Madrid cruise to Club World Cup glory

first_imgLuka Modric’s wonderful goal helped seal Club World Cup history as Real Madrid beat Al Ain 4-1 to become the first team to win the tournament three years in a row.Santiago Solari’s first silverware since being appointed as Julen Lopetegui’s successor was set up by Modric’s first-half strike as Madrid comfortably triumphed in Abu Dhabi on Saturday, moving past rivals Barcelona with their fourth title in the competition.The Croatia midfielder, who added the Ballon d’Or crown to his World Cup Golden Ball this month, bent the opener into the bottom-left corner from 25 yards, with Marcos Llorente also drilling home from outside the box before a Sergio Ramos header extended Madrid’s lead. 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? Al Ain had a goal from Caio Fernandes ruled out for offside when they only trailed by one and Zoran Mamic’s side – who replied through an excellent Tsukasa Shiotani header – can be proud of their efforts on home soil as massive underdogs against the European champions, despite Madrid adding a late fourth through Yahia Nader’s own goal.The perfect way to cap off #TheBest year for @lukamodric10? He has @realmadriden in front in the #ClubWC final  pic.twitter.com/VmlslWFoxG— #ClubWC  (@FIFAcom) December 22, 2018Madrid hit the post in the third minute when Llorente got clear in the left channel, his cutback deflected on to the woodwork by fortunate defender Ismail Ahmed.Al Ain should have taken the lead when Marcelo’s mistake let in Hussein El Shahat but captain Ramos made a miraculous goal-line clearance to deny the winger, then Madrid nudged in front.Neat build-up play from Karim Benzema set up Modric and the Ballon d’Or winner curled home a beauty from 25 yards, Caio then seeing a rapid reply ruled out for offside.Benzema missed a brilliant chance to extend Madrid’s lead before goalkeeper Khalid Eisa made outstanding saves to deny both Gareth Bale and Modric before the break.Madrid effectively clinched the trophy in the 60th minute when a cleared corner fell kindly to Llorente, his thumping half-volley giving Eisa no chance and opening his professional account in some style.Ramos powered home a Modric corner to make certain of Madrid’s victory, celebrating the goal with unused substitute Isco, although Al Ain scored a deserved consolation through Shiotani with four minutes left.Madrid had the final say, though, as a cross from substitute Vinicius Jr was turned into his own goal by Nader in the first minute of stoppage time. WHAT A GOAL!!!@marcosllorente pic.twitter.com/wsel09O91H— Real Madrid C.F.  (@realmadriden) December 22, 2018What does it mean? Solari up and runningThis was not always completely convincing from Madrid, but they did not need to get out of second gear. Solari’s side left too many gaps at the back and more clinical opponents may have punished them, but the coach will be relieved to collect the first trophy of his reign.Modric the man of the moment There were few arguments about Modric ending Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo’s dominance of the Ballon d’Or and he ended 2018 on another high note. His opening goal was superbly struck and the midfielder also forced a scrambling save from Eisa with a stunning volley as well as crossing for Ramos’ goal.Madrid survive Benzema’s baffling missRonaldo’s sale to Juventus meant Benzema would have to hugely increase his meagre goalscoring returns from last season to address the deficit. But the former France striker has struggled to step up, with an atrocious miss from Lucas Vazquez’s cross particularly worrying. Benzema – who has six league goals this season – did set up Modric’s opener, yet he is ultimately in the Madrid team to score goals, not make them.Key Opta Facts- Madrid have won the Club World Cup four times (2014, 2016, 2017 and 2018), surpassing Barcelona (2009, 2011 and 2015) to become the competition’s most successful team.- Solari is the first Argentinian manager to win the Club World Cup. The previous five Argentinians to manage in a Club World Cup final lost the game, all in charge of teams from South America.- Madrid captain Ramos is the third player to score in different Club World Cup finals, after Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.What’s next?Madrid can enjoy a brief break before returning to LaLiga action at Villarreal on January 3. read morelast_img read more

Report: Huddersfield 1 So’ton 3

first_imgRalph 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 morelast_img read more

