A Titan display means the Cowboys may have Met(s) their match

first_img@Eden_RichardsThe Men’s Elite Eight has been blown wide open with three teams sitting equal at the top of the competition standings after two days of competition at the National Touch League in Coffs Harbour. The Queensland Cowboys remain top of the standings on for and against, but the Queensland Titans and the New South Wales Mets are breathing down their necks after going unbeaten on day two. Many thought the Cowboys might go through the tournament unbeaten in their quest to win back-to-back titles, but they suffered a shock defeat early on day two. In the process the Titans reminded everyone that they are the real deal, pulling off a one-touchdown win against the competition favourites in the entertaining Round 4 clash. That 9-8 win has helped the Titans finish the day in 2nd position, just above the New South Wales Mets.These two sides will play each other early on day three, with the winner likely to secure a top-two finish and bragging rights heading into the finals series. The loser will put themselves at risk of missing the finals, with the 4th-placed New South Wales Mavericks and the 5th-placed New South Wales Scorpions both believing they are worthy of a finals appearance. The Mavericks and the Scorpions both sit on 10 competition points but they had mixed days in the Coffs Harbour heat.  It was a day of positives for the Mavericks, with the team securing an important win late in the day against the Queensland Broncos, with that win sky-rocketing them into the top four. On the other hand, the Scorpions will be kicking themselves after failing to secure a win on day two. All their hard work on day has now come undone and they can forget about a top-two finish. The Scorpions day two was much like that of the teams below them, with the 6th-placed Broncos and the 7th-placed Alliance both having shockers. In a day of huge importance, the Broncos and the Alliance could only achieve a draw and a loss in their Round 4 and 5 matches. It leaves both sides six points out of the top four and each will need a miracle if they are to make the finals.But things could be worse and this is proven by the struggling New South Wales Rebels. The Rebels are having no luck in this year’s competition, remaining winless at the bottom of the table after five matches. On a more personal note, Cowboy Shaun Francis leads the tournament in touchdowns scored, tallying up 12 to his name. He will look to add to this number tomorrow when the Cowboys kick off the day against the Mavericks at 10:40AM. Related LinksElite 8 Men Day 2last_img read more

10 months agoMan Utd defender Marcos Rojo: I do have white line fever

first_imgAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Man Utd defender Marcos Rojo: I do have white line feverby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveManchester United defender Marcos Rojo says he enjoys the physical style of the Premier League.Rojo has become popular among supports for his robust style of defending.He told manutd.com: “That’s the way I play my football. That is me on the field. If you see me off the field, I’m the most laid back guy – laughing, joking all day and having fun but, as soon as I cross that white line and go on to the field, I don’t know what happens! “I’m a different person. Something happens inside me and I change. If the ball is there to be won, I go for it and give it everything I’ve got. Individual battles, individual duels, I am always up for them.” last_img read more

Young: It was a tough week for Man Utd

first_imgAshley Young admits Manchester United have endured “a tough week”, but has called on those around him to “play for the badge” as a new era is opened at Cardiff.The Red Devils will take to the field in South Wales with a new manager at the helm, with Jose Mourinho having been relieved of his duties.Inconsistent displays from an underperforming squad spelled the end for the Portuguese, with a 3-1 defeat to Liverpool proving to be the final straw. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been drafted in as Mourinho’s successor and is being backed to bring a feel-good factor back to Old Trafford.Young concedes there have not been too many smiles on United faces of late, but told the club’s official website: “It’s been a tough week.“But we’ve got to move on now, move forward and concentrate on this game. We need to get ourselves back to winning ways.“You go out there as a player and you want to win, play for the badge, play for this fantastic club, the best club in the world and for us now it’s about looking ahead and looking at the next couple of games we’ve got coming up.“It’s a busy Christmas period and we want to get points on the board and start getting ourselves back up the table.”The Red Devils are looking for returning hero Solskjaer to make an immediate impact, with the presence of a 1999 Treble winner helping to raise spirits around the club.Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Cardiff City 2013-14“I’m sure Ole is excited to be back, Mike Phelan as well,” added Young. “For Ole to walk back in here must feel unbelievable. The fans love him, he loves the club and it can only be a good thing for us.“With me being one of the older heads, I [previously] worked under Mike and it’s nice to see him back on the training pitch again.”Young has also hailed the impact of the backroom team at United, with Michael Carrick, Kieran McKenna and goalkeeping coach Emilio Alvarez all having important roles to play in the present and future.“Carras, Kieran and Emilio have been fantastic,” he said. “The training sessions they’ve put on have been fantastic, top notch.“I can definitely see Carras being a manager one day and Kieran has been brilliant stepping up to the first team [from the Under-18s]. He’s taken to it like a duck to water and Emilio is a fantastic goalkeeping coach. It’s nice for them to be here and work under Mick and Ole as well.“The main thing for us has been not to be caught up in everything and instead just concentrate on our work on the pitch and get ourselves fully prepared for this weekend’s game. That’s all you can do as players; be prepared and be ready for the game that we’ve got coming up.” Check out Goal’s Premier League 2019-20 fantasy football podcast for game tips, debate and rivalries.last_img read more

