Getty Images

Could Dani Alves finish career in Premier League?

Leave a comment

Dani Alves, who has played in La Liga, Serie A and now Ligue 1, could finish his career in the Premier League.

That’s according to the Paris Saint-Germain right back, who said in an interview he would like to retire in England. The 35-year-old holds the most trophies of any active player, 38, including league titles in Spain, Italy and France, the UEFA Champions League and a Copa America with Brazil.

[READ: Red Bulls power past Crew]

“The idea that I might finish my career without going to the Premier League, it is not possible,” Alves told the Telegraph. “For sure, this is the most amazing football in the world. First, because of the respect for the players from the fans, and then because of the passion on the pitch. If I can play, that would be perfect, but I will make it there one way or the other.”

Of course, the first place most people would presume Alves would land in England is Manchester City, where he’d reunite with former manager Pep Guardiola. But Guardiola has slowly been pushing out some of his older players and with the exception of Vincent Kompany and Fernandinho, it’s a fairly young squad. So it’s unclear whether Guardiola would be prepared to bring Alves in at 36 or older next summer.

In addition, Alves may struggle in the Premier League. Unless he plays on a team like Man City, that will hold 70 percent possession each game, he may be forced to actually defend, a skill he’s not the best at compared to his incredible attacking ability. He’s a right back in name only, starting from deep and providing overlapping runs and terrific crosses into forwards.

But if he gets to play higher up the field, perhaps as a right attacking midfielder, even at his age, he could be an exciting addition for just about any team looking to spice up their attack. It’s just a matter of whether a team will take a chance on him, overlooking the age factor.

Player ratings: Man City v. Man United

1 Comment

MANCHESTER — Manchester City beat Manchester United 3-1 in the Manchester Derby on Sunday, as Pep Guardiola‘s men stayed top of the Premier League table and Jose Mourinho’s United are in eighth place and 12 points behind their bitter rivals.

[ MORE: 4 things we learned ]

It was an intense encounter at the Etihad Stadium, as City dominated but United threatened to launch yet another comeback.

Here’s how each player ranked out of 10 during a frantic derby.


Manchester City

Ederson: 5 – Didn’t have too much to do but gave away a penalty kick rashly at a pivotal moment in the match. Another rush of blood to the head.
Kyle Walker: 6 – Some decent runs forward but United always looked more dangerous down his flank. Work to do defensively.
John Stones: 7 – Some key clearances and headers and dealt with Marcus Rashford easily.
Aymeric Laporte: 7 – See above. Another easy afternoon for Laporte who continues his incredible unbeaten run.
Benjamin Mendy: 6 – Not his best afternoon going forward but more than solid defensively. Edging back to his best.
Fernandinho: 7 – Scrapped away in midfield and had a decent effort from distance. Unsung hero. Again.
Bernardo Silva: 8 – Involved in two of City’s three goals and his pass to Gundogan for the third was sublime.
David Silva: 8 – A goal from City’s captain to get things going and Silva was at his best.
Raheem Sterling: 9 – Fine individual display. Set up the first goal, ran United ragged on the break. Has it all.
Riyad Mahrez: 7 – Involved in Aguero’s goal and drifted in and of the game. Started well but faded in second half.
Sergio Aguero: 8 – Hammered home City’s second and was a constant pest. Subbed off late on to a standing ovation.

Subs
62′ Leroy Sane on for Mahrez: 6 – A few decent chances but didn’t make the most of them. Worked hard down the left.
75′ Ilkay Gundogan on for Aguero: 6 – Missed one good chance and finished another. Nice little cameo.
90+2′ Phil Foden on for D. Silva: N/A – On for the final few seconds.


Manchester United

David De Gea: 7 – A couple of decent saves down low and solid as ever. Should he have saved Aguero’s shot?
Ashley Young: 7 – Kept plugging away down the right flank and whipped in some dangerous crosses.
Chris Smalling: 6 – Headed a few balls clear but like Lindelof, never looked at ease.
Victor Lindelof: 5 – Caught out by Aguero’s one-two with Mahrez for the second goal. Didn’t look comfortable.
Luke Shaw: 5 – Caught out with Sterling’s cross for the first goal. Shaky in possession. Not his finest display.
Ander Herrera: 6 – His kind of game. Tried to snap away at City’s midfielders but ended up chasing shadows.
Nemanja Matic: 6 – Tried to start some of United’s attack and calm them down as best as he could.
Marouane Fellaini: 5 – Added little threat going forward and didn’t add much defensively.
Jesse Lingard: 4 – Apart from one good run in the first half when he was brought down, failed to impact the game. Subbed off.
Anthony Martial: 5 – A frustrating afternoon with little service out on the left. Summed up by passing the ball out of play in the first half. Scored a penalty kick but did little else.
Marcus Rashford: 4 – Some poor first touches and hooked off in the second half.

Subs
57′ Romelu Lukaku on for Lingard: 6 – Won a penalty kick but did little else
73′ Juan Mata on for Herrera: 6 – Whipped in some decent deliveries. Too little time.
73′ Alexis Sanchez on for Rashford: 5 – Struggled down the right and gave away some needless fouls.

Four things we learned from Man City v. Man United

Leave a comment

MANCHESTER — Manchester City beat Manchester United 3-1 at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday, with Pep Guardiola‘s men moving 12 points ahead of United in the process and regaining their spot atop the Premier League table.

[ MORE: Player ratings

Goals from David Silva, Sergio Aguero and Bernardo Silva did the damage as Jose Mourinho’s men succumbed to the fluid, almost unstoppable, City attack.

Here’s what we learned from the Manchester Derby.


