Remi Garde’s resolute Aston Villa hold Manchester City

first_imgRemi Garde made a positive start to his Aston Villa tenure after his side produced a stoic defensive display to neutralise a toothless Manchester City at Villa Park.The Premier League leaders were reduced to half chances throughout, with Brad Guzan’s reaction save from Raheem Sterling after the break their first opening.Kevin De Bruyne was wasteful and Fernando headed against the crossbar in injury time but City, who moved a point clear of Arsenal and Leicester at the summit for the time being, never truly worried Garde and the hosts.The former Lyon manager took the opportunity to reinstate four of the French-based players recruited over the summer who had been reduced to bit-part roles in recent weeks, with Jordan Amavi particularly impressing at left-back.After a largely non-eventful first half which, aside from a pitiful Sterling dive when looking for a penalty, passed by without any incident, Guzan pulled off a brilliant save to deny the Englishman.Sterling found himself completely unmarked at the back post but his header was instinctively saved by the American from point-blank range.While Villa were offering nothing in an attacking sense they were defending stoutly, although Garde’s side were fortunate when De Bruyne inexplicably tried to flick home Jesus Navas’s low cross when a simple tap in was required.Substitute Leandro Bacuna provided a rare burst of imagination for the hosts but his run into the box was snuffled by Joe Hart.Fabian Delph was then introduced to become the pantomime villain after his dramatic transfer U-turn in the summer which saw him leave Villa for City, with the England midfielder greeted with inflatable snakes by sections of the home crowd.Rudy Gestede, a late substitute for Jordan Ayew, then flicked a Villa corner onto the roof of Hart’s net before Fernando rattled the home crossbar in stoppage time to leave City without a win in three away league games. Remi Garde 1last_img read more

‘Spurs would beat Barca with Messi’

first_imgTottenham would be the heavy favourites to win their Champions League match against Barcelona on Wednesday if they had Lionel Messi in their ranks, Osvaldo Ardiles says.The London side host the Spanish champions on Wednesday as Mauricio Pochettino’s men look to recover from their 2-1 defeat to Inter in the first week of the European competition.With the likes of Messi, Luis Suarez and Ousmane Dembele paying a visit, Spurs are gearing up for a massive challenge, but their form has picked up since going down in Milan, having won their last two Premier League games. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Man Utd ready to spend big on Sancho and Haaland in January Who is Marcus Thuram? Lilian’s son who is top of the Bundesliga with Borussia Monchengladbach Brazil, beware! Messi and Argentina out for revenge after Copa controversy Best player in MLS? Zlatan wasn’t even the best player in LA! And Ardiles expects Tottenham to give a good account of themselves against one of the best teams around, suggesting that the presence of a certain Argentine “guardian angel” will be the decisive factor.”Barcelona is a team that has always been characterised by that reputation for winning, yes, but doing it in a very special way, based on a very nice and colourful football, which can also be terribly effective,” ex-Tottenham star Ardiles told Goal.”Tottenham was never spectacular, but has always come out to win and I think they will again against Barcelona.”Barcelona always has to be considered one of the best teams in the world, but if you take out the little guardian angel, if we do not count on Messi, things change.”It’s very difficult to compete against a team that has that. If you give me Messi and put him in Tottenham’s team, I assure you that Spurs win immediately, if we look at player by player, there is not much difference, they have Luis Suarez but we have Harry Kane. Marc-Andre ter Stegen, who is great, is a better goalkeeper than ours.”He added: “Barcelona are always Barcelona and have extraordinarily important experience in this competition, a style that we can talk about for hours and hours and an ace up their sleeve, which is Leo Messi. With him, the rest goes to the background. Of course, Barcelona’s confidence may have taken a hit but I would take it with caution. “Barcelona are still the favourites, not only for the game and when it comes to being first in the group, but thinking about winning the title, as always. But Tottenham also have experience and last year we managed to win against Real Madrid, who ended up the champions. We will go with confidence and Pochettino knows Barcelona well, anything can happen.”Tottenham are four points behind Premier League leaders Manchester City and Liverpool after seven matches, and Ardiles believes they can stay within touching distance of the top two contenders.”It seems a bit premature to say that they do not aspire for the title,” he said. “We have lost two games but we have recovered. The season in England is very long, it is like a marathon more than a hundred metre race, and at the moment the two best teams are Liverpool and Manchester City.”Still, a lot can happen over the season. We suffered a lot at first because there were many players at the World Cup and did not play as well as we should, but we have recovered and we are there, it’s going to be a long season so to say that Tottenham will not be a candidate for the title is premature.”last_img read more