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 say
Ashley Young admits Manchester United have endured “a tough week”, but has called on those around him to “play for the badge” as a new era is opened at Cardiff.The Red Devils will take to the field in South Wales with a new manager at the helm, with Jose Mourinho having been relieved of his duties.Inconsistent displays from an underperforming squad spelled the end for the Portuguese, with a 3-1 defeat to Liverpool proving to be the final straw. 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? Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been drafted in as Mourinho’s successor and is being backed to bring a feel-good factor back to Old Trafford.Young concedes there have not been too many smiles on United faces of late, but told the club’s official website: “It’s been a tough week.“But we’ve got to move on now, move forward and concentrate on this game. We need to get ourselves back to winning ways.“You go out there as a player and you want to win, play for the badge, play for this fantastic club, the best club in the world and for us now it’s about looking ahead and looking at the next couple of games we’ve got coming up.“It’s a busy Christmas period and we want to get points on the board and start getting ourselves back up the table.”The Red Devils are looking for returning hero Solskjaer to make an immediate impact, with the presence of a 1999 Treble winner helping to raise spirits around the club.“I’m sure Ole is excited to be back, Mike Phelan as well,” added Young. “For Ole to walk back in here must feel unbelievable. The fans love him, he loves the club and it can only be a good thing for us.“With me being one of the older heads, I [previously] worked under Mike and it’s nice to see him back on the training pitch again.”Young has also hailed the impact of the backroom team at United, with Michael Carrick, Kieran McKenna and goalkeeping coach Emilio Alvarez all having important roles to play in the present and future.“Carras, Kieran and Emilio have been fantastic,” he said. “The training sessions they’ve put on have been fantastic, top notch.“I can definitely see Carras being a manager one day and Kieran has been brilliant stepping up to the first team [from the Under-18s]. He’s taken to it like a duck to water and Emilio is a fantastic goalkeeping coach. It’s nice for them to be here and work under Mick and Ole as well.“The main thing for us has been not to be caught up in everything and instead just concentrate on our work on the pitch and get ourselves fully prepared for this weekend’s game. That’s all you can do as players; be prepared and be ready for the game that we’ve got coming up.” Check out Goal’s Premier League 2019-20 fantasy football podcast for game tips, debate and rivalries.
Antoine Griezmann’s penalty was enough as Atletico Madrid moved up to second in LaLiga after claiming an unremarkable 1-0 win over Espanyol, as the Frenchman reached 200 career goals for club and country.Espanyol produced a fine performance given their wretched form, but Atletico just about managed to earn the victory which moves them back above Sevilla at least until Sunday thanks to Griezmann.The visitors looked considerably more threatening in the first half, with Jan Oblak having to be at his best to deny Borja Iglesias and one-time Atletico striker Leo Baptistao. 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 Espanyol’s attacking threat fizzled out somewhat after the break and Atletico made the most of that, with Griezmann’s penalty proving decisive and inflicting a sixth successive league defeat on Espanyol, their worst run since 2003. 94′ | 1-0 | ¡FINAAAAL! ¡Cerramos el 2018 con tres puntos en el Wanda @Metropolitano!#AtletiEspanyol#AúpaAtleti pic.twitter.com/vMfkhSoMDq— Atlético de Madrid (@Atleti) December 22, 2018Espanyol looked the more creative of the two sides early on and went close twice in the first 15 minutes, as Esteban Granero sent a chip just wide of the top-left corner, before Oblak had to be alert to tip a similar effort from Iglesias over.Oblak made another vital stop in the 28th minute when parrying Baptistao’s fierce 20-yard volley, though he had to rely on his left-hand post to stop the Brazilian’s follow-up effort.Atletico finally tested Diego Lopez just before the break – the former Real Madrid goalkeeper pushing a Griezmann volley wide.The hosts looked more solid defensively after the interval and then found themselves ahead in the 56th minute, as Griezmann emphatically slammed a penalty into the roof of the net as a consequence of Koke being felled by a wild Granero kick.Atletico should have rounded things off when Gelson Martins was tackled in the penalty area on the counter, though it had no impact on the score as the hosts held on at the other end.200 – @atletienglish’s Antoine Griezmann has scored his 200th goal in his professional career (club and country). Milestone. pic.twitter.com/2vi3bWhw6f— OptaJose (@OptaJose) December 22, 2018 What does it mean? Atletico ride their luckAtletico were again guilty of producing an unimpressive performance, finding themselves under pressure a lot in the first half. Although they weathered the storm and came out unscathed, one has to assume their luck