About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Man Utd defender Marcos Rojo: I do have white line feverby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveManchester United defender Marcos Rojo says he enjoys the physical style of the Premier League.Rojo has become popular among supports for his robust style of defending.He told manutd.com: “That’s the way I play my football. That is me on the field. If you see me off the field, I’m the most laid back guy – laughing, joking all day and having fun but, as soon as I cross that white line and go on to the field, I don’t know what happens! “I’m a different person. Something happens inside me and I change. If the ball is there to be won, I go for it and give it everything I’ve got. Individual battles, individual duels, I am always up for them.”
About the authorFreddie TaylorShare the loveHave your say Emery admits top-four finish ‘difficult’ for Arsenalby Freddie Taylor9 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveUnai Emery admits consistency is jeopardising Arsenal’s top-four chances. The Gunners’ loss to West Ham United on Sunday saw them drop three points behind fourth-placed Chelsea.And Emery thinks it will be difficult for his team to qualify for the Champions League if they continue to drop points.”Now it’s more difficult, it’s clear,” he told reporters. “I think the most important thing for us is to recover our confidence and be more competitive. We need consistency over 38 matches.”Now it isn’t enough at the moment. It’s a bad result. If we can win we are playing against Chelsea [on Saturday] with a three-point maximum distance.”The big opportunity for us is that we can take in our hands the possibility to be closer to them. This result makes that more difficult.”
Ralph Hasenhuttl’s resuscitation of Southampton gathered momentum as they climbed three points clear of the Premier League drop zone with a 3-1 win at Huddersfield Town.The Saints led from the 15th minute through Nathan Redmond and navigated a nervy spell in the second half to deservedly prevail in a match with clear relegation implications.Danny Ings, twice on target in last weekend’s 3-2 victory over Arsenal, converted his side’s second from the spot before half-time and it proved a decisive buffer. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Philip Billing’s bamboozling of Alex McCarthy briefly offered the Terriers a lifeline in the 58th minute but, as is often the case, they failed to build on a positive period and were consigned to a fifth straight Premier League loss when teenager Michael Obafemi buried his first professional goal.The confidence Southampton gained from overcoming Arsenal was evident in Redmond’s emphatic finish for the opener, the winger punishing Terence Kongolo’s ungainly attempt at cutting out Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s pass.28 – Nathan Redmond has scored his first Premier League goal of the season with his 28th shot. Persistence. #HUDSOU pic.twitter.com/no0V8teC4V — OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 22, 2018 Huddersfield were struggling to exert any kind of attacking threat and another defensive blunder cost them three minutes before the break.Mathias Jorgensen miscontrolled Ings’ wayward pass and compounded his error by tripping the Saints striker, who coolly sent Jonas Lossl the wrong way from the spot.McCarthy made an instinctive save from Jorgensen’s close-range header soon after the interval but the goalkeeper was far less impressive in allowing Billing’s swerving shot to beat him.That instigated a period of Huddersfield pressure that was relieved through a third mistake at the back.Christopher Schindler was all too easily robbed of possession, Redmond selflessly squared and substitute Obafemi was on hand to tuck away a landmark goal, leaving the hapless hosts four points from safety.That first #PL goal feeling #HUDSOU pic.twitter.com/J3yVYJGXLc— Premier League (@premierleague) December 22, 2018What does it mean? Terriers in serious troubleSouthampton scoring three times for the second straight match made Huddersfield’s attacking woes all the more regrettable.Still, that concern will fade to minor irritation for manager David Wagner in comparison to the headaches served up by his defence, who could have prevented each goal.Hojbjerg at the heart of Saints’ successSouthampton were blessed with several impressive performers and chief among them was Hojbjerg.Wearing the captain’s armband, the former Bayern Munich man was a real leader in midfield as he got through a power of defensive work while registering an assist for Redmond’s opener.Jorgensen sets poor standardA defender of Jorgensen’s experience should have known better than to have been sucked into the challenge that allowed Ings to double the margin in the first half.The mistake plunged Huddersfield into a hole they were unable to escape from, and losing more than half of his duels did little to help.Key Opta Facts- Southampton have registered back-to-back Premier League wins for the first time since April 2017, when they were managed by Claude Puel.- Huddersfield have lost nine of their last 12 home Premier League games (W1 D2), netting just four goals in that time.- Hasenhuttl has won two of his three Premier League matches in charge of Southampton (L1) – only one fewer than Mark Hughes managed in 22 attempts as Saints boss.- Since the start of last season, Huddersfield have had more different players booked for diving than any other Premier League team (4 – Rajiv van La Parra, Alex Pritchard, Laurent Depoitre and Chris Lowe).What’s next? Huddersfield must contend with a daunting trip to Old Trafford on Boxing Day, while Southampton will eye a result at home to West Ham the following day. read more
