Phil Foden
Why Ilkay Gundogan has become such a remarkable goal threat for Man City this season
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Manchester City took another step towards claiming this season’s Premier League title with a 3-0 victory over Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday. The result now means that Pep Guardiola’s side sit comfortably at the top of the English top flight, seven points above Manchester United with a game in hand. At the heart of City’s impressive performance was Ilkay Gundogan. Once again, the German midfielder dragged his team to victory by not only driving into the Spurs box to set up a penalty for the opening goal of the game, but he also bagged two more for himself. How much has Gundogan improved this season?The performance capped off a remarkable run of form that has seen Gundogan pick up no less than eight goals and two assists in City’s last nine games. A run of form that has not only shown what the German midfielder can do, but one that has also perfectly set up Guardiola’s side to claim this season’s league title. Indeed, Gundogan’s goal scoring has gone through the roof this season. Last season the midfielder averaged around 0.15 goals per 90 minutes, but this time around he’s averaging a remarkable 0.52 goals per 90. Not only is that a considerable improvement but it suggests that the 30-year-old talent is finding the back of the net over three times as often as he did last season.Why is he scoring more goals this season?There are a number of reasons behind Gundogan’s improved eye for goal but broadly speaking it seems as though the German international has simply become a far more direct attacking threat. As well as his rate of goals increasing, Gundogan has also seen his xG per game almost double from 0.18 to 0.34, as well as his shots per game rising from 1.42 to 1.76. Remarkably, not only has the midfielder improved the quantity of shots he’s taken but also the quality of them too. Gundogan has almost doubled the amount of shots he hits on target per game (up from 0.5 to 0.86) and has seen his xG per shot (i.e how accurate his shot is) go up from last season’s average of 0.14 to 0.22. The midfielder’s conscious decision to become a more direct goal threat can also be seen in the fact that he makes more successful dribbles per match, but his passing and all-round playmaking has taken a notable dip as a result. Last season Gundogan averaged 75 completed passes and 0.13 assists per match. This time around those numbers have fallen to 67 and 0.08 respectively. However, the trade-off seems to be working in his and his team’s favour, as Gundogan has spurred Man City on with his goalscoring and quickly become a leading contender for this season’s Premier League player of the year. .
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Manchester City 3-0 Tottenham, Player Ratings: Classy Gundogan stars again
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Manchester City tightened their grip on first place in the Premier League with an easy 3-0 win over Tottenham at the Etihad Stadium.Rodri’s first-half penalty gave them the springboard to success, but Ilkay Gundogan secured it as his marvellous run continued with a double in the second period.Spurs had little answer, with a Harry Kane free kick off the inside of the post the closest they came to finding the net.Man City v Tottenham: Player Ratings, Match Stats, Player Stats✔️ GOOD PERFORMANCEEderson: 8.2Another clean sheet for the talented Brazilian, whose wrestle with Alisson for the title of the Premier League’s best goalkeeper swung in his favour on Saturday.Not only did he keep his sheet clean, he produced a wonderful assist for Gundogan to complete the scoring with a measured long through pass. Was not worked particularly hard, but was assured and confident in everything he did.❌ BAD PERFORMANCEHugo Lloris: 5.4The World Cup-winning goalkeeper is not currently in the flush of form and will be disappointed with his contribution to his side on Saturday.It is not often that a goalkeeper can be said to be at fault when a penalty finds the net, but Lloris will feel that he should have kept out Rodri’s mediocre kick, which he got a big hand to.He was then too readily beaten at his near post by Gundogan, although by the time the Germany international sealed the game, he had been left exposed by a feeble challenge from Davison Sanchez.Made only one save from the four shots he faced.⭐ STAR MANIlkay Gundogan: 8.8Ilkay Gundogan is the form player in the Premier League and continued his remarkable spell in front of goal by finding the net twice. Although he was not used ass a makeshift forward on this occasion, he continued to find himself in advanced areas and scored first after fine wing play from Raheem Sterling.His second was not a typical goal scored by a Pep Guardiola side as he latched onto a long pass from Ederson, showed strength to get clear and finished with a cool head.He went off injured, which was the sole black mark on an otherwise excellent outing.Man City v Tottenham: Player Ratings, Match Stats, Player Stats .