will run out eventually against better – more ruthless – opposition.Oblak proves his worth, againHaving an immense goalkeeper really does make a difference, as Oblak showed on Saturday. Not only did he produce some vital saves, he dealt particularly well when put under physical pressure at set-pieces, somehow managing to routinely clear his lines despite being surrounded.Kalinic kept quietCroatian striker Nikola Kalinic was hoping to score in a third successive LaLiga game, but he offered very little before the interval, with Naldo generally bossing him. He was then replaced by Vitolo, who injected more urgency into Atletico’s attack.Key Opta Facts- No side has kept more clean sheets than Atletico Madrid in the top five European leagues in 2018 (21, level with Juventus). – Griezmann has scored 40 goals in 2018 for club and country, more than in any other calendar year.- Atletico have picked up 50 points at Wanda Metropolitano in La Liga in 2018 (W15 D5 L1), more than any other side at home in the competition.- Antoine Griezmann has been involved in 11 goals in his last 10 games for Atletico de Madrid in all competitions (seven goals and four assists).- Espanyol have lost their last six LaLiga games, their worst run in the competition since October 2003 (also six).- Atletico faced more shots in the first half against Espanyol (10) than in any other first half of a league game at Wanda Metropolitano. What’s next?After the winter break, Atletico face a trip to fellow high-flyers Sevilla in what promises to be a feisty encounter at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, while Espanyol host Leganes. read more
Manchester United cruised to an impressive 5-1 Premier League victory over Cardiff City on Saturday in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s first match in charge.Three goals in the first half from Marcus Rashford, Ander Herrera and Anthony Martial and a brace from Jesse Lingard earned all three points at Cardiff City Stadium, with Victor Camaras’ penalty proving little consolation.United stay sixth in the table, but the manner of the performance, as well as the result – the first time the side have scored five times in the league since Alex Ferguson’s final game – will have been a welcome sight for the travelling fans at the end of a week that saw Jose Mourinho’s contentious time in charge come to an end. 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 new United era got off to a stunning start when Rashford blasted home a free-kick from 30 yards out that left goalkeeper Neil Etheridge rooted to the spot.Almost 81 per cent of possession underlined United’s early control, and the scoreline reflected their dominance when Herrera’s strike looped off Greg Cunningham’s shoulder and into the net 29 minutes in.Cardiff were gifted a lifeline when Camarasa fired high into the net from the spot, but United’s two-goal lead was restored three minutes later, when Martial slotted beneath Etheridge after a sublime one-touch passing move involving Lingard and Paul Pogba, restored to the starting line-up.3 – Man Utd have scored three first half goals in a Premier League away game for the first time since November 2017 v Watford. Reaction. #CARMUN pic.twitter.com/ENU4COALZJ— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 22, 2018And any hope of a Cardiff comeback was promptly extinguished 11 minutes into the second half, when Lingard dispatched a confident penalty after he had been bundled to the ground by Sol Bamba.Pogba and Phil Jones were each denied by good Etheridge saves, while David de Gea kept out a good Kenneth Zohore attempt. It was 5-1 when Lingard rounded the keeper and slotted home from Pogba’s pass in the 90th minute to secure a first away league win since November 3 in style and give Solskjaer extra cause for celebration against the club he used the manage. 500/100 – Anthony Martial’s strike vs Cardiff was the 500th goal scored in the Premier League this season, in what was his 100th league game for Man Utd. Milestones. #CARMUN pic.twitter.com/y8fs7lJ9En— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 22, 2018What does it mean? Solskjaer has lifted the gloom’You make me happy, when skies are grey’ goes the song sung in Solskjaer’s honour by United fans, and that certainly seems to be the case at the end of a week that started with Mourinho apparently looking likely to stay in the job.United looked liberated in south Wales, playing expressive, attacking football and scoring the goals to go with it, while much-maligned players like Victor Lindelof seemed to exude confidence.Yes, Cardiff were undeniably poor and, yes, United are still sixth, but this was a match where the manner of the performance was arguably more important for the visitors than the result itself.Lingard given a licence to thrillLingard epitomised the freedom with which United’s attacking players performed. His assist for Martial’s goal and his well-taken penalty were the high points of a display full of verve, and Cardiff never quite got to grips with him.Bumbling Bamba a burdenBamba was dispossessed too easily by Pogba in the build-up to Herrera’s goal, his clumsy foul allowed Lingard to make it 4-1 and he missed a good chance for a goal. It was not his finest outing.Key Opta Facts- Since Alex Ferguson left the club, four of the five different managers to take charge of Manchester United have seen their side score 3+ goals in their first Premier League game (Moyes 4, Mourinho 3, Giggs 4 and Solskjaer 5). – Cardiff manager Neil Warnock suffered his 50th Premier League defeat, in what was his 92nd game in the competition – only Mick McCarthy (79), Danny Wilson (87) and Gary Megson (91) have reached 50 defeats in fewer games managed.