Posts

Showing posts from December, 2020

A top-four finish is looking unlikely for Arsenal now, says Ashley Cole

Image
 Arsenal are currently 10 points behind Southampton heading into Wednesday's Premier League home game, and Ashley Cole fears for them. Ashley Cole believes Arsenal are heading for a fifth successive season outside of the top four unless Mikel Arteta gets to grips with the current crisis at the club.  A wretched start to the Premier League campaign has seen Arsenal drift to 15th place, losing seven of their opening 12 games including the last four at home. They head into Wednesday's game against Southampton trailing their visitors by 10 points, a staggering set of circumstances so early in the season that reflects both Saints' strong start and Arsenal's current malaise.  Cup success seems a distant memory The omens for Arsenal looked good when Arteta's team, building on some positive results and lively performances, beat Chelsea in the FA Cup final at the beginning of August.  Yet the Spaniard, appointed last December, has seen his team struggle to capitalise on tha

OFFICIAL: Slaven Bilic sacked by West Brom

Image
 Slaven Bilic has been sacked by West Brom, with former England manager Sam Allardyce likely to replace him as head coach at The Hawthorns. Slaven Bilic's final game in charge was a 1-1 draw at Manchester City on Tuesday; West Brom are 19th in the Premier League after picking up just one win in their first 13 games following their promotion from the Championship last season.

Thiago Mendes and his FAMILY are subjected to death threats after Neymar tackle

Image
 Thiago Mendes and his family have been subjected to death threats on social media after his tackle left Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar with an ankle injury. Despite confirmation that Neymar hasn't broken any bones and the injury isn't as bad as first feared, his countryman Mendes has received vitriolic abuse from fans of both PSG and the Brazil international online. Mendes' wife Kelly spoke to CNEWS this week, reciting some of the abuse that she and her partner have received. One read: 'For your boyfriend's actions, if anything happens to Neymar, you will pay with your life. You and your family, one by one.' In the aftermath of the tackle, which saw a VAR review resulting in a red card for Mendes, Neymar went straight for scans and it has since been confirmed that he has suffered a sprain and could be back after the Ligue 1 winter break. Mendes, meanwhile, has been left fearing for his family's safety after the match, with his partner confirming that they

Solskjaer hits back at criticism of Manchester United's formation

Image
 Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has rejected criticism that he has changed Manchester United's formation too much this season. Former United players Rio Ferdinand and Paul Scholes felt the decision to play a back-three against RB Leipzig last week backfired as Solskjaer's side went out of the Champions League. The United boss had previously used the system to good effect when beating Paris Saint-Germain in October but United lost their Group H decider 3-2 in Germany. Solskjaer beat Leipzig 5-0 in the first meeting at Old Trafford using a diamond formation in midfield, and on Saturday used Paul Pogba on the left of a more familiar 4-2-3-1 in a goalless Manchester derby. 'What was the change in formation then, you tell me?' said Solskjaer when asked about his tactical switches ahead of the trip top Sheffield United on Thursday. 'It was a 4-2-3-1 and coming into that pocket is probably Paul's favourite position. Paul did well and the team's shape was as it normally is.

Mourinho has a dig at Man United as he takes Spurs to Liverpool

Image
 José Mourinho said Manchester United did not give him time to reach his goals in comparison with the patience shown towards Jürgen Klopp at Anfield. José Mourinho suggested Manchester United did not allow him to achieve his targets as he pointed to Liverpool's patience in building a team for Jürgen Klopp. Ahead of Mourinho's Tottenham visiting Liverpool in a top-of-the-table Premier League clash on Wednesday, the Portuguese had worked out Klopp had spent 1,894 days in charge at Anfield. He also totted up his own time spent with Spurs to 390 days, as a means of comparing where the clubs were at in their evolution under each leader.  Mourinho hoped to be the manager to put United back on top of English football, but his Old Trafford reign turned sour and he was sacked in December 2018, midway through his third season.  Despite previous success at Chelsea, Porto, Real Madrid and Inter, Mourinho found he could not eclipse the likes of Manchester City in the time he was afforded w

Berbatov: "What have Messi and Cristiano done to be finalists for The Best?"

