City hit Chelsea for six

Manchester City moved back to the top of the Premier League table in emphatic fashion, beating Chelsea 6-0 at the Etihad Stadium.

City were 4-0 up before half an hour, exposing the visitors defensive frailties to move back above Liverpool on goal difference.

Chelsea began the game by attempting to press high up the pitch but their tactics were undermined within the first five minutes, City taking the lead.

It was the recalled Kevin De Bruyne who began the move with a quick free kick which found Bernardo Silva and, with the Chelsea defence failing to react, crossed for Raheem Sterling to pounce and turn the ball past Kepa Arrizabalaga.

Sergio Aguero should have scored shortly afterwards but, after being set up by Silva, shot wide with the goal gaping.

However, Aguero and City weren't denied for long and he doubled City's lead on 13 minutes, Oleksandr Zinchenko losing possession but the ball fell to the Argentine who shot into the top corner from about 25 yards out.

All Chelsea's plans were in tatters and City continued to pour forward to test a stretched defence and were rewarded on 19 minutes, Aguero getting a rather more scruffy goal but again Chelsea failed to clear the ball from their own area.

With less than half an hour of the game gone it was 4-0 when Ilkay Gundogan took advantage of a poor clearance from Antonio Rudiger and shot home.

City made it five about 10 minutes into the second half, Aguero completing his hat-trick from the penalty spot. Cesar Azpilicueta was ruled to have brought Sterling down in the area and the striker made no mistake from the spot to compound Chelsea's misery.

City have a heavy fixture list in coming weeks, taking on Newport in the FA Cup, Schalke in the Champions League and Chelsea again in the EFL Cup final and Pep Guardiola made changes with those games in mind.

The game already won he took off Aguero and De Bruyne, replaced by Gabriel Jesus and Riyad Mahrez.

It looked as if City were winding down but Guardiola recently suggested the Premier League title race could come down to goal difference and City scored another before the end to be nine goals ahead of Liverpool, Sterling getting on the end of another excellent moving involving David Silva and Zinchenko.

That completed the scoring and City, having played a game more than Liverpool, are back above them at the top of the Premier League.

City are 8/11 to win the Premier League with Liverpool 6/5.

City are 13/8 to reach the final of the Champions League this season with Liverpool 4/1 and Manchester United 14/1.

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Aguero treble hands City win

Sergio Aguero fired a hat-trick of poachers finishes as Manchester City closed in on leaders Liverpool with a 3-1 win over Arsenal at the Etihad Stadium.

The Premier League champions have cut the gap on Liverpool to two points with their win, though the Reds can respond when they face West Ham on Monday evening at the London Stadium.

Just as he was in midweek at Newcastle, Aguero was on the scoresheet in the opening minute – taking 50 seconds before he headed home from six-yards after Arsenal had failed to clear their lines and allowed Aymeric Laporte pick out the Argentine with his cross from the left.

It was almost deeper trouble minutes later when Shkodran Mustafi appeared to drag Aguero to the floor in the penalty box but Martin Atkinson waved play on.

Arsenal grabbed that reprieve with both hands when Laurent Koscielny powered a header home from Nacho Monreal's set-piece delivery after 11 minutes.

The Gunners were on course for parity at the interval but City carved them open on 43 minutes.

Ilkay Gundogan and Raheem Sterling were the architects, leaving Aguero with the easiest of far-post tap-ins to make it 2-1 at the break.

Sterling was the provider once again just beyond the hour, his low cross connecting with the sliding Aguero and just creeping over the line despite the efforts of Bernd Leno. Arsenal may feel that it was Aguero's arm which made the difference in steering the ball goalwards.

The match-winner suggested it was a crucial win having lost 2-1 despite that quick start at Newcastle while Aguero admitted after seeing replays that it looked like hand ball for his hat-trick moment.

"It was important to win. The other day I scored early and we lost, today I am very happy," he told Sky Sports.

"I think it came off my chest, but now I see on TV it was a handball."

Manchester City are now 11/8 to retain the Premier League title, with Liverpoo 8/13 to end their famine. The Reds meanwhile are 11/1 to beat West Ham 3-1 on Monday night.

