Arsenal Wilshere’s New Year’s resolution hints at new Arsenal contract Chris Burton Last updated 1 year ago 02:24 1/2/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Getty Images Arsenal Premier League Transfers The England international is among those heading towards free agency at Emirates Stadium, but he has reiterated his desire to remain with the club Jack Wilshere has hinted that he will commit to a new contract at Arsenal while airing his hopes for 2018.The England international midfielder is among those heading towards free agency at Emirates Stadium.But while Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil have offered no indication that they wish to commit to fresh terms, Wilshere has publicly stated his desire to stay on. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player He has also admitted that his situation will be assessed now that the January transfer window has been reached, but the 26-year-old is living the dream in north London and has no desire to leave.In stating “long may it continue” in regards to his ongoing presence at Arsenal, Wilshere would appear to be hoping for an extension to his stay in north London.Talks are planned, with Arsene Wenger admitting that discussions are in the pipeline after seeing the all-action midfielder star in a 3-2 victory over Crystal Palace.He said: “We need to sit down with [Jack]. Beginning of January, it’s planned. There is no delay.”The Gunners boss had previously stated that financial issues would need to be overcome in order to reach an agreement, with both sides looking for a compromise.Wilshere, though, is clearly happy at the club and if he can steer clear of injury and nail down the regular role he has held of late, then fresh terms should be a formality.
While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up. You guys all know the story by now. Baker meets OSU soccer player. Baker falls in love with OSU soccer player. OSU soccer player roots for OSU in Bedlam. The whole thing is quite funny and great.And it turned out to be the source of some terrific College GameDay signs which Baillie Burmaster (Baker’s girlfriend) embraced with a smile. Well done all the way around. AdChoices广告When helping out @CollegeGameDay and you become the joke of @CollegeGameDay signs… pic.twitter.com/unlyi6xpvf— Baillie Burmaster (@bayburmTV) November 28, 2015
Cristiano 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.
Pep Guardiola has defended his decision to start Kevin De Bruyne and Sergio Aguero on the bench as Manchester City fell further behind Premier League leaders Liverpool with a 3-2 defeat to Crystal Palace.De Bruyne came on to score a fortuitous 85th-minute goal on Saturday, but the damage had already been done. Jeffrey Schlupp’s first-half goal cancelled out Ilkay Gundogan’s opener and an Andros Townsend wonder strike was added to by Luka Milivojevic’s penalty.The result means City are four points behind Liverpool at the summit, with back-to-back trips to Leicester City and Southampton to come before they host Jurgen Klopp’s side on January 3. 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? Aguero, who replaced Nicolas Otamendi as Guardiola chased the game at 2-1, and De Bruyne started the midweek Carabao Cup triumph at Leicester City following recent lay-offs, while Guardiola watched John Stones turn in a mixed performance at the base of his midfield in Fernandinho’s injury-enforced absence.”When you win I am a genius, when you lose I am not good,” City’s manager told a post-match news conference.”I don’t know what would happen if Kevin starts or Sergio starts. Dinho is injured, yesterday he felt that problem. John played so good in Leicester [in the unfamiliar position] so I wanted to give another option for [defending] long balls.”He played good except for one ball. I admire and give credit to people who try and adapt to positions they are not used to.”With a hectic and now pivotal period to come in his team’s title defence, Guardiola denied he was being overly cautious with two of his prized assets.”Of course he could have played – I decide to play the other ones,” he said of De Bruyne, whose action has been limited by a pair of medial knee ligament injuries this season, although the Belgium star now has two goals in as many appearances.”Gabriel [Jesus] scored two goals in the last game here versus Everton. Sergio needs more time to get rhythm.”Kevin’s condition is better. We put in six or seven players with fresh legs. That is going to happen in the future.”When you have a lot of games, everyone has to play. The guys who played did absolutely everything.” Check out Goal’s Premier League 2019-20 fantasy football podcast for game tips, debate and rivalries.
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.
