9 months agoEmery admits top-four finish ‘difficult’ for Arsenal

first_imgAbout the authorFreddie TaylorShare the loveHave your say Emery admits top-four finish ‘difficult’ for Arsenalby Freddie Taylor9 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveUnai Emery admits consistency is jeopardising Arsenal’s top-four chances. The Gunners’ loss to West Ham United on Sunday saw them drop three points behind fourth-placed Chelsea.And Emery thinks it will be difficult for his team to qualify for the Champions League if they continue to drop points.”Now it’s more difficult, it’s clear,” he told reporters. “I think the most important thing for us is to recover our confidence and be more competitive. We need consistency over 38 matches.”Now it isn’t enough at the moment. It’s a bad result. If we can win we are playing against Chelsea [on Saturday] with a three-point maximum distance.”The big opportunity for us is that we can take in our hands the possibility to be closer to them. This result makes that more difficult.” last_img read more

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

‘Ronaldo only wanted to play for Juventus’

first_imgCristiano Ronaldo “only wanted to play for Juventus”, claims his agent Jorge Mendes, with the decision taken to leave Real Madrid for Serie A in January.A big-money move for the Portuguese had been mooted for several years before a deal was finally done over the summer.Few clubs boasted the ambition and financial muscle to put an agreement in place, but Italian giants Juve formed part of an exclusive 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? Ronaldo has made no secret of his admiration for the Bianconeri since joining their books, with the Turin outfit one he always hoped would form part of his illustrious career.Mendes was able to make that dream a reality, with there only one destination considered once a five-time Ballon d’Or winner made it clear that he wanted out of the Santiago Bernabeu.“In January 2018, I and the few people who knew what was happening thought it would be very difficult to bring Cristiano Ronaldo to Juve,” Mendes told Rai Sport.“However, I want to make it clear that the idea started with the player himself. Ronaldo told me he only wanted to play for Juventus.“That’s where it began and I was in talks with the Bianconeri directors for months, so we all know how those negotiations ended up.“Now Cristiano is happy with the club and his team-mates, he is satisfied with Serie A and truly happy at Juventus.”Ronaldo has contributed 12 goals to the Juve cause this season, across 21 appearances in all competitions.Those efforts have helped to establish a standing back at the top of Serie A, while also progressing through to the last 16 of the Champions League.“Many have asked me about Juve and the Champions League. It will take a bit of luck to win it too, but Cristiano Ronaldo’s arrival has certainly made Juventus stronger,” added Mendes.“I’d say all of Italian football has benefited from his presence.”Ronaldo will be back in action on Saturday against Roma, with Massimiliano Allegri having revealed that plans to rest the 33-year-old continue to be pushed back.last_img read more