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Premier League: This is Do or Die for Chelsea

Chelsea vs Manchester City

What a difference two weeks make. Not long ago, Chelsea were in an unbeaten group of three at the top of the Premier League, along with Manchester City and Liverpool.

That group of three has become two, and Chelsea have fallen quickly off the pace. There were whispered tones in West London daring to suggest this could be Chelsea’s year to wrestle the title from Manchester City. But defeats to Spurs and now Wolves have left Maurizio Sarri’s team ten points behind their Saturday opponents.

It might be early to rule the Blues out of the title race, but you only need to look at the Premier League betting odds to see that Pep Guardiola’s team is a strong favourite with only Liverpool currently seen as the serious threat.

It’s starting to look like a two-horse race, and a defeat for Chelsea in this game will all but confirm that.

Talking Points

What’s happened to Chelsea?

Two defeats in three games, conceding five goals between them, have changed the mood around Stamford Bridge from cautious optimism to one of frustration. Sarri’s new regime was going so well, unbeaten in 12 league games and with Eden Hazard playing the best football in the league and scoring for fun. It seemed like Sarri had helped Hazard to move up a notch to join the world’s elite. The addition of goals to his game took him to the top of the Premier League hit men, but the lack of goals in four league games has left the Belgian trailing behind Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as well as two Manchester City players, Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero.

Eden Hazard’s offensive skills will play a vital point for Chelsea to beat Manchester City in their Premier League clash

Eden Hazard looking disappointed after their defeat to Wolves

Hazard isn’t just about goals, of course; he has made six assists already. But there is a feeling with Chelsea’s best midfielders, Jorginho and N’Golo Kante, playing quite deep, and the other strikers misfiring, Alvaro Morata the best with five goals. He needs to do too much on his own.

Chelsea’s setbacks were punctuated by a victory over Fulham, but that wasn’t exactly a breeze against the bottom club. The Blues will need a sharp upturn in performance level to seriously trouble Guardiola’s star-studded side.

Sky Blues are struggling to shake Liverpool off

It started to look like a perfect night for Manchester City as the Wednesday night Premier League updates rolled in: Chelsea and Liverpool were both losing. But Jurgen Klopp’s Reds launched a superb comeback to snatch all three points at Burnley to keep themselves within two points of the Blues.

The league leaders had a small scare at Vicarage Road on Tuesday after seemingly cruising to another comfortable win, but eventually triumphing by a narrow 1-2 scoreline. And at one point, that looked enough to pull the Sky Blues further clear.

But before Pep’s boys take the field at the Bridge, they could easily be in second place as Liverpool have a very winnable fixture away to Bournemouth in the lunchtime kick-off.

History

Chelsea’s Russian investment came in quite a few years earlier than City’s Middle Eastern cash, and that’s reflected in the Premier League head-to-heads. The Blues are on top with 24 wins to City’s 16, and there have been just seven draws.

Recent history is not so kind to Sarri’s team, though, as they haven’t won in the last three meetings. In fact, they have been defeated in all three without scoring a single goal.

Just two wins in the last five, in all competitions, is not the type of form to come into a game like this. Manchester City haven’t lost in 16 games, winning five and drawing two away from home. In addition to Sterling and Aguero, they have goals flying in from the boots of Leroy Sane (six), David Silva (five), and Riyad Mahrez (five). With a +38 goal difference, this team is a frightening prospect, particularly when you see it has only conceded seven goals.

So let’s take a look at the us odds to see where the value is.

Betting tip

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Chelsea vs Manchester City Draw, First Half 1×2 @ 2.11
December 9, 1:30 (GMT+8)

The Sky Blues are just about odds-on at 1.96 to win, while Chelsea are quite long at 3.70 for a home side with such a talented team; the draw is 3.45. It looks like City could well come out on top, considering very recent form. But Chelsea are still unbeaten at home in the league, and Sarri will demand a disciplined performance from his side.

