There was quite a lot of transfer activity in July for City. Departures included Sterling to Chelsea for 51 million pounds, Jesus to Arsenal for 47 million, Zinchenko also to Arsenal for 22 million. Others going were Porro, Itakura and Muric. Alas Fernandinho finally left us too.
Arrivals included Erling Haaland for 54 million, Kalvin Phillips for 44 million, Stefan Ortega and Julian Alvarez
There has been a lot of talk about the possible arrival of a new left back - Marc Cucurella from Brighton. Early City offers were turned down so we wait with a lot of hope as we need to improve the defence.
City went to the USA for a couple of pre-season games and won them both against Club America and Bayern Munich.
Then came the first major game of the season - The Community Shield match against Liverpool at the King Power Stadium in Leicester.
Alas City were well beaten 3-1. City were well off their best and Liverpool were quicker off the mark and it was no surprise when they scored on 20 minutes - a shot by Alexander-Arnold flicked the head of Ake and flew past Ederson. After the break City improved a bit and Alvarez managed to score from close range thanks to VAR. However we did not thank VAR when it confirmed a penalty for hand ball against Dias. Salah scored of course and near the end Nunez made it three.
Making his debut Haaland did not have the best of games. He missed a sitter late on and will find it difficult to fit into the way City play. Alvarez had a good spell and looked quite fit. Mahrez missed several chances and De Bruyne's key passing was well below his best. Cancelo was put under a lot of pressure with little help from Grealish. With Laporte injured it looks like Ake will partner Dias against WHU unless Stones is fully fit.
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West Ham U 2-0 away
A good start to the season with City getting all three points against West Ham. It was a pretty easy win with the sky blues putting out a strong team - Haaland making his debut. He celebrated his debut with two goals - an achievement only equaled by a certain Aguero who also notched two goals on his debut in August 2011 against Swansea - pics here
City had about 75% possession and Ederson only had one save to make with the defence keeping the home side at bay. Though the City defence had some anxious moments when a couple of misplaced passes in the City half gave West Ham chances but the home side failed to take advantage of the errors. Both Ake and Diaz had fairly comfortable games while Walker and Cancelo played a big part in attack.
It was good that both Foden and Grealish played (Mahrez on the bench) and they both had some good moments. City did score on 26 minutes but alas the offside flag was raised so we had to wait another 8 minutes before Haaland took a pass from Gundogan and surged towards goal where he was brought down by the substitute keeper ( Areola had replaced the injured Fabianski )
Haaland took the kick and shot low past the keeper who had gone the wrong way. City were one up
- at last! He took the penalty with great confidence. So City led at half time but we needed more second half and on 64 minutes Kevin De Bruyne who had not been at his very best put through a great pass to Haaland who sped past a defender and shot past the keeper to make it two nil. We saw his ability to anticipate the pass and his coolness in shooting past the keeper to the bottom left hand corner - outstanding!!!!
What a debut - we shall see much more of his pace and shooting ability.
City did make some late changes - giving a debut to Phillips and some time to Alvarez, Palmer ,Mahrez and Benardo
Bournemouth 4-0 home
City made just one change from the win at West Ham Mahrez coming in for Grealish allowing Foden to move to his favorite left wing.
City attacked from the first minute and almost scored at a couple of corners and the Mahrez was brought down by Stacey who got a yellow card. On 9 minutes Foden had a shot saved and at 15 minutes City had 75% possession so it did not take too long for the first goal - just 4 minutes - on 19 minutes Haaland who was marked by several defenders managed to pass to Gundogan who cracked the ball home and City were one up. Then we had a shock two minutes later when Ederson actually had to make a save. On the half hour the visitors actually got into our half again but City broke and Foden passed to De Bruyne on the right wing who cut in and brilliantly beat a defender and curled the ball into the net to make it two nil for City.
It was another quick break on 37 minutes that made another goal for City - De Bruyne passed to Foden who made it three nil - game over!
With the very hot conditions I am sure all players were pleased it was soon half time. Kevin De Bruyne had been back to his very best and in the second half he was soon shooting and passing but in the conditions and a three goal lead the sky blues had eased off a bit and we had to wait until the 79th minute for another goal. Great work br Cancelo ended with an own goal by Lerma.
City had brought on Grealish for Foden just after half time and on 60 odd minutes on came Benardo, Stones and then Alvarez replaced Haaland who had hardly touched the ball!
With a few minutes to go Pep gave a league debut to 17 year old Rico Lewis who replaced Walker.
It was a pretty easy win for City who move to the top of the league and just look who is at the bottom - Man United - incredible!
Newcastle U 3-3 away
An amazing game full of goals, incidents and excitement for fans of both sides and neutrals. City made just 2 changes from the Bournemouth win Benardo Silva coming in on the right wing for Mahrez and Stones in for Dias. No sign of Grealish in the squad!
There were early signs of problems for City when Cancelo conceded a corner in the first 30 seconds!
However play soon got to the other end and a Rodrigo shot from distance went too high. However on 5 minutes good work by Benardo ended with a cross which was well controlled by Gundogan and he shot past Pope to give City an early lead. A minute or so later Guimaraes got a yellow card for a bad foul on De Bruyne. Pope made a couple of good saves from De Bruyne and Foden before Almiron missed one at the other end. Then Cancelo got booked for a foul and just after Kevin had an effort saved once again by Pope Ake had to go off injured and Dias returned to central defence.
