig’s Josko Gvardiol will leave this group stage will an escalated price tag, if there was even room for it to go up; The well-rated 20-year-old center back was instrumental in the clean sheet and had more interventions than even Croatian keeper Dominik Livakovic.


Stars of the Show

Josko Gvardiol

Kevin De Bruyne

Luka Modric

Borna Sosa

Thibaut Courtois


How to watch Croatia vs Belgium live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 10am ET, Thursday, Dec. 1
Stadium: Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan
TV channels en Español: Telemundo
Streaming en Español: Peacock (all 64 matches)


Key storylines, players to watch closely

Croatia looked sleepy in the opening draw with Morocco, a draw that looks better after the Atlas Lions beat Belgium. They snapped to life, perhaps somewhat fueled by Canadian coach John Herdman’s confident pre-match talk, and now look capable of taking down anyone in the field. Or was that merely Canada’s beleaguered defense? We’ll find out when Mateo Kovacic and Co. meet the Belgians.

Kevin De Bruyne made waves after the win over Canada when he said Belgium’s golden generation missed its window by not claiming honors at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, and perhaps it shouldn’t be a surprise that the Red Devils failed to take down Morocco. They’ve been without Romelu Lukaku so far this tournament and Michy Batshuayi has the lone goal. Will Roberto Martinez’s men head home far earlier than expected?


Croatia quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 5
World Cup titles: 1 (1966)
World Cup appearances: 15
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from UEFA
Coach: Gareth Southgate
Key players: Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling, Declan Rice

Belgium quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 20
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 5
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from AFC (Won Group A)
Coach: Dragan Skocic
Key players: Ehsan Hajsafi, Sardar Azmoun, Mehdi Taremi

Japan vs Spain: How to watch live, stream link, team news

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Top spot in Group E will be on the line when Spain and Japan face off in their group-stage finale at the 2022 World Cup on Thursday.

STREAM JAPAN vs SPAIN LIVE

A draw will likely do the trick and see leaders Spain (4 points) to finish top of Group E, unless Costa Rica (3 points – 3rd) pull off a second colossal upset of the tournament and beat Germany (1 point – 4th). Japan (3 points – 2nd) could also advance with a draw, pending the result of Costa Rica vs Germany.

[ LIVE: World Cup 2022 schedule, how to watch, scores, hub ]

Here is everything you need for Japan vs Spain. 


How to watch Japan vs Spain live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 2pm ET, Thursday (December 1)
Stadium: Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan
TV channels en Español: Telemundo
Streaming en Español: Peacock (all 64 matches)


Key storylines, players to watch closely

Spain were at their brilliant best as they put seven goals past Los Ticos in their opener, before coughing up a late lead and settling for a 1-1 draw with the desperate Germans in game no. 2. All in all, it’s been a good start to the World Cup for Luis Enrique’s exciting, young side. Six different attacking players have scored a goal for Spain, with Alvaro Morata and Ferran Torres the only ones to find the back of the net twice thus far.

As for Japan, it’s been a rollercoaster of emotions this World Cup. Their comeback victory over Germany in the opener seemed to signal their arrival in a new tier on the world’s biggest stage, before falling flat on their faces in a 1-0 loss to Costa Rica, who had conceded seven goals just four days earlier. Instead of clinching their place in the round of 16 with a win, Japan need at least a draw from their toughest group game in order to move on.


Japan quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 24
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 7
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from AFC
Coach: Hajime Moriyasu
Key players: Maya Yoshida, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Takumi Minamino, Daichi Kamada

Spain quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 7
World Cup titles: 1 (2010)
World Cup appearances: 16
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from UEFA (1st place)
Coach: Luis Enrique
Key players: Rodri, Pedri, Pau Torres, Jordi Alba

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Costa Rica vs Germany: How to watch live, stream link, team news

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2014 world champions Germany need not only a win over Costa Rica in their final group game to reach the knockout rounds of the 2022 World Cup, but they also need some help from Spain in the other Group E finale on Thursday.

STREAM COSTA RICA vs GERMANY LIVE

Germany (1 point) sit dead last after two games, having thrown away a late lead and lost 2-1 to Japan (3 points – 2nd place), before coming from behind themselves to draw Spain (4 points – 1st) in game no. 2.

Costa Rica (3 points – 3rd) conceded seven goals to La Roja as the world watched and wrote them off for good, but a shocking upset over Japan breathed new life into Los Ticos, who will advance with a victory over Germany, no matter the result of Japan vs Spain.

[ LIVE: World Cup 2022 schedule, how to watch, scores, hub ]

Here is everything you need for Costa Rica vs Germany. 


How to watch Costa Rica vs Germany live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 2pm ET, Thursday (December 1)
Stadium: Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor
TV channels en Español: Telemundo
Streaming en Español: Peacock (all 64 matches)


Key storylines, players to watch closely

For Germany, it’s been a struggle to finish scoring chances rather than waste loads of expected goals (3.09 vs Japan, and 1.29, double that of Spain). 26 shots, 5 big chances nearly 700 passes translated to just one goal against the Samurai Blue, and they were made to pay for their transgressions. Hansi Flick is undoubtedly already under immense pressure ahead of Thursday’s game, through very little fault of his own.

As for Costa Rica, it seemed beyond impossible that they could be in such a position heading into the third game. Even in the victory over Japan, they manufactured all of 0.11 expected goals on 4 shots attempted. Win, lose or draw, that’s paltry offensive output that you might be able to overcome and steal one result at a World Cup, but for most sides it proves to be their undoing. They couldn’t it again, could they?


Costa Rica quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 31
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 5
How they qualified: Qualified from CONCACAF via interconfederation playoffs
Coach: Luis Fernando Suarez
Key players: Keylor Navas, Joel Campbell, Celso Borges, Bryan Ruiz

Germany quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 11
World Cup titles: 4 (1954, 1974, 1990, 2014)
World Cup appearances: 20
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from UEFA (1st place)
Coach: Hansi Flick
Key players: Manuel Neuer, Antonio Rudiger, Joshua Kimmich, Leon Goretzka

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