Yaya Toure concerned about racism problems ahead of World Cup

Yaya Toure disclosed he has concerns about racism ahead of the 2018 Fifa World Cup Russia.

The Manchester City powerhouse was on the receiving end of racists chants by fans of CSKA Moscow in a Uefa Champions League game earlier this season which led to a Fifa charge and partial closure of the stadium.

And the former Cote d’Ivoire international wants Fifa to be proactive in nipping racism in the bud and has also offered to lend his support to the cause.

“I have been abused by racism and because those things happened to me, I try to be involved and I want to help those people who don’t have a voice to control this situation,” Toure said in a short film called ‘Football People’.

“For me to defend an African boy in this situation is a blessing.

“What we are looking to do is to try and stop those idiotic people doing that. We have to be focused and have fair play everywhere.

“If racism situations are going to be involved then it is going to be a big mess. We have to hope and be positive about that.

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“Everyone is talking about Russia maybe being a little bit difficult. But I hope that Russia surprises everybody by trying to make something very nice.

“I have played football in Ukraine and Russia as well before I moved across Europe – it’s like my second country because I used to speak Russian as well.”

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Man City Team News: Injuries, suspensions and line-up vs Stoke City

Manchester City will look to maintain their lead at the top of the Premier League table as they host Stoke City.

Victory over Chelsea ahead of the international break solidifed their place as title favourites, and the two-week hiatus from domestic action has allowed some of their star names to further recover from injury.

City 6/1 to beat Stoke 3-0 with dabblebet

Stoke, meanwhile, have endured an inconsistent campaign thus far and sit in midtable ahead of Saturday


MAN CITY INJURIES


Sergio Aguero has returned to training after suffering a broken rib in a car accident ahead of the Chelsea match and may come into contention.

Benjamin Mendy will definitely miss out after undergoing knee ligament surgery, but Fabian Delph may have shaken off the knock that saw him withdraw from the latest England squad.

Vincent Kompany could also return to the matchday squad having been out for over a month with a calf injury, though he did not feature for Belgium in either of their recent World Cup qualifiers.

Ilkay Gundogan could also come into contention for a start having come off the bench in the closing stages of the win over Chelsea.

Benjamin Mendy Manchester City


MAN CITY SUSPENSIONS


Neither side has any suspensions to worry about heading into the match.


MAN CITY POTENTIAL STARTING LINE-UP


With a crucial Champions League match against Napoli coming up on Tuesday, Guardiola could make a number of changes for the visit of the Potters.

Aguero may not be risked from the start given his injury, meaning Gabriel Jesus will lead the line on his own having scored twice for Brazil in midweek.

His international team-mate Fernandinho could be rested with Gundogan having returned to fitness while Bernardo Silva could earn a rare league start should Guardiola choose to rest one of his attacking midfielders.

Fabian Delph will likely deputise for Benjamin Mendy at left-back, though Danilo could then replace him in Europe in midweek.

Man City XI GFX


STOKE CITY TEAM NEWS


Stoke captain Ryan Shawcross continues to miss out with a back injury that has kept him on the sidelines since the end of August.

Fellow defenders Bruno Martins Indi and Geoff Cameron are also fitness doubts, with the latter not set to return to the club from international duty with the USA until Friday.

Joe Allen, meanwhile, had to be replaced in the first half of Wales’s defeat to Republic of Ireland with concussion and may be forced to sit out on Saturday.


OPTA MATCH FACTS


  • Manchester City have kept a shutout in eight of their nine Premier League home matches against Stoke (W7 D1 L1) – only against Aston Villa (9) have they kept more clean sheets on home soil.

  • Stoke City have either kept a clean sheet (3) or conceded exactly four goals (3) in each of their last six Premier League games against Manchester City (W2 D1 L3).

  • Manchester City have won their last two home games in the Premier League each by a 5-0 scoreline – the only other Premier League side to record three consecutive home wins each by a five or more goal margin were Chelsea in 2010 under Carlo Ancelotti.

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  • Stoke have lost 15 of their last 16 away top-flight matches (D1) against teams who’ve started that day in top spot – their last away win against a side top of the league came in April 1972 against Manchester City under Tony Waddington.

  • Only one goalkeeper has conceded fewer goals in his first seven Premier League starts than Ederson (2) – Petr Cech, who conceded once.


TV COVERAGE & KICK-OFF TIME


The match is not being televised in the UK, with extended highlights to be shown on Match of the Day, which airs on BBC One at 22:20 BST on Saturday.

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That’s why City can be champions! De Bruyne personifies Pep’s masterplan

Pep Guardiola has always got a plan. At Barcelona and Bayern Munich he had players who carried it out more often that not, and the trophies followed. It looks like Manchester City are heading in the right direction.

Guardiola was startlingly honest recently when, in an interview with the BBC, former England international Gary Lineker asked him what was the secret to management. “Having good players,” came the reply.

Man City 9/1 to win Champions League

The City boss made some mistakes last season; at times he forced his system on players who were not ready, and he may even have even been partly to blame for the failure to buy any full-backs last summer, by believing he could get more out of them than he was able.

However, it is also true that he was let down in some key areas, particularly by Claudio Bravo – nobody could have known he would perform so poorly, given his background – and his ageing full-backs, who simply could not provide the pace or energy required.

This summer’s recruitment drive, however, has put the Catalan in charge of the finest collection of players in the country, and his record shows he knows what to do in this position.

Manchester City

Much has already been written about City’s improvement this seson, and the role of the new full-backs. Kyle Walker and Benjamin Mendy look like exactly the right men for the job, and their skills have changed the way the Blues play.

