Connect with us

Premier League

Wolves end Man City’s perfect start with shock win

Published

on

Premier League - Wolverhampton Wanderers v Manchester City - Molineux Stadium, Wolverhampton, Britain - September 30, 2023 Wolverhampton Wanderers' Fabio Silva in action with Manchester City's Jeremy Doku Action Images via Reuters/Ed Sykes

Hwang Hee-chan scored the winner as Wolverhampton Wanderers ended champions Manchester City’s perfect start to the Premier League season with a shock 2-1 home win on Saturday.

The defeat at Molineux was City’s second loss in five days, after Newcastle United dumped them out of the League Cup, and dashed the leaders’ hopes of stretching their season-opening run to seven league wins in a row.

A Ruben Dias own goal sent Wolves 1-0 up in the 13th minute, Pedro Neto’s cross deflected in off the Portuguese player’s knee, but Julian Alvarez levelled the score with a bending free kick past Jose Sa in the 58th.

Hwang restored the home side’s lead on the counter-attack and against the run of play in the 66th by firing into the net from close range after a Matheus Cunha pass found him unmarked.

“We know that we could have the opportunity on the counter,” said Neto. “We are playing against the best team in the world but we had belief that this could be a turning point for us. We work hard and we take the three points.”

Advertisement

With City manager Pep Guardiola serving a touchline ban for his third yellow card of the season, and midfielder Rodri serving a three-match ban, the visitors were shut out by determined and hard-working opponents.

The Premier League’s top scorer Erling Haaland, rested for City’s League Cup third-round loss, was a marginalised figure and had only 15 touches of the ball.

The defeat left City a point clear of unbeaten Arsenal at the top but in danger of being ousted by third-placed Liverpool, who were playing in the late game at Tottenham Hotspur.

The champions had conceded only three goals in their previous six matches.

Wolves, who had lost four of their last six league games, moved up to 13th thanks to their second win of the season.

Advertisement

“It was a massive result for us today. We have not started well but to beat the champions was unbelievable,” Wolves captain Max Kilman told the BBC.

“We knew it was a big game but we were ready to attack Man City. We wanted to fight for every chance and take our moments.”

The game started with an immediate edge as Matheus Nunes, who joined City from Wolves at the end of the transfer window after forcing a move by refusing to train, was in the starting lineup.

The Portuguese midfielder was booed by the crowd every time he touched the ball and was replaced at halftime.

-Reuters

Advertisement

 

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Premier League

Nigerian-born Man United’s new striker promises  creativity and unpredictability to fans

Published

on

Manchester United newcomer Joshua Zirkzee said fans can expect to see a creative, unpredictable player who developed his skills in cage football, and idolised Ronaldinho and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

He is a Dutch, but has Nigerian mother.

The 23-year-old striker signed for the Red Devils on July 14 after an excellent season with Italian Serie A club Bologna, where he scored 11 goals and made five assists and helped them secure a place in the Champions League.

“Yeah, it’s been a roller-coaster the past few weeks, but some very good experiences. I’m very happy to be here,” Zirkzee said in an interview for United’s website on July 17.

“Obviously, (I’m arriving) at a good point, making a transfer to Manchester United is something very positive. So yeah, I just can’t wait to get started and continue what I basically did last season.”

Advertisement

The 1.93m-tall Dutchman is technically gifted for a player his size, which he attributes to his childhood in Spijkenisse, in the south of the Netherlands where he developed his skills in Johan Cruyff cages – enclosed football pitches named after the Dutch football great.

“As a young boy growing up, playing mostly with tougher, bigger guys who are older than you makes you adapt, so I think that’s something that you learn at a young age in Holland, especially where I grew up,” Zirkzee added.

“(I’m a) creative player, good with the ball, I’m just a bit unpredictable at times.”

He laughingly recounted the countless times he got in trouble with his mother for coming home late.

“I hope she forgives me now for all the times I came home late, or if I broke something in the backyard,” he said.

Advertisement

“Eventually, it all worked out pretty well… that was just life back when I was younger, playing football, forgetting about the time and getting back home late.”

Zirkzee also said that having a Dutch manager in Erik ten Hag is a “privilege” and the added presence of Ruud van Nistelrooy – the former Netherlands and United striker who joined ten Hag’s coaching staff earlier this week – will help him adjust to his new team.