City were now coming under much more pressure and Ederson was having to make saves but alas in the 28th minute Almiron managed to score from close range and though there was the possibility of offside VAR came to the rescue of the home side and it was one all.
Disaster continued for City ten minutes later when Wilson scored on a break. We did get a chance in added first half time when Benardo won a free kick but alas Dias headed over the bar so City were 2-1 down at half time.
On 52 minutes Haaland nearly scored but his shot was pushed onto the post by Pope and a minute or so later disaster struck again - Stones got booked for a foul just outside the box and guess who - yes up came ex City player Trippier and he cracked the ball into the top corner and City were 3-1 down - unbelievable!
Then City decided to play better and won corner after corner and low and behold on 60 minutes Rodri managed to get his head on a cross and Haaland was there to crack the ball into the net and it was 2-3!
Two minutes later a brilliant pass by De Bruyne found Benardo Silva who scored to make it three all.
City tried very hard to get a winner - remember that famous win here in May 1968 when City won the first Division. I was there - what a game. Young 2, Lee and Summerbee were the scorers that day in the 4-3 win.
On 75 minutes De Bruyne was breaking into the Newcastle half when he was tripped by Trippier!
The ref gave him a red card but VAR came to the rescue of the home side and it was changed to a yellow one!
Benardo Silva and De Bruyne were excellent for City but Walker did not have the best of games against the strong left wing of Newcastle who were very fast in counter attacking
Crystal Palace 4-2 home
An amazing game of two halves. It will be remembered for the first hat-trick by Haaland for City - however at half time it looked like Palace were going to continue their run of wins against City.
City made two changes from the Newcastle game - Dias and Mahrez returning for Ake and Gundogan. We thought the absence of the injured Zaha would give City a boost but alas in the first few minutes Ederson failed to clear properly and Cancelo was guilty of a foul on Ayew and from the free kick the ball ended up in the City net via a deflection from the left knee of John Stones. One down in 4 minutes - Oh Dear!!
City came back at the visitors and won a couple of corners - Haaland heading just over following one of them. The City defence were now having a bad day and on 21 minutes Palace scored again. This time it was a header by Andersen following a corner and with City just not clicking a disaster was looming.
No doubt at half time Pep had a few words so it was no surprise on 53 minutes that Benardo Silva came in from the wing and took a shot from the edge of the penalty area which was slightly deflected by a defender into the goal. It was his 50th goal for City and I am sure all City fans will be glad he is staying at the club. A few minutes later he went on a brilliant run but just failed to score.
On 61 minutes City made two changes - Alvarez on for Mahrez and Gundogan on for Cancelo so City would play three at the back.
A minute later Foden crossed to Haaland and lo and behold City were level two all - Haaland's header goal was his first at the Etihad.
There was better to come on 70 minutes. A very good team passing movement ended with Haaland tapping home to make it 3-2 from close range from a pass by Stones following a corner. With the sky blues now well on top it was no surprise when on 81 minutes Gundogan put an excellent pass through to Haaland who beat two defenders and cracked the ball home to complete his hat-trick and make it 4-2. What a turnaround! In the latter stages City gave a debut to Gomez and some time for Palmer.
I am sure Pep will try to sort out the City defence with Dias not at his best and Ederson below form. Neither Walker or Cancelo were on top form so with so many games to come in the next few weeks we should be adding a player before September 1st.
Notts Forest 6-0 home
City were back to top form as they slaughtered Forest six nil and it could have been even more with a bit more luck. Pep made 2 changes from the Palace game Alvarez and Gundogan coming in for Mahrez and De Bruyne.
City were soon on the attack and winning corners and giving Henderson some saving to do. I had just made a note that Haaland had hardly touched the ball on 11 minutes when following a wide corner Foden crossed and Haaland brilliantly held off a defender and hit the ball home with his left foot. A superb strike and City were one up on 12 minutes.
With possession about 87% Forest rarely came into the City half but they did have a chance on a break but the header went into the side netting so Ederson was soon back to reading his book!
On 22 minutes Henderson made an error passing to Benardo and a few passes later Foden was able to pass to Haaland who had an open goal and it was two nil to City. On the half hour Stones did score but alas he was offside.
However he did make up for this on 38 minutes when following a corner he headed across goal to a leaping Haaland who completed his hat-trick to make it City 3 Forest 0. So that is 9 goals in 5 games for Haaland and at that rate I can see him break umpteen records this season. He is the perfect striker and he became the first player in Premier League history to notch nine goals in their first five games.
Just before half time Alvarez who was also playing well hit the post with an effort.
Gundogan shot over the bar just after the interval but it did not take long for City to strike again. On 50 minutes Benardo passed to Cancelo who cracked the ball home from just outside the penalty area. An excellent shot and City were four up.
It was now time to make some subs and Palmer and Mahrez came on for Rodri and Foden. However on 56 minutes Forest actually won a corner and Ederson had to put his book down and make a save!
A few minutes later a cross by Palmer was met by Benardo and his shot was saved by Henderson. Then City won two corners and on 65 minutes Alvarez scored his first goal for City. He was put through by Mahrez and he made no mistake with his well taken finish to make it 5 nil. Pep then made two more changes bringing on Gomez for Cancelo and De Bruyne for Haaland who got a standing ovation from the City fans.
