Can anyone stop Manchester City?

By Mariah Ramharack March 22, 2021

#INCASEYOUMISSEDIT the 2021 edition with Mariah Ramharack On many a Sunday, I realize that people have looked at the stories they've seen throughout the week with different lenses. I have my own personal take on some of these trending issues and I will share them with you. Welcome to #INCASEYOUMISSEDIT the 2021 edition with Mariah

  Barring injury, Manchester City on track for a quadruple.\

Based on current form Manchester City is on course to secure four titles – the Champions League, Premier League, FA Cup, and the Carabao Cup.

The Citizens possess depth, quality and mental fortitude and guided by the tactical genius Pep Guardiola to sweep all that lies before them. In all competitions this season, Man City has won 25 of their last 26 games, their only defeat coming against Manchester United, who beat them 2-0 on March 7.

However, Guardiola will remind his players that there is no room for complacency as they have not won anything, yet. He will also be hoping that his players steer clear of injury during the international break.

Other than their silky smooth passing that break teams down with regularity, Manchester City have been blessed with an unyielding defence, which will be key to their success in the Champions League.

The first task will be overcoming German powerhouse Borussia Dortmund in the quarter-finals.

In the Premier League, City winning the title looks inevitable as with nine games to go, they hold a healthy 14-point lead over Manchester United who has 57 points.

The Manchester-based juggernauts have also sealed a place in the FA semi-finals following their recent 2-0 win over Everton. They are also set to face the inconsistent Tottenham Hot Sput in the Carabao Cup.

After a difficult start to the season, Manchester City has hit top form at the right time and as their genius coach explained, the secret to success is simple.

“It is not just tactics, it’s mental-being ready every game,” he said.

 

India showed its quality against England in the T20I series

India and England were locked at 2-2 heading into Sunday’s final T20I match of their closely fought series and the final match was no different.

 However, India showed their tremendous quality and class in securing a victory that was not as close as the scores suggested.

Sent to bat, India posted 224-2 in their 20 overs. It was a total that overwhelmed England, who fell short scoring 188-8 in 20 overs.

Opening the innings with Rohit Sharma, skipper Virat Kohli led from the front and was there at the end, scoring an unbeaten 80 not out from 52 balls, which prompted commentator Ian Bishop to tweet, “I would love to see Kohli open more often, especially when India bat first in T20I.”

The Indian captain and Sharma and Kohli mounted a 94-run partnership that laid the foundation for India’s mammoth score.

Sharma went on the attack early smashing 64 from 34 balls while Kohli supported from the other end.

Suryakumar Yadav’s 32 from 17 and Hardik Pandya’s unbeaten 39 not out ensured that India never lost momentum while Kohli played the perfect anchor taking over at the end to push India well beyond 200 runs.

 It was then the turn of their bowlers to defend the total on an excellent batting strip and they duly obliged. Bhuvneshwar Kumar was the difference maker taking 2-15 in his four overs. Shardul Thakur took 3-45 as England struggled to stay close to the required run rate.

“It was a complete game for us. We totally outplayed the opposition,” said Kohli afterwards. “The fact Rishabh and Shreyas didn’t get the chance to bat and still got close 230, is testament to how we did with the bat.”  

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  • If Harry Kane wants to leave Spurs, it's now or never – Shearer If Harry Kane wants to leave Spurs, it's now or never – Shearer

    Harry Kane's future at Tottenham is shrouded in doubt and former England striker Alan Shearer believes it is now or never if he does want to leave.

    Kane has never been shy about expressing his desire to win trophies at Tottenham, calling that the "next step" when the club moved to their new stadium from White Hart Lane.

    Spurs flirted with that possibility under Mauricio Pochettino, finishing second in the 2016-17 Premier League season and reaching the final of the Champions League two years later.

    But under Jose Mourinho they are going backwards, with Spurs seventh in the league and six points adrift of fourth-placed West Ham, meaning Champions League qualification may elude them.

