About 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.”
About the authorFreddie TaylorShare the loveHave your say Emery admits top-four finish ‘difficult’ for Arsenalby Freddie Taylor9 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveUnai Emery admits consistency is jeopardising Arsenal’s top-four chances. The Gunners’ loss to West Ham United on Sunday saw them drop three points behind fourth-placed Chelsea.And Emery thinks it will be difficult for his team to qualify for the Champions League if they continue to drop points.”Now it’s more difficult, it’s clear,” he told reporters. “I think the most important thing for us is to recover our confidence and be more competitive. We need consistency over 38 matches.”Now it isn’t enough at the moment. It’s a bad result. If we can win we are playing against Chelsea [on Saturday] with a three-point maximum distance.”The big opportunity for us is that we can take in our hands the possibility to be closer to them. This result makes that more difficult.”
About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Chelsea boss Lampard: Senior players still biggest influenceby Paul Vegas19 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveChelsea boss Frank Lampard is delighted with the influence of his senior players.Lampard says he has the right blend within his squad.”What you need is a strong group and then you see the leaders come from within it. Where we are quite young, the leaders are still going to come and come out of themselves more. That comes with a bit of confidence, probably with being around the first team even more,” he stated.”It seemed to have become a bit cut and dry [from outside], the young boys and the old boys, but I never saw it that way. I always trust in the players and in the squad, and you will rely on them.”Willian scored two in two, Jorginho’s influence and how he is, Azpilicueta club captain and N’Golo Kante, back in and 28 years of age. We need all those players and I expect them to deliver and take burdens throughout the season. Hopefully they’re doing that.”
McAteer: Firmino more important to Liverpool than Salahby Ansser Sadiq18 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveLiverpool legend Jason McAteer believes the club would suffer more if they lost Roberto Firmino to injury, compared to Mohamed Salah.The latter suffered a niggle against Leicester City, with fans concerned that he would miss game time after the international break.But McAteer believes if they do have to miss an attacker through injury, Firmino would be the more impactful loss.McAteer told The Racing Post: “People have questioned Liverpool’s strength in depth and I don’t think it’s quite as strong as Manchester City’s, but there is cover in key areas.”Take one of their star players out of the team and inevitably it has an impact – it would at any club. But Jurgen has been able to tweak things and bring in different players and look where they are.”The one player I think is indispensable going forward is Roberto Firmino. Forget Sadio Mane or Mo Salah, it’s Firmino who makes the whole thing tick going forward. I think if Liverpool lost Firmino it would have a bigger impact than losing Mane or Salah.”Look at the Super Cup against Chelsea where Liverpool produced two completely different halves of football, the first without Firmino and the second with him. He’s a more important part of the attacking jigsaw than anyone else.” About the authorAnsser SadiqShare the loveHave your say
Man Utd tell Solskjaer plans to bring in four new signingsby Paul Vegas15 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveManchester United have told Ole Gunnar Solskjaer they plan to bring in four new signings next year.United have struggled to score goals this season and The Times says the board is willing to remain patient with Solskjaer as they acknowledge the scale of the task at hand in rebuilding his squad.The Norwegian has held meetings with the club’s hierarchy and they will be looking to make four signings next year, including a centre forward.United made three signings this summer, with Harry Maguire, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Daniel James heading to Old Trafford. TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say
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.
