Man City on road to quadruple
Manchester City wins in Premier League and Champions League
Amazingly City have only lost once at home under the leadership of their dedicated and inspiring boss Pep Guardiola. And going into England Premier League Week 28, Manchester City are well ahead of the Big Six EPL pack at the top of the England Premier League Table with 72 points. Manchester United are in second place with 56 points, Liverpool are in third with 54 points, Chelsea are in fourth with 53 points, Tottenham Hotspur are in fifth with 52 points, and Arsenal are in sixth with 45 points. It is a possibility that Manchester City will win a historic quadruple this campaign after their recent 5-1 thrashing of Leicester City at home in another Premier League MatchWeek 27 victory, and a first leg defeat of Basel away in the Champions League Last 16 tie. City will likely coast into the Champions League quarter-finals after the critical win. Man City's lead at the top of the Premier League is currently 16 points. Man City need a maximum 21 more points for a third Premier League title in six years. City manager Pep Guardiola stressed the need for his men to retain focus when the Last 16-second leg is played in three weeks. "My advice for the players is not to think how many games are left, just to look to the next one," Pep Guardiola said after the wins. "If we are able to win the title it will be something special."
The dream result for the manager allows Pep to rest players for the return, which the manager indicated might happen. The Catalan suggested City can win an unprecedented quadruple. "So important to be able to do so," said Guardiola. "The Champions League is 180 minutes but we are almost there. I'm not saying it's done because in football anything can happen but it's an amazing result. In the Premier League, we are in an amazing position, 16 points in front. We are almost in the quarter-finals of Champions League and in one final Carabao Cup and have an opportunity to get to the quarter-final of the FA Cup. All we can do is take it seriously and do good in the next game." Reportedly City will have a fully fit squad for the closing stages of the campaign that will enable Guardiola's quadruple pursuit. The Catalan manager has confirmed that Gabriel Jesus and Benjamin Mendy back will be back from injury for the important final stages of this season as the EPL leaders close in on an unprecedented clean sweep. City welcomed back Leroy Sane, David Silva and Fabian Delph for Tuesday's 4-0 win against Basel in the last 16 of the Champions League. Vincent Kompany has also recently returned from his latest calf injury. And Guardiola is expecting Jesus and Mendy to join up with his squad soon as both enter the final stages of recovery from knee ligament damage. "Vinny is back, Delph is back, a lot of players came back from long-term injuries," said Guardiola. "It's good for everyone.
Premier League: Man City 5-1 Leicester City, Aguero hat-trick
Manchester City goals: Raheem Sterling 3, Sergio Aguero 48, Sergio Aguero 53, Sergio Aguero 77, Sergio Aguero 90
Leicester goals: Jamie Vardy 24
Sergio Aguero scored four second-half goals and Kevin De Bruyne produced a hat-trick of gorgeous assists as City moved 16 points clear at the top. Kun Agüero gave the latest display of his excellence with a second hat-trick in three home games and ended with his goal count for the club at 197. His third came on 77 minutes and was the result of a Kasper Schmeichel mistake that ceded the ball to him. Agüero calmly chipped the Leicester No 1 to make it 4-1 to end the contest before he soundly sent in his fourth at the close. "Sergio has an amazing talent in the box," said Guardiola. "So we try to create a lot of chances to score, and he always does. Congratulations to him because it's not easy to score four goals." To start the match, popular Kevin De Bruyne adeptly sent the ball behind a slow reacting defense as Raheem Sterling poached his 20th goal of the season early at 3 minutes. Guardiola's side continued their high energy performance fast play that the Foxes could not defend against throughout the match. However, Leicester City made a quick break of their own as dangerous striker Jamie Vardy scored at 48 minutes and Leicester equalized. After Zinchenko and Gündogan tried and failed to tackle Vardy, the center-forward raced in on Ederson's goal and beat him with a right-footed finish for his 14th league strike and fourth goal in four outings.
City's draw at Burnley was a shocking result. Until the second-half goal glut against the Foxes, it seemed City could possibly lose more points. De Bruyne found Sterling and he rounded Schmeichel but hit Aleksandar Dragovic's flailing leg. Then normal finishing service was resumed three minutes into the second half. De Bruyne made Kun Agüero's goal after Sterling passed to him. De Bruyne's strategy was ahead of the game as he found Agüero from a running, sideways-on position. Kun supplied a simple finish scoring his 25th goal of the season. The 26th came soon as again De Bruyne was the provider for his 14th league assist, the competition's highest. His pass found Agüero who scored under Leicester's No 1 goalie Schmeichel. On 62 minutes Puel made a brought on Mahrez and Iheanacho for Diabaté and Chilwell. However, Agüero made it 13 goals in his last 10 appearances to seal the massive confidence-building victory. "He made perhaps a mistake," Puel said of Mahrez's cameo. "The most important thing is he came back to the training session, to the game. Now it's important to look forward and put this behind us, with the next games coming up. He's a valuable player for this team, like Vardy. The other players welcomed Riyad and that's a good thing."
