18 days ago​McAteer: Firmino more important to Liverpool than Salah

first_img​McAteer: Firmino more important to Liverpool than Salahby Ansser Sadiq18 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveLiverpool legend Jason McAteer believes the club would suffer more if they lost Roberto Firmino to injury, compared to Mohamed Salah.The latter suffered a niggle against Leicester City, with fans concerned that he would miss game time after the international break.But McAteer believes if they do have to miss an attacker through injury, Firmino would be the more impactful loss.McAteer told The Racing Post: “People have questioned Liverpool’s strength in depth and I don’t think it’s quite as strong as Manchester City’s, but there is cover in key areas.”Take one of their star players out of the team and inevitably it has an impact – it would at any club. But Jurgen has been able to tweak things and bring in different players and look where they are.”The one player I think is indispensable going forward is Roberto Firmino. Forget Sadio Mane or Mo Salah, it’s Firmino who makes the whole thing tick going forward. I think if Liverpool lost Firmino it would have a bigger impact than losing Mane or Salah.”Look at the Super Cup against Chelsea where Liverpool produced two completely different halves of football, the first without Firmino and the second with him. He’s a more important part of the attacking jigsaw than anyone else.” About the authorAnsser SadiqShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

15 days agoMan Utd tell Solskjaer plans to bring in four new signings

first_imgMan Utd tell Solskjaer plans to bring in four new signingsby Paul Vegas15 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveManchester United have told Ole Gunnar Solskjaer they plan to bring in four new signings next year.United have struggled to score goals this season and The Times says the board is willing to remain patient with Solskjaer as they acknowledge the scale of the task at hand in rebuilding his squad.The Norwegian has held meetings with the club’s hierarchy and they will be looking to make four signings next year, including a centre forward.United made three signings this summer, with Harry Maguire, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Daniel James heading to Old Trafford. TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img

Report: Chelsea 0 Leicester City 1

first_imgJamie Vardy scored on his 250th Leicester City appearance as the Foxes ended an 18-year wait for a Premier League win at Chelsea in a 1-0 triumph.The former England striker had been starved of service until clinically finishing a brilliant Leicester counter early in the second half, which ultimately proved enough to clinch a first win at Stamford Bridge since 2000.It was a hugely frustrating afternoon for Maurizio Sarri’s side, who controlled large periods of the game and saw Eden Hazard – one shy of 100 competitive goals for the Blues – hit the crossbar in the first half as well as Marcos Alonso strike the post in the 91st minute when clean through.  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? Chelsea, who lost a league match at home for the first time under Sarri, consequently head into Christmas 11 points behind leaders Liverpool, while rumours that Leicester were planning on sacking Claude Puel may subside after this much-needed win.The Blues’ play was sharp if lacking in incisiveness early doors, although David Luiz was desperately close to meeting Pedro’s flick on from a Willian corner.1-0 to #lcfc@Madders10  @vardy7 #CheLei pic.twitter.com/mzxhsZi4Ij— Leicester City (@LCFC) December 22, 2018Leicester had an almighty let-off when Hazard pounced on Harry Maguire’s poor control and rifled an effort against the crossbar.Neither team had a shot on target until the 41st minute with Kepa Arrizabalaga’s strong hand keeping out Wilfred Ndidi’s stinging 30-yard drive.Willian tamely struck at Kasper Schmeichel after a fine team move, while Jorginho’s well-hit half-volley forced the Leicester keeper into action again as Chelsea finished the half strong.The Blues were caught cold six minutes after the break, though. Leicester launched a counter-attack that led to James Maddison slipping in Vardy to emphatically fire past Kepa when one-on-one.Schmeichel was sharp to keep out Hazard’s left-foot effort from a tight angle, and at the other end Kepa’s spill from Marc Albrighton’s cross needed swift action from Cesar Azpilicueta to deny Vardy.Leicester’s goal lived a charmed life in the closing stages with Antonio Rudiger heading wide from point-blank range and Alonso fluffing his lines by striking the left post when one-on-one.What does it mean? Relief for Puel, but Blues’ title hopes stungPuel has faced rumours this week that squad disharmony and a return of one league win in six could lead to his sacking, but a big triumph here is a much-needed early Christmas present. There will be little festive cheer for the hosts, though, who are 11 points off the top and stewing over a first home defeat since April.Christmas party time for VardyLeicester fans love to affectionately sing ‘Jamie Vardy’s having a party’ and he had cause for celebration with a typically clinical counter-attacking goal. The Foxes had done little to provide chances for Vardy until his goal, but when it came he did not disappoint. Ricardo Pereira and Ben Chilwell also impressed for the away side.Kante paying a high priceThere is arguably no better defensive midfielder on the planet than N’Golo Kante. But Sarri’s insistence on playing the France international in an advanced position to slot Jorginho deeper in his midfield is not bringing the best out of the former Leicester star. On a few occasions, Kante found himself high up the pitch but lacking the attacking quality to break the Foxes’ rear-guard.Key Opta Facts- Chelsea have failed to find the back of the net in two of their last four home Premier League games, as many as in their previous 21.- Jamie Vardy has scored 13 goals in his last 15 Premier League appearances. – Leicester midfielder James Maddison has created 41 goal-scoring chances in the Premier League this season, more than any other English player.  What’s next?The festive season kicks into gear with Chelsea making the hop across London aiming to bounce back at Watford on Boxing Day, while the Foxes will look for another unlikely win at home to Manchester City. read morelast_img read more