Chelsea host Leicester City in their final match before Christmas on Saturday as they aim to further cement their place in the top four.Maurizio Sarri’s side were boosted by their qualification for the Carabao Cup semi-finals in midweek, with a late goal from Eden Hazard enough to see off Bournemouth in the quarter-finals on Wednesday.The Blues bounced back from the disappointment of an away loss to Wolves earlier this month by winning their last two league encounters against Manchester City and Brighton. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Leicester were knocked out of the Carabao Cup on Tuesday, however, after losing to Pep Guardiola’s Man City on penalties.The Foxes have failed to win any of their last three league matches and fell to a 1-0 defeat away at Crystal Palace last weekend, a result which saw them slip to 12th in the table.The last Premier League encounter between these two sides at Stamford Bridge ended in a 0-0 draw last January. Game Chelsea vs Leicester Date Saturday, December 22 Time 3:00pm GMT / 10:00am ET Stream (US) fubo TV (7-day free trial) TV Channel, Live Stream & How To Watch In the United States (US), the game can be watched live and on-demand with fuboTV (7-day free trial) .New users can sign up for a free seven-day trial of the live sports streaming service, which can be accessed via iOS, Android, Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, Roku and Apple TV as well as on a web browser. US TV channel Online stream NBCSN fubo TV (7-day free trial) In the United Kingdom (UK), the game will not be shown live as it will be played during the blackout period. UK TV channel Online stream N/A N/A Squads & Team News Position Chelsea players Goalkeepers Arrizabalaga, Caballero, Green Defenders Azpilicueta, Zappacosta, Rudiger, Luiz, Cahill, Ampadu, Emerson Midfielders Fabregas, Jorginho, Drinkwater, Kante, Barkley, Loftus-Cheek, Kovacic Forwards Willian, Pedro, Hazard, Giroud, Hudson-Odoi, Morata Eden Hazard continues in a central striking role for Chelsea after picking up one goal and three assists in his last two appearances in that position.Centre-back Andreas Christensen was forced off with a hamstring injury against Bournemouth and Maurizio Sarri instead picks David Luiz and Antonio Rudiger at centre-back.Alvaro Morata has returned to training after recovering from a twisted knee, but he is not even on the bench.Possible Chelsea starting XI: Arrizabalaga; Azpilicueta, Rudiger, Luiz, Alonso; Jorginho, Kante, Kovacic; Pedro, Hazard, Willian. Subs: Caballero, Cahill, Zappacosta, Fabregas, Barkley, Loftus-Cheek, Giroud. Position Leicester players Goalkeepers Schmeichel, Ward, Jakupovic Defenders Simpson, Pereira, Morgan, Soyuncu, Evans, Maguire, Chilwell, Fuchs Midfielders Iborra, Silva, Mendy, Ndidi, Choudhury, Albrighton, Maddison, Diabate, Gray, Ghezzal Forwards Vardy, Okazaki, Ihenacho Jamie Vardy returns to the Leicester XI having been rested against Manchester City in midweek.There had been concerns over the fitness of Ben Chilwell and Wilfred Ndidi, who are both struggling with knee injuries and are likely to face late fitness tests, but both are deemed fit to start.Matty James and Daniel Amartey remain out.Possible Leicester starting XI: Schmeichel; Ricardo, Morgan, Maguire, Chilwell; Choudhury, Mendy, Ndidi, Albrighton; Maddison; Vardy. Subs: Ward, Fuchs, Evans, Iborra, Gray, Okazaki, Iheanacho.Betting & Match Odds Chelsea’s odds of winning are priced at 1/3 according to bet 365, while a draw is available at 9/2. A win for Leicester is priced at 10/1.Click here to see all of bet 365’s offers for the game, including goalscoring markets, correct score predictions and more. Match Preview A win for Chelsea here would see them leapfog Spurs into third place for at least a day, with Mauricio Pochettino’s side not playing until Sunday.It would also be a great boost for Sarri’s side to cement their spot in the top four for Christmas, with the race to qualify for next season’s Champions League set to intensify during the second half of the season.There are also signs that star man Hazard is approaching his best form again after various injury issues in recent weeks. When asked whether he felt playing the Belgian as a forward could be a long-term solution, Sarri said: “I don’t know. I was sure about City in that position we could do a good match. Against Brighton I started to see this situation in different matches.”Now I want to see it against a team very compact, in low density. We have to see.”Claude Puel will know that his side must pick up some positive results over the festive period to avoid speculation over his own future at the club.It’s been a difficult season for the Foxes on and off the pitch, but with just one win in their last eight matches, Leicester will know that points on the board are a must over the coming weeks. Check out Goal’s Premier League 2019-20 fantasy football podcast for game tips, debate and rivalries.