Chelsea vs Leicester: Hazard starts up front

first_imgChelsea host Leicester City in their final match before Christmas on Saturday as they aim to further cement their place in the top four.Maurizio Sarri’s side were boosted by their qualification for the Carabao Cup semi-finals in midweek, with a late goal from Eden Hazard enough to see off Bournemouth in the quarter-finals on Wednesday.The Blues bounced back from the disappointment of an away loss to Wolves earlier this month by winning their last two league encounters against Manchester City and Brighton. 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? Leicester were knocked out of the Carabao Cup on Tuesday, however, after losing to Pep Guardiola’s Man City on penalties.The Foxes have failed to win any of their last three league matches and fell to a 1-0 defeat away at Crystal Palace last weekend, a result which saw them slip to 12th in the table.The last Premier League encounter between these two sides at Stamford Bridge ended in a 0-0 draw last January.  Game Chelsea vs Leicester Date Saturday, December 22 Time 3:00pm GMT / 10:00am ET Stream (US) fubo TV (7-day free trial) TV Channel, Live Stream & How To Watch In the United States (US), the game can be watched live and on-demand with fuboTV (7-day free trial) .New users can sign up for a free seven-day trial of the live sports streaming service, which can be accessed via iOS, Android, Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, Roku and Apple TV as well as on a web browser. US TV channel Online stream NBCSN fubo TV (7-day free trial) In the United Kingdom (UK), the game will not be shown live as it will be played during the blackout period. UK TV channel Online stream N/A N/A Squads & Team News Position Chelsea players Goalkeepers Arrizabalaga, Caballero, Green Defenders Azpilicueta, Zappacosta, Rudiger, Luiz, Cahill, Ampadu, Emerson Midfielders Fabregas, Jorginho, Drinkwater, Kante, Barkley, Loftus-Cheek, Kovacic Forwards Willian, Pedro, Hazard, Giroud, Hudson-Odoi, Morata Eden Hazard continues in a central striking role for Chelsea after picking up one goal and three assists in his last two appearances in that position.Centre-back Andreas Christensen was forced off with a hamstring injury against Bournemouth and Maurizio Sarri instead picks David Luiz and Antonio Rudiger at centre-back.Alvaro Morata has returned to training after recovering from a twisted knee, but he is not even on the bench.Possible Chelsea starting XI:  Arrizabalaga; Azpilicueta, Rudiger, Luiz, Alonso; Jorginho, Kante, Kovacic; Pedro, Hazard, Willian. Subs: Caballero, Cahill, Zappacosta, Fabregas, Barkley, Loftus-Cheek, Giroud. Position Leicester players Goalkeepers Schmeichel, Ward, Jakupovic Defenders Simpson, Pereira, Morgan, Soyuncu, Evans, Maguire, Chilwell, Fuchs Midfielders Iborra, Silva, Mendy, Ndidi, Choudhury, Albrighton, Maddison, Diabate, Gray, Ghezzal Forwards Vardy, Okazaki, Ihenacho Jamie Vardy returns to the Leicester XI having been rested against Manchester City in midweek.There had been concerns over the fitness of Ben Chilwell and Wilfred Ndidi, who are both struggling with knee injuries and are likely to face late fitness tests, but both are deemed fit to start.Matty James and Daniel Amartey remain out.Possible Leicester starting XI:  Schmeichel; Ricardo, Morgan, Maguire, Chilwell; Choudhury, Mendy, Ndidi, Albrighton; Maddison; Vardy. Subs: Ward, Fuchs, Evans, Iborra, Gray, Okazaki, Iheanacho.Betting & Match Odds Chelsea’s odds of winning are priced at 1/3 according to bet 365, while a draw is available at 9/2. A win for Leicester is priced at 10/1.Click here to see all of bet 365’s offers for the game, including goalscoring markets, correct score predictions and more. Match Preview Eden Hazard Chelsea 2018-19A win for Chelsea here would see them leapfog Spurs into third place for at least a day, with Mauricio Pochettino’s side not playing until Sunday.It would also be a great boost for Sarri’s side to cement their spot in the top four for Christmas, with the race to qualify for next season’s Champions League set to intensify during the second half of the season.There are also signs that star man Hazard is approaching his best form again after various injury issues in recent weeks. When asked whether he felt playing the Belgian as a forward could be a long-term solution, Sarri said: “I don’t know. I was sure about City in that position we could do a good match. Against Brighton I started to see this situation in different matches.”Now I want to see it against a team very compact, in low density. We have to see.”Claude Puel will know that his side must pick up some positive results over the festive period to avoid speculation over his own future at the club.It’s been a difficult season for the Foxes on and off the pitch, but with just one win in their last eight matches, Leicester will know that points on the board are a must over the coming weeks. Check out Goal’s Premier League 2019-20 fantasy football podcast for game tips, debate and rivalries.last_img read more

Report: Cardiff 1 Man United 5

first_imgManchester 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 morelast_img read more

