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Man City 'missing a trick by not signing Sturridge', says Richards

Manchester City ‘are missing a trick by not signing Daniel Sturridge’, says Micah Richards – as Pep Guardiola struggles with Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus both out injured

  • Daniel Sturridge is a free agent after his Trabzonspor contract was terminated 
  • Manchester City are short on forwards with Sergio Aguero once again sidelined 
  • Gabriel Jesus is also out for Pep Guardiola’s men after his thigh injury at Wolves 
  • Sportsmail columnist Micah Richards insists Sturridge would have a lot to offer 

Micah Richards insists former side Manchester City are ‘missing a trick’ by not bringing Daniel Sturridge back to the club.

The 31-year-old is currently without a club following the termination of his contract at Trabzonspor in March, six months after signing a three-year deal with the Turkish club shortly before being banned from football for four months for breaching betting rules.

Pep Guardiola is currently short of striking options, with Sergio Aguero picking up another injury, this time to his hamstring, during the 1-1 draw at West Ham at the weekend, while Gabriel Jesus remains sidelined with a thigh problem suffered at Wolves.

Micah Richards insists Manchester City are ‘missing a trick’ by re-signing Daniel Sturridge

Sturridge is currently a free agent after his contract at Trabzonspor was terminated in March

But writing in his BBC Sport column, Sportsmail columnist Richards – who played alongside Sturridge at City for three years – believes the striker still has much to offer Premier League side and insists that does not exclude his former club.

‘It would have been easy for Daniel to walk away from the game, but he’s still hungry,’ Richards said. 

‘He went to Turkey last year to get away from all of that talk about him being injury-prone and get some games under his belt, to show he can stay fit. He was doing well with Trabzonspor and was enjoying it before he got hit by a ban for breaching betting rules.

‘When he plays football again it might be with another team abroad, but I can’t help but think that there are several clubs in the Premier League who are missing a trick by not signing him. 

City are currently short of attackers after Sergio Aguero suffered another injury at West Ham

Fellow forward Gabriel Jesus remains sidelined following his thigh injury suffered at Wolves

‘I would include City in that, just to fill in while Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus are injured. Even if he was half-fit, he would score goals in that side.

‘At the moment it almost feels like people have forgotten how good he is, but Daniel still has time to remind them, and show everyone what he is really all about.’

Sturridge made his breakthrough at City in 2006 before moving to Chelsea three years later. 

Richards’ comments come after the former Liverpool and Chelsea striker admitted he has spent hundreds of thousands of pounds trying to prevent the injuries that have been so damaging to his footballing career.

And Richards insists that Sturridge would still have plenty to offer Pep Guardiola’s side

‘I’d spend loads of money outside of the physios at work to do extra stuff to ensure that I can be as healthy as possible,’ Sturridge said earlier this month.

‘Hundreds of thousands, to be fair, you know, to make sure that my body has to be in the best shape possible.

‘And sometimes, you can do, you can put the hours in, you can do everything. But sometimes it is just luck.’

Richards (left) and Sturridge (right) were team-mates before the latter left for Chelsea in 2009

Meanwhile, Sportsmail revealed on Monday that City are expected to have to do without Aguero for a month as the club’s injury-ravaged start to the season continues.

‘With Sergio’s injury, 10-15 days is the minimum,’ Guardiola said ahead of his side’s Champions League clash with Marseille. 

‘If it’s a little bit longer it will be three weeks, one month. The muscular ones normally do not move [beyond] these [parameters]. Sergio will be the same, there will be no exception.’




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Sergio Aguero: Manchester City striker doubtful for Liverpool game with thigh injury

Sergio Aguero is a doubt for Manchester City’s Premier League clash against Liverpool on November 8 due to a thigh injury.

Pep Guardiola revealed on Monday evening that he expects Aguero, who was substituted at half-time during Saturday’s 1-1 draw at West Ham, to be out for a minimum of two weeks, with City set to take on champions Liverpool at the Etihad in 13 days’ time, live on Sky Sports.

  • Pitch to Post: Man City’s striker crisis?
  • Battling West Ham hold Man City

Speaking ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League game against Marseille, Guardiola confirmed: “It will be two or three weeks, Sergio (Aguero) and (Benjamin) Mendy as well.