- Anthony Martial has been directly involved in 70 goals for Manchester United in all competitions (45 goals, 25 assists); the most of any player for the club since his debut in September 2015.- Manchester United’s third goal against Cardiff – scored by Anthony Martial – was the 500th netted in the Premier League this season. What’s next?Huddersfield Town visit Old Trafford for the first home game of the Solskjaer era, while Cardiff head to Crystal Palace, both on December 26. read more
A dreadful 0-0 Premier League draw between Newcastle United and Fulham gave Claudio Ranieri’s bottom-of-the-table side their first clean sheet of the season.Saturday’s match at St James’ Park saw neither side create a clear goalscoring opportunity, with the defensive improvement for Fulham one positive to emerge, after they failed to shut out an opponent over the first 17 games of the campaign.Newcastle continue to struggle at home and in general in front of goal, but do at least extend their advantage over the bottom three to five points after Burnley’s defeat at Arsenal. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Against his former club, Aleksandar Mitrovic had an early shot saved by Martin Dubravka, before a Jamaal Lascelles header bounced off the striker at the other end and was hacked away from the line by Denis Odoi.Dubravka gathered Jean Michael Seri’s free-kick towards the end of a drab first half where neither side looked likely to score.Mitrovic sent a poor finish straight at Dubravka just after the restart, while Salomon Rondon had a penalty claim turned down after being bundled over by Alfie Mawson.The first substitution did not come until Rafael Benitez introduced Kenedy with 18 minutes remaining, and the wing-back had another home penalty appeal denied after tussling with Joe Bryan.Fabian Schar then sent a header just over, but Fulham came closest to a late winner as Mitrovic, fed by Aboubakar Kamara, had an effort dramatically blocked by a sliding Lascelles, the visitors’ claims for handball ignored at the end of a second period that saw neither keeper troubled.FULL-TIME Newcastle 0-0 FulhamNothing to separate the sides as Fulham remain rooted to the bottom#NEWFUL pic.twitter.com/J0YxIzajVh— Premier League (@premierleague) December 22, 2018 What does it mean? A result for Fulham to build on While they offered little going forward in this game, Fulham have at least shown earlier in the season that they can be a threat in attack.It is their defensive woes that have cost them up to now, and a first clean sheet will come as a huge boost to Ranieri ahead of the busy festive schedule.Newcastle are the second-lowest scorers in the league with 14 from 18 games, and have only won two of their 10 home matches in the top flight. They are both issues Benitez must address with the help of some much-needed January additions after a game that saw them fail to register an attempt on target.Fulham back three deliversMawson, Odoi and Tim Ream combined to make 20 clearances as they adequately dealt with what was often a direct Newcastle approach, reaching an important defensive milestone in the process. Mawson particularly deserves credit, having battled on to complete the game despite being on the receiving end of an inadvertent punch to the face from his own goalkeeper Sergio Rico in the first half.Poor Perez must do moreAyoze Perez feels it is unfair that he receives criticism from the Newcastle support, but it is hard to argue his case after this game. Despite playing the full 90 minutes, he failed to register a shot on goal or create a single chance for his team-mates.Key Opta Facts- Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez has yet to lose a home Premier League game against Fulham (W4 D4), with his teams keeping a clean sheet in each of the last six meetings.- Fulham have kept their first clean sheet in the Premier League in 22 games, since winning 1-0 against Norwich City in April 2014.- Fulham have won just their second away point in their last 12 outings in the Premier League (D2 L10).What’s next?Newcastle have an attractive-looking festive fixture away to league leaders Liverpool on December 26, the same day as Fulham hope to build on this result as they host Wolves. read more