Madrid create history with latest Club World Cup win

first_imgFor the fourth time in five years, Real Madrid have claimed the FIFA Club World Cup and in doing so both made history and claimed bragging rights over their rivals Barcelona.Luka Modric opened the scoring for the European Champions against Al Ain in the final, scoring his first-ever goal for the club in a tournament final to round out his spectacular 2018.Marcos Llorente delivered his first-ever professional goal for the club to double their advantage while Sergio Ramos also found the back of the net for Madrid to make it 3-0. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Tsukasa Shiotani scored late to get Al Ain back to 3-1 down, but an own goal by Yahia Nader sealed the 4-1 victory for Madrid.Last May, Madrid became the first team to claim three consecutive modern-day Champions League crowns and now they have gone on to become the first ever to claim three straight Club World Cup or Intercontinental Cup.The victory also saw the club become the first to take home four Club World Cup titles, breaking the tie between themselves and their La Liga rivals Barcelona.Barcelona had won in 2009, 2011 and 2015, while Madrid’s first Club World Cup crown did not come until 2014, but they have now won the last three.It continues an incredible run by Madrid in the competition, as they are now unbeaten in their 12 games in the competition, winning the last eight outscoring their opposition 22-5.4 – Real Madrid have won the FIFA Club World Cup four times (2014, 2016, 2017 and 2018), becoming the team with the most titles won, surpassing Barcelona (2009, 2011 and 2015). King. pic.twitter.com/SWJ8IiPrgq— OptaJose (@OptaJose) 22 de diciembre de 2018The trophy is the first silverware won by manager Santiago Solari, who replaced Julen Lopetegui at the helm in November.Solari became the first Argentinian manager to win the tournament, with the previous five who managed a final, all in charge of South American sides, having lost.It was also a good night for Ramos, who, along with Marcelo, pulled into third all-time in Madrid history with 20 titles won, behind Gento and Sanchis.And despite being a defender, Ramos became the third player to score in three Club World Cup finals – something previously only done by Lionel Messi and the Madrid captain’s former team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo.last_img read more

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

Juve top Roma to stay unbeaten in Serie A

first_imgJuventus 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 morelast_img read more

Report: Frankfurt 0 Bayern Munich 3

first_imgFranck Ribery scored twice as Bayern Munich ended 2018 by moving into second place in the Bundesliga with a 3-0 win over Eintracht Frankfurt.On Niko Kovac’s return to his former club, Bayern took the lead midway through the first half when Ribery swept in at the culmination of a slick counter-attack.Bayern could have been ahead earlier on, had Kevin Trapp not pulled off a superb double save to deny Javi Martinez and Thomas Muller, who later hit the woodwork. 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? Robert Lewandowski should have wrapped up the win early in the second half, but his blushes were spared when Ribery scuffed in a second, with Rafinha’s fortuitous effort adding further gloss to a victory that takes Bayern back to within six points of leaders Borussia Dortmund.Danny da Costa and Luka Jovic both went close as Eintracht started well, but the hosts would have been behind had Trapp not followed up a fantastic save from Martinez’s diving header by denying Muller on the rebound.Trapp was beaten in the 35th minute, though. Muller played in Lewandowski, who squared a wonderful reverse pass into the centre of the box, with Ribery on hand to tuck home.3 – @FranckRibery scores in 3 consecutive games in the Bundesliga for the first time since February 2015, after not scoring in his first 11 games in the Bundesliga in this season. Form. @FCBayernEN #SGEFCB — OptaFranz (@OptaFranz) December 22, 2018 Lewandowski almost turned provider again on the stroke of half-time, but Muller could only direct his header onto the bar.Ribery should have had an assist when he teed up Lewandowski, though the striker’s first touch let him down, and that profligacy might have proved costly had Jovic connected with Da Costa’s cross.But any lingering hopes of an Eintracht comeback were ended when Ribery’s mishit clipped in off the woodwork, with Rafinha’s cross-shot then getting the better of Trapp as Bayern cruised to a fifth successive Bundesliga win. What does it mean? Kovac keeps the bragging rights Kovac has now come out as the winning manager in the last three meetings between these sides, once as Eintracht boss in the DFB-Pokal final, and now twice during his time in charge of Bayern.It also means that Bayern ensure that they stay within touching distance of Dortmund heading into the winter break, while Eintracht sit in fifth.Ribery’s scoring run rolls on It took until December 8 for Ribery to open his account for the season, but the winger has not looked back since then, and has now netted four times in his last three Bundesliga appearances.Haller, Jovic left isolated After initially struggling to cope with Eintracht’s high press, Bayern managed to stem the service into the hosts’ forward pair, and neither Sebastien Haller or Jovic had much to go off.Key Opta facts: – Thomas Muller played his 50th competitive game for Bayern in 2018 – no other player made so many appearances for Bayern in all competitions this year.- Franck Ribery scored in his third consecutive Bundesliga game – the last time he achieved this was in February 2015.- Robert Lewandowski had a hand in a goal for Bayern for the 50th time in all competitions in 2018 – tying his personal record for a single calendar year (50 goals scored/assisted in 2017).- Ribery (35 years, 259 days) became the oldest Bayern player ever to score at least two goals in a single Bundesliga game.- Niko Kovac has won five consecutive Bundesliga games for the first time as a coach – he also did not achieved this in his career as a Bayern player.2 – @FranckRibery is the oldest player of @FCBayernEN (35 years, 259 days) to score more than one goal in a Bundesliga game. Grandseigneur. #SGEFCB pic.twitter.com/g2zyFpL2O7— OptaFranz (@OptaFranz) December 22, 2018What’s next? With the Bundesliga taking a winter break, Bayern face Fortuna Dusseldorf in a friendly before restarting league duties away at Hoffenheim on January 18. read morelast_img read more