Watford ended West Ham’s winning streak with a 2-0 victory at London Stadium which saw Javi Gracia’s side climb to sixth in the Premier League.The hosts went into Saturday’s contest on the back of four wins on the bounce, but saw their momentum halted by Troy Deeney’s emphatic first-half penalty and a late Gerard Deulofeu goal.Manuel Pellegrini’s men were left to rue a number of near-misses as their search for a goal proved fruitless, Michail Antonio coming closest as he twice hit the woodwork in the second half. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? It represents the Hammers’ first loss since a 4-0 drubbing at the hands of Manchester City last month, leaving them 12th in the table.| The skipper opens the scoring #watfordfc #WHUWAT [0-1]Listen live ⤵️https://t.co/mxkU36Cmjo pic.twitter.com/O4xpJMiObF— Watford Football Club (@WatfordFC) December 22, 2018West Ham threatened first and Christian Kabasele made a vital sliding interception to prevent Antonio’s dangerous delivery from reaching Javier Hernandez, while Fabian Balbuena was pressed into defensive action at the other end to thwart Deulofeu.The Hornets wasted a glorious chance to break the deadlock in the 24th minute as Jose Holebas miscontrolled when he had the freedom of the penalty area after West Ham’s plan to play him offside backfired. It did not take long for the visitors to shrug off that disappointment, Balbuena’s clumsy challenge on Roberto Pereyra allowing Deeney to open the scoring with a powerful finish from the spot.West Ham twice came close to an equaliser either side of the break, Ben Foster making a smart stop to keep out Hernandez’s volley and then Antonio’s header hitting the post. Andy Carroll’s introduction in the place of Mark Noble underlined West Ham’s attacking intent and the hosts continued to press, Hernandez fluffing his lines to shoot tamely at Foster from just eight yards out. It took a fine save from Lukasz Fabianski to push Abdoulaye Doucoure’s stinging drive over the crossbar in the 71st minute as Watford sought to put the game to bed. Doucoure then made a timely intervention to deny the lively Hernandez just as the Mexican was lining up the target. There were chances for both sides late on with Deeney shooting straight at Fabianski and Foster saving from Antonio before watching his follow-up effort hit the bar, but Deulofeu had the final say with a cool finish to settle matters after being played in by Pereyra. What does it mean? Hornets flying highWith back-to-back wins under their belt, Watford now sit in the top six heading into a busy run of fixtures that will shape their season. West Ham arguably deserved at least a point and must quickly pick themselves up from a first defeat of the month.Fostering defensive confidenceIn a game of fine margins, the calm presence of Foster was key in Watford’s triumph, the Englishman making seven saves in a display that frustrated West Ham.Balbuena pays the penaltyIt was a day to forget for Balbuena, who went off after injuring himself in conceding the penalty that ultimately cost West Ham the game. His passing accuracy of 54.4 per cent spoke volumesKey Opta Facts- Watford have won five of their last eight Premier League games against West Ham (D1 L2), winning three away from home in this run (1-0 in February 2007, 4-2 in September 2016 and 2-0 in December 2018).- West Ham have failed to keep a clean sheet in 10 of their last 11 Premier League home games.- Deeney has scored in three of his last four league appearances against West Ham, with two of those goals coming at London Stadium.- Deulofeu scored in consecutive Premier League appearances for the first time in his career.- Watford ended a run of seven consecutive Premier League games in which they failed to keep a clean sheet. What’s next? Pellegrini takes his side to a resurgent Southampton on Thursday, while Watford host Chelsea on Boxing Day. read more
A dreadful 0-0 Premier League draw between Newcastle United and Fulham gave Claudio Ranieri’s bottom-of-the-table side their first clean sheet of the season.Saturday’s match at St James’ Park saw neither side create a clear goalscoring opportunity, with the defensive improvement for Fulham one positive to emerge, after they failed to shut out an opponent over the first 17 games of the campaign.Newcastle continue to struggle at home and in general in front of goal, but do at least extend their advantage over the bottom three to five points after Burnley’s defeat at Arsenal. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Against his former club, Aleksandar Mitrovic had an early shot saved by Martin Dubravka, before a Jamaal Lascelles header bounced off the striker at the other end and was hacked away from the line by Denis Odoi.Dubravka gathered Jean Michael Seri’s free-kick towards the end of a drab first half where neither side looked likely to score.Mitrovic sent a poor finish straight at Dubravka just after the restart, while Salomon Rondon had a penalty claim turned down after being bundled over by Alfie Mawson.The first substitution did not come until Rafael Benitez introduced Kenedy with 18 minutes remaining, and the wing-back had another home penalty appeal denied after tussling with Joe Bryan.Fabian Schar then sent a header just over, but Fulham came closest to a late winner as Mitrovic, fed by Aboubakar Kamara, had an effort dramatically blocked by a sliding Lascelles, the visitors’ claims for handball ignored at the end of a second period that saw neither keeper troubled.FULL-TIME Newcastle 0-0 FulhamNothing to separate the sides as Fulham remain rooted to the bottom#NEWFUL pic.twitter.com/J0YxIzajVh— Premier League (@premierleague) December 22, 2018 What does it mean? A result for Fulham to build on While they offered little going forward in this game, Fulham have at least shown earlier in the season that they can be a threat in attack.It is their defensive woes that have cost them up to now, and a first clean sheet will come as a huge boost to Ranieri ahead of the busy festive schedule.Newcastle are the second-lowest scorers in the