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Man City would strike gold by beating Man United to sign this £100m-rated midfield powerhouse – Agreed?

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Manchester City Opinion: Why Man City should sign Ruben Neves?

According to last month’s report from the Express, Manchester United are interested in signing Wolves midfielder Ruben Neves.

The Portuguese, 21, moved to Molineux from FC Porto for £15.8m in July 2017 and played a key role in the team’s Championship title triumph last season.

Ruben Neves has been excellent for Wolves in the Premier League as Nuno Espirito Santo’s team lie seventh in the table. And the 21-year-old polished his credentials with a brilliant display in the 2-1 FA Cup quarter-finals victory over Manchester United last week.

With the midfielder making the step up to the Premier League without much fuss, Manchester City should beat their arch-rivals Manchester United to the signature of Neves, who is valued at £100million by Wolves, adds the report.

Manchester City remain in the hunt for quadruple this season after Pep Guardiola’s side produced a remarkable comeback from 2-0 down to win 3-2 against Swansea City in the FA Cup quarter-finals last weekend.

The win at Swansea demonstrated City’s squad depth, with the likes of Sergio Aguero and Raheem Sterling coming off the bench to guide Guardiola’s men into the semi-finals of the FA Cup.

The Cityzens have an embarrassment of attacking riches in their squad but come summer, Guardiola should solidify his midfield options by bringing in a replacement for Fernandinho.

Fernandinho is the heartbeat of this City team but he is set to turn 34 in May. Hence, the Brazilian will need a replacement soon and Ruben Neves could be the solution to Guardiola’s long-standing concern.

Neves plays the role of an anchor in Nuno’s system at Wolves and excels in setting up attacks and breaking the opposition’s play from the base of the midfield. He is fantastic in intercepting play with his tacking and ball-retention skills, whilst possessing the ability to pick a pass.

The Portuguese midfielder is blessed with a sublime range of passing, something very few midfielders have in and around his age group across Europe.

The 21-year-old is a tenacious customer in the middle of the park and an excellent long-range shooter. He is a reliable free-kick taker and could beat his opponents from a long distance. 

A wonderful passer of the ball, the technically-gifted Portuguese has what it takes to replace Fernandinho on the long run for the defending Premier League champions.

Verdict

Replacing Fernandinho, however, has proven to be an extremely hard task, irrelevant of how much money Guardiola has at his disposal. Neves could finally be the man City need despite having a lot of room to improve.

Read more Manchester City news, click here: Manchester City latest news

Neves is just 21 and if Guaridola could bring the best out of the Portugal international, he would justify his huge price tag.

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Chelsea

5 Talking points from Premier League gameweek 2 including VAR drama and Norwich masterclass

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Five talking points from Premier League gameweek two

Week two of the new Premier League campaign is now over, with Wolves and Manchester United settling for a 1-1 draw.

A victory for the Red Devils would have seen them become only the third side to record two straight victories this season so far, with Liverpool and Arsenal currently boasting a 100% record after champions Manchester City dropped points at home to Tottenham on Saturday.

Elsewhere, Frank Lampard is yet to win his first game as a Chelsea manager as his side were held to an exciting 1-1 draw by Leicester City at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

Here, we take a look at five talking points from the second week of the 2019/20 Premier League season.

1. Norwich 3-1 Newcastle United:  Teemu Pukki grabs the headlines

Teemu Pukki was a revelation in the Championship last season, guiding Norwich City to top-flight promotion. And he has taken the Premier League like a duck to water, scoring four goals in two games thus far.

The Finland international scored a fantastic hat-trick against Newcastle United at the weekend, which also involved a rasping pile-driver from inside the box that Martin Dubravka had no chance to keep out.

The 29-year-old has shown what he is capable of doing and Daniel Farke will expect his marksman to keep delivering the goods consistently.

2. Manchester City 2-2 Tottenham: VAR denies Man City a late winner

The battle between Manchester City and Tottenham produced some late drama once again, courtesy of the VAR.

For the second time in four months, City saw a decisive stoppage-time goal against Tottenham snatched away by VAR, leaving them with a 2-2 draw rather than a 3-2 victory.

VAR disallowed Gabriel Jesus’ goal two minutes into stoppage time after a hand-ball earlier in the move by Aymeric Laporte.