Solari credits Zidane for Club World Cup win

first_imgSantiago Solari shared the credit for Real Madrid’s record-breaking Club World Cup triumph with former head coach Zinedine Zidane.Solari, the replacement for Zidane’s short-lived successor Julen Lopetegui, led Madrid to their first title under his stewardship with a 4-1 win over Al Ain in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.Victory means Madrid have won the tournament three years in a row and their fourth triumph in the competition moves them clear of rivals Barcelona as the Club World Cup’s most successful team. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Solari, though, was quick to pile praise on Zidane, who surprisingly stood down in the wake of winning Madrid’s third consecutive Champions League crown at the end of the 2017-18 season.”We are happy, these players deserve it, they have come here after a lot of work and a lot of wins,” Solari told TVE.”We put a finishing touch to that third consecutive Champions League, it is a feat of the club, this group and other coaches.”We are also here thanks to Zidane. It will be difficult to match in the future.”Listen to what goalscorer @lukamodric10 said after helping us become WORLD CHAMPIONS! #RMCWC pic.twitter.com/oO6FTjYLCI— Real Madrid C.F.  (@realmadriden) December 22, 2018Marcos Llorente was among Madrid’s goalscorers in the final, the 23-year-old midfielder scoring his first goal as a professional with a half-volley from the edge of the penalty area.Llorente was overlooked throughout Zidane’s reign but has grown into a key role since Solari took charge, following Lopetegui’s sacking after just four months in charge.”They are all Madrid players and they all work to be able to do what they do in the field,” Solari said. “Marcos has always worked a lot, and he deserves the credit.”A first trophy for Santiago Solari as @realmadriden manager #ClubWC pic.twitter.com/cogKjGUgyy— #ClubWC  (@FIFAcom) December 22, 2018Solari’s opposite number Zoran Mamic felt a gruelling Club World Cup campaign caught up with his tired Al Ain side in the final.”The first thing is to congratulate Real Madrid because they deservedly won it, with good football,” he said.”We have not been able to compete, it’s the fourth game in days and that has weighed on us. We had a great tournament, nobody thought we were going to get here.”We had opportunities in the first half, but we missed them and at this level we pay when Real Madrid are in front.”We would have liked to have more days of rest, but everything is set up and we cannot say anything, I sincerely believe that we have done a good job.”last_img read more