On 70 minutes Mahrez missed a good chance and a few minutes later Lewis came on for Stones. With just 3 minutes to go City had a break following a free kick at the other end and De Bruyne fed Alvarez who cracked the ball past Henderson to make it 6 nil.
Shame we could not have scored more - maybe saving them for Villa this weekend!
Haaland and Alvarez were the stars today in an excellent performance by City. Ederson had little to do and Stones had a better game. Foden and Benardo were good too and Cancelo had a better game.
The Sky Blues continued their very good start to the season and with Haaland and Alvarez in the side I can see lots of goals to come.
Aston Villa 1-1 away
This will not go down as a memorable game for City fans. After the six goals against Notts Forest we were expecting a few more against low placed Villa but alas that did not happen. City made just one change from the six nil win De Bruyne returning for Alvarez.
Walker had an early chance when put through by Gundogan but instead of crossing to Haaland he shot high and wide and a few minutes later De Bruyne shot wide and that was almost the end of any major action in the first half. City had the odd corner but alas did not give the Villa keeper much to do.
We had a better start to the second half when on 50 minutes De Bruyne crossed and there was Haaland to score at the far post to give City the lead. It was his tenth goal so far this season and he later had a couple of shots saved.Last season it took six months for a player to score ten goals! De Bruyne hit the bar with a free kick from just outside the penalty area for a foul on Haaland. Ederson had to make a good save and on 72 minutes Mahrez came on for Benardo Silva. Alas a minute or so later Villa scored - a first time shot by Bailey from a cross by Ramsey - the result of poor defensive work by Cancelo and Rodri.
Shortly after Ake replaced Walker and both Foden and Rodri had shots that failed to find the back of the net. Mahrez did have a late chance to win the game for City but maybe he should have passed.
Not the best of displays by City and with Spurs next after the trip to Spain in midweek there will have to be an improvement.
Sevilla 4-0 away
For their first Champions League game of the season City made several changes. There was a debut for new signing Akanji for the injured Stones and Gomez was in for the injured Walker. Cancelo switched to right back and Grealish was back joining Foden and Haaland in the front three. Benardo joined De Bruyne in midfield.
City had an early chance on 7 minutes when a cross by De Bruyne was headed just wide by Haaland. Shortly after Cancelo had an effort blocked and then Grealish shot just wide. City continued to press and after De Bruyne shot twice wide along came Haaland to give City the lead on 20 minutes brilliantly scoring from close range from a De Bruyne cross.
On the half hour Benardo was fouled and from the free kick De Bruyne shot into the side netting. We did have a shock a little later when Sevilla actually won a corner. City were soon back at the other end and Haaland had a shot saved when he tried to score from a narrow angle. So at half time it remained one nil to City.
Early in the second half City had a beak and De Bruyne failed to beat the keeper on a one to one -the keeper making good save. The sky blues continued to play well and on 58 minutes we had a moment of brilliance by Foden who scored from the centre of the penalty area following some excellent footwork. He is back on top form full of confidence.
We had a change on 62 minutes Gundogan replacing Grealish who had not the best of games. A few minutes later the in form Foden had a good effort saved and there was Haaland to notch his second of the game and City lead three nil. It was his 12th goal in 7 games.In the Champions League he has 25 goals in 20 games - amazing!
It was now time for more changes and on came Alvarez for Haaland - Palmer for Foden
City continued to press and there were shots by De Bruyne, Palmer and Cancelo before Mahrez came on for Kevin DB and Phillips for Rodri .
As the match went into added time we all thought that was that but following a corner Cancelo crossed and there was Dias to score his first goal of the season to make it four nil for City and a great start in the Champions League. It had been a very good display by City.
Borussia Dortmund 2-1 home
Just when it was looking like disaster for City when Bellingham gave the visitors the lead on 55 minutes and City had failed to manage a shot on goal we had a miracle! Stones who had been playing at right back scored with a good effort from outside the box and 4 minutes later Haaland notched a magnificent goal to give City three points.
City had made several changes and dominated the early play but it was Ederson who had to make the first keeper save on 16 minutes. City did win a few corners and Cancelo shot well over the bar on 25 minutes. Dortmund were defending well and Grealish had a shot blocked. So it was a pretty boring first half with the sky blues lacking the right tempo.
No doubt Pep would have had some comments to make at the break and we hoped for some improvement. Alas on 51 minutes Reus missed a good chance on a break and 4 minutes later there was an even worse moment when a cross by Reus was headed past Ederson by Bellingham to give the visitors the lead.
Pep then made 3 changes. Foden, Benardo and Alvarez on for Grealish, Mahrez and Gundogan.
There was an improvement and on 66 minutes Haaland took a pass from De Bruyne and nearly scored from a narrow angle. 5 minutes later Foden had a good run but his final effort was deflected for a corner.
Just after Malan got a yellow card on 78 minutes De Bruyne passed to John Stones and from just outside the penalty area he cracked in a excellent shot that beat the keeper to level the scores.
Wow we did not expect that.
It got even better 4 minutes later when Cancelo crossed and despite being closely marked by two defenders Haaland jumped high and incredibly managed to get a foot to the ball and score from close range to win the game for City. His athleticism is amazing and it was his 13th goal of the season.
Overall it was not the best of City performances with several players including Grealish being well below form but once again City fought back after being a goal down

Wolves 3-0 away
For the trip to Wolverhampton City made three changes - Dias, Foden and Benardo returned and what a great start we had. In the very first minute Foden back-heeled to De Bruyne who crossed and lo and behold the player who had come under some criticism recently - Jack Grealish - scored to give City the lead - more to come I hope!
