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the battle for exciting Lille midfielder Boubakar

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ayram Tutumlu over his complaints on social media about the treatment of goalkeeper Robin Olsen.Tutumlu’s nephew is the agent of goalkeeper Olsen, whose move to Montpellier broke down.In a statemenFormer Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku says he’s always been a fan of new club Inter Milan.The Belgium international joined Inter on Thursday in a £75m deal.And he admits Inter cult hero Adriano had an influence on his career.”The only shirt I had as a child was that of Adriano, the Emperor,” smiled Lukaku. “He sent me a message not long ago on Instagram, because I talked about him.”t, the cluers Suning are tabling a lucrative offer to the Uruguay international, who would arrive as an alternative to Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku.Gazzetta dello Sport says Inter have offered Cavani a three-year contract worth €9m-a-season.The deb declared: “AS Roma has noted the increasi

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Bukayo Saka ready to challenge Alexandre Lacazette for starting spot in Arsenal’s attack

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“Different games require different players but I feel like I’ve shown the boss he nuary.A slow start to the season has left the Red Devils in tenth on the Premier League.Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wants to top up his squad when the transfer window opens this winter.And the Daily Star claims Newcastle midfielder Longstaff and Lyocan trust me. Whatever game he puts me I’ll always give it my all.

“The players give me a lot of confidence, the boss gives me a lot of confidence. When the bosshe didn’t see enough of Erling Haaland last night to make an assessment.The striker came off the bench to score in RB Salzburg’s 4-3 Champions League defeat at Anfield.Van Dijk said, “I don’t know how long he participated, maybe thirty minutes, but is going to start you at Old Trafford it’s going to give you a lot of confidence.

“I just try to go out there, do my best, play without fear and doubt. If the boss trusts me to do it I can do it.”

against a promoted side that has not lost a game by more than a single goal this season. Arsenal have kept just two clean sheets in their ngster set to sign a pre-contract with Paris Saint-Germain.The 19-year-old goalkeeper is set to leave London for Paris in the summer.His contract is up in June and he has already agreed terms with PSG, according to Goal.Bulka moved to Chelsea at 16 flast 23 away matches in the Premier League.

Chris Wilder’s team have won just once at home in the league this campaign, though, against Crystal Palace in August, and are looking to avoid losing four home league matches in a row for the first time since April 1965.

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World chess champion goes top of overall fantasy football table

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, changing it to: "World Chess Champion. The highest ranked chess player in the world. Current (live) £1 Fantasy Premier League player".

He also addressed his fantasy football performance on social media, citing analytics company Opta as one of the factors behind his success.

"Since a lot of people are asking about my £FPL strategy, mine is the not so groundbreaking one of part stats and part gut feeling," the Norwegian tweeted. "Part @Opta-mist and part optimist."

arlsen is currently competing in the Premier League’s official FPL competition for the sixth successive season, his previous best finish (2397th) coming in 2017/18.

Carlsen’s current squad boasts premium midfielders such as Sadio Mane and SoUnited-Unai-Emery-Wayne-Rooney-Zlatan-Ibrahimovic”>Sunday Expressrdinand says Manchester City winger Raheem Sterling is one of the top five players in football.The 24-year-old netted his first Champions League hat-trick in Tuesday’s 5-1 win over Atalanta.”We are running out of great words to say about him,” Englan says he is currently the second-highest-paid player in the Premier League behind Alexis Sanchez earning £350,000-a-week.Gunners bosses are keen to get him off the payroll and his reprn Heung-min, while he is one of the many millions who are bacng Real Madrid striker Mariano Diaz.After a tough season in Madrid, the former Lyon forward is ready to leave for regular first team football.And Valencia are keen as they see Mariano as a replacement for Rodrigo Moreno – should the Spain internationking Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy.

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Frank Lampard makes no excuses after Bournemouth condemn Chelsea to fourth league defeat in five

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rank Lampard was not in the mood for excuses after watching hiss, which is quickly eating away at what had been a healthy top-four cushion.

Lampard could easily have joined the group of managers who have pointed at the Video Assistant Referee following defeats. He could have questioned the atmosphere inside Stamford Bridge that often seems flat on a Saturday afternoon. He might also have blamed physical and mental fatigue his young players might be suffering.

But Lampard was having none of it. He sympathised with the supporters who had been waiting for a moment of magic that never came and he told his players that they need to show some “balls” when teams like West Ham United, Everton and now Bournemouth set up to make life difficult for them.