Sissoko: I knew I could succeed at Tottenham

first_imgTottenham’s Moussa Sissoko has claimed he never considered leaving the club, despite struggling to make an impact during his first two seasons.Sissoko joined Tottenham on deadline day in August 2016, having been on the verge of a move to Everton before Spurs secured his signing from Newcastle United for a reported £30 million ($38m).The midfielder initially failed to cement a place in Mauricio Pochettino’s side and was often criticised by Tottenham’s fans following the big-money move, but he has become a first-team regular this term. 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? Sissoko has revealed that, despite his struggles, he never considered pushing for a move away from Tottenham.”The best thing I have done is to be strong mentally.” he told the Guardian. “I never give up. In life, you never have to go with your head down. You have to look forward, try to improve, keep fighting and one day things will change.”I never wanted to leave Spurs. I knew that I could have success here.”I don’t know if the criticism was unfair. Football is like that. It’s why I wasn’t upset by it. I was upset because I wasn’t doing what I wanted to be doing. “I had to keep working and I believe I can do better than what I am doing now.”This one is for our fansLet’s go to the semi finals ! #COYS #MS17 #CarabaoCup pic.twitter.com/f1JfMj1ehb— Moussa Sissoko (@MoussaSissoko) December 19, 2018Sissoko signed for Tottenham on the back of an impressive string of performances in France’s run to the final of Euro 2016, but the 29-year-old missed out on Didier Deschamps’ squad for Les Bleus’ triumphant World Cup 2018 campaign.”I won’t lie and say it wasn’t painful not to be part of the squad,” Sissoko said. “So it was extra motivation to perform and show I could be in the squad. I played a lot of games with them and then not to be in the World Cup – it was painful.”But it’s like that. I’m not regretting. It’s gone. You have to accept the manager has made his choice, and I was very happy when they won.” Check out Goal’s Premier League 2019-20 fantasy football podcast for game tips, debate and rivalries.last_img read more

Silva makes Premier League history

first_imgMarco Silva admitted it was a “really bad afternoon” for Everton as he became the first Premier League manager to concede six goals in a home match with three different clubs.Although the Toffees took the lead through Theo Walcott in the 21st minute, Spurs soon turned things around and ultimately ran out comprehensive winners, securing a 6-2 victory on Sunday.Son Heung-min and Harry Kane were the stars of the show with two goals each, with the result highlighting an alarming trend in Silva’s Premier League career. 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? Spurs had previously inflicted a 7-1 home defeat on Silva’s Hull City in May 2017, and his Watford side then lost 6-0 at home to Manchester City four months later. The Portuguese accepted there were few positives to take from his latest humiliation.”Really bad afternoon for us, really bad result for us, for our fans,” he said. “We have to realise why and we will realise for sure.”We started well the match, it started really balanced. We know how they are strong in counter-attack and it started like we planned it and we scored early.”After we made the first mistake during the match when they equalised, the game changed completely.”We lost many things in our behaviour and our organisation and in this level we cannot do that.”At half-time we changed something in our tactical behaviour. I told them we cannot concede any more because we will score again and first two minutes of second half we conceded again.”Every time they went forward it was easy for them. Our organisation in our defensive moment, we don’t put enough aggressiveness in the match.”Despite signing centre-backs Yerry Mina and Kurt Zouma in the summer, Everton have struggled defensively all season and are now without a clean sheet in their last five Premier League matches.The result left the Toffees in 11th place on 24 points as they prepare to face Burnley, Brighton and Leicester City over the busy festive period.  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

‘Van Dijk is Terry, Vidic & Ferdinand rolled into one’

