Monday Evening Ticker: Man City grinds out 1-0 win at Villa, Neymar hints at European move, and more

BY JUSTIN FERGUSON

Carlos Tevez’s goal in first half stoppage time was all that Manchester City needed to get the three points at Aston Villa on Monday night.

Tevez took advantage of a Ciaran Clark error just seconds before the halftime whistle, calmly receiving a Edin Dzeko pass and slotting it past a busy Brad Guzan. Clark claimed that he had been fouled by Dzeko in the buildup, but referee Mike Dean waived off his protests.

The goalscoring Tevez had replaced an injured Sergio Aguero in the starting lineup. Aguero reportedly suffered a knee injury in training during the weekend match preparations, and it is unknown how long he will be sidelined. Aguero has suffered two  separate injuries since the start of the season.

Aston Villa had several chances to equalize in the second half but was only able to put one shot on target. Villa’s Matthew Lowton had his side’s best chance in the 66th minute, firing a low shot that just flew wide of the post. Dzeko later converted on a rebound from a Yaya Toure shot, but he was ruled offside.

Manchester City’s victory brings the deficit to league-leading United back down to 12 points with 10 Premier League matches left. Aston Villa will have a chance to get out of the drop zone with upcoming meetings with fellow relegation candidates Reading and QPR.

Here are some more stories to wrap up your Monday:

NEYMAR MAY LEAVE BEFORE SANTOS CONTRACT EXPIRES

Neymar has constantly told reporters that if he left his home club Santos for a European club, it would be after the 2014 World Cup.

However, the Brazilian forward changed his tune when asked about a move to Europe on Sunday, saying that he would leave whenever he wanted to.

“If I feel that it’s time to leave, I’ll leave,” Neymar said. “If I feel it’s the right thing to do, why not? This is personal. I will make this decision, nobody else.”

Brazilian teammate and FC Barcelona player Dani Alves recently told Spanish media that Neymar would be on his way to Camp Nou later this year, but Neymar said otherwise on Sunday.

“What if I say that Messi is coming to Santos?” Neymar said. “I thank Daniel for what he said, he is a good friend, but I’m happy at Santos right now.”

Neymar has had a disappointing run for both club and country in the past few months, leading some to believe that his stock has dropped overseas. But the transfer rumor mills are staying heated in regards to the 21-year-old. Reports of summer moves to Bayern Munich and Manchester City continue to pop up across Brazil and Europe.

REAL’S CASILLAS OUT FOR MAN UNITED MATCH

Iker Casillas was included in Jose Mourinho’s 24-man roster for Real Madrid’s upcoming Champions League match with Manchester United, but the veteran goalkeeper will not be available for the Tuesday showdown.

“Everyone is fit and ready to play and be considered, with the exception of Iker Casillas,” Mourinho said on Monday.

Casillas returned to training on Thursday for the first time since breaking his hand against Valencia in January. Diego Lopez is expected to start at goalkeeper for Real on Tuesday.

QUICK KICKS

The Chinese Football Association has announced that David Beckham has been signed as its first global ambassador. (REPORT)

Sudan has lost the top spot in its World Cup qualifying group after FIFA stripped its 2-0 win over Zambia for fielding an ineligible player. (REPORT)

British police are investigating an incident when an Arsenal fan threw a banana at white Tottenham player Gareth Bale on Sunday. (REPORT)

West Ham United chairman David Gold says that the club is close to making a deal for a move to London’s Olympic Stadium. (REPORT)

FIFA has announced that the 2013 Confederations Cup and the 2014 World Cup will offer special seating for obese fans. (REPORT)

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What do you think of these reports? Where do you think Manchester City will finish this season? Think Aston Villa will be able to avoid the drop? What are your thoughts on Neymar’s comments?

Share your comments below.

This entry was posted in European Soccer, Featured, FIFA World Cup, International Soccer. Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Monday Evening Ticker: Man City grinds out 1-0 win at Villa, Neymar hints at European move, and more

  1. The B in Apt 23 says:

    I know the Banana thing usually has racist connotations, but I think it’s because Bale does slightly resemble an adorable little monkey. I’ve heard that’s a common insult hurled at him.

    • The B in Apt 23 says:

      Not just any monkey, mind you. Donkey Kong. King of the monkeys. What I wouldn’t give for him to utter “It’s on like Donkey Kong”……

    • Gnarls says:

      Police are investigating the tossed banana because everyone knows bananas are the #1 cause of on-pitch slip-and-falls.

  2. WG says:

    Am I the only one to think Neymar’s dip in form dates from that message tackle by Jermaine Jones in last summer’s friendly?

  3. Jamie Z. says:

    For anyone who didn’t see the match, Brad Guzan played out of his mind today. If this Villa team go down, it will be despite Guzan’s contribution.

  4. A says:

    Guzan has been better than Howard for quite some time now. Guzan has been a top 15 keeper in the world for this season.

    He is making Matrix-esque saves that Van Der Saar would be proud of. That finger tip save on Yaya today was otherworldly.

  5. Michael Stypulkoski says:

    FWIW Sky named Brad MotM today.

  6. PD says:

    While I am not going to go so far as to say that Guzan should be the #1 for the Nats side, I would definitely think that Howard should be looking over his shoulder a bit more based on the past month. That said, GK-ing is an “old man’s” game, much like CB; the more games you have under your belt the more at an advantage you are. Nevertheless, I could see JK being just nutty enough to think that starting Guzan in Mexico would be a good idea to keep the back line on their toes.

    Nats discussion aside. my money is still on Howard and I think that’s a safe bet. Being a shot stopper is one thing, being a solid all around keeper that can stop shots, manage his area and organize his back line is quite another. Guzan is making great progress and I cannot wait to see him lead the USMNT in 2018. Until then, his usurping Howard’s spot will either be due to injury or a really really really serious dip in form.

    • Nate Dollars says:

      agree with all of this, except the guzan in mexico part. i don’t think even klinsmann’s crazy enough to start a new keeper behind a new back line.

  7. biff says:

    I saw portions of the Villa and Man City game, and in the parts I saw Guzan made some outstanding saves. It looks as though Guzan has now risen to near the level of Tim Howard and is still improving. Guzan is certainly getting a lot of practice with Villa’s shaky back-line that will pay potential dividends for the USMNT. I think it is possible that Guzan will surpass Tim Howard in the next 15 months before WC 2014. And if he does, then he should be given the starting spot and we could all be happy to have a back-up and team leader as great as Tim Howard.

    • PD says:

      biff, being a shot stopper is only a small part of being a keeper. in fact, the best keepers often are the ones who prevent the opponent from ever getting a shot off. the first job is organization and having the trust of your back line and locker room, the second job is dominance on crosses and passing lanes to shut down the service into the 18. then and only then does shot stopping come into play, and then it’s saving and preventing rebounds, turning around and starting the counter with smart distribution and communicating to your defense any adjustments that need to be made to prevent that breakdown from happening again.

      Howard has proven his ability to do all of those things time and again. Guzan is just starting to learn those things. I’m thrilled he’s getting better, but to say that he’s #1 material just because he can stand on his head to make the save is only part of teh picture.