Guardiola hails 'exceptional' Foden after match-winning Man City return

By Sports Desk December 29, 2021

Pep Guardiola says he has never doubted Phil Foden's quality on the field after the youngster marked his return to the Manchester City side with the only goal against Brentford.

Foden finished superbly from a Kevin De Bruyne cross to score his fifth Premier League goal of the campaign and fire City to a 1-0 victory in Wednesday's clash in west London.

The 21-year-old, along with Jack Grealish, had been left out of City's line-up for their previous two matches after being warned about his off-the-field behaviour by Guardiola. 

That came after the pair were pictured in a nightclub mingling with others without wearing a mask a day before taking part in a recovery training session.

But Foden was back in Guardiola's good books thanks to his match-winning moment at the Brentford Community Stadium, with that goal taking City eight points clear at the top.

"Exceptional," Guardiola told Amazon Prime when asked about the performances of Foden and De Bruyne in attack. 

"With Foden, he's already a football player. We never had any doubts about his quality. We knew it. Since he came to play with us, always he's been exceptional."

Foden was fielded in a false nine position he is now becoming accustomed to and scored from one of his two attempts against Brentford, the goal allowed to stand after a VAR check for a possible offside.

At 21 years and 215 days, Foden became the second-youngest City player to score 20 Premier League goals after team-mate Gabriel Jesus (21y, 40d).

Five of those strikes have come in 921 minutes of action this season – the equivalent of just over 10 entire games – each from his left foot.

Asked about his preferred position in the side, Foden said: "Wherever the manager puts me, I will do my best for the team. I started on the left. It is good, I am adaptable.

"I've have a few goals this year that have been ruled offside so I wasn't too confident about this one. I thought I went a bit too early, but thank god the goal counted. 

"I am really happy. There were a few when I went a bit early and was offside. We could have won by more. We kept working hard."

City were not at their best but did enough to take advantage of Liverpool's defeat at Leicester City on Tuesday and Chelsea's home draw with Brighton and Hove Albion elsewhere on Wednesday.

All five previous sides to be eight points ahead at the start of a new calendar year have gone on to win the Premier League title, including City themselves in 2017-18.

Despite having racked up 10 wins on the spin for the fourth time under Guardiola, he is taking nothing for granted.

"There are 54 points left to play," he said. "So when you put it in this perspective eight points is ridiculous.

"But we've won ten games in a row and this is one of our targets. We don't have much time and on January 1 we play Arsenal, who are one the best teams right now on form."

Related items

  • PSG suspend women's coach ahead of investigation into 'inappropriate behaviour' PSG suspend women's coach ahead of investigation into 'inappropriate behaviour'

    Paris Saint-Germain have suspended women's coach Didier Olle-Nicolle while the club investigate allegations of "inappropriate behaviour and remarks".

    Olle-Nicolle took charge of PSG at the end of last season following their D1 Feminine title success.

    PSG are second in the table this season, needing to beat title rivals Lyon in their penultimate game on Sunday to keep their slim championship hopes alive.

    But preparations for that game have been overshadowed by allegations made relating to Olle-Nicolle that, the club say, "if confirmed, would be incompatible with the sporting and human values of Paris Saint-Germain".

    A statement late on Tuesday read: "Paris Saint-Germain was informed today of inappropriate behaviour and remarks to which members of its women's team have allegedly been exposed.

    "These facts and statements, if confirmed, would be incompatible with the sporting and human values of Paris Saint-Germain.

    "Paris Saint-Germain takes the situation very seriously and intends to shed light on the facts and remarks reported.

    "In this context and in order to preserve the interests of all stakeholders, the coach of the women's team has been put on leave today, by mutual agreement with Paris Saint-Germain.

    "This measure is of a precautionary and temporary nature. It does not prejudge in any way the results of the internal investigation that will be conducted, nor the decisions that the club may have to take."

  • Jets QB Wilson feels 'better for sure' after 13-pound offseason weight gain Jets QB Wilson feels 'better for sure' after 13-pound offseason weight gain

    New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson says he hopes having more weight will improve his performances after piling on the pounds following a disappointing rookie season in the NFL.

    The 22-year-old was selected second overall in the 2021 NFL Draft but did not have the desired impact during his first season out of college.

    Wilson threw for 2,334 yards, just nine touchdowns and 11 interceptions, with a dismal pass completion rate of 55.6 per cent.

    He also struggled physically over a punishing first year, sacked 44 times in 13 games as no QB in the NFL lost more sack yards (370, tied with Joe Burrow).

    But the ex-BYU man has added 13 pounds over the offseason, returning to the Jets as "a better athlete", he says.

    "I feel better for sure," Wilson added. "The energy, the ability to have that stamina throughout the whole practice is better.

    "In the long run, once we get into a game when we actually get hit and tackled, having more size on me will help."

    Having gone 3-10 as a starter last year, Wilson hopes for a stronger second season.

    The Jets have bolstered their offensive ranks, adding tight ends C.J. Uzomah and Tyler Conklin and drafting wide receiver Garrett Wilson and running back Breece Hall.

    "I feel like the entire staff, from the GM to ownership on down, those guys have done a great done of getting the pieces we need," Wilson said.

    "I think it comes back to my job. Now I have to do my job of getting these playmakers the ball.

    "How can I get these big tight ends, these really good receivers and these running backs the ball in space and do what we brought them here to do?

    "We're definitely going to be better. I don't think we'll be able to tell until the first game, but the improvement is there.

    "We have the talent, we have the guys. Now can we tie it all together and put something together?"

  • Rumour Has It: Arsenal target Osimhen, Jesus Rumour Has It: Arsenal target Osimhen, Jesus

    Arsenal are looking to bring in two forwards this off-season after narrowly missing out on Champions League football.

    With Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah's contracts expiring and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang already leaving in January, the Gunners are in need in attack.

    According to reports, Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has identified the players to propel his side forward.


    Arsenal are looking to bring in Victor Osimhen and Gabriel Jesus this off-season, according to Goal.

    Jesus' contract at Manchester City expires following the end of the next season, but the Gunners have reportedly been in talks for weeks with his representatives, with a deal early in the window in mind.

    Meanwhile, it is understood Osimhen's agent flew to London for a meeting with Arsenal technical director Edu over a possible transfer.

    With Napoli having qualified for the Champions League and club president Aurelio De Laurentiis driving a traditionally hard bargain, however, the 23-year-old's transfer will not come cheap.

    Although Arsenal may be looking for two forwards, it remains to be seen if they opt for two big-money signings.


    – Eden Hazard has ruled out an off-season departure from Real Madrid, citing unfinished business after an injury-plagued time at the club, per HLN.

    – Sevilla will not be turning Anthony Martial's loan deal from Manchester United into a permanent move, according to the Daily Mail.

    – Raphinha has reportedly told Leeds United he wants to leave this off-season to play for Barcelona, Sport reports.

    – Chelsea coach Thomas Tuchel is set to have a £200m influx of transfer funds as Todd Boehly's takeover nears completion, the Telegraph is reporting.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.