first_imgIn Virgil van Dijk, Liverpool have found a player that is “John Terry, Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic all rolled into one”, says Jamie Redknapp, with the Dutchman potentially the best Premier League defender of all time.The Reds invested £75 million ($95m) in the Netherlands international back in January, making him the costliest player in his chosen position.While breaking transfer records can be considered a gamble, those at Anfield have seen their show of faith richly rewarded. 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? Van Dijk is considered to have contributed significantly to Liverpool becoming Premier League title contenders, with there few obvious weaknesses in his game.Former Reds star Redknapp believes the 27-year-old is the finest all-round defender he has ever seen, telling the Daily Mail: “We are only halfway through the season but already nobody comes close to Virgil van Dijk in the race for Player of the Year. He is the one player every team would love to have in their side.“Think of the best defenders in Premier League history — John Terry, Rio Ferdinandand Nemanja Vidic. Van Dijk is all three players rolled into one.“He reads the game like Terry and is a lovely passer, getting the ball out of his feet and spraying 30-yard balls. Van Dijk is blessed with the pace of Rio, too. Rarely do you see him caught out in a one-v-one situation.“While he is not as aggressive as Vidic, he has that same warrior spirit and will to win. He is calm, cool, composed in the air and is a brilliant leader.”Virgil van Dijk Vidic Terry Ferdinand Jamie RedknappRedknapp added on Van Dijk’s potential to cement legend status while landing major honours: “Never mind player of the season — if he carries on playing at this level, he has all the attributes to be the Premier League’s greatest ever defender. I am just surprised that it has taken until now for him to be starring in a team competing for Premier League titles.“To become the greatest, Van Dijk has to win trophies. He reached the Champions League final last season and now has a great chance of winning the Premier League.“If Liverpool are to be crowned champions this season, Van Dijk is the one player they can least afford to lose to injury.”Van Dijk has been an ever-present for Liverpool in the Premier League this season, helping them to cement a standing at the top of the table.Jurgen Klopp’s side, who remain unbeaten through 18 games, have opened up a four-point lead on reigning champions Manchester City. Subscribe to Goal’s Liverpool Correspondent Neil Jones’ weekly email bringing you the best Liverpool FC writing from around the weblast_img read more

Fantasy: MW18 Premier League Team of the Week

first_imgThe news cycle this week was dominated by Manchester United, who sacked manager Jose Mourinho, and Tottenham’s Mauricio Pochettino, who has seemingly been chosen by everyone as the best fit to replace the Portuguese manager. Those two clubs did little to shake the spotlight this weekend either as both dominated their opposition, scoring five or more goals.Four players, two from each of those clubs, were involved in at least three goals on the pitch, and each of them were able to secure a spot in our Goal Team of the Week. You can find out who, and the other best performers of the week below. Goal-Fantasy-Football-Play-Now-BannerGK: Ben Foster – Watford – 1 Game, 7 Saves, 1 Clean Sheet = 10 PointsDEF: Virgil Van Dijk – Liverpool – 1 Game, 1 Goal, 1 Clean Sheet = 14 Points Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Van Dijk’s ability in defence is well established but, all of a sudden, he’s becoming a threat in attack as well. Having never been involved in more than three goals in a Premier League season, the Dutchman has now been involved in three in just the last five matches (1g, 2a). Whether or not he will be able to keep up this rate of production remains to be seen but, considering the rate at which Liverpool are keeping clean sheets, Van Dijk is a must own regardless.DEF: Jose Holebas – Watford – 1 Game, 1 Clean Sheet = 7 PointsDEF: Nathan Ake – Bournemouth – 1 Game, 1 Clean Sheet = 7 PointsNathan AkeMID: Son Heung-Min – Tottenham – 1 Game, 2 Goals, 2 Assists = 20 PointsA massive two goal, two assist performance from Son not only ensured his side the win, but also was enough to see him crowned our Goal Fantasy Player of the Week. While it would be hard to expect anyone to regularly put up these kinds of numbers, the South Korean international has suddenly become a consistent and reliable Fantasy asset, having scored or assisted in every start since October.There is always a risk of rotation from Pochettino, but in our game you can wait until lineups are announced to set yours, making Son wholly viable going forward.MID: Jesse Lingard – Manchester United – 1 Game, 2 Goals, 1 Assist = 17 PointsMID: David Brooks – Bournemouth – 1 Game, 2 Goals = 14 PointsPaul Pogba Ashley Young Cardiff vs Manchester United Premier League 2018-19MID: Paul Pogba – Manchester United – 1 Game, 3 Assists = 11 Points Well, that’s certainly one way to impress your new manager. After months of disappointment and underperformance under Jose Mourinho, Pogba put on a creative masterclass this week, posting three assists in Manchester United’s 5-1 win against Cardiff. That is the most assists anyone has recorded in a single Premier League match thus far this season.Considering he also ranks top five in shots on target, Pogba could be about to bounce back in a big way both on the pitch and in Fantasy.MID: Nathan Redmond – Southampton – 1 Game, 1 Goal, 1 Assist = 11 PointsNathan Redmond Southampton 2017-18FOR: Harry Kane – Tottenham – 1 Game, 2 Goals, 1 Assist = 15 PointsHarry Kane has absolutely tormented Everton over the past few years, having now scored a brace in his last four outings against the Toffees. The rest of the league hasn’t fared much better against the Englishman of late either, as he’s had six goals and four assists in the last 10 matches, re-establishing himself as an elite Fantasy forward. With four bottom 10 defences in his next five matches, Kane is a must own over the winter period.FOR: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – Arsenal – 1 Game, 2 Goals = 12 Points goal-fantasy-football-banner Check out Goal’s Premier League 2019-20 fantasy football podcast for game tips, debate and rivalries.last_img read more

