KEVIN DE BRUYNE
Man City into FA Cup semifinals, keeps quadruple dream alive
Manchester City's Ilkay Gundogan, right, celebrates after scoring his side's opening goal during the English FA Cup sixth round soccer match between Everton and Manchester City at Goodison Park in Liverpool, England, Saturday, March 20, 2021. (AP Photo/Jon Super, Pool)With an unprecedented quadruple still a possibility for Manchester City, the pressure on Pep Guardiola is intensifying heading into the final two months of the season. I will not watch games.”Few would begrudge him the break, with an intense 34-match, four-month stretch -- featuring games every three or four days -- concluding with a 2-0 win over Everton in the FA Cup quarterfinals on Saturday. AdIndeed, Guardiola’s players are sweeping all before them this season, having also reached the final of the English League Cup, the quarterfinals of the Champions League and forged a 14-point lead in the Premier League. "I’m looking forward to everyone coming back safe.”Southampton is the other team through to the FA Cup semifinals after beating second-tier Bournemouth 3-0 earlier Saturday.
Reality TV star helps 4th-tier Crawley cause FA Cup shock
Leeds United's head coach Marcelo Bielsa reacts during the English FA Cup third round soccer match between Crawley Town and Leeds United at Broadfield Stadium in Crawley, England, Sunday, Jan. 10, 2021. And, rather embarrassingly, the latest defeat was administered by a fourth-tier team containing a reality TV star making his debut in professional soccer. Crawley caused a major upset on Sunday, beating Premier League team Leeds 3-0 to make a mockery of the 62-place gap between the clubs in English football’s pyramid. Later, eighth-tier Marine hosts Premier League giant Tottenham in the biggest mismatch in the history of the cup, with 161 spots separating the teams. On Saturday, sixth-tier Chorley eliminated second-tier Derby and Premier League team West Bromwich Albion was ousted by third-division Blackpool.
No fans, no goals: United, City draw Manchester derby 0-0
Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne takes a shot at goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Manchester United and Manchester City at Old Trafford in Manchester, England. There have been 150 top-flight Man U v Man City derbies with United having won 58 and City 45, with 47 draws. (AP Photo/Paul Ellis/ Pool via AP)MANCHESTER – Being shut out of the Manchester derby might not have seemed so bad for fans after all. United and City drew 0-0 in a drab Premier League encounter that saw the rivals manage only two shots each on target between them on Saturday. So the 183rd Manchester derby was the first one in an empty stadium.
Fans return to the EPL as Chelsea, Man U enjoy comeback wins
The fans — 2,000 from West Ham, 2,000 from Chelsea — had contrasting experiences on opposite sides of London. Chelsea’s players treated their select group of attending fans to a comeback of their own at Stamford Bridge. The match saw respective managers Frank Lampard, of Chelsea, and Marcelo Bielsa, of Leeds, meet for the first time in the Premier League. Meanwhile, Guardiola didn’t make a single substitution, at a time when he is pushing the Premier League to increase the number of replacements from three to five for player-welfare reasons. It’s now 11 goals in 11 games for the Everton striker after scoring the equalizer in a 1-1 draw at Burnley.
City lacking usual spark amid injuries, fixture pile-up
Manchester City's Riyad Mahrez reacts during the English Premier League soccer match between West Ham and Manchester City, at the London Olympic Stadium Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. Star midfielder Kevin De Bruyne will be on board, recently back from injury and fresh from protestations about the workload being forced on soccer players this season. “I try to demand everything from my players,” City manager Pep Guardiola said at the weekend, “but there is a limit for human beings.”Sympathy is usually in short supply when it comes to Man City and the debate over workload and fixture congestion. In short, being the busiest team in English soccer in recent years appears to be taking its toll. If he is to add to his collection of trophies won at City since 2016, don’t expect them to come easily this season.
Van Dijk injury causes concern for frustrated Liverpool
Early in what proved to be a painful Merseyside derby for Liverpool, Van Dijk was the subject of a reckless lunge by Jordan Pickford that saw the Everton goalkeeper clatter into the extended right leg of the Netherlands defender. Van Dijk roared in agony and, tellingly, stayed down. There was no official word from Liverpool on the potential length of his absence, but Van Dijk reportedly left hospital on crutches in the evening. Van Dijk might have been marking Keane and Calvert-Lewin for both of those Everton chances. For Southampton’s second goal, Kurt Zouma underhit a back pass before goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga made two errors in a matter of seconds to allow Che Adams to score.