Juventus retain a firm grip on first place in Serie A , with Roma the next side to challenge the apparently untouchable Turin giants as they visit the Allianz Stadium on Saturday.Juve boast 15 wins and one draw from their opening 16 matches of the campaign, which is the best record of any club in Europe’s top five leagues. They were pushed a week ago by Torino, but a Cristiano Ronaldo penalty gave them a 1-0 win over their neighbours. Roma, meanwhile, are in the race for a Champions League spot but are not hitting the heights expected of them and will have to raise their level substantially to challenge Italy’s top dogs. 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 Juventus vs Roma Date Saturday, December 22 Time 7:30pm BST / 2:30pm ET TV Channel, Live Stream & How To Watch In the United States (US), the game will be shown on Rai Italia America and live-streamed through ESPN+. US TV channel Online stream Rai Italia America ESPN+ In the United Kingdom (UK), the game can be streamed via Eleven Sports 1. UK TV channel Online stream N/A Eleven Sports 1 Squads & Team News Position Juventus players Goalkeepers Szczesny, Pinsoglio, Perin Defenders De Sciglio, Chiellini, Benatia, Bonucci, Cancelo, Rugani, Sandro, Barzagli Midfielders Pjanic, Matuidi, Can, Bentancur, Bernardeschi, Spinazzola, Khedira Forwards Ronaldo, Dybala, Costa, Cuadrado, Mandzukic Juventus have seen Sami Khedira return to regular training this week, but it is too early for the midfielder to see action.Joao Cancelo and Juan Cuadrado remain the key injury problems for the Turin giants.Juventus starting XI: Szczesny; De Sciglio, Bonucci, Chiellini, Alex Sandro; Bentancur, Pjanic, Matuidi; Dybala; Mandzukic, Ronaldo. Position Roma players Goalkeepers Olsen, Mirant Defenders Karsdorp, Pellegrini, Juan Jesus, Kolarov, Marcano, Santon, Fazio, Manolas Midfielders Cristante, Pellegrini, De Rossi, Coric, Zaniolo, Florenzi, Pastore, N’Zonzi Forwards Perotti, Dzeko, Schick, Cengiz Under, Kluivert, Celar, El Shaarawy Daniele De Rossi has been out since October with knee trouble and is missing once again. Edin Dzeko is fit enough to play some part, but only from the bench.Roma starting XI: Olsen; Santon, Manolas, Fazio, Kolarov; Cristante, Nzonzi; Under, Zaniolo, Florenzi; Schick.Betting & Match Odds Juventus are 4/9 favourites with bet365 , while Roma can be backed at 9/1. A draw, meanwhile, is priced at 10/3.Click here to see more offers for the game, including goalscoring markets, correct score predictions and more. Match Preview It has been another thoroughly satisfactory week for Juventus, who lead Serie A by eight points over second-placed Napoli with a virtually unblemished record approaching their final match before Christmas.Star summer signing Cristiano Ronaldo proved the difference from the penalty spot as Torino were seen off 1-0 last weekend in a competitive local derby, while away from the field they have been heartened by Alex Sandro penning a new deal and Daniele Rugani closing in on one. Certainly, the Portuguese’s presence seems to have boosted spirits in the camp, with Moise Kean explaining to RMC : “I had only seen him on the PlayStation before! Playing with him has improved me a lot, I learn a lot from him as well as from the other champions with the Bianconeri.”Perhaps the only concern for Juve came in Monday’s Champions League draw, in which they were paired with Atletico Madrid, despite beating Manchester United to finish top of their pool.“We didn’t have much luck,” vice-chairman Pavel Nedved lamented.But Juve can worry about Atleti in February, particularly as they have a challenging Serie A match forthcoming against Roma.With only six wins from 16 league matches this season, Eusebio Di Francesco finds himself a man under pressure.They have conceded two goals in each of their last five outings in all competitions and had to twice come from behind to beat Genoa 3-2 at the Stadio Olimpico last weekend.“We have so much pressure on us that the wait for the next match has been really hard,” captain De Rossi explained. “We have a lot of pressure on our shoulders. We’re in a delicate period because we know we have to do better than we have been doing.“We are all under observation, including the coach, and we know it. We want to have a great match, more for ourselves than for the importance of the game. Against the strongest of them all.”A massive 22 points behind Juve, it is abundantly clear how daunting their task is.
Softly 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.From 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.
Juventus 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.
Kylian Mbappe made the difference in the absence of Neymar, scoring the only goal of the game as Paris Saint-Germain beat Nantes 1-0 to end 2018 in victorious fashion.Brazil star Neymar had been allowed to travel back to his home country to rest following recent struggles with a groin injury, and while PSG missed his craft, they scraped the win nonetheless.Angel Di Maria looked PSG’s biggest threat in the first half, though his two best strikes did not quite hit the target as the hosts failed to make the most of their superiority. 