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Manchester City vs Tottenham injury list

Following their home loss to Aston Villa, Tottenham Hotspur face another testing away tie this weekend but this time it is the reigning champions Manchester…

Following their home loss to Aston Villa, Tottenham Hotspur face another testing away tie this weekend but this time it is the reigning champions Manchester City who stand in their way.

Tottenham coach Ange Postecoglou believes the loss against Villa was caused because 10 first-team players were missing due to injury or suspension and this included both his favourite centre-backs, his entire first choice midfield and other squad members.

When I spoke to Tottenham this week they said Rodrigo Bentancur is likely to be out of action for several weeks following a tackle by Villa’s Matty Cash which has torn his ankle ligament. James Maddison, Richarlison, Micky van de Ven and Manor Solomon were all in the medical room this week for treatment. Postecoglou had only eight subs on the bench last weekend and two were goalkeepers and as the coach said, that shows the seriousness of Tottenham’s injury list. They have a squad of only 25 players and started against Villa with four full backs, no defensive midfielder and youngsters on the bench. However, it was Giovani Lo Celso who impressed Postecoglou most and he had not started a game since in the Premier League since October 2021 under Nino Espirito Santos. He was bright, full of energy, scored a goal and did enough to convince the coach that he can cover for James Maddison. Against City Dejan Kulusevski and Emerson Royal will probably have to play out of position and Spurs face a very tough Sunday afternoon.

City will start with their most recent selection of players all available and Jack Grealish has recovered from his illness and Pep Guardiola will decide on Saturday whether to start him or Doku. Reports from the medical team at City suggest John Stones could miss the Tottenham game. He has been very unlucky and sustained one injury after another. He was an unused sub at Saturday’s game but Pep Guardiola made it clear that this was a medical decision not to rush him back into the team. Stones was training this week but Manu Akanji will likely deputise for the defender. Guardiola said, “He feels good but I want one or two weeks to have proper strength training sessions. I want him to be completely ready.” He continued, “Manu and Rodri are playing excellently together, they move with the right tempo at the right moment, the way they interact with the wingers and break the lines. It was really good against Liverpool and at Chelsea. What a signing Manu is. Full-back, centre-back, holding midfield. What a player Txiki (Bergristain), our Sporting Director, has brought me.”

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United plan big clear-out in January

Manchester United are preparing to clear out a number of players in January. Fourteen who had played in the first team left in the summer and United want to further reduce their wage bill. Tom Heaton and Jonny Evans are out of contract in June and an extension to their current arrangements are under discussion. Full-back Brandon Williams is on loan at Ipswich where he has been playing well and Alvaro Fernandez is in Italy with Girona. Both loan periods could be extended or United will cash in and sell both players. Erik Ten Hag wants a new defensive centre-back and that threatens Victor Lindelof who is on a short contract but he has started 11 of United’s 18 games so far this season. Harry Maguire’s form improvement has relegated Raphael Verane to the bench and he is looking for a way out and his large salary is something United wants off their books. Scott McTominay has regained his place in Ten Hag’s team selection but word around Old Trafford is that the club will accept an offer which they think is reasonable. United have an agreement in which they can sign on loan Sofyan Amrabat from Fiorentina but he has struggled in the Premier League and United are deciding whether or not to keep him. Christian Eriksen’s contract runs out in 19 months and both he and Casimero reach 32 years-of-age in February. Both are vulnerable to being sold. Anthony Martial could be released rather than being offered an extension to his contract by another year because United recognise that he will not attract high bids from European clubs. He has scored only 18 goals since September 2020 and he will be 28 years-of-age this month. Donny Van De Beek and Jadon Sancho are definitely not wanted by Erik Ten Hag and if decent offers come in they will go unless there is a dramatic turn of events such as Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s intervention if he purchases 25% of the club shares in time. He is known to regard Sancho highly. United will probably have two more transfer windows in which to receive a fee for Mason Greenwood as both supporters and players say they do not want him back at the club. He is currently in Spain on loan at Getafe.

Emery plays down Villa success

Aston Villa coach Unai Emery is a realist. Despite his team reaching the dizzy heights at the top of the Premier League table he believes that a top six finish with the glory of European football is still a tough challenge. Emery thinks Manchester City, United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Tottenham, Chelsea and Newcastle all have a better chance than Villa in reaching the Champions League next season. However, he says, “With 38 matches still to come, a lot of things can happen. We will continue to be demanding and focused.” Emery has quietened reports that Villa could sell Douglas Luiz in January despite Arsenal claiming they will pay big money to take him to the Emirates Stadium. Emery said, “Douglas is a very important player for us but is also very happy here so we want to keep him.” Villa travel to Bournemouth on Sunday and Emery expects a hard fought game against a team that is continuing to improve.

United keep tabs on Bayern’s Muller

Manchester United have put together a report regarding Bayern Munich forward Thomas Muller. The 34-year-old Germany star has only started four games this season and usually comes on as a late sub in the second half. Thomas has been at Bayern his entire career but with his contract expiring in the summer he has hinted that he might not sign a new deal. United coach Erik Ten Hag is a long-time admirer of Muller.

Hudson-Odoi returning to help Forest

Nottingham Forest coach Steve Cooper says he is delighted Callum Hudson-Odoi looks to be over this recent hamstring injury. He came on as a second half substitute against Brighton but Cooper told us that he didn’t intend to play Callum quite so early in the match but “it was good to get him back and he is going to be important for us.” Leading goalscorer Taiwo Awonyi will be out until the New Year as his groin injury requires surgery.

Chelsea again targeting Osimhen

Last summer Chelsea tried to sign Victor Osimhen from Napoli. The Italian giants fought off the Blues challenge for the 24-year-old and Villarreal’s Nicolas Jackson went to Stamford Bridge instead. Fast forward a few months and it appears that Osimhen has fallen out with his Italian employers who released a video which appears to mock him although the club owners deny this.

Chelsea are not 100% happy with Jackson who blows hot and cold and are again focusing on Osimhen but Napoli’s huge price tag of £100million could end any genuine interest. There is no doubting the Nigerian’s quality. He has scored 26 goals in 32 appearances and this season he is again in excellent form netting six goals in nine games.

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