league with 14 from 18 games, and have only won two of their 10 home matches in the top flight. They are both issues Benitez must address with the help of some much-needed January additions after a game that saw them fail to register an attempt on target.Fulham back three deliversMawson, Odoi and Tim Ream combined to make 20 clearances as they adequately dealt with what was often a direct Newcastle approach, reaching an important defensive milestone in the process. Mawson particularly deserves credit, having battled on to complete the game despite being on the receiving end of an inadvertent punch to the face from his own goalkeeper Sergio Rico in the first half.Poor Perez must do moreAyoze Perez feels it is unfair that he receives criticism from the Newcastle support, but it is hard to argue his case after this game. Despite playing the full 90 minutes, he failed to register a shot on goal or create a single chance for his team-mates.Key Opta Facts- Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez has yet to lose a home Premier League game against Fulham (W4 D4), with his teams keeping a clean sheet in each of the last six meetings.- Fulham have kept their first clean sheet in the Premier League in 22 games, since winning 1-0 against Norwich City in April 2014.- Fulham have won just their second away point in their last 12 outings in the Premier League (D2 L10).What’s next?Newcastle have an attractive-looking festive fixture away to league leaders Liverpool on December 26, the same day as Fulham hope to build on this result as they host Wolves. read more
Welcome back Manchester United. Thanks Ole for the attacking football, we were all missing it. Let’s hope that it last. Exciting times ahead. #MUFC #1MUN— Man United Source (@1ManUnitedNews) December 22, 2018 If the Premier League had started on the day that Ole Gunnar Solskjær took over at Old Trafford, @ManUtd would be top. 🥴— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) December 22, 2018 First time Man Utd have scored 5 goals in one game, since the days of Sir Alex Ferguson! Brilliant from solskjaer! Man Utd sign him up on that long term contract right now!!!!👀— Jermaine Jenas (@jjenas8) December 22, 2018 Amazing turn around already for United, give Solskjær the permanent job imho.— Spurs Stat Man (@SpursStatMan) December 22, 2018 Five goals scored for the first time since under Sir Alex Ferguson in the Premier League. Forgot what that felt like. Here’s to more under Ole Gunnar Solskjær.— Liam Canning (@LiamPaulCanning) December 22, 2018 You’re being naive if you don’t think José Mourinho’s Manchester United would have scored five against Cardiff. Okay, it might taken them six or seven matches to get there but still.— Jonny Sharples (@JonnyGabriel) December 22, 2018 Manchester United never scored more than four goals in a game during Jose Mourinho’s 144 matches in charge.They have done it in their first game after his sacking.— Daniel Storey (@danielstorey85) December 22, 2018 Manchester United 5… Fergie days back in one game!!! #MUFC— Kris Voakes (@krisvoakes) December 22, 2018 Check out Goal’s Premier League 2019-20 fantasy football podcast for game tips, debate and rivalries. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer enjoyed a five-star debut as Manchester United manager.The former United striker oversaw a thumping 5-1 win over his former charges, Cardiff City.A Jesse Lingard double, as well as goals from Marcus Rashford, Ander Herrera and Anthony Martial, gave Solskjaer the perfect start to his time in the dugout. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? And fans are already champing at the bit to see United back in action, while a number of cheeky Tottenham fans hope that Solskjaer’s form continues, so Mauricio Pochettino remains in north London.
Wayne Rooney believes Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is the right man to heal the player unrest that contributed to Jose Mourinho’s dismissal from Manchester United.Appearing on television ahead of the club’s Premier League clash against Cardiff City, Rooney said recent conversations with former team-mates confirmed the atmosphere “wasn’t great” at Old Trafford.Mourinho was dismissed after a 3-1 loss to Liverpool in which star midfielder Paul Pogba, with whom the Portuguese reportedly had several run-ins, was an unused substitute. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? United installed Solskjaer as boss on an interim basis and Rooney, who left for Everton in 2017, welcomed the move as essential to lifting morale.”Of course I stay in touch with a lot of people at the club. I speak to them quite a lot and certainly this week,” the ex-Red Devils skipper told BT Sport.”To be a successful football club you need everything to be right. You need the staff at the training ground to be right, the groundsman, whoever it is, they need to feel happy, and that rubs off.”I think that relationship between some of the players and some of the staff obviously wasn’t great.”But bringing Ole and Mike Phelan in, that has already changed. They’re smiling, they’re happy and that rubs off on the players.”I think it’s a good move for the club. It gives them a bit more time to get the right manager in place in the summer.”Rooney – United’s all-time record goal-scorer – left the club in 2017 after 13 years at Old Trafford, during which time he won five Premier League titles and the 2008 Champions League.The former Everton striker, who also became England’s top scorer in 2016, left United to returned to Goodison Park where he began his career, spending a season under Toffees bosses Ronald Koeman and Sam Allardyce before moving to DC United in MLS last summer.He scored eight goals in 39 appearances for United under Mourinho, but played an increasingly diminished role during the Portuguese’s first season at the club, and left in search of more playing time after opportunities became scarcer.
