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Mendy could face another extended spell on sidelines

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After missing nearly all of last season with a torn ACL, Benjamin Mendy could be facing another long spell on the sidelines.

The French international is suffering from an injury to the fifth metatarsal in his left foot, the bone that connects to the little toe on your foot. Mendy has missed Man City’s previous two matches against Fulham in the Premier League and Lyon in the UEFA Champions League with reported bruising on that part of his foot.

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“I don’t know it – he has a problem in his bone,” manager Pep Guardiola said during his pre-match press conference ahead of Man City’s match at Cardiff City. Guardiola added he didn’t know how long Mendy would be out.

When healthy, Mendy has been Man City’s first choice left back or left wing back, starting four games so far this season. But since his move from Monaco in July 2017, Mendy’s appeared in just 11 Premier League matches due to injury. It’s another blow to a Man City squad that’s already living with the long-term injury to Kevin De Bruyne in midfield.

Report: Raheem Sterling, Man City contract talks stall

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According to a report by The Guardian, Manchester City has not made progress on contract talks with Raheem Sterling.

The 23-year-old signed a four-year deal after moving from Liverpool in the summer of 2015, and that is set to expire in the summer of 2020, meaning he will lose significant value in the transfer market should he reach the final year of his contract. With Sterling costing Man City near $74 million to sign, and the England international enjoying a leap in development under Pep Guardiola, it’s unlikely the club would accept losing him for far less than the value he was acquired for.

However, armed with 47 goals and 48 assists in 144 appearances for Manchester City, plus a strong bargaining position given the ticking clock, Sterling is reportedly asking for a wage increase to $290,000 a week, up from his current salary of $224,000 per week. According to the Guardian report, there is “some distance” between the two parties.

Sterling’s reported demands would put him still below the $330,000 Sergio Aguero makes a week as per the new deal he signed in the winter of 2017, and far below Kevin De Bruyne‘s $460,000 per week handed out this past January. With that value, Sterling would be in the range of David Silva‘s $290,000 per week.

“It’s well-known we’re delighted with him and would like him to continue,” Guardiola said on Friday before the weekend’s win over Fulham. “My club knows my opinion and we share that. After that it is the club and the agent.”

On international duty, Sterling has picked up 44 caps for England, but has failed to replicate the same goalscoring rate he owns at the club level, with just two international goals and none since October of 2015. He does own 11 assists, suggesting he plays a more creative role at the international level, while displaying more freedom under Guardiola’s watch. He has become an attacking force at Manchester City, especially in the absence of the injured de Bruyne. In a starring role this season, Sterling has three goals already in four matches.

Premier League Preview: Man City vs. Fulham

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  • Fulham has conceded 9 goals so far this season, one off the most in the league
  • Man City has scored 16 goals in its last 5 home league matches
  • Man City has beaten Fulham by a combined 10-0 over last 3 league meetings at the Etihad

Manchester City will host a discount version of itself as they meet Fulham at the Etihad Saturday at 10:00 a.m. ET on NBCSN or live online at NBCSports.com in a highly-anticipated clash of similar playing styles. It will be fascinating to see how this game progresses, as Fulham manager Slavisa Jokanovic insists the Whites will attempt to play their possession-based style even against the reigning Premier League champions.

Fulham led the Championship in possession the last two years under Slavisa Jokanovic before promotion, and this season they sit fourth in the Premier League in completed passes, above teams like Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur, and Arsenal. Saturday’s meeting with City sees them match up against the side that sits second in the Premier League with 2,726 completed passes through four matches, 497 more than Fulham.

[ MORE: Top Premier League storylines for Week 5 ]

Manchester City has its full compliment of players aside from Kevin De Bruyne and Claudio Bravo who are out with long-term injuries. Raheem Sterling left the England over the weekend with a back injury, but Pep Guardiola says the 23-year-old is healthy enough to return to selection for City. Danilo is back in training as well, but may not have the match fitness to play this weekend.

