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Manchester City look to equal club record against Wolverhampton Wanderers

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 07: Ilkay Guendogan of Manchester City (hidden) celebrates with John Stones and teammates after scoring their team's second goal during the Premier League match between Liverpool and Manchester City at Anfield on February 07, 2021 in Liverpool, England. PHOTO BY MATT MCNULTY - MANCHESTER CITY/MANCHESTER CITY FC VIA GETTY IMAGES.

Manchester City are in the form of their life right now and the game against Wolves tonight provides a chance for them to equal their own unbeaten record.

That figure stands at 28 unbeaten games in a row in all competitions.

Pep Guardiola’s side will also be looking to extend their 12 point gap at the top of the table.

With virtually no injuries, a full squad of talent to choose from and a team that looks almost unbeatable right now, it’s a good time to be a City fan.

Breakdown

Wolves have come to the Etihad before and come away with all three points against all the odds, but this current side without the spearhead of Raul Jiménez looks a much less threatening side.

With only two away wins in the last 10 for Wolves, it seems highly unlikely of seeing an upset we saw in October 2019.

There’s also no Willy Boly or Daniel Podence too which takes away the attacking threat and the physicality at the back.

The stage seems set for another City masterclass.

Team Selection Dilemma

There’s an embarrassment of riches at City and the question seems to be what line-up will we see against Wolves?

Sergio Aguero started his first game since October against West Ham at the weekend and struggled against a well set up unit.

There feels like a real outcry for Guardiola to re-integrate the Argentinian back into the side following his return from injury however, in their unbeaten run they’ve operated mainly without a recognised number nine and been incredibly successful.

Bringing him will alter how City play slightly, but there’s a very strong case for giving one of the best strikers in Premier League history his position back.

However, Wolves displayed a solid defensive setup with three at the back and he struggled to really be involved in the game against the same setup against West Ham.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 27: Sergio Aguero of Manchester City chases down Vladimir Coufal of West Ham United during the Premier League match between Manchester City and West Ham United at Etihad Stadium on February 27, 2021 in Manchester, England. PHOTO BY GARETH COPLEY/GETTY IMAGES.

It is important to consider that they had come off the back of a Champions League win away at Borussia Monchengladbach and it clearly had an effect on their performance. Therefore, we should see a sharper, more precise City in this game.

You imagine the selection for this game will be influenced by the game at the weekend against United. Therefore, I expect to see some changes and rotation in the midfield to attacking positions. The one constant at the moment is the defensive setup, especially at centre back.

Joao Cancelo may be rested, considering how key he has been all season and Kyle Walker and Oleksandr Zinchenko more than viable options at full-back.

If Aguero doesn’t start, then perhaps Southampton at home on the 10th March may be a more suitable game for him to fully find his feet but I’m sure he will feature against Wolves and United in some capacity.

The manager’s Quotes

Guardiola has spoken about his team’s mentality and their focus and claims his side won’t let up in the pursuit of success.

“I think we were consistent in many, many of the last four years. It is always nice, but it is the next game – we’re not thinking about it.

“We are here to try and win the titles.

“The people demand this and for this we have to win the next game.”

Despite the accolades, fan reaction and compliments from the footballing world, he insists there is still improvements that can be made.

“I said before, we are delighted with what we have done so far. We cannot deny it.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 27: Pep Guardiola, Manager of Manchester City speaks during an interview prior to the Premier League match between Manchester City and West Ham United at Etihad Stadium on February 27, 2021 in Manchester, England. PHOTO BY MATT MCNULTY/MANCHESTER CITY FC VIA GETTY IMAGES.

“No team has done it before. That shows how difficult it is.

“We are so happy, but at the end what counts is the trophies. We have a lot of work to do and I think we can still improve.”

Opposition manager Nuno Espirito Santo spoke about utilising his side’s strength’s rather than focusing more on the opposition.

“Their run is because of hard work, quality, dedication, but mainly and more than anything, talent. The talent of the players that they have, it’s fantastic.