Santiago Solari shared the credit for Real Madrid’s record-breaking Club World Cup triumph with former head coach Zinedine Zidane.Solari, the replacement for Zidane’s short-lived successor Julen Lopetegui, led Madrid to their first title under his stewardship with a 4-1 win over Al Ain in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.Victory means Madrid have won the tournament three years in a row and their fourth triumph in the competition moves them clear of rivals Barcelona as the Club World Cup’s most successful team. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Solari, though, was quick to pile praise on Zidane, who surprisingly stood down in the wake of winning Madrid’s third consecutive Champions League crown at the end of the 2017-18 season.”We are happy, these players deserve it, they have come here after a lot of work and a lot of wins,” Solari told TVE.”We put a finishing touch to that third consecutive Champions League, it is a feat of the club, this group and other coaches.”We are also here thanks to Zidane. It will be difficult to match in the future.”Listen to what goalscorer @lukamodric10 said after helping us become WORLD CHAMPIONS! #RMCWC pic.twitter.com/oO6FTjYLCI— Real Madrid C.F. (@realmadriden) December 22, 2018Marcos Llorente was among Madrid’s goalscorers in the final, the 23-year-old midfielder scoring his first goal as a professional with a half-volley from the edge of the penalty area.Llorente was overlooked throughout Zidane’s reign but has grown into a key role since Solari took charge, following Lopetegui’s sacking after just four months in charge.”They are all Madrid players and they all work to be able to do what they do in the field,” Solari said. “Marcos has always worked a lot, and he deserves the credit.”A first trophy for Santiago Solari as @realmadriden manager #ClubWC pic.twitter.com/cogKjGUgyy— #ClubWC (@FIFAcom) December 22, 2018Solari’s opposite number Zoran Mamic felt a gruelling Club World Cup campaign caught up with his tired Al Ain side in the final.”The first thing is to congratulate Real Madrid because they deservedly won it, with good football,” he said.”We have not been able to compete, it’s the fourth game in days and that has weighed on us. We had a great tournament, nobody thought we were going to get here.”We had opportunities in the first half, but we missed them and at this level we pay when Real Madrid are in front.”We would have liked to have more days of rest, but everything is set up and we cannot say anything, I sincerely believe that we have done a good job.”
Manchester United caretaker boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says he warned his players that they “should never be outworked” before Saturday’s thrashing of Cardiff City.The Red Devils claimed a 5-1 win in south Wales courtesy of two goals from Jesse Lingard and one each from Marcus Rashford, Ander Herrera and Anthony Martial.It was the first time since Alex Ferguson’s retirement in 2013 that United had scored five in a Premier League match, and marked an ideal start to life for Solskjaer, who replaced the sacked Jose Mourinho on Wednesday. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? It was put to Solskjaer that this is the first league game in 2018-19 in which United had outrun their opponents – they covered 104 kilometres compared to Cardiff’s 99 – and the former Norway star stressed that such work rate is a minimum requirement.”One of the things I talked about is that a Manchester United team should never ever be outworked,” he said. “It doesn’t matter what team you play: you should run more than them and then your skills will give you a chance of winning again.”I said the same to these lads as I do back home in Molde: ‘Just work harder than them, enjoy yourselves, pass it forward, run forward, if you lose the ball I don’t mind as long as you work to win it back’, and they did.”When you’ve got players like this with quality, they’re always going to create chances.”There’s quite a few [positives]. The attitude and application of the boys when you go out there and see them, the attitude has been fantastic. The dressing room, the way they approached this game, because it’s been a difficult week for everyone and to get the focus and perform as well as they did impressed [me].”Now we can settle down and play, because that was key today. The first 15, 20 minutes, we know the energy of the crowd, we knew they were going to come long, first balls and second balls.”Cardiff boss Neil Warnock was left to rue what he described as Sunday-league defending as they suffered their heaviest defeat of the season since a 5-0 loss to Manchester City in September.”I thought we started the game quite well but to concede a goal like that was Sunday league, really,” he told BBC Sport .”It was very disappointing the way we conceded those goals. You can’t keep shooting yourselves in the foot like we did.”Having said that, if you told me at the start of the season that we wouldn’t be in the bottom three at Christmas, I’d have taken that.” Check out Goal’s Premier League 2019-20 fantasy football podcast for game tips, debate and rivalries.
“It was a unique game. I always liked to come to the stadium, I always liked the environment, which is exciting. The first game was a dream. When I entered the field I almost had a blackout.”He may have suffered a few nerves when making his Benfica debut, but Gedson Fernandes’ performances for the transitioning Portuguese giants haven’t been that of a player overawed by his fast-tracked inclusion into the first-team.The 19-year-old made his Primeira Liga, UEFA Champions League and full international debuts all within a matter of months, quickly leading to apparent interest from European heavyweights such as Juventus. Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? His recent seventh-placed finish in the Golden Boy ranking proved testament to how well he has settled into the senior set-up with Benfica, while his impactful performances in the Champions League qualifiers were worth their weight in gold for the Eagles, who along with their new prodigy have been taken aback by his ability to have such an effect on their season so far.”I did not expect it to happen so quickly. I appreciate the confidence [shown by the coach and everyone at Benfica],” Fernandes said. “My colleagues really help me. The team has grown immensely. We have worked a lot, we have several goals to reach. I am very happy here.””I was speechless, I was not expecting it, but I’m happy. It’s a sign that the work is being done well. It’s a unique feeling, something inexplicable, I’m in one of the best clubs in the world, it’s my home, that’s where I graduated.” Technically proficient with an athletic build and an eye for goal, Fernandes has completed over half of his attempted dribbles and won more than 50% of his aerial duels this season, as well as boasting a passing accuracy of over 82% in the Portuguese top-flight and the UEFA Champions League.His ability to distribute the balls is mirrored by his skills to win it back; Fernandes completes on average two tackles a game and wins 3.5 fouls per game in the Primeira Liga; the fifth-highest in the league.Such well-rounded statistics promise a bright future for Fernandes, who is being monitored by the likes of Juventus and Manchester United. If his progress in 2019 rivals the strides he made in 2018, it won’t be long before the precocious young Portuguese starlet is propelled among the footballing elite.
