City hit Watford for six

Manchester City won the FA Cup final at Wembley, thrashing Watford 6-0 and securing an unprecedented domestic treble.

City are the first team in history to win the league title, the League Cup and the FA Cup in a single season and they completed it in style at Wembley, with Raheem Sterling scoring a hat-trick, only the second ever in an FA Cup final.

Watford had the best chance early on but when that went begging there was only one winner with City outclassing the Hornets.

City, fresh from the Premier League title win last weekend took charge early on and had the first opportunity, Bernardo Silva stretching the Watford defence but Gabriel Jesus, in the side in place of Sergio Aguero, couldn't reach the cutback.

Watford though went closest to taking the lead in the opening exchanges, Gerard Deulofeu finding Roberto Pereyra who was through on goal but Ederson did well to make the save.

Watford again, on a rare attack, threatened and appealed for a penalty when a shot from Abdoulaye Doucoure was blocked in the area by Vincent Kompany who was ruled not to have handled.

At the other end Heurelho Gomes failed to gather a cross which Raheem Sterling was close to forcing home but City were totally dominating possession and it was no surprise when they took the lead midway through the first half, Sterling again involved, heading the ball on and David Silva latched onto it and fired home.

A second before half-time duly came and Bernardo Silva produced a beautiful pass which found Jesus on the left and he managed to get enough on the ball to get it over the line though Sterling was on hand to make sure and get the final touch. He was credited with the goal which proved important later on.

So 2-0 was the half-time score with City in complete control and they almost made it three just after the restart, Jesus nodding home from a corner but it was ruled out for offside.

They didn't have to wait long however, substitute Kevin de Bruyne getting on the end of a move between Jesus and Sterling and finishing coolly.

City made it four on 68 minutes, de Bruyne again involved and Jesus, if not claiming the second goal, certainly had the fourth, waiting for Gomes to commit and sending the ball past him.

There was still time for a fifth and this was definitely Sterling getting on the end of a cross after great work again from Bernardo Silva.

Then, with three minutes remaining he completed his hat-trick, Gomes saving well from the England striker's initial shot but the rebound fell kindly for him and he bundled the ball home to complete the rout and end an outstanding season for Pep Guardiola's side.

City are priced at 8/11 to win next season's Premier League with Liverpool 11/4 and Manchester United 16/1.

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Premier League: Manchester Derby Delight for Sky Blues

Manchester United 0-2 Manchester City

Pep Guardiola took Manchester City back to the top of the table tonight with a priceless win at Old Trafford over city rivals United.

Two quick-fire goals from Bernardo Silva and Leroy Sane won the game and consigned the home side to a seventh defeat in nine games.

This was a match with huge implications for both Manchester clubs, with City chasing back-to-back Premier League titles and United desperately trying to regain some momentum in their chase for a top-four place.

The Red Devils certainly recovered some pride with a high-energy performance, but in the end, the Sky Blues’ quality was just too much.

The Premier League 2019 betting odds to win the title have swung further towards Manchester City with three games to play, but it’s going down to the wire.

Highlights of the game

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has admitted his Manchester United are not ready to compete with the league’s elite, and may not be ready next season, either. But they started this game intent on showing that, on their day, they can take on the very best. Paul Pogba first Ederson with a low strike from distance.

The Sky Blues’ top player of the 2017/18 campaign, Kevin De Bruyne, has had an injury-riddled season and missed out on the derby with a hamstring knock.

His latest absence meant a return for David Silva, who put in a superb performance, while Guardiola brought more experience into the side with Vincent Kompany at the back. But the City skipper picked up an early yellow card for a foul on Marcus Rashford.

The Sky Blues eventually got into their stride, though. Raheem Sterling almost wrong-footed David De Gea when his shot was deflected by Chris Smalling, but the Spaniard got down well to save.

For United, Pogba looked up for this game. He lobbed a beauty of a ball over for Jesse Lingard, who lifted his first-time effort wide. Bernardo Silva then tested De Gea again with a fierce shot which the United keeper beat away. And at the other end, Rashford fired a long-range effort over.