“It requires a lot of discipline, balance, it requires cover, focus, determination to reducing distances, but Man City will create a lot of questions and a lot of problems to us which we have to find ourselves solutions and give answers to it.

“First and foremost, we must prepare ourselves for a very difficult challenge, because it’s going to be very tough. We’re going to face Man City, a fantastic team, talented squad, always good ideas in their approach of the game.”

Sergio Aguero tests positive for COVID-19 and is now in self isolation

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 25: Sergio Aguero of Manchester City participates in a training session ahead of their UEFA Champions League round of 16 first leg match against Real Madrid at Manchester City Football Academy on February 25, 2020 in Manchester, United Kingdom. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED BY ALEX LIVESEY/GETTY IMAGES.

Manchester City Central sources have been informed that Sergio Aguero has been hit by another setback after testing positive for COVID-19.

The Argentinian striker has had the worst luck with injuries this season. Last term, he missed 24 games and so far this campaign, he has only made three appearances.

City have been first class in defence and have conceded the least goals (13) in the Premier League this season. Upfront, however, the Sky Blues haven’t been as clinical as we’re used to seeing.

Aguero’s inability to remain fit this season has been a frustration for Pep Guardiola but the former Barcelona manager has been happy with how his side has defended during their struggles going forward this season.

The Premier League legend will self isolate until he is given the all-clear to return to training.

Ederson set to return to Manchester City training after testing negative for COVID

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - MAY 20: Ederson of Manchester City poses with the Premier League trophy on a parade bus during the Manchester City Teams Celebration Parade on May 20, 2019 in Manchester, England. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED BY VICTORIA HAYDN/MANCHESTER CITY FC VIA GETTY IMAGES.

After having a COVID-19 test come back negative, Manchester City goalkeeper Ederson will return to training on Saturday morning.

The 27-year-old goalkeeper has missed the last two games after he tested positive for the virus but he is now set to return to training, informed sources have told Man City Central.

Ederson will train tomorrow while Zack Steffen will still start against Birmingham City in the FA Cup 3rd Round tie at the Etihad which will kick off at 13:30 pm.

LONDON, ENGLAND – JANUARY 03: Zack Steffen of Manchester City rolls the ball during the Premier League match between Chelsea and Manchester City at Stamford Bridge on January 03, 2021 in London, England. The match will be played without fans, behind closed doors as a Covid-19 precaution. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED BY IAN WALTON/GETTY IMAGES.

Ederson is expected to return to the starting XI when Brighton visit the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday. The Brazilian will be welcome at the back for City as they look to build on their brilliant 3-1 win over Chelsea before the break for EFL Cup and FA Cup fixtures.

If Pep Guardiola’s side wins its two games in hand over Liverpool, they will go to the top of the table but if Manchester United win their game in hand, they will be the ones sitting at the top of the pile.

The Premier League title race is shaping up to be an exciting one this season but with 21 games to go, there is no knowing who will come out victorious.

Kevin De Bruyne to reject Man City offer after Lionel Messi plans put into place

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - AUGUST 03: Kevin de Bruyne of Manchester City poses wearing the 2020/21 Puma home jersey at the City Football Academy on August 03, 2020 in Manchester, England. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED BY MATT MCNULTY - MANCHESTER CITY VIA GETTY IMAGES.

Kevin De Bruyne is set to reject the contract offer put in front of him by Man City, according to our sources, with the club’s plans to sign Lionel Messi a surprise factor.

We reported in December that the Belgian’s renewal at City was merely a formality but it has come to the attention of De Bruyne and his representatives that the reason for a lower than expected wage increase is due to plans the club has to sign Messi.

Our source on the matter was confirmed to be accurate by none other than Fabrizio Romano, with the reliable journalist claiming days later that a contract extension was ‘close.’

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 21: Kevin De Bruyne of Manchester City celebrates his team’s third goal during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Leicester City at Etihad Stadium on December 21, 2019 in Manchester, United Kingdom. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED BY VICTORIA HAYDN/MANCHESTER CITY VIA GETTY IMAGES.

