Here we go again...
The new season is off and running with old one still fresh in the memory.
Our digital programme came into being for the behind closed doors games during the summer and we'll continue to offer them for home games going forward.
We begin our 2020/21 home campaign with a Carabao Cup tie against Bournemouth.
The Cherries lost their top flight status last season but are always welcome guests at the Etihad.
City opened with a fantastic 3-1 win at Wolves on Monday night and will look to take that form into this game.
Pep has indicated he may use younger players this evening because of injuries and the fact the squad haven't been back in training that long, so it should be a fascinating tie.
Bournemouth gave City a real test on their last visit a couple of months ago, losing 2-1 but returning south knowing that they'd given an excellent account of themselves.
Now, under the leadership of new boss Jason Tindall, they will look to record their first ever victory against City - but this is a competition we've excelled in over the past three seasons and we will be trying to secure a fourth successive Carabao Cup triumph this year.
For this edition, we've all the usual features including Pep's manager notes, Buzzer's column and a detailed look at our opponents.
All that, plus Tony Book's Dream Team, Marc Riley's column, a Nathan Ake graphic and some stunning pics from Kev Cummins' archive and loads more.
Enjoy the programme and see you back here for our game against Leicester City on Sunday.
Pep's pre-match thoughts...
Good evening to City fans everywhere.
Firstly, I want to say I am so sad that you cannot be with us in the stadium tonight. Games without you with us are not the same, and I know all the players wish you were here helping us to win. But for now we must remember there are more important things going on in our society and everyone must stay as safe as they possibly can.
We cannot wait to have you back here when it is right to do so.
The new season is here so quickly after the last one and I was so happy with our performance against Wolves on Monday in our first Premier League game. We passed the ball quickly and every single player showed huge desire to win the ball back when we lost it. Given we had so little time to prepare and we had so many players out, I was delighted with my squad. Always they are a pleasure to work with, and our training sessions so far have shown me once again they have huge desire to win.
Tonight, we begin our Carabao Cup campaign and we want to make it four in a row. We love this competition and it has provided us with some great memories in recent seasons.
I want to extend a warm welcome to the staff and players at Bournemouth, a club I really admire. As soon as I came to City, it was clear they were a side who always tried to play attractive football. The work Eddie Howe did there should be admired by everyone – the success he enjoyed and the style he encouraged – and Jason Tindall, I am sure, will continue in the same way, given his knowledge of the club.
Enjoy the game and hopefully it won’t be too long until we see you here again.
Club Ambassador Mike Summerbee looks ahead to the game...
I was fortunate enough to travel over to Lisbon to watch the mini Champions League tournament in August and it was obviously very disappointing for everyone connected with the Club to lose against Lyon.
So, to have to pick ourselves up and start the new season away to Wolves – possibly one of the hardest games we could have had- was a concern because I’d watched them beat Sheffield United the week before and they looked sharp and impressive.
Pep hasn’t had much time to work with the team and the injuries have piled up, so I went to Molineux with trepidation as it has never been a particularly happy hunting ground for us.
But the way Pep had got the lads together and prepared them for a match that was our first competitive game since Lyon, was fantastic. Make no mistake, Wolves will be there or thereabouts this season, so to start with such an exceptional display was the perfect way to begin the new campaign.
I don’t care that some people say we were under the cosh after the break – we were playing Wolves on their own turf so of course they were going to come at us.
They are a top side, but we dominated the first half and we took our chances and won the game, so I breathed a sigh of relief when it was all over because that will give us a lot of confidence for the games coming up.
I’m looking forward to the Bournemouth game on Thursday evening because I think we’ll see some more of our talented youngsters given an opportunity. We’ve obviously got a lot of senior players missing and another big game on Sunday to come, so it would make sense to rest a few fatigued legs.
And in Nathan Ake, I think we’ve made a great signing. I’ve always been an admirer of him and I think he’ll be a great addition to the squad. The Bournemouth chairman Jeff Mostyn is a close friend of mine, so I’ve always kept an eye on their results and Nathan was a player I always thought highly of.
