Foden is so clever in front of the goal – Guardiola
That was after the impressive win at Chelsea on the 3rd. January, when Pep Guardiola announces his return to Manchester City.
Ten days have passed since then, with impressive young England midfielder Phil Foden getting the Blues back on track.
It may not be impressive, but Foden’s 1-0 win over Brighton at the Etihad Stadium gave City first place in the Premier League’s top three this season.
It feels like we’re back on track. We have gained confidence from recent results, the 20-year-old said afterwards, and now City are just four points off the top – that was 11. November.
It’s also the first time City has won seven straight games in all competitions this season or last, or gone eight games unbeaten in the championship, or gone 14 games unbeaten in all competitions.
League leaders and local rivals Manchester United travel to second-placed Liverpool on Sunday, with Arsenal next in action. With Jurgen Klopp’s men facing Tottenham Hotspur before the end of January, it would be brave to leave City out of the top flight after a month in which they host Crystal Palace, Aston Villa and Sheffield United and travel to West Brom.
Foden at the top on how the city controls absenteeism
Phil Foden (left) has scored eight goals for Manchester City this season and has made three England caps.
In a season where injuries and coronavirus have so often robbed Guardiola of his star players, it was time for others to step up to the plate.
No one has done that more than Foden, who has developed as his coach has always promised – even at a time when his treatment in midfield was questioned as Jadon Sancho blossomed after his move to Borussia Dortmund and more consistent football.
That was another good performance. He is a man who has a special instinct for proximity, not only with his left foot, but also with his right foot. He deserves to play. His standards are higher, Mr Guardiola said.
I try to assess the performance day by day and I feel like he lives his life 24 hours a day while playing football. Today there are many distractions in our lives – much less now because we have to be home – but if you see his face, he is happy with the training and games.
When that happens, the rest is what everyone sees in their performance.
Foden’s eighth goal of the season was a gem. Bernardo Silva and Kevin de Bruyne created space, but Foden saw the chance, penetrated Brighton’s penalty area and shot low to the ground to deceive Robert Sanchez.
I don’t score too many right-foot goals, Foden said, before revealing that he appreciates the responsibility that currently falls to him.
As a result, he’s now at the top of City’s rankings – and after Raheem Sterling missed out on the penalty spot, he can’t be too far down the list to take over the penalty duty.
And if anyone has benefited from the one-year postponement of the European Championships, it is Foden, who would have been a risk last spring but will almost certainly be in Gareth Southgate’s team this year.
Playing against one of the most incredible defenders in the Premier League, Chelsea’s Cesar Azpilicueta, Phil has been exceptional in recent days. It was the same against Aaron Van Bissack [of Manchester United], Guardiola said.
I’m sure he would have been elected if it had been me. Gareth, I don’t know, but I’m sure he was very impressed with the way we all were.
Former Manchester City defender Micah Richards, added in today’s game: I think she’s a superstar and really one of the best English talents we’ve had in a long time.
Pep Guardiola Manchester City are four points behind Manchester United.
Joy of perception
If there was a moment in the game when it was clear that City had found themselves, it was minutes before the first half of Foden’s winning goal.
Goaltender Ederson, who scored the 15th goal of the season for City. scored neatly in 19 games, came out for a corner kick and sent De Bruyne into midfield with a basketball pass.
Foden came on to the side near the right shoulder and when the tackle fell on the Englishman, the ball went to De Bruyne who sent it towards the Brighton goal.
The best football team in the league, said former Scotland international Pat Nevin on Radio 5 Live. It’s beautiful. Every time I go to Etihad, I’m excited because they have brilliant players. They are beautiful to look at.
Not surprisingly, Guardiola was more cautious: We fought the last 20 minutes because they are really good.
After a lacklustre start to the campaign, the city now seems to be in anything but trouble.
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