WORLD CUP: Balanced Brazil reduces dependence on Neymar

first_imgNeymar, who missed the humiliating match against Germany because of injury, has had to recover from a broken foot that kept him out for three months before the trip to Russia.But there isn’t such a reliance now on the world’s most expensive player. In six games without Neymar, Brazil still won four times, including a friendly against Germany in Berlin in March.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSAfter winning title, time for LA Tenorio to give back to Batangas folkSPORTSTim Cone, Ginebra set their sights on elusive All-Filipino crown“He will be missed by any team,” Brazil defender Thiago Silva said, “but not having him sometimes helps us consolidate the style we want.”Indeed, the Brazilians head into the World Cup looking more balanced and with a range of top players available in every position. They were so dominant in South American qualifying that they would still have secured first place without the points secured in six games under Dunga before the coach was fired. A former pupil of defense-minded Luiz Felipe Scolari — the 2002 World Cup-winning coach who also presided over the Germany match — Tite has grown into a fan of Carlo Ancelotti and his well-balanced teams. The two have exchanged ideas since 2014.Detractors say Tite’s teams are low scoring and that he charms players and journalists into sparing him from criticism. But his title streak at Corinthians from 2011-15 underscores his credentials for the national team job.GOALKEEPERSAlisson Becker wasn’t a household name in Brazil when he started wearing the No. 1 jersey two years ago. Now a starter for Roma, the 25-year-old Becker’s admirers include Italy great Gianluigi Buffon.Alisson’s skills with both hands and feet made Tite relegate Manchester City goalkeeper Ederson to the bench. He is now being linked with a move to a leading club, including Real Madrid, Liverpool and Chelsea.The third option is Tite’s most trusted player in the position, Corinthians goalkeeper Cassio.DEFENDERSIn 12 South American World Cup qualifiers under Tite, Brazil conceded only three goals.The coach would have preferred to play with a solid back four featuring Paris Saint-Germain duo Dani Alves and Marquinhos, Inter Milan’s Miranda and Real Madrid’s Marcelo. But Alves will miss the World Cup because of injury and will be replaced by Manchester City defender Danilo.At the pre-World Cup training camp, Tite decided to move PSG central defender Thiago Silva to Marquinhos’ place. Brazil should be even more dangerous in Russia if Neymar, who sustained the injury playing for Paris Saint-Germain in February, is fully fit.“Skill wise, he is already the best player in the world,” Brazil great Pele said. “This is his time to shine.”Here’s a closer look at the Brazil team:COACHIn less than two years on the job, Adenor Leonardo Bachi — better known as Tite — has turned Brazil from a flop into a title favorite.ADVERTISEMENT Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. LATEST STORIES Brazil’s Gabriel Jesus, right, heads the ball, as teammates Marcelo, center, Neymar, right, and Casemiro look on, during a training session in Sochi, Russia, Tuesday, June 12, 2018. Brazil will face Switzerland on June 17 in the group E for the soccer World Cup. (AP Photo/Andre Penner)SAO PAULO  — Brazil is still shaking off the embarrassment of losing to Germany 7-1 in its home World Cup.Since Tite took over as coach in 2016, the five-time world champions have become a winning machine again and were the first to qualify for Russia.ADVERTISEMENT View comments At least a split for TNT Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award Brazil will have its base in Sochi despite playing no games near the Black Sea resort. The team will face Switzerland on Sunday in its Group E opener in Rostov-on-Don and then play Costa Rica on June 22 in St. Petersburg and Serbia on June 27 in Moscow.SQUADGoalkeepers: Alisson (Roma), Ederson (Manchester City), Cassio (Corinthians)Defenders: Danilo (Manchester City), Fagner (Corinthians), Thiago Silva (Paris Saint-Germain), Marquinhos (Paris Saint-Germain), Miranda (Inter Milan), Pedro Geromel (Gremio), Marcelo (Real Madrid), Filipe Luis (Atletico Madrid)Midfielders: Casemiro (Real Madrid), Paulinho (Barcelona), Philippe Coutinho (Barcelona), Renato Augusto (Beijing Guoan), Fred (Manchester United), Fernandinho (Manchester City)Forwards: Neymar (Paris Saint-Germain), Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City), Willian (Chelsea), Roberto Firmino (Liverpool), Douglas Costa (Juventus), Taison (Shakhtar Donetsk)Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next MOST READ Dave Chappelle donates P1 million to Taal relief operations Jury of 7 men, 5 women selected for Weinstein rape trial Winfrey details her decision to withdraw from Simmons film Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew China population now over 1.4 billion as birthrate falls Volcano watch: Island fissures steaming, lake water receding In fight vs corruption, Duterte now points to Ayala, MVP companies as ‘big fish’ DepEd’s Taal challenge: 30K students displaced The three other reserves, right back Fagner, defender Pedro Geromel and left back Filipe Luis, are clearly lagging behind the starters.MIDFIELDERSPhilippe Coutinho could replace Renato Augusto, who plays at Chinese club Beijing Guoan and is returning from injury, as the playmaker.If that happens, Coutinho’s position on the left could be filled by Chelsea midfielder Willian. Fred is also in contention to start if he recovers from an ankle injury.A more defensive variation would see Fernandinho, who plays with Premier League champion Manchester City, take Augusto’s place. While Real Madrid midfielder Casemiro offers protection to the defense, Barcelona rival Paulinho is a box-to-box player who also provides goals.FORWARDSIf Neymar isn’t fit for the World Cup, Tite may have to resort to using Willian or Douglas Costa, who is also returning from injury, in his place.While Gabriel Jesus was Brazil’s top scorer in qualifying, the Man City player faces competition from Liverpool striker Roberto Firmino.Tite lacks an old-fashioned center forward, so he chose a speedier player, Shahktar Donetsk’s Taison, for the bench.GROUP GAMES Steam emission over Taal’s main crater ‘steady’ for past 24 hourslast_img read more

