Tag: James Milner

Premiership: Man City 2-0 Leicester

David Silva and James Milner struck late in each half as under-fire reigning champions Manchester City grabbed a scrappy but much-needed 2-0 win over Leicester in the Premier League.

Silva pounced from close range to put City ahead after an unconvincing start at the Etihad Stadium and Milner came off the bench to settle nerves in the last minute.

It was far from a fluent display from City but the result will at least take some of the heat off manager Manuel Pellegrini after a testing few days.

The hosts could justifiably claim victory was deserved after forcing veteran goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer to make several fine saves.

But the Foxes were denied three penalties – with two appeals looking particularly strong – and defeat was harsh on the hard-working bottom side.

Luck was therefore on Pellegrini’s side after the build-up to the game had been dominated by criticism of his tactics in damaging losses to Barcelona and Liverpool and speculation over his future.

The Chilean responded strongly to that by dropping captain Vincent Kompany to the bench while Samir Nasri and Fernandinho did not feature in the squad.

Edin Dzeko and Pablo Zabaleta also found themselves among the substitutes in the reshuffle, while £25million January signing Wilfried Bony was handed his first start.

The changes initially appeared to do little to fire up the side.

No spark came from the crowd either with the atmosphere subdued following the last two dispiriting results.

What flicker of life they did show in the opening stages came from Jesus Navas, who looked in the mood after being left out at Anfield on Sunday.

But it was Leicester who threatened first, with Jeff Schlupp completely wrong-footing Eliaquim Mangala on the counter-attack. Martin Demichelis came across to help out his partner.

Leicester then had their first two penalty appeals in quick succession. Schlupp was unlucky not to get a decision in his favour when it appeared he was impeded by Bony.

Andrej Kramaric then went down as he raced with Joe Hart to meet Riyad Mahrez’s superb through-ball but the England goalkeeper did get a touch before the pair collided.

Navas was berated by Yaya Toure after misplacing a pass but he was not deterred, firing in a good cross from which Bony forced Mark Schwarzer to block.

Navas then tested Schwarzer himself with a good effort from the edge of the box before Silva teed up Bony with a clever ball, only for the Ivorian to slice high and wide.

City were performing only in fits and starts but they seized the advantage on the stroke of half-time as Aleksandar Kolarov crossed from the left. Bony was unable to take advantage but Silva pounced, tapping in from close range after his initial effort was partially blocked by Wes Morgan.

Bony made an even bigger mess of a chance early in the second half, racing into the perfect position to meet Navas’ pull-back but completely miscuing and hitting the corner flag.

Leicester were again unlucky not to be awarded a penalty when Fernando brought Kramaric down, but referee Robert Madley ruled the offence just outside the area. Replays suggested it may have been just inside and Kramaric was denied again as his free-kick was deflected agonisingly wide.

City wanted to kill off the game but Schwarzer kept the Foxes in it with a fine save to keep out a Sergio Aguero header and did even better to claw away a long-range Toure strike.

The hosts had a let-off when Mahrez got away a shot and a slight deflection took it past Hart and onto the post but City responded with Toure and Kolarov going close.

Bony’s frustrating debut had been brought to an end after 72 minutes and his replacement, Milner, did finally end the contest when he turned in a Navas cross in the closing moments.

Read more at ESPN

Premiership: Stoke 1-4 Man City

Sergio Aguero and Manchester City rediscovered their touch as the champions turned on the style in the second half to win 4-1 at Stoke.

Aguero struck twice as City won for the first time in five Barclays Premier League games to keep some pressure on Chelsea at the top of the table.

Aguero’s first strike in six games since returning from injury was cancelled out by Peter Crouch before the break but he grabbed a second from the penalty spot after James Milner had put City back ahead. Samir Nasri claimed the fourth with a fine strike 14 minutes from time.

The first half was a compelling affair but both sides might have had more than a goal apiece after efforts were ruled out at each end.

Crouch was first denied by an offside flag and Aguero had what would then have been his second chalked off in confusing circumstances on the stroke of half-time.

Handball was the offence, although it was only the faintest of touches and possibly not deliberate.

But City reacted well to the controversy and finally showed some champion quality after a disappointing few weeks by running in three second-half goals.

City ended as the dominant force but Stoke had a large say in the early proceedings.

