Benjamin Mendy

Leroy Sane
Photo by Tom Flathers/Manchester City FC via Getty Images

Leroy Sane speaks about difficult rehab as Man City return nears

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Manchester City will return from the coronavirus suspension with not one but two big pieces.

Aymeric Laporte‘s absence was short-term, but Leroy Sane has been missing from first-team action since tearing his ACL in the Community Shield defeat of Liverpool.

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Sane was injured while the transfer window continually linked him to a move to Bayern Munich. After six months out, he played 57 minutes in PL2 action on Feb. 28.

Now add a further wait because of coronavirus.

From ManCity.com:

“It was the hardest and longest injury that I’ve ever had in my career. It is difficult. Especially the first day after the surgery because you can’t move at all and that’s not something any of us athletes are used to.”

He also said he got special help from teammates Ilkay Gundogan and Benjamin Mendy, who’ve rehabbed similar injuries

When Sane does return, City will have an attacking piece as good as any in the league.

The 24-year-old German was arguably City’s best piece during the side’s 2017/18 run to the Premier League title. He posted 10 goals and 15 assists in 2423 minutes.

Pep Guardiola cut his minutes by more than 500 minutes last season and Sane still posted 10 and 10 while raising his Champions League output from two assists in 2017/18 to four goals and four assists.

Where will he fit? Raheem Sterling has taken the wealth of his minutes at left wing, while Riyad Mahrez has been very, very good on the right side.

Maybe his move to Bayern, Barcelona, or Real Madrid is inevitable, but Man City’s quest for the Champions League and FA Cup should have a few more runs with one of the best playmakers in the game.

Player ratings: Man United v. Man City

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Manchester is definitely red as Man United beat Man City 2-0 in the Premier League on Sunday to do the double over their crosstown rivals for the first time since the 2009-10 season.

 [ MORE: Premier League schedule ] 

Anthony Martial‘s first half goal set United on their way in a tight, tense clash as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s side defended superbly and kept their top four hopes alive with a gritty victory against Pep Guardiola‘s Man City. Scott McTominay sealed the win with a strike from distance amid the pouring rain in Manchester.

Here’s a look at the marks out of 10 for the players from both teams.


Man United

David De Gea: 6 – Didn’t really have much to do and what he did, he did it well. No errors this week.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka: 8 – A superb display from AWB who shut down Sterling and was a threat going forward.

Victor Lindelof: 6 – Solid enough and made several blocks when it mattered most.

Harry Maguire: 7 – Came back early from injury and his positioning was spot on. Marshalled the United defense expertly.

Luke Shaw: 7 – Put his body on the line at left center back and left back and will have impressed watching England boss Gareth Southgate. His resurgence continues.

Brandon Williams: 7 – Energetic display from the local lad as Williams got forward a lot more than usual.

Nemanja Matic: 7 – Typically combative display as his sat in front of the back five with Fred. This was his type of game.

Fred: 7 – See above, but with more energy as his consistency in the second half of the season has been sublime.

Bruno Fernandes: 8 – His moment of magic set up Martial for the opener and he was so calm on the ball and made some great runs that his United teammates didn’t see.

Daniel James: 7 – Worked his socks off out wide and had a few good looks on goal but his drought continues. Has to get his head up more in the final third.

Anthony Martial: 8 – A proper No.9’s display as he held the ball up, volleyed home the opener and did his best to be an outlet. He’s really matured this season.

Subs
Scott McTominay: 6 – Scored a lovely goal from distance to seal the win.
Eric Bailly: 6 – A few good clearances and tackles late on.
Odion Ighalo: 6 – Was only on the pitch for a few minutes but got involved.


Man City

Ederson: 4 – At fault for both goals and almost caught in possession. One of his worst displays in a Man City shirt.

Joao Cancelo: 6 – Had quality from right back but chose the wrong option when he got forward.

Fernandinho: 5 – An unusually poor display as Martial turned him inside out on several occasions.

Nicolas Otamendi: 5 – Could have given away a penalty kick and lunged in time and time again.

Oleksandr Zinchenko: 4 – A horrid display at left back. James and AWB ran rings around him. Subbed off.

Rodri: 7 – Did his best to keep City ticking over and, as always, tidy in possession.

Ilkay Gundogan: 5 – The game passed him by in midfield. Not his type of game at all.