No-one but me wants to fix diving problem – Dyche

first_imgBurnley manager Sean Dyche accused Arsenal’s players of diving after his side lost 3-1 at Emirates Stadium, scathingly saying: “Millions of children see it.”Goals in either half from Premier League leading scorer Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang left Burnley with little hope of picking up a point towards their fight against relegation, although Ashley Barnes gave them a glimmer of hope when he pulled one back 27 minutes from the end.The Clarets pushed for an equaliser, but a late strike from Alex Iwobi knocked the stuffing out of the visitors, and Dyche claimed the Arsenal substitute scored from an offside position. 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? “We could have got something out of the game. Their final goal was marginally offside,” Dyche told reporters before firing accusations at Unai Emery’s players over diving.”Two dives,” said the Burnley boss. “No-one seems to want to do anything about diving apart from me. Millions of children see it.”We’re not talking about gamesmanship; we’re talking about diving.”Diving’s not for me but gamesmanship is different. What I don’t like is when you’re touched on the arm and your feet go from beneath you. I thought it was incredibly bad at the World Cup.”PIC: Ashley Barnes and Arsenal’s Sokratis battle for the ball pic.twitter.com/nGHgalSOlO— Burnley FC (@BurnleyOfficial) December 22, 2018Emery refused to get dragged into an argument about diving, opting to politely disagree with Dyche’s accusations while calling for respect for the referee’s decisions.”The most important thing is the victory,” said the Arsenal coach.”We have to have respect for the referee and for the opposition.”Arsenal’s win coincided with Mesut Ozil’s return to the side after a spell out, and the German was instrumental in helping mastermind the victory, providing an assist and influencing the play with a superb display of passing to delight the Emirates.”It was a big performance and afterwards I spoke with him [Ozil] and said congratulations for your work,” said Emery. “He showed his quality and their characteristics and we needed him to work to help us today and he did.”last_img read more

Madrid create history with latest Club World Cup win

first_imgFor the fourth time in five years, Real Madrid have claimed the FIFA Club World Cup and in doing so both made history and claimed bragging rights over their rivals Barcelona.Luka Modric opened the scoring for the European Champions against Al Ain in the final, scoring his first-ever goal for the club in a tournament final to round out his spectacular 2018.Marcos Llorente delivered his first-ever professional goal for the club to double their advantage while Sergio Ramos also found the back of the net for Madrid to make it 3-0. 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? Tsukasa Shiotani scored late to get Al Ain back to 3-1 down, but an own goal by Yahia Nader sealed the 4-1 victory for Madrid.Last May, Madrid became the first team to claim three consecutive modern-day Champions League crowns and now they have gone on to become the first ever to claim three straight Club World Cup or Intercontinental Cup.The victory also saw the club become the first to take home four Club World Cup titles, breaking the tie between themselves and their La Liga rivals Barcelona.Barcelona had won in 2009, 2011 and 2015, while Madrid’s first Club World Cup crown did not come until 2014, but they have now won the last three.It continues an incredible run by Madrid in the competition, as they are now unbeaten in their 12 games in the competition, winning the last eight outscoring their opposition 22-5.4 – Real Madrid have won the FIFA Club World Cup four times (2014, 2016, 2017 and 2018), becoming the team with the most titles won, surpassing Barcelona (2009, 2011 and 2015). King. pic.twitter.com/SWJ8IiPrgq— OptaJose (@OptaJose) 22 de diciembre de 2018The trophy is the first silverware won by manager Santiago Solari, who replaced Julen Lopetegui at the helm in November.Solari became the first Argentinian manager to win the tournament, with the previous five who managed a final, all in charge of South American sides, having lost.It was also a good night for Ramos, who, along with Marcelo, pulled into third all-time in Madrid history with 20 titles won, behind Gento and Sanchis.And despite being a defender, Ramos became the third player to score in three Club World Cup finals – something previously only done by Lionel Messi and the Madrid captain’s former team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo.last_img read more