Given the stakes are high in the Premier League, these two dropped points for Pep Guardiola could be pivotal come May.

3. Southampton 1-2 Liverpool: Sadio Mane comes back to haunt the Saints

Liverpool seem to have a new talisman this season in Sadio Mane, who came back to haunt Southampton at the weekend.

After helping the Reds add the European Super Cup to the Champions League, Mane got the ball rolling for Jurgen Klopp’s men with a superb goal in first-half stoppage time before Roberto Firmino scored in the second half to hand the visitors a two-goal cushion.

A comedy of errors from Adrian in goal gifted Danny Ings his first goal of the season, but Liverpool saw the game out to earn two wins from their opening two matches.

4. Sheffield United 1-0 Crystal Palace: John Lundstram helps the Blades to three crucial points

Any team that takes Sheffield United lightly at Bramall Lane would simply be digging its own graveyard.

Chris Wilder’s men have been impressive in the first two games, earning their first victory of the top-flight campaign against a spineless Crystal Palace side via to a second-half strike from John Lundstram. The Blades also gave a glimpse of how difficult they are going to be at home.

5. Chelsea 1-1 Leicester City: Frank Lampard still waiting for his first win as Chelsea boss

It has been a tough start for Frank Lampard at Chelsea, although the 41-year-old will be encouraged with the displays in the last two games after the 4-0 thrashing against Manchester United.

Chelsea started strongly and were rewarded with an early goal through Mason Mount, however, they couldn’t double their advantage or bury the game in the first half when they had the chances to do so.

That gave Leicester a chance to bounce back in the second half and they did so, equalising through Wilfred Ndidi. The Foxes have only themselves to blame for not taking more than a point out of the Bridge.

Lampard has a lot to improve if his team is to make it to the top-four but for now, he remains without a win.

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Manchester City

Manchester City vs Tottenham: 3 key battles that could decide the outcome of this epic encounter

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Three key battles in Manchester City vs Tottenham

Defending Premier League champions Manchester City kicked things off in great fashion as they beat West Ham 5-0 in their opening PL fixture at the London Stadium.

Pep Guardiola’s side now return to Etihad and turn their attention towards a juicy fixture against Tottenham, a side that eliminated them in the Champions League quarter-finals last season. This will be a different test for Manchester City and they’ll be desperate for three points on Saturday.

Tottenham, on the other hand, also enjoyed a positive start to the new campaign as they defeated newbies Aston Villa 3-1 after coming from a goal behind. The north London side will have to be at their sublime best to beat City at the Etihad.

The duo has had some memorable encounters over the years with plenty of goals too and both could easily take the win if they get their tactics right. Both City and Spurs have real match-winners in their respective sides, but what are the key battles that could decide the game? Let’s take a look.

1. Harry Kane vs Aymeric Laporte

Harry Kane has started the new campaign very well, scoring a brace in the 3-1 win over against Aston Villa. He will undoubtedly be the danger man for Tottenham and their main avenue of attack once again.

The England striker will likely have to deal with Aymeric Laporte, who alongside John Stones helped City in keeping a clean sheet against West Ham last weekend.

Kane is arguably Premier League’s best striker at the moment and his game is about intelligent positioning and reading of the game. He is deadly in and around the box, which means that the City defenders have to be extra vigilant.

Laporte has been Guardiola’s first-choice centre-back and did very well against West Ham. The Frenchman had to contain Sebastien Haller last week but Kane will be a very different kind of test for him, and one he’ll have to be up for if his team are to take all three points.

2. Christian Eriksen vs Rodri

Christian Eriksen was left on the bench in the opening day win over Aston Villa, but his entry as a substitute changed the course of the game. His side were trailing 1-0 at home until his introduction in the second half and the Dane inspired Spurs to all three points.

Eriksen is one of the best midfielders, always having an influence going forward. With him in the team, Spurs are a different animal and that was well documented against Villa. A player who Eriksen is most likely to come up against in this game is Rodri.

Rodri made his first Premier League appearance in City colours against West Ham, controlling the tempo of the game from the base of the midfield. He was dispossessed a few times but that was not expected as all new players take time to adjust to the physical and aggressive nature of the Premier League.