Benitez: Newcastle need a miracle to stay up

first_imgRafa 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.”Rafael Benitez NewcastleThings 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.last_img read more

Klopp: Man City are not cracking

first_imgJurgen Klopp does not believe Manchester City are cracking under the pressure of Liverpool’s ferocious pace at the top of the Premier League.The Reds will celebrate Christmas with a four-point lead over the reigning champions following recent defeats for Pep Guardiola’s side against Chelsea and Crystal Palace.Both of those reverses came when Liverpool had played earlier that weekend and won against Bournemouth and Wolves respectively. 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 Klopp baulked at the idea that City are struggling to respond to his still unbeaten side – pointing to the overall quality of their performances in what he felt were ill-deserved results.”You saw the two games they played? It didn’t look like they felt a lot of pressure. They were outstanding in these games,” he told a news conference to preview the Boxing Day clash with Newcastle United at Anfield.”If you don’t finish off your chances against Chelsea you can lose. They were the better team this game”Crystal Place did an outstanding job and scored outstanding goals. That always makes life uncomfortable.”It [means] absolutely nothing. It’s difficult to win football games, sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t.”They were just a bit unlucky in these two games and this happens from time to time.”City host Liverpool on January 3 and the gap between Guardiola’s men in second and Tottenham in third is narrower than the one between themselves and Liverpool after Spurs’ resounding 6-2 win at Everton on Sunday.TottenhamKlopp thinks Mauricio Pochettino’s team are very much part of the title picture – having never sought to rule them out in the first place.”You make these stories about who is in, who is out,” he said.”I saw the game yesterday against Everton and the first goal of Tottenham was obviously a situation Tottenham needed. Everton played more than okay in the first couple of minutes.”Then they hit everything, it was really impressive how Tottenham did. The same can happen with Chelsea, Arsenal and all those teams. Nobody can feel safe, nobody can feel out of the race or whatever. It’s not a time to think about it.”It’s just a fantastic football team and I said a few times that Tottenham had the most difficult summer period, and I don’t mean [because of them] not signing players. Eight or nine players played the full World Cup and playing how they have so far this season is more than impressive.”A lot of teams are in whatever you call the title race and that’s the only difference to last season, when no-one was in at this time [due to City’s dominance]. That’s good for all supporters.”Instead of looking too far ahead, Klopp wants his players fully focused for the expected challenge of breaking down a well-manned Newcastle defence under the charge of ex-Reds boss Rafael Benitez.”The Wolverhampton game was a big challenge for us after winning against Napoli and Man United,” he added, having confirmed defender Trent Alexander-Arnold is back in full training following a foot injury.”In players’ minds they could drop focus a bit. I was really happy when I saw the attitude for that game as well.”That’s what we need – stay angry, stay greedy.” Subscribe to Goal’s Liverpool Correspondent Neil Jones’ weekly email bringing you the best Liverpool FC writing from around the weblast_img read more