Phil Foden: 7 – Kept trying to make things happen but maybe this underlined how much City rely on Kevin De Bruyne.

Bernardo Silva: 6 – Quiet game by his standards but some quality deliveries as per usual.

Sergio Aguero: 5 – Scored a goal which was disallowed via VAR and he looked totally off the pace of the game.

Raheem Sterling: 4 – See above. Missed a great chance in the second half and was just off, as he has been a lot recently.

Subs
Riyad Mahrez: 7 – Made a big difference off the bench down the right hand side. So much creativity.
Gabriel Jesus: 6 – Came close to scoring and so dangerous. Should have started.
Benjamin Mendy: 5 – A slight upgrade on Zinchenko at left back, but that’s not saying much.

Man City grabs late winner at Leicester City

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Gabriel Jesus‘ 80th-minute goal gave Manchester City a 1-0 victory over Leicester City at the King Power Stadium on Saturday.

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The three points give Man City 57 on the season, seven more than third-place Leicester City. Liverpool leads the league with 76 points and a match-in-hand.


Three things we learned

1. Ederson flashpoint: James Maddison swept a cross over the Man City back line and Iheanacho raced into the 18 to head it on goal. Iheanacho didn’t get much of it and Ederson did before his parry landed flush with Iheanacho’s chin. Social media was a buzz with cries for a red card, but it’s difficult to see what Ederson could’ve done other than allow Iheanacho to head home.

2. Moral victory for Leicester in loss: Brendan Rodgers‘ men were absolutely clobbered in three previous matches with their perceived top three rivals, but Leicester was good money for a point on Saturday. The Foxes should be encouraged despite the death of their top two hopes. Still holding a 10-point lead on fifth and sixth, Leicester may well focus a bit more on the FA Cup.

3. Striker swap pays off: Aguero had one goal ruled out for offside and saw his penalty saved by Ederson, and Guardiola’s decision to give Gabriel Jesus a run paid off within minutes. The soon-to-be 23-year-old Brazilian striker got his 10th goal of the PL season to go with five assists when he swept a low shot past Schmeichel. His 17 goals in all competitions have him four goals from equalling his best Man City campaign.

Man of the Match: Leicester fans won’t like it, but ex-Foxes star Riyad Mahrez was everywhere. He edges six-save Kasper Schmeichel, as well as Ricardo Pereira and Rodri.


Vardy let Man City off the hook for a giveaway that sent him 1v1 with Ederson, pushing a shot past the keeper but off the post.

Former Leicester star Riyad Mahrez forced Kasper Schmeichel into a parry at the other end.

Man City was all over the Foxes, and Rodri claimed a loose ball to set up a bounding Benjamin Mendy shot that led to a corner.

Mahrez set up De Bruyne for a shot near the top of the 18, but the Belgian struck wide of the near post.

The Foxes earned a dangerous free kick against the run of play, but James Maddison’s 29th-minute shot turned off the wall and into the hands of Ederson.

There was a 39th-minute flashpoint went Ederson went fists first into Kelechi Iheanacho‘s head in a bid to parry a Maddison cross. The Brazilian got the ball first, but Iheanacho spent a lot of time on the turf with a clear injury.

Aguero had the ball in the goal off a De Bruyne-led counter-attack but was a yard offside and the match soon met halftime.

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Leicester came out of the team room with vigor, and Ederson had to stymy a 46th-minute cross from newly-introduced Harvey Barnes.

Aguero’s rough day continued when he saw his penalty saved by Schmeichel, but Jesus gave City all three points on a rough-and-tumble day in Leicester.

Premier League Preview: Man City v. West Ham

Premier League Preview: Man City v. West Ham
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Manchester City takes the pitch at the Etihad Stadium for the first time since UEFA hammered it with a two-year Champions League ban when it hosts West Ham United on Wednesday (Watch Live at 3 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

Manager Pep Guardiola has reportedly stated his commitment to the club ahead of the match, which was rescheduled from last weekend after Storm Ciara hit England.

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

Second-place City opens the day 25 points back of leaders Liverpool, while West Ham is one point behind 17th place.