But they are not the only reasons he made the move to United.

“Manchester United is a great, huge club so it’s just an extra privilege,” he said.

“Having some Dutch people around obviously makes it a bit easier, (but) to be fair I’m not too difficult adapting.

Advertisement

“When I was younger, watching the Dutch national team, Manchester United, watching (van Nistelrooy) play, he was one of the guys who you pretend to be when you were playing with friends. So, having him out here is a bit special.

Zirkzee was a late addition to the Netherlands squad for the European Championship, making his senior debut in the quarter-final victory against Turkey.

On the heels of Euro 2024, he will be given some time off and is not expected to link up with his new teammates until early August.

Following his arrival at Old Trafford for a fee of about £36.5 million (S$63.6 million), United are set to sign Lille’s promising teenage defender Leny Yoro in a £52 million swoop, according to reports on July 17.

The 18-year-old had been linked with a move to European champions Real Madrid, but he has since travelled to England and has undergone a medical test with the Red Devils, before putting pen to paper.

Advertisement

United will reportedly pay £52.7 million as an initial fee, with add-ons worth a further £6.7 million.

Yoro, who made his Lille debut at the age of 16, has been ranked as one of the best young players in Europe.

Ten Hag has been keen to land a new centre-back after Raphael Varane left at the end of last season.

Varane and Lisandro Martinez were United’s starting centre-backs in their FA Cup final victory over Manchester City in May, with Harry Maguire missing the showpiece due to an injury that also ruled him out of Euro 2024.

United have also been chasing Bayern Munich’s Dutch defender Matthijs de Ligt and is understood to have had two offers rejected for Everton’s Jarrad Branthwaite.

Advertisement

Reuters/AFP

Continue Reading

Premier League

Sancho back in training with Man United after positive meeting with Ten Hag

Published

on

Jadon Sancho was back training with Manchester United for the first time in 10 months, with a club source confirming the winger and manager Erik ten Hag have resolved their differences following their public fallout last year.

Sancho and Ten Hag had a positive meeting at Carrington Training Centre and the two have decided to draw a line under last season’s drawn-out argument, the club source said.

The 24-year-old Sancho made just three appearances for United last season, spending the second half of the campaign on loan to Borussia Dortmund after his relationship with Ten Hag soured in September.

Ten Hag had left the winger out of his squad for United’s 3-1 loss to Arsenal, saying Sancho’s performances in training had not warranted a place in his team. Sancho immediately lashed out on social media, accusing Ten Hag of making him a “scapegoat.”

He was banished from the first team and trained with United’s youth squad before returning to his former club Dortmund in January, where he shone during their Champions League semi-final victory against Paris St Germain, earning praise from Ten Hag. Dortmund were beaten by Real Madrid in the final.

Advertisement

“(Sancho) is a very good player… he showed why Manchester United bought him and he showed he represents a high value for Manchester United, which is good,” Ten Hag told reporters following Dortmund’s 1-0 win over PSG in the first leg.

“I’m happy for Jadon, for the performance, and we’ll see what is going to happen in the future.”

Sancho will not travel with the team to Norway for their pre-season opener against Rosenborg since he began training later than the other players but the club source said he would be available for selection after that.

-Reuters

Advertisement
Continue Reading

Premier League

Another Nigerian blood replaces Ndidi at Leicester

Published

on

Wilfred Ndidi who has just left Leicester City will have another Nigerian blood replacing him.

Leicester has never been without a Nigerian since Ahmed Musa joined in 2016. Ndidi and Kelechi Iheanacho joined in 2017.

Another Nigerian blood, Caleb Okoli, a centre back, has just been signed from Italian  Serie A side Atalanta on a five-year contract. Born in Itali, Caleb Okoli is Igbo and Yoruba by descent.

The 22-year-old, who spent the last season on loan at Frosinone Calcio, represented Italy at the European Under-21 Championship last year.

“I think now is the right moment (for me) to make a step forward and a very big one. I’m very happy with the choice I made, so I’m very excited to start in the Premier League,” Okoli said in a statement. The clubs did not disclose financial details of the deal.

Advertisement
Continue Reading

Most Viewed