Thursday, May 23, 2024

Guardiola shrugs off Rodri´s Player of the Season snub ahead of Fulham trip

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 10 May 2024

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While Pep Guardiola feels Rodri was deserving of a nomination for the Premier League’s Player of the Season award, he expects the midfielder to shrug off that rejection and stay focused on the title race.

Rodri was surprisingly omitted from the eight-man shortlist for the league’s top individual prize when it was revealed on Thursday, with team-mates Phil Foden and Erling Haaland making the cut.

That is despite the Spaniard playing a key role as City chase an unprecedented fourth straight league title, and three wins from their last three matches will ensure they edge out Arsenal to retain their crown.

Ahead of Saturday’s trip to Fulham, where City have a chance to go top of the table before Arsenal face Manchester United on Sunday, Guardiola said there was no doubt over Rodri’s importance.

“He has been one of the best. The nominated players deserve it, other players also deserve it. The winner of the trophy will deserve it, and the ones who don’t will too,” Guardiola said.

“We know what we think of the importance of him, how magnificent and extraordinary he is as a player. He should not be worried about it.

“When I won [Manager of the Season], it’s because we won. It’s because your team won a title, won games. The award is not for me – I didn’t play one minute.”

Fulham caused a stir earlier this week when their social media accounts posted a video of some players flying kites during a training session, sparking fears among Arsenal fans that the mid-table side may be ‘on the beach’.

Boss Marco Silva, however, insists that is not the case, saying: “They had one moment after training. It’s not even a case to be talked about.

“I have been asked, as we say in England, whether the players are going to be on the beach. It’s not the case. If my players are a little bit relaxed, I am the first one to put some pressure on them.”

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Fulham – Rodrigo Muniz

Fulham’s recent drop-off in form has coincided with the goals drying up somewhat for Muniz, who will be looking to return to form on Saturday.

He scored eight times in eight Premier League appearances through February and March but has since netted once in his last six – in a 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace last time out at Craven Cottage.

Manchester City – Rodri

Rodri has assisted six goals in his last eight Premier League appearances, including two last week against Wolves.

City have not lost any of their last 47 Premier League games in which the Spaniard has featured, the fourth-longest unbeaten run any player has ever recorded in the competition.

MATCH PREDICTION – MANCHESTER CITY WIN

City have won their last 15 meetings with Fulham in all competitions. It is the joint-longest winning run any team has ever managed against another in competitive English football history, with theCitizens also having 15-game sequences against Bournemouth and Watford.

Fulham have only won one of their previous 15 home Premier League games against City (five draws, nine defeats), winning 2-1 under Chris Coleman in November 2005.

They have also gone three home games without victory, drawing with Crystal Palace and losing to Newcastle United and Liverpool in what represents their worst run on home soil this season.

With City unbeaten in their last 20 Premier League games (16 wins, four draws), it’s difficult to see a surprise taking place on Saturday.

Guardiola’s champions have been truly rampant in recent weeks, winning their last six league games while netting four or more goals in five of them – against Aston Villa (4-1), Palace (4-2), Luton Town (5-1), Brighton and Hove Albion (4-0) and Wolves (5-1).

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

Fulham – 15%

Manchester City – 61.7%

Draw – 23.3%

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

SoccerNews

Soccernews.com is news blog for soccer with comprehensive coverage of all the major leagues in Europe, as well as MLS in the United States. In addition we offer breaking news for transfers and transfer rumors, ticket sales, betting tips and offers, match previews, and in-depth editorials.

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