Manchester City record
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Latest Manchester City record a very Pep Guardiola mark

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Manchester City did what now?

The Premier League soon-to-be runners-up set a league record for passing on Wednesday in a 5-0 blowout of Newcastle United at the Etihad Stadium.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Led by David Silva in a vintage performance, Pep Guardiola’s men completed 787-of-840 passes according to Opta.

Silva completed 104 of those passes at 94 percent, and City’s 93.7 completion rate is the best percentage since the league started keeping passing data 17 years ago.

That includes an almost absurd 42-of-48 (86 percent) on long passes (nuts!). Rodri only misplaced one of his 50 passes and striker Gabriel Jesus completed all of his 21 passes despite playing in the thick of the final third.

Here’s Pep Guardiola, who likes a pass, y’know? From the BBC:

“We played really good all the games but unfortunately dropped points. In general the way we are playing and the performances are really good. … David Silva is a huge competitor, playing in the small spaces he is a fantastic player. He played really good.”

Sometimes it’s better to get feedback from the people on the other end.

Steve Bruce really put a bow on facing City on Wednesday.

“Interview in the rain after being beaten 5-0, painful. Not as half as painful as watching that. We are disappointing but they were far too good for us, we have to do better, we gifted them some goals and you cannot do that against a team of this caliber.”

No kidding. City finishes with Brighton, Bournemouth, Watford, and Norwich City and also had to contest an FA Cup semifinal, possible final, and the Champions League next month.

VIDEO: Top 25 Manchester City goals from 2019-20 season, so far

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Manchester City’s 68 goals are the most in the Premier League this season, though that’s little consolation as the threepeat quest is a mere quarter-century of points off level footing.

Picking the best Man City goal of 2019-20 so far is a big ask. Luckily we have 25 from which to choose a winner.

It’s truly difficult to choose a favorite Kevin De Bruyne goal, let alone a favorite City goal. In fact, City goals challenge you on several levels.

There’s the absolute rocket from distance against Newcastle United at St. James’ Park, but also the back post bullet versus Arsenal (not to be confused with the low rip from a bit more central against Arsenal).

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

Then there’s Gabriel Jesus’ tremendous odd-angled curler into the back post against Burnley, which wasn’t even the best goal of that match thanks to Rodri’s missile from outside the 18.

Manchester City goals
(Photo by Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images)

I mean, City’s class and hopefully we’ll get to see them shine soon enough in a safe environment.

The UK government has currently set lockdown measures until May 7 and British prime minister Boris Johnson will now give his next update on Sunday, May 10.

The next Premier League club meeting will be on Monday, May 11 to move ‘project restart’ to the next phase, and possibly vote on resuming the season.

All 20 Premier League clubs have so far agreed that they want to finish the current season but only when things improve and it is safe to play again.

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)
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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.

Rodri, Guardiola react to latest Man City setback (video)

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Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola didn’t speak to the press for a long time after his side’s 2-0 loss to Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.

It was an exceptional time to wait for a managerial response, and it would be easy to imagine the Catalan mastermind tearing into his team in the interim.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Rodri lifted the lid on the manager’s mindset in a post-match interview around an hour after the match concluded on the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium pitch.

“He’s frustrated because we work a lot and prepare incredibly for the matches. We put on the pitch what we train. We do it, we don’t concede anything. We have 18 I think shots on target.

We miss one penalty, one cross bar, one post and I don’t know if football is being fair with us now. We prepare, we create, we go, we go, and it seems nothing is going well but we have to keep going.

“We qualified for the final of one tournament, okay, the Premier League now is out, but we have more tournaments and competitions, so we have to keep fighting.”

[ MORE: Mourinho reacts to win ]

Frustrated or not, when Guardiola finally did speak to the cameras he was mostly dismissive of the loss aside from some criticism for Oleksandr Zinchenko‘s second yellow card that turned the game on its ear.

City out-attempted Spurs 18-3 but both of those attempts wound up in the champions’ goal within 10 minutes of the red card.

Here’s Pep, via the BBC:

“With this performance, how should I be critical of my players? I was talking with my staff and my wife and some players. With this performance it would be an incredible mistake to say how bad they are. It is not true. Football is for creating chances and conceding few. A few times this season it has happened.

“The sending off was a key point. We finish with 10 or 11, it’s completely different in terms of quality. …. We said at half-time be careful, yellow cards are a fast and quick action and sometimes to make a decision in that moment is not easy.”

The two-time defending Premier League champions sit 22 points off leaders Liverpool. They’ll host West Ham on Feb. 9 before a two-week break and a March 22 scrap with third-place Leicester City.

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.