Man City duo out on loan
Manchester City duo Billy O'Brien and Bruno Zuculini have gone out on loan from the Premier League side until the end of the season. Goalkeeper O'Brien has joined Scottish Championship side St Mirren while midfielder Zuculini has travelled to Serie B outfit Hellas Veronas. https://twitter.com/saintmirrenfc/status/822143151326498816
Jesus available for Man City
Gabriel Jesus will play against Tottenham. According to Sky Sports, new Manchester City signing Gabriel Jesus will be available to make his Premier League debut against Tottenham on Saturday. The Brazilian forward had been awaiting clearance following his move from Palmeiras.
David Villa: “Guardiola will turn things round at Man City”
David Villa has backed his ex-coach Pep Guardiola to "change the situation" at Manchester City. The Premier League club now is on fifth place in the table and 10 points behind leaders Chelsea. "He has a difficult period right now but I believe he will change the situation," Villa told Sky Sports News. "It is normal to have a difficult period with the team, but he is great and I think he has a methodology and he has a very good coaching staff to change the situation and the future at City will be better for sure. "Football is difficult in every country and I am so lucky that I was able to play for Guardiola. He is a great coach, for everyone who likes this game. But it is difficult to win and he has almost always won. His statistics are amazing."
Yaya Toure turns down move to China
Man City midfielder Yaya Toure has turned down contract offers from China, according to Press Association Sport. Dimitry Seluk, Yaya Toure’s agent, has also confirmed to SSNHQ they turned down a £520,000-a-week offer (€600,000) from Chinese club Jiangsu Suning in the last winter transfer window. He said: “Yaya plays on another level. He wants to play at the highest level. He’s happy at Manchester City.”
Man City will pay £100m for Messi
According to The Sun, Manchester City have told Barcelona they are prepared to pay a record £100m to sign Lionel Messi. Negotiations between City and Barcelona reportedly took place at the end of last month, but no bid was made. Messi is yet to agree a contract extension with Barcelona - Neymar and Luis Suarez have recently signed - and City are prepared to offer him £800,000-a-week.
What can prevent Chelsea from Premier League glory?
Antonio Conte’s Chelsea continue their journey to the Premier league glory. The Blues are well-placed at the first place in the table with 7 points of advantage from their nearest rivals Tottenham and Liverpool. With 17 weeks still to go, we already have reasons to start discussions about the competition in the league. Do Chelsea have any real rivals to challenge their leadership, are there any factors that can prevent them from winning the 5th Premier league title in their history. The schedule Despite being top of the table, Chelsea are yet to meet their main rivals in the league. In the coming week, they will face tournament underdogs Hull City and will probably grab three points, though their next matches will present some major headache to Antonio Conte. First, Chelsea will have to visit Liverpool which are believed to be the main favorite to fight for the title with the London-based side. Jürgen Klopp’s men fought it till the end with Manchester United recently, conceding the equalizer only in the ending of the match. Moreover, having Philippe Coutinho back from the injury, Liverpool will receive a huge boost to their title hopes. The Reds will surely make it hard for Chelsea to take points from Anfield. The situation will get more difficult for Conte and his men days later when they host city rivals Arsenal. Wenger’s side are fourth in the league and are only one point behind Liverpool and Tottenham. The positive result against leaders could see them back to the title race which is a big temptation and motivation. And finally, Chelsea will have to face two Manchester sides in April. First, they will host Pep Guardiola’s City side on April 5, and then will visit Old Trafford 10 days later. These are too difficult exams for Hazard and Co., and if they don’t lose too many points in these 4 games, their title dreams will become reality. Concluding, we can say that nothing is decided yet and Chelsea will have to run their engine with the full power to reach the finish in the first place. Diego Costa’s problem Another problem for the London-based club is Diego Costa and his financial demands. The Spaniard has received a huge offer from Chinese Super League and is considering a move to the destination where Oscar moved weeks earlier. Being Chelsea’s top scorer and leading goalscorer in the league, Costa becomes another headache for Conte. It’s already reported that the duo had a major conflict during one of the training sessions and as a result, Diego was left out of Chelsea squad against Leicester. Costa went on to provoke Chelsea and ask a salary rise. It’s believed, that his representatives have already presented their demands to Roman Abramovich. Costa wants to earn 300.000 pounds per week which is twice as much as his current wage. It’s true, that Chelsea can satisfy these demands and forget about the danger of losing their top man to China, but this kind of atmosphere inside the team may be harming the team overall. We all know that the biggest problems have always started from minor issues that weren’t handled successfully. Summing up, we see that Chelsea will have to solve a difficult puzzle in their pursuit of happiness. They are still the favorites to win the trophy, no one can doubt it, but Premier League is full of surprises. We just have to wait and see how Antonio Conte will handle the situation. If he finds the exit from the maze, we will see John Terry lifting the EPL cup in May.