Whatever team starts against Bournemouth, Pep will want to win the game because this competition is one we’ve excelled in over the past decade and if younger players do get their opportunity, they’ll be desperate to impress the boss.
Finally, I’d just like to pay tribute to a wonderful lady who passed away recently.
Alma Pinner, widow of Keith Pinner, was a great character. Both her and Keith were huge City fans and have been a big part of the Club for many years. A lot of people from the City family were at her funeral because she was so highly thought of and I must say, she put me in my place on one or two occasions over the years!
She was a lovely woman, very forthright and she’ll be sadly missed by myself, and everyone who knew at her at the football club.
See you against Leicester and keep safe.
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Freedom to fly when you’re ready
Sometimes, plans change. And that’s ok.
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The Bournemouth side that runs out at the Etihad on Thursday evening is likely to look different from the one that played against City in July.
Manager Eddie Howe left the club at the end of the campaign, bringing an end to his eight-year tenure. His assistant Jason Tindall took the reins as the Cherries decided on continuity as the way forward, and the new boss has had to overhaul his squad following the departure of several high-profile players.
Aaron Ramsdale, Nathan Ake, Ryan Fraser, Callum Wilson, Jordon Ibe, Simon Francis, Charlie Daniels, Andrew Surman and Harry Arter have all left as the club trims its wage bill and focuses on some of the younger talent coming through.
They still have players with plenty of Premier League experience such as David Brooks, Josh King, Dan Gosling, Asmir Begovic, Steve Cook, Jefferson Lerma. Phillip Billing, Lewis Cook and Dominic Solanke, and it is these players Tindall will use as the foundation for this season’s promotion push.
It’s possible one or two of those mentioned may still leave, with several Premier League clubs interested in Brooks and King in particular, but with almost £80m raised in transfer sales and a substantial saving on some of the higher wage earners who have left, the Cherries are in no hurry to sell.
Regaining their top flight status is the team’s sole aim this season but negating a tricky Championship will not be easy.
A solid start to the 2020/21 campaign is vital, and an opening day 3-2 win over Blackburn Rovers and a 1-1 draw with Middlesbrough have provided a foundation to move forward.
The Cherries also saw off Crystal Palace in the Carabao Cup second round after an epic 11-10 penalty shoot-out and Tindall will be keen to make sure his team give a good account of themselves against Pep Guardiola’s free-scoring City.
Tindall made nine changes for the clash with Palace and says he is likely to do so again at the Etihad – with Guardiola also indicating he may have no other choice but to rotate his players give the sizeable injury list.
"It's difficult because when you're playing games every three days, you have to get that balance right with players that are fresh and are not carrying any sort of niggles and rotation with other players within your squad," said Tindall.
"As you saw against Palace, the team that was selected to go out there and play, they performed exceptionally well and delivered a great performance that got us through to the next round. There will be a few changes, but it's a matter of seeing how we come through today's training before any decisions are made."
City v Bournemouth:
The story so far…
Given that we only played Bournemouth two months ago, there is only one additional fixture to add to our history of this game.
In terms of previous clashes, this is still a fairly new fixture that stretches back just 33 years.
This will be the seventeenth meeting between the clubs and the first in a major cup competition. Of the previous 16 clashes, City have dominated throughout.
City won 2-0 at Dean Court in the first ever meeting between the clubs in 1987 and repeated the scoreline at Maine Road a few months later.
Manager Mel Machin didn't take City up that season, but the following campaign, he did, though Bournemouth managed to spoil the originally planned promotion party in a bizarre 45 minutes.
Needing a win to go back to the top flight, City raced into a 3-0 lead at Maine Road in the penultimate game of the 1988/89 campaign.
The party had begun, but Bournemouth – inspired by future Blue Ian Bishop and veteran striker Luther Blissett – fought back after the break and Blissett levelled from the spot seven minutes into added time to make it 3-3 and deny City promotion on the day.
It remains the Cherries' best 90 minutes against City, who would get the point needed to go up against Bradford a week later.
A decade would pass before the next meeting between the clubs – this time in the third tier of English football, with City edging a 2-1 win at Maine Road before grinding out a 0-0 draw at Dean Court – which remains the best seasonal performances by the Cherries.
