Kyle Walker

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Guardiola reacts to Community Shield, Walker on wild clearance

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Pep Guardiola and Manchester City landed their first bit of silverware with a victory over Liverpool in the Community Shield, outlasting their Premier League title rivals in penalty kicks on Sunday at Wembley Stadium, and quickly turned his eye to defending the league for a second time.

“It was a good test for both teams,” Guardiola said. “It’s nice for the players to realize what they will face this season. At this level the difference is nothing. One penalty, one point. United will be back, Arsenal, Tottenham, Chelsea… I don’t know what will happen.”

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The pace of play was frantic, and there could have easily be seven or eight goals between the teams if Raheem Sterling, Kevin De Bruyne, and Mohamed Salah had their finishing boots.

Sterling did score, early, and Joel Matip‘s late equalizer forced the match to penalty kicks, where Claudio Bravo saved Georginio Wijnaldum‘s effort in the second round.

It was a thriller, even if wasteful, with Kyle Walker making an incredible goal line clearance to keep the shield within reach. He also has the title on his mind.

“I’m a defender, I stop goals,” Walker said. “I’m glad I can help the team out this time. It’s too early to say, there’s a lot of good teams in this league but hopefully we can be up there or thereabouts.”

Guardiola wasn’t too worried about the second half pressure well-applied by the Reds, who probably deserved the win over 90 minutes.

From the BBC:

“An incredible final from both sides, no team can dominate for 90 minutes. We had real good moments, in the last 15 minutes we were exhausted and they had chances to win the game.”

As for the title, neither team was at full strength. Liverpool was without Sadio Mane, while City left Sergio Aguero and Ederson on the bench and also did not have access to Aymeric Laporte.

Walker extends Man City deal; Hummels returns to Dortmund

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Kyle Walker has extended his contract at Manchester City until the summer of 2024.

Walker, 29, has signed a two-year contract extension to his current deal at City with the England right back a huge part of their back-to-back Premier League titles wins.

Speaking about his new deal at the Etihad Stadium, Walker was delighted to extend his time playing under Pep Guardiola.

“I’m thrilled to have signed a new deal. Playing for City has been everything I’d hoped it would be and more,” Walker said. “It was an easy decision. I want to be competing for trophies, playing at the highest level, and I feel I have improved hugely as a player during my time here. The Club’s vision – both on and off the pitch – matches mine perfectly and I’m looking forward to spending the new five years here, hopefully winning more silverware.”

Walker has had his critics for some of his defensive work, but there’s no doubt he has improved on the ball under Guardiola and he is now versatile enough to play at center back if needed too.

His power and pace down the right flank gives City an extra option in attack and he has fulfilled his wish of winning trophies following his $63 million transfer from Tottenham in the summer of 2017 with two PL titles, two League Cups and an FA Cup to his name.

Walker has seen off the challenge from Danilo to his right back slot but it is believed City Joao Cancelo will arrive from Juventus this summer to push Walker further at right back. If he does lose his slot to Cancelo he can also play at left back at a push and at center back, so that versatility will be hugely important for Guardiola moving forward.


Everyone says you should never go back, but Mats Hummels has.

The German defender, 30, has returned to Borussia Dortmund after a three-year spell at Bayern Munich, as he heads back to the club where he won back-to-back Bundesliga titles from 2010-12.

Hummels returns to Dortmund on a three-year contract for a transfer fee in the region of $35 million, as that is only $4 million less than Bayern bought him for in 2016. Since then he has won four-straight league titles with Bayern Munich, his boyhood club, but couldn’t help them get any closer to winning the UEFA Champions League title again.

Even though he hasn’t played as well as he would have liked for Bayern and Germany over the past season or so, Hummels is still a very reliable center back and is also capable of playing out of the back. Given Dortmund’s raft of young defenders he could also be key in their development and the fact he left Dortmund in the right way and was a hero in their back-to-back league titles means he will be welcomed back with open arms.

Dortmund have now added Thorgan Hazard, Julian Brandt and Hummels during the offseason as head coach Lucien Favre has also signed a new contract. The second-place Bundesliga team from last season have certainly got their business done early as they look to jump ahead of Bayern who just pipped them to the title in 2018-19.