Manchester United great Peter Schmeichel is considering putting himself forward for the proposed director of football role at the Premier League club.Following Jose Mourinho’s sacking, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s tenure as caretaker United manager got off to a fine start on Saturday, as the Red Devils thrashed Cardiff City 5-1.But Mourinho’s dismissal has also reportedly seen United restart their search for a director of football, a role the Portuguese coach was said to have opposed. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Schmeichel, who enjoyed eight years at the club until 1999, believes the successful candidate must have a clear idea of United’s identity, and suggested he could submit an application despite having very little football involvement since retiring in 2003. “I’m actually thinking about putting my name in there,” Schmeichel told BBC Radio 5 Live .”I really want to get involved in football again at some point. I know I’m getting older, but my life has just turned out a different way after I retired from football.”What’s really important is to get the United culture and identity back.What a difference a smile make Well done Ole and Team, the United spirit was back in the performance today @ManUtd #CARMUN — Peter Schmeichel (@Pschmeichel1) December 22, 2018 “I would like to see [the job go to] someone who has played there, and can bring some of that Alex Ferguson mentality back in the whole of the football club.”I’m considering if I have the qualities, and if I come up to an answer to that question, then I will put my name in the hat.”I’ll have a good think about this over Christmas and make a decision about it.”Schmeichel spent eight seasons at United, winning five league titles, three FA Cups, the League Cup and the Champions League during his spell at the club. Check out Goal’s Premier League 2019-20 fantasy football podcast for game tips, debate and rivalries.
Radja Nainggolan has been suspended by Inter for “disciplinary reasons”, the Serie A club announced on Sunday.The Belgian midfielder only joined Inter in June from Roma in a deal reported to be worth €38 million (£34m/$43) plus Nicolo Zaniolo, though he has failed to live up to expectations.Nainggolan has scored two goals in 11 Serie A outings, with Inter currently sitting third in the table. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? But he looks unlikely to feature in their next few games following Inter’s shock announcement that he will be barred from “football activity”.Inter’s statement read: “Inter can confirm that Radja Nainggolan has been temporarily suspended from football activity for disciplinary reasons.”FC Internazionale Milano statementhttps://t.co/DlYdH0cZg4 #FCIM — Inter (@Inter_en) December 23, 2018 The news comes at the end of a difficult week for the combative midfielder, as it was reported on Thursday that a gang had been falsifying his cheques and managed to rob him of approximately €150,000.According to reports, an investigation into the crime is then claimed to have found Nainggolan suffered significant losses at a casino.Inter have not stated the reasons for Nainggolan’s suspension, but he has long been seen as a contentious figure in Italian football.The extravagant character referred to himself as “normal” rather than a “bad boy” in an interview last month, though he has often attracted criticism for smoking, partying and drinking.He was left out of Belgium’s World Cup squad as he failed to convince Roberto Martinez he was worthy of a place, with the pair having had a rocky relationship during the Spaniard’s time in charge.Reports in the Italian media suggest Nainggolan’s punishment is for arriving late to training.