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? PSG remained the controlling force after the interval and finally broke the deadlock through Mbappe in the 68th minute, and that proved to be enough as the hosts’ first Ligue 1 game since December 5 – due to the ‘gilet jaunes’ demonstrations – ended with a triumph.FULL TIME: PSG end the year on a winning note, beating Nantes 1-0 on @KMbappe’s lone goal! #AllesParis #PSGFCN pic.twitter.com/kn6DKKRaUR— Paris Saint-Germain (@PSG_English) December 22, 2018It took less than a minute for PSG to threaten, as Di Maria saw a controlled volley go agonisingly over Ciprian Tatarusanu’s crossbar.But that failed to usher in a period of PSG bombardment, with their next opportunity not presenting itself until the 25th minute, when Julian Draxler shot over from 20 yards after Mbappe’s cut-back.Di Maria went close again a few moments later, his 25-yard strike flying past the right-hand post with Tatarusanu looking beaten.PSG continued to threaten from distance after the break, with Di Maria – again – and Mbappe shooting just off target in the first 12 minutes.Draxler thought he opened the scoring after an hour, but VAR proved the ball went out of play in the build-up, despite Marco Verratti’s best efforts.There was no denying Mbappe 22 minutes from time, though, as he turned in – via the crossbar – from close range after Marquinhos flicked on Di Maria’s corner.Di Maria saw another effort thud against the crossbar but it mattered little as PSG secured victory to open up a 13-point lead over Lille – beaten 2-1 by Toulouse – at the top of the table.He’s not a teenager anymore #AllezParis #PSGFCN pic.twitter.com/r5zSMzNEjH— Paris Saint-Germain (@PSG_English) December 22, 2018What does it mean? PSG lacking sharpnessIt is fair to say PSG looked a little off the pace on Saturday, and it is easy to understand why, given the only teams they have faced since December 5 were Red Star Belgrade and Orleans. Considering the circumstances and the absence of Neymar, they will surely be happy to get this one out of the way.Di Maria provides PSG’s sparkWith Neymar not featuring, Di Maria took on the mantle of PSG’s creative hub and he was certainly lively, seeing several shots go close. He was unable to get a deserved goal, but there is no doubt about the quality he showed.Cavani blends into the backgroundPerhaps the service to him was lacking, but Edinson Cavani did little to make any openings for himself and rarely featured in build-up play before being hooked towards the end.Key Opta Facts- PSG have won their last 14 games against Nantes in Ligue 1, and become the first ever top-flight team to win 14 consecutive games against the same opponent.- Nantes have failed to score in eight of their last 10 away games against PSG in Ligue 1 (2 goals).- Thomas Tuchel’s side have picked up 47 points after 17 games in Ligue 1, the highest tally in the history of the top-flight at this stage.- PSG are the only team to have scored in all of their Ligue 1 games this season (17/17).- Mbappé’s goal in the 68th minute was PSG’s first shot on target.- The 20-year-old has scored 13 goals in Ligue 1 this season, only Lionel Messi (15) has scored more in the top 5 leagues.What’s next?After the winter break, PSG have games against Pontivy and Guingamp in the Coupe de France and Coupe de la Ligue, respectively, before then returning to Ligue 1 action on January 11 at Amiens. Nantes will host Chateauroux in the Coupe de France, then Montpellier in the league four days later on January 8. read more
Juventus dealt a fresh blow to Eusebio Di Francesco’s job security in a routine 1-0 win over an outclassed Roma at Allianz Stadium on Saturday.Champions League semi-finalists last season, Roma have been a shadow of their former selves this term and were no match for the Serie A champions despite the narrow final scoreline.Mario Mandzukic’s commanding header, his eighth league goal of the campaign, gave Juve a deserved half-time lead and they were rarely troubled in restoring an eight-point gap to second-placed Napoli, who earlier beat SPAL 1-0. 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? Robin Olsen’s string of stellar saves ultimately achieved little more than keeping the score down as the under-pressure Di Francesco was left to defend a run of just one victory in seven competitive matches.How did you celebrate this moment from @MarioMandzukic9? #JuveRoma #FinoAllaFine #ForzaJuve pic.twitter.com/QdEqdHOq11— JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) December 22, 2018Roma encountered intense early pressure and only an in-form Olsen prevented them from slipping to an earlier deficit.The Sweden goalkeeper brilliantly denied Alex Sandro in the seventh minute and was at his athletic best in turning a Cristiano Ronaldo shot around the upright.His saves only prolonged the inevitable as Juve’s opener arrived in the 35th minute, Mandzukic towering above Davide Santon and heading in Mattia De Sciglio’s cross.Ronaldo must have felt a sense of deja vu when Olsen frustrated him with two fine saves in quick succession prior to the hour, causing the Portugal attacker to kick out at the post in irritation.Massimiliano Allegri’s men twice had late goals disallowed on their way to sealing a record 16th victory in 17 Serie A fixtures. Giorgio Chiellini was adjudged to have fouled the Giallorossi goalkeeper, before substitute Douglas Costa’s stoppage-time strike was overturned on VAR due to Blaise Matuidi’s crude challenge on Nicolo Zaniolo in the build-up.What does it mean? Di Francesco in dangerThe goodwill Roma boss Di Francesco built up during an excellent 2017-18 campaign could soon evaporate if results do not turn.There are just two points separating his team and 12th-placed Parma after 17 matches, with considerable January investment seemingly the only antidote to a sub-par run of results.Brilliant Bentancur makes seamless comebackRodrigo Bentancur returned to Juve’s starting XI following a one-match suspension and got straight back to dominating the midfield.Though still only 21, the midfielder is a key cog for Allegri and demonstrated as such by topping the match count for tackles while rarely wasting possession.Santon switches offGranted, there was a mismatch in size at the far post, but Roma needed right-back Santon to be more than a mere step ladder for Mandzukic’s opener.The former Newcastle United defender paid the price for not assessing his surroundings and his regular turnovers impeded Roma’s attempts to rescue a result.Key Opta Facts- Juventus have gained 49 points in the first 17 games of the season – a joint-record in the top five European leagues.