STERLING LEADS IMPERIOUS CITY

The past few months have underlined just how good Sterling is. After agreeing a new long-term contract at Man City earlier in the week, the 23-year-old put in a superb display which showcased his main areas of improvement. Passing and movement.

For City’s first goal his cross was weighted perfectly to unlock United’s eight-man defense on the edge of their own box, as he outrageously picked out Bernardo Silva with a stealthy swing of his right boot.

In the past Sterling could be guilty of unnecessary dribbles and wayward passes, but there is now so much more purpose to his play. His improvement under Guardiola in the past two years is stark, with only Mohamed Salah involved in more PL goals than Sterling since the start of last season.

With veterans Aguero and Silva on the scoresheet to help deliver the win, City know their attack is in safe hands for the future as Sterling will lead the likes of Gabriel Jesus, Bernardo Silva, Leroy Sane and Riyad Mahrez in the future. The scary thing is, he still has plenty of room for improvement as he was guilty of not shooting as he tried to set up his teammates.


SLOW START FOR UNITED ONCE AGAIN

Add the Manchester Derby to the list of games where United have started slowly this season. That list is now almost longer than Mourinho’s arm as slow starts against Newcastle, Chelsea, Bournemouth and Juventus in recent weeks has seem them rally from losing positions.

Mourinho’s men were no doubt hampered by the loss of Pogba through injury (more on that below) but there’s no doubting that their slow starts must be eradicated if they’re going to have any chance of at least finishing in the top four. Over the course of a 10-month season at home and in Europe, United have to start getting on the front foot at the start of games. The reason they currently sit in eighth place in the Premier League, seven points off the top four, is because they continue to put themselves in poor positions early on.

What is causing them to do this again and again?

Mourinho will ponder that over the international break but it is clear that many of United’s players are tentative from the get-go and that is a surefire sign of not being comfortable with how they are playing and who they are playing alongside. United’s players grow into games and seem to grow in belief after the half time break, and they did that against City as more attacking players coming off the bench gave them fresh impetus. However, there are only so many times you can launch a comeback and United looked jaded due to their recent heroics and the wizardry of City’s attackers.


RASH EDERSON

Man City’s Brazilian goalkeeper is superb with his feet and he commands his area with ease. But over the past few weeks he has got it wrong. Big time. On Sunday he raced out of his goal and took down Romelu Lukaku to concede a penalty kick in a carbon copy of the PK he gave away last week against Southampton as he took out Danny Ings.

Ederson was visibly upset with his mistake and although Pep Guardiola tried to get his head up and applaud him from the sidelines, some of City’s technical staff in the stand were far from impressed with “Eddie” for another rash decision to rush off his line. Ederson is a forward-thinking goalkeeper and that is exactly what Guardiola wants in his way of playing. But if Ederson continues to make costly errors, a sense of shakiness could impact City’s defenders. Those are the small things which add up and Ederson’s decision making has to be a little better than it has been in recent weeks.


POGBA, DE BRUYNE BADLY MISSED

Two players who can turn a game on its head in an instance were missing for the Manchester Derby through injury and it was a such a shame. Sure, this encounter was a very good spectacle. But with KDB and Pogba, you always know a moment of magic via an outstanding pass or sensational goal are just around the corner.

The midfield battle was a little too predictable on Sunday, with Fernandinho clogging up the gaps and the two Silva’s buzzing around ahead of him playing short passes. For United, the trio of Marouane Fellaini, Ander Herrera and Nemanja Matic did their job but they all struggled to get up and support Marcus Rashford in attack the way Pogba does with his rangy, slaloming runs. De Bruyne and Pogba being back fit and available for the next Manchester Derby will give this intriguing, feisty clash yet another layer.

Watch Live: The Manchester Derby, Arsenal-Wolves

Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Manchester United will not have Paul Pogba for the Manchester Derby at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday (Watch live at 11:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

WATCH THE MANCHESTER DERBY LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

Romelu Lukaku is back in the fold, but on the subs’ bench. He joins Juan Mata and Alexis Sanchez there.

Elsewhere, Arsenal hosts Wolverhampton Wanderers at 11:30 a.m. ET

WATCH ARSENAL-WOLVES ON NBC SPORTS GOLD HERE

MANCHESTER DERBY LINEUPS

Manchester City: Ederson, Walker, Stones, Laporte, Mendy, Fernandinho, Silva (C), Mahrez, Bernardo, Sterling, Aguero. Subs: Muric, Kompany, Gündogan, Delph, Sané, Jesus, Foden

Manchester United: De Gea, Young, Smalling, Lindelof, Shaw, Matic, Herrera, Fellaini, Lingard, Rashford, Martial. Subs: Romero, Darmian, Jones, Fred, Mata, Sanchez, Lukaku.

How will Man United, Man City line up?

Getty Images
1 Comment

The first Manchester derby of the season takes place this Sunday (Watch live, 11:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) as old rivals Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola meet again.  

[ STREAM: Watch every PL match live

The match at the Etihad Stadium is sure to include some fireworks, especially with Manchester City scoring 12 goals in its last two games. But we’ll have to watch out for Man United, as Anthony Martial is in red-hot form and the Red Devils seem to have turned a corner.

Below is a look at the projected lineups for the Manchester derby.


Manchester United

—– De Gea —–

—- Young —- Smalling —- Lindelof —- Shaw —-

—– Herrera —— Matic ——-Pogba—–

—- Mata————————- Martial—-

—– Sanchez—– 


Manchester City

—– Ederson—–

—- Walker —- Laporte —- Stones —- Mendy—-

—- Fernandinho—-

—- B. Silva——– D. Silva—-

– Sterling —————————- Sane—-

—– Aguero—–