PRO SOCCER TALK | NBC SPORTSPST Select Team

Ilkay Gundogan

Chelsea - Man City recap
Photo by JULIAN FINNEY/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Chelsea ends Man City’s 2-year Premier League reign

Leave a comment

Willian and Christian Pulisic scored to give Chelsea a 2-1 win over Manchester City and crown Liverpool the 2019-20 champions of the Premier League.

[ MORE: Full PL TV schedule ]  

Kevin De Bruyne scored for Man City in the loss, but Fernandinho was sent off by VAR to send Willian to the spot for the match-winning penalty.

Man City now maxes out at 84 points, two behind the massive haul of 86 collected by Liverpool through 31 matches.

Chelsea is now just one point back of third-place Leicester City, their 54 points five better than Manchester United and Wolves.

CHELSEA – MAN CITY FULL MATCH REPLAY


Three things we learned

1. The Blues are for real and Werner is coming: The center forwards have not been good enough this season, even though young Tammy Abraham has bagged a lot of goals. Chelsea under Frank Lampard have produced an awful lot of chances, second only to City in the PL, but a clinical finisher could make them a genuine title threat.

2. Fernandinho’s hard-luck decisive moment: Pep Guardiola pulled a Javier Mascherano in turning one of the best defensive midfielders into a center back, and Fernandinho has been a war horse for City. But his hand ball on the line was not going to escape VAR, and he’ll miss at least three matches for the straight red card.

3. Pulisic isn’t (just) an American marketing tool: Well duh, but we’re probably going to be on this one for a long time, but those who criticized Chelsea’s big money purchase of the USMNT star certainly don’t have many reasonable excuses left in their locker after he scored his seventh goal in 17 Premier League matches by torching Benjamin Mendy to put Chelsea up 1-0.

He’s the real deal, guys.

4. Kevin De Bruyne is unreal: We knew that one, too.

Man of the Match

Andreas Christensen —The Chelsea center back blocked a shot with his face in his most memorable moment, but collected three clearances, four tackles, and an interception to go with it while winning all eight of his duels and passing at 95 percent. He also completed two dribble attempts.


Chelsea – Man City recap

The early moments were all Man City, but Chelsea provided some danger via a Christian Pulisic- and Willian-led rush which resulted in a 13th-minute corner kick.

Kepa Arrizabalaga denied City in the 18th minute, both sides now promising plenty for the remaining 70-plus minutes.

City was under big pressure after the half-hour mark, Ederson making a few key saves including Andreas Christensen’s headed off a 33rd-minute corner.

Chelsea got its goal through Pulisic’s brilliant long dribble following an Ilkay Gundogan and Benjamin Mendy produced error. Ederson couldn’t stop the American’s classy finish inside the far post.

VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

De Bruyne equalized against his old mates with a devastating free kick up-and-over the wall to beat a sailing Kepa.

Chelsea nearly answered within a minute after a terrific Cesar Azpilicueta through ball produced a corner, but instead City countered for a possible go-ahead goal.

Raheem Sterling beat Kepa but not the frame as his 57th-minute shot hit the post.

Pulisic looked to have his second, but Kyle Walker slid to somehow keep the finish out of the goal.

Pulisic was among three players to nearly score in the 75th minute but VAR awarded the penalty and sent off Fernandinho for a handball. Willian did not miss.

Gundogan: ‘World-class’ Jimenez good enough to play for Man City

Photo by Sam Bagnall - AMA/Getty Images
Leave a comment

The transfer speculation surrounding Raul Jimenez doesn’t appear likely to disappear anytime soon, and Ilkay Gundogan is more than happy to throw more fuel on that fire.

[ VIDEO: Kevin De Bruyne speaks with Rebecca Lowe on coronavirus lockdown ]

Just how good is Wolverhampton Wanderers’ superstar striker? Well, according to Gundogan, he’s plenty good enough to play for one of the world’s richest — dollars and talent alike — clubs in the world, Manchester City. Jimenez ticks all the boxes for a “world-class” striker, making him a perfect fit for any of the Premier League’s top-six sides, not the least of which being Man City — quotes from Sky Sports:

“I think he has everything a world-class striker needs. For a striker he is so mobile, but also physically so good and talented technically on the ball. I can imagine him playing with us.

“Maybe not on that level yet, but he reminds me a little bit of [Robert] Lewandowski, because I’ve played with him. In terms of style, I think there is still a lot of potential.

“It’s so difficult to predict but I think he would get a chance in every single top-six team and there’s a good possibility he could do well.”