Luka Modric’s wonderful goal helped seal Club World Cup history as Real Madrid beat Al Ain 4-1 to become the first team to win the tournament three years in a row.Santiago Solari’s first silverware since being appointed as Julen Lopetegui’s successor was set up by Modric’s first-half strike as Madrid comfortably triumphed in Abu Dhabi on Saturday, moving past rivals Barcelona with their fourth title in the competition.The Croatia midfielder, who added the Ballon d’Or crown to his World Cup Golden Ball this month, bent the opener into the bottom-left corner from 25 yards, with Marcos Llorente also drilling home from outside the box before a Sergio Ramos header extended Madrid’s lead. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Al Ain had a goal from Caio Fernandes ruled out for offside when they only trailed by one and Zoran Mamic’s side – who replied through an excellent Tsukasa Shiotani header – can be proud of their efforts on home soil as massive underdogs against the European champions, despite Madrid adding a late fourth through Yahia Nader’s own goal.The perfect way to cap off #TheBest year for @lukamodric10? He has @realmadriden in front in the #ClubWC final pic.twitter.com/VmlslWFoxG— #ClubWC (@FIFAcom) December 22, 2018Madrid hit the post in the third minute when Llorente got clear in the left channel, his cutback deflected on to the woodwork by fortunate defender Ismail Ahmed.Al Ain should have taken the lead when Marcelo’s mistake let in Hussein El Shahat but captain Ramos made a miraculous goal-line clearance to deny the winger, then Madrid nudged in front.Neat build-up play from Karim Benzema set up Modric and the Ballon d’Or winner curled home a beauty from 25 yards, Caio then seeing a rapid reply ruled out for offside.Benzema missed a brilliant chance to extend Madrid’s lead before goalkeeper Khalid Eisa made outstanding saves to deny both Gareth Bale and Modric before the break.Madrid effectively clinched the trophy in the 60th minute when a cleared corner fell kindly to Llorente, his thumping half-volley giving Eisa no chance and opening his professional account in some style.Ramos powered home a Modric corner to make certain of Madrid’s victory, celebrating the goal with unused substitute Isco, although Al Ain scored a deserved consolation through Shiotani with four minutes left.Madrid had the final say, though, as a cross from substitute Vinicius Jr was turned into his own goal by Nader in the first minute of stoppage time. WHAT A [email protected] pic.twitter.com/wsel09O91H— Real Madrid C.F. (@realmadriden) December 22, 2018What does it mean? Solari up and runningThis was not always completely convincing from Madrid, but they did not need to get out of second gear. Solari’s side left too many gaps at the back and more clinical opponents may have punished them, but the coach will be relieved to collect the first trophy of his reign.Modric the man of the moment There were few arguments about Modric ending Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo’s dominance of the Ballon d’Or and he ended 2018 on another high note. His opening goal was superbly struck and the midfielder also forced a scrambling save from Eisa with a stunning volley as well as crossing for Ramos’ goal.Madrid survive Benzema’s baffling missRonaldo’s sale to Juventus meant Benzema would have to hugely increase his meagre goalscoring returns from last season to address the deficit. But the former France striker has struggled to step up, with an atrocious miss from Lucas Vazquez’s cross particularly worrying. Benzema – who has six league goals this season – did set up Modric’s opener, yet he is ultimately in the Madrid team to score goals, not make them.Key Opta Facts- Madrid have won the Club World Cup four times (2014, 2016, 2017 and 2018), surpassing Barcelona (2009, 2011 and 2015) to become the competition’s most successful team.- Solari is the first Argentinian manager to win the Club World Cup. The previous five Argentinians to manage in a Club World Cup final lost the game, all in charge of teams from South America.- Madrid captain Ramos is the third player to score in different Club World Cup finals, after Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.What’s next?Madrid can enjoy a brief break before returning to LaLiga action at Villarreal on January 3. read more