Manchester United have hit a 13-month high under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, with the new man at the helm making an immediate impact during a trip to Cardiff.With the Red Devils having taken the decision to part with Jose Mourinho, cover was required in a high-profile post.Treble winner Solskjaer was the man chosen to take the reins, with the Norwegian agreeing an initial interim deal through to the end of the 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? His return to Old Trafford was welcomed by many, with a clean slate offered to an underperforming squad.In a quirk of fate, his first game in charge of United took him back to the familiar surroundings of Cardiff – the scene of his only previous coaching post in British football.Solskjaer would have been hoping to make a bright start, but the speed at which his new side burst out of the blocks probably came as a surprise even to him.Marcus Rashford recorded the first goal of a new era inside three minutes, before Ander Herrera doubled United’s lead before the half-hour mark.Victor Camarasa pulled one back for the Bluebirds from the penalty spot, but Anthony Martial restored the Red Devils’ two-goal advantage four minutes before half-time.Fast starts are not something that United had been accustomed to under Mourinho, with over a year having passed since they last registered three efforts in the opening 45 minutes of any given Premier League fixture.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, 2018While Solskjaer was able to oversee a dream start to his reign, he is under no illusion as to the size of the challenge facing him in familiar surroundings.United’s struggles under Mourinho have left them playing catch-up in the race for top-four finishes.Victory over Cardiff will, however, be a positive step in the right direction.With the games coming tick and fast over the festive period, there will be further opportunities to close on the Champions League places before the end of the year.If the Red Devils can continue to burst out of the blocks like they did against the Bluebirds, then they may soon have top-flight rivals looking anxiously over their shoulder. Check out Goal’s Premier League 2019-20 fantasy football podcast for game tips, debate and rivalries.
Lionel Messi inspired Barcelona to a 2-0 win over Celta Vigo as Ernesto Valverde’s side restored their three-point lead at the summit of LaLiga.With Atletico Madrid having won earlier in the day to move level at the top, Barca reasserted their authority as first-half goals from Ousmane Dembele and Messi paved the way for a routine victory at Camp Nou.Messi was again at the heart of the hosts’ best play, his shot being parried to the feet of the grateful Dembele to apply the finish inside the opening 10 minutes. 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 Argentina star got in on the act himself in the final minute of the first half as Barca all but sealed the points before the interval.Barca quickly seized the initiative as Dembele pounced to nutmeg Ruben Blanco after the goalkeeper had kept out Messi’s low drive. The visitors narrowly escaped further punishment when Blanco rushed out to thwart Dembele, with Jordi Alba turning the loose ball towards goal where Nestor Araujo was on hand to intervene. Marc-Andre ter Stegen was finally called into action in the 24th minute and the Barca keeper proved equal to Maxi Gomez’s effort. Messi doubled Barca’s lead late in the half, calmly finishing from the edge of the box after Alba’s searching pass had left Celta exposed. Telepathy The Messi-Alba Connection!#BarçaCelta pic.twitter.com/uKYPPnN2WE— LaLiga (@LaLigaEN) December 22, 2018Luis Suarez proved uncharacteristically wasteful when presented with a glorious chance to put the game to bed just past the hour mark, the forward shooting wide of the target with only Blanco to beat.Blanco had stay sharp to deny Messi a second in a brief goalmouth scramble while Celta, despite enjoying more of the ball, continued to struggle in the final third.Brais Mendez’s effort had Ter Stegen diving low to his left, but that save was as comfortable as Barca’s whole evening had been. What does it mean? Barca go clear againBarca did not seem to take too kindly to having company at the top of the table after being joined there by Atletico, but this win restored their cushion and provided a fitting end to the year. Celta, meanwhile, remain mid-table.Magnificent Messi does it againHaving played a significant role in the opener, Messi got himself on the scoresheet before the break in a display that highlighted just what a threat he is, cementing his spot at the top of the LaLiga scoring charts.Suarez outshoneSuarez was as industrious as he always is, but while Dembele and Messi both found the back of the net, the Uruguay international’s finishing was wayward, failing to find the target with two attempts at goal. Key Opta Facts:- Messi has reached 15+ goals in LaLiga for each of the last 11 seasons.- Barcelona have scored 102 league goals in 2018, more than any other team in the top five European leagues.- Messi has scored 47 goals in 49 games in 2018 in all competitions, more than any other player from those five divisions.- Barcelona have kept four consecutive clean sheets in LaLiga for the first time since January.- Valverde has not lost any of his 16 games as a head coach against Celta in LaLiga (W11 D5).What’s next?The two sides can enjoy a festive break now and will return to action in January, with Barca heading to Getafe in their first game of 2019, while Celta host Athletic Bilbao. read more