With time, however, Rodri will improve and become a long-term replacement for Fernandinho. However, the Spaniard is the man who would be charged with keeping Eriksen quiet today.

3. Raheem Sterling vs Kyle Walker-Peters

Spurs have become weak at right-back following Kieran Trippier’s exit this summer. Pochettino preferred young Kyle Walker-Peters over experienced Serge Aurier on the right against Villa and the 22-year-old repaid his manager’s faith with a strong performance.

However, Walker-Peters will have to be mindful when he comes up against the dangerous Raheem Sterling, who scored a hat-trick in the 5-0 battering of West Ham.

The England international is a lynchpin in the City attack and is an excellent link-up player. He has an excellent awareness of where to position himself to pounce on the opponents’ mistake.

So Walker-Peters will have his task cut out against the nippy Sterling. The City ace will be a key supply line in his team’s attack and the Tottenham defender has to break it early on to make it difficult for the hosts.

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Manchester City

Comparing Man City’s star right-backs – numbers show that Guardiola has a selection headache

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Comparing Manchester City’s new signing Joao Cancelo and Kyle Walker

Premier League champions Manchester City completed the signing of Juventus defender Joao Cancelo on a six-year deal.

Cancelo, 25, has signed a contract at the Etihad Stadium until the summer of 2025 and became Manchester City’s third signing of the summer after Angelino and Rodri.

The Portugal international, who won the domestic double with Juventus in his debut season in the Serie A, was a part of the Man City squad that thrashed West Ham United 5-0 on the opening day of the Premier League season.

However, he had to watch on from the sidelines as Kyle Walker put in a terrific performance at right-back.

As things stand, Pep Guardiola has two brilliant, flying right-backs in Walker and Cancelo. Thus, it is worth comparing them and finding out the reason behind Man City’s decision to splash the cash on Cancelo.

Statistical comparison of Walker and Cancelo from 2018-19 season

In terms of the defensive numbers, Kyle Walker, who made 30 appearances for City in the Premier League last season, made 1.2 tackles and 1.1 interceptions per game. He made 1.5 clearances and blocked 0.2 shots.

Cancelo, on the other hand, played only 22 games for Juventus in the Serie A as he spent a couple of months on the sidelines after undergoing knee surgery.

Yet, he made 1.7 tackles and 0.6 interceptions on average. The Portuguese was dribbled past 0.9 times a game and committed 1.3 fouls per game, which doesn’t paint a great picture as far as the right-back’s defensive qualities and game-reading are concerned.

Moreover, Cancelo received six yellow cards in comparison to Walker’s three during the entire 2018/19 campaign.

As far as the offensive numbers are concerned, Walker managed just a goal and an assist. Cancelo bagged three goals and an assist, with 1.4 key passes and 2.4 dribbles per game. Walker, meanwhile, amassed 0.7 key passes and 0.5 dribbles on average.

Cancelo is a decent passer of the ball and enjoyed a pass success rate of 86.2%. Walker enjoyed a whopping passing success rate of 90.1% in the Premier League.

Looking at the numbers, it is not surprising to see that Walker enjoyed a better pass success rate than Cancelo purely because City have adopted a free-flowing possession-based approach under Pep Guardiola.

But Cancelo, who can play further forward on the right, is more creative and forward-thinking than Walker as he is comfortable getting involved in intricate, free-flowing football in the final third, meaning the Portuguese can support the likes of Bernardo Silva and Kevin De Bruyne in the attack.

He works tirelessly up and down the right flank and is considerably more useful in possession.

This doesn’t mean that Walker is bad by any means, but it highlights the differing profiles of the two players. The England international has improved defensively under Guardiola but he doesn’t have the dribbling ability, natural flair and vision to create opportunities for his teammates as Cancelo does.

Verdict

Both Walker and Cancelo are entirely different players, with both having a diverse style of play and qualities. And this should be considered as a boon for Guardiola though, as he has two different options to use depending on the opposition. Without any second thoughts, Cancelo’s addition looks perfect.

The Portuguese full-back is one of the best in Europe, particularly in possession, and is ideal to compete with Walker for the right-back spot, something which Danilo couldn’t.

Walker’s performance in the 5-0 thrashing of West Ham shows that he is dedicated to the task and wary of City’s brand new star, Joao Cancelo.

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