Report: Chelsea 0 Leicester City 1

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

Messi leads Barcelona past Celta

first_imgLionel 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 morelast_img read more

City slayer Townsend revels in ‘best goal of career’

first_imgManchester City’s commitment to pressing persuaded Andros Townsend to smash in his goal of the season contender.Crystal Palace claimed a shock 3-2 win at the Etihad Stadium to land a telling blow against City’s Premier League title defence.Jeffrey Schlupp cancelled out Ilkay Gundogan’s opener and Luka Milivojevic’s penalty 10 minutes into the second half ultimately proved decisive after Kevin De Bruyne reduced the arrears late on. 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 it is Townsend’s sumptuous volley from 30 yards after City only partially cleared a set-piece that will live long in the memory.”It sat up for me. I knew if I took a touch, the way Man City press the ball they would have been all over me,” the Eagles forward told Sky Sports.”I knew I had to take it first time and as soon as it left my foot I knew it had a chance.”Townsend conceded Palace had to dig in for victory against Pep Guardiola’s side, making his goal all the sweeter.”Having watched it back I think it was the best goal of my career, given the circumstances and given the opposition – probably the best side I’ve ever played against in my career,” he added.”They’re incredible. We couldn’t get near them at times. To score against these away from home makes it the best.”Palace are now six points clear of the relegation zone and manager Roy Hodgson wants to ensure they make the most of an unexpected win when they host struggling Cardiff City on Boxing Day.”It’s a good day’s work and three fantastic points that we need to make certain we don’t throw away by not doing the job we need to do against Cardiff,” he told Sky Sports.”We need three points from that game as well and not waste these three ‘bonus’ points that a lot of people didn’t expect us to get today.” Check out Goal’s Premier League 2019-20 fantasy football podcast for game tips, debate and rivalries.last_img read more

Rooney backs Solskjaer to lift United mood

first_imgWayne 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.last_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

‘Caption this!’ – Pogba teases ‘big announcement’ on Sunday

first_imgManchester United star Paul Pogba has referenced the social media post sent in the wake of Jose Mourinho’s sacking to tease an announcement on Sunday.Pogba came in for criticism on Tuesday when a photo tagged “caption this” was posted to his social media channels in the immediate aftermath of the Red Devils confirming Mourinho had left the club, although it was later claimed that the submissions were scheduled by his sponsors adidas.Confirmed by contact within @adidassoccer : ” #Pogba ‘s social media posts were a scheduled event, part of a marketing campaign. Immediately taken down once it became apparent that it could be misconstrued as disrespectful to Manchester United and José Mourinho”— Chris Williams (@Chris78Williams) December 18, 2018 The France midfielder – who starred in United’s 5-1 win over Cardiff City on Saturday – reportedly had a difficult relationship with his former boss, and was publicly criticised by Mourinho on several occasions. 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 25-year-old’s Instagram and Twitter accounts were active again on Sunday, posting a caricatured picture of himself winking with the tag: “Now caption this. Big announcement later today.”In his Instagram stories, a countdown appears to suggest that the big reveal will happen around 6pm UK time (1pm ET).Regardless, the post will likely spark comments from the Frenchman’s detractors, with Gary Neville having already called out Pogba for his original post on the day of Mourinho’s sacking, the ex-Man Utd man tweeting ‘You do one as well’, suggesting the former full-back wants the midfielder out of the club.Within the Old Trafford camp, the mood has improved significantly with the appoint of new interim boss and club legend Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Pogba himself having been recalled to the starting XI in the 5-1 smashing of Cardiff.Manchester United’s chances of winning the Premier League title this year remain slim, however, with the English giants now 19 points off leaders Liverpool.Still, silverware remains up for grabs as United have FA Cup and Champions League clashes to prepare for, though the latter fixture against the Neymar-led French champions could prove a bridge too far for the recovering Red Devils. Check out Goal’s Premier League 2019-20 fantasy football podcast for game tips, debate and rivalries.last_img read more