- Juve have also won 31 league games in 2018, more than any other team in the top five European leagues.- Ronaldo was responsible for 10 of his team’s 20 shots in this game.What’s next?Both clubs are back in action on December 26 as Juve head to mid-table Atalanta and Roma entertain Sassuolo. read more
“It was a unique game. I always liked to come to the stadium, I always liked the environment, which is exciting. The first game was a dream. When I entered the field I almost had a blackout.”He may have suffered a few nerves when making his Benfica debut, but Gedson Fernandes’ performances for the transitioning Portuguese giants haven’t been that of a player overawed by his fast-tracked inclusion into the first-team.The 19-year-old made his Primeira Liga, UEFA Champions League and full international debuts all within a matter of months, quickly leading to apparent interest from European heavyweights such as Juventus. Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? His recent seventh-placed finish in the Golden Boy ranking proved testament to how well he has settled into the senior set-up with Benfica, while his impactful performances in the Champions League qualifiers were worth their weight in gold for the Eagles, who along with their new prodigy have been taken aback by his ability to have such an effect on their season so far.”I did not expect it to happen so quickly. I appreciate the confidence [shown by the coach and everyone at Benfica],” Fernandes said. “My colleagues really help me. The team has grown immensely. We have worked a lot, we have several goals to reach. I am very happy here.””I was speechless, I was not expecting it, but I’m happy. It’s a sign that the work is being done well. It’s a unique feeling, something inexplicable, I’m in one of the best clubs in the world, it’s my home, that’s where I graduated.” Technically proficient with an athletic build and an eye for goal, Fernandes has completed over half of his attempted dribbles and won more than 50% of his aerial duels this season, as well as boasting a passing accuracy of over 82% in the Portuguese top-flight and the UEFA Champions League.His ability to distribute the balls is mirrored by his skills to win it back; Fernandes completes on average two tackles a game and wins 3.5 fouls per game in the Primeira Liga; the fifth-highest in the league.Such well-rounded statistics promise a bright future for Fernandes, who is being monitored by the likes of Juventus and Manchester United. If his progress in 2019 rivals the strides he made in 2018, it won’t be long before the precocious young Portuguese starlet is propelled among the footballing elite.
Bayer Leverkusen have confirmed that former Ajax and Borussia Dortmund boss Peter Bosz has been appointed as the Bundesliga club’s next coach.Leverkusen sit ninth in the Bundesliga table heading into the winter break and, despite securing a third win in four league games by beating Hertha Berlin on Saturday, Heiko Herrlich has been relieved of his duties.And the club have revealed that Bosz, whose successful 2016-17 campaign with Ajax led to a short-lived stint at Dortmund, which came to an end in December 2017, will take over in the new year, having signed a contract until 2020. 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? “Heiko Herrlich gave our team an important boost last year after a very difficult season,” Leverkusen sporting director Rudi Voller said in a statement.”Until the end we had the conviction and the will to make it with him as head coach. Unfortunately, a stagnation in the development of the team is no longer deniable.”Leverkusen sporting director Simon Rolfes added: “Bosz stands for offensive, fast-paced and inspiring football.”He has always shown a special passion for working with young players, that’s why he fits in very well with us.”Heiko Herrlich has been relieved of his coaching duties at #Bayer04.Peter Bosz will take over in January. pic.twitter.com/Hrtoy8CJ9J— Bayer 04 Leverkusen (@bayer04_en) December 23, 2018Bosz took charge of Ajax in July 2016, and guided the Eredivisie club to the Europa League final – where they were beaten 2-0 by Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United – and a second-placed finish in the Dutch top flight, before taking over at Dortmund.A seven-match unbeaten run in the league saw Dortmund flying at the start of the campaign, but an eight-game winless streak and no victories in the Champions League group stage resulted in Bosz losing his job at Signal Iduna Park.