A further 16 years would pass before the teams met again and since then, City have won all 10 top flight meetings.
A first visit to the Etihad for the south coast side resulted in a 5-1 win for City, with Raheem Sterling scoring a hat-trick and Wilfried Bony grabbing two more.
In the return - at the newly-named Vitality Stadium -City raced into a 3-0 lead with only 19 minutes played with goals from Fernando, Kevin De Bruyne and Sergio Aguero before Aleks Kolarov added a fourth on 90 minutes.
The 2016/17 campaign would see the Cherries fare little better.
A 4-0 win at the Etihad (De Bruyne, Gundogan, Sterling and Iheanacho) was followed by a 2-0 win at the Vitality Stadium, with Sterling and a Tyrone Mings own goal settling the contest.
Bournemouth will look at the 2017/18 home clash with City as the one they came closest to winning.
Leading through a 13th-minute Charlie Daniel howitzer, City levelled through Gabriel Jesus, but the hosts had chances to win the game before it went into added time – and seven minutes in, a deflected Sterling goal gave Pep Guardiola’s men a 2-1 win (Sterling was shown a second yellow card shortly after for his celebration).
City won the return 4-0 (Sterling, Aguero (2) and Danilo) as business returned to usual.
The Cherries gave a spirited display at the Etihad in 2018/19, eventually going down 3-1 having gone in at the break level at 1-1 – Bernardo, Sterling and Gundogan scored for City with Callum Wilson grabbing the visitors’ goal.
The return was a hard-fought 1-0 win for City with Riyad Mahrez grabbing the winner on 55 minutes.
City then won 3-1 at the Vitality 13 months ago, with goals from Sterling and Aguero (2) enough to earn three points – Harry Wilson pulled one back for the hosts on half-time.
Finally, the behind closed doors meeting last July ended 2-1 to City with David Silva’s stunning free-kick and Gabriel Jesus making it 2-0 at the break, before the Cherries threw caution to the wind, pulled a late goal back through David Brooks and were unlucky not to take at least a point.
In summary, 15 wins, two draws and no losses with a goals aggregate of 40-9, it has been City and goals all the way so far in this fixture, but the Cherries will believe that run has to end... eventually.
Dangerman: David Brooks
David Brooks may or may not feature against City in the Carabao Cup, but the young midfielder made an impact in the Premier League meeting last July when he scored an 86th-minute goal.
For Brooks, it was a reminder that he could have been playing in the sky blue of City rather than the red and black stripes of Bournemouth. The highly-rated youngster joined City’s Academy aged just seven and stayed for 10 years before leaving for Sheffield United in 2014.
Brooks signed professional forms with the Blades and then spent a brief time on loan with Halifax Town to gain some experience of first team football.
He made his Sheffield United debut in 2016 and agreed a new long-term deal a year later, but when Bournemouth bid £11.5m in 2018, the Blades accepted the offer and the 21 year-old joined Eddie Howe’s team having made 37 appearances for the Bramall Lane side.
Though he made 33 starts and scored seven goals in a highly productive first season with the Cherries, an ankle injury at the start of last season and a subsequent operation meant he featured in just nine games as Bournemouth lost their top-flight status, mostly after the restart in June and July.
After remaining on the bench for the opening day Championship win over Blackburn Rovers, Brooks returned to action against Crystal Palace in the Carabao Cup, playing the full 90 minutes and he added another 84 minutes game time in he 1-1 draw with Middlesbrough.
Though he represented England Under-20s, the Warrington-born player has since pledged his international future with Wales and has already earned 13 caps for the country of his mother’s birth.
A talented playmaker, Brooks has been linked with several Premier League clubs in recent weeks, but Cherries boss Jason Tindall will be desperate to hold on to a player he believes can help Bournemouth bounce back to the top flight at the first time of asking.
don't look back in anger
Renowned photographer and lifelong City fan Kevin Cummins ' new book recalls the days when Oasis and Blur had the world at their feet
Britpop, much maligned as a term, but a seminal era of British music.
