Gabriel Jesus

Pep effusive in praise for Rodri after magnificent goal, performance

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Pep Guardiola raved about his Manchester City side after a 4-1 defeat of Burnley on Tuesday at Turf Moor, though previous criticisms were clearly still in his head.

Guardiola either didn’t understand or was caught off guard by a relatively straight-forward question about Rodri’s quality allowing Fernandinho to play center back, and bristled a bit.

[ RECAP: Burnley 1-4 Man City ]

“We are open to accept your opinions but at the end we know the qualities of the players much better than all of you and we know what the team needs in this moment. In Fernandinho for his personality and his character is an important player.”

Well, then. A simple misunderstanding, but perhaps a look into the mindset of the man right now.

The manager was very happy with Gabriel Jesus‘ brace and Rodri’s Man of the Match performance, one which included a bullet goal, as City rebounded from back-to-back draws against Shakhtar Donetsk and Newcastle.

He saved special praise for Rodri.

“He was incredible,” Guardiola said. “His position in the transition is so clever. He has a much better picture of our game in his head. He’s a fantastic player, so young and perfect in his physicality. He’s got it because a guy who wants to learn and listen, he’s ready, and that’s why we can count on him.”

As for Jesus, who scored his fourth and fifth goals of the season in the place of injured Sergio Aguero, Guardiola expressed his confidence in the 22-year-old Brazilian.

“We need him so,” Guardiola said. “Strikers have to score goals and we need him. His effort and his commitment is always there, but strikers like him live for the goal and to score is important. … Of course it’s not easy but the team doesn’t have a doubt about him.”

Man City next hosts Manchester United on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC.

Rodri, Jesus lead Man City to easy win

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Gabriel Jesus got Manchester City back in the win column ahead of a weekend derby, as the reigning champions scored a professional 4-0 win over Burnley at Turf Moor on Tuesday.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Riyad Mahrez scored his 50th Premier League goal and Rodri also scored for City, who became the third team to break the 30-point marker and joins Leicester City on 32. Man City hosts Manchester United at 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday.

Robbie Brady scored in the 89th minute to ruin the clean sheet. Burnley dips into 11th with 18 points, six clear of the Bottom Three. The Clarets visit Spurs on Saturday.


Three things

1. Gabby goes good: Manchester City’s second league match without Sergio Aguero went much better than the first, and the 22-year-old Jesus deserves all the credit. Both of his goals were clinical finishes, the first a beauty from just inside the 18 and the second a thumping, leaping volley of a Bernardo Silva pass. His fourth and fifth goals helped City ease to the win ahead of an intense weekend derby.

2. Rodri’s pile pildriver seals the deal: The Spaniard’s second Premier League was a scorcher of the hottest quality. David Silva‘s shot was blocked onto the path of Rodri, who hit a volley past a flying, splayed Pope. We’re not sure his hand would’ve held up to the pressure of this incredible rip.

3. Feast of famine Clarets fail to give it a go: Sean Dyche set up negatively and mostly limited damage, but the home crowd will have been hoping for something more from a side which has either been strong or miserable for the better part of a month. Burnley’s last five fixtures have ended multiple goals to nil: 3-0 losses to City and Sheffield United, a 2-0 defeat versus Palace, and 3-0 beatings of Watford and West Ham.

Man of the Match: Rodri — Aside from the blazing goal, Rodri completed 90 of 99 passes while winning four aerials and three tackles.


It comes as little surprise that City controlled the early stages, and had the ball in the goal only to see a flag rightly raised when an offside Gabriel Jesus redirected an Angelino drive past Nick Pope.

Jesus would break through in the 24th minute, swirling a shot around Pope which looked an awful lot like Jack Grealish‘s marvelous goal versus Manchester United this weekend.

Pope continues to shine at Turf Moor, and made a strong leg save to deny Bernardo Silva before halftime, one of several interventions in the frame.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ] 

Jesus again got the better of Pope when Kevin De Bruyne played Bernardo on the right of the box. The Portuguese sent a cross to the back post that a leaping Jesus smashed into the goal for 2-0.

Dwight McNeil ripped a free kick on frame that Ederson collected in the 61st minute.

Rodri’s rocket goal was joining by a savvy strike from Mahrez in the 87th minute, Phil Foden laying off to the Algerian for a dribble to the top of 18 and drive past Pope.

Brady denied City its clean sheet when he ran onto a loose ball at the back post in the 89th.

Guardiola fears Sergio Aguero’s muscular injury is ‘not good’

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Manchester City may be without their top scorer for weeks to come.

Sergio Aguero limped off the field in the 77th minute, following a challenge from Reece James in Manchester City’s 2-1 win over a visiting Chelsea, and Pep Guardiola is worried that the striker may be out of action during a crucial point of the season.

“Hopefully we’ll know tomorrow [Sunday], but the first indication is not good,” Pep Guardiola admitted following his team’s win on Saturday. “I think it’s a muscular injury. [We could be without] him for some days of the toughest part of our season.“

“The doctor says tomorrow we are going to see but he thought it was a kick but I think he stretched a little bit,” he added.

The striker, who has scored 13 goals this season, is now a doubt for Man City’s midweek Champions League clash against Shakhtar Donetsk, and depending on the results of the scan he is scheduled for on Sunday, may miss games against Newcastle, Burnley and Manchester United.