Modric shows Messi & Ronaldo that 2018 was his year

first_imgSoftly spoken and self-effacing almost to a fault, not even being crowned the world’s best player could inflate Luka Modric’s ego.The 2018 Ballon d’Or winner ended a decade of tyrannical domination of the award by Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, who had shared out equally – if not always uncontroversially – the last 10 awards. Modric, however, saw his triumph as a win for the ‘little guy’.“Nobody has the right to compare themselves to [Messi and Ronaldo] the Real Madrid star told France Football upon receiving his new prize. “They are the best in the history of this sport. 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? “I am happy that someone normal is able to win the Ballon d’Or.”Do not be fooled by Modric’s diffidence, however. Beneath that unassuming exterior is a truly magnificent playmaker who fully deserves to have finished ahead of two footballing behemoths – a fact he underlined with a match-winning performance to crown Madrid world champions on Saturday.Santiago Solari’s men could have been forgiven for taking the Club World Cup final rather lightly. On the opposite side of the pitch were unheralded Al Ain, the local heroes in Abu Dhabi who had ejected Wellington, Esperance de Tunis and River Plate on the road to the decider but who were surely outmatched against the winners of the last three Champions League titles.Part of River’s downfall was underestimating that rival, though, and Madrid almost paid for the same mistake early on. A dreadful error from Marcelo just 12 minutes into the final sent Hussein El Shahat bursting through on goal and only Sergio Ramos’ miraculous stop on the line stopped the favourites going behind after Al Ain’s dangerman had danced past a flailing Thibaut Courtois.That near-miss was a show of the absent-mindedness and apparent lack of focus that has hurt Madrid time and again in this desperately disappointing start to the season. Luckily for the Liga side, they had an ace up their sleeve in the shape of their Croatian genius.Minutes after Ramos’ intervention Modric was given an inch of space on the edge of the Al Ain box. He does not need much more. The midfielder whipped the ball past goalkeeper Eisa with an unstoppable effort, a near-mirror image of the strike that finished off Argentina in this summer’s World Cup as this time round he opted to use his left boot.Luka Modric Real Madrid Al Ain CWC finalReal MadridFrom that point onwards, and despite another scare when the brilliant Caio scooped over Courtois’ head only to be called back for a marginal offside, the game was Madrid’s to lose.In the second half Marcos Llorente stepped up to take a leaf out of Modric’s and fire home a cracking volley, his first-ever Madrid goal effectively ending the final as a contest. Modric stepped up once again with a perfect corner to allow Ramos to extend the scoreline, before Al Ain grabbed a late consolation. An even later own goal meant that Madrid ran out 4-1 winners.After all the strife of the last few months, the Merengue received some welcome breathing space in the shape of silverware as Solari takes his first trophy in the hotseat. What is clear is that this team, dishevelled as it has been recently, still depend heavily on their No. 10, who once more has responded when it most counts.Perhaps Modric does not have the scintillating natural talent of Messi (but then who does?) or Ronaldo’s irrepressible eye for goal. But the facts speak for themselves. At 33 he continues to pull the strings in the team that have been crowned European and world champions for the last three years. He shows no sign of slowing down.When his heroics in leading unfancied Croatia to the World Cup final are taken into consideration there can be no doubt that he was the right man for the Ballon d’Or, a feat only made more exceptional by the fact he overthrew those two monsters to take the prize. Those who gripe and moan about the decision, often on social media with avatars depicting one of the pair above, miss the point about what these awards are supposed to signify.To put it simply, Modric was the outstanding star of the past 12 months, bringing his game to new heights to lead Madrid to further silverware and Croatia to the brink of glory. Like Andres Iniesta before him, he cannot be judged solely on goals, assists and other dry statistics; watching him glide across the pitch and making his side tick is a work of art that needs no numerical support.Perhaps one can only fault his own perceptions of himself, particularly when it comes to speaking to reporters. Normal? There is absolutely nothing normal about Modric and his marvellous 2018.last_img read more