    Kane has proven himself as one of Premier League's all-time greatest strikers, with his haul of 162 goals bettered by only seven players, while his 121.8 minutes per goal is the third best among those to have netted at least 100 times.

    But recent media speculation has suggested Kane is losing patience, and Shearer – who famously joined Newcastle United over Manchester United in search of trophies and failed to win any – thinks he may not get another opportunity to take his career to the next level.

    Writing in his column for The Athletic, Shearer said: "I've got way too much respect for Harry as a player and a man to offer him advice on a decision that I know for myself is rarely linear and that may not, in the end, be his to make. What I would say, though, is this: if he's going to leave, it looks like this summer or not at all.

    "Harry is 28 in three months and this is why I think we're approaching a pivotal moment. He's at his peak, the ready-made article, an absolute guarantee of goals wherever he plays and the opposite of a gamble, but a buying club is going to want three or four of his best years in return for what would certainly be an exorbitant transfer fee. This is that time. Twelve months down the line and it becomes that bit more difficult to justify.

    "The one indisputable fact is that Harry is under contract at Tottenham for three more years. That six-year deal he signed in June 2018 was a fantastic piece of business by Daniel Levy and his club.

    "It tied down their most saleable asset and it gives them a thick layer of protection now. I'm not convinced it was quite so great for Harry, even though the landscape at Spurs was much more positive back then.

    "The point is that Harry could no longer say the same things about winning the Premier League [as he did in 2018]. Would the picture change at Spurs if Mourinho went? Maybe.

    "As Leicester City and West Ham show, a place in the top four is open to clubs that get things right, but in terms of more than that? Spurs look a long way off. And so that leads back to the same question: is it enough?"

    Shearer routinely insists he has no regrets over choosing to join Newcastle instead of going to Old Trafford 1996, despite the Red Devils going on to win the Premier League title in four of the following five years, including their historic 1999 treble that included Champions League success.

    For his part, Shearer went on to become Newcastle and the Premier League's record goalscorer, feats he treasures, and Kane appears on course to accomplish similar achievements with Spurs.

    But if it is trophies rather than personal accolades that Kane thirsts for, Shearer can see only one option – not that there is ever a guarantee of success, regardless of whether he ends up at United, Manchester City, Real Madrid or Barcelona.

    "When I moved to Newcastle for a world-record fee in 1996, I did so with the aim of winning trophies. That was the driver for me, as well as the pull of coming home," he continued.

    "It didn't work out like that, of course, but for most of my decade at St James' Park and with lots of ups and downs on the way, we were trying.

    "Harry is a big player; he won't accept staying at Spurs for the sake of it. He has to have something to buy into. Right now, winning means leaving.

    "None of that means Harry should leave; to repeat, that's not something I would ever say, but if we judge him on his words from two or three years ago, then it's certainly a subject he will be considering now.

    "If it ends with no trophies, does that mean hell have had a s*** career? No, of course not. All that said, the great players do not settle. They always want more and they push for it. And Harry is a great player, which is why it feels like he and Spurs are approaching a moment of definition."

  • Foden never hides - Guardiola hails Man City's Champions League hero Foden never hides - Guardiola hails Man City's Champions League hero

    Phil Foden again showed his aptitude for high-pressure moments after firing Manchester City into the Champions League semi-finals.

    In the first leg of their last-eight clash with Borussia Dortmund last week, Foden scored a 90th-minute winner to leave City 2-1 to the good.

    Despite falling behind at Signal Iduna Park on Wednesday to an early effort from another England youngster, Jude Bellingham, City levelled through Riyad Mahrez's penalty before Foden fired home from a cleverly worked short corner to repeat the first-leg scoreline and seal a showdown with Paris Saint-Germain.

    "You have the feeling that he is a guy who never hides. He always creates something. He is dynamic offensively, defensively with quality in the smaller spaces," Guardiola told a post-match news conference.

    "He is learning right now not to take just one touch, he is able to make more touches when making decisions.