Federico Chiesa’s strike 17 minutes from time earned Fiorentina their first away win of the season as AC Milan’s recent struggles continued in a 1-0 loss at San Siro.The visitors barely threatened Gianluigi Donnarumma’s goal but Chiesa jinked past Davide Calabria and fired home his first goal since September to settle the contest.The Rossoneri have now won just one of their previous six contests in Serie A and have failed to score in any of their last three. 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? Milan also dropped out of the top four thanks to Lazio’s win earlier in the day, with Fiorentina now just two points behind them in seventh.72’ FEDERICO CHIESAAAAAAAAA #MilanFiorentina 0-1 #NoiSiamoFirenze #InsiemeSiamoPiùForti pic.twitter.com/KIW5L94tm8 — ACF Fiorentina (@acffiorentina) December 22, 2018 Milan entered this contest on the back of two 0-0 draws in Serie A and failed to find a way through in the opening 45 minutes, despite creating plenty of opportunities.Hakan Calhanoglu spurned one of the best, firing wide in the 18th minute after a stroke of fortune saw the ball ricochet back into his path in the box following an attempted give and go with Suso.Fiorentina goalkeeper Alban Lafont brilliantly parried away a viciously struck effort from Ricardo Rodriguez while Calhanoglu was denied by Nikola Milenkovic’s clearance off the line on the stroke of half-time.It took until the 51st minute for Fiorentina to fashion their first decent opening as Kevin Mirallas hooked way over from inside the box.Lafont was kept busy at the other end, though, denying Suso at his near post and then preventing Gonzalo Higuain’s header from creeping past him.With just over 20 minutes to go Milan coach Gennaro Gattuso threw on Diego Laxalt and Patrick Cutrone in a bid to inject some life into his below-par outfit but it was Fiorentina that would claim the winner.Chiesa knocked the ball inside Calabria and his right-footed attempt crashed into the corner. Lafont then tipped Rodriguez’s header over as Milan fell to their fourth league loss of the season. What does it mean? Pressure building on Gattuso Five wins in six between September 30 and November 4 had eased the pressure on Gattuso but one win in the half a dozen since will not have pleased the Milan hierarchy. There are just two games remaining before the winter break and Gattuso will be under increasing scrutiny if Milan’s form does not pick up soon.Milan unable to find a way past Lafont Milan did have their chances but French teenager Lafont was equal to everything thrown at him. Rodriguez in particular must be wondering how on earth he did not score as Lafont parried away an attempt destined for goal in the first half before displaying terrific agility to tip over a late header from the Swiss too.Goal-shy Gonzalo fails to fire again It is now eight games without a goal for Higuain and it is no surprise Milan are toiling while the Argentinian experiences a barren spell. Of more concern to Gattuso will be how ineffective Higuain was. He had just one chance across the contest and looks like a man burdened by his current struggles.3 – AC Milan haven’t found the net in three consecutive Serie A games for the first time since November 2001. Lack. #MilanFiorentina— OptaPaolo (@OptaPaolo) December 22, 2018Key Opta FactsMilan have failed to score in three Serie A games in a row for the first time since November 2001.Milan are the only team yet to score a single Serie A goal in the first half since November.Fiorentina have won a Serie A match against AC Milan at San Siro for the first time since November 2013 (0-2).Chiesa’s goal came with Fiorentina’s only shot on target fired in the match.Federico Chiesa has scored his first Serie A away goal since February 2018 (against Bologna).What’s next?Milan’s next assignment is a trip to Frosinone, who are under new management after replacing Moreno Longo with Marco Baroni this week. Fiorentina welcome Parma to Florence on Wednesday. read more