‘I don’t want to upset this guy again!’ – Poch responds to Man Utd rumours

first_imgMauricio Pochettino insists Tottenham need to be focused despite rumours linking the Argentine to Manchester United.The Spurs boss has been heavily linked with a move to Old Trafford next season after Jose Mourinho was sacked by United on Tuesday, and is yet to rule himself out of the job.Tottenham’s press officer angrily interjected during his news conference on Thursday to stop further questions about the rumours, but reporters again probed Pochettino after his side’s thrilling win over Everton on Sunday. 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? “A lot [of] rumours happen. I don’t want this guy to get upset again [pointing to Spurs press officer]. We need to be focused. We will do our best to try to be successful,” Pochettino said.The speculation is sure to continue until the end of the campaign as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has only been appointed on an interim basis until then, meaning United are yet to appoint a permanent successor to Mourinho. Zinedine Zidane, who is out of work after leaving Real Madrid at the end of last season, has also been linked with the job, while rumours have emerged that Real could look to hijack United’s bid for Pochettino and take him to the Santiago Bernabeu.Many onlookers have pointed to Pochettino’s past at Southampton, where he refused to be drawn on speculation that he would leave for a bigger club, only to move to White Hart Lane in 2014.A move to either the Liga giants or the Red Devils would surely be hard for Pochettino to turn down, but Spurs fans will be hopeful he sticks to his word and steers them to a fourth successive top-four finish.His side certainly showed encouraging signs in their first outing since the aggressive rumours emerged, claiming a 6-2 victory at Goodison Park thanks to goals from Son Heung-min, Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen.Spurs face Bournemouth and Wolves at home next on Boxing Day and Saturday respectively before travelling to Cardiff City to round off a busy festive period.last_img read more

Asensio ‘honoured’ by Inter links

first_imgMarco Asensio is honoured to be on Inter’s radar but has no plans to leave Real Madrid, according to his agent.Reports have suggested the Nerazzurri are considering a January bid for the Spain international, who has started 11 of Madrid’s 17 La Liga matches this season and scored only once.Asensio’s representative, Horacio Gaggioli, acknowledged his client would be proud to hear of an offer from the Serie A club but says the 22-year-old wants to stay at the Santiago Bernabeu. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? “It’s an honour if a club like Inter are interested in Marco,” he told FCInternews.”I don’t know if it’s true, but for now the player has no intention of leaving Madrid.”Asensio has won eight major trophies for Madrid since 2016, including the 2018 Club World Cup this month.Otro título para vosotros, Madridistas. ¡Tricampeones del mundo! / Another cup for us, Madridistas. World Tri-champions!  pic.twitter.com/8PJSFYWGRI— Marco Asensio (@marcoasensio10) December 22, 2018last_img read more