The Irons have not won a Premier League match since New Year’s Day, David Moyes‘ first match in charge.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ] 


Injuries/suspensions

Man City: OUT —  Oleksandr Zinchenko, Raheem Sterling, Leroy Sane. QUESTIONABLE — Aymeric Laporte, Benjamin Mendy

West Ham: OUT — Jack Wilshere, Andriy Yarmolenko. QUESTIONABLE — Felipe Anderson


Probable lineups

Man City: Ederson; Cancelo, Otamendi, Fernandinho, Walker, Rodri, Gundogan, De Bruyne, D. Silva, Aguero, Mahrez.

West Ham: Fabianski; Cresswell, Ogbonna, Diop, Zabaleta, Rice, Soucek, Noble, Snodgrass, Haller, Antonio.


What they’re saying

West Ham’s David Moyes on the relegation fight: “I’m more than confident we will climb the table. I think the players here are more than capable. I think we have got a good group. I think they are all fully aware of the situation we’re in and the improvement we need to make to make sure we’re not in the bottom three, and I’m sure come the end we will do.”


Prediction

A blowout. While West Ham has the urgency to get out of the drop zone, City will be pouring its full focus into finding form for next week’s Champions League tie with Real Madrid. City, 4-1.

PL Preview: Man City v. West Ham

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  • Man City has won 7 straight PL games v. West Ham
  • Sergio Aguero has scored 5 straight PL goals for Man City, a joint-club record
  • West Ham has scored 10 away goals, 19th in the Premier League

Two teams that desperately need a return to good form meet at the Etihad on Sunday as Manchester City hosts West Ham, with kickoff Sunday at 2:45 p.m. ET live on NBCSN or live online at NBCSports.com.

Manchester City returns home licking its wounds after a Premier League defeat to Tottenham that saw Pep Guardiola‘s side drop a massive 22 points back of Liverpool in the title race and leaves them just two points ahead of third-placed Leicester City. That loss came on the heels of a 1-0 defeat to rivals Manchester United in the second leg of their Carabao Cup semifinal matchup that adds to the struggles despite that fact the club still advanced to the final on aggregate.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ] 

Guardiola will be without playmaker Raheem Sterling, who was injured in the Spurs loss and will be out “weeks” the boss confirmed Friday morning, and the suspended Oleksandr Zinchenko who was sent off in the match. Should Aymeric Laporte return to the lineup, it will be interesting to see whether he replaces natural center-back Nicolas Otamendi, or pushes Fernandinho into midfield.

West Ham is in far worse form, dropping into the relegation zone thanks to a stretch of eight league games with just one win and five total points gained. That point haul leaves the Hammers last in the Premier League form table over that stretch, and David Moyes continues to struggle finding his best eleven. It doesn’t help that playmaker Felipe Anderson is still a doubt for the match despite having returned to training after recovering from rib and back injuries.

Injuries/suspensions

Man City: OUT – Raheem Sterling (hamstring), Leroy Sane (knee), Oleksandr Zinchenko (suspended). QUESTIONABLE – Benjamin Mendy (muscle fatigue), Aymeric Laporte (fatigue).

West Ham: OUT – Andriy Yarmolenko (hamstring), Jack Wilshere (groin). QUESTIONABLE – Felipe Anderson (rib).


Probable lineups

Man City: Ederson; Mendy, Laporte, Otamendi, Walker; Fernandinho, Gundogan, De Bruyne; Mahrez, Silva, Aguero.

West Ham: Fabianski; Fredericks, Ogbonna, Balbuena, Cresswell; Rice, Soucek, Noble; Snodgrass, Antonio, Haller


What they’re saying

Man City manager Pep Guardiola on Liverpool title gap: “The last two seasons, an owner from the Premier League said: ‘That cannot happen again, it’s not good for the Premier League that City win the title in that way’ [by so many points]. So now, with Liverpool, you have to be concerned for the Premier League!”

West Ham manager David Moyes on brutal upcoming schedule: “What matters is where we are at the end, not the middle of February. You play everybody twice so come the end of the season we’ll give ourselves a good chance of being in a strong position but we have to win games.”


Prediction

West Ham is in a very bad way, and David Moyes has not figured out how best to organize his squad. That could prove to be dangerous because Man City is out for blood, having failed to win or even score a goal in its last two matches. Still, City was good against Spurs and simply failed to score. The hosts will get back on track before pausing for February break, winning 3-1. This is as good a team as any for Man City to have crop up on the schedule during a tough time…City has beaten West Ham in seven straight Premier League meetings, outscoring the Hammers 23-3 during that stretch.