Inter 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 more
Wayne Rooney believes Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is the right man to heal the player unrest that contributed to Jose Mourinho’s dismissal from Manchester United.Appearing on television ahead of the club’s Premier League clash against Cardiff City, Rooney said recent conversations with former team-mates confirmed the atmosphere “wasn’t great” at Old Trafford.Mourinho was dismissed after a 3-1 loss to Liverpool in which star midfielder Paul Pogba, with whom the Portuguese reportedly had several run-ins, was an unused substitute. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? United installed Solskjaer as boss on an interim basis and Rooney, who left for Everton in 2017, welcomed the move as essential to lifting morale.”Of course I stay in touch with a lot of people at the club. I speak to them quite a lot and certainly this week,” the ex-Red Devils skipper told BT Sport.”To be a successful football club you need everything to be right. You need the staff at the training ground to be right, the groundsman, whoever it is, they need to feel happy, and that rubs off.”I think that relationship between some of the players and some of the staff obviously wasn’t great.”But bringing Ole and Mike Phelan in, that has already changed. They’re smiling, they’re happy and that rubs off on the players.”I think it’s a good move for the club. It gives them a bit more time to get the right manager in place in the summer.”Rooney – United’s all-time record goal-scorer – left the club in 2017 after 13 years at Old Trafford, during which time he won five Premier League titles and the 2008 Champions League.The former Everton striker, who also became England’s top scorer in 2016, left United to returned to Goodison Park where he began his career, spending a season under Toffees bosses Ronald Koeman and Sam Allardyce before moving to DC United in MLS last summer.He scored eight goals in 39 appearances for United under Mourinho, but played an increasingly diminished role during the Portuguese’s first season at the club, and left in search of more playing time after opportunities became scarcer.
“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.
Son Heung-Min surpassed 50 goal involvements for Tottenham in the Premier League as Christmas came early for Mauricio Pochettino’s men at Everton.The South Korea international netted a double for Spurs and laid on another for Harry Kane as the visitors ran out 6-2 victors at Goodison Park.Kane netted a double of his own, with Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen capping off the final win which takes the north Londoners within six points of leaders Liverpool. 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 thrusting themselves into the title picture was not the only achievement to take from the afternoon on Merseyside.Twenty-six-year-old Son led the way with two goals and an assist, meaning he has contributed to 51 goals in the English top flight since arriving from Bayer Leverkusen in the summer of 2015.In 112 appearances, Son has scored 35 times and laid on 16 for his Tottenham teammates, to underline his status as a front-line star of Pochettino’s side.That was not the end of the landmarks reached by Tottenham’s players on a thoroughly successful weekend, as they extended their lead over fourth place Chelsea to five points.England captain Kane went to 11 Premier League goals for the season, scoring in the ninth different match of the 2018-19 campaign.Only Mohamed Salah of league leaders Liverpool has netted in as many separate games this term.4 – Harry Kane has become only the second player to score 2+ goals in four consecutive Premier League appearances against a single opponent, after Michael Owen against Newcastle United (Aug 1998 to May 2001). Bracing. #EVETOT pic.twitter.com/4auUYAG3so— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 23, 2018Furthermore, the former Millwall and Leicester loanee became only the second player to score two or more goals in four consecutive top flight appearances against a single opponent.Only Michael Owen’s run against Newcastle during his days with Liverpool rivals the latest record registered by Kane.9 – This is the 9th different Premier League match that Harry Kane has scored in during 2018-19; the most in the competition alongside Mohamed Salah. Collection. pic.twitter.com/FpPona5BsF— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 23, 2018Goal of the afternoon went to Eriksen, whose rasping strike extinguished any hope of a second half Everton comeback.And since the Denmark international arrived in England in August 2013, no player has scored more goals from outside the penalty area in the Premier League.17 – Only Coutinho (18) has scored more goals from outside the box in the Premier League than Christian Eriksen (17) since his debut in September 2013. Range. #EVETOT pic.twitter.com/f6CYahIUWP— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 23, 2018He surpassed Philippe Coutinho with his 18th goal from range, as Tottenham kicked off the festive period in ideal fashion.
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.