‘Just be Man United’ – Solskjaer reveals Rooney advice

first_imgOle Gunnar Solskjaer told his players to “be Manchester United” before their rousing 5-1 win against Cardiff on Saturday.Jesse Lingard scored twice to add to goals from Marcus Rashford, Ander Herrera and Anthony Martial at the Cardiff City Stadium as United put on an electrifying performance to blow away the cobwebs that had collected during the final sorry weeks of Jose Mourinho’s reign.Caretaker boss Solskjaer, installed until the end of the season after the Portuguese was sacked on Tuesday, restored Paul Pogba to the starting line-up after the World Cup winner was left out of Mourinho’s team for last weekend’s 3-1 capitulation to Liverpool, and he wasted little time in re-finding the form that once made him the most expensive player in world football. 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 the Norwegian revealed after the game that he has received advice from United’s record goal-scorer Wayne Rooney on how to re-ignite the attacking energy that been lost under the Portuguese.“Football is easy if you’ve got good players,” Solskjaer told BT Sport . “They are a great bunch of players and their quality is unbelievable.”I arrived on Wednesday night and only had Thursday and Friday with the players. Wayne Rooney texted me and gave me some advice – so it must be down to him! He told me to make them play football, enjoy themselves and be Manchester United.”United impressed on all fronts going forward, and their dominance was threatened only briefly when Victor Camasara’s penalty pegged them back to 2-1 midway through the first half.It was in stark contrast to the lifelessness of the team’s final performances under Mourinho – United had gone into the game with the fewest goals scored of any side in the top six and more goals conceded than 15th-place Newcastle.”We had a session yesterday about patterns of play and we wanted Ashley Young and Luke Shaw to push on more,” said Solskjaer. “It worked out well today.”Your work-rate is the easiest thing to work on. It is free. It is the attitude and application of the boys.”If we approach all the games like this – and we want them to approach them all like this – with combination play and playing the ball forward then I’ll be happy.”The foundation was in the defending today. I thought the two centre-backs and two full-backs were brilliant today.”last_img read more

‘This is just the start’ – Rashford delighted with Solskjaer debut

first_imgManchester United star Marcus Rashford has told fans that there is more to come after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s tenure on the bench started in style on Saturday.Solskjaer stepped into the breach this week on an interim basis after Jose Mourinho was sacked from his post as club manager.A cult hero during his playing days at Old Trafford, the Norwegian has been tasked with turning round a disappointing start to the Premier League season which has seen United lose touch with the first four. 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 he enjoyed a dream start at the weekend, as his new charges romped to a 5-1 victory away to Cardiff City.Rashford netted the first goal of the Solskjaer era just three minutes in, while Ander Herrera, Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard, who hit twice, completed the scoring.And the striker was delighted with the new boss’ impact.”He wants us to be positive on the ball and always look for the gaps. That was just the start. We’re going to improve and get better at it,” he signalled to BT Sport.”The Christmas period is very busy so it is about recovering and making sure we’re ready for the next games. We have to keep improving and go up another level.”Lingard was also pleased with what he saw from United, pointing to a more positive attitude on the pitch which paid dividends.”The lads played with a lot of energy, enjoyment and excitement. We scored five goals, which is good,” the winger stated.”When you’ve got confidence, you put yourselves in positions to score goals. That’s what we did.“We were playing higher and the full-backs were higher. We pinned them back and created a lot of chances.”United remain in sixth place after their victory, although they closed the gap on fourth-placed Chelsea to eight points after the Blues came unstuck against Leicester City. Check out Goal’s Premier League 2019-20 fantasy football podcast for game tips, debate and rivalries.last_img read more