Ederson, too, looks an outstanding goalkeeper. City were confident the £35 million they paid Benfica for the Brazilian would prove to be a bargain, and so far they seem to be right.

However, at Stamford Bridge on Saturday evening, Guardiola showed that there is more to it than simply having the best players. 

For starters, the champions are not short of quality themselves. Antonio Conte’s side, however much they are comfortable ceding possession, were left pegged back and unable to launch the kind of counter-attacks they so normally relish.

That owed much to City’s organisation. Without the ball, City settled into something most resembling a 4-3-3 shape. As soon as they had it, however, Walker became a third centre-back and Fabian Delph, a stand-in for the injured Mendy, went into midfield, pushing City into a 3-4-3. 

It is not unusual for teams to shift formations depending on who has the ball, of course, but few coaches have the courage and belief in their players to move things around quite so much in such a big game.

Guardiola certainly tried these things last season but would often come unstuck. If individual errors at the back weren’t to blame, a baffling failure to take clear-cut chances so often left them reeling, particularly in the big games.

Now, though, everything is coming together. Guardiola has proven his managerial pedigree – look at his record – and now he has the talent at his disposal to put his ideas into practice.

A word, too, for the resurgent Kevin De Bruyne. Guardiola and his staff acknowledged that the Belgian went through a period of adaptation last season, particularly with the amount of running he was being asked to get through, but they recognised that they had the perfect man for their positional play system.

He is not just technically brilliant but extremely intelligent. He is the man who takes in Guardiola’s orders and relays to his team-mates what they need to do, either on the training pitch or in the heat of the battle.

The biggest indication of how trusted he is by Guardiola is how he is the one player who is allowed to break the coach’s strict positional rules. The Catalan sets his teams out in five vertical zones, and his former players have regularly said how they are forbidden from straying, or going in search of the ball.

Willian Kevin De Bruyne Chelsea Manchester City Premier League

De Bruyne, however, has been given an extremely rare freedom. If the going gets tough, he is allowed to roam, to pick up the ball where he sees fit, and dictate the play himself. There can be no higher recognition of his talents than that.

And if this City team are to reach their potential in the coming years, he will almost certainly be part of it. Last December it was he who hit the bar from a matter of yards out when City were leading Chelsea 1-0 at the Etihad Stadium.

Thanks to mistakes at the back and in goal, Chelsea went on to win 3-1, effectively ending City’s title challenge.

But on Saturday it was De Bruyne who ensured City’s superior game plan came to fruition, with a thumping left-footed strike from outside the area.

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It means City keep up their fine start to the season, and head into the international break top of the table. This time, it is Chelsea, six points back, who have been left reeling.

Guardiola has been in a similar position before – he oversaw 10 wins from his first 10 games last season, of course – but there is clearly much more about his team this season.

City look like the real deal.

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Guardiola rules Aguero out of Chelsea game following Amsterdam car crash

Pep Guardiola has announced Sergio Aguero will not be able to play against Chelsea on Saturday or for Argentina in the upcoming international break, but insisted he has no problem with the Argentina striker spending a day off at a concert in Amsterdam.

Aguero has confirmed he broke a rib when the taxi that was carrying him and a friend back to Amsterdam Schipol airport hit a post in the De Beolelaan of the Dutch capital on Thusday evening.

The 29-year-old will arrive back in Manchester on Friday afternoon after being discharged from hospital, but has missed City’s final training session ahead of Saturday’s game against Chelsea.

City doctors will assess Aguero when he arrives at the training ground, with Guardiola insisting the extent of the rib injury is not yet known.

But he confirmed the striker will not play against the Blues at Stamford Bridge, and doubted he will be able to join up with his international colleagues.

“I’m not a doctor, I don’t know exactly what he had,” Guardiola said at a press conference.

“The first impression is that he has a broken rib but the number of days he will be out, I don’t know right now.

“Of course it was an accident, fortunately he’ll come back and recover as soon as possible.”

Asked whether he had a problem with Aguero attending a concert ahead of the top-of-the-table game at Chelsea, he replied bluntly: “No. Day off. I am not the police.”

“I have not spoken to him yet. I was busy this morning preparing the training and other things. I’ll speak to him after. I know he’s ok. It’s an accident. He’s ok that’s the most important thing. He’ll recover asap.”

On how his players spend their days off, he added: “I think they have to be happy. I want the players to be happy. They have to rest mentally and physically and they have to enjoy their lives. If he decides to go there, that’s ok with me.”

Guardiola also revealed left-back Benjamin Mendy will not return to the squad until “our Champions League semi-final”. The last four of the competition is scheduled for the end of April, meaning the Frenchman will be out for between five to six months.

And the Blues boss says there is “no way” Vincent Kompany will be fit enough to return at Chelsea on Saturday, despite the Belgian having been called up for international duty.

Guardiola says he has already spoken to Belgium boss Roberto Martinez and insists the centre-back is only meeting up with his compatriots to have a meeting, rather than to play.

More to follow…

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Aguero confirms broken rib following Amsterdam car crash

Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero has confirmed that he broke a rib in a car accident on Thursday night.

Aguero was taken to hospital in Amsterdam after the car which was taking him to the city’s Schipol airport collided with a post. 

The Argentina striker and a friend had been guests at a Maluma concert in the Dutch capital and were heading back to the airport when their driver lost control of the vehicle.

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“The driver did not see the curve and skidded,” Aguero told Argentine radio station Radio Metro. “When we were skidding we hit a post.

“I’ve broken a rib, now I’m resting. It hurts a lot but I’ll soon be discharged.”

Aguero will arrive back Manchester on Friday afternoon having released from hospital, although he missed City’s morning training session.

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