Image
The former Manchester United player thinks that while both players are living legends, neither deserves to be up for the award: "Sadly, today's football is a business". Former Manchester United and Tottenham player Dimitar Berbatov, who is now an ambassador for Betfair, feel that Robert Lewandowski would be the rightful winner of this year's The Best award which will be presented tomorrow night. He added that he has doubts that Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo fully deserve to be on the podium with the Polish striker on this occasion as neither have enjoyed a particularly memorable year out on the pitch. "I'm surprised that Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi are among the finalists. I'm not sure that either of them should occupy those places. But unfortunately, football is a business and behind the scenes there is the work being done by agents, the press... there's a lot more going on than just the camaras and what we see," Berbatov said: "The Best for

Neymar and PSG contract talks progressing

Image
 Paris Saint-Germain are "very confident" of agreeing contract extensions with Neymar and Kylian Mbappé. Neymar has not considered leaving Paris Saint-Germain, he claims, as the club continue contract negotiations with both the Brazil forward and strike partner Kylian Mbappé. The world's two most expensive footballers have been in talks over new deals, with less than two years remaining on their existing respective agreements. PSG confident on both fronts: Neymar and Mbappé Signs have been encouraging for PSG, and president Nasser Al-Khelaifi said on Wednesday he was "very confident" and "both want to stay with us". Neymar certainly seems to be on the same page as he told RMC Sport: "I am very happy here in Paris. I am very happy at the club, with my team-mates. "The idea of leaving does not cross my mind. We have to discuss. We have a very good relationship. I am very happy and seeing what happens in the future" Neymar was speaking aft

Klopp unimpressed with VAR AGAIN after Liverpool's UCL draw with Midtjylland

Image
 Jurgen Klopp has explosively claimed he is no longer sure whether VAR is a good idea after the technology stole the show in Liverpool's Champions League draw with Midtjylland. Takumi Minamino appeared to have netted a dramatic late winner in Denmark, only for his finish to be ruled out after the officials spotted an apparent handball from Sadio Mane Midtjylland were also denied all three points when Alexander Scholz's finish was chalked off for offside - and the lengthy interventions resulted in eight minutes of stoppage time added on at the end of the dead rubber The string of incidents left Klopp annoyed at full-time and in his post-match media duties, the Reds boss was not afraid to share his opinions He also pointed to the ice-cold temperatures that took a hold during the pauses 'It just took too long,' he said. 'I think in the end, I didn't see it back, but the decisions were right but it was so difficult to make, it took three or four minutes and it was

Benzema insists 'if we played like this in every game, we'd be unstoppable'

Image
 Match-winner Karim Benzema struggled to hide his delight after Real Madrid qualified for the knockout-phase of the Champions League as group winners on Wednesday night. A first-half double from Benzema was the difference as Zinedine Zidane's side produced their best performance of a stop-start campaign and strolled to a 2-0 win over Borussia Monchengladbach. Madrid's future in Europe's premier club competition was on the line going into the game but the 13-time champions showed their class and experience, easily beating the Germans thanks to two headers from the 32-year-old stalwart. 'This was a great game for us and the way we want to go,' said Benzema. 'We always try to play like this, we prepare well for every game but sometimes we lack a bit of luck when it comes to scoring. We put in an excellent performance today that will give us a lot of confidence. 'We all come out stronger from this match, Zidane and the players. This is how we need to play, if w

Mbappe breaks Messi's record in Champions League

Image
 Paris Saint-Germain striker Kylian Mbappé became the youngest player to score 20 Champions League goals, beating Lionel Messi's record. Kylian Mbappé broke a Champions League record held by Lionel Messi as he netted Paris Saint-Germain's third goal against Istanbul Basaksehir. A double from Neymar put PSG in command of a tie being completed on Wednesday after it was abandoned in the 14th minute on Tuesday following accusations that a fourth official had racially abused Istanbul assistant Pierre Webó. Mbappé becomes youngest player to reach 20 Champions League goals Mbappé made it 3-0 from the penalty spot after Neymar had been brought down, ending a wait for a Champions League goal that stretched back to December 11 last year. The strike also saw him become the youngest player to reach 20 goals in the competition at 21 years and 355 days, surpassing Messi, who reached the tally at the age of 22 years and 266 days. Neymar brings up 40 Champions League goals Meanwhile, Neymar –