Man United’s ‘shackles’ are off, says Owen

first_imgFormer Manchester United forward Michael Owen feels that the departure of Jose Mourinho has been a breath of fresh air around the club, and that the more relaxed atmosphere was reflected in Saturday’s drubbing of Cardiff City.A double from Jesse Lingard added to Marcus Rashford, Ander Herrera and Anthony Martial’s goals as United ran riot in a 5-1 victory in south Wales.That win meant Solskjaer, who replaced the sacked Mourinho on an interim basis, enjoyed the perfect start on the bench for the Red Devils, who also cut the deficit behind fourth-placed Chelsea to eight points. 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? Mourinho’s final months at United were marred by reported rifts with players and poor results, and Owen believes that his sacking has given the club a new lease of life.”It’s not that you don’t want to put a huge amount of praise on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, he’s obviously had an immediate impact, but he can’t have done much in such a short period of time.” Owen said to BT Sport. “It’s basically the shackles are now off and people can express themselves, people are actually smiling within the club now.”That makes all the difference to anybody’s performance.”Wayne Rooney also praised the Norwegian’s impact, while also alluding to the toxic atmosphere that accompanied Mourinho’s last days.”They looked a bit restricted. The players have got a lot of ability, and today we’ve seen that,” he said.”Playing for Manchester United, it’s a lot of pressure and a lot of things were happening around the team, around the manager, which is never easy to deal with as a player.”I think the players have just got that freedom. Ole has given them that as well. You’ve seen what they can do. I think today was a fantastic day for the club.”United continue their Premier League campaign on December 26, hosting Huddersfield Town at Old Trafford. Check out Goal’s Premier League 2019-20 fantasy football podcast for game tips, debate and rivalries.last_img read more

Allegri hails ‘extraordinary’ Mandzukic

first_imgJuventus coach Massimiliano Allegri labelled Mario Mandzukic “extraordinary” after the forward struck again against Roma on Saturday. Mandzukic’s first-half goal was enough for Juve to claim a 1-0 win, marking their 16th victory in 17 Serie A games. The Croatian has now scored in his last three home games for Juve, and in total has netted six goals in front of the Bianconeri faithful in 2018-19 – both personal season bests.  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? He also broke his duck against Roma, against whom he had never previously scored in the teams’ Serie A bouts. The Croatian is already up to eight league goals for Juve this season – bettering his previous two campaigns – and Allegri hailed the forward.  “Mario is a key player. His combination of technical and physical attributes make him an extraordinary player,” he said. Allegri also praised Paulo Dybala after Juve retained an eight-point lead atop the table. “Paulo fared well too. He allowed us to bring the ball out of our half,” he said.How did you celebrate this moment from @MarioMandzukic9 ? #JuveRoma #FinoAllaFine #ForzaJuve pic.twitter.com/QdEqdHOq11 — JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) December 22, 2018 The result put further pressure on Roma coach Eusebio Di Francesco, whose team slipped to 10th in the table. Di Francesco was pleased with the way his team finished the game, although he rued their first half. “In the first 45 minutes we saw the same fear and insecurity of recent games, but after the break we overcame that,” he said. “We battled with determination and used the ball a lot better.” The result keeps the Juve eight points clear of Napoli, who beat SPAL 1-0, at the top, while Roma languish in 10th place. And the win saw Juventus set a couple of records along the way, including matching the best start for any team in the top five European leagues.  They’ll have a chance to improve that record before the close of the year with two matches still on tap.  They’ll play Atalanta on Boxing Day before closing out their 2018 schedule with a clash against Sampdoria on Decemeber 29.last_img read more

Ronaldo is irreplaceable but others must step up – Courtois

first_imgReal Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois has admitted that former star Cristiano Ronaldo is “irreplaceable” at the club, but challenged his team-mates to pick up the baton in the wake of the Portuguese’s exit.The 33-year-old left Madrid for Juventus in July following a long and illustrious career with Los Blancos, with his departure coinciding with the exit of manager Zinedine Zidane.While the Champions League holders subsequently struggled to cope, with former Spain boss Julen Lopetegui fired following only a few months at the helm as the Frenchman’s replacement, they have since stabilised since Santiago Solari took the helm. 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? The former academy coach secured his first trophy this weekend with a 4-1 win over Al Ain in the Club World Cup final on Saturday, to ensure silverware for another season.Speaking to reporters, goalkeeper Courtois, who joined ahead of the campaign from Premier League giants Chelsea, stated that he believes it is up to the other key forwards to carry the goalscoring burden going forward.Karim Benzema has managed 11 so far this season, with Welshman Gareth Bale overcoming a rough patch to sit one behind that tally with 10.“Cristiano Ronaldo is irreplaceable, you cannot forget what he did,” Courtois said.“But he is not here anymore, so it’s time for other players, like Bale did in the semi-finals [of the Club World Cup], to score the goals he [Ronaldo] used to score.“If we are able to do so, it’ll be fine.”Madrid’s victory over Al Ain assured them a third successive Club World Cup title in a row and means that the trophy will return to Spain for the fifth time in a row.Los Blancos previously defeated Japan’s Kashima Antlers in 2016 and Brazil’s Gremio in 2017, following their respective Champions League triumphs.They also claimed the crown in 2014, against Argentina’s San Lorenzo, while rivals Barcelona prevailed victoriously in 2015 against River Plate.Solari’s side sit fourth in La Liga, eight points behind the Catalan club, though they do have a game in hand.They do not play again until 2019 though, when they make the trip to Villarreal on January 3.last_img read more