Arsenal will need €80m to prise Pepe from Lille

first_imgArsenal, and any other suitor of Nicolas Pepe, have been made aware that it will cost €80 million (£72m/$91m) to secure the Lille winger’s signature.The talented 23-year-old has emerged as a target for leading sides across Europe.The Emirates Stadium has been mooted as one possible landing spot for the Ivory Coast international. 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? Lille, though, are aware that they have a prized asset on their hands and will not be parting with him unless a hefty price tag is met.The Ligue 1 club’s sporting director, Luis Campos, told Telefoot of Pepe: “I hope he will stay this winter. We’ll do everything to keep him.“All the top clubs in the world have their eyes on him, and that’s normal, but the president has been clear.“The idea is for him to continue at the club.“In contrast, with my experience in football, I would say that if a club arrives with a big number and can convince the player… I would sell him for €80 million.“That’s the price tag, but you’d have to convince the player and he’s been a big part of us being in second place.”Nicolas Pepe Lille Amiens 09152018Pepe has certainly enjoyed a productive opening to the 2018-19 campaign.In just 19 Ligue 1 appearances this term, he has contributed 12 goals and five assists.It is that productivity which has him attracting admiring glances from afar.Arsenal boss Unai Emery, who got a good look at Pepe during his time in charge of Paris Saint-Germain, is said to be a big fan.The Gunners already have plenty of creativity on their books, but the opportunity to bolster those ranks will not be passed up if an opportunity presents itself.last_img read more

Sarri urges Chelsea response to ‘mistakes’

first_imgMaurizio Sarri has demanded a reaction from his Chelsea players when they travel to Watford on Boxing Day .Jamie Vardy scored the only goal to stun the Blues on Saturday and send Leicester City away from Stamford Bridge with a surprise 1-0 win .Sarri was angered by Chelsea’s lacklustre reaction to falling behind 10 minutes into the second half against the Foxes and knows they must improve at Vicarage Road, where his predecessor Antonio Conte suffered a damaging 4-1 defeat last season. 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 think that in this moment we have to think about us, only about our team,” said the former Napoli coach.”The match is difficult. We know we have to study this kind of opponent very well [but] I think that now the most important thing is our reaction after the [Leicester] match.”In the match our reaction was not in the right way and now we have to think about our reaction after the match, just in order to prepare in the right way.”It means that while their fans might be enjoying some of their favourite Christmas films, Chelsea’s players will be settling down to pour over their own video nasties.”I think that I have an idea about what happened [against Leicester], so I want only a confirmation,” explained Sarri.”We will prepare a video for the individual mistakes. I want to speak with the group first of all and then I want to speak with three, four, five players. I don’t know how many at the moment.”But we have to do everything to avoid the same problem in the future. It is not easy.”Sarri could call upon Alvaro Morata versus Watford, despite reports he may leave during the January transfer window, after the Spain striker returned to training from a minor knee injury.”[On Friday] he started training with the group so I think he will be able to play,” his head coach confirmed. Check out Goal’s Premier League 2019-20 fantasy football podcast for game tips, debate and rivalries.last_img read more

Southgate hails Sterling for speaking out against racism

first_imgRaheem Sterling has shown admirable courage in speaking out to highlight the issue of racism in football, according to Gareth Southgate.During Manchester City’s defeat to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge earlier this month, Sterling was allegedly racially abused.Chelsea have subsequently suspended four fans pending further investigation and in the aftermath of the incident, the England forward took to Instagram to point out media coverage of young black footballers, which he felt “fuel racism an aggressive behaviour”. 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 England manager Southgate believes Sterling should be applauded for taking a stand and helping to bring the issue into the public eye.”It’s easier for me to talk about what I feel about what Raheem’s done and how brave he’s been in speaking up,” Southgate told Sky Sports.”We’ve seen incidents of racism in the last few months that have always been unacceptable, remain unacceptable and will be unacceptable if they happen in the future. We have to hope they don’t.”Football is a mirror of society and unfortunately racism exists in society and so there are times when people use the opportunity at a football ground to fuel that.”We have to stand strong as a game to make sure that does not happen.”I think Raheem commented about what happens in stadiums, but also the unconscious bias that maybe exists.”I think that’s a huge topic for everyone to think about and to ponder and see how that might affect our lives and how we might do things differently as we move forward.”I really commend what he did and I think he should be very proud of being brave enough to stand up because it’s not an easy thing to do.”last_img read more