Nicolas Otamendi

Getty Images

Guardiola: Man City must ‘learn’ and ‘carry on’ after loss to Norwich

1 Comment

It’s what everyone least expected: Norwich City walking out victors in their match against defending champions Manchester City at Carrow Road on Saturday.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays | Three things we learned]

But it happened, and even Pep Guardiola, who has very little experience of floundering against underdogs, had to come to terms with the hard reality that his team was outplayed in their 3-2 loss to a recently-promoted side in what could well be the upset of the year. From the BBC:

“Congrats to Norwich. The first goal was from a set-piece and the second on the counter so credit to them. It is what it is. We have to learn from this and carry on.

“Our passing was not bad. We created chances but we could not score them today. They are a really good team with good players with quality, we saw that in the Championship last year, they were clinical today.”

Perhaps a bigger pill to swallow for the two-time Premier League winning manager is the fact that his side are five points behind league-leaders Liverpool, who comfortably ahead of the pack, show no signs of wear and tear. Ultimately, it’s losses like Saturday night’s that will have Guardiola and Co. on the outside looking in for the majority of the long season ahead.
There is enough blame to go around at Man City. In the 50th minute, Nicolas Otamendi coughed up the ball inside the box for an easy, game-winning goal for the Canaries. Guardiola’s side also struggled to create clear-cut chances in the attacking third, despite dominating the stats sheet. Overall, it was an underwhelming night from a side that lives and breathes success under the 48-year-old.

“We did not have urgency in the final third that we normally have,” Guardiola added. “In football you can’t always avoid mistakes. I don’t know how many shots we had or how many they had, but football is about goals and about what you do in the boxes.”

It’s only September – there is plenty of time for Man City and Guardiola to figure things out, obviously.

Insane finish sees Man City win League Cup in penalties

Michael Regan / Getty Images
2 Comments
  • Man City wins sixth League Cup
  • Chelsea fails to put shot on target
  • Kepa refuses to sub off before PKs

After 120 minutes of scoreless play, the League Cup Final between Chelsea and Manchester City went down to penalty kicks.

A series of penalties with chaos embedded in them due to a bust-up between Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri and goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga after the latter refused to sub out of the match in extra time.

Raheem Sterling‘s penalty ultimately clinched Manchester City’s sixth League Cup.

[ MORE: Lineups, play-by-play, box score ]

The start was tame, save a Sergio Aguero shot that was stopped by Kepa Arrizabalaga but headed wide of the goal.

The play lived in Chelsea’s end, but the Blues dealt well with the danger en route to a pair of late free kicks. Nicolas Otamendi nearly turned one inside his own goal, and a corner on the last breath of the half was blocked by Oleksandr Zinchenko.

[ MORE: Man Utd-Liverpool recap | 3 Things from OT ]

Eden Hazard earned a breakaway early in the second half only to be caught and tackled by Otamendi.

Aguero had the ball in the goal but was offside in the 56th.

Hazard blazed down the left wing again in the 66th minute, meeting a Willian and long ball and cooking Vincent Kompany before cutting back for N'Golo Kante. The Frenchman flew his chance over the goal.

Chelsea kept coming. Willian set up Ross Barkley for a curling effort with a bit too much loft to threaten Ederson.

Antonio Rudiger was fortunate to see yellow after a pair of fouls helped Man City to a 73rd minute free kick, the latter a scissoring tackle of the ball.

Hazard cued up Pedro for a prime 76th minute chance, but the Spaniard chose to pass rather than shoot and Zinchenko cut it out.

Ederson stopped a whipped Willian free kick in stoppage time, and Chelsea had a corner kick to avoid extra time. City handled it well enough.

Extra time was tame into the second frame, when Sterling danced down the end line and Chelsea defended desperately to force just a corner kick.

A sloppy sequence in the 117th minute allowed Aguero a shot from 20 yard that Arrizabalaga dove to control.

Then, with penalty kicks looming and Arrizabalaga twice down injured, Maurizio Sarri went apopletic when the keeper refused to come off for Wily Caballero. The sub board was up, but Arrizabalaga wouldn’t leave!

To kicks.

Jorginho‘s tame first effort was saved by Ederson. The next shots were goals.

Arrizabalaga then guessed correctly on Sergio Aguero, but the Argentine’s shot went through his gloves. After Emerson finished for Chelsea, Arrizabalaga saved Leroy Sane’s hit.

Then David Luiz hammered the goal post.

Man City marvelous in 10-man comeback win (video)

AP Photo/Martin Meissner
Leave a comment
  • Bentaleb converts two PKs with VAR help
  • Otamendi sent off for second yellow
  • Sane unleashes late free kick equalizer
  • Sterling finds winner five minutes later.

Two goals in the five minutes gave 10-man Manchester City a memorable 3-2 win atSchalke on Wednesday in the first leg of the two sides’ UEFA Champions League Round of 16 encounter.

Leroy Sane’s vicious 85th minute free kick and Raheem Sterling‘s 90th minute finish helped offset Nicolas Otamendi’s 68th minute sending off at Veltins-Arena.