Manchester United keeper David de Gea looks upset following their 0-2 defeat to Man City in Premier League

Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea looks disappointed following their 0-2 defeat to Manchester City

City began to take control as half-time approached. David Silva linked up brilliantly with Sergio Aguero before Raheem Sterling took over. But as he worked himself into a yard of space he shot too close to De Gea. And with the last chance of the half, Aguero fired wide as the Red Devils deservedly held out until the break.

The Sky Blues came out for the second period at a higher tempo. David Silva found Leroy Sane, whose squared ball just evaded everyone. But the Blue half of Manchester erupted on 54 minutes when Bernardo Silva cut inside Luke Shaw and fired a low shot inside De Gea’s near post.

City almost made it two a minute later, but Aguero’s shot crashed off the base of the post and flew wide.

The Red Devils were handed a good chance when Pogba was felled by Bernardo Silva just outside the penalty area. However, the Frenchman blasted his free-kick into the City defensive wall.

And then, in the blink of an eye, it was 0-2. City broke at speed as Sterling slid the ball sideways to Sane, who fired home the second. De Gea got a boot to the shot, but the sheer force took the ball into the net.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer brought Romelu Lukaku on, and he had a cross-shot which Ederson kept out. But the home side, loyally backed by their fans, never gave up, and that was a big improvement on their showing at Everton last weekend.

Key Statistics

With pre-match us odds pointing to an away win the outcome was no surprise, but at the break, it looked far from certain.

But two early goals in the second half made it 11 league wins on the trot for City, the best of any side in the Premier League this season.

Solskjaer has not won in his last six meetings with Manchester City, two as a manager and four as a player.

Vincent Kompany’s yellow card was his tenth in Manchester Derbies and that’s another record!

What’s next?

Red Devils’ fans were reeling from a 4-0 hammering at the hands of Everton last weekend but they won some pride back with a spirited fight against Manchester City tonight and are still in the top four race.

Tottenham Hotspur Asian Handicap -0.25 @ 2.12 1X2 Ajax @ 2.97 Total Goals 2-3 @ 1.93 Third Line text CLICK HEREDisclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.UEFA – Champions League

Next up they have another crunch match when Maurizio Sarri brings rivals Chelsea to the Theatre of Dreams. The Blues boss may be in the stands after landing an FA charge for his conduct at the end of a bad-tempered clash with Burnley on Monday night.

Manchester City’s title charge continues with a testing visit to Turf Moor where Burnley awaits. Fresh on the back of their 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge, the Clarets will be plotting to give another of the big boys a bloody nose.

It promises to be another momentous weekend and we’ll be right here with all the latest Premier League 2019 updates as the season heads towards a scintillating climax.

 

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Bernardo could miss Palace trip

Pep Guardiola is unsure whether Bernardo Silva will be fit enough to feature for quadruple-chasing Manchester City on Sunday at Crystal Palace.

The 24-year-old Portugal international faces a late fitness test after missing City's Champions League quarter-final first leg defeat at Tottenham on Tuesday with a muscle injury.

When asked whether Bernardo would be able to feature at Selhurst Park, Guardiola replied. "We will see on Saturday.

"He is an incredible player. Playing wide he is a fighter. He's so intelligent and clever defensively. He knows when to cut back inside and with the ball, he can do anything."

Guardiola also gave an update on Oleksandr Zinchenko, who missed the 1-0 defeat to Spurs as well.

"I don't know if he will be fit for Sunday," the City boss added.

"In a few positions, we have enough players. In others, we have problems but we are not in the process to think about anything other than the next game.

"From now until the end of the season, every game is a Final. We will play with the team that is the best to face Palace based on physicality and the personality of our players.

"Selhurst Park is always a difficult place to go, not just for the stadium but for the quality of the players they have in all departments. They are really well-organised and they have the quality to do well in one-on-one situations.

"They have done so well – 11 points clear of relegation. They have had incredible results. We have six games left of the Premier League. We know what we are playing for and we are going to prepare well."

Manchester City are 3/10 to win at Selhurst Park and 6/1 to emerge victorious 2-0.