Marco Asensio is honoured to be on Inter’s radar but has no plans to leave Real Madrid, according to his agent.Reports have suggested the Nerazzurri are considering a January bid for the Spain international, who has started 11 of Madrid’s 17 La Liga matches this season and scored only once.Asensio’s representative, Horacio Gaggioli, acknowledged his client would be proud to hear of an offer from the Serie A club but says the 22-year-old wants to stay at the Santiago Bernabeu. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? “It’s an honour if a club like Inter are interested in Marco,” he told FCInternews.”I don’t know if it’s true, but for now the player has no intention of leaving Madrid.”Asensio has won eight major trophies for Madrid since 2016, including the 2018 Club World Cup this month.Otro título para vosotros, Madridistas. ¡Tricampeones del mundo! / Another cup for us, Madridistas. World Tri-champions! pic.twitter.com/8PJSFYWGRI— Marco Asensio (@marcoasensio10) December 22, 2018
Mesut Ozil produced a performance worthy of silencing his critics in the 3-1 victory over Burnley according to Arsenal teammate Sead Kolasinac.The former Germany international returned to the Gunners first team against the Clarets and played a role in two of the hosts’ three goals.Unai Emery also entrusted Ozil with the captain’s armband for the fifth time in the top flight this season andafter the game insisted the 30-year-old had a long-term future at The Emirates Stadium . Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? And Kolasinac says Ozil has had the full backing of the squad during the period of uncertainty.The Bosnian defender told Sky Sports : “That’s the case when you’re a big star, like Mesut is.”Of course there are always negative headlines but, as a team, we don’t pay attention to them and Mesut doesn’t either.”That’s what’s most important. We’re all behind Mesut – all the staff, all the players.”If negative things are written, then that’s just what happens. In life, not everything is positive – sometimes there are negatives written about you too, and he’s had that.”But with his performance [against Burnley] he’s quietened a few critics.”Kolasinac played a role in both of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s goal against Sean Dyche’s men, as Arsenal returned to winning ways after back-to-back defeats.The opening goal came via a wondrous Ozil pass which found Kolasinac in an advanced position, before Aubameyang converted.The ex-Germany youth international said of the pass: “It was unbelievable.”We all know Mesut’s qualities and I only actually made that run because I saw that he had the ball. Not many players would have been able to play that pass.”He can, and when I saw him get on the ball, I knew he was going to find me. It was a brilliant pass from him.”Emery has shared the captaincy between a clutch of senior players with Petr Cech, Granit Xhaka and Aaron Ramsey given the armband this term.And while each player has their own leadership style, Kolasinac has revealed Ozil has a passive approach.”Mesut’s not the sort of player who will scream at you in public just to show the people on the outside that he tries to push us on,” he added.”He’ll speak in the dressing room, he’ll go to every player individually. With his quality, he brings a lot to this team. He’s very important for us as a captain and as a player.” Check out Goal’s Premier League 2019-20 fantasy football podcast for game tips, debate and rivalries.
Former Manchester United striker Louis Saha believes Zinedine Zidane is the best choice to replace Jose Mourinho at Old Trafford.United are on the hunt for a permanent replacement for manager Mourinho, who was sacked by the Premier League giants on Tuesday.Club favourite Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has stepped in on a caretaker basis until the end of the season, with United reportedly keen to lure Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino to Manchester in 2019-20. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Zidane – who led Real Madrid to three consecutive Champions League titles before leaving the LaLiga side ahead of the 2018-19 season – has also been linked.In an interview with Omnisport, Saha backed former France team-mate Zidane to succeed at the Theatre of Dreams.”For me, I am a supporter of Zidane in relation to the man,” Saha said. “He was an exceptional player, the coach, there is no equivalent.”In communication he has made a lot of progress. When I hear him talking, it’s incredible.”He breathes football, he is a passionate person, who has all the qualities to be respected. He knows how to balance attack and defence.”At Real Madrid, he had three offensive monsters, and he has to make the link with the defence. It’s huge.”For me it’s the best choice for United. I think he will have the support of the supporters, the staff, the president because he deserves it. And we’re going to give him time.”Night, Reds #MUFC pic.twitter.com/dXl0HGR3FD— Manchester United (@ManUtd) December 22, 2018Solskjaer led United to a 5-1 rout of Cardiff City on Saturday – the first time the club had score five goals in a league game since Alex Ferguson’s final match in 2013.United remain sixth but only eight points adrift of the Champions League places ahead of their Boxing Day meeting at home to Huddersfield Town. Check out Goal’s Premier League 2019-20 fantasy football podcast for game tips, debate and rivalries.
Juan Cuadrado is likely to avoid the need for surgery on a knee injury, Juventus have confirmed.The Colombia international was sent to Germany for assessment on the problem last week and missed the 1-0 Serie A victory over Roma last Saturday.The 30-year-old has returned to Turin and will continue conservative treatment in a bid to restore him to full fitness. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? “Juan Cuadrado is continuing conservative therapy with some improvement,” a Juve statement said.”At the moment, there are not enough indications to proceed surgically.”Cuadrado has made 15 appearances in all competitions for Massimiliano Allegri’s side this season.Despite his injury struggles, he remains fully committed to the Juve cause and has sought to play down any suggestion that he may consider leaving the club.He told Marca in November: “I think only of Juventus and to reach the goals we have set ourselves, to arrive in March and to be in a race on all fronts.“Then there will be the Copa America, it will be a great opportunity to win something with Colombia.”Juve are set to face Atalanta on December 26 before hosting Sampdoria three days later in their final match before the mid-season break.Cuadrado will play no part in those fixtures, but will be hoping to come back into contention at some point in early 2019.