Sergio Aguero scored early for Man City, but Nabil Bentaleb converted a pair of penalty kicks to give Schalke a lead which would last for nearly 40 minutes.

The second leg is March 12 at the Etihad Stadium.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Man City was in the ascendancy from the start, but Schalke basically handed the visitors their opening goal.

Salif Sane was sleepy in his readiness for a goalkeeper pass, and David Silva made the steal. The Spaniard squared for an Aguero tap-in that was defended slightly better by VAR but stood for 1-0.

Another giveaway provided City with a break, but Raheem Sterling couldn’t manage a shot when played into the left of the box.

City attempted eight shots by the half-hour mark.

Daniel Caligiuri’s left-footed shot from outside the 18 took a turn off Nicolas Otamendi’s arm as the City defender bid to get his arm closer to his body, and VAR awarded a penalty in the 36th minute after a significant wait.

Bentaleb got Ederson going the wrong way for 1-1.

Fernandinho conceded another penalty in the 44th, but would it stand? This one, too, went the route of VAR, but the cameras did nothing. Bentaleb converted for 2-1.

And City went down a man in the 68th minute when Otamendi collected his second yellow card, this time for a foul when Guido Burgstaller cut past him.

American midfielder Weston McKennie was subbed into the match in the 78th minute after a busy night in the midfield.

That’s when City struck. First, Sane hit an impeccable hammer of a free kick home in the 85th minute before Sterling slotted into the far post on the edge of stoppage time.

Man City defensive leader Otamendi signs through 2021-22

AP Photo/Rui Vieira
Leave a comment

Manchester City defender Nicolas Otamendi is a part of the long-term, signing a new deal to keep him with the Etihad Stadium through the 2021-22 season.

[ MORE: Fred to Man City? ]

The 29-year-old Argentine center back has authored four goals this season, and has found a groove in Pep Guardiola‘s system.

Otamendi leads the team in aerials won (3), interceptions (1.7), clearances (3.5), and offsides drawn per game (1.1) while also five times being named Man of the Match for City. He leads the team in yellow cards, too, with seven.

Here’s Otamendi, from ManCity.com:

“My only aim is to help the team and give all I can for this Club. I am learning every day under Pep and enjoying my football and I feel I can still improve as a player. I’m a family man who enjoys being at home and I love living in Manchester, you sort of get hooked by it.”

Man City survives late Newcastle charge

Leave a comment
  • Sterling scores from De Bruyne
  • City wins 18th-straight
  • Newcastle with 20 percent possession
  • First City league match with just one goal in 13

Raheem Sterling‘s 13th goal of the Premier League season lifted Manchester City to a 1-0 win over Newcastle United at St. James’ Park on Wednesday.

Man City improves its table lead to 15 points with the win, while Newcastle remains 15th with 18 points.

City hadn’t been involved in a 1-0 match inside of Premier League play since a Sept. 30 win over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

Newcastle hosts Brighton on Saturday, while City is off to Crystal Palace a day later.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Newcastle’s plan to find any unlikely way past Ederson began off the opening kick, as Jonjo Shelvey tested the Brazilian from midfield.

City held possession, to no one’s surprise, as St. James’ Park was good value for volume despite its long odds.

An adventurous diagonal ball from Fernandinho to the back post saw Sergio Aguero flub a shot off the outside of the goal.

Kevin De Bruyne blazed over goal from the chalk of the arc as City crept closer to an opener.

Moments later, Vincent Kompany was removed from the match with another injury, making way for Fernandinho’s move to center back and the introduction of Gabriel Jesus up top.

A picture perfect free kick from De Bruyne was nodded on frame by Aguero, and Elliot made a sensational reaction save to keep it scoreless.

Aguero then tore into a 30th minute shot from 25 yards and just clipped the outside of the goal post.

Man City went ahead through Sterling, who got just enough of his left foot on a De Bruyne pass to fool Elliot.

Newcastle almost countered its way to an equalizer, as Kyle Walker fell attempting to track DeAndre Yedlin‘s cross. Rolando Aarons tried to sail a ball into the far post, but Nicolas Otamendi cleared the effort off the line.

That wasn’t the end of the hosts’ pressure, and the Magpies saw a pair of corners defended by City. A lightning counter from City ended with a corner collected by Newcastle’s Elliot.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Sterling danced through Yedlin and Jacob Murphy to poke a cross to Aguero, who couldn’t reach the offering.

Elliot stopped a tepid Ilkay Gundogan shot in the 54th after the German stripped Mohamed Diame.

Aguero had it 2-0 when De Bruyne’s whip off the post zipped onto his path, but the Argentine was offside.

Sterling chopped down Jacob Murphy at the other end to give Newcastle a rare chance at danger, but Ederson ended any chance at a scare.

Dwight Gayle thought he’d earned a penalty kick, though most others didn’t, when he leapt through Danilo inside the box with 15 minutes to play.

Newcastle nearly tied it late when substitute Christian Atsu‘s cross was headed wide of the frame by Gayle.