Man City comfortable in win over 10-man Wolves (video)

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  • Jesus scores inside 10 minutes
  • Wolves’ Willy Boly sent off in the 19th minute
  • Sterling won penalty kick in first half
  • Own goal in second half puts the game on ice

Gabriel Jesus scored a brace and Kevin De Bruyne made his Premier League return for the first time this calendar year as Manchester City comfortably swept aside 10-man Wolverhampton Wanderers, 2-0. After allowing an early goal, Wolves evening went from bad to worse when centerback Willy Boly was sent off in the 19th minute.

It was Wolves’ first red card of the season in any competition.

With the win, Manchester City moves to within four points of Liverpool’s lead at the top of the table, as the title race heats up this frosty January.

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Controlling the tempo early, Manchester City showed that the club’s recent form, with 16 goals scored in the last two cup matches, could carry over into the Premier League. In the 10th minute, it only took three touches for Man City to go from the backline to the back of the net.

Aymeric Laporte split the Wolves backline with a brilliant pass down the left channel, right into the run of Leroy Sane. Sane played a one-time pass across the face of goal, providing Jesus with a perfect pass that he re-directed home sliding towards the goal.

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While Wolves had a pair of half-chances following the goal, the match became just about out of hand in the 19th minute. Boly, in trying to win the ball off Bernardo Silva, slid in with his studs up, going through Silva in the process. Boly was quickly shown a red card, putting his team in a real hole.

Manchester City continued to attack in the first half as time went by, and in the 39th minute, the Cityzens got their just rewards. Silva played Sterling into the box, and after beating his defender, Ryan Bennett, the latter pulled down Sterling to set up a penalty kick. Jesus stepped up and sent Rui Patricio the wrong way for a 2-0 lead.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

The second half was more of the same, with Man City dominating possession, holding the ball for 75 percent of the time while looking for another goal. Once de Bruyne was brought on for David Silva, a new attacking dimension was added. It ended up leading to Man City’s third goal of the night, as defender Conor Coady turned in a darting cross from de Bruyne in the 78th minute.

David Wagner out at Huddersfield Town

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David Wagner is out as Huddersfield Town manager.

The German coach has seen his side lose eight of their last nine Premier League games as the Terriers are rock bottom of the table and eight points from safety with 16 games to go.

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His charisma, passion and connection with the fans will be missed as the former U.S. men’s national team striker masterminded Huddersfield’s return to the top-flight for the first time since 1972.

Huddersfield chairman and owner Dean Hoyle confirmed that the club and Wagner had agreed he would depart by mutual consent.

“I’d like to begin by thanking David for all he has achieved at Huddersfield over the last three-and-a-half years,” Hoyle said. “His achievements will rightly put him up there in Town history alongside great names like Herbert Chapman and Mick Buxton. As I had said previously, I had no intention of sacking David this season. Subsequently David – being the great man he is – came to us and made it clear that he needs a break from the rigours of football management.

“We discussed making that change immediately, but he also made it clear that he would give his all for the rest of this season before departing in the summer if we preferred. After a long discussion we all felt that David staying at the Club until the end of the season was best, but we’ve kept discussions open and we all now feel that the time is right to part ways. I know the term mutual consent is often a byword for the manager being sacked in professional football, but this is a truly joint decision. David has genuine love fo Huddersfield rand his foremost concern in our talks has been to establish what is best for the club.”

Wagner, 47, arrived at Huddersfield in November 2015 and transformed a struggling second-tier team to one which finished in the Championship playoffs in the 2016-17 season and then sealed their first-ever promotion to the Premier League via the playoffs in May 2017.

Huddersfield then upset the odds to stay in the Premier League in the 2017-18 season, as Wagner worked wonders on a tiny budget to keep them in the top-flight.

Wagner’s final game in charge proved to be a controversial 0-0 draw at relegation rivals Cardiff City, as the Terriers were awarded a penalty kick in the second half but referee Lee Mason then reversed his decision after consulting his linesman.

The Terriers face Manchester City on Sunday (Watch live, 8:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) and their former center back and current member of the coaching staff, Mark Hudson, will take charge for that game as Huddersfield look to who can take charge next.

Sam Allardyce is the bookmakers favorite to become the next Huddersfield manager and although he has previous in keeping teams in the Premier League, this is a huge challenge to take on.

Scoring goals has been a massive problem for the Terriers this season, as they’ve won just two of their 22 games so far and are the lowest scorers in the PL with just 13 goals scored.

Still, Wagner’s departure has not been met kindly by plenty of Huddersfield fans who may have believed he was the right man to start preparing them for a promotion push next season as their relegation from the Premier League seems almost inevitable.

Wagner worked miracles to get Huddersfield in the top-flight in the first place and that will never be forgotten in the Yorkshire town.

Huddersfield need an even bigger miracle if they’re going to stay in the Premier League this season.

Premier League Preview: Man City v. Wolves

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  • Another must-win for Man City’s title hopes
  • Man City 2nd in PL table; Wolves sit 11th
  • Wolves held City to a 1-1 draw in August

Manchester City did the really hard part of reinserting themselves into the Premier League title race — beating leaders Liverpool to cut the Reds’ lead to just four points — but now comes the next challenge for Pep Guardiola‘s side: maintaining that same level of performance in every single game for the next five months so as to, at a minimum, match Liverpool stride for stride, just to remain within four points.

