Kevin De Bruyne

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Man City skates by West Ham in Premier League Asia Trophy

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Manchester City’s youth squad did the first-half job, which meant the heavy artillery coming off the bench was that much scarier. Man City came from behind to lead at halftime, and Raheem Sterling scored twice in the second half and the defending Premier League champions were no match for West Ham in a 4-1 victory in the semifinals of the Premier League Asia Trophy in Nanjing.

Pep Guardiola started a mostly second-choice lineup from the opening whistle, with David Silva and Aymeric Laporte the only true first-teamers in the squad. Claudio Bravo manned the net to begin, with new arrival Rodri also among the starters. West Ham’s lineup, meanwhile, was a strong one with Felipe Anderson, Mark Noble, Angelo Ogbonna, Jack Wilshere, Michail Antonio, and Manuel Lanzini all among a first-choice starting lineup.

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West Ham took the lead 25 minutes in through Noble who delivered from the penalty spot, but not without help from Felipe who was the star of the first half for the Hammers and won the penalty after sending Manchester City defender Angelino to the ground.

The lead didn’t last long as David Silva leveled things up in the 33rd minute, a wonderful start to his final season at Manchester City. He received a fabulous delivery from 18-year-old Spanish youth international Adrian Bernabe who rifled one to the far post where Silva was waiting, and the 33-year-old chested it down before unpacking a low finish from a tight angle.

City would go in front three minutes later as 20-year-old Man City youth product Lukas Nmecha won a soft penalty on a foul by Ogbonna, and the youngster took it himself and buried the spot-kick for the lead.

Kevin De Bruyne, Raheem Sterling, Bernardo Silva and Leroy Sane all came on at halftime for the defending Premier League champions, while West Ham brought on the likes of Robert Snodgrass, Javier Hernandez, and Andriy Yarmolenko.

The changes for Manchester City overwhelmed West Ham, with Sane picking up a loose ball near the halfway line and feeding a beautiful pass through the back line to Sterling clean on goal who put City 3-1 up on the hour mark. That saw John Stones, Kyle Walker, Ilkay Gundogan and Oleksandr Zinchenko all come in off the bench for Pep Guardiola and into the fray.

The big three did it again in the 72nd minute as de Bruyne picked Carlos Sanchez’s pocket in the attacking third and fed Sane on the left. He sent it back to de Bruyne who layed it off for Sterling’s second goal of the match.

In squad notes, a pair of England youth internationals went the distance for Man City as Ian Poveda-Ocampo and Taylor Harwood-Bellis were the only two to complete the full 90 minutes. Notable for West Ham, Winston Reid came off the bench for the final 19 minutes, his first game action in over 16 months.

Man City activates release clause of Atletico Madrid midfielder Rodrigo

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It’s been a busy day – and summer – at the Wanda Metripolitano.

After sealing the arrival of midfielder Hector Herrera, Atletico Madrid confirmed on Wednesday that Manchester City activated the release clause of 23-year-old Rodrigo, leaving the club no choice but to ship the youngster to the Premier League side. The release clause totaled $79 million, setting a new transfer record at Man City.

Rodrigo joined the club just last summer from Villareal for $25 million, representing a significant return on investment for Atletico Madrid in just one season. He played a heavy role last campaign as Atleti finished second in the La Liga table, appearing 34 times in league play and scoring three goals. He racked up 3,675 minutes during the season across all competitions, fourth-most on the entire squad and more than fellow midfielders Koke and Thomas Partey.

A defensive midfielder, Rodrigo represents an important acquisition for Manchester City. The club’s biggest struggles over the last two title-winning seasons have come during spells without Fernandinho, who has been sidelined at times by knee and thigh problems. With the Brazilian now 34 years old, securing a young, starting-caliber defensive midfielder is a smart investment at a thin position.

Their previous transfer record was the $75 million acquisition of Riyad Mahrez last summer, which itself topped the $72 million purchase of Aymeric Laporte and the $68 million for Kevin De Bruyne.

It has been a summer of change at Atletico Madrid, with club fixtures Diego Godin, Antoine Griezmann, and Juanfran all leaving for various reasons plus the big-money departures of Rodrigo, Lucas Hernandez, and Gelson Martins. Marcos Llorente, Felipe, and Herrera have arrived with the hopes of filling the void, and there are likely more incoming transfers to be secured.