Our Recovery from Ebola: The Artist’s Role (3)

first_imgEbola means disconnection and isolation. How we miss embracing our friends and distant loved ones in this time of, “Don’t touch. Stay away from gatherings”. Can we only communicate via phone? No!Our artists can remind us of the comfort of Unity when isolation fills us with loneliness. Liberian musicians have written Songs and more Songs about the dangers of Ebola. We needed that. Now we need to hear Songs of how we are defeating Ebola; of how we are empowered with our new knowledge about Ebola; our victories over Ebola and how we will continue fighting until it is no longer a threat. As we listen to this Unifying Music, we will connect with it, join in the Song and even Dance to the Rhythm. It’s the Unity of spirit Music brings and feelings of loneliness and isolation are chased from our hearts. While this new Music is recorded, let our visual Artists make us fall in love with ourselves again. We need to connect with the beauty and strength of our land and Culture as many of our foreign concessionaires and foreign business people do. They are not moanin’ and groanin’ like us. They are movin’ and groovin’ – doing more business and making more money than ever.Our visual Artists must create for us and present to us our own Art. It must be made available to us and it must be affordable. Then every Liberian will be able to own some Liberian Art work. We are blessed that some Liberians already know that the world market for African Art is soaring upwards as we speak. And some wise Liberians are even ahead of the foreign investors procuring these precious works of Art.Artists! Let’s spark this recovery! Let’s have a “Recovery Exhibition!”  No need for plenty people to gather at once. People come at their own time and do their part to spark this recovery. The “Recovery Exhibition” where everyone can own a beautiful piece of themselves.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

B&E lands man in court

first_imgEric Abrico, of Lot 145 Nonpareil, East Coast Demerara, was slapped with an attempted felony and appeared at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts on Friday.The 35-year-old man appeared before Magistrate Faith McGusty and denied the charge which stated that on November 16, 2019, at Ruimveldt, Greater Georgetown, he broke and entered the dwelling home of Maryann Moore. The prosecution is contending that at about 20:55h, the Virtual Complainant was in bed when she saw someone’s hand in her house. She sprang up and confronted the man who then jumped onto the veranda and made good his escape. The Police Prosecutor objected to bail on the grounds of the prevalence of the offence and penalty it attracts. It was highlighted that the defendant was previously convicted.The Magistrate, nevertheless, released him on $50,000 bail and the case will continue on December 18.last_img