Mesut Ozil produced a performance worthy of silencing his critics in the 3-1 victory over Burnley according to Arsenal teammate Sead Kolasinac.The former Germany international returned to the Gunners first team against the Clarets and played a role in two of the hosts’ three goals.Unai Emery also entrusted Ozil with the captain’s armband for the fifth time in the top flight this season andafter the game insisted the 30-year-old had a long-term future at The Emirates Stadium . Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? And Kolasinac says Ozil has had the full backing of the squad during the period of uncertainty.The Bosnian defender told Sky Sports : “That’s the case when you’re a big star, like Mesut is.”Of course there are always negative headlines but, as a team, we don’t pay attention to them and Mesut doesn’t either.”That’s what’s most important. We’re all behind Mesut – all the staff, all the players.”If negative things are written, then that’s just what happens. In life, not everything is positive – sometimes there are negatives written about you too, and he’s had that.”But with his performance [against Burnley] he’s quietened a few critics.”Kolasinac played a role in both of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s goal against Sean Dyche’s men, as Arsenal returned to winning ways after back-to-back defeats.The opening goal came via a wondrous Ozil pass which found Kolasinac in an advanced position, before Aubameyang converted.The ex-Germany youth international said of the pass: “It was unbelievable.”We all know Mesut’s qualities and I only actually made that run because I saw that he had the ball. Not many players would have been able to play that pass.”He can, and when I saw him get on the ball, I knew he was going to find me. It was a brilliant pass from him.”Emery has shared the captaincy between a clutch of senior players with Petr Cech, Granit Xhaka and Aaron Ramsey given the armband this term.And while each player has their own leadership style, Kolasinac has revealed Ozil has a passive approach.”Mesut’s not the sort of player who will scream at you in public just to show the people on the outside that he tries to push us on,” he added.”He’ll speak in the dressing room, he’ll go to every player individually. With his quality, he brings a lot to this team. He’s very important for us as a captain and as a player.” Check out Goal’s Premier League 2019-20 fantasy football podcast for game tips, debate and rivalries.
Rafa Benitez claims his Newcastle side need a “miracle” to avoid being dragged into a Premier League relegation battle.The Magpies secured a top-half finish during their first season back among English football’s elite in 2017-18.The current campaign is proving to be a bit trickier, though, with more transfer frustration leaving Benitez to make the best of what he has. 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 is concerned that may not be enough, with a side currently perched five points above the drop zone already looking anxiously over their shoulder.Benitez said: “We have to be realistic and understand that we will be in the bottom half during the whole season.”For me, it is almost clear and if we can be better than three teams, it will be another miracle.”It was a miracle last year. People were thinking, ‘Oh, you finished 10th…’, but with a couple fewer wins, we could have been in the bottom five, so it was a miracle.”If we do the same this year with teams spending even more money than last year, it will be a miracle.”Things are not about to get any easier for Newcastle as their next outing is set to hand Benitez a reunion with his former employers at Liverpool on Boxing Day.They will then wrap up the calendar year away at Watford, before opening 2019 at home to Manchester United.The January transfer window will be open by then but, with Mike Ashley still looking to find a buyer for the Magpies, Benitez is not expecting to receive much backing in the winter market.He added: “I know what is coming now and I know where we are. You can see the team – the team is trying a lot of things, but still it’s not enough sometimes to get the points, and it will be like that.”If we are under pressure and we feel this pressure, we will not be better, we can make more mistakes.”I’m trying to tell everyone, realise where we are, realise what we have to do and if we do well, fine, we can finish 10th or whatever.”But if we think we have to beat these teams which have spent £100 million, every one of them, during the summer, if we think we can beat them easily every game, no chance. We are wrong, 100 per cent.” Check out Goal’s Premier League 2019-20 fantasy football podcast for game tips, debate and rivalries.
Teenage 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.”
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer deserves the chance to force himself ahead of Mauricio Pochettino and Zinedine Zidane on Manchester United’s managerial wish list, says Wes Brown.The Norwegian, who formed part of a Treble-winning squad back in 1999, has returned to Old Trafford on an interim basis in the wake of Jose Mourinho’s dismissal.His reign got off to a perfect start with a 5-1 victory over Cardiff, with a side considered to have been released from their shackles now being tipped to push themselves into top-four contention. 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? Were they able to end the season inside that Premier League pack, then Brown sees no reason why the Red Devils would want to look anywhere else for a permanent appointment.The former United defender told talkSPORT as various names continue to be linked with a high-profile post: “I haven’t seen Man United play like that in a long time.“You could see everyone was enjoying it [against Cardiff] and obviously for the previous manager they weren’t doing that, so there was something wrong.“Ole has gone in there, got the smiles back on and just said ‘go and play’.“If Ole can keep this going then I can’t see a reason why we can’t make the top four. The lads will scare a few teams if they keep playing like that.“Personally, I think it would be great if Ole gets the job full-time. I would like to see him stay if he did well.“Obviously he’s been told it’s until the end of the season, but that could always change, you know how football is.“If he can start producing, keep winning and playing like that, anything can happen.“It’s nice saying we would like Pochettino and Zidane, but it’s not as easily done. If Ole did okay I don’t see a reason why he couldn’t stay on.”Were United to express an interest in keeping Solskjaer on, then a compensation package would need to be agreed with his current employers at Molde.A similar deal would need to be done in order to lure Pochettino away from domestic rivals Tottenham, and breaking him from a long-term contract would not come cheap.No settlement would be required to land former Real Madrid boss Zidane, but he has no previous experience of English football from a glittering playing and coaching career. Check out Goal’s Premier League 2019-20 fantasy football podcast for game tips, debate and rivalries.