Report: Chievo 1 Inter 1

first_imgInter missed the chance to significantly strengthen their grip on a Champions League place as a stoppage-time equaliser saw them held to a 1-1 draw at Serie A’s bottom club Chievo.Luciano Spalletti’s men were presented with an opportunity to increase the gap between themselves and fifth-placed AC Milan, who were beaten 1-0 at home by Fiorentina earlier on Saturday.The visitors were never at their best, but looked set to claim all three points thanks to Ivan Perisic’s close-range 39th-minute strike, which marked his first league goal since September. 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? However, a Chievo side that offered scant resistance provided a late sting in the tail thanks to Sergio Pellissier as the captain dinked over Samir Handanovic, meaning third-placed Inter are just six points clear of Milan in the fifth.112 & 33 – Ivan #Perisic has found the net in Serie A after 112 days and 33 shots his previous one. Recover. #ChievoInter pic.twitter.com/J7OuWfV38f— OptaPaolo (@OptaPaolo) December 22, 2018Chievo forced Handanovic into action in the first minute, the Inter goalkeeper dealing with an awkward bounce after Riccardo Meggiorini let fly with a long-range volley.Inter slowly took control of the game and only a fine reaction save from Stefano Sorrentino prevented him from turning home Danilo D’Ambrosio’s left-wing cross.Mauro Icardi and D’Ambrosio were involved as Inter broke the deadlock, though, combining down the left to set up Perisic to lash Inter into a lead that should have been doubled when Joao Mario shot wide from the Croatia international’s low delivery.Excellent build-up between Perisic and Icardi ended with the latter thwarted again by Sorrentino at the near post before a rare threatening Chievo attack saw Handanovic brilliantly turn Pellissier’s effort behind.It was Perisic who appeared the most likely to add to Inter’s tally in a game that always looked in hand, but his inability to do so proved costly as Mariusz Stepinski headed on for Pellissier to earn Chievo’s fifth point of a miserable season.| FT Chievo 1-1 InterIt ends all square here in Verona. #ChievoInter pic.twitter.com/n69wqUgLaN— Inter (@Inter_en) December 22, 2018What does it mean? Inferior foe again troubles Inter An inability to beat inferior opposition was Inter’s undoing in the Champions League as a 1-1 draw with PSV saw them knocked out, and that failing reared its head again as their defence was breached at the last. Worryingly for Spalletti, who saw penalty claims for a challenge on Borja Valero rejected by VAR late on, a much tougher test lies in wait.D’Ambrosio a delight Inter’s main threat came down the left from full-back D’Ambrosio, whose lack of a test defensively gave him the freedom to create the opener and set Icardi up for his first-half chance, which would have been decisive had it been taken.Joao Mario makes a meal of it Joao Mario had to stretch to meet Perisic’s centre on the stroke of half-time, but he still had the goal at his mercy from close range and should have found the net. Instead, his miss was one of many chances Inter will reflect on after dropping points to Serie A’s worst team.Key Opta Facts- Inter have failed to win any of their last four away Serie A games (2D 2L).- Chievo are unbeaten under Di Carlo in Serie A current season (5D).- Ivan Perisic found the net in Serie A some 112 days and 33 shots after his previous one.What’s next? An enticing and crucial clash awaits Inter at San Siro on Wednesday when Napoli are the visitors. Chievo travel to take on Sampdoria on the same day. read morelast_img read more

Tuchel thrilled with ‘almost perfect’ PSG start

first_imgThomas Tuchel believes the first half of his debut season at Paris Saint-Germain has been “almost perfect” as they head into the mid-season break 13 points clear at the Ligue 1 summit.PSG defeated Nantes 1-0 at the Parc des Princes on Saturday to ensure they retained their unbeaten start to the league season, having dropped just four points in total.Not only are PSG 13 points ahead of Lille, they also have two games in hand on their closest rivals, in what has been an emphatic beginning for Tuchel in Ligue 1. 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 while PSG have been consistently impressive, Tuchel also feels their progress is noticeable.”When you look at the results, it’s almost perfect,” Tuchel told reporters after Saturday’s game. “I am very, very happy.”We can see the progress of the team, we can feel the energy of the team. Everyone was very open to new ideas. It was nice.”Saturday’s game was PSG’s first in Ligue 1 since December 5, as the champions have had two matches postponed due to the ‘gilet jaunes’ demonstrations.It had been suggested PSG looked tired and lacking in sharpness in what was a rather laboured victory over Nantes, though Tuchel is adamant the team were “amazing”.”No, I do not think so,” he said when asked if they were tired. “We had 70 per cent possession, we had 40 touches in the opposing area, we had 23 shots… It’s amazing.@TTuchelofficial ‘s end-of-the-year message for the fans Rate @PSG_English ‘s first half of the season in word?   #ICICESTPARIS pic.twitter.com/o45ekBTZIB — Paris Saint-Germain (@PSG_English) December 22, 2018 “We played with a lot of quality. We do a very aggressive counter-pressing, we just lacked precision in the final touch, in the last pass.”In my opinion, this is a match we could’ve won by four goals. We controlled the match. We deserved to win.”We are tired, but that’s normal. The team has been amazing. I compliment my players.”The club will return to action for a cup match on January 6 but do not have a league match scheduled until six days later against Amiens.  But all eyes at PSG will be on Manchester United as the two have been drawn against each other the last 16 of the Champions League.last_img read more

