There are just five weeks remaining before the FIFA World Cup kicks off in Qatar in what will be the first-ever mid-season tournament, and there are various Manchester City stars who will be looking to impress in the world’s biggest sporting competition such as Brazilian goalkeeper Ederson, German midfielder İlkay Gündoğan, Belgian playmaker Kevin De Bruyne and plenty more worth checking out in these World Cup betting websites, including Spaniards Aymeric Laporte and Rodri, Argentine forward Julian Álvarez and Swiss defender Manuel Akanji.
It remains to be seen which country will have the most inclusions in November’s World Cup squads: England or Portugal. Bernardo Silva, Rúben Dias, and João Cancelo will all play a key role in Fernando Santos’ Portugal side, whilst Kalvin Phillips and Kyle Walker look set to miss out on a spot in Qatar due to injury. Jack Grealish, Phil Foden and John Stones will be looking to help the Three Lions win their first World Cup since 1966, whilst Silva, Dias, and Cancelo will be aiming to lead Portugal to a first-ever World Cup in what will likely be the final one for all-time leading scorer Cristiano Ronaldo.
One player who will not be playing in Qatar is Erling Haaland, who has taken the Premier League and Europe by storm following his arrival to the Etihad from Borussia Dortmund for a fee of £51 million, with 20 goals and 3 assists in his first 13 matches for the Cityzens. The Norwegian striker has given Manchester City’s a new dimension in attack — after two seasons of playing a false 9, City have found a worthy successor to Sergio Agüero in Haaland, who, at the tender age of 22, is staking a claim for himself as the best center forward in Europe alongside Robert Lewandowski, Karim Benzema, and Harry Kane.
Manchester City are the highest-scoring team in Europe with 33 goals in 9 matches thanks not just to Haaland’s unstoppable form, but his supporting stars in attack, including Foden, Grealish, Riyad Mahrez and Argentine striker Julián Álvarez, who has chipped in with 4 goals in 464 minutes of play since arriving from River Plate in the summer.
Whilst Haaland has taken the bulk of the spotlight, City’s other summer signings have shown promising signs in their first few months in England including Álvarez, Akanji, and Sergio Gómez. Kalvin Phillips is one of seven Premier League footballers who has logged just one minute under his belt this campaign, and a mere 16 months after playing a key role in England’s double pivot alongside Declan Rice in their run to the European Championship Final, he could be set to miss out on a maiden World Cup as he recovers from shoulder surgery.
Stefan Ortega joined from Arminia Bielefeld on a free transfer after the German club suffered relegation to the second division, with the German replacing Zack Steffen following the American goalkeeper’s loan move to Middlesbrough, but he has not played a single minute with Ederson locking down the #1 spot at the Etihad for a City defense featuring Cancelo, Stones, Akanji, Gómez, Dias, Walker and Nathan Aké.
Pep Guardiola’s side picked up three victories in their first three Champions League fixtures against Sevilla, Borussia Dortmund and Copenhagen by a combined scoreline of 11 to 1, but they were forced to settle for a 0-0 draw in Denmark midweek after being reduced to 10 men following Gómez’s expulsion in the 30th minute. Despite the sending-off, the 22-year-old Spaniard has emerged as a bright spot at left back after impressing for Vincent Kompany’s Anderlecht and will be crucial as City look to navigate a busy month in the build-up to the World Cup.
City fell to their first Premier League defeat since February 19 at the weekend with Liverpool — the only club that has managed to deprive them of the Premier League title since the start of the 2017/18 season — winning 1-0 at Anfield via a 76th-minute goal from Mohamed Salah. They sit four points behind Arsenal and level with Tottenham, and sit three points clear of Borussia Dortmund and eight above Sevilla and Copenhagen as Group G leaders, and they will be looking to bounce back on Saturday as they host Roberto De Zerbi’s Brighton at the Etihad, before closing out October with trips to Dortmund and Leicester and hosting Fulham, Chelsea and Brentford before the World Cup.
By: Zach Lowy / @ZachLowy
Featured Image: @GabFoligno / @GabFoligno / David Ramos – AFP