If Jorginho and Kante can get a grip of the midfield, then the Blues might get a solid foothold in the game. Moreover, I doubt there will be more than a single goal in the contest.

It could well be a draw, and it could well be 1-1 at odds of 6.80. But I’m going for a first-half stalemate and a fascinating second, which will show whether the Blues can stem the Champions’ irresistible tide.

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?? = €20 (Highly confident) ?? = €10 (CONFIDENT) ?? = €5 (SOMEWHAT CONFIDENT)

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

 

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Premier League Review: City Dominate the Poor Cherries

Manchester City 3-1 AFC Bournemouth

I don’t think any Premier League fan worth his salt expected anything else out of this Manchester City-Bournemouth match.

While the Cherries have overperformed this season, the fact of the matter is that City have the better team than their south coast guests. Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sane were especially outstanding in a game that didn’t see club hero Sergio Aguero take to the pitch.

Highlights of the game

The Sky Blues were the obvious favourites coming into this game, and only a few expected the possible Premier League 2018 results of this game going against the league leaders. City’s starting XI is still incredibly strong even though Sergio Aguero, the hero behind City’s Champions League draw with Lyon, was listed in the team.

Eddie Howe understood just how talented of a squad Pep Guardiola has and decided to start with five at the back. Lanky defender Tyrone Mings joined Steve Cook, Nathan Ake, Steve Francis and Charlie Daniels in their attempt to keep the hosts from scoring as much as possible.

The Cherries tried their hand in scoring early in order to put Manchester City in unfamiliar territory. Both Callum Wilson and Ryan Fraser tried to score in the first minutes of the game, but the superb City defence prevented anything from happening in favour of the Cherries.

However, Manchester City soon showcased their dominance over their guests in the 16th minute. A long pass saw Sadio Mane with the ball inside the box. He tried to fire a shot, but Asmir Begovic managed to block the shot. However, Bernardo Silva got to the rebound first and scored the opener towards a relatively open goal.

The game began to swing in City’s favour as the Sky Blues began to pound the Cherries’ goal again and again. Ilkay Gundogan, Danilo and Raheem Sterling were especially dangerous during the half as they tried to double their lead.

However, it wasn’t like the south coast visitors were simply taking things without trying their own brand of attacking football. Fraser and Josh King tried their best to push the ball down the wings whenever they had the ball, but the Man City backline was just too strong.

Callum Wilson gave Manchester City after scoring the equaliser in their Premier League clash at Etihad Stadium

Callum Wilson rises for the header and scores the equaliser before the end of first half

The Cherries would soon get their equaliser right as the first half was winding down. Simon Francis was with the ball on the right wing, and he launched a nice lob towards the box. Callum Wilson leapt high and headed the ball past Ederson’s reach. The England international, who should have gotten his call-up years ago,  showed just why the Cherries have been successful this season.

The first half ended in a tie, but City played with renewed purpose in the second half. The Cherries almost weren’t able to hold the football as City upped the ante in the reset. Sterling and Danilo almost scoring during the 54th and 57th minute, respectively. Sterling, Bournemouth’s bogeyman, was soon able to retake the lead in the 57th minute after getting the rebound and firing towards the right corner.

 The match continued and City showed off the quality of their squad by bringing in quality players. Fabian Delph, David Silva, and Riyad Mahrez were all superb substitutes that seemingly only improved City’s XI with their entrance.

Silva, in particular, was instrumental in securing Manchester City’s third and final goal. From a corner, Silva passed the ball deep inside the Bournemouth box to Sane, and the young German made a quick pass to Gundogan. The former Borussia Dortmund man then slotted the ball past the Bournemouth defence for the winner.

The Cherries tried to salvage another late consolation goal, but City cannot be stopped when they play such dominant football. The game lived up to the script set by the Premier League 2018 odds, and Bournemouth leave the Etihad Stadium with a bitter taste in their mouths.

Key statistics

Manchester City played outstanding football to the point that they didn’t allow Bournemouth to touch the football at all. They held the Cherries to 27% possession through the game. They were especially brutal in the second frame as their guests only had 22% of the football. Begovic was quite busy with his three saves, but the final score showcased that the five-man backline didn’t do much in stopping Man City.