‘Pogba hasn’t won a war, he’s not bigger than Man Utd’

first_imgPaul Pogba has not “won a war” against Manchester United, according to Peter Schmeichel, who believes Ole Gunnar Solskjaer can help the France star reach his potential.Solskjaer’s temporary tenure at United got off to a flying start on Saturday, as the Red Devils hammered his former club Cardiff City 5-1.Pogba, left out against Liverpool as Jose Mourinho’s spell ended with a 3-1 defeat at Anfield, returned to the side for Solskjaer’s maiden game, and took a starring role with two assists. 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 well-publicised issues with the midfielder added to the troubles at Old Trafford, but Schmeichel insists that the club must not allow Pogba to believe that he is bigger than the club.”Mourinho did put himself in the limelight, not in the correct way or the way that you want the United manager to be,” Schmeichel told BBC Radio 5 Live . “There were stories about the manager being at war with certain players. That’s happened many times, but the club has always been able to deal with that in the dressing room.”I want to see Pogba being a United player as good as everything else he does in life.”He’s absolutely brilliant on social media, and he’s projecting himself to be this incredibly important player.”We’ve seen it at Juventus, we’ve seen it with France, we haven’t seen it with Manchester United and what’s really important here is that no player, regardless of how much money they make, how much they’ve been bought for, has ever been bigger than the club or the manager.”This has been now portrayed like Pogba has won a war, this doesn’t work for me, that cannot happen for United.”It’s now really important that the club deal with this situation. Pogba, or any other player, cannot be bigger than the club.”Morning, Reds #MUFC pic.twitter.com/taTCUVKt0Q — Manchester United (@ManUtd) December 23, 2018 And Schmeichel believes that his former team-mate Solskjaer can use his experience as United’s reserve team coach to aid Pogba’s development.”Ole is definitely a different personality and a different direction,” Schmeichel added.”He’s stuck to the tradition and the history of the club, and respected it all the way, and had a great run as reserve coach for the club, and this is significant, because he was dealing with players like Pogba and Jesse Lingard, and these players that seem to be the players that Mourinho had problems with.”I think this is key, and the brief that Ole has got is to tame that situation, make someone like Pogba play to the potential that we know already that he has got.” Check out Goal’s Premier League 2019-20 fantasy football podcast for game tips, debate and rivalries.last_img read more

Nainggolan suspended by Inter for ‘disciplinary reasons’

first_imgRadja 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.last_img read more

Ribery open to another year with Bayern

first_imgBayern Munich winger Franck Ribery has admitted that he could see himself remaining at the Bundesliga champions for another year after his impressive performance against Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday helped them to victory.The Frenchman’s brace inspired Niko Kovac’s side to a 3-0 win in the final game before the winter break, to ensure that they stay within feasible distance of league leaders Borussia Dortmund.His two goals also ensured that, at 35, he became the oldest player in Bayern history to achieve a double in a game for the club. 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? Ribery has been linked with an exit from the club he has called home for more than a decade at the end of the current campaign, with club officials Hasan Salihamidzic and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge hinting that this could be his last season at the Allianz Arena.Speaking afterwards, the midfielder’s tune was more ambiguous, acknowledging that he could still see his future with Bayern while admitting that he has no concrete plans beyond next May.“Yes, of course,” Ribery told Sky when asked about remaining in Munich, before adding: “My situation is not easy to assess.“But I just work, I’m having fun and I’m performing. What will happen next season, we’ll see.”Ribery joined Bayern from Marseille in 2007 and has gone on to win virtually every major honour with the club.He is an eight-time winner of the Bundesliga and also holds medals for the DFB-Pokal and DFB-Supercup domestically.In Europe, he has won the Champions League and the Super Cup as well as the Club World Cup in 2013.He was also a runner-up with France at the 2006 World Cup, featuring in the final for Les Bleus as they were beaten on penalties by Italy.Ribery has also been named in UEFA’s Team of the Year twice, both times while playing for Bayern, in 2008 and 2013.If he is to depart, he would become the second big-name winger to exit the club in the space of a season, after Arjen Robben confirmed he would call time on his 10-year Bayern career at the end of the current season.last_img read more

