EPL

Guardiola grateful to Everton for Ukraine gestures

By Sports Desk February 26, 2022

Pep Guardiola has thanked Everton for their pro-Ukraine gestures prior to Saturday's Premier League match at Goodison Park.

Russia began a full-scale invasion of Ukraine on Thursday and attacks have continued in the two days since, with fighting reaching the capital of Kyiv.

Both City and Everton named a Ukrainian player on the bench, with Vitaliy Mykolenko among the hosts' substitutes and Oleksandr Zinchenko present for the visitors.

Zinchenko was spotted at a rally in Manchester on Thursday as he protested Russia's attack on his home nation, and he received a touching reception from Everton fans during the warm-up.

He and Mykolenko also shared an embrace on the pitch before the match, while Everton fans unfurled pro-Ukraine banners in the stands.

Everton also opted to drop their use of an air-raid siren as the teams entered the field, with the sound used in recent seasons to boost the atmosphere in the stadium.

City players donned white T-shirts bearing the Ukraine flag and the slogan 'no war' written across it – the Everton starting XI took to the pitch draped in flags.

City won the game 1-0 thanks to a late Phil Foden goal, but much of the pre-match focus remained on the emotional scenes.

"I said on behalf of Manchester City thank you so much for the lovely gesture for Aleks and their player and the concern that happened," Guardiola told reporters.

"The concern is all around the world and I'm pretty sure the UK showed what a strange situation it is when people send innocent people that don't hate each other in Ukraine and Russia to kill each other because one guy at home decides to do it.

"Hopefully it can be resolved soon and there are no more victims in this conflict."

Related items

  • Premier League Fantasy Picks: Back Bobby to dazzle and Maddison to shine Premier League Fantasy Picks: Back Bobby to dazzle and Maddison to shine

    Sandwiched between two rounds of European fixtures, this weekend's Fantasy Football selections will be giving managers one serious headache.

    The Premier League big boys look set to continue rotating their squads during a gruelling period, leaving plenty of guesswork for those of us on the outside.

    That is not to mention a growing list of injuries and suspensions, which could force many to opt for their wildcard at this still-early stage of the campaign.

    But fear not as, with the help of Opta data, Stats Perform has picked out four names we not only expect to start this weekend but also accrue some valuable points.

    Emiliano Martinez (Nottingham Forest v Aston Villa)

    Aston Villa's form has improved of late with two draws, including against Manchester City, and a victory in their past three league outings.

    A large part of that has been down to becoming more stable at the back, with goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez helping his side to back-to-back clean sheets.

    After keeping out Southampton and Leeds United, albeit with just two shots on target faced, he is seeking a third successive Premier League shutout for the first time since March.

    Conor Coady (Everton v Manchester United)

    Everton have looked to improve at the back this season and boast the best defensive record at this stage, having conceded seven goals across their opening eight matches.

    Their new-found defensive resilience has coincided with the arrival of Conor Coady on loan from Wolves.

    Coady was also on target in the win over Southampton last week, making him the fifth Premier League defender this term to score, assist and register a clean sheet.

    James Maddison (Bournemouth v Leicester City)

    Leicester City midfielder James Maddison caught the eye again with his double in the 4-0 win against Nottingham Forest, strengthening calls for him to be part of England's World Cup squad.

    Maddison has been involved in 40 goals (25 goals, 15 assists) since the start of the 2020-21 campaign, a tally only Kevin De Bruyne (50) and Bruno Fernandes (48) can better.

    He has five goals and two assists this season, accounting for 50 per cent of Leicester's goals – only Wolves winger Daniel Podence (67) and Manchester City striker Erling Haaland (59) have been involved in more of their side's goals.

    Roberto Firmino (Arsenal v Liverpool)

    In what has been a difficult campaign to date for Liverpool, the form of Roberto Firmino – who many predicted to depart Anfield – has been particularly surprising.

    Not only has Firmino been Liverpool's best attacker with five goals and three assists, only Haaland (17) and De Bruyne (nine) have been involved in more in the division.

    The Brazil international will look to continue that form on Sunday as he has scored more league goals (nine) and been involved in more (12) against Arsenal than any other side.