PSV star Hirving Lozano would welcome Mexico team-mate Diego Lainez with open arms if the youngster were to make the move to Europe this January amid ongoing speculation that Ajax are keen to sign the America winger.Lozano rose to prominence at a young age in the Mexican game before making the move to PSV in 2017, where has since developed into a key figure.The 18-year-old Lainez, meanwhile, is regarded as perhaps an even bigger prospect than Lozano was in his younger years and recently capped a fine season with the Liga MX Apertura title. Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? His fine form has earned him the interest of a number of European sides, with Ajax believed to be among his biggest admirers.Reports from both Netherlands and Mexico have suggested the Eredivisie giants are willing to pay up to €12 million (£10.5m/$13.5m) for the winger and even though Lozano has not seen his compatriot play too often, he would be happy to see him make the move to Europe. “Honestly, I’ve seen him a little. I haven’t seen him play that much,” Lozano told Goal.”For me, he’s a good player. He’s young, but he has a lot of qualities.”I don’t know if he’s ready or not. I don’t know what he’s like as a person. I don’t know him well.”But, hopefully he can arrive here soon.”Lainez would not be the first Mexican to join Lozano in Netherlands if the move were to materialise, with Erick Gutierrez joining his friend in Eindhoven earlier this season.Gutierrez has yet to become as important to the team as Lozano, but the attacker has little doubt his compatriot will soon make more of an impact.”With the transfer of Erick, I played a small role in it because they asked me about him, I was paying attention to whether they signed him or not, so the only thing I could do is to convince them a bit more to sign him and tell him good things about being here,” the 23-year-old added.”I think that’s why he came here.”I think he’s had some minutes, but little by little he’ll have more. He’s going to show more of the skill he has, so I’m convinced that he can play as a starter and hopefully the manager decides. He’s the one that decides, so he’s the one in charge.”
My laptop and the brains of those around me liked moving the rook over to h2. From there, it would stare down the juicy far-right column (h-file in chess parlance), which provides a useful conduit into black enemy territory and could have come wide open if some pawns were exchanged. Carlsen did, more or less, the opposite. He moved his king down a square, to g2.Carlsen may have thought that the game was a dead draw and that any move would be a means to that end. He was wrong. The white king on g2 blocked the white rook’s access to the right edge of the board and, possibly, to black’s king. This swung the pendulum swiftly in Karjakin’s favor. “Carlsen played with his hand and not with his brain,” Robert Hess, a grandmaster and chess.com contributor, told me.The Norwegian champ agreed with Hess. “King to g2 is a huge blunder,” a visibly upset Carlsen said at the postgame press conference. Up to this point in the match, Carlsen had generally seemed calm and comfortable, but after this game, he sat disturbed, face in hand, brusquely and testily answering questions. He’d have been halfway to his hotel already, one felt, were it not for his contractual obligations.This blunder may have been due to a clerical error by Carlsen, NRK, Norway’s national broadcaster, reported after the game. Tournament players are required to record on a scoresheet all the moves played during a game. Carlsen, who’s done this many thousands of times, told NRK that he forgot a move earlier in the game. Once a player makes his 40th move, he receives 50 minutes of additional time on his clock. Carlsen received his extra time but initially seemed confused as to why. The king-to-g2 blunder came immediately after, on his 41st move.After Carlsen’s mistake, the players had a full role-reversal, with the Norwegian playing Houdini and the Russian the stifled aggressor. But as the game progressed, Karjakin’s advantage fizzled, Carlsen’s defenses held, and the players agreed to a draw after 51 moves over five hours. The score is tied 2.5-2.5 in this race to 6.5.1Wins are worth 1 point, draws are worth half a point for each player, and losses are worth 0 points.It’s been an impressive streak of draws, but there have been more to open a world championship. Garry Kasparov and Viswanathan Anand fought to eight in a row in 1995, the last time the championship was in New York. But those — only one was longer than 30 moves — pale in comparison to the legendary draws this year. “Gonna be a draw,” a grandmaster texted me as the setting sun cast a red tinge on the East River off lower Manhattan. It was around 5 p.m. on Thursday, and my attention was split between the light filtering through the masts of the tall ships at the pier outside the window and the crucial but lumbering game of chess being played by two geniuses on the other side of the hall. Shortly after 6 p.m., a commotion broke the calm. An official with the World Chess Championship rushed into the press room. The game would end soon, he said, and we should be ready. Sergey Karjakin, the Russian underdog, was winning.This was exciting news indeed. The first four games of the match had ended in draws — two of them epic — between Karjakin and his opponent, the defending world champion and No. 1-rated Magnus Carlsen of Norway. In Thursday’s fifth game, it seemed, there would be blood.In the previous three games, the two players had opened the game with a set of moves called “the Ruy Lopez” — also known as “the Spanish.” On Thursday, they moved across the Mediterranean to play the “Giuoco Piano,” also known as “the Italian.” “Giuoco piano” means “quiet game,” but the opening is known for creating a tense, maneuvering contest. White aims to control the board’s center while black tries not to lose the battle for space.Karjakin, handling the black pieces, came out of this opening battle slightly ahead, according to the computer chess engine Stockfish and a preponderance of onlookers in New York. This was a rarity, as the Russian had previously been relying on costive, defensive goal-line stands simply to stay alive in the championship match.But on the 20th move, a minor theme of the previous games re-emerged, blunting Karjakin’s edge. He faced the following position: Stockfish thought the better play for Karjakin was to move the black bishop back a square, from f5 to g6, which would reveal the black rook and apply further pressure on an already strained board. Karjakin’s human brain, however, preferred trading a bishop for a knight by capturing on c5. As in previous games, Karjakin played more passively than might have been optimal, going with the move that released some of the game’s tension but also perhaps some of his advantage along with it.Nevertheless, the Russian would get another unexpected crack at victory. The game proceeded, quite level, for another 20 moves — solid grandmaster chess — and another draw seemed inevitable. (Hence the text and my staring at the ships.) Eventually, however, Carlsen (playing white) erred when facing the following position on the 41st move: Viswanathan Anand contemplates his move against Gary Kasparov at the World Chess Championship in 1995. JON LEVY / AFP / Getty Images I’d witnessed some 18 hours of play over the previous three game days. On the train on my way home from the venue, the man sitting next to me was staring at his smartphone. He was playing chess.Game 6 begins Friday afternoon. I’ll be covering the rest of the games here and on Twitter.CORRECTION (Nov. 18, 10:47 a.m.): An earlier version of this article misstated the amount of additional time players receive after their 40th move. It is 50 minutes, not an hour.