United striker ‘one of the best number nines in the world’

first_imgManchester United striker Romelu Lukaku has been unfairly criticised for his performances this season, Belgium boss Roberto Martinez says.The 25-year-old has only managed six goals in all competitions in 2018-19 and was not always guaranteed a regular starting spot during former manager Jose Mourinho’s final few weeks in charge.Ole Gunnar Solskjaer oversaw a 5-1 thrashing of Cardiff City on Saturday in his first match as caretaker boss, but Lukaku was absent after missing training in the build-up to the trip to Wales. 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? Despite his struggles at club level, Lukaku is a key part of Martinez’s Belgium side, scoring 14 goals in as many games in 2018.And the former Everton boss thinks the scrutiny on the striker’s scoring record for United is often unfairly used against him.”There is a negative way of assessing Romelu’s performance for Manchester United,” he told The Sunday Times.”When Rom scores, everyone expects him to score, and when he doesn’t, he is almost directly the reason United haven’t won.”But Rom is ready for that challenge. He will never hide away. He understands what is expected of him. “For Belgium, he has shown he’s one of the best number nines in the world and I don’t understand why he’s being treated in a manner which he doesn’t deserve.” Check out Goal’s Premier League 2019-20 fantasy football podcast for game tips, debate and rivalries.last_img read more

‘Ozil doesn’t listen to negative headlines’

first_imgMesut 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.last_img read more

‘That’s how Man United are expected to play’

first_imgLuke Shaw said Manchester United’s demolition of Cardiff City is how the Premier League giants are “expected to play”, though the left-back insisted Jose Mourinho’s efforts should not be forgotten.Mourinho was sacked by United on Tuesday and the arrival of caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer liberated the Red Devils, who hammered Cardiff 5-1 on Saturday.United were at their free-flowing best as they scored five goals in a Premier League game for the first time since Alex Ferguson’s final match in 2013. 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 moved the ball quicker,” Shaw said. “The goals we scored were just magnificent. Rash’s [Marcus Rashford’s] free-kick helped settle the nerves.”Then we carried on from there. They scored a goal but we didn’t change anything. We carried on playing and the third goal was an amazing team goal.””Under any circumstances, that’s how Man United are expected to play,” Shaw continued. “At times [under Mourinho] it didn’t happen. But the team were very good [against Cardiff], very quick getting the ball forwards and I think we were more clinical.”In games before we’ve had a lot of chances that could’ve maybe ended up with a scoreline like that. It was nice to get the five goals, which we haven’t done for a while, and hopefully we can push on from here.”Gaffer already taken my place in Pogs new celebration #MUFC pic.twitter.com/YNVSPfwdRu— Luke Shaw (@LukeShaw23) December 22, 2018Mourinho’s two-and-a-half-year tenure came to an end with United sixth and 19 points adrift of Premier League leaders Liverpool.The Portuguese won the Europa League, EFL Cup and Community Shield in his first season in charge before United finished second and 19 points behind Manchester City last term.Shaw added: “It’s not very nice when something as big as that happens at the club, but I think we all as players and as a team show respect in what happened. People might be quick to forget what Jose did for United – the three trophies he won – he did a lot.”Obviously, one of the trophies was one we had not won before. He took us to three trophies in one season so those people need to respect him and remember what he did for not only us as a team to win those trophies, but the fans as well.” Check out Goal’s Premier League 2019-20 fantasy football podcast for game tips, debate and rivalries.last_img read more

Saha backs Zidane for United

first_imgFormer 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.last_img read more

Celtic tie teenage sensation Dembele to pro deal

first_imgTeenage sensation Karamoko Dembele has signed a professional contract with Celtic that ties him to the Scottish champions until 2021.Dembele has progressed through the youth ranks at Celtic at an alarming rate , playing for their Under-20 side in 2016 at just 13.The 15-year-old’s rise has seen him linked with Chelsea and Manchester City but he will begin his professional career at Celtic, with Brendan Rodgers expecting him to be challenging for a first-team place soon. 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? “My goal is to play for the first team,” Dembele told the club’s official website. “As soon as I can, I’m going to try to get into the first team, 100 per cent.”In the reserves, every training session, every game – it’s all to prove myself to the manager that I can play in the first team.”He added: “I’d like to say thank you to everyone, and I’d like to thank everyone for everything they’ve done for me.”I’d also like to thank everyone for the training I’ve received, the discipline I’ve been taught, and the advice I’ve been given all the way.”Getting attention at a young age has been hard. You need to be strong mentally, you need to stay grounded, and you just need to get on with everything that you do on a daily basis.”Seeing players come through the academy and into the first team gives you hope, because you know they’ve taken the same path.”That means you’ve got a chance to make it into the first team if you work hard and give it your all.”last_img read more