City did have an early chance but Aguero scuffed a shot when he might have been better leaving it to Fernandinho.

After that Stoke looked the more confident for a prolonged spell with the lively Victor Moses troubling Joe Hart with a well-struck shot.

Crouch, back in the Potters’ starting line-up after a late leveller at Newcastle on Sunday, got his head to the resulting corner but Milner cleared off the line. There were appeals for handball against Milner but referee Lee Mason gave nothing.

Crouch thought he had scored when he pounced on a rebound after Hart parried a Moses effort but the flag was raised.

City survived another scare as Hart beat away a strong effort from Steven Nzonzi and Moses smashed the rebound inches wide.

They were chances Stoke looked likely to rue missing as City seized the lead following a moment of Aguero brilliance in the 33rd minute.

The Argentinian seized on a long clearance and ran at Marc Muniesa and finished with a superb low shot across goal.

But City had not yet weathered the storm and Stoke replied immediately.

Marko Arnautovic curled in a wicked cross from the right and Crouch ducked as he slid in to expertly guide home a firm header.

City thought they had reclaimed the lead just before the interval but controversy erupted as Mason denied Aguero.

Stoke were caught flat-footed as Fernandinho picked out Silva with a lofted ball and the Spaniard turned the ball across goal for Aguero.

Aguero appeared to have an easy tap-in but the ball deflected off a defender and he had to readjust to use his head. After doing so the ball brushed his hand on the way in.

Mason initially seemed to give the goal but Stoke’s players protested and it eventually became apparent the referee agreed something untoward had occurred. It may have been that Aguero had cunningly used his hand but replays suggested that would be a harsh interpretation.

If City felt wronged, they soon put it right. Milner made no mistake with his head as he rose to meet a Nasri cross 10 minutes into the second half.

Milner, whose future beyond the end of the season remains uncertain as contract talks continue, celebrated by mimicking the action of a DJ in front City fans.

Whatever that meant, City appeared to be getting back into their groove.

They went further ahead after 70 minutes as Silva proved too tricky for Geoff Cameron and was pulled down. Aguero clinically dispatched the spot-kick.

Nasri made victory certain six minutes later as he drove at the Stoke defence, checked inside on the edge of the area and fired a shot across goal and in at the far post.

Stoke were beaten although Mame Biram Diouf did threaten on the break and might have had a free-kick after tangling with Eliaquim Mangala – who could have been sent off – but Mason ruled contact accidental.

Read more at ESPN

Premiership: Man City 1-1 Hull

James Milner salvaged a point for Manchester City against Hull but could not stop his side falling seven points behind Premier League leaders Chelsea.

The visitors took the lead when David Meyler slotted in after Gaston Ramirez’s shot struck the post.

The home side rallied after the break and Edin Dzeko’s shot was palmed away by Tigers keeper Allan McGregor.

Sergio Aguero’s shot hit the Hull crossbar before Milner scored with a curling free-kick in stoppage time.

There was little room for error for City as they chased Chelsea, who won at Aston Villa, but they paid the price for a lethargic first half.

City were again without Yaya Toure, who is on Africa Cup of Nations duty with Ivory Coast, and they are winless in all five Premier League matches their influential midfielder has missed this season.

The home side’s manager, Manuel Pellegrini, will also have concerns about his side’s home form, with three of their four league defeats in the current campaign coming at the Etihad.

Hull moved out of the relegation zone but their players were dejected afterwards as they failed to hold on to a lead which would have seen them register their first league win at City.

Nevertheless, the Tigers produced a disciplined and organised defensive display which will stand them in good stead ahead of games against relegation rivals Aston Villa and QPR.

As well as struggling in defence, Steve Bruce’s side have had problems in attack but, despite having failed to score in 11 of their previous 15 league matches, the visitors almost took the lead.

Robbie Brady whipped an out-swinging cross to the far post where Hull midfielder Ahmed Elmohamady and City left-back Gael Clichy both seemed to make contact with a header which came back off the bar.

The home side failed to heed the warning and were soon behind.

A poor clearance from City centre-back Martin Demichelis fell to Tigers midfielder Jake Livermore and, with City keeper Joe Hart out of his goal, he tried to guide in a shot which was saved.

However, after City failed to clear their lines and a Ramirez shot hit the post, Meyler latched on to a loose ball to slot Hull in front.