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How Man City could line up against Swansea in the FA Cup
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Man City will be looking to keep their quadruple hopes alive and continue their stellar recent form when they take on Swansea in the FA Cup this week.Pep Guardiola's side are already in the League Cup final, while they have progressed in the Champions League and currently lead the Premier League.The match versus Championship side Swansea comes at a time when City are looking irresistible.Since the draw against West Brom in the middle of December, the Premier League leaders have won 14 matches in a row in all competitions.At the weekend, they secured a statement victory against Liverpool, humbling the defending league champions with a 4-1 away win.Though Guardiola will be keen to keep momentum going with progression in the FA Cup, there will be changes made as he keeps his stars fresh to fight on four fronts.Zack Steffen will likely be given a start in goal with Ederson dropping to the bench, while Aymeric Laporte, Eric Garcia, Benjamin Mendy, and Kyle Walker should return to the starting XI.Walker missed the game against Liverpool with injury, but is believed to be fit enough to feature in the cup.Fernandinho is a certain starter in midfield which will likely mean a rest for Ilkay Gundogan or Rodri, probably the latter.Phil Foden is almost undroppable at the moment so he will probably start to the left of Gabriel Jesus, with Ferran Torres coming in to replace Raheem Sterling.Sergio Aguero is back in training after his coronavirus isolation but is likely not match fit, though he could make an appearance from the bench.Nathan Ake and Kevin De Bruyne are continued absentees. .
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Liverpool 1-4 Man City Player Ratings: Alisson has a shocker while Gundogan shines
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Manchester City and Ilkay Gundogan took advantage of a horrendous afternoon for Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson to clinch a 4-1 victory and move within touching distance of the Premier League title. In a game Liverpool simply had to win to keep in touch with their rivals, their Brazilian goalkeeper made two sloppy passes in possession and gifted the points to the visitorsLiverpool 1-4 Manchester City: Player Ratings, Match Stats, Player StatsBut which players stood out for the right reasons?✔️ GOOD PERFORMANCEPhil Foden: 8.4Foden continues to emerge as one of the best English talents of his generation, and here he provided three fantastic contributions in the contest. It was his low shot that was saved by Alisson and Ilkay Gundogan converted from close range, then he took advantage of Alisson's poor clearance to jink his way down the touchline and lay a second goal on a plate for Gundogan. Then came his piece of individual brilliance, once again careering down the right-hand side before cutting inside to lash an unstoppable shot into the roof of the net. A brilliant display. ❌ BAD PERFORMANCEAlisson: 3.5One of the lowest ratings of the season in FC's database, everything Alisson touched went hopelessly wrong. He was extremely sloppy in possession twice in the space of five seconds to gift the second goal, his clearance only going as far as Foden, who punished them. But he did it again minutes later, this time passing directly to Bernardo Silva, who laid it on a plate for Raheem Sterling. And for Foden's flamboyant clincher, the shot flew past him at pace, but it was straight through his arms. A totally calamitous performance. ⭐ STAR MANIlkay Gundogan: 8.8The best player in the Premier League at the moment? It's hard to see past Gundogan who is in the form of his life. He blasted a first-half penalty over the crossbar but had the mental fortitude to bounce back and once again be the midfielder breaking into the area. He pounced on Alisson parrying Foden's shot back into play to open the scoring, then once again found himself in the six-yard box to push home Foden's great assist. It's tough to see past the German at the moment, who is pushing to be in the reckoning for the Player of the Year award.Liverpool 1-4 Manchester City: Player Ratings, Match Stats, Player Stats .
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