Silva: Seven more wins needed

Manchester City midfielder Bernardo Silva was delighted to see his side keep their Premier League title hopes in their own hands by claiming a 2-0 victory at Fulham.

The Portugal international netted the opening goal at Craven Cottage, before Sergio Aguero added a second as the Citizens cruised to a seventh successive league success.

The result lifted the Citizens a point above Liverpool at the top of the table, with the Reds playing host to Tottenham Hotspur at Anfield on Sunday afternoon.

And, with the two title rivals having currently played 31 games apiece in the top flight so far this season, Silva told Sky Sports: "When you're top of the league, it's in your hands. If we win the seven games left, we will be champions.

"We were very motivated knowing that Liverpool have (played) one more game than us. We had to start the game with high intensity and that is what we did.

"This season the team has been very focused after international breaks, almost the entire squad is available and we are ready for hopefully the next two months to try and win some titles.

"The team is very excited. This is the moment all players want to live. We can win them all, or lose them all. Everything is on the table."

Next up for the Citizens is a visit from Cardiff City on Wednesday evening, with the meeting of the two sides earlier this season in South Wales having finished in a 5-0 victory for the visitors.

The men from Manchester are 1/12 to claim all three points and are 6/1 to win the game 3-0, with the Citizens 4/11 to eventually retain their Premier League title.

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Silva eyeing up silverware

Midfielder Bernardo Silva is eager to win more silverware in the future, having signed a contract extension with Manchester City which runs until the summer of 2025.

The 24-year-old Portugal international joined the Citizens in the summer of 2017 and has since scored 18 goals in 93 appearances in all competitions, helping City to win the Premier League title last season.

He has also enjoyed success in the League Cup both this season and last and is determined to add to his medal tally in the coming campaigns.

He told his club's official website: "It's an honour to extend my deal with Manchester City. This club offers everything a player needs to fulfil their ambitions and there's nowhere else I want to be.

"As soon as I heard City wanted me to stay longer, my mind was made up. I love the club, the manager, the players and the fans.

"The style of football we play here excites me and I am determined to win more trophies. City gives me the best chance of doing that."

City are back in action at teatime on Saturday when they head to South Wales to take on Swansea City in an FA Cup quarter-final tie.

The men from Manchester are unbeaten in their last 13 meetings with the Swans and have won the last five matches between the two sides.

The Citizens can be backed at 1/7 to win the game in 90 minutes and are 11/2 to secure a 2-0 victory in normal time, with Pep Guardiola's side 4/5 to go all the way and lift the FA Cup this season.

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Silva makes City quadruple claim

Bernardo Silva firmly believes that Manchester City can target the quadruple this season with key players returning from injury.

The 24-year-old Portugal international moved to the Etihad Stadium from Monaco in summer 2017 and made 53 appearances in all competitions last term as City won the Premier League and Carabao Cup.

Silva is on course to match that number of outings this term as Pep Guardiola's men look to defend last season's titles and add the FA Cup and Champions League to them.

Guardiola claimed it was "impossible" for his side to win the quadruple earlier in the week, but Silva insists that City can target success on four fronts as the squad is now almost at full strength.

David Silva, Fernandinho, Sergio Aguero and Ilkay Gundogan are back in action after spells out, while longer term injury victim Kevin De Bruyne is also now back in the fold.

Left-back Benjamin Mendy is expected to return from knee surgery in the near future, along with goalkeeper Claudio Bravo, with Vincent Kompany potentially ready to make his comeback against Huddersfield this weekend.

City sit four points behind Premier League leaders Liverpool in the table, have booked their place in next month's Carabao Cup final after their 9-0 semi-final first leg win against Burton Albion.

They will face Burnley on home soil in round four of the FA Cup later this month and have a two-legged Champions League last-16 tie against German Bundesliga side Schalke from mid-February.

Looking ahead, Silva said: "It feels like we have all the squad, which is important because we need all of them.

"It is good finally to be back together.

"Of course until this moment of the season we have had so many injured players, we never played with the whole squad. To have almost the whole squad available is fantastic for us and it is very good to try and go for all the competitions."