On 4 minutes Ederson had to make a save from Neto so Wolves were not going to give up easily and on 12 minutes Rodri got a yellow card for a foul just outside the box.
However on 16 minutes Benardo Silva passed to Haaland who went on a run and shot past the keeper with his right foot from outside the penalty area to make it two nil. It was his 14th goal of the season
(11th in the Premier League). He has scored in each of his first 4 away league games - a record.
Things got worse for the home side after 32 minutes. Collins got a red card for a bad foul on Grealish.
It was a high stupid tackle and the ref had no hesitation in giving a red card. So Wolves were down to ten men for the remaining 60 minutes! It remained two nil at half time.
After Foden almost did a Haaland athletic special on 53 minutes Wolves came back at City and had a chance or two. On 61 minutes following a corner Cancelo shot over the bar from some way out. Then 2 Wolves players got yellow cards as City started to dominate play and Haaland had a shot saved on 67 minutes.
A couple of minutes later City made it three nil. It was a great move - Haaland passed to De Bruyne who then passed to Foden and he nicked it past the keeper - game over. City then made several changes - Alvarez replaced Benardo Silva, Mahrez came on for Foden and Gundogan replaced De Bruyne. A few minutes later Palmer came on for Grealish and then Gomez replaced Rodri.
Both Palmer and Alvarez had efforts on goal and it was a comfortable win for City and the three points takes them to the top of the league for a day!
Grealish had his best day for the sky blues with De Bruyne getting some good form back and Foden doing well too. In defence Akanji is settling in well in the centre of defence while Stones is doing his best at right back. Let's hope they all come back OK after the international break,
United 6-3 home
A brilliant City performance with the highlight - two hat-tricks - one by Foden - his first for City and yet another by Haaland - breaking a Premier League record by becoming the first player to notch three successive home hat-tricks.
After several City attacks City took the lead after just 8 minutes. Benardo crossed and Foden who had drifted into a good position hit the ball first time past the keeper to score. An excellent finish by Phil.
We had a shock on 15 minutes when Ederson actually had to make a save - an easy one from Eriksen. A minute or so later Grealish was fouled at the edge of the area but alas Gundogan's free kick hit the outside of the post.
On the half hour City had several shots blocked and saved so it was no surprise to see a second City goal on 34 minutes. Following a corner De Bruyne crossed and Haaland headed home to make it two nil. The City fans had hardly stopped cheering when De Bruyne crossed again and there was Haaland to notch his second and City's third goal. Two City goals in three minutes. I doubt whether Fergie was smiling in the stand!
Just before half time City had a break and De Bruyne passed to Haaland who passed to Phil Foden and he scored to make it 4-0 - amazing stuff. Many United fans left the ground perhaps to catch an early train back to London!
On 56 minutes we had a mini disaster! Antony took a shot from outside the area and the ball went into the top corner giving Ederson no chance. 4-1
It did not take too long for City to come back again. Gomez who had come on for the injured Walker in the first half crossed and there was Haaland to complete his hat-trick. Though the ball was cleared VAR showed the ball had crossed the line and it was 5-1. The City fans then started the Poznan in many areas of the stadium.
On 72 minutes it was Foden's turn to complete a hat-trick when he shot home thanks to a Haaland pass. It was Foden's first hat-trick and he has now passed 50 goals for City - 6-1 game over ! It was interesting that both City 'wingers' spent a great deal of time in more central areas.
On 75 minutes City made 4 changes Laporte (back from injury) was on for Gundogan - Palmer came on for Grealish - Alvarez on for De Bruyne - and Mahrez for Foden.
City then took their foot off the pedal and United managed to score two goals - the first on 84 minutes by Martial and then in added time a penalty. Martial scored from the spot and the 'derby' ended 6-3. United were pretty poor and were lucky to get three goals.
Haaland and Foden were brilliant today and De Bruyne also had a good game. Grealish too did well causing many problems for the United defenders. Full marks to a City defender - Akanji who is standing in for Dias and Stones had yet another good game and he looks like a good signing. Ake too did well as did Gundogan standing in for the injured Rodri . Benardo ran his usual marathon covering most of the pitch and had an assist for the first goal. We must keep him!
A terrific display by City so look out Arsenal we are only a point behind. Could Haaland reach 50 goals this season? He has already scored more goals than 16 Premier League teams!
FC Copenhagen 5-0 home
Goals - goals and more goals for City and Haaland as the sky blues dominated this Champions League game against FC Copenhagen. As expected Pep rested both De Bruyne and Foden and there was a return for Dias and Laporte to central defence not that they had much to do!
Early on City got a corner after umpteen passes and then Haaland actually missed a cross.
However it did not take long for him to put things right. On 7 minutes Cancelo crossed and with his first touch Haaland cracked the ball past the keeper to give City the lead.
City continued to attack and only good work by keeper Grabara kept the score down.
Just after the half hour Gomez took a good shot which was parried by Grabara and yes there was Haaland on the spot to score from close range. Two nil to City and it was Haaland's 19th goal in his first 12 games for City - amazing stuff!
There was worse to come for Copenhagen as just before half time a shot by Gomez was deflected twice past the keeper and City were three up.