However, it’s not all gloomy for Bournemouth fans. Callum Wilson has been involved in 12 Bournemouth goals in his last 15 Premier League appearances. He was also the first forward to score against Manchester City in open play in the PL this season. He is definitely the pick among the Cherries this season.

What’s next?

Pep Guardiola and Manchester are now 5 points ahead in the Premier League table after defeating Bournemouth

Pep Guardiola and Eddie Howe talking after the match

Manchester City’s continued dominance in the league isn’t likely to stop any time soon. Pep’s team will face Watford up next in a game that they should dominate with ease. Chelsea on December 9th will be quite a challenge for them, but I think the Sky Blues have the quality to triumph over Maurizio Sarri’s Blues.

Meanwhile, Bournemouth will be hoping to snap their four-game losing skid against Huddersfield Town. After all, their opponents after the Terriers are Liverpool, and I don’t think Eddie Howe’s team has what it takes to stop them.

For more Premier League news and updates, always check with the reliable writers and punters at us.

 

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Pep: Cherries made it difficult

Manchester City head coach Pep Guardiola admitted that his side had taken their time to get going in their 3-1 home Premier League win over Bournemouth.

The Citizens needed second-half goals from Raheem Sterling and Ilkay Gundogan to see off the Cherries and secure a five-point lead at the top of the Premier League table, with the visitors threatening an upset when Callum Wilson equalised on the stroke of half-time.

And Guardiola was well aware that his players had not been at their best in the early stages of the game at the Etihad Stadium, telling BBC Sport: "A good win. After the Champions League it is always tough. People think it's easy for us, but that is not the truth, so I like to win in this way.

"We were flat (early on), but later we were more aggressive and we changed the game.

"We had a lack of rhythm in the first half – Bournemouth are so fast up front and so hard to play against. They put so many balls into the box, they are so strong.

"In the second half we were much better."

City are now 2/9 to retain their Premier League title, with Liverpool available at 4/1 and Tottenham Hotspur 33/1.

Meanwhile, also on Saturday a first goal for the club from Florin Andone was enough to give Brighton a 2-1 victory at Huddersfield Town, while Crystal Palace ran out deserved 2-0 winners at home to struggling Burnley.

Leicester City eased to a 2-0 success at home to Watford, while Javier Hernandez scored twice as West Ham triumphed 3-0 at Newcastle United to put an end to the Magpies' three-match winning run.

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Premier League: Manchester Pride

Manchester City vs Manchester United

It’s one of the biggest games in the Premier League diary and a fixture we always look forward to. And in Manchester, the battle lines are drawn and the fans on either side become tenser by the minute as the big day approaches.

These two old adversaries have been playing each other since 1881, and every game is eagerly anticipated. On this occasion, it looked glum for the Red half on Wednesday evening as United toiled in Turin while City strolled to a win against Shakhtar. But two late goals gave Jose Mourinho’s team a spectacular win against Juventus, and that breathed life into their preparations for this big domestic clash.

City boss Pep Guardiola insists that Manchester United are still in the title race, but depending on the outcome of Sunday’s match, I’m not sure how many will agree with him. It’s hard for us tips to back against the Sky Blues with their scintillating style and ruthless pursuit of points, but Jose is always up for a big game. Manchester City vs Manchester United highlights are well worth a watch and this one will be no different.

Pep knows how hard it is to rely on form in a derby fixture, and has been keen to point out this is just one more game.

But it isn’t… is it?

Talking points

Mahrez is paying off for City

The Sky Blues overcame a tricky hurdle recently with a 0-1 win away to Spurs, and that’s the kind of result which wins titles. Summer signing Riyad Mahrez scored the winner and he was on target again in the Champions League win over Shakhtar.

The one black mark was his horrendous penalty miss against Liverpool which cost the Sky Blues two points. But apart from that, he looks worth every penny of the £60m fee Pep paid for him with his driving runs, electric pace and a keen eye for goal. Of course, he’s surrounded by attacking talent led by Sergio Aguero and will have to work hard to keep his place alongside the likes of Leroy Sane and Gabriel Jesus.

