Doom merchants fail to see Man City’s improvement under Guardiola


Pep Guardiola arrived as the most highlighted coach of the World in the Premier League. It was a great achievement for Manchester City to join and also remain as a part of the elite of European football.

After the sudden takeover of Sheikh Mansour in September 2008, it has been a difficult journey for Manchester City. The club used to eat its way through managers in their previous times just for the sake of fun. But in the nine year period they have only employed Mark Hughes, Roberto Mancini, Manuel Pallegrini and Pep Guardiola.

The relative stability has given the first trophies that the club had seen since the mid 70’s under the guidance of Mancini and Pellegrini’s era also brought the same for the club. Some are being very impatient about the fact that there has been not much achievement even after spending a lot on the City. Domestic cups like the FA cup, two league cups and two premier league titles have been flooded but there has been very little progress in the European cups. The club appeared in the semi final of the Champions league last season but it was first time for them which was also spoilt by Pellegrini’s ultra-cautious mindset.

Guardiola’s arrival in Man City gave them a true football luminary after a long chase. The Catalan had built success at Bayern Munich and he was responsible for the Johan Cruyff inspired system at Barcelona. It seemed as if he had the Midas touch and city wanted a part of it.

Guardiola’s accordance with the club witnessed the growing stature of City. Money is considered as one of the ubiquitous factor in sports these days and Pep Guardiola’s salary could bring water to the eyes.

After a lame end of Pellegrini’s stay of three years, it was believed that Guardiola could make everything alright by just spreading his expensive jacket on the back of the chair and preach.

But the English and England football presents a set of challenging set of characteristics which makes it a little difficult for a newcomer and it takes some time to get in terms with. For Guardiola is was even more tough as the team started with a stretch of 10 straight wins out of the starting block last August which burdened him with more expectations.

Guardiola started with some slightly brittle answers to the media which helped him in making opponents in the media. He was titled as “rude” and “impolite” and his team was misfiring distancing themselves from the top of the table.

The spurs have been the most compelling team in the Premier League this season and they took City to the cleaners in October. The draw will be unforgettable for years where the spurs came back with no mental toughness and commendable cleverness. But it was also noticeable that when the City play like this they can match any side.

Guardiola is learning the English game even though he is restricted by personnel problems. The signs at the Etihad on Saturday showed everyone that the coach will turn the City side into a deserving fanfare sooner or later.


Rooney’s record breaking goal at Bogey ground of United

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A tribute night was held by England’s Football Writers’ Association at London’s Savoy Hotel for Wayne Rooney. He finishes the weekend smiling as coach Jose Mourinho gives him an off for Monday training.

Rooney was the Guest of Honour and he is also making headlines due to his record breaking 250th goal for Manchester United. His friends and colleagues were also present there to praise him and be a part of his success. Ed Woodward, the executive vice-chairman of the club was also present who contributed in making Rooney the highest earner at United after he negotiated the contract in 2013.

A video collage consisting of some of the exceptional goals by Rooney was played. The former England manager Roy Hodgson made speeches. Fletcher talked about the Friendship with Rooney and also said he is a team player and a popular captain.

Rooney has emerged as a more mature player since his first interview when he was a teenager. He is now aware about his responsibilities being associated with United and as the England captain. He must continue to progress if he wants to be a successful media analyst like his former teammate Gary Neville or fellow Liverpudlian Jamie Carragher.

320 goals in 741 professional games for Everton, Manchester United and England leave no doubt in Rooney’s achievement as a player. According to Hodgson, Rooney was ultra-professional and he never missed a training session. He can create more headlines with time as he is still 31 only.

Rooney is going to be remembered as one of the greatest players of United in the history. Even though he said that he is not going to play for any other premier league team, but it is unsure that how long he will be playing for Old Trafford when he has more league games on the bench than the pitch.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is still producing top class performances at the age of 35 and Rooney might emulate him or take the example of Ryan Giggs who played for Man United at 40.

He doesn’t have the swiftness of his youth but he is capable of some spectacular performances. He proved that with a fine goal in United’s last defeat which was 17 games ago at Fenerbahce. Saturday’s record breaking goal at Stoke was his second league goal of this season. He showed that he can still be the best player of his side even though he stumbles against the big teams at times.

United were heading for a defeat on Saturday after Juan Mata’s own goal on the 19th minute. Mata missed the chance to equalise but Antonio Valencia was strong and Henrikh Mkhitaryan glided forward with balletic poise. Rooney was brought on when no breakthrough came and Mourinho even switched to a 4-4-2 formation but none of it worked for them.

Rooney took over the free kick won by United at the 94th minute and the ball flew in keeping the unbeaten run intact. He provided a high point to a day that was about to become bleak for them but it has become United’s Achilles heel.