I found it more difficult to select photographs for this book than any of the others I’ve created previously. Britpop means different things to different people, and defining it and the bands that were part of it is a matter of much debate (even within the bands). So, the book features portraits of my definition of it, and includes Oasis (with and without City shirts), Blur, Suede, Supergrass, Pulp, Radiohead, and The Charlatans, alongside new interviews.
Are Oasis going to get back together? You can stop asking them on Twitter and read Noel’s answer in his interview…
'While We Were Getting High: Britpop and the ‘90s' by Kevin Cummins is out today and available on Amazon and all good bookstores.
Captain, manager, assistant manager, first team coach, Academy coach, honorary president – there isn’t much Tony Book hasn’t done in his 54-year association with the Club. So who better to select his Dream Manchester City XI?
The big question is, after watching, playing with and managing almost six decades worth of City players, who makes Skip’s all-time squad? Wonder no more…
Take it away, Tony…
“I’ll start with Big Joe in net – a fantastic goalkeeper who was my No.1 throughout my managerial years. Brave, agile and just a fantastic keeper.
“My back four would be Pablo Zabaleta at right-back, Dave Watson and Vinnie Kompany in central defence and Glyn Pardoe at left-back.
“In the middle, I’d have Colin Bell, Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva – what a trio that would have been!
“Up front, I’d have Buzzer on the right, with Franny Lee and Sergio Aguero. Plenty of goals in there, I think, with Buzzer supplying the crosses.
“So, a top keeper, a back four with talent who were as tough as nails; a midfield with energy and creativity and a fearsome forward line of born winners.
“Definitely a team I’d want to watch!"
The life of riley
The world seen through the blue-tinted glasses of BBC 6 Music DJ Marc Riley
I don’t know about you but I can only feel at great sense of relief now that the first game of the season is done and dusted with all three points in the bag.
Becoming a team of great achievers brings with it a whole new can of worms us Blues haven’t been forced to open since the 1970s. The pressures and strains of expectancy. It seems to me that you ( I ) stress for the whole season about what we’re going to win and how convincingly we’re going to do it… and as soon as the season is over you ( I ) start stressing about what trophies we can retain and what we more can achieve in the oncoming season!
It’s a hamster-wheel of dread! Having said that - I’m very happy to be on it. So much so that I’m going to start storing food in my jowls and become nocturnal.
Our win was made all the more enjoyable by the sight of Kevin De Bruyne putting in another MOTM performance and reminding everyone why he was deemed to be the Premier League Player of the Season and PFA Player of the Year.
WELL DONE, KEVIN.
Forgive me now as I put matters on the pitch to one side to focus on what was another outstanding performance on Monday night. I am of course talking about the job done by our very own Micah Richards on Sky Sports.
Even before Monday night's efforts I have been proclaiming Micah to be the best pundit on TV at the moment. I’m not biased in these thoughts. Honest, I’m not. There are other ex-City players who tip up who do a good, but not remarkable job. But this fella is a breath of fresh air!!
Compared to his TV peers he brings another dimension to the airwaves - namely, humour. Delivered with a loud raucous laugh and a smile as wide and high as a double decker bus! Its infectious… and so great to see.
I love the way he won’t be side-tracked or intimidated by his fellow talking-heads. In particular I take much glee from the way he handles Roy Keane who, lets face it, often has the demeanour of a nightclub bouncer keeping a watchful eye on a leery pair of wide-boys over by the multi-coloured, under-lit disco dance-floor.
On one occasion Micah even cracked a smile from the stern features of the stoic midfield general! He deserves a medal for that alone!
Micah’s sense of mischief is also a welcome antidote to Gary Neville’s straight-laced punditry. Gary is patently capable of doing a more than decent job, but always looks to me like he’s lost a fiver and found a pound.
On Monday night though Micah took himself up the ladder from being just insightful, honest and hilarious pundit… he also became a spokesperson for the on-going fight against racism. When asked his thoughts on whether teams should continue to take a knee before matches he delivered a truly inspiring and moving monologue spoken from the heart of a man who himself has suffered at the hands of racism over the years. It was nothing short of heroic.
I even clapped him when he’d finished. Carry on the great work young Richards... we're very proud of you.