Aston Villa vs Leeds: TV, stream & preview

first_imgLeeds can go back to the top of the Championship on Sunday if they overcome Aston Villa away from home.Marcelo Bielsa’s side have won all of their last five Championship outings but find themselves heading to Villa Park looking up at Norwich, who defeated Blackburn thanks to a late Teemu Pukki strike on Saturday.In Birmingham, they will find themselves up against a Villa side who are seven undefeated and with a habit of being involved in exciting, high-scoring games. 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? Game Aston Villa vs Leeds Date Sunday, December 23 Time 1:30pm GMT / 8:30am ET TV Channel, Live Stream & How To Watch In the United States (US), the game can be streamed via ESPN+. US TV channel Online stream N/A ESPN+ In the UK, the game will be shown on Sky Sports Football and Main Event and can be streamed through the Sky Go app. UK TV channel Online stream Sky Sports Football / Sky Sports Main Event Sky Go Squads & Team News Position Aston Villa players Goalkeepers Nyland, Moreira, Bunn Defenders Chester, Tuanzebe, Richards, Taylor, Elmohamady, Bree, Hatton Midfielders Jedinak, Whelan, Hourihane, McGinn, Lansbury, Bjarnason, Grealish Forwards Bolasie, El Ghazi, Adomah, Abraham, Kodjia, Hogan, Davis, Hepburn-Murphy Villa go into Sunday’s match without key midfielder Jack Grealish or fellow midfielder Birkir Bjarnason.Meanwhile, Dean Smith will have to monitor a number of players in the build up to kick off. Neil Taylor and James Bree are doubts in the defence, while midfielders Henri Lansbury, Mile Jedinak and Albert Adomah are all concerns.Goalkeeper Lovre Kalinic will join up with the squad in January after his signing from Gent was confirmed.Possible Aston Villa starting XI: Nyland; Elmohamady, Chester, Tuanzebe, Hutton; McGinn, Hourihane, Whelan, Bolasie, El Ghazi; Abraham Position Leeds players Goalkeepers Peacock-Farrell, Huffer Defenders Douglas, Ayling, Cooper, Jansson, Pearce, Phillips, Berardi, Shaughnessy, Halme Midfielders Forshaw, Dallas, Hernandez, Baker, Klich, Shackleton, Harrison, Brown Forwards Roofe, Alioski, Roberts, Saiz, Bamford, Clarke, Harrison Leeds’ squad is hit by a number of absentees, which could pose issues in the busy festive period.The defence is the area of the squad worst hit, with Liam Cooper and Gaetano Berardi ruled out along with Conor Shaughnessy. In the midfield, Stuart Dallas is sidelined while Samuel Saiz has agreed to join Getafe and will train with the Spanish club before the move is formalised. Izzy Brown is set to miss out for a month with a thigh problem.Luke Ayling will return to the team after a couple of months out with Marcelo Bielsa stating he will “probably be a starter”.Possible Leeds starting XI: Peacock-Farrell; Ayling, Jansson, Philips, Douglas; Baker, Klich, Forshaw, Alioski, Hernandez; RoofeBetting & Match Odds Aston Villa are 6/4 favourites to win the match at bet365 . Leeds can be backed at 15/8, while a draw is priced at 13/5.Click here to see more offers for the game, including goalscoring markets, correct score predictions and more . Match Preview Kemar Roofe Leeds 2018After an absence of 15 years, Leeds United are finally making a strong move to return to the Premier League under the guidance of Marcelo Bielsa. The Argentine has guided them to five successive Championship victories and the top of the table, but on Saturday they lost their status as they were not in action. Less than 24 hours after they were pushed off first place by Norwich, they have the opportunity to regain it, albeit against an Aston Villa side in good form.Injuries have hampered the plans of Bielsa and the Lilywhites in recent times, but they have not stopped the Elland Road side’s impressive momentum, which has made the manager something of a cult hero at the club.“I am thankful, it is important for me the feeling they give to the club, but they give me an importance that I think I don’t deserve,” he said ahead of this encounter. “Affection is the maximum aspiration for a human being. When you receive affection, it is something you are very thankful for.  In this case though, I don’t think I deserve the recognition I am getting.”New Aston Villa boss Dean Smith will enjoy similar recognition if he keeps the team on an upward course in the table, with his side consistently one of the most entertaining to watch in the league, with an astonishing 77 goals coming from their 22 matches to date.“I think it will be one hell of a good game because both teams play in the same manner,” he predicted. Victory would lift Villa to seventh in the standings and within touching distance of the playoff positions for the first time since a 4-1 loss to Sheffield United on September 1.last_img read more