All three clubs had been struggling for form and confidence before facing Chelsea and yet all three beat Lampard’s team. and an injury list that grew to 10 players, when Joshua King was forced off.

King had three times threatened to go through on Chelsea’s goal before being replaced, but Dan Gosling managed to find an unlikely late winner for the visitors that was awarded by VAR following a lengthy check.

here was no booing at the final whistle, just as there had been very little in the way of energy from the stands at the start, but Lampard said: “I don’t blame the fans. I’m a Chelsea man and I will be the first one to say the fans were flat today and we needed them. But today I’m never going to say that because if I’m a fan sitting there today, I’d also say ‘pfft, too slow. Centre back to centre back, full back with the manner of victory over Norwich City on the weekend.The Blades are back at Bramall Lane this weekend for the visit of Aston Villa, who joined United and Norwich in the Premier League this term after winning last season’s Championship play-ofto full back, back to centre back, back to full back and I don’t want to come and see that’.

“So I won’t blame the fans, they come here to support the team, they will come to Tottenham next week, they will go to Southampton on Boxing Day ahampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl.Before defeat to Everton on Saturday, the fullback declared he would be leaving at the end of the season when his contract expires.Speaking on BBC 5 Live Sport, Sutton said: “You’ve got to question some of the playend some responsibility is on the players to excite them, to have the personality and the balls to take the ball in an area and beat someone or play forwards. That’s up to the players as well, it’s a joint thing.”

t must be a worry for Lampard that Chelsea have not. And the Blues have not led at home in the Premier League since the draw with Sheffield United at the end of August.

Lampard said: “I don’t know about fear, but in front of our own fans it’s clear now we aren’t playing well enough and getting enough results. Today wasn’t a ‘we’re creating loads of chances day’, we created two or three great chances and we need to take them if we want to improve.

“But today we just didn’t get the fans excited enough. The fans shouldn’t be excited if we’re going to play 10 balls across our back four. They shouldn’t be. I think that’s not the team I want to manage.”

ournemouth goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale had to make a brilliant point-blank save from Emerson Palmieri, but, other than that, he enjoyed a relatively quiet afternoon.

Abraham twice missed the target, sweeping a Cesar Azpilicueta cross wide and heading over the crossbar, but he was often isolated as Wilian, Christian Pulisic and substitute Callum Hudson-Odoi failed to make an impact.

Other than struggling in attack, Chelsea are panicky at the back as proven by the fact they have kept one clean sheet in their last 12 games. On Saturday, the defence were caught out by a Jefferson Lerma header over the top.

Chelsea defenders, plus the assisponed their upcoming Under-23s game against Swansea City.The Red Devils’ youngsters were set to play against the Swans in Premier League 2 on Friday.But the game is now postponed for a later date.The issue is due to the visitors Swansea having an illtant referee on the far side who raised his flag, thought Gosling was offside but the midfielder brilliantly hooked the ball back over himself and Kepa Arrizabalaga to find the net. Following a long VAR check, the goal was given to the delight of Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe.

“We needed it,” said Howe. “Certainly for a while, today has been the best we have fought, the best we’ve competed, the most desire I have seen from the group. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t feel there has been a lack of effort, but when things have gone against us, there has been a feeling of everything is conspiring to try to break us. Today we never had those moments and were able to build the other way.”

ottenham can now cut the gap between themselves and Chelsea to just three points, ahead of next week’s clash between the two clubs, by beating Wolverhampton Wanderers on Sunday. But, of course, Jose Mourinho is already well aware of that.

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How Pep Guardiola is already exploiting the new goal kick rules

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Under the old rules, Kyle Walker and Aymeric Laporte split wide to the edge of the penalty area with Stones alongside United players how to play a high-press while on preseason tour in Australia.The Red Devils kicked off their preparations for the 2019/20 campaign with a win over Perth Glory on Friday night.They will take on Leeds United in Perth on Wednesday and GFernandino centrally to form a 1-2-2 structure with goalkeeper Ederson. 

The new goal kick rules have offered Guardiola the chance to innovate. In the Community Shield, one of the centre-halves would drop to the six-yard line to form a pivot with stand-in goalkeeper Claudio Bravo – this gave Liverpool another horizontal line of City players to think about. 

In this example it was Nicolas Otamendi. Stones and would form the next line just outside the area, making sure they were not standing on the same vertical line as Bravo or Otamendi. 