Manchester United will begin their life post-Jose Mourinho when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer returns to Cardiff City on Saturday in the Premier League.The Red Devils legend took charge as interim manager following the Portuguese boss’s dismissal from his managerial post at Old Trafford, and Solskjaer’s first game in charge will be against the side that he briefly managed during an ill-fated spell in 2014.The visitors travel to Wales sixth in the table, 11 points off of a top-four spot and having registered just one win in their last five matches, while the Bluebirds sit in 16th in the table. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Game Cardiff City vs Manchester United Date Saturday, December 22 Time 5:30pm GMT / 12:30pm ET Stream (US) fubo TV (7-day free trial) TV Channel, Live Stream & How To Watch In the United States (US), the game can be watched live and on-demand with fuboTV (7-day free trial).New users can sign up for a free seven-day trial of the live sports streaming service, which can be accessed via iOS, Android, Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, Roku and Apple TV as well as on a web browser. US TV channel Online stream NBC fubo TV (7-day free trial) In the United Kingdom (UK), the game can be watched live on BT Sport 1 and live-streamed on BT Sport Live. UK TV channel Online stream BT Sport 1 BT Sport Live Squads & Team News Position Cardiff City players Goalkeepers Etheridge, Smithies, Murphy Defenders Peltier, Bennett, Morrison, Manga, Connolly, Cunningham, Bamba Midfielders Arter, Ralls, Murphy, Gunnarsson, Damour, Camarasa, Harris, Hoilett Forwards Ward, Paterson, Reid, Madine Cardiff City XI: Etheridge, Manga, Morrison, Bamba, Cunningham, Gunnarsson, Arter, Camarasa, Hoilett, Murphy, Paterson. Position Manchester United players Goalkeepers De Gea, Grant, Romero Defenders Smalling, Jones, Dalot, Shaw, Bailly, Young, Valencia, Darmian Midfielders Pogba, Mata, Matic, McTominay, Herrera, Lingard, Pereira, Fred, Fellaini, Gomes, Hamilton Forwards Rashford, Martial, Chong, Bohui Man Utd XI: De Gea; Young, Jones, Lindelof, Shaw; Matic, Herrera; Lingard, Pogba, Martial; Rashford.Betting & Match Odds Cardiff are priced at odds of 5/1 to win, according to bet 365, while a draw is available at 3/1. A win for the Red Devils is priced at 11/20.Click here to see all of bet 365’s offers for the game, including goalscoring markets, correct score predictions and more.Match Preview Last weekend’s 3-1 loss to Liverpool in the Premier League was the final nail in the coffin for Mourinho, as they dismissed the Portuguese just 48 hours after the defeat.The former Chelsea boss endured a miserable first half of the season with the club, having lost five matches in 17 Premier League games and already conceding as many goals by December as they did during the whole of last season.The defeat at Anfield ensured United are marooned in sixth place with Mourinho admitting that top-four – let alone challenging for the title – was going to be difficult.Solskjaer’s first game in charge as caretaker manager will be against Cardiff, whom he briefly managed in 2014 but could not save from relegation.The Norwegian’s appointment has been welcomed by many Red Devils fans following the toxic and turbulent reign of Mourinho, though he has been given the massive responsibility of trying to challenge for a Champions League spot for next season as well as lifting the spirits of the dressing room.All eyes will be on whether or not the Solskjaer will decide to slot Pogba into the starting XI straightaway, after the France international fell out of favour under Mourinho.He has, meanwhile, claimed that he will not be afraid to replicate Sir Alex Ferguson’s infamous “hairdryer” treatment with the players, and told reporters that he would not hesitate to “lay down the law”.Solskjaer said: “We’ve spoken about what we expect, what standards we have on and off the pitch. You prepare for every game, I trust the lads to know what they’re doing to help the team. Everything we do is to help the team.”He’s [Pogba] a World Cup winner, Paul’s a terrific lad. When I had him as a kid as well, he was always the happy-go-lucky lad and he’s not changed personality-wise.”He’s a better player, and of course he’s one I want to get the best out of. You have so many quality players that I want to try to get the best out of and he’s no different to anybody else.” Check out Goal’s Premier League 2019-20 fantasy football podcast for game tips, debate and rivalries.