Pochettino: Titles the next target for Tottenham

first_imgMauricio Pochettino hopes Tottenham can live up to expectations and become a title-winning side when they move into their new stadium.Tottenham’s stadium has been plagued by delays after initially been scheduled for a September opening, but the club anticipate the ground being ready in early 2019.On the field, however, their progress has not stalled, with Tottenham guaranteed third place in the Premier League heading into Christmas, regardless of the outcome of Sunday’s fixture with Everton. 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 Pochettino, who has been linked with a move to Manchester United at the end of the campaign, wants Tottenham to take the next step.”We are going to have one of the best facilities in the world, the training ground with the new stadium,” he told Sky Sports.”On the football side, all that we are building here will be in the same level. When you add and mix it all together it is going to be the time to win titles and deliver what the people expect.”We still have not won a trophy, but I think we have won more than that, because after four and a half years’ work together, to have a contract for another four and a half years is a massive achievement in the current climate. To create that is a massive achievement for us.”A classic from @J_Klinsmann against our upcoming opponents! #COYS pic.twitter.com/1bLJXicbQY— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) 22 December 2018Since Pochettino arrived at the club in 2014, Tottenham have become an established top-four side, while the likes of Harry Kane and Dele Alli have excelled under the Argentine’s guidance.”The platform that we have created here in Tottenham is the most important, the platform we created between all the coaching staff – in the academy and the first team. The platform we created is more important than one person,” Pochettino added.”It’s a very dynamic situation, football is so dynamic. The platform always improves players and the team. That platform is always changing because you always have to improve in football, you are learning in the same process.”That is important for the club to sustain and maintain the ideas in the way that you work.”Having progressed to the last 16 of the Champions League, Tottenham are also in the hunt for the first domestic trophy of the season and have an Carabao Cup semi-final against Chelsea coming up in January. Check out Goal’s Premier League 2019-20 fantasy football podcast for game tips, debate and rivalries.last_img read more

QPR finally win at The City Ground

first_imgSpeaking to Sky Sports recently Les Ferdinand spoke of promotion hopes back to the Premier League referring to it as a ‘golden ticket’.Queens Park Rangers are not far off the play-off places as they beat Nottingham Forest 1-0 at The City Ground to collect back to back wins. Centre-back Toni Leistner headed home the winning goal from a Luke Freeman cross. This was the first ever time QPR have won against Nottingham Forest at The City Ground with the club Tweeting:  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? 💪 BFG breaks the hoodoo!See @backpageimages from #QPR ‘s first-ever win at the City Ground.▶️ https://t.co/mIaF944Xx8 pic.twitter.com/QjHG7AxqND — QPR FC (@QPR) December 22, 2018  The Super Hoops have shown impressive form of late following their home win against Middlesbrough. They’ve had a bad start to the season but since have gone on to collect 34 points in the Championship. Their next game is a boxing day evening fixture against Ipswich Town.QPR Team CelebrationsThe west London side will look to continue their winning streak with Steve McClaren saying he is proud of his team’s spirit. 🗣 ‘It’s been a long time!’Steve McClaren shared his pride after #QPR ended their City Ground hoodoo.▶️ https://t.co/DJsAEPOc8p #FORQPR pic.twitter.com/M7NNmd0VbX — QPR FC (@QPR) December 22, 2018last_img read more

Pochettino hopeful over Alli injury after precautionary withdrawal

first_imgMauricio Pochettino is hopeful Dele Alli avoided serious injury in Tottenham’s Premier League thrashing of Everton on Sunday.Spurs fought back from a goal down to claim a 6-2 victory at Goodison Park, with Alli and Christian Eriksen scoring once and Harry Kane and Son Heung-min each netting a double.The result lifts Pochettino’s men to within two points of second-placed Manchester City, but their victory was soured when Alli failed to emerge for the second half following a heavy challenge from Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford just before the break. 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? Pochettino thinks Alli was fatigued from Wednesday’s EFL Cup win over Arsenal and hopes the England star has not suffered anything major.”He didn’t feel a big problem,” the Spurs boss told Sky Sports. “Maybe [he was] a little bit tired from Wednesday. I hope it’s not a big issue. It was a precaution.”Pochettino added at a news conference: “I didn’t see [the challenge]. I am curious to see the action.”I didn’t want to say because I’ve not seen the video. It was a tough action. We hope it’s not a big issue.”Spurs host Bournemouth on December 26 and Wolves on December 29, before heading to Cardiff City on New Year’s Day.They then take on Tranmere Rovers in the FA Cup third round three days later.last_img read more