Can Raheem Sterling score and deliver great performance in their Manchester Derby in the Premier League?

Raheem Sterling tripped himself in their match against Shakhtar Donetsk

Meanwhile, Raheem Sterling has taken the art of falling over your own feet to win a penalty to new levels. When he kicked the ground instead of the ball against Shakhtar Donetsk, the referee, the only man in the stadium to see contact, pointed to the penalty spot as City cruised to a 6-0 win.

United need to start their games more quickly

Could it possibly get any better for the Red Devils after their dramatic last-gasp win against Juventus in midweek? Jose seems to be revelling in his ‘me-against-the-world’ role, cupping his ears at the end of the match to enrage Juve fans and a few of their players.

But that late win was totally against the balance of play, and a similar performance and result against Bournemouth in the Premier League won’t convince anyone Manchester United are about to climb into the top four. It seems like they need to take a first-half bashing before they get into gear, and they could be three down by the break if they start like that against the Sky Blues.

But I don’t think Jose will let that happen in the biggest game of all. Ander Hererra could be a key man for the Red Devils: he did a job on Eden Hazard when United played Chelsea last season and, along with Marouane Fellaini, has the physicality to unsettle City’s stars.

History

Manchester City come into this game on a six-match winning run, including brutal destructions of Burnley, Southampton and Shakhtar. United’s form is far less impressive: they have won the last three but all by a narrow margin, and all three could easily have gone the other way.

But City haven’t had it easy against their rivals, winning just one of the last five meetings and were stunned, on the way to their record season, when the Red Devils came back from a two-goal deficit to win at the Etihad last year.  Paul Pogba scored twice in that game, and United desperately need a big performance from him on Sunday.

The Sky Blues should, in all conventional wisdom, win this match. But Derby games are great levellers, and Jose Mourinho is a specialist in winning the big clashes when least expected.

So let’s have a look at the Manchester City vs Manchester United odds and make a decision.

Betting tip

??
Manchester City vs Manchester United Under 3.25 goals @1.87
November 12, 12:30 (GMT+8)

The Sky Blues are as short as 1.36 to win this game, with United way out at 7.20 and the draw at 5.20. But I expect the Red Devils to put up a real fight, and they could possibly frustrate their hosts if they start from the first whistle.

A 2-0 home win at odds of 7.40 is the most likely scoreline, and that looks about right to me. But remember…this is the Manchester Derby!

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Sterling sights bright City future

Raheem Sterling is confident that there is plenty more to come from both himself and his Manchester City team, having signed a new three-year contract extension.

The 23-year-old England international forward is now under contract with the Citizens until the summer of 2023 and Sterling is delighted with how things have gone since he joined the club, while also being excited about the prospects for the future.

He told the club's official website: "I'm delighted to sign, my development here has been incredible. I felt from the minute I got here it was the right choice for me. It's paid off and I'm really grateful.

"There's definitely a lot more (to come), there's stuff I'm still working on and there's never a time where I feel this is where it stops.

"I always want to get better and get my numbers up – score more goals and get more assists. If I'm producing and other players are producing, that will only help the team."

Sterling joined the Citizens from Liverpool in the summer of 2015 and has since scored 51 goals in 154 appearances in all competitions for the Manchester outfit, helping them to League Cup success in 2016 and Premier League glory last season.

He is also closing in on 50 appearances for the England national team and recently scored twice in a 3-2 UEFA Nations League victory over Spain in Seville.

Sterling can be backed at 5/4 to score at any time in the Manchester derby against United at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday, with Sergio Aguero priced at 4/7 and Leroy Sane 6/4.

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City hit Saints for six

Manchester City returned to the top of the Premier League table, beating Southampton 6-1 at the Etihad Stadium.

Three early goals ensured the emphatic win that takes them two points clear of Liverpool at the top.

City took the lead after just six minutes, Leroy Sane, recalled to the starting line-up in place of Riyad Mahrez, playing a ball across goal and the unfortunate Wesley Hoedt turned it into his own net.