Italy legend and 1982 World Cup winner Paolo Rossi dies at the age of 64

Image
 Paolo Rossi, the star of Italy's successful 1982 World Cup campaign, has tragically passed away at the age of 64. The death of the former Juventus and AC Milan striker, who won the Golden Ball and Golden Boot in 1982 and made 48 caps for his country, was announced in the early hours on Thursday by Italian TV channel RAI Sport for whom Rossi had been working for as a pundit recently. Rossi won two Serie A titles, one European Cup and the Coppa Italia during four years at Juve but it is his time for the national team which is most fondly remembered, as his six goals led Italy to victory in Spain 38 years ago. 'Such terribly sad news: Paolo Rossi has left us,' said RAI Sport presenter Enrico Varriale. 'Unforgettable Pablito, who made all of us fall in love in that summer of 1982 and who was a precious and competent work colleague in RAI over recent years. 'RIP dear Paolo.'

Zidane accepts he is 'never going to be Real Madrid's Sir Alex Ferguson

Image
 Zinedine Zidane has accepts he is not going to be Real Madrid's version of Sir Alex Ferguson and recognised how fragile his position is. The Frenchman, who orchestrated a 2-0 win over Borussia Monchengladbach and Champions League progression on Wednesday night, understands the demand for the best at the Bernabeu. It has been a tough start to the season for Real and they remain six points off leaders Atletico Madrid in LaLiga having played a game more. After the much-needed win on Wednesday night, Zidane said: 'I'm never going to be Madrid's Alex Ferguson. 'I want to enjoy and I don't know how long I'm going to stay here. I just think about how lucky I am to be here but I do not know until when! There are many years left in Madrid and I want to continue.' Ferguson was Manchester United manager for 26 years having been put in charge back in 1986. He led the club through an unprecedented period of success, winning 38 trophies and Zidane realises that pati

Tuchel praises Neymar's 'big gesture' in handing Mbappe penalty chance

Image
 Neymar was on a hat-trick after bagging twice against Basaksehir but handed the ball to Mbappé to break his Champions League drought from the spot. Thomas Tuchel praised Neymar for his selflessness after the Paris Saint-Germain star handed over penalty duties to Kylian Mbappé against Istanbul Basaksehir. Mbappé scored his first Champions League goals since December last year, netting a brace in Wednesday's 5-1 victory, the Group H clash resuming after allegations fourth official Sebastian Coltescu had exposed Basaksehir assistant Pierre Webo to racist language a day earlier. His first came from the penalty spot three minutes before half-time, Neymar handing over duties having already scored a brace at the Parc des Princes. That gesture was lauded by PSG coach Tuchel as Mbappé, 21, became the youngest player in Champions League history to reach 20 goals in the competition, breaking Lionel Messi's record. Tuchel: "It shows that Neymar has a very big heart" "It’s

Belgium top the FIFA Rankings for the 3rd consecutive year

Image
  A total of 1082 full internationals were played in 2019, the biggest number since the  FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking was introduced in 1993. By contrast, just 352 matches took place in 2020. Not since 1987 (323 matches), have so few fixtures taken place in a calendar year. And while 2020 has certainly had major disruptions, Belgium still managed to claim the title of FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking Team of the Year for the third consecutive time. Winners of six of their eight matches in 2020, the Red Devils are not the only ones to see their position unchanged. Their three immediate pursuers – France (2nd), Brazil (3rd) and England (4th) – retain their respective rankings. The only change in the top five compared to 2019 is the appearance of Portugal in 5th place. Next in the standings are Spain (6th) and Argentina (7th), both of which have improved two places compared to last year. Uruguay (8th) have regressed but remain in the Top 10, while Mexico and Italy again occupy 9th and 10th pl

Napoli's Stadio San Paolo officially becomes the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona

Image
 Napoli's San Paolo stadium will be renamed in tribute to club legend Diego Maradona following his death last month. The Municipality of Naples officially confirmed the name change on Friday as the city continues to mourn the Argentine's passing at the age of 60. Maradona spent seven seasons with the club between 1984 and 1991, lifting them to unprecedented success, including two Serie A titles, an Italian Cup win and a UEFA Cup triumph in 1989. 'With a resolution approved today, the stadium was named after Diego Armando Maradona,' the Naples municipality said in a statement. 'The resolution was proposed by Mayor Luigi de Magistris, by the Councillor for Toponymy Alessandre Clemente and signed by the entire city council, which met is Palazzo San Giacomo. 'Shortly before the executive committee meeting, the advisory commission for city toponymy had approved the proposal of the Mayor, the Councillor for Toponymy and the city council, naming the San Paolo stadium

OFFICIAL: Joao Felix named La Liga's Player of the Month for November

Image
 Joao Felix has won November's Player of the Month award in La Liga thanks to his top-class performances in November. The Portuguese centre forward played a vital role in Atletico's unbeaten month, providing two goals and an assist.

FIFA boss Infantino targets changes to offside rule

Image
 "it was introduced two years ago, not 200 years ago," said the head of the global soccer body Gianni Infantino, who explains that they are looking to improve it. FIFA wants to improve the offside rule, currently the source of frequent controversy, but it is difficult to find a consensus among the experts discussing the matter, the head of the global soccer body Gianni Infantino said on Friday. Getting football back onside The introduction of VAR technology has allowed officials to identify offsides which would be imperceptible to the naked eye. But many feel that, although technically correct, marginal offsides are not in the spirit of the game, especially when it takes several minutes to reach a decision. 'The offside rule has evolved over the last 100 years and we are now discussing it again,' Infantino told a news conference. 'We are looking to see if we can make the offside rule better, not because of VAR but because we want to foster offensive football. 

Klopp claims England will suffer at Euros if EPL stick with three substitutions

Image
Jurgen Klopp has warned England will suffer at next summer's European Championships if the Premier League persist with the rule of three substitutions. Liverpool manager Klopp has long advocated the need to increase the amount of changes possible to five, as was the case when football resumed after lockdown, and a number of his counterparts - such as Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola - have supported his views. Klopp is concerned a schedule that will see the majority of teams play at seven times before the turn of the year is going to have an impact on the fitness of players, particularly those clubs who are also juggling European commitments. It is inevitable there will be consequences in terms of injuries down the line but Klopp believes it will Gareth Southgate who pays the ultimate price as many England players will be exhausted by the time the tournament begins in June. 'I'm sure we will discuss it early again, because of the influence of three subs,' said Klopp.

Everything PSG have to offer Messi right now

Image
Paris Saint-Germain are one of the frontrunners to secure Lionel Messi's services if he decides to leave Barcelona at the end of his contract. The Argentine is set to see out the rest of his deal at the Camp Nou this season after being denied the chance to leave the Catalan club in the summer. Now, from Neymar to president Nasser Al-Khelaifi, PSG are beginning to seduce the iconic forward to make the move to Paris. Here's what PSG can offer Messi: A huge contract PSG are one of the richest clubs in world football, with Neymar, Keylor Navas, Kylian Mbappe and Mauro Icardi among those on big money. The French club would be able to match Messi's current earnings at Barcelona or, if they manage to secure some big sales, could even better them. Sporting project The Champions League remains PSG's main objective and, in terms of achieving it, Messi could make the difference. The 33-year-old would make history if he wins the trophy at PSG, whilst also reuniting with it himself

After just one win in six, is project Arteta doomed already?

Image
 First things first: Mikel Arteta’s job remains one of the safest in the Premier League. There is no hint of boardroom disgruntlement and only an epic capitulation of the Gunners’ season would alter that stance. And even that may not be enough to turn them. Arsenal are fully invested in Project Arteta. They recognise his potential and are convinced that his career — and the club’s fortunes — will head in an upward trajectory. But while the people who matter remain on board, others are starting to ask questions over Arteta’s lack of experience. This is his first managerial job after all. Some are wondering whether an unwavering commitment to his brand of possession-based football simply isn’t possible with the players at his disposal. A scan of social media would suggest some supporters are already convinced Arteta isn’t the man for the job. ‘So unjust’ was how Arsenal full back Hector Bellerin described those opinions on Friday. Victory in Sunday's North London derby would go some