City were close to signing Lionel Messi last summer but Barcelona were willing to take their star player to court in order to keep him at the club so a move eventually fell through.

The record-breaking forward will not sign a new contract at the Nou Camp and will sign on a free transfer to reunite with Pep Guardiola, as Man City Central reported exclusively on New Year’s Day.

His move to the Premier League will attract attention unlike any other and it seems as though this is already detracting in a material way from City’s current best player, with a contract extension now jeopardised.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – APRIL 03: Kevin De Bruyne of Man City looks on during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Cardiff City at the Etihad Stadium on April 3, 2019 in Manchester, United Kingdom. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED BY SIMON STACPOOLE/OFFSIDE VIA GETTY IMAGES.

Even without needing to pay a transfer fee, signing Lionel Messi will cost Manchester City a fortune, with the Argentine currently earning in the region of £600,000 a week – a wage that would blow Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and David De Gea out of the water as the league’s current highest-paid players, with their weekly earnings an estimated £375,000.

City are readying themselves to pay Messi a massive paycheck upon his arrival at the Etihad and this has led to them offering De Bruyne less than they might have if the Barcelona icon wasn’t closing in on a switch to the Premier League.

Despite our sources being told that De Bruyne is to reject his contract offer, City are still confident that they can come to an agreement with the Belgian midfielder.

Manchester City steamroll Chelsea to go within four points of leaders Liverpool

Man City
Manchester City's English midfielder Phil Foden (L) celebrates with Manchester City's Belgian midfielder Kevin De Bruyne (R) after scoring their second goal during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Manchester City at Stamford Bridge in London on January 3, 2021. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED BY ANDY RAIN/ POOL VIA AFP.

Man City steamrolled Chelsea on Sunday to take Pep Guardiola’s men to within four points of Premier League leaders Liverpool.

The Cityzens also have a game in hand which, if won, will leave just one point between the Sky Blues and Liverpool and Manchester United.

The latter two clubs are tied on points until Jurgen Klopp’s side travels to St. Mary’s to face Ralph Hasenhutl’s Southampton.

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 30: Thiago Alcantara of Liverpool reacts during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Liverpool at St. James’ Park on December 30, 2020 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. The match will be played without fans, behind closed doors as a Covid-19 precaution. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED BY PETER POWELL/GETT IMAGES.

City have been characteristically poor in front of goal this season, with their three strikes against Chelsea taking their goals in the Premier League to 24 for the term. Liverpool have scored 37 and lead the way.

Having said that, Guardiola’s side has been fantastic at the back this season, conceding just 13 goals, making their backline the stingiest in the league.

Considering they have had a poor season so far, it’s encouraging for City fans that their team is just four points off the summit with a game in hand.

Manchester City’s English midfielder Phil Foden (L) celebrates with Manchester City’s Belgian midfielder Kevin De Bruyne (R) after scoring their second goal during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Manchester City at Stamford Bridge in London on January 3, 2021. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED BY ANDY RAIN/ POOL VIA AFP.

City have FA Cup and EFL Cup obligations to contend with before they face a visit from Brighton in the Premier League. Manchester United travel to the Etihad on Wednesday in the Carabao Cup where City will be hoping to make it to a fourth consecutive League Cup final.

Lionel Messi will sign for Man City upon the expiry of his FC Barcelona contract

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - JANUARY 02: The Manchester City home shirt with Messi on the back amid rumours of his transfer from Barcelona on January 2, 2021 in Manchester, United Kingdom. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED BY VISIONHAUS.

Lionel Messi will join Manchester City for free upon the expiry of his contract at FC Barcelona in the summer, according to sources close to Man City Central.

When Barcelona won the Champions League in 2008/09 after beating Manchester United 2-0 in the final at Stadio Olimpico, Pep Guardiola would have laughed at the thought of one day coaching Manchester City much less orchestrating a move for Lionel Messi to the Etihad.

The Sky Blues finished that Premier League season in 10th and were a decade away from being the club they now are.