Southgate dismisses club rumours

first_imgGareth Southgate insists he has had no offers to leave England and return to club management.The 48-year-old enjoyed a memorable 2018, leading the Three Lions to the semi-finals of the World Cup for the first time since 1990 before sealing a spot in the inaugural Nations League Finals, being held next year.Those achievements saw him awarded the BBC Sports Personality Coach of the Year prize earlier this month. 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? Southgate’s efforts saw him linked as a possible long-term replacement for Jose Mourinho at Manchester United, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer only in charge of the Red Devils on a caretaker basis.However, the former Middlesbrough manager, who signed a new four-year deal with England in October, has not been given any reason to quit his post with the national team.”I think at the moment that’s very easy: I don’t have anything to consider,” he told Sky Sports when asked about possible interest from club teams. “We’ve just had our best year in about the last 28 years, we’re in another semi-final next summer and I signed a new contract three months ago.”I’m incredibly proud to be the England manager and I’ve the opportunity to lead England into a European Championship where so many of the matches are at Wembley, so for me it’s a very simple situation at the moment.”Cheeky flicks Free-kicks Long-rangers Back-heeled lobs Watch the best #YoungLions goals from 2018: https://t.co/WAl8eN0wX6 pic.twitter.com/tydgJsfDat— England (@England) December 21, 2018last_img read more

Chelsea team news & likely line up

first_imgChelsea 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.Alvaro Morata Chelsea 2018-19Chelsea 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.Chelsea team GFXWatford 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.last_img read more

Sarri questions Chelsea mentality

first_imgFootball 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.”last_img read more

Mooy missing from Australia’s Asian Cup plans

first_imgAustralia have accepted Aaron Mooy will play no part at the Asian Cup, meaning a call up for James Jeggo.Mooy suffered a torn ligament in his right knee during Huddersfield Town’s 1-0 loss to Arsenal on December 8 and was ruled out for eight weeks by the Premier League strugglers.Football Federation Australia (FFA) optimistically named Mooy in their 23-man squad on December 20 but have conceded the midfielder will not be fit following consultation with Huddersfield’s medical staff, an independent specialist, and FFA’s high performance coordinator – senior physiotherapist, Phil Coles, over the weekend. 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? Socceroos boss Graham Arnold said: “It is disappointing to lose Aaron for the tournament. However, it was important that we left no stone unturned in exploring every option to get Aaron on the pitch for Australia in the UAE.”We will remain in close contact with Aaron and Huddersfield Town during his rehabilitation and trust that he will make a successful return to action.”In making the assessment on the injury we agreed Aaron would need at least another month to return to fitness. In a best-case scenario, this would mean he would not be ready to play until after the quarter-final stage [January 24-25, 2019].”With so many games in such a short period we felt it would be best to bring in a player that is fully fit and ready to go from the outset.”Mooy’s misfortune means opportunity knocks for Austria Vienna’s Jeggo.Arnold added: “James has been performing really well in Austria and is a fantastic character, so we are very happy to have him join the squad.”Initially James was very unlucky to miss out, but sometimes these things happen in football and we are glad we can provide him with this opportunity.”James has thrived at club level playing in a defensive midfield role and with three attacking central midfielders already in the squad, we felt we needed someone with James’ attributes to provide some depth in that area.”Australia remain confident Hertha Berlin midfielder Mathew Leckie will be fit despite sustaining an injury at the weekend.last_img read more

Klopp open to January business

first_imgLiverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is ready to make a move in the January transfer market if opportunities present themselves.The Reds are four points clear of champions Manchester City at the top of the table and remain unbeaten after 18 Premier League games this term.Nevertheless, with the FA Cup to add to their schedule next month and a blockbuster Champions League showdown against Bayern Munich to come in February, Klopp thinks it would be foolhardy to rule out doing business when the window opens. 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’m very happy with what I have got and what I have but we don’t know,” he told a news conference ahead of Newcastle United’s Boxing Day visit to Anfield.”That’s the only little bit where I keep the door open. If something happens we need to have a look”There are a monstrous number of game coming and it’s really important that we can react.”A long as we can react, then all good. If something dramatically changes we need to have a look”If nothing happens we will not do anything.”Klopp’s most recent example of January business certainly adds weight to the argument of strengthening mid-season.Virgil van Dijk Liverpool 2018-19Virgil van Dijk has performed superbly since joining for £75 million ($95m) from Southampton a year ago, marshalling a defence that has only been breached seven times in the Premier League this season.”He’s very, very, very influential. I’m happy,” said Klopp.”When I met him first I thought I knew about his personality, you feel something about that. I was pretty sure he would be like he is.”On the pitch after the Tottenham game last October [a 4-1 defeat at Wembley] – after that [and] before Virg came in, we started already defending much better.”Then Virg came in on top and that helped, of course.”I have no problem with giving all the compliments and all the credit to the boys.”I know the game doesn’t work like that – you bring in one player, it doesn’t improve unless the rest do as well.” 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

