“Two more!” Pep Guardiola yelled at the Manchester City fans who had come to Goodison Park to see an ultimately placid win (0-3) against Everton. Two more victories in three days and they would once again celebrate the Premier League title. But before the end of the afternoon, just one was enough for them: Arsenal stumbled at the Emirates against the unpredictable Brighton (0-3). Actually, Guardiola could shout now that he is “four more” away from a historic treble in the Premier, Champions League and FA Cup, a milestone that only has one precedent in England, that of the memorable Manchester United in 1999.
Jordan Pickford, Yerry Mina, Mason Holgate (Coady, min. 55), Patterson, James Tarkowski, Idrissa Gueye (Amadou Onana, min. 55), Doucouré, Alex Iwobi, James Garner (Gray, min. 75), Dwight McNeil and Calvert-Lewin (Neal Maupay, min. 45)
Ederson Moraes, Manuel Akanji, Walker, Laporte, Rúben Dias (Sergio Gómez, min. 91), Rodrigo (Kalvin Phillips, min. 88), Gündogan (Bernardo Silva, min. 77), Julián Álvarez, Mahrez, Foden and Erling Braut Haaland (Grealish, min. 78)
goals 0-1 min. 36: Gundogan. 0-2 min. 38: Erling Braut Haaland. 0-3 min. 50: Gundogan.
Referee anthony taylor
Yellow cards James Garner (min. 48)
City sat in the dentist’s chair against Everton. “They are, by far, the best team in the Premier in transitions,” Guardiola explained at the end, when he wanted to give value to a victory built during a first half hour of pick and shovel against an opponent withdrawn around a 5- 4-1 and attentive not only to counters but to exploit their strength in set pieces. Thus, the Holgate side was able to score after a spontaneous scrum in the Ederson area. Until Gündogan appeared, a regular plunger. Guardiola had kept De Bruyne, Stones, Bernardo Silva and Grealish. The last two barely played the last quarter of an hour. The Belgian talent, between cotton the last weeks, was reserved with a view to the match against Real Madrid next Wednesday.
The level of the substitutes was not enough to despair either. Foden and Mahrez occupied the flanks, Julián Álvarez hooked near Haaland and Laporte operated on Stones, in aid of the midfielder. But who decided the game with his signature was Gündogan. Decisive a year ago with two goals in the comeback against Aston Villa in the last match of the championship, the German midfielder now has four goals and an assist in the last two games. And he is about to end his contract. “Maybe in the end he stays with us… Hopefully!” Guardiola exclaimed in the final summary of his visit to Liverpool.
Gundogan, who was playing his 300th game for Manchester City, broke the game in two minutes. He scored the goal that opened the scoring after controlling the ball with a thigh and finishing with his back to the goal. Shortly after, a center of his sent him to the Haaland network. The pass seemed a bit high, but the Norwegian rose like a titan to reach it with his head and the net. The process ended there. Gundogan scored again at the start of the second half and City was able to dose their efforts and look towards the European duel with a ticket to the Champions League final at stake.
Then, at the weekend, the team will be Premier League champions if Arsenal lose on their visit to Nottingham on Saturday or, otherwise, if they win at the Etihad against downgraded Chelsea. If there are unforeseen events, City would have two final outings to Brighton and Brentford because they have one more game to play than Arsenal, who will end the season at home against Wolves.
The ‘citizen’ stretch
Manchester City reaches the gates of its fifth Premier in six years after chaining 11 consecutive victories. His last setback dates back to February 18, a draw in Nottingham. Too much acceleration for the courageous Arsenal, winners in two of the last seven days. But the team’s excellent season returns to the great European showcase. Arsenal’s last game in the Champions League was in March 2017. And coach Arteta warns that he is coaching a team with a lot of room for improvement. Against Brighton he got stuck, first they took the ball from him and then they hit him on the counter, a facet in which Mitoma and Estupiñán were daggers. Together they made Enciso’s goal, in the return after the break. Brighton, who is sixth in the standings ahead of Tottenham and Aston Villa, consolidated their European aspirations with the final goals from Undav and Estupinán.
Premier League working day 36
The great references of Arsenal have reached the end of the season with the deposit in the reserve. Odegaard did not finish the game and Thomas, exuberant for months, lost ownership in recent weeks. In the center of the defense Saliba, the defensive leader of the team, has been absent due to injury for two months. Martinelli left this Sunday injured before halfway through the first half… Too many setbacks to stand up to the great dominator of the Premier, the great opponent of a European dream from which Real Madrid separates him for now.
Guardiola: “We are the only European team that is fighting for everything”
The Premier League within reach, the Cup final against Manchester United on the horizon and, first of all, a second leg of the Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid in which they start even at home after a draw at the Bernabéu ( 1-1). “I know we haven’t won anything yet, but it’s a dream come true to be where we are. We are the only European team that is fighting in all competitions”, sums up Pep Guardiola, citizen coach, with pride, who classifies the situation as “an extraordinary achievement”. The Catalan coach has his eleventh win in the fourteen leagues he has played since he took charge of Barcelona in 2008.
But Manchester City’s ambition is fed by titles, especially the desired orejona. And in the face of this challenge, everything is in perfect magazine condition because Rodri, who left the game against Everton with a slight limp, Guardiola has already confirmed that he will have no problem lining up against the Whites. “It was a difficult visit to Goodison Park because it also came between the two games against Real Madrid, but we handled the game very well, we scored the goals at the right time and it’s very nice to celebrate with our people”, explained the City coach, who has played in ten Champions League semifinals in his coaching career.
Seven of the footballers who played in Madrid, where Guardiola made no changes, lined up to start against Everton. Among them was Gundogan, once again decisive, a leader with a reedy voice and measured manner. “He doesn’t talk much, but when he does, everyone listens to him,” said Guardiola, who defines his footballer as a guy capable of holding midfield, but also as a striker. And that facet usually shows it when the spotlights point the most. “He lives the job of a footballer 24 hours a day and handles pressure very well,” explains the Manchester City coach of his footballer, who is in his seventh season with the team and has scored 58 goals in 300 games.
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