ROME – MAY 27: Lionel Messi of Barcelona celebrates scoring the second goal for Barcelona during the UEFA Champions League Final match between Barcelona and Manchester United at the Stadio Olimpico on May 27, 2009 in Rome, Italy. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED BY JASPER JUINEN/GETTY IMAGES.

11 years on and Lionel Messi is just six months away from moving to the Premier League to play for Manchester City. We understand that although he was forced to wait an extra year, Messi is hugely excited to sign for the Cityzens.

The two clubs are yet to agree on personal terms but there is an agreement between Messi, his representatives and City that he will join the club on a three-year contract that will keep him at the Etihad until 2024.

Messi’s detractors often say he can never be considered the greatest of all time because he has never proved himself outside of La Liga. Despite the fact that he has shown in Europe, with 118 goals in the Champions League, that he can play against the best in the world, his move to the Premier League should further cement his status as the most talented player of all time.

PARIS, FRANCE – DECEMBER 02: Lionel Messi (ARG / FC Barcelona) poses onstage after winning his sixth Ballon D’Or award during the Ballon D’Or Ceremony at Theatre Du Chatelet on December 02, 2019 in Paris, France. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED BY KRISTY SPAROW/GETTY IMAGES.

Not only will Messi’s move to City prove that he is not to be doubted but it will also further highlight how far the Cityzens have come in the last decade and that they are here to stay as much as the traditional big sides in England.

Manchester City impressed by Angeliño on loan but not looking to bring him back

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - JULY 02: Manchester City's new signing Angelino is unveiled at Manchester City Football Academy on July 02, 2019 in Manchester, England. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED BY MATT MCNULTY - MANCHESTER CITY FC VIA GETTY IMAGES.

Manchester City have been impressed by Angeliño’s form on loan at RB Leipzig but are not looking to arrange for him to return at the end of the season.

This is according to a source close to Man City Central. This same source reported on Spurs’ interest in Leipzig skipper Marcel Sabitzer with Fabrizio Romano corroborating our story this week.

Not only has Angeliño been impressive defensively, he’s been incredible in attack for City.

He has scored 9 goals and provided 11 assists since joining Leipzig on loan – 11 more goal contributions than Benjamin Mendy in the same time period.

GELSENKIRCHEN, GERMANY – FEBRUARY 22: Leipzig’s Jose Angelino celebrates after scoring his team’s fourth goal during the Bundesliga match between FC Schalke 04 and RB Leipzig at Veltins-Arena on February 22, 2020 in Gelsenkirchen, Germany. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED BY FREDERIC SCHNEIDERMANN/BONGARTS/GETTY IMAGES.

Despite that, we understand that City are not planning on offering the Spanish fullback a route back into the squad. We’re also told that Angeliño himself is quite happy to continue plying his trade in the Bundesliga where he has flourished.

Julian Nagelsmann’s side is free-flowing in attack and this licence to fly forward has seen the 23-year-old playing with a freedom not seen during his City days.

Leipzig have the option to buy Angeliño for €18million at the end of the season and the Sky Blues are hoping they do so.

Gabriel Jesus and Kyle Walker test positive for COVID-19

COVID
The Man City starters will now be forced to quarantine as part of UK government guidelines. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED BY BBC SPORT.

Manchester City Central can confirm that both Gabriel Jesus and Kyle Walker, as well as two City staffers, have contracted COVID-19 and will self isolate for two weeks.

We are sad to report that the City players have tested positive for COVID that has ravaged the globe this year and will now be obliged to quarantine for the next two weeks until they test negative. Two members of staff have also been infected.

Fortunately, Sergio Aguero is closing in on a return to fitness after issues with his knee following surgery in June. Joao Cancelo will be able to step in for Walker but right now the priority will be the health and safety of Jesus and Walker and the two members of staff.

City’s next game is on Boxing Day against Newcastle United.

Everyone at Man City Central sends their best wishes to the Man City duo and hope they and their families remain healthy and safe during Christmas and into the New Year.