Town Clerk’s opinion makes no sense – Chase Green

first_imgParking meter fiascoFollowing the decision to have the controversial Parking Meter Contract renegotiated with Smart City Solutions (SCS), Mayor Patricia Chase Green said Town Clerk Royston King’s statement that the negotiating committee oversteppedMayor Patricia Chase Greenits mandate remains just his opinion and does not influence the work of the Council or its decision.At Thursday’s extraordinary Council Meeting, the report of the negotiating committee was debated and a vote was taken. Thirteen members of the Council voted for a renegotiated contract with SCS, while five voted to scrap it and seven voted to wait until the completion of court proceedings.M&CC had entered into a contract with Smart City Solutions Inc on May 13, 2016, for parking meters to be implemented in Georgetown. The Parking Meter Committee was established on April 26, 2017, one month after Minister Bulkan suspended the paid parking initiative. Its members consist of Malcolm Ferreira (Chairman), Roopnarine Persaud, Noelle Chow-Chee (VC), Ivelaw Henry, Trichria Richards, Carlyle Goring, and Heston Bostwick.The Committee’s Terms of Reference (ToR) was drafted and voted upon by theTown Clerk Royston Kingmajority of members of the M&CC. The ToR provides the Committee with the authority to “engage with all stakeholders within the parameters of the framework agreed upon by the Council, Cabinet and Smart City Solutions (SCSI) to seek to determine what terms of the Agreement can and should be negotiated to bring the contract in harmony with the desires of the Council, Central Government, SCSI and the citizenry.The life of the Parking Meter Re-negotiation Committee ended when it submitted its final report and finding to the Mayor of Georgetown on August 2, 2017, and later circulated to all Councilors.It was the end of the debate when King said that the negotiating team, headed by Councilor Malcolm Ferreira, overstepped its mandate during its consultation period. This statement riled Ferreira up who fought in vain to defend his work.“That was the Town Clerk’s view and I would have said the Council adopted the report in its entirety and if the Council adopted the report as it was presented. Going back to whatever the Town Clerk thought makes no sense,” she said.“We accepted the report as it was presented and the Town Clerk’s role in this is to ensure that the records are taken and decisions are being recorded, advice given when necessary so if the Council adopted the report in its entirety that is the way the Council would have addressed the report,” she added.On the contrary, Chase Green said she felt that the Committee would have fulfilled its mandate and congratulated them on the work completed.At Thursday’s meeting, Councillor Gregory Fraser of A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) colluded with Alliance For Change Councillor Sherod Duncan and Deputy Mayor Lionel Jaikarran, along with the People’s Progressive Party’s Councillors Khame Sharma and Bisham Kuppen to scrap the contract.Councillors Heston Bostwick, Carolyn Caesar, Noelle Chow-Chee, Oscar Clarke, Welton Clarke, Yvonne Fergusson, Junior Garrett, Winston Harding, Ivelaw Henry, Tricia Richards, James Daniels, Monica Thomas and Patricia Chase Green all voted to have the contract renegotiated; while Councillors Malcolm Ferreira, Carlyle Goring, Andrea Marks, Alfred Mentore, Akeem Peter, Phillip Smith and Sophia Whyte voted to await the outcome of the pending legal proceedings.The Council at its next Statutory Meeting on Monday will deal with the way forward. A letter has to be written to the Communities Minister asking for extension of more time of the suspension of the parking meters. However, the new negotiating team is mandated to have at least two members of the public. (Lakhram Bhagirat)last_img read more

