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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
Jamie 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 #[email protected] @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 more
Burnley manager Sean Dyche accused Arsenal’s players of diving after his side lost 3-1 at Emirates Stadium, scathingly saying: “Millions of children see it.”Goals in either half from Premier League leading scorer Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang left Burnley with little hope of picking up a point towards their fight against relegation, although Ashley Barnes gave them a glimmer of hope when he pulled one back 27 minutes from the end.The Clarets pushed for an equaliser, but a late strike from Alex Iwobi knocked the stuffing out of the visitors, and Dyche claimed the Arsenal substitute scored from an offside position. 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? “We could have got something out of the game. Their final goal was marginally offside,” Dyche told reporters before firing accusations at Unai Emery’s players over diving.”Two dives,” said the Burnley boss. “No-one seems to want to do anything about diving apart from me. Millions of children see it.”We’re not talking about gamesmanship; we’re talking about diving.”Diving’s not for me but gamesmanship is different. What I don’t like is when you’re touched on the arm and your feet go from beneath you. I thought it was incredibly bad at the World Cup.”PIC: Ashley Barnes and Arsenal’s Sokratis battle for the ball pic.twitter.com/nGHgalSOlO— Burnley FC (@BurnleyOfficial) December 22, 2018Emery refused to get dragged into an argument about diving, opting to politely disagree with Dyche’s accusations while calling for respect for the referee’s decisions.”The most important thing is the victory,” said the Arsenal coach.”We have to have respect for the referee and for the opposition.”Arsenal’s win coincided with Mesut Ozil’s return to the side after a spell out, and the German was instrumental in helping mastermind the victory, providing an assist and influencing the play with a superb display of passing to delight the Emirates.”It was a big performance and afterwards I spoke with him [Ozil] and said congratulations for your work,” said Emery. “He showed his quality and their characteristics and we needed him to work to help us today and he did.”
For the fourth time in five years, Real Madrid have claimed the FIFA Club World Cup and in doing so both made history and claimed bragging rights over their rivals Barcelona.Luka Modric opened the scoring for the European Champions against Al Ain in the final, scoring his first-ever goal for the club in a tournament final to round out his spectacular 2018.Marcos Llorente delivered his first-ever professional goal for the club to double their advantage while Sergio Ramos also found the back of the net for Madrid to make it 3-0. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Tsukasa Shiotani scored late to get Al Ain back to 3-1 down, but an own goal by Yahia Nader sealed the 4-1 victory for Madrid.Last May, Madrid became the first team to claim three consecutive modern-day Champions League crowns and now they have gone on to become the first ever to claim three straight Club World Cup or Intercontinental Cup.The victory also saw the club become the first to take home four Club World Cup titles, breaking the tie between themselves and their La Liga rivals Barcelona.Barcelona had won in 2009, 2011 and 2015, while Madrid’s first Club World Cup crown did not come until 2014, but they have now won the last three.It continues an incredible run by Madrid in the competition, as they are now unbeaten in their 12 games in the competition, winning the last eight outscoring their opposition 22-5.4 – Real Madrid have won the FIFA Club World Cup four times (2014, 2016, 2017 and 2018), becoming the team with the most titles won, surpassing Barcelona (2009, 2011 and 2015). King. pic.twitter.com/SWJ8IiPrgq— OptaJose (@OptaJose) 22 de diciembre de 2018The trophy is the first silverware won by manager Santiago Solari, who replaced Julen Lopetegui at the helm in November.Solari became the first Argentinian manager to win the tournament, with the previous five who managed a final, all in charge of South American sides, having lost.It was also a good night for Ramos, who, along with Marcelo, pulled into third all-time in Madrid history with 20 titles won, behind Gento and Sanchis.And despite being a defender, Ramos became the third player to score in three Club World Cup finals – something previously only done by Lionel Messi and the Madrid captain’s former team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo.
Former Manchester United forward Michael Owen feels that the departure of Jose Mourinho has been a breath of fresh air around the club, and that the more relaxed atmosphere was reflected in Saturday’s drubbing of Cardiff City.A double from Jesse Lingard added to Marcus Rashford, Ander Herrera and Anthony Martial’s goals as United ran riot in a 5-1 victory in south Wales.That win meant Solskjaer, who replaced the sacked Mourinho on an interim basis, enjoyed the perfect start on the bench for the Red Devils, who also cut the deficit behind fourth-placed Chelsea to eight points. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Mourinho’s final months at United were marred by reported rifts with players and poor results, and Owen believes that his sacking has given the club a new lease of life.”It’s not that you don’t want to put a huge amount of praise on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, he’s obviously had an immediate impact, but he can’t have done much in such a short period of time.” Owen said to BT Sport. “It’s basically the shackles are now off and people can express themselves, people are actually smiling within the club now.”That makes all the difference to anybody’s performance.”Wayne Rooney also praised the Norwegian’s impact, while also alluding to the toxic atmosphere that accompanied Mourinho’s last days.”They looked a bit restricted. The players have got a lot of ability, and today we’ve seen that,” he said.”Playing for Manchester United, it’s a lot of pressure and a lot of things were happening around the team, around the manager, which is never easy to deal with as a player.”I think the players have just got that freedom. Ole has given them that as well. You’ve seen what they can do. I think today was a fantastic day for the club.”United continue their Premier League campaign on December 26, hosting Huddersfield Town at Old Trafford. Check out Goal’s Premier League 2019-20 fantasy football podcast for game tips, debate and rivalries.