Fabrizio Romano corroborates Man City Central’s Kevin De Bruyne exclusive from November

Kevin De Bruyne (£11.9m) has created the most chances (40) and big chances (10) in the PL this season. He got his seventh assist against Southampton. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED BY FANTASY PREMIER LEAGUE.

Kevin De Bruyne is closing in on a contract renewal at the Etihad Stadium just as Man City Central reported in November, with the Guardian’s Fabrizio Romano corroborating our story.

The Sky Blues’ season hasn’t started as they would have planned with Liverpool at the top of the Premier League table once again but the club’s future is safe with Pep Guardiola already having signed a new contract while De Bruyne is closing in on an extension of his own.

Last month, we reported that getting the Belgian to re-commit to the Lancashire outfit was the highest priority for Man City and with Christmas just days away, it looks as though fans are being served with a dose of the festive spirit that has been absent from a COVID-blighted year.

Kevin De Bruyne has been hailed by Pep Guardiola as the best midfielder in the world. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED BY SKY SPORTS.

De Bruyne is the best midfielder in the world and while he has been playing as more of a second striker of late, there isn’t another player in the engine room that comes close to his influence in Europe.

We reported last month that City were working hard on getting De Bruyne to put pen to paper before the year was out and while a contract announcement might be delayed until early January, our source says that his renewal is a formality at this point.

Already earning £300,000 per week, KDB is set for a small bump in earnings as confirmed by Fabrizio Romano. We understand that his increase, which is also dependent on various bonuses could see his wage increase by as much as £26,000-£50,000 which would still see his salary overshadowed by Pierre Emerick Aubameyang’s £20,000,000/year payslip.

De Bruyne already has seven assists in the Premier League and only Harry Kane (10) has more.

City’s hopes of chasing down Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool rely heavily on De Bruyne’s fitness and form. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED BY CGTN.

It’s fair to suggest that if Sergio Aguero was fit this season or if Jesus, Mahrez and Sterling weren’t so wasteful, the former Genk star would be at the top of the list as he was last season.

While they still have a game in hand, City have dropped points in over half of their games this season which will make chasing Liverpool down that much more difficult but if De Bruyne can keep creating chances for his teammates, the Sky Blues’ form could improve soon.

Manchester City want to replace Sergio Aguero with Erling Haaland

Aguero is still battling to return to the pitch after undergoing surgery on a knee injury in June. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED BY MANCHESTER EVENING NEWS.

Manchester City have identified Erling Haaland as their priority target to replace Sergio Aguero in the summer transfer window and remain interested in Lionel Messi, according to sources close to Man City Central.

With 180 goals for Manchester City, Aguero is ranked fourth in the all-time Premier League goalscoring charts behind Andy Cole (187), Wayne Rooney (208) and, of course, Alan Shearer (260).

His luck with injuries has been dire over the years and, according to Transfermarkt, the 32-year-old has missed 161 days through injury since the start of last season.

Without Aguero leading the line this season, City have scored just 19 goals in 12 games. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED BY STADIUM ASTRO.

Pep Guardiola wants to add Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Haaland to his side and, according to Man City Central sources, the Norwegian hitman is the club’s priority target ahead of the 2021 summer transfer window.

Lionel Messi is also a target but while he looked to force a move through in the summer window that just passed, his future is still unclear.

Dortmund are reluctant to sell in the summer but a large offer from the Etihad will likely be enough to convince the Bundesliga outfit to sell.

City need a clinical finisher because, for all their hard work and ability on the ball, Gabriel Jesus and Raheem Sterling are far from elite finishers.

Haaland has 33 goals and 6 assists in 32 games since signing for Borussia Dortmund. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED BY GOAL.

Manchester City are 8 points behind Premier League champions and 20/21 table-toppers Liverpool purely due to the number of goals the Reds have scored – the Anfield side has scored 36 goals in 14 games this season and with +17, they have the best goal difference in the division.

Guardiola’s side has the best defensive record in the league with just 12 goals conceded but they simply aren’t scoring enough.