The game developed into a battle between the home side’s attack and Hull’s defence after the break.

City struggled to find the creativity to break down a resilient Hull with Dzeko’s shot a rare occasion when Hull keeper Allan McGregor was called into action.

Visiting centre-back Alex Bruce survived giving away a penalty for a clumsy push on David Silva, while Aguero’s effort came off the face of the crossbar before Milner struck.

Read more at BBC Sport

FA Cup: Man City 2-1 Sheff Wed

James Milner brace completes Man City comeback against Sheff Wednesday

Birthday boy James Milner struck twice as Manchester City came from behind to scrape past battling Sheffield Wednesday 2-1 in the FA Cup third round.

England international Milner, on the day he turned 29, grabbed a last-minute winner after sparing City’s blushes against the Championship side with a 66th-minute equaliser at the Etihad Stadium.

Milner’s double came after he was pushed up front following a poor first half in which City fell behind to an Adthe Nuhiu strike in the 14th minute.

City boss Manuel Pellegrini suggested his team were complacent after a draw against Burnley last week and, after thrashing Wednesday 7-0 in September, the same issue may have resurfaced.

Their first-half performance was sluggish and lacked bite, although they fielded a strong side and began as if the fixture would pose few problems.

They controlled possession in the opening minutes as Bacary Sagna almost found space to shoot in the box and Jesus Navas blasted an effort well over.

But just as it seemed only a matter of time until the hosts took charge, they were caught on the break as Wednesday took a shock lead after 14 minutes.

The Owls had seen little of the ball but they made maximum use of it as Stevie May burst down the right and got behind the defence. May looked up and picked out Nuhiu with a simple pull-back to the edge of the area and the Austrian clinically side-footed past Willy Caballero.

The goal knocked City out of their stride and they struggled to muster a significant response. Simple passes started to go astray and a tetchiness became evident in their play.

Yaya Toure might have changed things as he strode through only to shoot wide and Frank Lampard missed the target when well-placed.

City also felt some rought treatment as Stevan Jovetic was updended crudely by May and referee Michael Oliver simply signalled play on.

Frustration continued as Lampard threaded Jovetic through only for the offside flag to be raised, and such was City’s lack of cohesion that Toure was compared unfavourably to cult hero Carlton Palmer by Wednesday fans.

Pellegrini recognised something needed to change and switched shape for the second half with midfielder Milner moving into a more advanced role.

There was an immediate step up in tempo with Navas firing across goal and Toure having an effort blocked but it was not until David Silva and Samir Nasri entered the fray that City got back into the game.

The two playmakers were introduced just after the hour and their introductions paid instant dividends as Nasri cut inside from the left to pick out Silva and his flick put Milner through. Milner showed good composure to steady himself and drive home an equaliser across Chris Kirkland.

The relief was evident but City still struggled to create the chances to kill the game.

Toure curled a shot narrowly wide but Wednesday were resolute and frustrated the hosts in possession, with Jose Semedo a notable thorn in their side.

The Owls also had some moments of their own as Claude Dielna and Jacques Maghoma got in shots but Caballero was not seriously threatened.

Silva might have settled the contest in the last minute but Kirkland met his shot with a fine save.

Wednesday might have thought they were there but the relief was only temporary. As the game went into four minutes of injury time Silva again picked out Milner and he finished calmly from close range.

Read more at ESPN

Champions League: CSKA 2-2 Man City

Manchester City’s hopes of reaching the knockout stages of the Champions League suffered a major blow as they lost a two-goal lead at CSKA Moscow.

Sergio Aguero tapped in Edin Dzeko’s pass to give City the lead in a near-empty stadium with fans banned over previous CSKA disturbances.

James Milner slid home the second and then hit the post, before Seydou Doumbia converted from six yards.

Doumbia was fouled late on and Bedras Natcho levelled from the spot.

The impact of Doumbia from the bench helped prevent a seventh successive defeat in the Champions League for CSKA but his tumble under a challenge from Aleksandar Kolarov will anger the visitors.

Kolarov seemed to simply stand his ground in the 18-yard box but the Hungarian referee pointed to the spot in a moment that may end City’s hopes of reaching the knockout stages for just the second time in four attempts.

Manuel Pellegrini’s side now have two points from three games in Group E after losing at Bayern Munich and drawing at home to Roma.

Read more on BBC Sport