Wolverhampton Wanderers

VIDEO: Tactical analysis – How to beat Man City

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Manchester City have been unstoppable over the last two Premier League seasons as Pep Guardiola‘s men have racked up 198 points and secured back-to-back titles.

But cracks are starting to appear this season.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Following their shock 2-0 defeat to Wolves last weekend, a blueprint is emerging on how to beat Man City. Especially with no Aymeric Laporte at center back, John Stones also being out injured and Vincent Kompany no longer around.

With their defensive issues clear for all to see, hitting Man City on the counter is a lot easier than it should be. They are already eight points behind leaders Liverpool and more sloppy positioning and passing in the coming weeks will surely cost them a shot at a three-peat.

Kyle Martino and Robbie Mustoe head over to the tactics board to break things down as they focus on how to beat Man City.

Click play on the video above for their wonderful analysis.

The 2 Robbies podcast: Man City fall to Wolves; Spurs in crisis

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On a busy Premier League weekend, Robbie Mustoe and Robbie Earle are here to discuss all the key moments. First, we look at how Manchester City dropped points to Wolves. Then we touch on how title rivals Liverpool held strong against Leicester (9:00), a Spurs team in crisis (16:00), how Manchester United can turn their terrible time around (21:30), and we highlight a pair of under-appreciated performances that may have a lasting impact come May (37:00).

To listen to more lively conversations and passionate debate from Robbie Earle and Robbie Mustoe, subscribe to The 2 Robbies Podcast on Apple Podcasts or anywhere you listen to podcasts.

Click here for The 2 Robbies archive ]

Follow them on Twitter @The2Robbies

Premier League Preview: Chelsea, Man City, Arsenal, Man United in action

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Sunday’s slate of Premier League fixtures is set to be filled with jam-packed actions, as Chelsea, Manchester City, Arsenal, andManchester United all look to climb up the table.

[ STREAM: Every PL match live ]

Southampton vs. Chelsea — 9:00 a.m. ET, on NBC Sports Gold

Desperate for points, it is likely both Southampton and Chelsea will go for the jugular on Sunday at St Mary’s Stadium.

Coming off of a 2-1 win against Lille in Champions League play, Frank Lampard‘s men are in better spirits, but then again, their season has been riddled with inconsistency. The quintessential embodiment of that is N’Golo Kante, who has been riddled with injuries all season, but is expected to go on Sunday, according to Lampard.

“It’s something we’ll have to watch over the next 24, 48 hours to make sure he’s okay,” Lampard said on Friday. “All the players are on a semi-recovery program after the Lille game but it’s also the fact he hasn’t played much.”

“In terms of the injury, he’s fine and there was no fallout with that from the Lille game so it’s just about making sure he’s fit and ready, which is a call for me to make,” he added.

The home side, on the other hand, have lost two consecutive league games, and are only a point clear of the red line. The Saints, whose last league win at home dates back to last season, won’t count on Cedric Soares or Moussa Djenepo. No pressure, Ralph Hasenhüttl.

INJURIES: Southampton — OUT: Cedric Soares (calf), Moussa Djenepo (thigh)| Chelsea — OUT: Emerson (thigh), Ruben Loftus-Cheek (achilles), Antonio Rüdiger (groin), Marco Van Ginkel (knee)

 Arsenal vs. Bournemouth — 9 a.m. ET, on NBC Sports Gold

Mezut Ozil is nowhere to be found, and Arsenal are on a seven-game unbeaten run. Welcome to the Unai Emery era, which writes a new chapter on Sunday as it hosts Bournemouth.

Fueled by newcomer Gabriel Martinelli‘s brace, the Gunners routed Standard Leige, 4-0, at Emirates Stadium on Thursday. It is the ideal result the North London side needed ahead of Sundays match, but it is misleading in a sense. Despite the positive results, one thing remains true of Arsenal: an unreliable backline. In seven games, the Gunners have allowed 11 goals, a total count that is only one off their goals scored through the seven-game stretch.

Bournemouth, too, have been in worse shape in the past. In September, Eddie Howe‘s side were unbeaten in league play. The Cherries, injured riddles and all, will look to use their current positive run and their previous experiences at the Emirates to their advantage on Sunday.

“What we have to do from our previous visits to the Emirates is start better,” Howe said. “We’ve conceded early goals, which have made the games even harder for us. So if we can start stronger, show a better resolve early in the game, we’ll give ourselves a chance.”

INJURIES: Arsenal — OUT: Alexandre Lacazette (ankle) | Bournemouth — OUT: David Brooks (ankle), Dan Gosling (hip), Chris Daniels (knee), Adam Smith (hamstring), Junior Stanislas (hamstring)

Manchester City vs. Wolverhampton Wanderers — 9:00 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

If Manchester City’s loss at Norwich City in September wasn’t a wake-up call, then who knows what a wake-up call is.

Since their historical woeful night then, Pep Guardiola and company haven’t looked back, winning five consecutive games. City will be without Kevin De Bruyne once again, but as their recent run has showed, there is no lack of firepower from the defending champions. That said, the Spanish manager is aware that against Wolves, any team should be cautious.

“Yesterday they took an incredible result,” Guardiola said about Wolves’ Europa League performance midweek. “I saw the game and they were so solid as expected. At the end, they have a team to make you suffer in the Premier League.”

“They know exactly what they have to do, three or four seasons together and there is a really impressive defensive structure,” he added. “We have to be smart to take a result. ”

Wolves, the outright underdog on Sunday, are far from meeting the expectations set on them, taking up the 15th spot on the league’s table. Recently, with the helpful of more efficient attack and sturdier backline, the Wolves find themselves on a four-game unbeaten streak. Will that be enough to hold off City? Probably not.