Jimenez is 28 years old, meaning it would hardly be a long-term investment for City, but if Pep Guardiola and Co., are seeking a short-term bridge replacement when Sergio Aguero, who’ll turn 32 this summer, leaves the club, Jimenez makes all the sense in the world. Two or three highly productive years of Jimenez — and he would score a boatload of goals with those midfielders and wingers supplying him — would be more than enough to pinpoint and acquire, and bring along, the next great City striker.

Ilkay Gundogan: ‘OK’ to award Liverpool Premier League title if season cancelled

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan believes that Liverpool have every right to be awarded the Premier League title if the the season were to be cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Liverpool, who haven’t lifted a top-flight title for 30 years, currently hold a 25-point lead over second-best City, and are two wins away from officially sealing the title.

“For me, that would be okay, yes,” Gundogan told German broadcaster ZDF, after being asked if Liverpool should be named champions if the season were to end early.

Despite believing that awarding Jurgen Klopp and company the title is the fair thing to do, the Germany international is concerned that the cancellation of the league will not only backfire on the top threshold teams but those on the bottom end of the table as well.

“You have to be fair as a sportsperson,” the 29-year-old said. “There are different opinions. For clubs who have had a very good season, it obviously wouldn’t be nice if it was cancelled now.”

“On the other hand, for clubs who aren’t doing as well and are maybe in the relegation places, an abandonment would obviously suit them.”

Gundogan added he’d be open to taking a wage-cut should City and other English clubs follow Juventus and Borussia Dortmund’s lead in asking players to trim their earnings in order to play non-playing staff.

Of course I think it’s okay, that goes without saying, [but] there’s been no discussion in England yet,” Gundogan said. “Perhaps that’s because the English clubs are a bit financially stronger than the clubs in Germany at the moment.

“I don’t know who has the final say in that decision. On the other hand, if a player says, ‘no, I don’t want that, I worked hard for it, I get my salary,’ then it can go in the opposite direction.

“For me personally, it would be okay but, to be honest, you have to be tolerant and if there are players who are against that, then that’s also an acceptable situation.

Man City wins third-straight League Cup

Man City wins third-straight League Cup
(Photo by Matt McNulty - Manchester City/Manchester City FC via Getty Images)
Leave a comment

Manchester City won its third-straight League Cup trophy, outlasting a game challenge from Aston Villa at Wembley Stadium on Sunday.

[ MORE: “Clinical” Foden reacts ]

It’s the eighth trophy of the Pep Guardiola era at Manchester City, as Rodri and Sergio Aguero scored in a 2-1 win. City’s seven league cups trail only Liverpool’s eight.

Mbwana Samatta pulled a goal back for Villa, who was denied extra time by a brilliant Claudio Bravo save. City had 70 percent of the ball and a 22-5 shots edge, but made a furious bid over the final few minutes.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]


Three things we learned

1. Another trophy for City, with new heroes: Winning silverware never gets old, and this one will feel especially nice given the tumultuous season at the Etihad Stadium and impending UEFA Champions League ban. Villa proving difficult to beat lent the occasion more intensity.

The names helping City to glory were mostly new to the trophy chase, or at least unusual to it. Rodri helped set up the first goal and scored the second. Phil Foden was an absolute menace. And Bravo made a tremendous late save to ensure the match didn’t go beyond 90 minutes.

2. Foden announces himself: It can be easy to tire of the “did the young English player play and how did he play?” storyline with Premier League, but this isn’t that: Phil Foden was electrifying in this one, recalling fellow spark plug Jack Grealish on the opposite sideline.

The kid was sensational, completing 90 percent of his passes including two key passes. He completed three of four dribbles, won 7 of 10 duels, and made an interception to go with two tackles. That says nothing of his ability to move the ball in tight spaces before finding a safe outlet. Wonderful from a kid who’s still a teenager until May 28.

3. Bad call burns Villa, as fans provide occasion: Neither the AR nor head referee saw the ball touch Ilkay Gundogan last ahead of a wrongly-awarded Man City corner. VAR isn’t going to be deployed for every corner, nor should it be, but the missed call allowed Gundogan’s corner that Rodri buried for 2-0.

Villa’s fans were tentative early, but snapped to life once Samatta scored and found another level after the hour mark. It will have been a memorable day for a big club even if Dean Smith‘s men can’t shake the relegation blues.

Man of the Match: It’s between Rodri and Foden, with an acknowledging nod to Villa defender Tyrone Mings. We’ll give it to Rodri, City’s underrated star.