Euro 2020 qualifying: Germany routs Estonia, Belgium knocks off Scotland (video)

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Euro 2020 qualifying wrapped up for the summer on Tuesday, but not before some wild scorelines and impressive results.

Here is a rundown of the top matches:

[READ: USWNT thrashes Thailand in World Cup opener]


Germany 8-0 Estonia

Like Thailand for the U.S. Women’s National Team, Germany had its way on the field against Estonia at the Opel Arena in Mainz, Germany, as Die Manschafft rolled to an 8-0 victory. Estonia’s backline was too easily broken and was too weak to stand up to Germany’s strong attack, which found a way to score from close range time and time again. The match was punctuated with Marco Reus’ terrific free kick in the 37th minute, giving Germany its first five-goal first half since the famous 7-1 over Brazil in the 2014 World Cup semifinals. Leroy Sane late put the finishing touches with a quick strike that took Estonia’s goalkeeper Sergei Lepmets by surprise. Sane’s teammate Ilkay Gundogan also scored, along with a brace from former Arsenal winger Serge Gnabry and a goal each for Timo Werner and Leon Goretzka. With the win, Germany move three points back (with a game in hand) from Northern Ireland, which has remained unbeaten and holds a perfect 4-0 record so far in qualifying.

Belgium 3-0 Scotland

Romelu Lukaku has had a rough season in the Premier League and multiple reports state he could be leaving, but on Tuesday, he showed everyone what he’s capable of. Lukaku scored a brace, the first on a header just before halftime and the second on a rebound off a save by Scotland goalkeeper David Marshall. Lukaku nearly grabbed a third a few minutes later, flashing a strike on his weaker right foot just wide of goal. An abject Scotland side were constantly under pressure on the road and after many near-misses, Kevin De Bruyne fired a low missile home from outside of the box to put the finishing touches on the game. With the win, Belgium move to the top of Group I with 12 points while Scotland, with their second loss of qualifying, sit in fourth place behind Kazakhstan and Russia.

Here are the rest of the results around Europe on Tuesday:

Belarus 0-1 Northern Ireland

Azerbaijan 1-5 Slovakia

Hungary 1-0 Wales

Albania 2-0 Moldova

Andorra 0-4 France

Iceland 2-1 Turkey

Kazakhstan 4-0 San Marino

Russia 1-0 Cyprus

Greece 2-3 Armenia

Italy 2-1 Bosnia and Herzegovina

Liechtenstein 0-2 Finland

Man City win FA Cup, seal historic domestic treble (video)

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  • Man City first-ever English team to win domestic treble
  • Silva, Jesus, De Bruyne, Sterling score
  • Watford miss first half chances
  • 50 wins on the season for City

LONDON — Manchester City have done something no other team has managed in the history of men’s soccer in England.

Pep Guardiola‘s side beat Watford 6-0 in the FA Cup final at Wembley on Saturday to win complete the domestic treble, as they added the FA Cup to the League Cup and Premier League trophies they already won this season.

The winning margin also equalled the highest-ever in an FA Cup final, as Bury beat Derby County 6-0 back in 1903.

David Silva and Gabriel Jesus each scored in the first half against a spirited Watford side who missed several chances, while Kevin De Bruyne, Jesus and then Sterling (twice) all added goals in the second half to complete the rout.

City’s fans were in party mood at Wembley, as Guardiola’s men completed one of the greatest seasons in English soccer history. A sea of sky blue celebrated throughout, as the only blemish on their campaign was their agonizingly narrow UEFA Champions League quarterfinal defeat to Tottenham Hotspur.

Enjoy this City side as long as you can, because we are witnessing history on a weekly basis with them. Monday’s trophy parade in Manchester will be quite the occasion, as Guardiola’s side get to show off their silverware.

The first big chance of the game fell to City as Bernardo Silva got to the byline but his ball into the six-yard box was cleared before Jesus could pounce.

Watford then had a glorious chance to go ahead in the 11th minute as a counter attack set Roberto Pereyra clean through on goal but Ederson stood up to the last second and made a superb stop with his legs.

City controlled the tempo of the game but Watford were dangerous on the break, as another chance fell to Pereyra and he managed to scoop the ball to Abdoulaye Doucoure. His shot was blocked by Vincent Kompany as the ball deflected on his arm but no penalty kick was given by referee Kevin Friend, much to the annoyance of Watford.

