Nottingham Forest Opinion: Arijanet Muric could push Pantilimon for the No.1 role at the City Ground
According to Nottinghamshire Live, Nottingham Forest have been credited with an interest in Man City shot-stopper Arijanet Muric, with reports claiming that manager Martin O’Neill is keen to add another goalkeeper to his ranks this summer.
Nottinghamshire Live understands that Martin O’Neill and Forest’s goalkeeping coach Seamus McDonagh watched the 20-year-old in action for Kosova against Bulgaria last weekend and they were left impressed by the youngster’s performance in his nation’s 3-2 triumph.
The same source claims that Man City manager Pep Guardiola is open to sending Muric out on loan this summer to allow him to gain more first-team exposure in the Championship.
Born in Switzerland to parents of Kosovan heritage, Muric played for Grasshoppers and FC Zurich at the youth level before joining Man City’s youth ranks back in 2015.
The youngster was pretty much an unknown entity prior to the last season but he is currently regarded as one of the brightest emerging prospects in the ranks at the Etihad.
Muric was initially shipped out on loan to Eredivisie side NAC Breda last summer but Man City recalled after a month to act as the understudy to No.1 Ederson Moraes following a long-term injury to veteran Claudio Bravo.
The 20-year-old earned his first-team debut for the Citizens in the victory over Oxford United in the third round of the 2018-19 EFL Cup and he subsequently went on to feature in five games in that competition before being replaced by Ederson in the finals, as City claimed silverware at the cost of Chelsea.
Muric was the penalty-shootout hero in the quarter-final victory against Leicester City and his goalkeeping heroics earned him plenty of plaudits from the fans and pundits alike.
Having featured initially for Montenegro at the U-21 level, Muric switched his international allegiance to Kosovo and made his senior international debut against Azerbaijan in the 2018-19 UEFA Nations League. His metaphoric rise at Man City has seen him cement his place as the No.1 for Kosova on the international front and one would expect him to continue in that role for years to come.
To put things into perspective, Nottingham Forest might have missed out on a playoff spot in the Championship this past season but they finished the campaign with one of the best defensive records in the division.
Their tally of 61 goals wasn’t enough for them to make the cut to the playoffs, and while O’Neill needs to add more firepower to his attack following the departure of loanees Diogo Goncalves and Gil Dias, bringing in Arijanet Muric on loan won’t do Forest much harm.
Costel Pantilimon was the undisputed No.1 between the sticks at the City Ground the last term and the Romanian international enjoyed a good run with the gloves, registering as many as 15 clean sheets in 44 outings. 34-year-old Luke Steele made 7 appearances in all competitions but it is clear from O’Neill’s interest in Muric that he wants to provide Pantilimon with more competition.
Having featured in the Premier League for Man City, Sunderland and Watford earlier in his career, Pantilimon continues to be one of the high-profile shot-stoppers in the Championship.
However, Muric has also shown strong signs of promise at Man City and he certainly has the quality to challenge the 32-year-old for a first-team role next season, whilst Forest can also look at him as a useful back-up and an upgrade on Steele.
Either way, increasing competition for places between the sticks should not hurt Forest.
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To conclude, this is a deal that looks likely to happen and Forest should definitely go ahead with this one in a bid to add more depth and quality to their goalkeeping options.
3 Winners and 3 Losers from PL gameweek 5 including Tottenham and Arsenal
3 Winners and 3 Losers from Premier League gameweek 5
Premier League action returned with a bang after the end of the first international break of the season and Round 5 of the 2019-20 campaign produced some mesmerizing football for all sets of fans to savour and admire.
Man City’s shock 3-2 defeat away at Norwich City was arguably the hottest talking point from this weekend, while a few of the other big-six clubs, including Man United, Liverpool, Spurs and Chelsea should also be happy with how things panned out for them in Round 5.
Arsenal blew away a two-goal lead at Vicarage Road to share the spoils in a 2-2 draw against Watford, while top-six hopefuls Everton were beaten 3-1 away at Bournemouth.