Chelsea have been inconsistent since the final international break of the season at the end of November and they could do with a win against Watford on Wednesday. A run of three wins in a row was brought to a halt by Leicester City, who shocked Stamford Bridge, pulling off a 1-0 win on Saturday afternoon as Chelsea wasted a host of chances.This comes as the battle for the top four places sees little margin for error, with Tottenham on a run of exceptional form and Arsenal sitting just behind fourth placed Chelsea on goal difference. 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 Injuries Alvaro Morata is back in contention but he didn’t make the bench for Leicester’s recent visit to west London. Gary Cahill also returned and Victor Moses is back in training but both players remain on the fringes at Stamford Bridge.Andreas Christensen is the only major doubt having suffered a hamstring injury last week in Chelsea’s Carabao Cup win over Bournemouth.Chelsea Suspensions Neither Chelsea nor Watford have any players suspended for the match.Chelsea Potential Starting Line-Up Eden Hazard has operated as a false 9 for Chelsea in three matches so far for Sarri and the Belgian’s central influence has seen his side win two of those games.Sarri also seems to have settled on a preferred XI, with Kepa Arrizabalaga, Antonio Rudiger, Cesar Azpilicueta, Marcos Alonso and N’Golo Kante having started all of the Blues’ Premier League games.The battle for places comes down to Willian and Pedro in attacking berths, while in midfield Mateo Kovacic, Ross Barkley and Ruben Loftus-Cheek are aiming to prove that they are the best option. The Watford game is sandwiched between the recent defeat to Leicester and an upcoming away trip to Crystal Palace, so rotation is to be expected.Watford Team News Andre Gray is expected to remain out, having missed the past two weeks with a knee injury. Will Hughes has a hip problem to contend with and is unlikely to make the home match against the FA Cup winners. Sebastian Prodl is also working on coming back from a knee injury.TV channel & kick-off time The match at Vicarage Road kicks off at 7:30pm GMT (2:30pm ET) on Wednesday and it will be shown on Sky Sports in the UK.Best Opta Match Facts Watford won their most recent meeting with Chelsea (4-1 in February), ending a run of 13 games without a win against them in all competitions (D3 L10). Watford are looking to record back-to-back competitive wins against Chelsea for the first time since April 1987. The last four games between Watford and Chelsea in the Premier League have seen 21 goals scored (Watford 10 goals, Chelsea 11 goals), at an average of 5.3 per game. Eden Hazard has scored 99 goals in all competitions for Chelsea and could become the 10th player to reach 100 for the club. Chelsea have already lost two Premier League games in December – they last lost three games in the same calendar month in October 2015 under Jose Mourinho. Check out Goal’s Premier League 2019-20 fantasy football podcast for game tips, debate and rivalries.
Football clubs are “not ready” to effectively harness the work of sports psychologists, according to Chelsea head coach Maurizio Sarri.The Blues went down to a surprise 1-0 home defeat against Leicester City at the weekend, where their disjointed response to Jamie Vardy’s 55th-minute goal was at odds with an earlier control of the contest.Sarri suggested his players’ mentality was the issue, rejecting suggestions that they are not physically prepared to implement his style of football. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? However, the 59-year-old Italian’s previous experiences mean he is not ready to call in a psychological specialist.”No [we don’t have one]. Not at the moment, because it’s not easy,” he told reporters, with a Boxing Day trip to Watford next on the agenda for the Blues.”I had a sports psychologist 15 years ago in Italy, it was really very difficult because the clubs were not ready in that moment, but I think that they are not ready also in this moment.”The physical performance, I don’t know the numbers but in the match against Bournemouth [last week’s 1-0 EFL Cup quarter-final win], it was one of the best of the season, maybe the best in quality.”I don’t think it’s possible for the physical conditioning to change in two minutes. [Against Leicester] we were very well for 55 minutes and two minutes after the goal we were in trouble, so I think there is another reason.”We lost the match because the reaction after the goal was in the wrong direction, I think we had only to continue.”We were in full control of the match. We were dangerous without conceding anything to the opponents so we had only to continue.”Back to it on Boxing Day! pic.twitter.com/z5Epj9jLjX— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) December 23, 2018Cesc Fabregas made a rare Premier League appearance from the bench during the closing stages of the Leicester defeat and Sarri suggested his plight is indicative of an overly stocked squad – especially when it comes to attacking midfielders.”At the moment we are too many. We have 28 players and it’s impossible to use all of them. I think 25 is the right number,” the former Napoli boss added.”We have a lot of offensive midfielders and we have only [N’Golo] Kante as a defensive midfielder, so it’s not easy now for the midfield to have the right balance.”
Juan Cuadrado is likely to avoid the need for surgery on a knee injury, Juventus have confirmed.The Colombia international was sent to Germany for assessment on the problem last week and missed the 1-0 Serie A victory over Roma last Saturday.The 30-year-old has returned to Turin and will continue conservative treatment in a bid to restore him to full fitness. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? “Juan Cuadrado is continuing conservative therapy with some improvement,” a Juve statement said.”At the moment, there are not enough indications to proceed surgically.”Cuadrado has made 15 appearances in all competitions for Massimiliano Allegri’s side this season.Despite his injury struggles, he remains fully committed to the Juve cause and has sought to play down any suggestion that he may consider leaving the club.He told Marca in November: “I think only of Juventus and to reach the goals we have set ourselves, to arrive in March and to be in a race on all fronts.“Then there will be the Copa America, it will be a great opportunity to win something with Colombia.”Juve are set to face Atalanta on December 26 before hosting Sampdoria three days later in their final match before the mid-season break.Cuadrado will play no part in those fixtures, but will be hoping to come back into contention at some point in early 2019.