We had a surprise at the interval as Haaland was subbed by Palmer - oh dear he wasn't going to get another hat-trick!
Beware Southampton - he is being saved for you!
After Grabara had saved from Gundogan and Palmer Ederson actually had to make a save at the other end.
On 52 minutes City won a corner and Laporte was brought down and a penalty given. Mahrez took the spot kick and it was 4 nil to City. He was top scorer last season and this was his first this season.
On 57 minutes 17 year old Rico Lewis came on for Cancelo and ten minutes later Josh Wilson-Esbrand was on for Benardo.
On 76 minutes a good run by Grealish ended with Mahrez passing to Alvarez who scored from close range and it was five nil.
Grealish is improving and Gundogan had a good game standing in for Rodri. Palmer too had some good moments.
But for the excellent goal keeping of Copenhagen keeper Grabara this could have been many more than five. They were lucky Phil and Kevin were rested!

Southampton 4-0 home
City moved to top of the league after an easy win against Southampton. Pep made five changes from the mid-week game. Rodri returned to central defence and of course Foden and De Bruyne were back.
City almost took the lead in the second minute when ex City player Bazuni saved really well from Mahrez.
On 14 minutes Haaland almost scored but his shot hit the left hand post and ran along the line before going out for a goal kick after being put through by Foden. However we did not have to wait too long and on 20 minutes Foden passed to Cancelo who dashed down the left wing and cracked in a great goal and City were one up. The referee did well to allow play to continue after a bad foul by Walker-Peters who was booked after the goal.
We had to wait another 12 minutes for the second goal. After Foden had had a shot saved he got a second chance and scored chipping the ball over the keeper helped by a pass from De Bruyne - his umpteenth assist!
City continued to dominate but we were getting worried as Haaland had not got another
hat-trick yet so it was only two nil at half time
Fortunately we did not have too long to wait for the third goal. Rodri made a great pass to the far post and there was Mahrez to net. Excellent football by City 3-0 and game over!
On 52 minutes a Foden cross was almost notched by Haaland but it went just wide.
Just after Foden was subbed by Grealish we had the moment we had been waiting for - a cross by Cancelo found Haaland and he cracked the ball into the net to make it 4 nil. With the game won Pep then made several further changes - on came Palmer, Gomez, Alvarez and a little later Lewis.
Grealish shot over the bar and Palmer had a good effort saved before the final whistle.. Southampton hardly had a touch in the City penalty area and City rarely had to raise their game. It was just too easy. Perhaps Haaland is saving his next hat-trick for Liverpool!

FC Copenhagen 0-0 away
A weakened City team managed a draw in Denmark despite being down to ten men for 60 minutes. With the Liverpool game coming up this weekend Pep made five changes to the Southampton win. The key change was the absence of Haaland from the team. Alvarez came in for him and there was no Foden or Benardo either. Dias and Ake were rested too.
After City got an early corner we had a bit of a panic when Ederson failed to control a back pass and the ball ran very near to the goal. Thank goodness it was only a corner to the home team.
Following a break and a good run by Grealish Alvarez had a shot but it went wide. On 11 minutes a great strike by Rodri from well outside the area beat the keeper and City went one up - alas in came VAR and the goal was ruled out by the referee for a 'handball' by Mahrez in the build -up. It was definitely NOT a deliberate hand ball!.
On 19 minutes Ederson had to tip over a shot then a few minutes later at a City corner we had another VAR situation. Apparently a defender handled the ball and the ref eventually gave a penalty. The handball was not all that obvious so maybe the ref tried to make up for his error earlier. Mahrez took the penalty but alas the keeper saved it and the score stayed
We had a second disaster a few minutes later when Gomez fouled Haraldsson on the edge of the area and following VAR Gomez got a red card so City were down to ten men
Straight away Mahrez was subbed by Dias to boost the defence and City kept the score to
0-0 at half time. Due to the VAR's there was 6 minutes of added time!
The second half was pretty boring with City despite having only ten men having most of the play but there was a really lucky escape on 72 minutes when a cross was just missed by a Copenhagen attacker. With 15 minutes to go on came Foden and Benardo to save the day but alas the sky blues failed to find the net but at least they have qualified for the knockout stage of the Champions League .

Liverpool 0-1 away
Not the best of results for City in the away battle at Anfield. Just when it was looking like ending a goalless draw an error by Cancelo following a long kick by the Liverpool keeper gave Salah an easy chance to beat Ederson to score the vital goal for the home side.
City played their strongest available side with the return of De Bruyne, Foden and Benardo.
After 15 minutes City had several efforts blocked or saved. A few minutes later Ederson had some work to do. On the half hour Haaland had a couple of good chances. The first one was saved by Alisson and a couple of minutes later his header went over the bar - not his day!
Five minutes before the interval another header from Haaland was saved and the battle ended goalless at half time.
On 53 minutes it looked like Foden had scored for City but alas our dear friend VAR spotted that Haaland had gently fouled a Liverpool player in the build up!
Ten minutes later Haaland a shot saved - alas it just was not strong enough to trouble the keeper.
On 76 minutes we had a disaster. De Bruyne took a poor free kick and Alisson hit a long pass up field where Cancelo failed to control the ball leaving it for Salah to race to the City penalty area and shoot past Ederson and give Liverpool the lead.
Shortly after Akanji got a yellow card for a foul just outside the area and Liverpool missed a couple more chances.