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Tottenham fightback vs. Man City shows the team have come long way- Lloris


Tottenham vs Man city ended with a draw and according to Hugo Lloris, if it would have been the previous spurs team, they would have crumbled at the Etihad.

Leroy Sane and Kevin De Bruyne took advantage of the mistakes committed by Lloris to give City a two-goal lead. The 11th league goal of the season from Dele Alli halved the deficit and Son Heung-Min’s equaliser goal soon after Kyle Walker appeared to push a clean-through Raheem left the City manager Pep Guardiola exasperated.

Lloris was a Tottenham member when the teams lost 6-0 and 4-1 at the Etihad. They lost 5-1 at White Hart Lane before Mauricio Pochettino took charge. Lloris believes that the Saturday’s point shows that the spurs are now made of sterner stuff.

Lloris told the media that the team have been taking after the match and it’s a big change from the past days. He said that even three years ago it would have been very difficult to come back in the game after a score of 2-0 and may be they would have been defeated badly.

He also said that the first was due to their bad luck and the second one was his personal mistake. They might have given up but things are different now. They have changed their mentality and game plan in the last two or three seasons.

According to Lloris, City played their best game of the season but they won the point with their spirit. It was very important for them. Tottenham’s vice captain Harry Kane also agreed and said that a few seasons ago it would have gone 3-0 or 4-0 and it would have ended that way. But now they have started to dig deep. Even though it was not a great performance they dug deep and came out with something.

Kane added that finding a couple of gear after a score of 2-0 and bad performance speaks for itself. It shows their improvement as a team.

Before the match all eyes were on Claudio Bravo, goalkeeper of City who rarely makes a save. But the France captain cost his team with two errors in just five minutes of the game. He left an empty net infront of Sane before spilling a cross at De Bruyne’s feet.

Lloris said that they are in a position where even a single mistake could cost them a lot. This was not his first time and this might not be his last time but it was the responsibility of the goal keeper.

He also added that he was very much in the game just like his team members even after 2-0 down and he is happy that they scored a point at the end. The feelings would have been different if the match was lost. He also said that he will try to perform better from the next time.

Spurs will be in Barcelona from Sunday to Wednesday for warm weather training. Toby was replaced with a tight hamstring at City but he is hoping for a short lay off. The club insists that Danny Rose is not seriously injured although he left the Etihad with his knee in brace.

Rooney breaks the scoring record of United to rescue point at Stoke

Wayne Rooney

Rooney breaks the scoring record at a perfect time for Manchester United when the game was neither lost nor won but at the death when it could still be recovered. The 250th goal by Wayne Rooney saved Jose Mourinho’s United from a frustrating defeat against Stoke.

This was a perfect opportunity for United to get back the place in the title race and to close their gaps on the rivals. Juan Mata’s own goal and a few more wasted opportunities were finally saved by the goal from Rooney.

United were restrained in the opening exchanges and they also struggled in the initial phase before wasting their own scores in the first half of the game. Marouane Fellaini constituted their first shot on the 27th minute but Ibrahimovic somehow fixed to chip it over the bar which added to Mata’s misery.

Mourinho’s face told a tale of unsettling storms and darkness. A fine saving block from Bruno Martins Indi stopped a swift riposte from Ibrahimovic. Mourinho could see that nothing was going for United and walked back to his seat.

The afternoon didn’t turn out to be any better for Mata after the break. He threw himself into the air like Andy Carroll to scissor kick the ball inside the penalty area but he missed completely crashing himself on the ground.

Mourinho removed Fellaini and throwed Marcus Rashford into the tussle. 10 minutes later, Mata’s worries were put to an end by Rooney followed by Jesse Lingard. Rooney struck a magnificent free kick giving no chance to Grant on the 93rd minute of the match. With the goal, his position got secured in Man United.

A draw was the best that could be expected from United when all the stars of the team are performing lot below their best. Ibrahimovic’s struggle to get a grip of the game was visible, Pogba’s performance was submissive even though it was not as bad as the match against Liverpool and for Mata nothing went according to his plan.

But Mourinho had his share of positives as well. His players kept it going until the end and also salvaged a point. When all the big names fell short, there was one icon that came through for Mourinho.

Mark Hughes will lament the way the game slipped off their hands but the feeling of being defeated after a draw with United shows how much his season has improved. It took more than two months for Stoke to win a league and they are definitely looking better currently.

It was unfortunate for Hughes to build on a stroke of good fortune and when United started aiming for an equaliser, it seemed inevitable. Hughes has been aiming for a top-class striker and he might have found one but due to the delay in signing he could only wave at the supporters before the kick off. He will be clear for Everton on 1st Feb and before that he will be going through training for 10 days.

Peter Crouch has fought his way to the starting line up but he might not stay there for too long. The top-flight career of the long limbed footballer from England might be drawing to a close. Berahino is a clear upgrade given that he makes up for the lost time and utilises the opportunity.