Home Sport Das Monster von Man City erhebt sich aus dem Meer

Das Monster von Man City erhebt sich aus dem Meer

von NFI Redaktion

The Premier League has reached the part of the season where it anticipates a winter break, spreading the games of Round 21 over two weeks to give half of the teams a week off this week and the other half the week off last week. Unless they have an FA Cup replay. Or a League Cup semifinal. But each team gets at least a long weekend off, which is better than nothing. It’s not the month that they have in Germany, or the holidays in Spain and Italy, but that’s life in England. Which NFL team will hire Jim Harbaugh as their next head coach? With only five games on the calendar, we can just go through them one by one. Yes, I can even think about Luton and Burnley, because I’m just that spoiled!Manchester City 3, Newcastle 2While Liverpool fans like me, or Arsenal fans, or even Villa fans have pretended at various times that those teams were real title contenders, there was always a portentous feeling, as if we were hearing that Godzilla was heading inland from the coast in March or April. At best, none of that will matter, because Man City will shrug off their unease in the first half, stretch their arms, yawn, and begin once again to knock over every building that stands in their way. Most of that had to do with the fact that Kevin De Bruyne didn’t play at all in the first half and is now returning from an injury. He remains the best player in the league on a team already brimming with stars. And… well… Not Newcastle United vs. Manchester City | PREMIER LEAGUE HIGHLIGHTS | 13.01.2024 | NBC SportsThe lone caveat that everyone else can cling to is that City mounted a comeback against a Newcastle team that has had to play with the same eleven players for about two months and runs out of gas after about 60 minutes (Bruno Guimaraes has played 750 minutes this season in the past month). But it’s not a major caveat. The worst thing about De Bruyne’s equalizer is that Newcastle knows exactly what to do, they just can’t prevent it. It’s clear that they want to prevent the Belgian from getting the ball between midfield and the defensive line. Look at Guimaraes and Lewis Miley here, while Rodri has the ball in the center circle and is solely focused on preventing the pass to De Bruyne.ScreenShot: But Rodri is hardly a slouch, and his ability to have the ball at his feet, and a simple move by De Bruyne, and suddenly the world is opened up:ScreenShot: Miley and Guimaraes are caught ball-watching, not noticing De Bruyne moving into the space to their left, but Rodri does, and now De Bruyne gets the ball with his head up and the ability to run at the defense and Newcastle’s midfield is out. There isn’t much to do when De Bruyne has that much skill to ensure that he gets the ball into the spaces he wants.What regarding the winning goal is that Kieran Trippier has been struggling for about a month, mostly due to fatigue, and the horrified expression he has on his face as he realizes that he’s trying to play an offsides trap three yards in front of the rest of his defense is so bad it’s almost funny, if you’re not following a team trying to hold on to anything while City clings to their heels. None of Newcastle’s midfielder could muster up the strength to get to De Bruyne, giving him four seconds, while he only needs one to pick out Oscar Bobb.What can men do in the face of such ruthless skill?Chelsea 1, Fulham 0A fairly typical Chelsea performance, with more brilliance than it seems, but the inability to finish most of it until Cole Palmer can to take a penalty. Fulham had their chances, but the most important story out of this one is for USMNT fans, that Antonee Robinson has become one of, if not the, best left back in the league this season.Robinson had Palmer mostly pegged on the right side of Chelsea’s attack and after about the 30th minute, Palmer settled in the middle of the field to get away from Robinson as much as possible. Robinson ended up with four interceptions and three clearances before the end, as well as four recoveries, covering almost every inch of grass in the left half of the field. Robinson’s only mark is that his final product is not much, no matter how often he gets forward and finds himself in advantageous attacking positions. He’s not a particularly good crosser, not a great provider when it comes to making the killer pass, and he rarely shoots. The defensive dominance he has shown this season is more than enough and he’s represented in the USMNT’s starting XI. If he ever manages to establish himself in attack, he is probably a $40-50 million player.Everton 0, Aston Villa 0Not your standard nil-nil, as it was actually watchable, and if Dominic Calvert-Lewin hadn’t been replaced by a pod person in the past calendar year, this would not have ended goalless. As it always seems to be with Everton, the big news came off the field (and we’ll get to that in a minute), but a word to Douglas Luiz for Villa. Luiz conducted this game for both sides, and although Everton’s midfield is set up to disrupt all the nice things and full of physical giants like Abdoulaye Doucouré and Amadou Onana, Luiz mastered the entire game like in a musical. Luiz completed 90% of his passes, dribbled past defenders and threw 12 balls back. Every good thing Villa did, that piled up 16 shots, sprang from Luiz’s work, which was the story for most of the season. Everton vs. Aston Villa | PREMIER LEAGUE HIGHLIGHTS | 14.01.2024 | NBC SportsAs for Everton, they will be sweating until at least April, as they are once again being charged with financial nonsense, along with Nottingham Forest, and may face another points deduction this season. But this is a different case than City’s, which all Toffees will scream about if there is a penalty imposed, but it’s still less about malice and more about incompetence. This was not a team trying to buy success from endlessly deep pockets. This was a team and ownership without direction or plan. That won’t be enough to save them completely though.Manchester United 2, Tottenham 2The same goes for United, who although they picked up a point that can be said it’s a good point, were still pretty overwhelmed at home by a Spurs team missing their top three attackers and two important midfielders. Erik Ten Hag has obviously dropped his overarching plan and returned to last year’s emergency plan. That served to intercept pressure, sit a bit deeper, and produce more space behind opponents for Marcus Rashford, Garnacho, and Rasmus Hojlund to rush into like a slingshot. It’s not the worst plan, considering how good the three looked at times on the break, but Ten Hag was not hired as Mourinho 2.0. Especially when he gets such defensive efforts from his captain Bruno Fernandes. Just watch him let Rodrigo Bentancur run away from him and go into the box to score:Manchester United vs. Tottenham Hotspur | PREMIER LEAGUE HIGHLIGHTS | 14.01.2024 | NBC SportsFernandes starts about 5-10 yards behind Bentancur, but he hardly sprints and checks up for space. Fernandes just wanders back into his own box not covering anyone, allowing Bentancur to receive the ball free in the box. That’s now United and they’re hoping again that their attackers catch a break all on their own, while hoping the other seven field players don’t mess it up so badly that they can dig out an equalizer. Burnley 1, Luton Town 1Do you want the worst VAR decision of the year?Burnley vs. Luton Town | PREMIER LEAGUE HIGHLIGHTS | 12.01.2024 | NBC SportsElijah Adebayo even looks at where the Burnley goalkeeper is before he crashes into him while the cross is coming in. That’s a complete box out that would make any high school basketball coach weak at the knees. That’s not even close to the ball. And then VAR decides it’s okay? Burnley will probably go down anyway…

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