Watford and Wolves once again finished the week as the only two sides in the Premier League who are yet to register a single victory thus far.
Without further ado, let us take a look at 3 winners and 3 losers from Round 5 of the Premier League:
Jurgen Klopp’s side stretched their lead over defending champions Man City to five points at the top of the table, as a first-half brace from Sadio Mane followed by a third goal from Mo Salah in the second half guided the Reds to a comfortable 3-1 comeback victory over Newcastle United.
Jetro Willems put the Magpies in the driver’s seat early in the game with his pile driver from the edge of the box but heroics from Mane, and Roberto Firminio who came on as a substitute for Divock Origi midway through the first half ensured that Liverpool stretched their winning run in the Premier League to 14 games in a row, becoming only the fourth team to achieve such a feat.
While it was more of a regulation victory for Liverpool, the fans at Anfield have every reason to hope that Man City’s stumble at Carrow Road proves to be one of the title-defining moments later on in the season.
Nevertheless, for the time being, Liverpool have a lot of breathing space with a five-point lead at the top of the standings.
It was a treat to watch how Chelsea’s young guns completely whitewashed an underwhelming Wolves side 2-5 away from home on Saturday, with Tammy Abraham’s hat-trick making him the youngest Blues player to achieve such a feat in the Premier League.
Frank Lampard’s side had come under criticism for blowing away a two-goal lead at home against Sheffield United prior to the international break but the Blues absolutely demolished Wolves in ruthless fashion to get back to winning ways and finished the week placed 6th in the standings.
While Abraham stole much of the limelight with his hat-trick, fellow academy graduate Fikayo Tomori also got the crowd off its feet with an absolute stunner from 35 yards out, as did Mason Mount, who bagged his third goal of the league season.
3. Tottenham Hotspur
Having lost 1-0 to Newcastle United and drawn 2-2 away at Arsenal prior to the international break, Spurs came into the game against Crystal Palace with only a solitary victory in their first four games.
However, the home fans will be relieved after the Lilywhites produced arguably their best display of the season thus far and cruised to a comfortable 4-0 victory over Roy Hodgson’s side, who dropped down to 12th place in the standings after that defeat.
An own goal from Patrick van Aanholt, sandwiched by Heung-min Son’s brace and Erik Lamela’s strike made the score 4-0 before the interval and though Spurs moved up to 3rd place in the standings this week, they still have plenty of catch-up to do if they are to get back in the title race.
1. Man City
It was always going to be interesting to see how Man City would cope with the opposition in the Premier League following Aymeric Laporte’s injury and the defensive blunders against Norwich City are sure to have Pep Guardiola scratching his head to find a solution for the upcoming fixtures.
Some poor marking allowed Kenny McLean to head home the opener for the Canaries early in the first-half before Teemu Pukki took advantage of some ineffective coordination at the back to set up Todd Cantwell for the second.
Sergio Aguero pulled one back just at the stroke of the interval but a horrible error from Nicolas Otamendi allowed Pukki to make it 3-1 in favour of the hosts. It stayed that way until Rodrigo found a late goal. City struggled to hit great heights against a Norwich side that ran them ragged with their never-say-die mentality on the pitch.
Undoubtedly, Man City’s defeat comes as the first big twist in the title race and Guardiola will be aware that his team cannot afford such slip-ups if they are to keep themselves within striking distance of Liverpool at the top of the table.
Arsenal didn’t have the worst of results in Round 5 but Unai Emery is likely to be disappointed to have come away with just a draw from the trip to Watford, with the Gunners blowing away a two-goal lead in the second half to somehow salvage a point.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s brace in the first half was cancelled out by goals from Tom Cleverly and Roberto Pereyra after the interval, the latter coming from the penalty spot after the Argentine was tripped by David Luiz inside the box.
A victory over Watford would have propelled the Gunners to 3rd place in the standings, ahead of Spurs, who currently hold that position, but some poor defending and lack of resilience at the back cost Arsenal heavily once again.