Hummels’ influence on and off the pitch at the Westfalenstadion will be hugely important for Dortmund.

Sterling, Walker joke about bad misses in hilarious Twitter banter

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Raheem Sterling and Kyle Walker have been both club and international teammates for nearly two years now, since the latter joined Manchester City back in the summer of 2017. That’s plenty of time for the two to build a strong friendship, and often that includes some good-natured banter.

Manchester City topped Leicester City 1-0 on Monday to put the Citizens back in the pole position for the Premier League title with just one game to go, a massive result that has left Pep Guardiola with just one more 90-minute battle to navigate to see this tense title challenge through. Still, the match was nervy until Vincent Kompany‘s absolute belter to win it, as City dominated the second half but found it difficult to break Leicester City down inside the penalty area.

Until Kompany’s thunderous strike, Man City’s finishing left much to be desired, kept out by Kasper Schmeichel on a number of occasions and leaving City fans nervous they would be held to a draw that would see Liverpool take over as title favorites. Once the result was secured and the pressure was lifted, Sterling and Walker had a little fun at each other’s expense, poking fun at each other’s poor finishes earlier in the match. Sterling first retweeted a fan who sent him a Walker shot from distance in the 17th minute that flew miles over the bar. Walker responded with a 52nd minute Sterling header that also found the seats high over the bar, joking that it looked more like a defender sending the ball out for a corner.

Now now fellas, all in good fun.

The two deserve to enjoy themselves after the season and stretch Manchester City has put together. The club has won a stunning 13 matches in a row, without dropped points since late January. Both Sterling and Walker have missed just one match during that stretch, otherwise both proving vital to the side. The two have often combined on the right flank, although recently Sterling has been moved to the left to accommodate Bernardo Silva.

To pile on the jokes, Sterling mentioned Walker’s skied effort on Instagram as well, adding to his Instagram post about Kompany’s winning blast, “And if anyone has updates for the one @kylewalker2 hit in 1st half, please let us know.” Sterling then posted on Twitter that “legend says we still looking for that ball #nowheretobefound.”

Palace eliminates Spurs from FA Cup

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Tottenham Hotspur’s miserable January continued Sunday with a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Crystal Palace in the FA Cup.

Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino had targeted cup success and was flummoxed when Chelsea avenged a first leg deficit by knocking the North Londoners out of the League Cup at the semifinal stage at midweek.

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Now nine points adrift of leaders Liverpool in the Premier League and facing Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League’s Round of 16, Spurs’ avenues toward a first trophy since the 2008 League Cup.

Having conceded a ninth minute tap-in goal to Connor Wickham and a penalty to Andros Townsend for a handball on Kyle Walker-Peters, Spurs were handed a chance to jump back into the game when Patrick Van Aanholt caught Juan Foyth in the box.

Enter Kieran Trippier and exit music for a wide effort.

Spurs host Watford at 3 p.m. ET on Wednesday.

Make sure to tune-in for our special Transfer Deadline Day show on NBCSN on Thursday, Jan. 31 from 5 p.m. ET as we focus on all of the moves across the Premier League in the January window. You can stream the show live online right here.

Guardiola: Man City needs to ‘recover mentally’ and physically

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Pep Guardiola says Crystal Palace was exceptionally clinical in its 3-2 defeat of Man City on Saturday, and that his men helped the visitors with a terrible conceded penalty.

[ RECAP: Man City 2-3 Palace ]

City enters Christmas four points back of leaders Liverpool, and Guardiola’s men are not looking like the beasts we’ve so often seen in City blue over the past 16 months.

Part of that comes down to Kyle Walker, who may rue watching the highlights of this one even beyond his conceded penalty.

He had a rough game starting with the room he allowed Jeffrey Schlupp for Palace’s opener, and was especially poor when he chopped down Max Meyer in the box for what would stand as the decisive goal for Palace when Luka Milivojevic converted the chance to make it 3-1 for the Eagles.

From the BBC:

“The third goal … We cannot concede the penalty we conceded. We have to try and avoid it. Football is like this. Three shots on goal and three goals.

“There are a lot of games to play. We have to recover mentally and recover our physicality.”

City next heads to the road for matches at Leicester City and Southampton, two sides who won on Saturday, while Liverpool hosts Newcastle United and Arsenal.