Reduction in Mosquito Breeding Sites in Westmoreland

first_img Vector Control Officer at the Westmoreland Health Department, Ryan Morris, is reporting a major reduction in breeding sites for the Aedes aegypti mosquito in the parish.“We have seen a significant trending down, and we are heading back to normalcy,” he told JIS News.He said that following the declaration of an outbreak of dengue fever in January, the department’s capacity was enhanced with the addition of 29 temporary vector control workers from the Housing, Opportunity, Production and Employment (HOPE) Programme and the Ministry of Health Vector Support Programme, bringing the total to 60.They worked along with the eight permanent workers to destroy mosquito breeding grounds in the parish.“We were also encouraged to hire additional transportation to assist with getting the staff to and from locations to undertake larvicidal control activities,” Mr. Morris noted.He said that the boost in staff complement enabled the department to carry out eradication activities in more communities.While the temporary workers completed their three-month stint on April 5, Mr. Morris said that activities will continue, to ensure maximum coverage of high-risk areas.“To date, we have two private pest controllers operating within the parish, one operating in eastern Westmoreland, while the other is at the western end. The main team continues to fog the central area of the parish,” he noted.Health and Education Promotions Officer at the Westmoreland Health Department, Gerald Miller, for his part, told JIS News that the department embarked on a sensitisation programme aimed at engaging residents in destroying mosquito breeding sites.“We have been utilising the JIS to do community announcements on dengue-prevention methods in various sections of the parish. This was done from February 15 to March 31. High-risk areas of the parish were targeted. Our sensitisation sessions in the clinics and hospitals are ongoing, as well as public service announcements by way of a local radio station in the parish,” he said.“The response has been great. Persons are now saturated with the information, and we hope that they transfer that into their behaviour,” he added.The Aedes aegypti mosquito is responsible for the spread of the dengue, Zika and chikungunya viruses. Vector Control Officer at the Westmoreland Health Department, Ryan Morris, is reporting a major reduction in breeding sites for the Aedes aegypti mosquito in the parish. “We have seen a significant trending down, and we are heading back to normalcy,” he told JIS News. Story Highlights He said that following the declaration of an outbreak of dengue fever in January, the department’s capacity was enhanced with the addition of 29 temporary vector control workers from the Housing, Opportunity, Production and Employment (HOPE) Programme and the Ministry of Health Vector Support Programme, bringing the total to 60. last_img read more

Indigenous pipeline bidder launches listening tour along Trans Mountain route

first_imgThe existing Trans Mountain pipeline crosses a river in Chilliwack, B.C., near Cheam First Nation. (APTN file)The Canadian PressAn Indigenous group planning to bid for ownership of the Trans Mountain pipeline is launching a “listening tour” of Indigenous communities in B.C. and Alberta.Project Reconciliation says the tour will begin in Kamloops in mid-August and will invite First Nations and Metis Nation people and communities along the pipeline route from Edmonton to the West Coast to share their thoughts about Indigenous ownership.Delbert Wapass, executive chair and founder of Project Reconciliation, says the tour will provide information on his group’s proposal but is also designed to gather feedback to be reflected in its final submission to the federal government.51 per cent Wapass, the former chief of Saskatchewan’s Thunderchild First Nation, is proposing ownership of at least 51 per cent of the federal government-owned pipeline be shared among all participating Indigenous communities in B.C., Alberta and Saskatchewan.The group would put 80 per cent of the cash flow from the pipeline stake into a “sovereign wealth fund” to invest in environmentally friendly projects.Its bid is opposed by the Western Indigenous Pipeline Group which argues Trans Mountain should be owned by communities actually located on the route as they are most at risk from an oil spill.Ottawa has indicated support for the idea of selling the pipeline to Indigenous owners but says decisions won’t be made until the pipeline expansion project is “de-risked.”last_img read more