Another miner killed after pit collapses

first_img…Minister orders immediate enforcement operation to address mining issuesAnother miner died in Guyana’s interior after the mining pit in which he was working collapsed at Issano Backdam, Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni).Dead is Lennox Douglas, 33, of Canvas City Wismar, Linden, Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice).Speaking with Guyana Times on Tuesday, the miner’s younger brother, Jermaine Douglas, said his brother recently started working at the location and was self-employed.He said the family received sketchy information about what transpired from the Police. According to the young man, the Police said they are questioning other persons who were also working at the location when the tragedy occurred.Jermaine said he was told that while working, “very hard mud” fell on his brother, which pinned him to the ground. The younger Douglas further related that hisDead: Lennox Douglasbrother was later taken for medical attention but was pronounced dead on arrival. “At this time, we don’t have much information. We are still waiting on the young men to come out of the lockups to say what really transpired,” he told Guyana Times. He added that his brother has three children.Meanwhile, on Tuesday, the Natural Resources Ministry said it has taken note of this most recent mining tragedy. It added that Minister Raphael Trotman has ordered an immediate enforcement operation to be conducted jointly by the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission and the Ministry’s Compliance Division’s Corp of Wardens, to address problems of this nature in the mining areas where there has been an increase in legal and illegal mining activities and accidents. The agencies are expected to provide a report upon completion of the operation, the Ministry added.In September, two miners lost their lives after they were covered by mud when a pit in which they were working caved in at the Mowasi Backdam, Konawaruk, Potaro, Region Eight (Potaro-Siparuni).Dead are Deon Sproston, called “Jersey Joe”, 36, of Lot 133 Mon Repos, East Coast Demerara (ECD), and a miner only known as “Shawn”. The incident occurred at about 20:00h on September 17.This publication understands the two men and other persons were working the walls of the pit with metal detectors searching for gold while it was raining heavily.While working, a large portion of the pit wall suddenly broke off and fell on both men, covering them alive.In January, 23-year-old Handel Payne, also called “Daggie”, of Kaneville Housing Scheme, East Bank Demerara (EBD) died after the mining pit in which he wasA mining pit in Guyana’s interiorworking at 35 Miles, Konawaruk Backdam collapsed.Information reaching Guyana Times revealed that Payne and others were working in the mining pit when a piece of the mud wall collapsed behind them, striking Payne in the mid-section. He reportedly fell unconscious by which time the water began to rise rapidly. He was submerged and subsequently drowned. He was later pulled out and rushed to the Mahdia Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.In April, a miner named Kevin Adams, 25, of Linden, Region 10 died at Chinese Creek Backdam, Mazaruni River, after a pit caved in and buried him alive.One month later, in May, Ken Ranny, 20, a resident of Kamarang, Upper Mazaruni River, died after he was covered by mud after the wall of a mining pit in which he was working collapsed at Pepper Camp Backdam, Upper Mazaruni River.Again, one month later, in June, miner Elmo Adams died after he too was covered alive after the walls of a pit in which he was working caved at Imbaimadai, Upper Mazaruni.Back in 2015, 10 persons died in a mining pit in the Konawaruk area after it collapsed. The incident saw 17 miners being buried under a pile of dirt and rubble but seven managed to escape alive with varying injuries.The others remained trapped under the dirt where they perished. The 10 miners were Leyland Jones, Jason Trotman, Vick Bernard, Frank Bernard, Desmond Martins, Raymond August, Brian Bank, Trevon Phillips, Nanmore Kurt and another man identified only as “Michael”.The deaths were blamed on heavy rains in the area, improper mining design and poor safety practices at the mining camp.last_img read more

Guyana could face serious consequences for having illegal Govt – Ramkarran

first_img…says coalition stands to lose int’l credibility and supportThe main consequences of remaining unlawfully in office after March 19, by which time elections are due, is that the coalition Government will lose international credibility and support, much as the then Government did in 2015 after it prorogued the National Assembly.This is according to former Speaker of the National Assembly and commentator Ralph Ramkarran, who detailed certain consequences that the country could face if Government and the Opposition did not meet and agree on a plan to address this long and ongoing situation.“Governments with resident diplomatic missions in Guyana, particularly those of Western countries, which have been taking strong positions against the usurpation of power elsewhere, will exert diplomatic pressure on the Government,” Ramkarran predicted based on the acting Chief Justice’s ruling.He said while Governments may want to remain in communication because the Government would hold de facto power, official bilateral activity may cease. The former House Speaker said too that visas might be withdrawn. “Overseas assets could be frozen. Economic or other sanctions may be imposed. If measures are imposed, they could be implemented selectively and one at a time, or altogether,” he added.Ramkarran, a former top-ranking member of the Opposition People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) also believes that the attitude of the Caribbean Community (Caricom) will also be under a high degree of scrutiny. He said that public opinion in the Region is already taking shape against the Government.As an initial step, Caricom may well decide that from March 22 when the Government becomes illegal, it will not be invited to any meetings of Caricom or of its bodies and agencies, or Heads of Government meetings. He said it might feel that an illegal Government could not represent the people of Guyana.Former Speaker of the National Assembly Ralph Ramkarran“It is difficult to speculate what the Government can be called on to do in the face of its illegal existence after the due date for elections. It cannot lawfully exist so that anything that it might do will be illegal. It cannot convene the National Assembly,” Ramkarran wrote in his weekly column Conversation Tree.He believes that even if it did, anything that the National Assembly may enact would be unlawful. “When its existence becomes unlawful, then the only lawful way forward, as indicated by Mr Christopher Ram, is for the Chancellor of the Judiciary to take office as President. But what can the Chancellor do in the absence of a lawfully existing National Assembly? We would be in unknown constitutional territory.”CompromiseTherefore, Ramkarran said the best strategy was for both Guyanese leaders to settle their own problems. He is suggesting that President David Granger and Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo meet and agree to a compromise date for elections. “As a first step, the life of the Government can be extended to March 31 or thereabouts, by which time the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) would be expected to rule.”If the Chief Justice’s decision was upheld, then Ramkarran believes that an election date should be fixed for July. But if the Government succeeds, it carries on to the end of its term.Another suggestion is if the Government could not be persuaded to act reasonably, as indicated above, the former House Speaker and Attorney is recommending that the Carter Center should intervene to mediate a solution with support from the US State Department.“President Carter, whose credibility is respected across the political spectrum, may well be able to persuade the parties along the lines outlined above, or some alternative course which prevents a crisis from developing,” he declared.According to Ramkarran, President Carter may also use the opportunity to persuade the parties to commit to constitutional reform to provide a framework for political parties to share executive responsibility in the governance of Guyana.He recalled that the US President having led the way to the restoration of democracy in Guyana in 1992 always believed that this was the only long-term solution to the ethnic politics that perpetuated Guyana’s instability. He also noted that both parties have already supported such a process in one form or another.Only last week, the Bar Council of the Guyana Bar Association said it welcomed the recent ruling of acting Chief Justice Roxane George on the legal challenge arising out of the December 21, 2018 no-confidence resolution and called for the announcement of the date for constitutionally mandated General and Regional Elections.Chief Justice George, on January 31, issued rulings in three cases arising out of the no-confidence resolution that toppled the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) Government. On Monday, the released written judgments prompted the statement from the Bar Association.The CJ ruled that the President and the Ministers could not remain in Government beyond the three months within which elections are required to be held in accordance with Article 106 (7), unless that time is enlarged by the National Assembly in accordance with the requirements of the said Article 106(7) of the Constitution.last_img read more