Hodgson: Liverpool will slip up eventually

first_imgCrystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson is adamant Liverpool will slip up in the Premier League title race, declaring an upset is all but inevitable for the Reds.Hodgson’s prediction comes after he masterminded Palace’s shock 3-2 win over Manchester City on the weekend which handed Jurgen Klopp’s side a four-point gap as league leaders.Liverpool remain the only unbeaten side in the Premier League this season after 18 games and pulled past Wolves 2-0 as City surprisingly dropped points.  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? Though the Reds now have some breathing room at the top, Hodgson stressed City shouldn’t be worried about the current situation, noting Klopp’s men will slip up sooner or later. “I don’t think Pep Guardiola will be too concerned about a four-point gap with 20 games left to play,” Hodgson said.“One of those is going to be against Liverpool, but even without that game the chances are that Liverpool will go somewhere and something like this will happen.”Someone will beat them against the odds, there is a long way to go yet and there will be an upset somewhere along the line.”Klopp, who is yet to win silverware with Liverpool, certainly isn’t getting ahead of himself despite Christmas history favouring the Reds.”Somebody said the last four times the that was first in the table at Christmas won the league, but was it ever such a tight race?” Klopp said.Liverpool centre-back Dejan Lovren isn’t banking on his side slipping up anytime soon however, recently calling on the them copy Arsenal’s Invincibles and go the entire season unbeaten.  Subscribe to Goal’s Liverpool Correspondent Neil Jones’ weekly email bringing you the best Liverpool FC writing from around the weblast_img read more

Pogba’s problem not behaviour, insists Saha

first_imgPaul Pogba’s struggle for consistency at Manchester United is not because of any problem with his behaviour, former striker Louis Saha says.Pogba impressed on Saturday in his side’s 5-1 thrashing of Cardiff City, registering two assists as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s reign as caretaker manager got off to a flying start.It was the France international’s first start in the Premier League since the 2-2 draw with Southampton on December 1, the midfielder having been dropped by Jose Mourinho in the Portuguese’s final few weeks in charge. 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? Pogba’s inability to perform consistently under Mourinho was often attributed to a poor relationship with his manager, with the pair said to have clashed on more than one occasion.Saha, twice a Premier League winner with United, thinks Pogba showed at the World Cup that he can play in a more disciplined role, but he admits it is not something that suits him.”The issue with the word ‘boss’ is that, at some stage, a boss needs to be consistent,” Saha told Omnisport. “You need to be well-perceived in the group.”That’s today’s criticism towards Paul. We need to understand him. Some weeks, he’s been outstanding. That’s what we expect from a player as talented as he is.”I think that his problem is that he has so many qualities that it’s complicated to keep him in one specific position, even box-to-box or in the defensive tasks, when he can score or make the difference anyway. I think those elements are difficult for him as a player.”He can do it because he did it with Didier Deschamps. He can do it with any team or coach. It’s not a behavioural problem but an analysis one. He must tell himself: ‘Okay, for that specific game, I need to do a certain job’. I think it’s not easy for him.”Saha hopes Solskjaer can be a positive influence on Pogba given his selfless nature as a player and a coach.”Ole has a lot of humility and it can help in their communication,” Saha said. “He will put his ego aside as ‘boss’ and he’ll tell himself that today the team goes first.”It is what Ole does. He’s always done it. He made great sacrifices for his team-mates. He’s made the difference for his team-mates and his coach. That’s Ole. He will give that [to the team].”That’s a message he’ll give gradually to all the players. They need to get their confidence back. They almost need some paternal communication. A misplaced pride in a great club constantly under the scrutiny of everyone. Whatever will happen, there they’ll talk about it because it’s one of the most followed clubs in the world. ” Check out Goal’s Premier League 2019-20 fantasy football podcast for game tips, debate and rivalries.last_img read more