Sancho should be in Liverpool’s sights – Ince

first_imgLiverpool should be weighing up a future approach for Jadon Sancho, says Paul Ince, but a new striker is considered to be Jurgen Klopp’s top priority for the January window.The Reds are expected to recruit over the winter, with their manager having left the door open for possible additions.It is unlikely that an England international currently starring for Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund will figure on that wish list. 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? Sancho, though, may be targeted by Premier League sides in the future and Liverpool have been urged to ensure that they are in the mix whenever that day comes.Former Reds midfielder Ince told Express Sport of the talented teenager: “I think when you look at Sancho, let’s not go overboard. He’s only 18.“We don’t want to make these players better than what they are the moment, they’re still only young and have a long way to go.“We as a nation have a tendency to build people up from such a young age and then knock them back down.“I feel with Sancho, the boy’s done well and he’s been brave to make that decision to go and play in Germany.”He needs to keep playing games until he’s 19 or 20.“Then maybe Liverpool should start looking at him. And not just him, there’s other kids out there [in Germany] doing well.”Jurgen Klopp Liverpool 2018-19With Sancho an option to pursue at a later date, Ince believes Liverpool should be looking for added firepower in the coming weeks.The Reds boast plenty of goal threat at present, but cover is considered to be required for the likes of Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino.On what Klopp should be trying to bring in, Ince said: “I feel maybe he needs another striker, I really do.“It’s always hard to get the best players in January. The best don’t really want to leave then.“But you’ve got to say if Salah got injured who’s necessarily going to replace him?“Sturridge flits in and out and hasn’t really done it.“I think as a manager you’re always looking to improve the team.“And I think if they are up there – and they will be up there – like City and like United they’ll be looking to bring in some extra faces to improve the team.“It’s exciting. Everyone thought City would run away with it but Liverpool are right there.”Klopp’s side top the table at present and, having gone unbeaten through 18 games, are currently four points clear of reigning champions Manchester City heading into a busy Boxing Day. Subscribe to Goal’s Liverpool Correspondent Neil Jones’ weekly email bringing you the best Liverpool FC writing from around the weblast_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

Lozano would welcome Lainez to Europe amid Ajax rumours

first_imgPSV star Hirving Lozano would welcome Mexico team-mate Diego Lainez with open arms if the youngster were to make the move to Europe this January amid ongoing speculation that Ajax are keen to sign the America winger.Lozano rose to prominence at a young age in the Mexican game before making the move to PSV in 2017, where has since developed into a key figure.The 18-year-old Lainez, meanwhile, is regarded as perhaps an even bigger prospect than Lozano was in his younger years and recently capped a fine season with the Liga MX Apertura title. 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 fine form has earned him the interest of a number of European sides, with Ajax believed to be among his biggest admirers.Reports from both Netherlands and Mexico have suggested the Eredivisie giants are willing to pay up to €12 million (£10.5m/$13.5m) for the winger and even though Lozano has not seen his compatriot play too often, he would be happy to see him make the move to Europe. “Honestly, I’ve seen him a little. I haven’t seen him play that much,” Lozano told Goal.”For me, he’s a good player. He’s young, but he has a lot of qualities.”I don’t know if he’s ready or not. I don’t know what he’s like as a person. I don’t know him well.”But, hopefully he can arrive here soon.”Lainez would not be the first Mexican to join Lozano in Netherlands if the move were to materialise, with Erick Gutierrez joining his friend in Eindhoven earlier this season.Gutierrez has yet to become as important to the team as Lozano, but the attacker has little doubt his compatriot will soon make more of an impact.”With the transfer of Erick, I played a small role in it because they asked me about him, I was paying attention to whether they signed him or not, so the only thing I could do is to convince them a bit more to sign him and tell him good things about being here,” the 23-year-old added.”I think that’s why he came here.”I think he’s had some minutes, but little by little he’ll have more. He’s going to show more of the skill he has, so I’m convinced that he can play as a starter and hopefully the manager decides. He’s the one that decides, so he’s the one in charge.”last_img read more