Danilo

Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Man City has left back problem ahead of FA Cup, UCL, league congestion

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Pep Guardiola‘s left back options are limited for a crucial stretch which includes matches across three competitions.

Oleksandr Zinchenko limped off the pitch in Wednesday’s win over Cardiff City, and Guardiola says “it doesn’t look good” for the Ukranian’s chances to feature in this weekend’s FA Cup semifinal against Brighton and Hove Albion.

[ MORE: Weah scores Celtic winner ]

Benjamin Mendy‘s been out for much of the season and Fabian Delph is also unavailable. And, really, Guardiola has favored Zinchenko in his system. Zinchenko has gone 90 minutes in each of City’s last six Premier League matches (which is odd considering the manager appeared ready to move him).

“He is important for us,” Guardiola said. “He knows the way we want to play but it is what it is. … It happens during the season and he plays a lot of minutes, but we will find a solution. Danilo fought a lot in that position, but it is not his natural one. We will find a solution.”

It could be Aymeric Laporte, who’s played a few times at left back for City, but Guardiola loves to use the Frenchman in the middle of his defense.

City is 9-0 when Zinchenko starts this season, and the reigning champions follow up the FA Cup semi with three matches against Tottenham and a fourth versus Crystal Palace.

Man City carves up Huddersfield with clinical goal (video)

AP Photo/Rui Vieira
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While some were still sleeping — or shoveling in parts of this country — Manchester City worked as efficient a goal as you’ll see this weekend.

[ MORE: Match recap | Pep reacts ]

New Huddersfield Town loanee Jason Puncheon gave away the ball inside his own half, and Danilo used his first touch to find Sergio Aguero outside the Terriers’ 18.

Aguero flicks his first touch to Leroy Sane, who needed a gaudy two to beat Terriers goalkeeper Jonas Lossl.

It’s one of the things that makes dangerous sides like Man City, Liverpool, and it looks too easy (For Huddersfield Town, it really was, but we digress).

Guardiola: Man City ‘has to demand more from ourselves’

AP Photo/Rui Vieira
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Sunday’s 3-0 win at Huddersfield Town did not see Manchester City at its best, and the match didn’t require it, but manager Pep Guardiola was visibly perturbed by his side’s showing at the John Smith’s Stadium.

[ RECAP: Huddersfield 0-3 Man City ]

City led 1-0 at the break on a deflected Danilo strike but came to life with an improved second frame that saw them score in the 54th and 56th minutes.

They got what they earned, says Guardiola. That’s not a compliment. From the BBC:

“The way we played we didn’t deserve more than three goals. We will improve in the future. We have to demand more from ourselves in every game and do our best, but sometimes it’s difficult. They defended deep and man to man.

“What we have done so far has been incredible, in the league and the Carabao Cup. We have an incredible number of points. But this game can teach us and show what we have to do to improve.”

Opening scorer Danilo admitted that City didn’t have the right intensity in the first half, while Leroy Sane said Pep put them right at halftime.

“He always tries to give us the solution and he did it again,” said Sane, who had a goal and an assist. “I think everyone could see in the second half it was much better.”

City starts a three-match week on Wednesday with the second leg of the League Cup semifinal at Burton Albion (City leads 9-0). It’s home to Burnley in the FA Cup on Saturday before visiting Newcastle on Jan. 29.

Sane stars, Man City cruises at Huddersfield Town (video)

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  • City back within four of Liverpool
  • Sane stars in win
  • Terriers 10 points back of safety

Leroy Sane scored a goal and added an assist as Manchester City cruised past Huddersfield Town 3-0 on Sunday at the John Smith’s Stadium.

City stays four points behind Premier League leaders Liverpool, while Huddersfield Town caretaker manager Mark Hudson sees his side 10 points back of 17th place.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Raheem Sterling was not given a penalty in the 13th minute after a clumsy tackle in the box, one of a couple early shouts for Man City.

Danilo‘s goal came when his long distance rip was blocked by Christoph Schindler, the Terrier’s header bounding off the turf and wrong-footing Jonas Lossl.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

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Sterling started a move outside the 18, then drifted inside the meet Leroy Sane’s cross with a pounded header to make it 2-0 in the 54th.

Then, pure brilliance, as City turned a Terriers turnover into the goal in four total touches. Danilo to Aguero to Sane for a settle and finish.

Town wasn’t without its chances, Steve Mounie lashing wide of the far post in the 79th minute and just missing a goal with the final kick of the game.

Stars and duds from Man City 2-1 Liverpool

(AP Photo/Jon Super)
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Great saves, hard tackles, jangly nerves, and pretty goals combined to help Liverpool’s visit to Manchester City live up to expectations at the Etihad Stadium on Thursday.

[ RECAP: Man City 2-1 Liverpool ]

Who were the stars of the show, and who didn’t bring their A, B, or C game? See below.

STARS

Sergio Aguero — If his run and finish on the goal was the only thing he did on the day, he’d be a star of this one. Aguero met Bernardo Silva‘s pass and seized the yard given to him by Dejan Lovren, smashing into the goal. But it wasn’t the only thing he did, as Aguero’s run into the box on the winner forced Trent Alexander-Arnold to follow him and give Sane space to score. He couldn’t beat Alisson a second time and also needlessly gave away stoppage time possession with a foolish 60-yard bid, but all will be forgiven (except maybe by Pep Guardiola).

Fernandinho — From Moment No. 1, the Brazilian enforcer was stuck into tackles and playing on the right side of the line by the thinnest of margins. Jurgen Klopp put three industrious shopminders in the center of the park to Man City’s one until Fabinho was introduced in the 57th. The one won.

Trent Alexander-Arnold — Unsure he’ll ever be a strong defender, but that wasn’t his job in the second half as the marauding right-sided player led the attack on several occasions. His pinpoint cross to Andrew Robertson set up Firmino for the equalizer, and he was left out to lunch on Man City’s second goal.

Just missed the list: Leroy Sane, Raheem Sterling, Bernardo Silva, Fabinho, Ederson, Alisson Becker.

DUDS

Danilo — Lost track of the ball on Alexander-Arnold’s cross to Robertson like a little leaguer outfielder back tracking his first deep fly ball. For a man playing as a defensive upgrade to Kyle Walker, he’s there to avoid mistakes. He didn’t.

Dejan Lovren — Caught flat-footed by Aguero on City’s opening goal, he also was one of the reasons Trent Alexander-Arnold was cooked by Leroy Sane for the second. Not too good.

Just missed the list: Jordan Henderson, Georginio Wijnaldum.