TOP-5 MIDWEEK Clashes you should NOT miss
Holidays are over, and we are all back to our duties, however, our beloved football world is still holding our hands not letting us to fall into post-holiday depression. Here we present a couple of awesome games that will color up your weekdays. Manchester United vs Hull City English League Cup, Semifinals January 10, 20:00 UTC Venue: Old Trafford, Manchester, England Referee: Kevin Friend After defeating West Ham and Newcastle United in the quarterfinals, Hull City and Manchester United are here to decide who will be the first finalist of English League Cup. Taking into account how the recent forms of these teams differ from each other, one might think of a possibility of seeing Jose Mourinho’s first final as the Red Devils’ head. The Manchester side are undefeated in their last 14 games in all competitions, having won the vast majority of it. Hull City, on contrast, have won only two clashes out of their last 10 games. The head-to-head statistics of these teams are not giving hope to Hull City either. There have no wins against Red Devils with only one draw and eight losses in last nine face-to-face encounters. However, League Cup has always been keen on surprising the fans, and the weekend win against Swansea (2-0) might be a big push for Hull City enthusiasm. League Cup final might be one of the only chances to shine in the current season. Missing Players Manchester United: Rojo (injured), Bailly (out of squad) Hull City: Bruce, Will Keane, Luer, Odubajo, Davies (all injured), Elmohamady, Mbokani (out of squad) Southampton vs Liverpool English League Cup, Semifinals January 11, 19:45 UTC Venue: Saint Mary’s Stadium, Southampton, England Referee: Neil Swarbrick Liverpool being in the second semifinals of the League Cup brings the fans hope to witness the historic English battle Manchester United vs Liverpool… But still there is a chance of having final Hull City vs Southampton, which, to be honest, does not seem a realistic scenario. Why? Southampton, as well as Hull City, are not having their best season. Three out of the last five games have been lost, last four games bringing no wins to the Saints. Head-to-head statistics against Liverpool, however, are not that bad for Southampton. Last two games have been home clashes with no loss, as the Saints won (3-2) and drew (0-0) last two face-to-face encounters. Missing Players Southampton: Austin, Boufal, Hesketh, Mccarthy, Targett, Pied, Fonte (all injured) Liverpool: Ings, Henderson (both injured), Matip (unfit), Mane (out of squad) Barcelona vs Athletic January 11, 20:15 UTC Copa del Rey, Round of 16 Venue: Cam Nou, Barcelona, Spain Referee: Jesus Gil Manzano, Spain If the top-5 clashes of the midweek were not sorted by dates in this selection, this would be first game as measured by the importance of the matches. Athletic Bilbao managed to win the first leg clash (2-1) and a simple draw will help Athletic to proceed the defending champions. Barcelona, in turn, are not experiencing their best season. Failing to win against Villarreal during the weekend, Luis Enrique side went down the league table and are now occupying the third position. The football fans expect Athletic to “park the bus”, while Barcelona squad will be furious in their attempt to prove all the critics wrong. I am certainly not missing the clash. Missing players Barcelona: Cillessen (injured) Athletic Bilbao: Aketxe, De Marcos, Yeray (all injured) Juventus vs Atalanta Coppa Italia, Round of 16 January 11, 19:45 UTC Venue: Juventus Stadium, Turin, Italy Referee: Piero Giacomelli Juventus vs Atalanta is one of the clashes in Coppa Italia Round of 16 which really needs attention. This is the game of the first and sixth teams of Serie A, which is at least worth a glance. Despite the fact Massimiliano Allegri’s team is not expected to feature with their first team, they are still the obvious favorites of the opposition. Sevilla vs Real Madrid January 12, 21:15 UTC Copa del Rey, Round of 16 Venue: Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, Seville, Spain The result of this two-leg clash has been predetermined in the first-leg. Zinedine Zidane’s unstoppable machine went through Sevilla (3-0), despite the fact that the latter show pretty decent football in the current season and are even above Barcelona in Spanish La Liga league table. They are now occupying the second place. However, the actual game flow was is not obvious from the score. The referee of the clash (Mateu Lahoz) has been criticized recently for numerous mistakes, all in favor of the Madrid side. Will Sevilla be able to revive the intrigue of the clash if the arbitrage is fairer? Less likely, as Los Blancos look incredible in any case. But one thing is sure: Jorge Sampaoli side will try to correct their mistakes, and their try is worth watching.
Guardiola will not go for Rakitic
Manchester City will not be launching a bid to sign Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic, according to Sky Sports. Pep Guardiola decided not to go for his former club's midfielder. The 28-year-old was left out of the Barcelona squad for Sunday's 1-1 draw at Villarreal, prompting speculation in his homeland of Croatia that he could be set for a January switch to City. But Sky Sports reports that City are not interested in making an offer for Rakitic, with Barca manager Luis Enrique also playing down talk of a move away for the Croatia international following the stalemate at El Madrigal. When asked about Rakitic's future at the Nou Camp, Enrique said: "It's up to me to decide the squads and the teams. That's my job. What's been published has nothing to do with that. Only 25 per cent of things are true, be it in the Croatian, Spanish, England, Italian media."
Aston Villa want to re-sign Man City midfielder
Aston Villa want to re-sign Manchester City midfielder Fabian Delph on a loan deal until the end of the season, according to the Daily Telegraph. Villa boss Steve Bruce is keen to bolster his midfield options and Delph, who left Villa Park for City in the summer of 2015, is the controversial name on his list of targets. Henri Lansbury, Tom Cleverley and Matty James are the other reported targets.
Manchester City eye Badstuber
Man City boss Pep Guardiola has admitted they could make a move for Bayern Munich defender Holger Badstuber. The Spaniard insists there are no names on the table yet but he will hold talks with City's director of football Txiki Begiristain in the coming days before deciding on their targets. He said: "We are evaluating if there's a chance to take one (defender). I know Holger, he's a fantastic player, a fantastic guy, but he's a Bayern Munich player, and we should first of all speak with them and with him. "Now, on the table, there are no names because we had a lot of games. But now we have 10 days until Everton, so we have time to discuss with Txiki, with the club, what is the best for the rest of the season."