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Messi, Aguero, Lanzini headline foreign-based Argentine squad for friendlies

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Seven Premier League players, headlined by the in-form Sergio Aguero, were called up by Argentina National Team coach Jorge Sampaoli for upcoming friendlies later this month against Spain and Italy.

Sampaoli announced the selection of the foreign-based Argentine squad, including Aguero and his Man City teammate Nicolas Otamendi, Manchester United pair Sergio Romero and Marcos Rojo, West Ham United midfielder Manuel Lanzini, Chelsea goalkeeper Wily Caballero and Everton centerback Ramiro Funes Mori.

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Argentina faces Italy at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester on March 23 and then heads to Spain to take on La Roja at the Wando Metropolitano on March 27.

The squad is a sneak peak at what Sampaoli may be looking at ahead of the 2018 World Cup. With Aguero’s form, he could start alongside Messi up top. Sampaoli will have a big decision to make though in net, with two club backups in Romero and Caballero in pole position to start.

Man City approved to turn Etihad Stadium into the Premier League’s second-largest venue

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Manchester City has outgrown the Etihad Stadium as it currently stands, and has been approved to make their palace even more grand.

Well, at least to plan said growth, as Manchester’s city council has approved a proposal that would see City expand its capacity by nearly 15,000 seats.

The expansion would leave the Etihad Stadium behind only its crosstown rival’s home, Old Trafford, as the Premier League’s largest venue.

RELATED — No New, Just Nou: Barcelona decides to upgrade stadium to 105,000

Current capacity at the Etihad is 47,760, and the club wishes to add more than 6,000 seats to both ends of the stadium in addition to scattering 2,000 more seats around the facility.

It’s not surprising to see Manchester backing the expansion. As Sky Sports points out, the club’s ownership has earned a lot of good will since taking over in 2008.

Both projects underline not only City’s determination to develop world-class facilities at their Etihad Campus, but also their commitment to local regeneration.

City’s work has contributed significantly to the development of east Manchester, with a sixth-form college and a leisure and retail centre already being built alongside the CFA.

The stadium expansion, according to the planning application, is expected to created 160 temporary jobs during construction and a further 110 match-day positions once the work is complete.

Read more here.

Premier League: Monday recap – Manchester City ends Week 1 on top (Video)

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You’ve already seen the highlights (and if you haven’t, this package will do), but this Monday Review provides a little more perspective to what happened today at the Etihad Stadium.

There, against a Newcastle team hoping 90 minutes in Manchester could distract them from a blossoming controversy, City looked every bit the title contenders they are. Two goals within 22 minutes were doubled after half time, last year’s runners-up finishing with a 4-0 win over the 10-man Magpies.

The Sky Blues were one of nine teams to win this weekend (only one of the round’s 10 games ended in a draw), but thanks to the +4 goal difference they put up against Newcastle, City claim the league’s top spot over rival Manchester United. The Red Devil’s 4-1 win Saturday at the Liberty Stadium left them in good stead to begin the season where they’d ended last’s, but having “only” won by three in Swansea, the defending champions will sit second when they host Chelsea next Monday.

 

Manchester City unveil plans to expand Etihad Stadium to 60,000

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Manchester City’s fans are usually known for being some of the loudest and proudest in the land.

And now plenty more of them will be crammed into the Etihad stadium if new plans get the thumbs up.

Today City revealed how they want to redevelop their home stadium, with the main aim to increase the capacity from 47,500 to 60,000.

That could see extensions to both the South and North Stands but another option is to only increase the capacity to 54,000. In that case only the South Stand would be redeveloped.

A huge blueprint was released for public viewing today at the Etihad Stadium, with the public consultation set to last until August. Then City will take the plans to the next stage in the fall and apply for planning permission depending on what the public consultation.

Now all this may seem slightly monotonous. But here comes the kicker.

Most clubs would hike up ticket prices for their fans to watch the team in a newly developed stadium. But not City, oh no. They plan to sell season tickets for less than $500.

That is quite remarkable in the modern era, as Arsenal and other EPL clubs charge up to four teams that amount and more.

A huge pat on the back to their owners and staff for coming up with that. So there is going to be huge overwhelming support to expand the stadium and reduce ticket prices for everyone. Also UEFA’s new Financial Fair Play laws come into effect and the amount of income clubs need to generate from gameday purposes will need to be on the up.

So smart stuff all round from Manchester City and spokesperson Pete Bradshaw had this to say.

“Manchester City Football Club strives to provide its supporters and visiting fans with one of the best possible matchday experiences in the Premier League and European football. Games are selling out frequently prior to going on open sale and there is rising demand from supporters for more season tickets, matchday tickets and premium seating. This is why we are considering these expansion proposals.”

And he is right. City’s average attendance the last three seasons were as follows:

  • 2010-11: 45,880
  • 2011-12: 47,044
  • 2012-13: 46,974

That means they have been running at over 96 percent capacity for several seasons. The number are there for City to have the second largest stadium in the EPL behind bitter rivals Manchester United.

Will it happen? Time will tell. But they can definitely sustain it.