“Sergio was injured in the last game, muscular. When you are out for four or five months with a knee problem you always have a risk when you come back.

“We tried to handle it as much as possible, just 50-55 minutes every game. But it was not possible. It depends on the injury. We expect 10-15 days for sure minimum, or it could be three weeks or a month.”

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Aguero joins Gabriel Jesus, Fernandinho, Benjamin Mendy, Nathan Ake and Fernandinho on the sidelines.

The positive news for City is that defender Aymeric Laporte was fit enough to travel to France after a knock.

Guardiola added: “Kevin (De Bruyne) is back again and played a few minutes against West Ham. Aymeric is back too, Nathan is so close. Gabriel is close – one week to 10 days to come back. The rest will be two or three weeks.”

‘We could not afford Aguero or Jesus replacement’

With Aguero and Jesus out, City are without an experienced specialist centre-forward.

Asked if he wished the club had strengthened in that position in the summer transfer window, Guardiola said: “Maybe. We considered it and thought about it, and another type of striker, but we could not.

“You know when you decide to buy a striker they have to be at the level of Aguero and Jesus and we could not afford it. This is the reality.”

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Jeremy Wisten: Manchester City lead tributes to former academy player after tragic death

Manchester City have led the tributes to their former academy player Jeremy Wisten following his tragic death.

Raheem Sterling and Aymeric Laporte were among the members of City’s first-team squad to pay their respects to Wisten, who joined the club’s youth set-up in 2016.

Wisten, who was born in Malawi and moved to Manchester with his parents while still a baby, played as a defender in the academy ranks.

“The Manchester City family are saddened to learn of the passing of former academy player Jeremy Wisten,” a club statement read.

“We send our deepest condolences to his friends and family. Our thoughts are with you at this difficult time.”

Sterling retweeted City’s statement, with Laporte adding: “Horrible news… RIP young man”

Tommy Doyle and Cole Palmer, two City academy graduates, also paid tribute to Wisten on social media. Palmer said on Instagram: “You will be forever missed. Fly high my brother. Rest in paradise!

Tyrhys Dolan, the Blackburn Rovers midfielder and a close friend of Wisten’s from their time at City’s academy, tweeted: “The pain is indescribable I can’t believe I’m writing this message”.  

“I can’t thank you enough for giving me the best times of my life. Always been a brother to me and I will carry on your legacy forever! RIP bro see you on the other side.”

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Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola says congested fixture schedule is 'too much' for players

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola says players are playing “too much” football and believes they will suffer injuries as a result of the congested fixture schedule.

City play three away games in the space of eight days starting at West Ham on Saturday in the Premier League.

Guardiola will be without the injured Fernandinho, Gabriel Jesus and Benjamin Mendy for the trip to the London Stadium, while Kevin De Bruyne, Aymeric Laporte and Nathan Ake all face late fitness tests.

  • Pep: Fernandinho will return within a month
  • West Ham vs Manchester City preview
  • Premier League games live on Sky Sports

The Spaniard is now fearful of further injuries amid a run of seven fixtures in 22 days before the next international break.

“I love football, I love to play football, I love watching it on television – I love everything,” Guardiola said, “but it’s too much.

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“I know the business but it’s too much for the players. The players don’t have a rest mentally or physically.

“This is going to happen because they are not consulting with anyone. There are 365 days and you have to put all the competitions and all the games [in], and especially right now with what happened last season with COVID-19, it’s reduced the calendar so it’s more difficult – but it’s too much.

“It’s too much for everyone, at least for the teams who play in Europe – for the other ones maybe it’s less.

“You finish the season and you start another one, you finish the season and you start another one. I would love to play a lot of games, to play during eight, nine or 10 months an incredible amount of games is okay, but you have to take a break for one or two months and make a good preparation to protect the players.

“To have a pre-season like it was before of five or six weeks that can relax minds and players can enjoy their own lives, but now you have 10 or 15 days you have to start again.

“You go to the pre-season and you have to win the pre-season, you have the Community Shield, you have the first games and that’s why the players get injured, so it’s normal. It’s no secret so you just pray every day and [hope] everyone finishes the game without a problem. But it is what it is.”

Guardiola denies contract extension talks

Guardiola’s contract expires at the end of this season and a report on Friday suggested City are in talks with the 49-year-old over an extension.