  • Rumour Has It: Arsenal and Atletico Madrid eye Jutgla, Galatasaray fancy Ronaldo Rumour Has It: Arsenal and Atletico Madrid eye Jutgla, Galatasaray fancy Ronaldo

    Club Brugge's Ferran Jutgla has put himself on the radar of some Europe's richest clubs after a terrific start to the Champions League, with Arsenal and Atletico Madrid said to be keen.

    Jutgla, 23, appeared to be on an upward trajectory after leaving Espanyol last year to join Barcelona, but despite working his way up from the B team and scoring on his first-team starting debut against Elche in December, he was shipped off to Brugge after one season for a modest €5million.

    It is looking like a shrewd investment from the Belgian side, with the Spanish forward contributing six goals and three assists in his first 10 league games, but it is in the Champions League where Jutgla has really made his mark.

    TOP STORY – BRUGGE BREAKOUT STAR JUTGLA BURSTS ONTO THE WORLD STAGE

    Brugge have been arguably the most surprising team from the first three matchdays in the Champions League, collecting three wins and three clean sheets as they defeated Bayer Leverkusen 1-0, FC Porto 4-0 and Atletico 2-0 to sit atop Group B.

    Jutgla collected a goal and an assist in both the Porto and Atletico games, and according to Media Foot, the latter liked what they saw.

    The report also mentions Arsenal as a team with keen interest, and claims they will keep a close eye on his progress with the aim of making an offer at the end of the season.

    ROUND-UP

    – According to Turkish outlet Fotomac, Galatasaray are interested in signing Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo in January.

    – A Bola is reporting Arsenal have strong interest in 30-year-old Porto forward Mehdi Taremi, who is expected to play a big role for Iran at the World Cup.

    Real Madrid are monitoring 18-year-old Benfica defender Antonio Silva, according to Calciomercato.

    – Calciomercato is also reporting Milan could look to sign 21-year-old Midtjylland winger Gustav Isaksen in January after sending scouts to see him score in a 2-2 Europa League draw against Feyenoord.

    – Jeunes Footeux believes West Ham and Sevilla are both interested in Eintracht Frankfurt centre-back Evan Ndicka, with West Ham hoping to get him for free when his contract expires in June, while Sevilla could make a bid in January.

  • Rashford: United would have 'liked to play better' in Omonia victory Rashford: United would have 'liked to play better' in Omonia victory

    Marcus Rashford says Manchester United would "have liked to have played better" as they came from behind to win 3-2 at Omonia Nicosia in the Europa League.

    United went into the break a goal down after Karim Ansarifard put the Cypriot side ahead, but Erik ten Hag's introduction of Marcus Rashford changed the game as he scored a double and assisted Anthony Martial to put the Red Devils 3-1 up and become the first United substitute to score and assist after coming on in the Europa League.

    Despite conceding again to make it 3-2, United held on to make it six wins from their last seven Europa League away games and leave them second in Group E, three points behind leaders Real Sociedad.

    Rashford felt his side did not play at their full capabilities against Omonia, telling BT Sport: "Yeah, it's definitely job done, but we'd have liked to have played better.

    "I wouldn't say we defended bad, I think it was just mistakes and mistakes happen in football, so we have to move on. The fewer mistakes we can make, the better.

    "The first 45 minutes, until they scored, we played well, we had good movement, but we probably could have got in behind them a bit more to be a bigger threat on the ball. I thought we played well, watching the first half.

    "When he [Ten Hag] made the subs, he wanted us to be more dynamic, take our chances going forward and to try score goals. When you're 1-0 behind, that's what you need to do, so it was positive changes at half-time."

    Fellow substitute Martial also impressed, scoring in consecutive matches as a substitute for United for the first time since August 2017.

    He has now been directly involved in four goals (three goals, one assist) in his three appearances for the Red Devils in all competitions this season, and Rashford praised his impact, adding: "He is a massive player for us, has been for a long time.

    "When he is happy and at it he is an unbelievable player. I've always enjoyed playing with him. It was nice to link up with him today.

    "We've both been injured, him longer than me, so it is good for him to get minutes and make an impact."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.