Manchester United star Marcus Rashford has told fans that there is more to come after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s tenure on the bench started in style on Saturday.Solskjaer stepped into the breach this week on an interim basis after Jose Mourinho was sacked from his post as club manager.A cult hero during his playing days at Old Trafford, the Norwegian has been tasked with turning round a disappointing start to the Premier League season which has seen United lose touch with the first four. 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 he enjoyed a dream start at the weekend, as his new charges romped to a 5-1 victory away to Cardiff City.Rashford netted the first goal of the Solskjaer era just three minutes in, while Ander Herrera, Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard, who hit twice, completed the scoring.And the striker was delighted with the new boss’ impact.”He wants us to be positive on the ball and always look for the gaps. That was just the start. We’re going to improve and get better at it,” he signalled to BT Sport.”The Christmas period is very busy so it is about recovering and making sure we’re ready for the next games. We have to keep improving and go up another level.”Lingard was also pleased with what he saw from United, pointing to a more positive attitude on the pitch which paid dividends.”The lads played with a lot of energy, enjoyment and excitement. We scored five goals, which is good,” the winger stated.”When you’ve got confidence, you put yourselves in positions to score goals. That’s what we did.“We were playing higher and the full-backs were higher. We pinned them back and created a lot of chances.”United remain in sixth place after their victory, although they closed the gap on fourth-placed Chelsea to eight points after the Blues came unstuck against Leicester City. Check out Goal’s Premier League 2019-20 fantasy football podcast for game tips, debate and rivalries.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer told his players to “be Manchester United” before their rousing 5-1 win against Cardiff on Saturday.Jesse Lingard scored twice to add to goals from Marcus Rashford, Ander Herrera and Anthony Martial at the Cardiff City Stadium as United put on an electrifying performance to blow away the cobwebs that had collected during the final sorry weeks of Jose Mourinho’s reign.Caretaker boss Solskjaer, installed until the end of the season after the Portuguese was sacked on Tuesday, restored Paul Pogba to the starting line-up after the World Cup winner was left out of Mourinho’s team for last weekend’s 3-1 capitulation to Liverpool, and he wasted little time in re-finding the form that once made him the most expensive player in world 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? And the Norwegian revealed after the game that he has received advice from United’s record goal-scorer Wayne Rooney on how to re-ignite the attacking energy that been lost under the Portuguese.“Football is easy if you’ve got good players,” Solskjaer told BT Sport . “They are a great bunch of players and their quality is unbelievable.”I arrived on Wednesday night and only had Thursday and Friday with the players. Wayne Rooney texted me and gave me some advice – so it must be down to him! He told me to make them play football, enjoy themselves and be Manchester United.”United impressed on all fronts going forward, and their dominance was threatened only briefly when Victor Camasara’s penalty pegged them back to 2-1 midway through the first half.It was in stark contrast to the lifelessness of the team’s final performances under Mourinho – United had gone into the game with the fewest goals scored of any side in the top six and more goals conceded than 15th-place Newcastle.”We had a session yesterday about patterns of play and we wanted Ashley Young and Luke Shaw to push on more,” said Solskjaer. “It worked out well today.”Your work-rate is the easiest thing to work on. It is free. It is the attitude and application of the boys.”If we approach all the games like this – and we want them to approach them all like this – with combination play and playing the ball forward then I’ll be happy.”The foundation was in the defending today. I thought the two centre-backs and two full-backs were brilliant today.”
Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri labelled Mario Mandzukic “extraordinary” after the forward struck again against Roma on Saturday. Mandzukic’s first-half goal was enough for Juve to claim a 1-0 win, marking their 16th victory in 17 Serie A games. The Croatian has now scored in his last three home games for Juve, and in total has netted six goals in front of the Bianconeri faithful in 2018-19 – both personal season bests. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? He also broke his duck against Roma, against whom he had never previously scored in the teams’ Serie A bouts. The Croatian is already up to eight league goals for Juve this season – bettering his previous two campaigns – and Allegri hailed the forward. “Mario is a key player. His combination of technical and physical attributes make him an extraordinary player,” he said. Allegri also praised Paulo Dybala after Juve retained an eight-point lead atop the table. “Paulo fared well too. He allowed us to bring the ball out of our half,” he said.How did you celebrate this moment from @MarioMandzukic9 ? #JuveRoma #FinoAllaFine #ForzaJuve pic.twitter.com/QdEqdHOq11 — JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) December 22, 2018 The result put further pressure on Roma coach Eusebio Di Francesco, whose team slipped to 10th in the table. Di Francesco was pleased with the way his team finished the game, although he rued their first half. “In the first 45 minutes we saw the same fear and insecurity of recent games, but after the break we overcame that,” he said. “We battled with determination and used the ball a lot better.” The result keeps the Juve eight points clear of Napoli, who beat SPAL 1-0, at the top, while Roma languish in 10th place. And the win saw Juventus set a couple of records along the way, including matching the best start for any team in the top five European leagues. They’ll have a chance to improve that record before the close of the year with two matches still on tap. They’ll play Atalanta on Boxing Day before closing out their 2018 schedule with a clash against Sampdoria on Decemeber 29.