When 11th-place Wolverhampton Wanderers visit the Etihad Stadium on Monday, Man City will already be playing from behind after Liverpool secured a hard-fought victory over Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday.

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Since their top-of-the-table showdown with Liverpool, City have put together two of the most lopsided results you’re bound to see all season — albeit against vastly inferior Cup competition. A 7-0 victory over Rotherham United (Championship) in the FA Cup, followed by a 9-0 demolition of League One side Burton Albion in the first leg of the League Cup semifinals, has the defending champions overflowing with confidence once again, and at just the right time.

On the other side, Nuno Espirito Santo‘s side is riding the roller coaster that is a newly promoted club’s first season back in the PL. Wolves have won back-to-back games in four times this season, while also enduring a six-game winless skid that featured five defeats.

What they’re saying

Man City midfielder Bernardo Silva: “(The) win (over Liverpool) was super important, particularly because it was against the leaders and we must show that we are chasing after the title. Our team has great experience. Each one of us has won and lost games and we know how to react to defeats. That’s why, when we’re at the very top, we don’t think we’re the best in the world and when we’re very low, we don’t see that we are the worst. … We are certainly going to give our best in order to keep the higher level.”

Wolves manager Nuno Espirito Santo: “It’s not about who you face, it’s about what you want to put on the pitch, your idea, the way you want to develop. It’s how you want to grow and how you want to do things on the pitch, that’s the philosophy we try. It’s about the approach. … I know the reality of the game, the reality of football. … They are a very good team, one of the best in the world, so there’s no doubt on Monday they’re going to be as good as they always are.”

Prediction

City didn’t put in that kind of effort and performance against Liverpool just to throw it all away and had the title over their next time out in league play. Don’t be surprised when they look like the City of 2017-18 the next few weeks or months, and that’s a frightening proposition for Wolves.

Reports: Chelsea may activate Ake buyback; Gueye wanted by PSG

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Bournemouth and Everton are in the headlines for reasons other than the Toffees’ 2-0 defeat of the Cherries at Goodison Park on Sunday.

Both sides are being mentioned in Sky Sports transfer centre as potential sellers of lynchpins, which makes the rumors both eyebrow-raising and differing degrees of unlikely.

[ MORE: Southgate, Simeone on Man Utd list ]

One seems wildly amiss, with Paris Saint-Germain linked with a $51 million bid for Toffees midfielder Idrissa Gana Gueye (although could Marco Silva use the dough to bring in ol’ Watford pal Abdoulaye Doucoure? We digress).

The box-to-box giant would certainly help PSG boss Thomas Tuchel in his bid to succeed in the Champions League, but the money would seemingly have to be higher for Everton to consider selling a key part of Marco Silva’s attack-first XI.

The same fee is being quoted for Bournemouth defender Nathan Ake, though the Cherries might have no recourse if the 23-year-old Dutchman fancies a return to Stamford Bridge.

Sold in 2017 after a successful loan stint at the Vitality Stadium, Ake has played 60 times between the loan and permanent stints with Eddie Howe but reportedly has a $51m buyback clause in the deal.

For what it’s worth, we’re now seeing why Real Madrid and Barcelona are putting ungodly release clauses in contracts for players; Eight deals sealed by Premier League clubs this summer and fall are worth more than Ake’s release clause, which would’ve been a Top Two or Three transfer fee for a defender fee when he was signed. Now it’d be sixth.

Everton tops Bournemouth at soggy Goodison (video)

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  • Toffees’ 2nd win since December
  • Zouma, Digne connect for winner
  • Calvert-Lewin adds insurance in stoppage time
  • Bournemouth one point in last four PL matches

Kurt Zouma‘s second half goal propelled Everton to a rare win during a soggy 2-0 defeat of Bournemouth on Sunday at Goodison Park.

The win is Everton’s first at home in the Premier League since a Nov. 24 defeat of Cardiff City, and pushes the Toffees into 10th with 30 points. Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored from an Ademola Lookman assist deep in stoppage time to complete the scoring.

Bournemouth is 12th with 27 points.

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A steady, heavy rain plagued the first half, as players like Gylfi Sigurdsson skidded shots wide of goal which may normally have troubled the goalkeeper.

How sloppy was it? The clubs attempted 15 shots on target, but only two were on target (Both sides hit the woodwork once).

Bournemouth’s David Brooks was very involved, hitting the post late in the half after seeing an early penalty shout rightly denied when Idrissa Gueye made a fine intervention in the box.

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Richarlison had a shot blocked and put the rebound past Asmir Begovic only to see Nathan Ake make a final goal line clearance.

Bernard then won a free kick off Jefferson Lerma, centrally-located from about 30 yards out.

Everton broke through a few touches after a corner kick, as Lucas Digne sent the ball atop the six for Zouma to turn into the goal with a fine header.

Richarlison missed with his attempt of a diving header to turn Sigurdsson’s cross on goal.

Jordan Pickford was needed twice in stoppage time as Everton held on for the win.