Fort St. John to host Motocross races Sunday

first_imgThe Fort St. John Motocross Association will host a Peace Motocross event this Sunday.The racing starts at 9 a.m. with riders from across the Peace region. The cost is only $5 per person to attend and there will be a concession on site.It all happens at the Fort St. John Motocross Track behind MPO off the Alaska Highway. – Advertisement –last_img

Poyet reveals Sunderland players are ‘angry’ after errors

first_imgSunderland boss Gus Poyet revealed his players are angry after yet more defensive howlers cost them in a 2-0 defeat to Arsenal. The Black Cats put in a horror display last weekend, losing 8-0 at Southampton and committing numerus errors, and they were at it again when hosting the Gunners.Wes Brown’s woeful backpass was picked off by Alexis Sanchez, and in injury-time goalkeeper Vito Mannone’s poor touch allowed the Chilean to grab his second of the day.Asked about how his squad is feeling, Poyet said: “It’s a little bit of anger, really, because when you know the team, the group was there and responded and they tried, they really fought hard for the result, and then two actions…“Normally it takes you I don’t know how many games to commit one of those mistakes, and we made two in the same game – and after last weekend – which is something that has put us in the position we are in, really.“It’s clear that we are all getting paid to win games and we have won only one in the league, so it is time to go and win.“It doesn’t matter who we play against – you could see today. Yes, Arsenal were better than us, yes, they had the ball more, but you take the two mistakes away and [it’s different].“Now it’s more about character than anything else, to be brave enough to go on to the pitch and believe you can win the game.”last_img read more

Commandos’ Atola wants to mirror Olunga

first_imgOlunga who currently plies his trade in the Chinese top tier made his name at the School Games, starring for Upper Hill School before he made his big moves in the Kenyan Premier League to Thika United, Tusker FC and Gor Mahia.“I look at him and how much he has succeeded and that is the same path I want to follow. He was in the school games and excelled just like me and hopefully, I can follow in his footsteps. He is my role model,” the Form Three student noted.He is also encouraged by the other big names who excelled from their performances in the school games including Harambee Stars skipper Victor Wanyama, his elder brother MacDonald Mariga, Dennis Oliech among others.“Football is what I want to do as a career and everyday I work hard at it. I know that I can be successful as long as I keep the discipline and work hard,” added the tactician.Atola also plays for the Green Commandos team that features in the National Super League and has banged in seven goals so far. His coach Brendan Mwinamo is also pleased with how the forward has performed so far and has tipped him for success.“He is a very brilliant striker and he has shown it on the pitch. He is scoring in the NSL which is a tough league and even here in the school games, he has shown his worth,” Mwinamo said.Kakamega High School players celebrate after winning the National Secondary School games football title. PHOTO/Timothy OlobuluThe striker now hopes he can translate that same form when the team travels for the East Africa School Games in Musanze Rwanda where he wants to help the side clinch the regional title.“It was great for us winning the title at home and now we want to go and get the East African gong as well. We have a good team, we have the belief and with hard work, nothing is impossible,” added the striker.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Kakamega High School striker Henry Atola is congratulated by Education Principal Secretary Bellio Kipsang after guiding the team to the Schools’ title. PHOTO/Timothy OlobuluNAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 1- Henry Atola’s image will linger in the memories of Kakamega High School fans for a while with his injury time winner having gifted them their 14th National Secondary School Games football title in Eldoret last weekend with a 1-0 win over Central’s Olbolosat.Atola, a tall, shy but a menacing striker was at the heart of Kakamega’s campaign at the School Games in Eldoret and his success from the week-long tournament has pushed him to believe he can actually do better, his hero of choice being Harambee Stars forward Michael Olunga.last_img read more