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.
OTTAWA – Resurrecting the per-vote subsidy for federal political parties would cost the public treasury about $44 million annually over the next four years, a new report says — an expense the Liberal government said Tuesday it has no plans to incur.A new report from the parliamentary budget officer calculates the potential cost of reintroducing the subsidy, which was introduced in 2004 by the Liberals when corporate donations were banned. By 2015, however, the Conservatives had phased out the subsidies.The report follows a private member’s bill introduced last fall by Bloc Quebecois MP Michel Boudrias that, if passed, would restore public funding for registered political parties in the form of a quarterly allowance of 44 cents per vote cast in the most recent general election.The bill also proposes lowering the annual individual donation limit to political parties to $525 from the current maximum of $1,575.In the midst of controversy over so-called cash-for-access fundraisers, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in late 2016 that he was willing to consider other options for resolving the problem, including reducing the donation limit and reinstating the per-vote subsidy for political parties, thereby reducing their need to raise large sums of money.However, Liberal insiders later said those options were eventually rejected — and the party eventually announced new rules it says will ensure there’s more transparency surrounding political fundraisers and that they’re no longer private events.The findings by parliamentary budget officer Jean-Denis Frechette show the cost of reviving the per-vote subsidy would be “quite a significant investment,” said Democratic Institutions Minister Karina Gould.“So, as it stands right now, I think we’re pretty comfortable with how parties are financed … It’s not something that we’re probably going to be pursuing.”Boudrias defended his bill in a statement Tuesday following the report’s release: “Public financing would reduce the influence of private interests on parties and elected officials,” he said. “The defence of democracy doesn’t have a price.”The legislation also proposes changes to maximum tax credits that individuals would be able to claim for political donations — an adjustment the parliamentary budget office estimates would increase government tax expenditures by about $2 million per year.Canada has a total ban on corporate or union donations, and requires that all contributions be disclosed publicly.
London: Former One Direction member Louis Tomlinson believes the group will reunite at some point in future. The popular British boy band, featuring Tomlinson, Harry Styles, Niall Horan and Liam Payne, went on an hiatus in March 2016 with an aim to focus on their individual careers. ”I do think it will happen. I’d certainly have something to say about it if it didn’t. I think it’s inevitable. When is the big question. That’s something none of us really know the answer to at the moment. Also Read – ‘Terminator: Dark Fate’ has James Cameron’s fingerprints all over it: Arnold Schwarzenegger”I feel like what’s most important is that when we do get back together, we’re all on the same page and we’ve all done what we want to do individually. That’s vitally important for when we get back,” Tomlinson told Independent Television News. The singer added that he is ”really proud” of his time in the boy band. ”When I look back on ‘One Direction’ and the memories that we had, it’s only incredible memories. I think we got to a place musically, especially on the last two albums, that we felt really proud of. We started off as a boy band and where we ended up musically was a very different place. I’m really proud of those times, definitely.”
GENEVA – The UN special envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, will on Saturday visit Egypt as he kicks off a regional tour to prepare for peace talks on Syria dubbed Geneva 2, his spokesman said.Brahimi will meet Egypt’s foreign minister Nabil Fahmy as well as the Arab League Secretary General Nabil al-Arabi, spokesman Khawla Mattar said in Geneva on Friday.The rest of his schedule is uncertain due to various governments being on holiday because of the main Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha, but Mattar said “the tour will cover several countries of the region”. This will include visits to Damascus and Tehran.The international community has for months been pushing Syria’s rebels and the regime to participate in talks on a negotiated solution to the conflict, which has killed an estimated 115,000 people since March 2011.Syria’s Deputy Prime Minister Qadri Jamil said proposed peace talks in Geneva could take place on November 23-24.However Mattar said the date for the long awaited peace conference will be announced by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon “in due time”.She said the meeting was likely to place in the “second half of November”.Prospects for the Geneva 2 conference remain unclear, with the Syrian opposition divided and due to vote next week on whether to take part.