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West Ham defender Zouma sentenced to 180 hours community service over cat abuse

By Sports Desk June 01, 2022

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  • France midfielder Kamara to miss World Cup, Gerrard confirms France midfielder Kamara to miss World Cup, Gerrard confirms

    France midfielder Boubacar Kamara will be out of action until after the World Cup due to knee ligament damage, Aston Villa head coach Steven Gerrard has confirmed.

    Kamara has been capped three times by France and was called up for their latest round of Nations League matches this month.

    However, the 22-year-old had to withdraw from the squad after injuring his knee during Villa's 1-0 win against Southampton on September 16.

    It was revealed last week Kamara had suffered ligament damage, and Gerrard announced on Friday the former Marseille player will not recover in time for Qatar 2022.

    "Boubacar will be missing until after the World Cup, unfortunately, so that is a huge blow," Gerrard said at his pre-match press conference ahead of facing Leeds United.

    "It's not ideal. We have had better days on the injury front."

    Villa have also lost fellow marquee signing Diego Carlos, who ruptured his Achilles on just his second outing after joining from Sevilla.

    Kamara's international team-mate Lucas Digne sustained a heel injury while away with his country and "will be unavailable in the coming weeks".

  • The Numbers Game: Free-scoring City aim to better Guardiola record as Ten Hag looks to end sorry run The Numbers Game: Free-scoring City aim to better Guardiola record as Ten Hag looks to end sorry run

    Premier League football returns in full fashion this weekend for the first time in four weeks, with the Manchester derby a highlight.

    Free-scoring Manchester City have excelled so far this term, only dropping points in draws against Aston Villa and Newcastle United, while Manchester United have won their past four after starting the season with back-to-back losses.

    United have already shown intent in key matches with victories against Arsenal and Liverpool, while City are yet to face one of the established 'top six' after their clash with Tottenham was postponed.

    Ahead of the game, Stats Perform has dived into the Opta stats to highlight the key angles of the match.

    City's pursuit of dominance

    Victory for City would mark the third in a row in the Premier League against United for the first time since a streak of four wins between April 2013 and November 2014 – including a 4-1 triumph in this fixture last season.

    Defeat for United would also be their 18th in the Premier League against their cross-city rivals, equalling Liverpool and Chelsea for the most losses they have suffered in the history of the competition.

    City were last beaten at home against Tottenham in February and have lost only 15 of 117 Premier League matches at the Etihad Stadium with Pep Guardiola at the helm, though he has won only two of six in the league against United at the venue.

    United's solid form

    Four victories in a row in the Premier League for United, on the back of four consecutive defeats, has put Erik ten Hag's side in good form heading into a crucial stage of the season and the club have not won five league games on the spin since April 2021 under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

    While City have home advantage on Sunday, the away side in the Manchester derby have won 21 times in the Premier League, with no fixture being won by the visitors more times in the competition's history – three of those being for United against Guardiola's City.

    United have also won two of their past three against City at the Etihad Stadium, with a 2-0 victory in March 2021 and a 2-1 triumph in December 2019.

    Haaland's haunts

    Hat-tricks in back-to-back Premier League home matches heading into the Manchester derby have put Erling Haaland in with an opportunity to secure further history, with no player in the competition's history netting a treble in three consecutive home games before.

    City's dominance at home is not just down to the former Borussia Dortmund man, however, as they have won each of their past seven Premier League matches at home, scoring at least three goals on each occasion – a run that stretches back to last season.

    No team have won eight straight matches in the top flight of English football while scoring at least three goals in each since Tottenham between March and September 1965.

    Guardiola's free-scoring side have scored 10 goals in the first half of matches and 13 in the second half, both of which are more than the eight goals United have in total – while United have conceded 75 per cent of their goals in the opening half (6/8).

    Ten Hag seeks to end sorry run

    Ten Hag has never faced off against Guardiola during the pair's managerial career and he will be looking to end a sorry run for United managers in his first Manchester derby since taking over at the club.

    Each of the five previous United managers to have taken charge of a Premier League match against City in the league have lost their first – with David Moyes, Louis van Gaal, Jose Mourinho, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick all suffering defeats.

    That leaves Alex Ferguson as the last United manager to win his first league match against City, which came way back in March 1987.

  • Stones out of Manchester derby with hamstring injury, Guardiola confirms Stones out of Manchester derby with hamstring injury, Guardiola confirms

    Manchester City will be without John Stones for Sunday's derby against Manchester United, Pep Guardiola has confirmed.

    The centre-back was taken off during England's 3-3 draw with Germany on Monday with a hamstring issue.

    Speaking at a press conference on Friday, Guardiola said Stones will likely be out for up to two weeks, meaning he will miss the clash with United as well as potentially another three games.

    "He will be back when he will be ready," he said, later clarifying: "I think it will not be four, five, six weeks, it will be less. I don't know when he will come back but I think maybe 10 days, two weeks."

    There was better news for another City defender though, with Aymeric Laporte back in training.

    "Training really well," his manager said. "Training alone because everyone was with national teams, but yesterday and today he feels good."

    City welcome an in-form United to the Etihad Stadium, with Erik ten Hag's men winning their last four Premier League games, leading to the Dutchman securing September's manager of the month award.

    "I always expect the best," Guardiola said. "They come with good results against tough sides, with Southampton it's not easy but especially Liverpool and Arsenal at home, and yeah, good momentum for them."

    The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss also compared the Manchester derby to El Clasico and Der Klassiker, suggesting it has been easier to manage derbies in Germany and England since his time in LaLiga.

    "In Spain, Barcelona and [Real] Madrid is more noisy the days before, more media, everything. The rest, in Germany, here, perfect. You can work, people expecting, enjoy to watch the derby, that's all.

    "It's important, big rival in the city. We will try to figure out what we're going to do and what we can do to beat them. No more than that.

    "In these kind of games you don't have to make extra emotion, everyone knows it. The stadium will be full... I'm looking forward to it."

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