Man City boss Pep Guardiola warns Huddersfield will provide tough test

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Guardiola is wary of the threat posed by Huddersfield.

Pep Guardiola has warned his Manchester City players of the dangers of facing Huddersfield so early in the season.

The champions, who opened their title defence with a comfortable win at Arsenal last weekend, host the Terriers at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

City needed a late goal to beat David Wagner’s men away last year and then could only manage a goalless draw against them on the day they were presented with the Premier League trophy in May.

“Last season was tough, those games,” City boss Guardiola said. “They defended so well.

“They are so tough – physicality, defensively strong, good set-pieces, good throw-ins, good counter-attack, good high pressing.

“It was complicated last season and I imagine quite similar games.

“In this part of the season, all the teams, especially those with a lot of players at the World Cup, you need time – one month or a month and a half.

“In this period, these kind of games are so dangerous for the players. Games like this – and Wolves, Cardiff, Fulham – I prefer these teams in October/November.

“In this period the contenders, the big teams, history says always drop points. I remember last season we dropped points against Everton, and Bournemouth we won in the 96th minute.

David Wagner's men ran City close in both matches last year.

David Wagner’s men ran City close in both matches last year.

“Always in this period games are so complicated. I guess it will be on Sunday.”

Midfielder Ilkay Gundogan has a lot of respect for Huddersfield and the work of their manager David Wagner, his fellow German.

Gundogan said: “I know him from Dortmund, he was manager of the second team when I was there. He is a very nice guy and I really like him. He’s a very good manager.

“The first game wasn’t that good for them. I hope for them they are going to stay in the Premier League but obviously I hope it is after Sunday they start (winning).”

City will be without playmaker Kevin De Bruyne, who was ruled out for three months after suffering a knee injury in training this week.

The return to fitness of David Silva after a minor knock is therefore timely but 18-year-old Phil Foden, impressive in the Community Shield earlier this month, could also get more opportunities.

Guardiola said: “It is not easy to replace Kevin but we’ll try to do our best.”

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A big club like West Ham needs the London Stadium, says Manuel Pellegrini

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Manuel Pellegrini has vowed to end the negativity surrounding West Ham at the London Stadium.

The Hammers kick off their third season at the former Olympic stadium against Bournemouth on Saturday with some fans still unconvinced about the move from their old Upton Park home.

Such was the ill-feeling last season that the home game against Burnley was marred by pitch invasions and anti-board protests.

Meanwhile, on the pitch West Ham have won just 14 of their 38 Premier League matches at the stadium.

But as Pellegrini prepares for his first match in the home dug-out he insists there is no reason the club cannot make a success of their surroundings.

“It is a stadium for a big team. West Ham is a big team,” said the Hammers boss.

“The Boleyn Ground was a great stadium with a lot of atmosphere. But it was for 30,000 people. The London Stadium is for 55,000, so 25,000 more fans are allowed to see the game. It is our home stadium because it is what this club needs and deserves.

STRATFORD, ENGLAND - APRIL 10: A general view inside the stadium as players warm up prior to the Premier League 2 match between West Ham United and Middlesbrough at London Stadium on April 10, 2017 in Stratford, England. (Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)

London Stadium is the home of West Ham


“I don’t know why that stadium has to be difficult. I don’t see any reason why it has to be difficult.

“The pitch has the same measurements. The grass is in very good shape. The atmosphere, with 55,000 people, is great. The stadium is not an excuse.

“When a season finishes, it is is finished. All the experiences, positive or negative, must finish at the end of the season.

“Now we have a new season. I don’t know why it can be a negative stadium, there is not any reason.

“They changed from a stadium that was the club’s home for 100 years, that’s always a change. But it’s a positive change, not a negative change.”

Lucas Perez and Carlos Sanchez will be added to the West Ham squad.

The duo joined the Hammers on deadline day but were not involved in the 4-0 defeat at Liverpool on the opening day of the season.

Andy Carroll, Winston Reid and Manuel Lanzini remain long-term injury absentees but Pellegrini has an otherwise fully-fit squad.

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Maurizio Sarri backs Eden Hazard to become Europe's best player amid Real Madrid rumours

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Chelsea head coach Maurizio Sarri says Eden Hazard can be the best player in Europe – if he wants to be.

Hazard has often sparkled in six years at Chelsea, bringing comparisons with Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

The Belgium playmaker could make his first start of the season in Saturday’s Premier League clash with Arsenal and will be expected to do well after a strong showing at the World Cup.

Sarri said: “We are talking about one of the most important players in Europe now but, in my opinion, he can improve more. He can be the first.

“It depends on him. The best for technical skill, the best for scoring, but I think it depends only on him. On his mind.”

The 27-year-old is beginning his seventh season at Chelsea and has twice won the Premier League title. He hinted after helping Belgium finish third at Russia 2018 that he was ready for a new challenge.

Rumours of a switch to Real Madrid have been persistent and have grown as Hazard has two years remaining on his current contract and has been deliberating over the offer of an extension for some time.

The Spanish transfer window remains open until August 31, but Sarri has no doubts Hazard will be with Chelsea for the rest of the season, despite the absence of Champions League football after the Blues’ fifth-placed finish in last season’s Premier League.

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