Pep Guardiola made only two changes after City's draw with Burnley last weekend. Danilo and Vincent Kompany began on the bench replaced by starters Oleksandr Zinchenko and Aymeric Laporte. Leicester City boss Claude Puel started Ben Chilwell and Matty James while Danny Simpson and Kelechi Iheanacho were on the bench as subs. Algerian Riyad Mahrez's started the game on the bench.
Ederson; Walker, Otamendi, Laporte, Zinchenko; Fernandinho; De Bruyne, Gundogan; B Silva, Aguero, Sterling. Subs: Bravo, Danilo, Kompany, Stones, Diaz, Nmecha, Foden.
Schmeichel; Dragovic, Maguire, Fuchs; Albrighton, James, Ndidi, A Silva, Chilwell; Diabate; Vardy. Subs: Jakupovic, Simpson, Benalouane, Gray, Iborra, Mahrez, Iheanacho.
Champions League: Basel 0-4 Manchester City
Man City goals: Ilkay Gundogan 14, Mota Bernardo Silva 18, Sergio Aguero 23, Ilkay Gundogan 53
Manchester City flew to Basel for Tuesday's Champions League Last-16 match with renewed confidence after their impressive Premier League win against Leicester City. Manchester City's Ilkay Gündogan struck twice against Basel in an easy 4-0 away win against Basel. Manchester City are coasting into the Champions League quarter-finals for the second time in their history after this strong win. Guardiola stressed the need to retain focus when the last-16 second leg is played in three weeks. The result was a welcome result for Pep as it allows him to rest some of his key players for the return. The Catalan manager suggested City can win an unprecedented quadruple. "So important to be able to do so," said Guardiola. "The Champions League is 180 minutes but we are almost there. I'm not saying it's done because in football anything can happen but it's an amazing result. We're almost there. In the Premier League, we are in an amazing position, 16 points in front. We are almost in the quarter-finals of Champions League and in one final [Carabao Cup] and have an opportunity to get to the quarter-final of the FA Cup. All we can do is take it seriously and do good in the next game."
City started well, winning 3 corners and almost getting on the scoreboard with an Ilkay Gündogan header. Dimitri Oberlin had Basel's opening chance but failed, allowing Nicolás Otamendi to clear. As a result City tightened up and eliminated the type of faulty defending that had them knocked out of the Champions League by Monaco last year. When Oberlin ran free he drove into the area, collided with Otamendi and Basel fans roared for the denied penalty to be given to City. Moments later mighty Man City took the lead as Kevin De Bruyne swung a corner in from the left and Gündogan beat Fabian Frei and headed past Tomas Vaclik. De Bruyne instigated the City second by sending the ball to Raheem Sterling. The winger crossed, Bernardo Silva beat Vaclik. Keeping the pressure on and the ball rolling, Sergio Agüero beat Vaclik from outside the area. Agüero's goal arrived on 23 minutes. Mohamed Elyounoussi tested Ederson with Basel's first shot, the Brazilian conceding a corner. Kyle Walker surged down the right and City scored their fourth goal by Gündogan who beat Vaclik again. City attacked at will, going easily through the Swiss defense. with the hypnotic pass-and-move play that has become familiar under Guardiola. He was allowed the luxury of taking off Sterling and De Bruyne - on 57 and 63 minutes - and it was the former's replacement, Leroy Sané created City's next chance as thr winger went down the left and found Gündogan, who missed his chance for a hat-trick.
Guardiola's squad selection showed two changes from their win against Leicester City on Saturday. Oleksandr Zinchenko and Aymeric Laporte went out and Fabian Delph and Vincent Kompany were in.
Vaclik, Lang, Xhaka, Lacroix, Suchy, Riveros, Elyounoussi, Frei, Die, Stocker, Oberlin.
Subs: Salvi, Zuffi, van Wolfswinkel, Ajeti, Manzambi, Petretta, Bua.
Ederson, Walker, Kompany, Otamendi, Delph, De Bruyne, Fernandinho, Gundogan, Bernardo Silva, Aguero, Sterling. Subs
: Bravo, Danilo, Stones, Laporte, Sane, Silva, Foden.
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