Eden Hazard may end up leaving Chelsea for Real Madrid as “every player would love to play for them”, but Michael Essien is hoping the Belgian can be persuaded to stay put.Speculation regarding a switch to Spain continues to rage around a Stamford Bridge asset yet to commit to a new contract.He has made no secret of his admiration for the Blancos and certainly fits the ‘Galactico’ mould favoured by Florentino Perez at the Santiago Bernabeu. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Essien, who represented Chelsea and Madrid during his playing days, admits the lure of one of world football’s most prestigious clubs may prove too much for a current Premier League star.He told Express Sport: “Hazard is one of the best players in the world.“The interest of Real Madrid, I only hear from people in the media. But I mean when Real Madrid come calling… every player would love to play for them.“He’s happy at Chelsea though and hopefully we can keep him.”Hazard is not the only player in west London to be generating exit talk ahead of another transfer window.The likes of Danny Drinkwater, Victor Moses and Andreas Christensen are also making plenty of gossip columns.The latter is being linked with a possible move to Barcelona, with Essien conceding that those not seeing regular game time for Chelsea will be weighing up their options.He added: “Every player wants to play.“Chelsea isn’t an easy place to come and the competition is very fierce.“At the end of the day, all the players work but it’s the manager who will pick who he wants to play.“When you’re not playing you get frustrated and you want to look elsewhere.“It’s up to them really but they have to keep working and then everyone gets their chance.”Chelsea have two more fixtures to take in before the winter window opens.They are set to face Watford on Boxing Day, before making another short trip out on the road to take in a derby date with Crystal Palace on Sunday.Maurizio Sarri is looking for his side to offer a positive response in those games to recent setbacks which have left the Blues fourth in the Premier League table and looking over their shoulder.
Arsenal have been told that they missed their chance to sign Gary Cahill, with there little logic in making a move for the Chelsea defender now.Back in 2012, the defender was proven performer as he preparing to head for the exits at Bolton.Having established himself as an England international, there was no shortage of suitors for Cahill. 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 eventually won the race for his signature and have seen him go on to make close to 300 appearances for the club while claiming two Premier League titles, the FA Cup, League Cup, Champions League and Europa League.Arsenal should have been in for his services before he headed to Stamford Bridge, says Smith.No deal was done then, though, and a former Gunners striker sees no reason why Unai Emery would want to bring in a 33-year-old Cahill during the January window after seeing him slip down the pecking order at Chelsea.Smith told Express Sport: “Arsenal should have signed Gary Cahill before he went to Chelsea.“He spoke and had a meeting with Arsene Wenger and it didn’t happen.“But he went on to become a fine, fine defender.“Now you’d be signing somebody who’s in his latter years and is not at his peak.“I don’t see that as a goer.”While Smith has questioned the merits of making a move for Cahill, the experienced defender is attracting plenty of interest.He is considered to be a useful short-term option for any number of clubs, with Manchester United credited with holding an interest prior to Jose Mourinho’s departure.A move away from Stamford Bridge is expected to be made during the winter window, with Cahill struggling for regular game time under Maurizio Sarri and eager to find minutes elsewhere as his contract in west London runs down.
ST. JOHN’S, N.L. – Some federal politicians got a taste of Newfoundland’s storied hospitality when they wandered into the wrong home and were invited to stay for refreshments.Liberal MP Seamus O’Regan says a handful of cabinet ministers were heading to his home in St. John’s earlier this week.They were in the city for a cabinet retreat with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.O’Regan told a crowd at Memorial University that the ministers were heading to his home when they saw a house with people gathered inside and let themselves in, assuming it was O’Regan’s.It wasn’t.The jig was up when someone at the house spotted a high-profile minister across the room.“One of them recognized the minister of national defence, Harjit Sajjan, and went ‘Oooohhhh,’” O’Regan said, pointing his finger mimicking the house guest.“And Harjit went, ‘This isn’t Seamus’s house’ and they were like, ‘No, no he’s just four houses down the road. Come in — do you want a drink?’”O’Regan said the surprised homeowners gave the ministers his address and also a sense of what life is like in the province.“They were floored. You know, I had all these grand designs and places I wanted to take them in order for them to have a feel of what it is to live in Newfoundland and Labrador and they got it! They all walked in and they just got it.”(VOCM)