A victory over Bournemouth would have seen Everton finish the week in the top four but instead, the Toffees currently find themselves outside the top-ten, languishing at 11th place in the standings after suffering a 3-1 defeat to the Cherries away on the south coast.
Callum Wilson’s opener was cancelled out by Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s header just at the stroke of the interval before Ryan Fraser made it 2-1 with a free-kick and Wilson put the game to bed with his second goal midway through the second half.
The Toffees failed to capitalise on their chances and this defeat definitely comes as a big blow to their hopes of challenging for a top-six place.
Shakhtar Donetsk vs Man City: Preview, Team News, Prediction and more
Shakhtar Donetsk vs Man City: Preview, Team News, Predicted XI and Score Prediction
With Liverpool’s 3-1 triumph over Newcastle United stretching the gap to five points at the top of the table in the Premier League after five rounds of fixtures, Pep Guardiola’s men now turn their attention to the UEFA Champions League.
The reigning English champions are all set to kick start their European campaign with a trip to Ukraine to face Shakhtar Donetsk, an opposition they should be quite familiar with after being drawn together with the Ukrainian heavyweights for the third time in a row.
As a matter of fact, this is the first time in the competition that two teams have been drawn together in the same group for three successive years since Ajax and Real Madrid in 2010-11, 2011-12 and 2012-13.
Despite their dominance on the domestic front over the past decade, Man City have failed to conquer the UEFA Champions League and the Cityzens will be hoping to make a strong statement at the biggest stage of it all this time around, having crashed out of the competition in the quarter-finals against Tottenham Hotspur last year.
Drawn along with Shakhtar, Dinamo Zagreb and newcomers Atalanta in Group C, progression to the knockout stages is not expected to be a big problem for City but Pep Guardiola will be hoping for his side to return to winning ways on Matchday 1 after a shock defeat against Norwich this weekend.
To that end, the record books speak very much in favour of the English champions, with City having won three out of their last four European meetings with Shakhtar Donetsk, scoring a total of 12 goals and conceding only twice in those fixtures.
City are the outright favourites to come away with all three points on Matchday 1, although playing in front of a raucous home crowd in a hostile atmosphere in Ukraine could prove to be a challenge for Pep Guardiola’s side.
Aymeric Laporte’s injury continues to be a major headache for Pep Guardiola and it remains to be seen if the manager opts for a makeshift backline after the defensive debacle against Norwich at the weekend.
Benjamin Mendy and Leroy Sane are both ruled out for the clash and the travelling fans might get to see Guardiola rotating his squad and handing an opportunity to Phil Foden in place of veteran David Silva, who started in the Premier League on Saturday.
Fernandinho hasn’t had too much to do this season but the Brazilian is likely to return to the eleven to face his former club on Wednesday if the manager switches back to his preferred 4-3-3 system.
Summer recruit Joao Cancelo has only played a single minute in the Premier League but he might get a chance to impress Guardiola in the Champions League.
Ederson Moraes, Joao Cancelo, Nicolas Otamendi, John Stones, Oleksandr Zinchenko, Fernandinho, Kevin de Bruyne, Phil Foden, Raheem Sterling, Riyad Mahrez, Gabriel Jesus
Shakhtar Donetsk 1-3 Man City
Despite this being an away game for the Cityzens, their immense quality and depth must help them get through this fixture without much trouble.
Premier League gameweek 4: Winners and Losers from the weekend including Chelsea’s slip and Leicester’s rise
2019-20 Premier League: Winners and Losers from Round 4
There was plenty to savour and admire for all sets of fans, as Round 4 of the 2019-20 Premier League season lived up to the expectations, with none of the games failing to produce a goal.
Man United kicked off the action on Saturday away from home at Southampton, with the Red Devils looking to bounce back from a shock 2-1 defeat to Crystal Palace the week before.
Daniel James continued his fine run of form early in the campaign and put United in the lead just 10 minutes into the game before Jannik Vestergaard’s headed equaliser in the second half ensured that both the teams shared the spoils.