Lyon stuns Man City 3-1 to reach Champions League semifinals
Lyon's Moussa Dembele, centre, celebrates with teammates after scoring his team's third goal during the Champions League quarterfinal match between Manchester City and Lyon at the Jose Alvalade stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2020. (Franck Fife/Pool Photo via AP)LISBON Lyon stunned Manchester City to reach the Champions League semifinals for the first time in a decade, with Moussa Dembl scoring twice for the French outsiders Saturday to seal a 3-1 win that sets up a meeting with Bayern Munich. It leaves Pep Guardiola without a Champions League title since 2011 with Barcelona, falling short in three attempts with Bayern Munich and once again in his fourth season at City. Guardiola's decision to deploy an unfamiliar five-man defense to match Lyon's system backfired with the back line easily beaten for Maxwel Cornet to score in the 24th minute. And there was a glaring miss by City forward Raheem Sterling, blazing the ball over an empty net, before Dembl scored again.
United, Chelsea into CL; Bournemouth, Watford down from EPL
(Oli Scarff/Pool via AP)Manchester United and Chelsea qualified for the Champions League at the expense of Leicester on a frantic final day of the Premier League season on Sunday, while Bournemouth and Watford were relegated to end five-year stays in the top flight. United won 2-0 at Leicester through goals by Bruno Fernandes and Jesse Lingard to give Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's team a third-place finish. Captain Jack Grealish scored Villa's goal in what could be his last game for his boyhood club. Bournemouth did what it had to do and beat Everton, 3-1, but ended up one point behind Villa. Also, Southampton beat Sheffield United 3-1, with Danny Ings scoring his 22nd goal of the season.
Henderson voted player of year in England by soccer writers
Liverpool's Jordan Henderson holds the English Premier League trophy aloft after it was presented following the Premier League soccer match between Liverpool and Chelsea at Anfield stadium in Liverpool, England, Wednesday, July 22, 2020. (Paul Ellis, Pool via AP)LONDON Jordan Henderson was voted player of the year by soccer writers on Friday after captaining Liverpool to its first English league title in 30 years and also playing a leading role in raising money for Britains health service during the coronavirus pandemic. Henderson beat Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne to the award by the Football Writers Association. As grateful as I am, I dont feel like I can accept this on my own, said the central midfielder, who lifted the Premier League trophy on Wednesday. Jordan Henderson is both the ultimate professional and now a bona fide Liverpool legend.
4-0 rout by Man City deepens Watford's relegation concerns
(Adrian Dennis/Pool via AP)WATFORD As the ball rolled past him and Manchester City's score racked up, goalkeeper Ben Foster increasingly feared for Watford's Premier League survival. It wasn't even lifted by Watford's last desperate roll of the dice firing its third manager of the season. Sterling set up the third when his close-range shot was saved by Foster Watford's star performer and Phil Foden tapped into an empty net in the 63rd minute. Javi Gracia was still at the helm when City crushed Watford 6-0 in the final game of last season in the FA Cup final. The Champions League doesn't resume until August when City will be protecting a 2-1 lead over Real Madrid in the last-16.
Relegation fight heads to last day of Premier League season
(AP Photo/Peter Powell,Pool)Aston Villa is out of the Premier Leagues relegation zone for the first time in five months. The fight to avoid dropping out of the worlds richest domestic league is heading to the final day of the season, with two relegation places still to be filled and three clubs in realistic danger. Arsenal lost to a relegation contender two days after beating Manchester City in the FA Cup semifinals, highlighting the inconsistency that still bedevils Mikel Artetas team. CITY ROUTIf Watford does go down, at least it wont have to play Manchester City next season. Kevin De Bruyne provided the cross for Laportes goal for his 19th assist of the season, one off Thierry Henrys record for one season.
Analysis: Man City court win after flawed UEFA prosecution
City fans are celebrating a squad of lawyers outsmarting UEFAs judicial machinery in extra time and saving the club from a devastating two-year Champions League ban. It is still the biggest sanction for an English club since City was fined 30 million euros in the original 2014 FFP case for overspending. Clubs across Europe made a combined profit of 140 million euros in 2018 compared to losses of 1.163 billion euros in 2009 before FFP was implemented. The CAS verdict only reinforces City fans grievances with European footballs governing body. Meanwhile, City could end an extraordinary season by lifting UEFA's biggest club prize for the first time: The European Cup.
Week after toasting title, Klopp hurting after rout by City
Manchester City's Raheem Sterling, second right, celebrates after his team's fourth goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Manchester City and Liverpool at Etihad Stadium in Manchester, England, Thursday, July 2, 2020. (AP Photo/Laurence Griffiths,Pool)MANCHESTER Even a 4-0 drubbing is forgivable for Jrgen Klopp now the Premier League trophy has been sealed. Its a reminder of how good Man City is, Klopp said. Were going in a direction thats really bad for the beautiful game, Mourinho said, the game that everybody fell in love with.Still, Mourinho did not want his players using that frustration as an excuse. After reaching last seasons Champions League final losing to Liverpool Tottenham might not qualify for any European competition next season.