On 85 minutes the referee sent off Liverpool Manager Klopp for his very strong protests as tensions grew in the final stages.
With only a minute to go Alvarez came on for Gundogan and there were ten minutes of added time! City did their best to get a goal but with Liverpool playing their best so far this season and too many City players below par the sky blues lost their very first game this season.
Brighton 3-1 home
City made three changes from the Liverpool game. In came Mahrez, Laporte and Grealish for Gundogan, Ake and Foden. City have a good home record against Brighton so we were expecting plenty of goals!
However we nearly had a disaster on 11 minutes when Ederson well outside the penalty area tried to pass to Cancelo but alas his pass was poor and it went to Welbeck who had an empty goal to find Luckily for City his shot sailed high and wide. The man-to- man marking by Brighton nearly worked.
City did win a couple of corners and two free kicks and then on 19 minutes City thought they had a penalty for a foul on Haaland but VAR said no.
A few minutes later Ederson spotted Haaland about to dash and he went to plan B and kicked a long ball into the Brighton half. Off went Haaland and he fought off a defender and scored - a brilliant goal. City one up at last!
On 32 minutes a good attack by City ended with De Bruyne having a shot blocked. 7 minutes later Benardo Silva was brought down in the area and this time VAR and the off-field monitor said yes and up came Haaland to take it. His left foot shot was so powerful it was past the keeper before he decided to dive! Two nil to City
On 52 minutes Mahrez had a great chance thanks to a pass from De Bruyne but alas his shot was saved and down the other end Brighton a minute later scored. It was a good shot from Trossard that beat Ederson at the near post. perhaps on another day Ederson might have saved it!
A few minutes later Mahrez gets booked - had a shot blocked - then he got subbed by Foden!
Then Laporte headed just over from a free kick but Brighton put pressure on City and we had to wait until the 75th minute to clinch the win. Benardo passed to De Bruyne who was 25 yards from goal. he cracked in a great shot that went into the top left corner and it was 3-1.
Then it was the time for City subs - Palmer came on for Grealish and a few minutes later Alvarez was on for Haaland - no hat-trick today!
On 84 minutes we had a rare moment when Rodri when charging down the wing but he was soon back in defence blocking!
It was interesting that a visiting team had more possession than City - 52% -48%. It was City's 10th straight home win in the Premier League and they have scored at least three in all of them.
Haaland has now scored 17 goals in 11 league games
Borussia Dortmund 0-0 away
City made 6 changes from the Brighton win. There was a debut for Ortega in goal giving Ederson a rare rest! Good to see Stones back from injury after almost a month away. Alvarez also started. De Bruyne, Grealish and Benardo were on the bench.
City only needed a point to lead the group but they had to face an amazing crowd as well as the home players.
City did not have the best of starts and after an error by Rodri Adeyemi was fouled by Cancelo who ended with a yellow card after just 7 minutes. Thank goodness the free kick went wide.
On 15 minutes Rodri shot wide and at the other end Ortega made a good save from Adeyemi.
A few minutes later City won a corner but a header by Ake to Haaland was blocked.
On 25 minutes Giovanni Reyna ( son of ex City player) shot but his effort was easily saved by Ortega. On the half hour Haaland was fouled but the free kick was cleared and then Alvarez was the next City player to get a yellow card! for a mistimed tackle
On 36 minutes Moukoko missed a good chance for the home side. It was the third good chance Dortmund missed. Nothing at the other end! So it was goalless at half time.
Pep surprised us at half time taking off Haaland and Cancelo and bringing on Benardo and Akanji. So no more goals today for Haaland!
On 53 minutes Foden shot wide and then on 56 minutes Mahrez was brought down in the area and after a brief VAR a penalty was given and in the absence of Haaland now sitting in the stand Mahrez took the kick. Alas once again he missed - the keeper making a good save.
Pep is going to sort out the penalty taking problem especially when Haaland is not on the pitch!
Mahrez has now missed three of his last four penalties!
6 minutes later and yet another yellow card for a City player - Gundogan - for a foul on Moukoko.
City put some pressure on the home side and Alvarez has a shot saved. At the other end on 72 minutes Akanji was guilty of hand ball and got a yellow card. The free kick ended with a goal kick for City.
With ten minutes to go Foden was subbed by Grealish and Gundogan shot wide from the edge of the box and with only a minute or so to go on came Palmer for Mahrez.
It ended 0-0 and City topped their group but the major problem is the missed penalty situation.
Leicester 1-0 away
A tough win for City at Leicester. The match will certainly not be on first on Match -of-the Day tonight. City go top of the league for 24 hours before Arsenal play again.
City made umpteen changes from the Dortmund game. Alas there was no Haaland who is injured. Foden was on the bench as was Mahrez who had missed the penalty in Germany.
The first 8 minutes was pretty well all City with 84% possession but alas no shots on goal. On 9 minutes Gundogan did manage a header which was easily saved. City forced some corners and Rodri had an effort saved. A little later De Bruyne hit a shot but it went wide and then Benardo had a shot well saved but it was difficult to get an easy chance because of the number of defenders blocking everything!
Then on 23 minutes Ederson actually had to make a save - from Barnes!
City were soon back on the attack and after De Bruyne had a shot saved we thought we had a penalty when Grealish went down but it ended in a corner.
Laporte had a header which went wide but it was goalless at half time. Not the most exciting of games!