Asked whether the report was true, he said: “No.”

The former Barcelona manager was then asked whether uncertainty around his future could affect the players, but he responded: “Absolutely not.

“They want to play good every single game. When they are on the pitch they do absolutely everything with one manager or the other one because they are incredible professionals and want to do it well, so nothing changes.”

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Man City boss Pep Guardiola suggests Porto tried to ‘copy and paste’ tactics from Leicester thrashing


Pep Guardiola has suggested that Porto tried to “copy and paste” the tactics that Leicester used in their 5-2 thrashing of Manchester City last month.

On Wednesday evening, City defeated Porto 3-1 in their Champions League group-stage opener, with Sergio Aguero’s first-half penalty cancelling out Luis Diaz’s opener before an Ilkay Gundogan free-kick and fine Ferran Torres finish secured the win for the hosts in the second half

And Guardiola noted the similarities between Porto’s approach at the Etihad Stadium and that of Leicester in Man City’s Premier League defeat by the Foxes in September.

“I’m happy with all the game, we knew how tough it would be,” the Spaniard said after the final whistle. 

“Alongside Benfica, they are the best team in Portugal. They played so defensively with five at the back, we had to be patient.

“Maybe they saw the Leicester 5-2 and tried to copy and paste.”

Guardiola and Porto coach Sergio Conceicao had exchanged pleasantries in the lead-up to the Group C fixture, but were frequently at odds during the match.

And Guardiola’s agitation was compounded by a late injury to Fernandinho, who was forced off with five minutes to go in the second half.

The City boss was honest in his assessment of the situation around the midfielder, saying: “Bad news.

“[It’s] in the place he was injured [before]. He will be out a long time. It’s happened.”

City next take to the pitch on Saturday, visiting West Ham in the Premier League.

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Man City vs Porto result: Bruised hosts past stern test in Champions League game with plenty of bite

Composure was needed. Porto were threatening and Walker was forced to clear off his own goal-line when Marega caught Cancelo napping and broke in behind, minutes before the interval. City, by contrast, were creating little. Gundogan’s sweet volley once both sides re-emerged forced a save out of Marchesin but was only City’s fourth attempt on goal.

Without the injured Kevin De Bruyne and the departed David Silva, Guardiola’s side were struggling to create and needed a bit of luck. It came in the form of a foul by Fabio Vieira, though Treimanis had once again made a questionable call. The Porto midfielder took the ball but also caught Gundogan, who made sure to take full advantage.

There was something De Bruyne or Silva-esque about the free-kick that followed, expertly bent out of Marchesin’s reach and into the top left-hand corner. This time, there were no protests from Porto, who instead trudged back to the centre circle which their heads hung low, in sudden realisation that the contest was slipping away from them.

Guardiola was waiting to introduce Torres and Phil Foden as he watched Gundogan’s free-kick fly in. He persisted with the substitution and it brought him a third goal when the pair combined with a neat one-two down the left flank. Torres then cut inside to enter the penalty area and curl past Marchesin.

There was still time for a worrying injury to Fernandinho, who left the pitch shortly after coming on. Fortunately, by that point, the battle had already been won.

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Man City vs Porto prediction: How will Champions League fixture play out tonight?

When is it?

The match kicks off at 8pm BST this evening at the Etihad.

How can I watch it?

The game will air live on BT Sport 3 with coverage beginning at 7:15pm.

You can watch a live stream on the BT Sport app or on their website on desktop too by clicking here.

What is the team news?

Kevin De Bruyne, Aymeric Laporte, Benjamin Mendy and Gabriel Jesus are all out. Oleksandr Zinchenko is back in training and available. 

Mouhamed Mbaye and Ivan Marcano have been ruled out for this one, but Wilson Manafá is fit and in the squad. Marchesín was a doubt for the draw with Sporting but played and should be fine here too.

Predicted line-ups

Man City XI: Ederson; Walker, Aké, Rúben Dias; Rodri, Mahrez, Foden, Gündoğan, Silva; Agüero, Sterling

Porto XI: Marchesín; Manafá, Pepe, Mbemba, Zaidu; Sérgio Oliveira, Uribe, Otávio; Corona, Díaz, Marega

Odds

Man City: 1 / 4

Draw: 11 / 2

Porto: 9 / 1

Prediction

City have too much firepower here and it’s not at this stage where they struggle to transition to the Champions League. In fact, they’ve proven to be very reliable in the group stage under Pep Guardiola, we’re looking for a two-goal win at least for the hosts. 3-0.