The visitors will be without playmaking force Tom Cairney, a big loss for a team that requires a centralized creator in the attacking half. Also missing for the Cottagers is winger Neeskins Kebano, who is dealing with an ankle problem. Finally, American defender Tim Ream is still absent with a nagging thigh injury that is taking longer to heal than initially thought, still yet to debut this season.

What they’re saying

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola on Fulham – “I’m really impressed. I had two weeks watching them. I saw three games. They have good players – [Jean Michael] Seri, and players in the front like [Aleksandar] Mitrovic. It’s not just long balls and channels, they want to make their own game. I’m pretty sure they’ll have a good season.”

Fulham manager Slavisa Jokanovic on Pep Guardiola – “No, I don’t use his style of football, I try use my style or use my players. He’s one of the most experienced and successful managers. He’s shown a similar style in different places, he’s shown it’s possible to play that way in different competitions. All the credit to him; he made really important steps in the game. But to copy people is not good. It’s not easy for us to match this level. We try to find our way, we try to adapt ourselves, we try to interpret what we have in our hands.”

Prediction

Fulham is going to take it to some teams, but in games like this, it’s hard to see them stepping up to the competition. These are the games they will struggle in – against teams similar to their style. The Fulham defense has been a work in progress in Ream’s absence, with new signings Maxim Le Marchand, Alfie Mawson, and Calum Chambers all still working to to settle into new roles. Manchester City should feast, and it could finish at an ugly 4-1.

De Bruyne has $292M release clause (not that Man City is selling)

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Kevin De Bruyne isn’t going anywhere.

That’s not a surprise, given Manchester City’s resources and the player’s incredible form for club and country.

[ MORE: Wk5 Premier League storylines ]

But the Belgian star’s manager at City, Pep Guardiola, let slip the player’s monstrous release clause while heaping praise on De Bruyne.

From Goal.com:

“[Leeds United boss] Marcelo Bielsa told me he was his favorite player. He does everything.

“The other day, I met his parents and you often understand how the children are when you know the parents. He’s an incredible boy. The clause is €250m. I’m sorry, he’s not for sale.”

Goal also points out that Guardiola said he plans to coach again at Barcelona B before retiring. That’s not a typo, Barca’s B side will be in play for Guardiola (seemingly well into the future).

De Bruyne, 27, signed a six-year deal with City after spending the early part of his career with Genk, Chelsea, Werder Bremen, and Wolfsburg.

EA Sports reveal top 20 ranked players in FIFA 19

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If you haven’t played FIFA, you know someone who lives for it. And if you don’t play it right now, you will have played it in the past. So, you know how important these rankings are.

The top 20 ranked players in EA Sports’ FIFA 19 video game have been announced and there’s plenty of outrage debate on social media about these rankings.

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First up, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are ahead of the rest with a rating of 94 and that’s fair enough. While Neymar is in third on his own ahead of an elite group of seven players on 91.

Three Premier League players (Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard and David De Gea) were included in the top 10, while the likes of Mohamed Salah and David Silva just missed out on the top 20. Premier League stars Harry Kane and N'Golo Kante were included in the top 20 for the first time.

Needless to say that has caused plenty of uproar about the new rankings…

Below are the top 20 players from EA Sports’ new game, with the top 10 revealed on Wednesday.


1. Cristiano Ronaldo – 94
2. Lionel Messi – 94
3. Neymar – 92
4. Luka Modric – 91
5. Kevin de Bruyne – 91
6. Eden Hazard – 91
7. Sergio Ramos – 91
8. Luis Suarez – 91
9. David de Gea – 91
10. Toni Kroos – 90
11. Robert Lewandowski – 90
12. Manuel Neuer – 90
13. Diego Godin – 90
14. Thibaut Courtois – 90
15. Jan Oblak – 90
16. N’Golo Kante – 89
17. Harry Kane – 89
18. Antoine Griezmann – 89
19. Giorgio Chiellini – 89
20. Sergio Aguero – 89