INJURIES: Manchester City — OUT: Leroy Sane (knee), Aymeric Laporte (knee), John Stones (thigh), Kevin De Bruyne (hamstring)| Wolves — OUT: None

Newcastle United vs. Manchester United — 11:30 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

Sunday’s visit to St. James’ Park poses as the ideal scenario for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Manchester United to send a message of intent and crawl out of the 11th spot, which has made club officials the lighting rod for criticism.

Without Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard, and Anthony Martial to name a few, the Red Devils will have their work cutout in front of them in one of the league’s most intimidating atmospheres. Still, win on Sunday can serve as the turning point Solskjaer has been looking for all along.

“Of course you don’t enjoy not winning games,” he told Sky Sports. “You put your heart, life and soul into this job. If you win games you are happier, your mood changes but it doesn’t mean your performances have been better – results change mood.”

“For us to get a result [at Newcastle] is vital now,” the manager added. “I think it will change the mood.The boys can go away on their international break and freshen up their heads.”

The Norwegian’s counterpart on Sunday, Steve Bruce, too, is in charge of guiding his club out of internal turmoil. For Bruce, however, who has led Newcastle to only one win this season, the seat is much warmer, and he acknowledges that the pressure  for him to turn the results around continues to worsen.

“Mud has been thrown my way since I walked through the door, that’s not going to change,” Bruce said heading into Sunday’s match. “The only thing that can change it for me is results. I’m determined, if I possibly can, to turn it around and take the club forward. That has been my remit since I arrived.”

“I’m a resilient so and so,” he added. “You wouldn’t be human if it didn’t affect you in some sort of way but you try and get on with your job as best you can. These days you don’t get the time that you would like to get, you have to get results instantly. The flack always stops with me at the top of the tree but that’s the way the job is.”

INJURIES: Newcastle United  OUT: Matt Ritchie (ankle), Florian Lejeuene (knee) | Manchester United  OUT: Paul Pogba (ankle), Anthony Martial (thigh), Jesse Lingard (hamstring), Eric Bailly (knee), Phil Jones (unknown), Aaron Wan-Bissaka (illness)

UEL (early) roundup: Man Utd held to 0-0; Wolves win in Turkey

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A roundup of all of Thursday’s (early) action in the Europa League…

[ UEL (late) roundup: Arsenal run rampant; Chicharito scores again ]

AZ Alkmaar 0-0 Manchester United

Man United have won just three out of 10 games this season (all competitions) after being held to a scoreless draw away to Dutch side AZ Alkmaar on Thursday. Scoreless and without a shot on target, that is. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s side managed just six shots in total — that’s one every 15 minutes of a 90-minute game.

One of Man United’s three wins came against tiny Kazakh side Astana, via a late goal from 17-year-old Mason Greenwood, in the Red Devils’ group stage opener. They have four points and sit second in Group L, behind Partizan Belgrade on goal differential.

Besiktas 0-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers

On a slightly more positive note for a Premier League side, Wolves snatched a stoppage-time victory from their trip to Istanbul. With 93 minutes on the clock, Willy Boly cleverly collected a chipped ball from Ruben Neves, turned in on goal and slotted the ball past the goalkeeper in one fluid motion.

The away win puts Wolves back on track in Group K — where they sit third, trailing Slovan Bratislava and Braga by just a point — after losing at home to Braga in the group stage opener.

Notable (early) Europa League scores

CSKA Moscow 0-2 Espanyol
Wolfsberger 1-1 Roma
Istanbul Basaksehir 1-1 Borussia Monchengladbach
Saint-Etienne 1-1 Wolfsburg
Feyenoord 2-0 Porto
BSC Young Boys 2-1 Rangers

Live, Europa League: Man United, Arsenal, Wolves in action

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Three Premier League teams are in UEFA Europa League group stage action on Thursday, as Wolves and Manchester United face tricky tests away from home.

[ LIVE: Europa League scores  ] 

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s injury-hit United head to AZ Alkmaar in Holland, while Wolves are in Istanbul to play Besiktas in what is a pivotal game for Nuno Espirito Santo‘s team after they lost to Vitoria at home in their opening game of the group stage.

Arsenal host Standard Liege with the Belgian giants full of confidence after a win against Vitoria to open up group play.

Some other eye-catching games see Celtic host Cluj, Rangers travel to Young Boys of Bern, Lazio host Rennes, Porto head to Feyenoord and CSKA Moscow host FC Porto.

Below is the schedule in full for the games which kick off across two windows at 12:55 p.m. ET and 3 p.m. ET.


Early games (kick off time, 12:55 p.m. ET)

Oleksandriya v. Gent
CSKA Moscow v. Espanyol
Feyenoord v. Porto
Young Boys v. Rangers
Saint-Etienne v. Wolfsburg
Wolfsberger v. Roma
Besiktas v. Wolves
Istanbul Basaksehir v. Borussia Monchengladbach
Braga v. Slovan Bratislava
AZ Alkmaar v. Manchester United
Ferencvaros v. Ludogorets Razgrad

Late games (3 p.m. ET)

Celtic v. CFR Cluj
Lazio v. Rennes
Sporting v. LASK
Krasnodar v. Getafe
Rosenborg v. PSV Eindhoven
Trabzonspor v. Basel
Sevilla v. APOEL Nicosia
Dudelange v. Qarabag
Malmo v. Copenhagen
Arsenal v. Standard Liege
Vitoria v. Eintracht Frankfurt
Lugano v. Dynamo Kiev