David Silva then put City ahead as Raheem Sterling caused Watford problems and won a header before Silva first won another duel, then latched onto the loose ball as his shot deflected off Kiko Femenia and into the far corner to put the Premier League champions 1-0 up.

Before the break Man City doubled their lead as Bernardo Silva’s teasing ball to the back post picked out Jesus brilliantly.

With Gomes stranded in goal after coming off his line, the Brazilian striker hooked the ball goalwards  and Sterling smashed home to make sure even though the ball had already gone over the line. 2-0 to City, who had one hand on the FA Cup trophy.

Watford started brightly in the second half but Man City then hit them on the break as Gomes denied fellow Brazilian Jesus to keep the Hornets in the game.

From the resulting corner Jesus headed home but he was in an offside position, and then Watford continued to press to find a way back into the game. After Aymeric Laporte had headed wide the Hornets broke free but Deulofeu scuffed his shot harmlessly wide as it was that kind of day for Watford.

City then completed their historic feat by launching a rapid counter attack as Jesus won the ball and was then played in by Sterling before setting up De Bruyne to slot home.

De Bruyne then returned the favor as he set Jesus free and he waited until the last moment to slot home under Gomes and wheel away in delight.

Watford kept trying to push forward and that left gaps for City to exploit, as Bernardo Silva then crossed for Sterling to slot home a fifth goal.

Sterling then scored his second and City’s second as he reacted to his own shot which hit the post.

John Stones was denied a seventh late on as Gomes produced a fantastic save down low.

City could have scored a few more late on, as Guardiola’s boys completed the domestic treble with minimum fuss.

Ranking top 10 Premier League players at each position

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There are 25 players in each Premier League squad, but who not only starred for their respective clubs but also elevated themselves to the upper echelons of the league this season?

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

We pondered that as we analyzed those who rose to the challenge best over the past nine months.

Below is a look at our complete list of the top 10 players in each position based on their play during the 2018-19 campaign.


Goalkeepers
1. Ederson
2. Alisson
3. David De Gea
4. Kepa
5. Ben Foster
6. Lukasz Fabianski
7. Hugo Lloris
8. Jordan Pickford
9. Rui Patricio
10. Martin Dubravka


Right backs
1. Trent Alexander-Arnold
2. Matt Doherty
3. Aaron Wan-Bissaka
4. Cesar Azpilicueta
5. Ricardo Perreira
6. Kyle Walker
7. Seamus Coleman
8. Kiko Femenia
9. Pablo Zabaleta
10. Yan Valery


Left backs
1. Andrew Robertson
2. Lucas Digne
3. Ben Chilwell
4. Luke Shaw
5. Jonny Otto
6. Patrick Van Aanholt
7. Ben Davies
8. Nacho Monreal
9. Jose Holebas
10. Emerson Palmeri


Center backs
1. Virgil Van Dijk
2. Aymeric Laporte
3. Toby Alderweireld
4. Jan Vertonghen
5. Vincent Kompany
6. Sokratis
7. Antonio Rudiger
8. Conor Coady
9. Michael Keane
10. Issa Diop


Central midfielders
1. Fernandinho
2. Joao Moutinho
3. Moussa Sissoko
4. David Silva
5. Jordan Henderson
6. Andre Gomes
7. Abdoulaye Doucoure
8. Fabinho
9. N'Golo Kante
10. Youri Tielemans


Attacking midfielders
1. Eden Hazard
2. Bernardo Silva
3. Kevin De Bruyne
4. Christian Eriksen
5. Gerard Deulofeu
6. Dele Alli
7. James Maddison
8. Gylfi Sigurdsson
9. Paul Pogba
10. Diogo Jota


Wingers
1. Raheem Sterling
2. Bernardo Silva
3. Sadio Mane
4. Mohamed Salah
5. Wilfried Zaha
6. Ryan Fraser
7. Pedro
8. Ryan Babel
9. David Brooks
10. Nathan Redmond


Strikers
1. Sergio Aguero
2. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
3. Harry Kane
4. Roberto Firmino
5. Alexandre Lacazette
6. Raul Jimenez
7. Heung-Min Son
8. Jamie Vardy
9. Marcus Rashford
10. Salomon Rondon