United, though, will be bitterly disappointed for failing to break down a 10-man Southampton unit after Kevin Danso was sent off for a second bookable offence on Scott McTominay.
Elsewhere, Chelsea failed to capitalise on Tammy Abraham’s second brace of the season, as the Blues squandered a two-goal lead at home against Sheffield United to earn a 2-2 draw.
Callum Robinson’s strike followed by Kurt Zouma’s unfortunate own goal towards the dying stages of the game meant that Frank Lampard’s side went into the international break with only a solitary win in their first four games in the Premier League.
However, there weren’t any hiccups for defending champions Man City after Pep Guardiola’s side put in yet another dominant performance to claim all three points with a resounding 4-0 victory over Brighton, thanks to a brace from Sergio Aguero and goals from Kevin de Bruyne and Bernardo Silva.
Similarly, Liverpool continued their merry way with a rather straightforward 3-0 victory over Burnley at Turf Moor, as an own goal from Chris Wood followed by goals from Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino meant that Jurgen Klopp’s side went into the international break with a perfect record.
Shifting the focus to the North London Derby, there was nothing to separate the two teams, as Arsenal and Spurs played out a thrilling 2-2 draw at the Emirates.
Christian Eriksen opened the scoring for the visitors and Harry Kane’s spot-kick doubled the advantage for Mauricio Pochettino’s side after Son was brought down inside the box by a reckless lunge from Granit Xhaka.
However, Lacazette handed the Gunners a lifeline just at the stroke of the interval before a lively second-half performance saw Aubameyang bag the equaliser with an intuitive finish from Guendouzi’s perfectly-weighted lobbed pass.
Meanwhile, Leicester City continued their unbeaten run in the Premier League with an emphatic 3-1 victory over Bournemouth at home, thus registering their second victory in a row after a 2-1 result against Sheffield United last week.
Jamie Vardy’s early opener was cancelled out by Callum Wilson but Youri Tielemans restored the lead for the hosts towards the end of the first-half before Vardy bagged his third goal of the season later in the game to cap off a dominant display from Brendan Rodgers’ side.
Tielemans, though, was lucky to have escaped a red card for a horrible studs-up challenge on Callum Wilson, with the VAR surprisingly not spotting a clear and obvious error in the on-field referee’s decision.
Elsewhere, Watford opened their account in the Premier League this term with a 1-1 draw away at Newcastle, registering their first points of the season after three consecutive defeats.
Will Hughes’ opener handed the Hornets an early advantage before Fabian Schar drew Newcastle level just before the interval.
The West Ham fans will be happy with what they saw from their team in the 2-0 victory over Norwich City at home, as goals from Sebastien Haller and Andriy Yarmolenko on either side of the interval handed Manuel Pellegrini’s side their second victory of the campaign.
The Hammers created plenty of opportunities and it could have been four or five in favour of them, whilst Todd Cantwell was left to rue his missed chance from just a yard out.
There weren’t any heroics from Aston Villa this weekend as Crystal Palace followed up their surprise victory over Man United with another tidy 1-0 triumph over the Lions at home, thanks to a solitary goal from Jordan Ayew midway through the second half.
Meanwhile, Wolves’ unbeaten streak came to an end at Goodison Park on Sunday as Everton bounced back from a defeat away at Aston Villa last week to register a well-deserved 3-2 win at home.
A moment of miscommunication between Rui Patricio and Conor Coady allowed Richarlison to fire home the opener before Romain Saiss equalised moments later, tapping it in off Adama Traore’s cross from the right.
Alex Iwobi then restored the lead for the Toffees before the interval, only for Raul Jimenez to make it 2-2 in the 75th minute.
It was Richarlison, though, who headed home the winner with ten minutes to go and Wolves weren’t able to muster any meaningful reply after that, as Marco Silva’s side went into the international break on a positive note. Not to mention, Wily Boly’s red card that worsened things for Nuno Santo.
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