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What Liverpool, Man City, Manchester United and the big six must fix after stuttering start

Manchester City

At their best, City are simply irresistible going forward with the brilliance of Kevin De Bruyne and the potency of Sergio Aguero and Raheem Sterling usually more than enough to blow away all but the very best. 

However, defensive frailty has been a theme for much of Pep Guardiola’s reign to date despite heavy investment in reinforcements and those problems persist despite the £40million summer addition of Nathan Ake to the mix. A

ymeric Laporte was missing for a shock 5-2 home defeat by Leicester, which featured a Jamie Vardy hat-trick, but was in the side as they failed to hold on to a 1-0 advantage at promoted Leeds.

Chelsea

Tipped by many to make significant strides under Frank Lampard after a post-embargo summer spending spree which saw Timo Werner, Thiago Silva, Kai Havertz, Ben Chilwell and Hakim Ziyech arrive at Stamford Bridge at great expense, Chelsea have blown hot and cold, often inside the same 90 minutes. 

At 36, the vastly experienced Silva enjoyed something of a baptism of fire in English football, making his league debut in 3-3 draw at West Brom in which his side trailed 3-0 at the break, although he was not in the squad on Saturday as the Blues squandered 2-0 and 3-2 leads at home to Southampton. 

It is also significant that goalkeepers Kepa Arrizabalaga – who had an afternoon to forget against the Saints – Willy Caballero and Edouard Mendy have all had a taste of the action.

Arsenal

The Gunners remain a work in progress under Mikel Arteta, who is just 10 months into his reign. 

Going forward, they remain a real threat with Eddie Nketiah complementing the firepower of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette. 

However, a defence in which the talented but error-prone David Luiz is a central figure continues to be a source of concern and the recruitment of Thomas Partey, a defensive midfielder whose physical presence and energy may prove as important as his ability to pick a pass, will provide an added layer of security.

Tottenham

During his time at Chelsea, Jose Mourinho built teams which were ruthlessly efficient, scoring enough goals to win comfortably without over-exerting themselves and keeping clean sheets into the bargain. Mourinho’s Tottenham are in many senses the antithesis of that. 

In Harry Kane and Son Heung-min, they boast two of the Premier League’s most potent frontmen, and the addition of the returning Gareth Bale will further boost the firepower at the manager’s disposal. 

However, they have conceded in each of their nine games to date this season and at times have demonstrated a costly inability to kill off games, Newcastle snatching an undeserved draw in north London with a late penalty and West Ham fighting back to claim a point on Sunday despite trailing 3-0 after just 16 minutes.

Manchester United

It is not so very log ago that David De Gea was widely regarded as one of, if not the, best goalkeepers in the world and his subsequent difficulties have exposed the inadequacies of the men immediately ahead of him. 

Coupled with £80million central defender Harry Maguire’s recent poor run of form – the England international turned in a much-improved display at Newcastle on Saturday evening – and the alarming fashion in which United capitulated in the wake of Anthony Martial’s dismissal in the 6-1 rout by Tottenham at Old Trafford, the foundations have been less than firm. 

The class of Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford will atone for some of those deficiencies, but that is not a blueprint for lasting success.

PA

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Man City interested in welcoming back Zabaleta after his retirement

Man City are interested in welcoming Pablo Zabaleta back to the club in non-playing role following former captain’s retirement after West Ham release

  • Pablo Zabaleta has retired from football after an impressive 18-year career 
  • The 35-year-old Argentine’s release by West Ham prompted the decision 
  • The defender spent nine seasons at Manchester City and could go back now 
  • If Zabaleta chooses to pursue an off-field football career, City are interested 

Manchester City are open to Pablo Zabaleta returning to the club following his retirement last week.

Zabaleta, who spent nine seasons at the Etihad Stadium, called time on an 18-year career after his release from West Ham United.

Sportsmail understands City would welcome the Argentine back should he decide to pursue a career in the game beyond playing.