Right at the start of the second half Rodri had a go at goal but it just missed to the left. Then a few minutes later Grealish was brought down outside the penalty area. Kevin De Bruyne took the kick and brilliantly swept the ball into the top left hand corner to give City the lead on 49 minutes.
It was a magnificent effort and yet another goal for De Bruyne from outside the penalty area.
Four minutes later and there was a special moment at the other end. From a corner the ball went straight to Tielemans well outside the area and he volleyed in a very good shot which thank goodness Ederson tipped onto the bar and the ball was eventually saved by the City keeper.
On 70 minutes ex City player Iheanachi came on for Vardy and Dias replaced Akanji.
7 minutes later Foden came on for Alvarez who had not reached Haaland form!
In the final moments City had a lucky escape when a header from John Stones hit Dias and the ball flew just wide of the goal for a corner.
For most of the game Leicester defended in depth with ten men making it very difficult for the sky blues to get easy chances.
Sevilla 3-1 home
City as expected made 7 changes for this final group game and there was a debut for 17 year old Rico Lewis at right back.and what a night this lad had! More later - Ortega gave Ederson a rest in goal and there was a start for Palmer and Gomez. Alvarez was back in action with Haaland injured.
In the first minute an error by Laporte gave a chance to Rafa Mir but his shot went well wide. At the other end an error by their keeper gave a chance to Palmer but his shot went just over the bar. On 15 minutes Foden took a free kick and Dias tried to score but the ball hit his thigh and went wide. Three minutes later Foden had a shot saved - City continued to attack and Gundogan hit the side netting having taken a pass from Foden.
On the half hour Sevilla got a corner and lo and behold a header by Rafa Mir sailed over the keeper and into the far corner to give the visitors the lead! Gone are the days when we used to have a full back guarding the goal!
On 39 minutes we had a special moment - Mahrez actually used his right foot to cross the ball !
So City were one down at half time but at least they were out of the heavy rain for 15 minutes!
Rodri came on for Grealish - no doubt resting him for the Fulham game. Then on 52 minutes we had a very special moment. Lewis took a pass from Alvarez and cracked the ball past Bono to equalize for City and he became the youngest player in Champions League history to score on his debut. Amazing and he will remember this moment for the rest of his life.
Five minutes later Benardo came on for Gundogan and a little later De Bruyne and Wilson-Esbrand were on for Palmer and Gomez.
Kevin DB had hardly been on the pitch a few minutes when he made a great cross field pass to Alvarez who made no mistake to score past Bono to give City the lead. So City were ahead on 73 minutes and Alvarez was involved 10 minutes later when he passed to Mahrez who easily made it 3-1. City continued to attack and they finished top of their group with 14 points.
City are now unbeaten in 23 Champion League matches at the Ethad so no doubt the sky blues will want to improve that when the battles resume in February.
Fulham 2-1 home
A memorable win in added time for the ten men of City sent them to the top of the league for a few hours.
Little did we know what was going to happen when the teams were announced and City made 8 changes from the Sevilla game. The only ones to stay were Alvarez, Gundogan and Grealish.
Haaland was on the bench as was Foden but the good news for City was that there was no Mitrovic in the Fulham side.
Alvarez had an early attempt following a cross from De Bruyne but the header went wide. On 7 minutes Pereira got a yellow card for a foul on Rodri and two minutes later De Bruyne had a good shot saved by Leno.
City continued to attack with efforts by Gundogan and Akanji but the best moment came when Gundogan gave a through ball to Alvarez who cracked the ball past the keeper to give City the lead.
However disaster came on 26 minutes when Cancelo brought down Wilson in the penalty area and to add to his misery he got a red card so City were down to ten men with over 60 minutes to go! Pereira took the penalty and scored so it was one all.
Ake moved to left back and Rodri dropped back. City continued to attack and forced several corners. With the rain pouring down Alvarez had a shot blocked and Grealish shot wide as half time approached. De Bruyne was fouled and Reed got a yellow and then in added time Benardo got a yellow for some comments he made when he was fouled.
Early in the second half a header from Ake went straight to the keeper but it was good to see Haaland and Foden warming up! On a Fulham break Wilson shot wide and soon after Tet got a yellow card for a foul on Grealish. Then came the moment we were waiting for - on came Haaland for Alvarez and Foden for Grealish. On 64 minutes De Bruyne tried to catch out Leno at a free kick but his effort went wide. Ten minutes later it looked like City had gone ahead when Haaland headed past Leno but alas the dreaded VAR said a pimple on his knee was offside!
Although City only had ten men they continued to dominate and Haaland had a shot and then a header blocked. The referee added five minutes and with minutes to go Kevin De Bruyne was brought down in the penalty area by Robinson who got a yellow card.
All eyes were on Haaland who took the kick and despite Leno diving the right way the ball went underneath his body and City had won the game. Amazing! Haaland's 18th league goal so far!
Dias came on for Gundogan in the final moments and the sky blues held on for the three points. Considering City only had ten men for 60 odd minutes they had 71% possession Working his socks off for City was Benardo Silva covering all over the pitch. Maybe City will stay top if Chelsea can hold Arsenal on Sunday.

Chelsea 2-0 home Carabao Cup

As expected City made several changes from the Fulham miracle Ortega was in goal and Gomez was at left back. Once again young Lewis was at right back while Diaz and Laporte guarded the middle. Palmer started and with Grealish and Mahrez on the wings Alvarez led the line. On the bench were Foden,Haaland and De Bruyne in case of disasters.