That put an immediate dent into Southampton's plans to frustrate City and just five minutes later it was 2-0, Raheem Sterling doing brilliantly on the win and laying the ball off for Sergio Aguero to score another well-worked goal.

Before the 20-minute mark it was three and Sterling and Sane were again involved in a move that finished with David Silva smashing the ball home.

At that stage it looked as if City could go on to score many more, attacking at will and faced by a side who hadn't scored a goal in the Premier League since the middle of September.

However, they soon rectified that via the penalty spot, Danny Ings being fouled by Eederson in the area and the striker got up to take the kick himself, making no mistake from the spot.

Any slight hopes of a Saints fightback though were effectively ended when Sterling scored City's fourth just before half-time, Aguero setting him up after a defensive mistake from the visitors.

City scored a fifth midway through the second half, Sterling getting his second after again Aguero was the provider.

There was time for a sixth, in the final minute, Sterling forgoing the chance of a hat-trick, setting up Sane who made no mistake from close range.

Sterling, after such an impressive performance spoke afterwards, telling the BBC: "I thought it was a great team performance. Not just with the ball. We were brilliant at times today.

"I am grateful for the position I am in, learning and trying to get better. It is great times at the moment.

"After Liverpool dropped points it was important that we won today. They are a brilliant side."

City have a Champions League encounter with Shakhtar Donetsk in midweek before the first Manchester derby of the season next Sunday.

City are 4/11 to win the game with Jose Mourinho's team 15/2 and the draw 15/4. City are 8/1 to win the game 1-0.

Pep Guardiola's team are 9/2 to win the Champions League this season.

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Southgate praises England bravery

Gareth Southgate heaped praise on his England players for their bravery in a 3-2 Nations League victory over Spain in Seville.

The Three Lions stunned the home crowd by roaring into a three-goal lead by half-time, with Raheem Sterling scoring twice to end a 27-game goalless run, while Marcus Rashford was also on the scoresheet.

And head coach Southgate was delighted by the performance, which saw the visitors score with their only three shots on target in the 90 minutes.

He told BBC Radio 5 live: "The quality of the performance – we played with courage and used the ball with courage. If you come and defend for 90 minutes they will unlock you.

"We really showed some quality and a good mentality to play out of their pressing. Spain are very aggressive in the way they press.

"All our players, right through the team, were brave enough to play the way we wanted to play. It's fine to have an idea of how you want to play, but to do it is a huge credit to them."

In particular, Southgate was delighted with the way the front three of Sterling, Rashford and Harry Kane had put the Spanish backline under pressure for much of the game.

He added: "We spoke to the forward players before the game to remind them what a threat they are, and the three of them were outstanding, causing all sorts of problems all night – a tremendous threat."

England are now priced at 10/1 to win the Nations League, with Spain 3/1 and World Cup winners France 3/1.

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Southgate issues Sterling challenge

England head coach Gareth Southgate is determined to help Raheem Sterling finally end his lengthy goal drought for the national team.

The Manchester City forward has gone 27 England games without a goal since finding the net in a 2-0 European Championship qualifier against Estonia in October 2015.

However, Southgate is not about to give up on his man and Sterling may get another opportunity to end his barren run when England face Spain in a Nations League clash in Seville on Monday evening.

He told reporters: "What do we do? We've got to keep getting him in the right positions. We've got to create chances for him and he's got to keep getting in the right areas.

"But I think it is going to be a confidence thing that when the goal comes he will go on a scoring run.

"I don't think his confidence is low, but I think there are times when maybe you can think a little bit too much about what you’re doing in certain moments. It's about having the freedom just to hit things.

"This is one of the big challenges of international football. You know with your club – well, with his club – you get another five chances in the next 10 or 15 minutes.

"You get fewer chances with us and you have sporadic games, so you don't get another go next week. This is part of dealing with international football and that is his next challenge."

Sterling can be backed at 9/2 to score at any time against Spain, with England 3/1 to secure a draw and 4/1 to keep a clean sheet.

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