Pablo Zabaleta has retired from professional football after being released by West Ham

The 35-year-old had a 18-year career and his next move in or outside of the game is unclear

If the ex-defender chooses a non-playing role, his old club Manchester City are interested 

The likes of Patrick Vieira and Joleon Lescott have previously been offered the opportunity to sample different areas of the business within the City Football Group before embarking on their next chapter.

Vieira undertook a period of study on the administrative side at the club’s training base before then taking a role as manager of the Elite Development side.

The former France international made the switch to sister club, New York City, where he spent two years as manager before joining Nice in 2018.

The right-back enjoyed nine successful seasons in Manchester and is a respected professional

Zabaleta could follow Patrick Vieira as an ex-star who returned to work within the City Group

Lescott, meanwhile, currently operates in City’s loans department, a key role within City’s structure given the array of young talent out on temporary deals across the continent.

Lescott works with Fergal Harkin, football partnerships and pathways manager, and provides regular support for those players out on loan.




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Manchester City vs Arsenal result: Raheem Sterling scores the winner in game of few chances

Tactical chess

The line-ups were curious, but the first minutes were revealing just how much these two managers were trying to out-think each other and fill in the weak spots in their teams.

City switched from a 4-2-3-1 base out of possession, to a rotating, roving 3-4-3 in attack. Their switches saw Rodri go from the defensive line to the midfield, Joao Cancelo show all his versatility and tactical flexibility, Nathan Ake be a left-back outlet at times and Bernardo Silva covering every midfield position from between the centre-backs to beyond the striker.

Arsenal were similar: the usual 3-4-3 by line-up, but another very flexible system in and out of possession, with players such as Willian – a centre-forward in the first half – playing unusual roles.

It made for fascinating watching and constant fluctuations of build-up patterns, with the managers both looking to tweak approaches to tilt the game in their favour.

Saka steps up

Among the glut of impressive all-round performers on both sides, Bukayo Saka was particularly excellent.

On the ball he was his usual self: bright, forward-thinking, inventive and tricky to stop on the dribble.

But it was also his intelligence to use space which marks him out, over and over again, as a player who can reach the top.

Defensively he cuts of passing lanes and fortifies the middle of the park with clever positioning, while on the attack he works the flanks, the channel and the very centre of the pitch with equal aplomb.

Big money signing and experience around him will help him develop, and the team, but Saka is again one who keeps showing he can spearhead Arsenal’s brighter future.

Aguero’s return

He didn’t have a huge influence on proceedings in this game, but there’s no understating how important the return of Sergio Aguero from injury.

A long-term absence came to an end with a good run-out here, and though he didn’t see many chances fall his way there was a clear intent to his running and a few moments of link-up with Phil Foden and Raheem Sterling.

Especially with Gabriel Jesus still out injured for quite some time, Aguero’s return is enormous.

With the matches set to come quickly and constantly, it’s a huge boost for City’s title hopes to have a clinical No. 9 back on the pitch.

Partey time soon

Thomas Partey was the summer-long chase Arsenal involved themselves in, but he had a watching brief for most of this game.

His entrance came after 82 minutes, replacing Granit Xhaka – not exactly an all-out-attack change for the manager, and one which kept the system like-for-like.

Thomas will, clearly, play a huge role for Arsenal going forward. His all-action style, ability to cover the entire pitch and naturally aggressive approach are all factors the Gunners have lacked, as well as a more intelligent approach to defensive matters and controlling the game than the Swiss man he replaced.

The question for Arteta will be whether it’s one or the other, or if both can play together in some games with Dani Ceballos the player to be sacrificed.

Tough runs

With both teams in Europe, albeit different competitions, the next four weeks are a non-stop torrent of dealing with fatigue, recovery and different tactical challenges.

City face Porto in midweek, with West Ham thereafter; for the Gunners it’s a trip to Austria and Rapid Wien, then home to Leicester.

Domestically it’s Arsenal who have the tougher tests over the next few weeks, but their start to the season will still give Mikel Arteta reason to think a competitive campaign is in the offing.

For Pep Guardiola, consistency in wins is everything if they are to reclaim the Premier League crown, so taking a win just hours after Liverpool drop points in a big game of their own is reason for short-term smiles, if not long-term proof of a changing of the guard.

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