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• Agüero needs one goal to equal Eric Brook’s Manchester City scoring record
• Argentinian likely to be rejoined by Gabriel Jesus against Shakhtar Donetsk
Sergio Agüero needs one more goal to equal Eric Brook’s 78-year-old Manchester City scoring record and there are not many people at the club who imagine the Argentinian is going to hang around for long on his present tally of 176.
No one is a bigger fan of the striker than Kyle Walker, who says it a joy to be playing behind Agüero after years of struggling to contain him.
Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/sep/25/kyle-walker-happy-sergio-aguero-in-same-side-manchester-city-shakhtar-donetsk
Arguably the most admirable characters in modern football are the managers who embrace the basic unfairness of the sport and offer realism amid the Premier League’s inequalities
It is always appreciated when sport manages to offer colourful additions to the national lexicon – “squeaky bum time”, “I never said them things”, “do I not like that” etc – so it was pleasing to note that in criticising Ryanair’s handling of its self-made fiasco over flight cancellations this week the RBC investment bank accused the company of coming up with “football manager excuses”.
Blaming everyone but themselves, in other words. It is an expression that deserves to stick, because just about every manager has been guilty of it at some point and there have been several noteworthy examples even this early in the present season. The otherwise admirable Marco Silva was aggrieved about a couple of marginal offsides at the weekend when neither would have made a scrap of difference to the outcome of Watford’s match against Manchester City, while Ronald Koeman ludicrously tried to blame José Mourinho for increasing the pressure on Everton after watching his side ship 12 goals without reply in their last four games. For the record, Arsène Wenger was not whingeing when he pondered whether the colour of Alexander Lacazette’s boots might have alerted the referee’s assistant to the fact that his toe was in an offside position before his disallowed goal at Stoke, he was merely passing on the views of a supporter who had pointed out the possibility.
Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/sep/20/football-manager-excuses-supercoaches-blustergaffers-premier-league
José Mourinho’s side are well placed to challenge the cream of the continent but on recent form it’s hard to justify England’s Champions League prominence
European football returns this week, and though the individual highlight may well be the look of distaste on Alexis Sánchez’s face as he comes to terms with Europa League football on Thursday, before that England’s new big five get the chance to establish their credentials in the Champions League.
Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2017/sep/10/manchester-united-best-bet-big-five-champions-league
The Premier League returns this weekend but it is a fair bet Slaven Bilic and Frank de Boer have not enjoyed the international break too much and both are in dire need of a positive result
As international breaks go, the one England have just enjoyed was quite eventful, even if nothing Gareth Southgate’s players could produce on the pitch was likely to steal the headlines from the way in which Wayne Rooney celebrated a rare weekend off.
How assiduously Rooney can put the past behind him and resume what was shaping up to be a promising return to his former club will be one of the focal points when Premier League football returns at the weekend, as will the behaviour of Dele Alli. A theory is emerging that the Tottenham player has not just taken Rooney’s place in the England team but also appropriated his penchant for needless controversy, and both forwards will be in the spotlight when Spurs visit Goodison on Saturday.
Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2017/sep/06/crystal-palace-west-ham-premier-league-bilic-de-boer-points
Stoke have lost some of their intimidating aura, while the departure of key players leaves Mark Hughes’s side looking thin up front and supporters wondering where the team are going
Guardian writers’ predicted position 16th (NB: this is not necessarily Paul Wilson’s prediction but the average of our writers’ tips)
Last season’s position 13th
Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/aug/09/premier-league-preview-2017-18-stoke-city
Sean Dyche’s side are preparing for a second successive season in the top flight and another attritional season of small gains is in prospect
Guardian writers’ predicted position 18th (NB: this is not necessarily Paul Wilson’s prediction but the average of our writers’ tips)
Last season’s position 16th
Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2017/aug/01/premier-league-preview-2017-18-burnley
There has been much talk about strikers this summer but apart from Kylian Mbappé, exciting and emerging names are not exactly flooding the market
According to just about every manager interviewed on the subject, not to mention the accumulated wisdom of more than 100 years of professional football, the hardest task in the game is putting the ball into the back of the net. It often looks deceptively easy, a tap over the line here, a well-timed header there, but at the highest level you are up against organised defences and highly-trained goalkeepers. Opportunities do not normally come along that often in a game, and frequently most of the team will have been involved in some way in creating the space to set up the attack, so that when you finally arrive – as Pep Guardiola is fond of putting it, meaning arrive in front of goal – the pressure on the guy on the end of the move is considerable.
Some find it easy to handle and finish almost instinctively; think Jamie Vardy in Leicester’s title-winning season. Then when it becomes expected it becomes harder to do; think Vardy last term or even Diego Costa drying up for Chelsea. Some players seem to emerge from their teenage years as born goalscorers – think Robbie Fowler, Michael Owen or Wayne Rooney – only to find the necessary fearlessness and decisiveness more difficult to reproduce once they are marked men in their mid-20s. Occasionally strikers manage to improve with age and experience, by looking after themselves and bringing all their knowledge and maturity to bear, as Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Jermain Defoe demonstrated last season. A reliable goalscorer at any age is an invaluable asset, which is why Manchester United have happily handed over £75m to Everton to secure Romelu Lukaku’s best years.
Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2017/jul/19/where-are-young-goalscorers-kylian-mbappe