After early City attacks with efforts by Alvarez and Grealish Chelsea had some chances and one of them needed a good save by Ortega.
On 28 minutes Alvarez had a good effort saved and there were several crosses by Lewis and Gomez but they were not accurate enough. Grealish was being a busy bee and Koulibaly got a yellow card for a foul on him.
Just before half time Hall had a good chance for the visitors but Ortega saved the day!
Early in the second half City made 2 changes - Benardo replaced Gundogan and Phillips was on for Rodri. It was good news for the England boss to see Phillips back on the pitch.
On 51 minutes Grealish had a good effort saved as City piled on the pressure. Then Mahrez had a shot blocked. A minute later another run by Mahrez was brought to a halt with a foul by Chalobah who got a yellow card for the offence.
The free kick was at the edge of the penalty area and Mahrez shot over the wall and into the net to give City the lead - at last! It made up for the incident on 48 minutes when it looked like Mahrez should have got a penalty when he was brought down but the ref gave nothing! VAR was on holiday!
Then Chelsea tried to come back but their efforts went wide.
On 58 minutes a good pass by Alvarez found Mahrez who shot and the keeper pushed the ball out and there was Alvarez to score from close range and City were two up.
Two minutes later Palmer had a shot saved and shortly after at the other end Hall had another very good chance but his effort was saved by Ortega.
Then Chelsea made 4 changes and one of them was Sterling! Ake came on for Laporte.
Chelsea did have some chances but their efforts went wide. Just before the end Grealish took exception to a foul by Azilicueta and a skirmish took place which earned both of them yellow cards. Shame really as Grealish had one of his best games for City and no doubt with the world cup looming he will want more England caps.
The other 'star' for City was number 2 keeper Ortega who had an outstanding game.

Brentford 1-2 home
City's home run had to come to an end some time and with ten City players chosen for the Brentford game soon to depart to Qatar for some tournament no doubt they wanted to avoid injury!. There was a return for Haaland so we were expecting a few goals from him but alas that was not to be. City made three changes from the Fulham win - Haaland , Foden and Laporte returning.
The game started with a long kick by the Brentford keeper which almost ended with a goal but for a good save by Ederson after just 4 minutes. Two minutes later Brentford had another break and again Ederson saved City with another save from Toney. Brentford could have been easily two up at this early stage. On 8 minutes Gundogan shot well wide from distance and then Haaland had an effort blocked.
On 15 minutes a foul by Cancelo gave Brentford a free kick and Toney beat Ederson with a header to give the visitors the lead - disaster!
Foden then tried to level the score but his efforts were blocked by the packed and well organized |Brentford defence. On 26 minutes we thought we had a penalty when Henry appeared to handle the ball near the goal line and penalty area but alas VAR (back from holiday) said it was just outside the area so City had to be content with a free kick.
On 37 minutes Haaland got a yellow card for a foul on Zanka. What ever next!! City had several shots but they were all blocked or saved. The penalty area was packed with players.
As added time started at the end of the first half City got a corner and Akanji passed to Foden on the left. He hit the ball first time with his left foot and it flew into the top corner to make it one all.
A brilliant goal and I am sure the England Manager would have liked that too!
On 48 minutes City got a corner but alas Laporte went down injured with a cut on his head and there was a very long delay while he was being treated. Amazingly he stayed on the pitch with a big bandage on his head.
On 65 minutes a good City move ended with Gundogan shooting over the bar. A minute later at the other end Ederson had to save from Toney. Shortly after Laporte had to make a clarence from the goal line to save City. A minute later Rodri has an effort saved. On 84 minutes Cancelo got a yellow card for a dive and was subbed straight away by Alvarez. Considering there is now VAR what was Cancelo thinking!
Ten minutes were added and in the first minute of added time Ederson saved from Toney but after several City attempts at goal in the 98th minute Brentford made a break following a City corner and Dasilva crossed for Toney to score the winning goal from close range. They almost scored again moments later when on another break it was 3 to one City defender but De Bruyne saved City from conceding another goal. Where were the defenders I wonder.
It was not the best of days for City. Apart from the Foden goal there was little to admire in the City performance. With Arsenal winning at Wolves City will have to improve a great deal after the World Cup break to go top again. The City passing was well below their best and there was a lack of intensity and speed when attacking.
World Cup 2022
Unlike the World Cup in 2018 I won't be covering like I did in 2018. Having spent a lot of time working in the Middle East I was staggered when I heard that this years event was going to be held in Qatar.
A couple of images I shot I think in Doha in the 80's.
After an early England win the really surprising result was the win over Argentina by Saudi Arabia.
I managed to find a couple of images I shot on my many visits to Saudi Arabia in the 80's
I doubt whether any of the players below are now playing for the National side!
The youngster was really 'humped ' when the camel refused to kick the ball!
I was helping out with this group at one of the stadiums
It was in July 1985 that I visited Tokyo airport and had a couple of days in the City.
After the amazing win against Germany I suppose the signs will have changed and the kids would be more pleased. The Germans let the goals in after Gundogan had been subbed!
Japan have now beaten Spain to top group E and out go Germany!
At last Foden was picked for England and he scored in the win against Wales. They now play Senegal.
Morocco did not need the help of Snakes or camels in beating Belgium and Canada to top group F
to part2