OSU defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Luke Fickell yells at his players during The Game Nov. 30 at Michigan Stadium. OSU won, 42-41.Credit: Ritika Shah / Asst. photo editorIn the game of college football, a win’s a win, no matter how or at what cost.For the No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes (12-0, 8-0), their 24th victory in a row might have been the toughest of the streak to date, a 42-41 win on the road against archrival Michigan (7-5, 3-5) that saw the OSU defense give up a season-high 603 yards to the Wolverines.Such a performance garners questions to be directed at the team’s defensive coordinator, and OSU’s Luke Fickell was no exception Monday.When asked about what he thought went wrong in Saturday’s win, Fickell didn’t take kindly to the question.“What do you mean what went wrong? Did we win? Did we win?” Fickell said. “I’ve been up (in Ann Arbor) quite a few times in my 18-year career here … We know there’s things we have to correct, momentum and things happened and we didn’t play great on the defensive side of the ball so there’s a lot of things to correct. Every single week we have objectives and the last objective last week was win, and we came away with a win.”Don’t tell that to junior linebacker Ryan Shazier, though, who called the unit’s performance Saturday “bittersweet” even though the team won the game.“The most important thing at the end of the day is getting a ‘W,’” Shazier said. “But we (are) still pretty mad … the whole defense is pretty pissed off about how many yards we gave up rushing and passing. It’s just not acceptable.”Even though the Buckeye defense struggled all game, it did make a big play when it mattered most as redshirt-freshman cornerback Tyvis Powell picked off Michigan redshirt-junior quarterback Devin Gardner’s two-point conversion pass attempt with 32 seconds left to ice the game.Powell said after the game he knew that play was coming thanks to cornerbacks coach and special teams coordinator Kerry Coombs, which Fickell said is all part of weekly preparation.“You prepare. You don’t know exactly, but when you do your studies and you have an idea,” Fickell said. “Obviously, you see the things that we rep we do a lot better job of … but that (play) was one of the things that we had repped and had a good idea but it comes down to the guy making the play.”OSU’s defense gives up an average 255.8 passing yards per game, tied for 101st in the country with Northwestern. The whole season, the team has been able to compensate for the lack of consistency on that side of the ball, but coach Urban Meyer remains confident in them.“(The) pass defense surfaced again, and (a) lack of contact on the quarterback,” Meyer said Monday. “We just had some guys running open … I trust that we’ll get it fixed, and I trust that these guys will be locked and loaded and have a good week of preparation.”The Spartan offense ranks third to last in the Big Ten in total offense with 380.2 yards per game, but is better than that number indicates, Shazier said.“They have playmakers out there,” Shazier said. “They would not have went undefeated in the Big Ten so far if they weren’t (good) so I feel like they’re doing a great job right now.”After watching the film of Saturday’s win against Michigan, sophomore linebacker Joshua Perry said the defense was “really close” to stopping the Wolverines from a lot of their big plays. The mistakes, though, were pretty evident.“When you turn on the film you gotta face the facts and realize that there were some mistakes made,” Perry said. “We got a chip on our shoulder, but it’s nothing that’s too urgent like we gotta throw out the whole defense and start over again. It’s just that we gotta correct up what we know to do.”Whether there are questions about the defense as a whole or specifically about their performance against Michigan, Fickell said it all comes back to one thing.“You have a standard, and that’s what’s been set around here. And I think that’s the beauty of it,” Fickell said. “You’re never satisfied with what you got.”The Buckeyes and No. 10 Spartans (11-1, 8-0) are set to face off for Big Ten supremacy Saturday at 8:17 p.m. at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Mile Jedinak’s second penalty of the world cup helps the Socceroo secure a vital point in their all-important Group C clash against Denmark.The Aston Villa midfielder was on hand to score from the spot for the Aussies after Denmark’s Yusuf Poulsen was adjured to have handled the ball from Matthew Leckie’s header.The penalty was the 11th of this World Cup Finals so far, and also amongst the few given by the newly introduced VAR system.Euro 2020 qualifiers round up from group D George Patchias – September 5, 2019 In Euro 2020 qualifying group D, Denmark hit Gibraltar for six while Ireland and Switzerland played out a draw.The Danes made easy work of…Tottenham Hotspur playmaker, Christain Eriksen gave the Danes an early lead when his well-struck volley found the roof of the net in the seventh minute.And his team appeared to be cruising into half-time but Jedinak’s spot-kick proved decisive as Australia took a point to avoid an early exit from the world cup.Denmark go into their last game against France knowing a point could see them through to the next round, while Australia faces Peru knowing only a win, as well as other results going their way, will do.