Early chances went both ways, Anwar El Ghazi heading over the goal at one end before John Stones headed a Gundogan did the same at the other.

City took the lead on an incisive, clinical play. Rodri swept a pass over the line to a streaking Phil Foden, who cut back for Aguero.

The Argentine had plenty to do with a leaping side-footed finish of an airborne ball.

El Ghazi cut around Stones to shoot toward the near post, but Claudio Bravo was in position.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Rodri had it 2-0 off a Gundogan corner that should not have been. The ball went off Gundogan last on the end line, but VAR cannot review every corner.

Villa got one back when Stones fell over, allowing El Ghazi to cross between Fernandinho and Oleksandr Zinchenko for a waiting Samatta.

City couldn’t find the goal to put the game to bed and introduced Kevin De Bruyne for Ilkay Gundogan, Guardiola not content to ride out a one-goal win.

Rodri almost had another when Nyland pawed away a 74th-minute bid, and Aguero slipped in a bid to side volley a Sterling cross past Nyland.

Villa won a corner in the 87th minute through the industry of Trezeguet, the crowd again meeting the moment. Bravo made an incredible save to push Bjorn Engels‘ header off the post.

Opportunistic Spurs top 10-man Man City

Leave a comment

Steven Bergwijn and Heung-Min Son scored second-half goals on Spurs’ only two shots of a 2-0 defeat of Manchester City at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

It’s a statement win for Jose Mourinho, whose Spurs climb into fifth place on 37 points. City maintains a two-point edge on third-place Leicester City.

City outshot Spurs 17-2 and produced four big chances to Spurs one, but that’s not going to bring any comfort to the two-time champions sitting 22 points back of Liverpool.


Three things we learned

1. Bergwijn announces himself: The 22-year-old Dutchman arrived from PSV Eindhoven, and certainly carried a lot of promise in the long-term. Lucas Moura‘s no-look chopped cross came to Bergwijn inside the 18, and he had plenty to do. Bergwijn settled it for a hard volley inside the far post. He had been more of an assist merchant at PSV this season, but starting life in North London with a goal recalls more of his 14-goal, 12-assist 2018/19 season.

2. Tanganga the new McTominay: Follow us here. Scott McTominay was a surprise youngster that Mourinho brought into the first team at Manchester United, and is now a locked-in starter when healthy. Japhet Tanganga doesn’t turn 21 until March, and all but one of his senior appearances have come in the Mourinho era.

He was very decent again on Sunday, playing fullback against one of the most explosive attacks in the world. Tanganga made four tackles, three interceptions, and three clearances while blocking a shot. He won nine of 12 duels.

3. Lloris the beast: Spurs’ captain returned to the pitch last match after 15 weeks off, and he reminded the world of his incredible skill set on Sunday. Lloris saved a penalty and made a remarkable kick save on Aguero early in the contest. On a day City had an 11-1 shots advantage at the break.

Man of the Match: You could go one of three directions here. Bergwijn scored on debut and it was a beauty, and Tanganga was a big part of the win. But looking past what Lloris did to keep Spurs alive during the first half onslaught would be an error.


There was an early Dele Alli chance for Spurs and a fine intervention by Ederson on another long through ball, but most of the frame took place in Tottenham’s half.

Raheem Sterling was fortunate to not be sent off for a studded tackle, and VAR somehow concurred with the on-field ruling.

Sergio Aguero was stymied by an incredible Hugo Lloris save and the goal post on the best effort, while both he and Kevin De Bruyne lashed contested wide of the near post from three yards.

The flash point of the match came when Serge Aurier clipped Sergio Aguero and Mike Dean pointed to the spot. It was one of those decisions which wasn’t going to be changed conclusively either way.

Ilkay Gundogan stepped to the spot, and Lloris denied him with a sprawling save. Raheem Sterling pushed the rebound out of bounds just before Lloris caught his foot, causing a ruckus and another VAR review. No penalty, no red cards.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ] 

The tone and tenure of the match changed when Harry Winks picked off a terribly played corner and zipped down the pitch. Oleksandr Zinchenko ran into the charging Englishman, and Winks hit the deck for a second yellow card.

City would play 30 minutes down a man.

It was all downhill from there for City, who conceded two goals in 10 minutes Bergwijn scored an incredible goal off Lucas Moura’s clever assist.

Then Heung-min Son saw his shot from the edge of the box take a deflection to fool an already-flying Ederson.

Lloris made a stunning save on a De Bruyne improvisation in the 89th minute.

Powered by WordPress.com VIP