Liverpool team news and likely line-up

first_imgAfter a perfect weekend, Liverpool will be hoping to make it a perfect Christmas as they take on Newcastle United at Anfield on Boxing Day.The Reds, incredibly, have opened up a four-point gap at the top of the Premier League courtesy of their win at Wolves on Friday, and Manchester City’s shock defeat to Crystal Palace on Saturday. Jurgen Klopp’s men will be looking to maintain, or even extend, that advantage on Wednesday.They welcome their former boss in Rafa Benitez, whose Newcastle side drew at home to Fulham on Saturday and sit 15th in the table. The Magpies have not won at Anfield since 1995, but Klopp will undoubtedly warn his players against complacency, with the stakes for every game as high as can be right now. 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? Here, Goal  takes look at everything you need to know ahead of Wednesday’s game…Liverpool Injuries Liverpool are set to be handed a double boost with both Trent Alexander-Arnold and Naby Keita passed fit for the game. Alexander-Arnold has missed the last two games with an ankle problem, while Keita suffered cuts to his foot and ribs against Wolves on Friday. Both will train as normal ahead of the game.Joe Gomez (fractured leg) and Joel Matip (broken collarbone) are still out.Rhian Brewster and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, meanwhile, are long-term absentees.Naby Keita Liverpool 2018-19Liverpool Suspensions Liverpool do not have any suspended players for this game.Liverpool Likely Line-UpKlopp’s ability to manage his resources has been a feature of Liverpool’s success so far this season, so we can expect a degree of rotation here.Nathaniel Clyne, one would suspect, will start at right-back while Alberto Moreno could be given a chance on the other flank as Liverpool seek to protect the brilliant Andy Robertson.In midfield Gini Wijnaldum could return to the starting XI, while Adam Lallana will be eager for a start after a promising cameo appearance at Wolves.Xherdan Shaqiri, an unused substitute at Molineux, may come into the forward line.Possible Liverpool team v NewcastleNewcastle team news Benitez will make checks on the fitness of midfielder Jonjo Shelvey, who has been struggling with a thigh injury. Defenders Ciaran Clark and Florian Lejuene are likely to miss out, while Ki-Sung Yeung is away on international duty with South Korea.Goalkeeper Karl Darlow is another doubt.Jonjo Shelvey Newcastle 2018-19TV Channel & Kick-Off Time The fixture will be not be broadcast live on the UK, as it is a 3pm kick off. Highlights can be found on Match of the Day, BBC One at 10.30pm.In the United States, the game can be watched live on television on NBC Sports, kick-off 10am ET. Best Opta Match Facts Liverpool are unbeaten in their last 22 home games against Newcastle in all competitions (W18 D4), with their last such defeat coming in November 1995 in the League Cup (0-1). Newcastle have won just two of their last 10 Premier League games against Liverpool (D4 L4), with both of those victories coming at St. James’ Park. Since losing their first ever Premier League home game against Newcastle (0-2 in April 1994), Liverpool are unbeaten in each of the 22 such meetings since (W18 D4). Liverpool haven’t lost a home league game on Boxing Day since 1986-87 (0-1 vs Manchester United), winning eight and drawing three since then. Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge has been directly involved in eight goals in his last nine games against Newcastle in the Premier League (seven goals and one assist). Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez is winless in his three away games at Anfield against former club Liverpool (D2 L1), losing 0-2 in this fixture last season. Subscribe to Goal’s Liverpool Correspondent Neil Jones’ weekly email bringing you the best Liverpool FC writing from around the weblast_img read more

Juventus eye €15m-rated teenager Trincao

first_imgJuventus are working on a deal to sign Braga forward Francisco Trincao in January, Goal understands.The 18-year-old plays primarily as a right winger, but can also be deployed as a secondary striker, and has yet to make his breakthrough into Braga’s senior team.However, he has been capped at Under-17, Under-18, Under-19 and Under-20 level by Portugal, scoring 11 goals in 16 appearances for the Under-19 age group. 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? He has yet to complete 90 minutes for Braga B this season, but has made seven appearances. Last season, he scored five goals and created five more in 30 outings.Inter are also interested in the prospect of luring Trincao away from Portugal, but Juve have been working on a deal for months, and believe they are at the front of the queue.Trincao’s agent travelled to Turin to meet with representatives of the Bianconeri last week, but Braga are thus far refusing to budge on their asking price for the teenager.Trincao has a €15 million (£13.5m/$17.1m) release clause in his contract, and the Portuguese club want Juventus to pay in full.And while the Serie A champions are hopeful of completing a deal, they have thus far refused to match the clause.Trincao’s reputation precedes him, having enjoyed a stunning run of form in the European Under-19 championships in the summer.The winger shared the Golden Boot with team-mate Joao Filipe, as they both finished the tournament with five goals apiece.Trincao even scored in the final as Portugal defeated Italy 4-3 after extra time.last_img read more