In league play, the 31-year-old has featured 12 times (nine starts) for City, scoring on nine occasions. With a goal-per-game ratio of 0.8 this season, Aguero is on pace to tie his best his best mark. Meanwhile, Gabriel Jesus – who replaced an injured Aguero in the 77th minute at the Etihad – has scored only three goals in 10 appearances this season.

Aguero was not the only City player to come off on Saturday due to health reasons.

Following the game, Guardiola also admitted that captain David Silva and Rodri had to pulled out of the field due to the “tiredness” and “cramps” that both Spaniards were experiencing.

“For Rodri and Silva it is more tiredness and cramps,” he said. “Rodri was out for a month and games like today are so demanding, but with determination and suffering in certain moments, we did it.”

Following a deflection, Kevin De Bruyne opened the scoring, while Riyad Mahrez, with a bit of bit of brilliance, sealed the three points late in the first half, as City managed to eek out a vital victory over a red-hot Chelsea.

“We beat an incredible top side, Frank is a brave manager – courageous to play,” Guardiola said. “Chelsea are an incredible team, we knew it but we beat them. It was a typical high-level game. Our back four played so good today. In the most difficult period of the game we scored on the counter.

“We created enough chances to score more goals. We score a goal [equaliser] when they were better. Before the goal from them, the game was tight. Then we suffered, but the second half we were much better.”

WATCH: Gabriel Jesus comically misses penalty; Messi pots winner on Argentina return

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As long as Lionel Messi is on the field, Argentina and Brazil is going to be must-watch no matter the location.

Messi converted a rebound of his own won and saved penalty to score his 69th international goal in Argentina’s 1-0 win in a Saudi Arabia-hosted friendly on Friday.

[ MORE: Finland makes history ]

It was Messi’s first match with Argentina since the summer, when he was banned three months for claiming the 2019 Copa America tournament was fixed for hosts Brazil.

Let’s be real, though: You should be here for this terrible penalty miss from Gabriel Jesus.

The Brazilian also won his penalty, but his miss was a dreadful dribble wide of the frame. It clicked three boxes of terrible: no direction, no conviction, no technique.

Silva’s sensational goal highlights Man City win over Palace

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Manchester City scored twice in two first half minutes to dispatch hosts Crystal Palace in a 2-0 win with plenty of flash points at Selhurst Park on Saturday.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

David Silva and Gabriel Jesus scored the goals and Ederson made a number of stylish saves in the victory, with Raheem Sterling and Bernardo Silva supplying assists.

City moves back into second place with 19 points, five behind leaders Liverpool who visit Manchester United on Sunday.

Palace will finish the weekend sixth on 14 points.


Three things we learned

1. Fits and starts for odd CB pairing: Pep Guardiola was without an injured Nicolas Otamendi and perhaps not ready to put 90 minutes on returning John Stones, so he deployed center mids Rodri and Fernandinho at center back. There were several dicey moments for the pair, who also did well at times in the clean sheet, but perhaps most glaring was Rodri’s absence from the midfield. He’d go there for the final 10 minutes when Stones subbed into the match. If you doubted that Pep would make his employers open the checkbook in January, this lineup may have settled that for you.

2. VAR is so weird: Wilfried Zaha shoved Kevin De Bruyne to turf with two hands, turning the playmaker on his route to the turf. Anthony Taylor didn’t see it, but hey, that’s why we have VAR, correct? Incorrect. VAR backed up the ref on the field and Palace remained in the match. Truly head-scratching on a bad day for the system.

3. Zaha not all there but shows flashes of brilliance: Crystal Palace’s Ivorian star wants out of South London, and it’s affecting his play. The winger disputes every touch from the opposition — he is fouled a lot — who knows they can get to him. He’s produced just one assist this season, and he simply doesn’t have the right desire to get things done for Roy Hodgson.

But, my, when he’s ready to roar. Zaha had several mazy dribbles in the final third and was denied a smashing goal by a flying Ederson in the 89th minute. It wasn’t enough to offset the headaches, like when he followed referee Anthony Taylor around the pitch begging for a yellow card following a tactical foul.

Man of the Match: Sterling — A killer at both ends, even if he missed a would-be third goal in the 87th.


[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

City flew out of the gates, and Palace’s heads were spinning over the first 10 minutes despite the reigning champions’ lack of finish.

Palace’s business was in the counter, and Wilfried Zaha raced down the pitch for a chance only to see Fernandinho intervene and cut out the danger in the 19th.

Raheem Sterling made an incredible recovery run to track Zaha after Rodri slipped to the pitch just inside his own half and allowed the Ivorian a path toward glory.

City’s breakthrough came before halftime, as Jesus dove to turn a header off the post and into the goal from a Bernardo Silva cross.

And it was 2-0 within a couple of minutes in marvelous fashion, Sterling scooping a pass over the defense and David Silva spotting the ball in front of him to lash home.

This is sensational stuff.

Joao Cancelo had one of his better performance since joining City from Juventus, and played a 1-2 with Jesus which ended with an amazing save from Wayne Hennesey.

Palace had a vivid spell of possession and nearly pulled one back off a Christian Benteke header which Ederson flew to slap off the crossbar.

At the other end, it should’ve been put to bed when Gabriel Jesus had the ball at the near post and Kevin De Bruyne raced into space for an easy tap-in. Jesus shot instead and was saved.

De Bruyne headed an Ilkay Gundogan pass off the far post with 10 minutes to play.

Zaha saw a rip saved by Ederson, who was fantastic, as time dwindled in South London.