Five things that have gone wrong for Man City

first_imgHowever, a 2-0 reverse at Chelsea has sparked a run of three defeats in 18 days as Crystal Palace and Leicester both came from behind to hand Liverpool a huge advantage in the title race ahead of their trip to face City on January 3.Here, AFP Sports looks at what has caused City’s sudden collapse:Fernandinho irreplaceableTough-tackling midifielder Fernandinho (right) has proved a big miss for Manchester City in the past two games © AFP / Ben STANSALLCity coped admirably in Kevin De Bruyne’s absence for most of the campaign through injury thanks to an array of creative midfielders, but have badly missed Fernandinho’s ability to play the more destructive role in midfield in the last two games.The 33-year-old Brazilian had started every league game until Palace’s visit on Saturday and is the one player in City’s squad without a natural replacement.Centre-back John Stones deputised at the weekend, while the more attack-minded Ilkay Gundogan was deployed at the base of the midfield in Leicester.“We have to try and find solutions. Ferna was not able to play because he’s injured. We have to overcome this problem,” said coach Pep Guardiola, who tried to sign Chelsea midfielder Jorginho from Napoli in the summer as cover for Fernandinho.“You have to think about how to solve it when you don’t have players in a position.”Four competitions take their tollEven for a squad as deep as City’s, English football’s unique combination of a packed festive period and an extra cup competition can stretch resources.Just eight days ago a strong City side beat a much-changed Leicester to reach the League Cup semi-finals and stay alive in four competitions.Leicester boss Claude Puel claimed victory on Wednesday was vindication for his criticised team selection in the cup tie with the Foxes fresh to spring surprises over both Chelsea and City in the past five days.As well as De Bruyne, Sergio Aguero didn’t start against Chelsea or Palace due to injury, while David Silva has also been sidelined by injury in recent weeks.Missing MendyLeft-back has also been a problem position, even as City enjoyed great success last season, due to Benjamin Mendy’s knee troubles.The Frenchman’s return to fitness and form in the early weeks of the season promised to give City an extra dimension to their attacking play, but he has been sidelined again since early November.Fabian Delph, a central midfielder by trade, has filled in at left-back, but is now facing a three-match ban, including the Liverpool game, after being sent off late on at Leicester.Defending the Premier League difficultGuardiola won three consecutive league titles at both Barcelona and Bayern Munich, but retaining the title in England has proved impossible for any team in the past decade.A Manchester United side containing Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney were the last to do it in 2008/09.City’s record haul of 100 points last season led many to believe they would buck that trend, but it is proving tougher than expected.“Last season, everyone said it was so easy, but I know how difficult it was,” insisted Guardiola.“Last season we were so consistent and made a lot of points. They (Liverpool and Spurs) are both so consistent.”Can City chase?The question remains whether a Guardiola side is capable of chasing down a title rival to win the league in the manner Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United made routine in the 1990s.In most of Guardiola’s seven title triumphs, his Barca, Bayern and City sides have been well in front by this stage of the season.Now they have to play catch-up and their lack of reaction to going behind to Chelsea, Palace and Leicester leaves City’s mentality open to question.“We have to find an explanation,” said Bernardo Silva. “It’s mathematically possible, but we have to be almost perfect from now.”0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000In a funk: Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City have lost three of their last four Premier League games © AFP / Lindsey PARNABYLONDON, United Kingdom, Dec 27 – English champions Manchester City slumped to a third shock defeat in four Premier League games at Leicester on Boxing Day to slip to third in the table and seven points adrift of unbeaten leaders Liverpool.Just a few weeks ago City seemed unstoppable as they started their title defence with a 15-game unbeaten run.last_img read more