City are 50/1 to win the Premier League, FA Cup, Carabao Cup and Champions League this season, while they are available at 2/1 to emulate last season's league and League Cup double.

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Silva demands good reaction

Bernardo Silva is desperate for Manchester City to return to winning ways when they play Southampton at St Mary's on Sunday.

City have suffered back-to-back defeats to Crystal Palace and Leicester City this week and also lost at Chelsea earlier this month.

Pep Guardiola's team are third heading into this weekend's fixtures and are 7/4 to win the title this season while Liverpool can be backed at 8/11.

Liverpool, who have seven more points than Manchester City at the halfway point of the campaign, visit the Etihad on Thursday.

Midfielder Silva said: "The last days were not good for us, to lose two games in a row. Especially in this important part of the season, it is never good.

"Now (we have) to check what we have been doing wrong, try to improve those areas and start winning games as fast as possible.

"Seven points starts to be a lot and we have to admit we are not in a good moment and try to come back. We need a good reaction from all the lads, that is what we will try to do at Southampton."

Fernandinho may once again miss out because of a thigh problem while Fabian Delph is suspended after being sent off on Boxing Day at Leicester.

Hasenhuttl expects City response

Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl expects his side to have to put in a 'perfect performance' to get anything from their meeting with Manchester City.

The Citizens have dropped seven points off the Premier League title pace following defeats to Crystal Palace and Leicester City in their last two games, while the Saints picked up back-to-back wins over Arsenal and Huddersfield Town before losing out 2-1 to West Ham on Thursday evening.

However, Hasenhuttl is not expecting anything to come easy against the reigning champions of England when the two sides meet at St Mary's on Sunday afternoon.

The Austrian told reporters: "It's not normal for Manchester City to lose two times in a row. They also have a few injury problems, but there is so much quality in this squad.

"Maybe they lost a bit of self-confidence after being in the lead and losing two times, but we expect the most difficult challenge that is possible.

"If we want anything out of the game, then we need the perfect performance."

Saints can be backed at 9/2 to gain a draw against City, who are 1/3 to win the game and 1/1 to keep a clean sheet.

Meanwhile, Citizens forward Bernardo Silva has warned that he and his team-mates have to get back on track quickly so as not to lose even more ground to both leaders Liverpool and second-placed Tottenham Hotspur.

He added: "We are not playing as well as we want, we have to find an explanation. We have lost two games that we should not do if we are in a race for the title.

"It is mathematically possible – but we have to be almost perfect from now. We have to start winning games again, otherwise things will get complicated."

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Guardiola: City ‘lack confidence’

Pep Guardiola feels Manchester City are 'lacking confidence' following a 2-1 defeat at Leicester City, their second successive Premier League defeat.

The setback at the King Power Stadium means the champions have slipped to third spot in the table, now seven points behind unbeaten leaders Liverpool.

Jurgen Klopp's men clinically dispatched Newcastle at Anfield with a 4-0 win on Boxing Day to stretch their lead, while Tottenham's 5-0 win over Bournemouth at Wembley was enough to hoist them a point clear of Man City in second place.

The champions grabbed a 14th-minute lead when they took advantage of poor defending from Leicester, Sergio Aguero releasing Bernardo Silva to score.

Marc Albrighton levelled within five minutes however and, while City eventually laid siege to the Foxes goal in the second half it was Ricardo Pereira that blasted the winner from 18-yards with just nine minutes remaining.

Fabian Delph was sent off late on as City were left to count the cost of a second defeat in five days – both games in which the scored first.

"It was a similar performance to the Crystal Palace game, we started well but conceded a goal the first time they arrived in our box. Mentally we are lacking confidence in that situation," said Guardiola afterwards.

"We have to accept it, we have to realise that we have to work harder and try to get immediately one good result and get our confidence back."

Man City are 1/3 to end 2018 with a win over Southampton at St Mary's on Sunday. Saints are 15/2 to win the game, with the draw priced at 4/1.

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Premier League: Champions Floored by Foxes and Fall to Third!