    "He scored two important goals, the second goal in the Etihad and today helped us to be in the semi-final. In the quarter-final of the Champions League, he was the important player to go through to play against PSG."

    Foden became the second player younger than 21 to score in both legs of a Champions League quarter-final after Kylian Mbappe did so for Monaco against Dortmund in 2017.

    The meeting with Mbappe and his PSG team-mates is a mouthwatering prospect, with City into the semi-finals for the first time under Guardiola.

    Quarter-final defeats to Liverpool, Tottenham and Lyon have cast a considerable shadow over an otherwise excellent tenure in Manchester, although Guardiola hesitated to agree when it was suggested his players came of age by beating Dortmund

    "In this competition during one game there are many moments," he said, having tasted success with Barcelona in 2009 and 2011.

    "[Dortmund] started well, we had a plan to press but it didn't work, we changed it after 10-15 minutes and played with wingers more inside, usually they are wider and that is why we add more connections with the midfield players - Phil, Riyad, Bernardo [Silva], Kevin [De Bruyne], Gundo [Ilkay Gundogan], Rodri.

    "After the goal, in the last 30 minutes of the first half we had an incredible two or three chances chances to score a goal. In the second half we found a goal and played good. We didn't concede one shot, we created enough chances to win and finally we are in the semi-finals for the second time in the club's history."

    Guardiola added: "At half-time we spoke and said, 'Guys, we have to score a goal. Even if they score to make it 2-0, one goal gives extra time. We have to score.'

    "After we made it 1-1, we controlled the game. After that, the quality from Phil's finish helped us to go to the semi-final."

  • Haaland almost unstoppable, says Man City boss Guardiola Haaland almost unstoppable, says Man City boss Guardiola

    Erling Haaland is "almost unstoppable" according to Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola, despite his side ensuring the Borussia Dortmund star endured 180 goalless minutes in their Champions League quarter-final.

    City secured their passage to the semi-finals of Europe's top competition for the first time in Guardiola's five-year reign, as Riyad Mahrez's penalty and Phil Foden's 75th-minute strike saw the Premier League leaders overturn Jude Bellingham's early opener to prevail 2-1 and 4-2 on aggregate.

    Much of the pre-match talk ahead of the initial encounter in Manchester centred upon Haaland, who has been heavily linked to City and a host of other European heavyweights after scoring 33 goals in all competitions this season.

    The 20-year-old had a one-on-one saved by Ederson and laid on Marco Reus' equaliser at the Etihad Stadium but he endured a frustrating outing in the Signal Iduna Park return.

    Haaland was restricted to a solitary blocked shot and made one key pass to create an opening for a team-mate as Ruben Dias excelled in the City defence.

    Nevertheless, Guardiola felt cutting off the supply line to the forward was key.

    "I would say this player is almost unstoppable and the best way to defend against these talented players is to not let them have the ball," he told a post-match news conference.

    "They want the ball, they need the ball, so don't [let them] have it. For that, we need to play good and try to let him live away from our box. It happened in both games. 

    He is a player not [just] because he is fast, the quality of his first control, how he links with his mates, strong in the air and good finishing.

    "He's a top-class player, top class, and will be stronger in the future."

    Whether that future happens to be under Guardiola is a prospect that will continue to intrigue.

    For now, Dortmund interim head coach Edin Terzic must pick up a youngster without a goal in seven matches for club and country.

    "He is playing really well and if you saw the goal we scored he was a big part of it," he told reporters before, like Guardiola, highlighting Haaland's all-round qualities.

    "It doesn't matter who scores. We are used to thinking he is the last man in the chain and has the last touch for the goal, but for the recent games he was very important for us in shielding the ball, running in behind, being a threat.

    "If he works hard like he is doing all day long in training it won't take long until he's on the scoresheet again."

    Dortmund host Werder Bremen in Bundesliga action at the weekend having won just twice in their past eight games in all competitions.

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