An insight into the precise reasoning behind Pep Guardiola’s decision to drop both Jack Grealish and Phil Foden for Manchester City’s meeting with Newcastle has been provided late on Monday.
Cancelo amongst the goals
Guardiola’s men of course marked their return to action yesterday afternoon.
After maintaining their advantage atop the Premier League table owing to a 7-0 drubbing of Leeds United in midweek, the Sky Blues made the trip to St. James’ Park, no doubt confident in their chances of making it two straightforward wins on the bounce.
And, when all was said and done, this is precisely what City managed.
A predictably dominant display ultimately culminated in the visitors emerging on the right side of a 4-0 scoreline on Tyneside.
Joao Cancelo proved the star of the show, adding to his early assist with the below-linked solo special, before further strikes from Riyad Mahrez and Raheem Sterling over the course of the 2nd-half added some gloss to the scoreline.
WHAT A GOAL!! 🤩
João Cancelo doubles #MCFC‘s lead with a sensational strike ☄️
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) December 19, 2021
Foden & Grealish latest
Two of those to have played no part in City’s eventual triumph on Saturday, however, came in the form of Phil Foden and Jack Grealish.
Altogether surprisingly, after being condemned to the bench from kick-off, neither even managed to make it off the bench.
Pep Guardiola, in turn, was drawn on the situation on 5 Live Sport earlier today, and went on to cite off-field ‘behaviour’ as behind the exclusion of both English internationals:
“I decided for this team because they deserved to play today, these guys and not the other ones.
“At Christmas time I pay a lot of attention to behaviour on and off the pitch. And when off the pitch is not proper they are not going to play.
“So we have to be focused all the time because of distractions at Christmas time and everything that happens – you have to still be focused.”
Guardiola’s explanation in itself, however, did not unveil the details of exactly what kind of infringement Grealish and Foden had been responsible for.
But, as alluded to above, late on Monday night, an insight into precisely that has been provided.
As per the reliable James Ducker of The Telegraph, Foden and Grealish attended a nightclub together last Tuesday night, in the aftermath of City’s drubbing of Leeds.
Guardiola, in turn, is understood to have been left altogether unimpressed upon the news being relayed to him, with the condition of both players for the club’s recovery training session on Wednesday deemed as unacceptable.
As a result, the midfielders were punished by means of being left out against Newcastle, on the back of a stern warning regarding similar behaviour moving forward.
— Telegraph Football (@TeleFootball) December 20, 2021
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Premier League table
|5||West Ham United||17||7||28|
|13||Brighton & Hove Albion||16||-3||20|
|Salah, Mohamed||Liverpool FC||15|
|Jota, Diogo||Liverpool FC||10|
|Vardy, Jamie||Leicester City||9|
|Dennis, Emmanuel||Watford FC||7|
|Mount, Mason||Chelsea FC||7|
|Ronaldo, Cristiano||Manchester United||7|
|Son, Heung Min||Tottenham Hotspur||7|
|Smith-Rowe, Emile||Arsenal FC||7|
|Mane, Sadio||Liverpool FC||7|
|Silva, Bernardo||Manchester City||7|
|Antonio, Michail||West Ham United||6|
|Gallagher, Conor||Crystal Palace||6|
|Wilson, Callum||Newcastle United||6|
|Maupay, Neal||Brighton & Hove Albion||6|
|Fernandes, Bruno||Manchester United||5|
|King, Joshua||Watford FC||5|
|Gray, Demarai||Everton FC||5|
|Zaha, Wilfried||Crystal Palace||5|
|Sterling, Raheem||Manchester City||5|
|Player||Team||Red Cards||Yellow Cards|
|Dennis, Emmanuel||Watford FC||0||6|
|Neves, Ruben||Wolverhampton Wanderers||0||6|
|Laporte, Aymeric||Manchester City||1||5|
|Salisu, Mohammed||Southampton FC||0||6|
|James, Reece||Chelsea FC||1||4|
|Pogba, Paul||Manchester United||1||4|
|Robertson, Andy||Liverpool FC||1||4|
|Cancelo, Joao||Manchester City||0||5|
|Canos, Sergi||Brentford FC||0||5|
|Ritchie, Matt||Newcastle United||0||5|
|Westwood, Ashley||Burnley FC||0||5|
|Tarkowski, James||Burnley FC||0||5|
|Duffy, Shane||Brighton & Hove Albion||0||5|
|Lascelles, Jamaal||Newcastle United||0||5|
|Hayden, Isaac||Newcastle United||0||5|
|Bissouma, Yves||Brighton & Hove Albion||0||5|
|Firpo, Junior||Leeds United||0||5|
|Ward, Joel||Crystal Palace||0||5|
|Romeu, Oriol||Southampton FC||0||5|
|Salah, Mohamed||Liverpool FC||8|
|Alexander-Arnold, Trent||Liverpool FC||8|
|Jesus, Gabriel||Manchester City||7|
|Pogba, Paul||Manchester United||7|
|Dennis, Emmanuel||Watford FC||5|
|James, Reece||Chelsea FC||5|
|Kovacic, Mateo||Chelsea FC||5|
|Robertson, Andy||Liverpool FC||5|
|Mount, Mason||Chelsea FC||4|
|Bowen, Jarrod||West Ham United||4|
|Saka, Bukayo||Arsenal FC||4|
|Doucoure, Abdoulaye||Everton FC||4|
|Cancelo, Joao||Manchester City||4|
|Redmond, Nathan||Southampton FC||4|
|Antonio, Michail||West Ham United||3|
|Gallagher, Conor||Crystal Palace||3|
|Fernandes, Bruno||Manchester United||3|
|Mahrez, Riyad||Manchester City||3|
|Maddison, James||Leicester City||3|
|Foden, Phil||Manchester City||3|