Leicester City 2-1 Manchester City

A brilliant late winner by Ricardo Pereira gave Leicester City a stunning victory over Manchester City as the champions fell to third place in the Premier League race.

us football fans have a brilliant second half of the season to look forward to, and this Manchester City team will be right there to the end. But Pep Guardiola’s men won’t have it all their own way.

The big pre-match news was that Kevin De Bruyne was fit to start his first game of the campaign. But even he couldn’t help City avoid back-to-back defeats, and with Liverpool and Spurs winning 4-0 and 5-0 respectively, the Boxing Day league table makes grim reading for Pep.

Highlights of the game

Manchester City bossed the early exchanges without much penetration, but they didn’t have to wait too long before they pierced the Foxes’ defence. It was an incisive move as Sergio Aguero collected the ball deep in the Leicester half and poked it through to Bernardo Silva who took a touch before sliding the ball past Kasper Schmeichel.

Bernardo Silva failed to carry Manchester City as they fell to 2-1 defeat at Leicester City in Premier League

Bernardo Silva celebrates with teammate Sergio Aguero after scoring the opening goal

It’s not so long ago that Sky Blues’ fans didn’t have to worry too much about Premier League 2018 updates, happy in the knowledge their team was almost unanimously agreed to be gliding to another title. But recent results left Pep’s team trailing Liverpool and just two points ahead of Spurs, and that unsettled one or two in the away end when the news came through that both were ahead.

A few more were worried on 19 minutes when Leicester equalised with a brilliant counter-attack. James Maddison swept the ball out to Jamie Vardy on the left, and his cross was expertly headed back across goal and into the corner of the net by Marc Albrighton.

Kevin De Bruyne hit a 30-yard rocket straight at Schmeichel as the champions launched wave after wave of attack. The Foxes did have a chance to go ahead, but Vardy’s attempt was well saved by Ederson; the visitors’ keeper also kept out Maddison’s follow-up. Teams tend to up their game when the champions come to town, and Leicester were certainly doing just that.

Harry Maguire was working particularly hard and did brilliantly to head clear when Aymeric Laporte threatened early in the second half before he swept away a dangerous cross from Raheem Sterling. Manchester City ramped up the pressure and Leroy Sane twice came close, struggling to get his shot away when there was panic in the hosts’ penalty area; they failed to get onto the end of a De Bruyne centre in a sweeping move.

Guardiola played his hand with 20 minutes remaining, taking off De Bruyne and bringing on David Silva. The Sky Blues continued the press while Laporte ably patrolled the back when Leicester did make the occasional foray forward. That was until Ricardo Pereira popped up on 81 minutes to give the Foxes a shock lead with a stunning goal.

Ricardo Pereira’s goal completes the giant killing act as they defeat Manchester City in the recent Premier League clash

Ricardo Pereira celebrates scoring their second goal

Sane cleared a Leicester corner at the near post to Pereira around 25 yards out. And instead of lobbing the ball back into the mix, he fired a beauty through a forest of legs. The ball flew into the corner to send the King Power crowd delirious.

And it got a whole lot worse for one City player as Fabian Delph headed off for an early bath, a minute before the 90, after an ugly studs-up challenge on Pereira earned him a straight red.

Key Statistics

For all their 67 per cent possession, the Champions could only muster one more shot than Leicester, with 11 to ten, and they paid the ultimate price.

It was only the second time in 11 years that Manchester City lost on Boxing Day, and the first time the Foxes have avoided defeat since their promotion in 2014. Moreover, it ends a run of three consecutive defeats against the Sky Blues.

What’s next?

Having beaten Chelsea last week and now Manchester City, you’d think Leicester head coach Claude Puel will be safe for another week or so. The Foxes are at home to Cardiff City on Saturday then bring the New Year in with a trip to Europa-chasing rivals Everton.

The Premier League 2018 betting markets have taken a fascinating twist over the last few days as Pep Guardiola’s favourites have wobbled spectacularly. The Sky Blues head to the south coast to take on an improving Southampton, then on the 3rd January, they have a chance to peg back Liverpool when Jurgen Klopp brings his league leaders to the Etihad.

What a game that will be!

 

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