After Bravo and Otamendi hadBurnley.The Hornets are bottom of the table after the 3-0 reverse.Asked about his own position, the Hornets boss responded: “It’s time, it’s time, it’s belief, it’s belief, it’s fight, it’s fight, it’s all these kind of things that we can do to hel exchanged passes, Roberto Firmino shuffled across to cut-off a pass to Stones which opened up a lane for Bravo to find Rodri. Had that pass not been available, there was a safer option to either full-back who were wide against the touchline. 

It looks risky and still causes anxiety among fans in the stands, but the idea was to either discourage Liverpool from pressing altogether or to “tomorrow” if he was allowed to for the Championship side.The 34 year old former Manchester United star joined from Major League Soccer side DC United but is not eligible to play until January.”I could play. I didn’t have long off – if the game was create overloads higher up the pitch by playing through them. 

At the other end, Liverpool employed a more orthodox set-up with Joe Gomez and Virgil van Dijk standing inside the penalty area but split with a central midfielder dropping between them. 

City’s build-up is not all about obsessively playing short, though. They use the element of surprise by Ederson or Bravo kicking long to catch out defences who creep too high up the pitch, exploiting the speed of Raheem Sterling or Leroy Sane. Sergio Aguero’s opening goal against Arsenal in the 2018 Carabao Cup final was a perfect example. 

Guardiola is a Johan Cruyff disciple and Cruyff’s maxim was simple: make the pitch small when defending but make it as big as possible when you have the ball. 

With defenders dropping into the six-yard box and forwards on the shoulder of the last defender, Man City make the pitch huge and create so much depth. Here Bravo decides to kick long and has Liverpool’s defence scrambling to recover: 

Do you try and condense the space but risk being felled by one straight ball over the top, or drop off and allow City to play out from the back with ease? It is a conundrum coaches will wrestle with all season. 

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Manchester City’s flight to China delayed for second time

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It will also cause embarice Evra is adamant Paul Pogba will be staying this season.Real Madrid remain keen on the midfielder.But Evra, speaking in Monaco for the Champions League draw, stated: “Paul is focused, Paul is in Manchester and he will stay in Manchester. There havrassment to the tournament’s organisers as City have not been able to fulfil their media duties to promote the tournament.

City will spend a week in China before heading on to Hong Kong and J.The full-back has only started 30 Premier League games for the club since arriving five years ago.The 24-year-old, who was a hot prospect at Southampton when he made the move to North London, wants to establish himself in the first team.And he sees apan, playing four games on their unnar Solskjaer admits Paul Pogba won’t be available for their Europa League tie with AZ Alkmaar.United have already qualified for the knockout stages of the competition but must avoid defeat against AZ to ensure they win Group L.When asked about wheshort tour of the Far East before taking on Liverpool in the Community Shield at Wembley on August 4.

A Premier League spokesman said: “Manchester City have experienced administration issues [with their flight], it is being addressed and it will not affect their participation in the Premier League Asia Trophy. We look forward to welcoming them to Shanghai and Nanjing.”

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Genuine wing-backs and a focus on attack – why Sheffield United could be one of the most interesting teams to watch

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The cliches in Sheffield United’s were all there if you wanted to look for them: a club who hpeaking to L’Equipe, agent Seran Diabate has praised his cilent and played down previous fears about his fitness.He said of the on-loan Monaco fullback: “Djibril has taken his trouble with patience, with the objective of showing his qualities when weave spent the past 12 years in the wilderness, battening down the hatches away from home and grabbing a point with almost their only clear chance of the game.

Is this what we can expect for the remaining 37 games of the Sheffield United season? Seasoned observers of Chris Wilder’s team will answer with an emphatic “no”.

Wilder’s team drew lots of neutral admirers last season, not just because of the “sleeping giant wakes up” narrative but also due to their innovative tactical approach.

Most spoken about has been the inventive movement of the three-man central defence, which, coupled with genuine wing-backs, offers an unusual challenge for opponents.

The dangers of this based on Saturday’s evidence are that they themselves looked vulnerable down the flanks, with Bournemouth also opting for a three-man central defence and wing-backs – with Adam Smith, in particular, having plenty of joy down the right side in the first half.

But Oliver Norwood provided discipline at the base of the midfield and David McGoldrick did an excellent job of providing an attacking focal point so that no one player ever appeared too isolated. It remains to be seen how flexible Wilder can be and how quickly opponents can work them out.

But it was through one of their wing-backs, George Baldock, that the chance came to earn a dramatic point on their Premier League return after all had looked lost following Chris Mepham’s goal for Bournemouth.

Baldock pressed forward, s League qualification.Sarri’s team are at home against Watford on Sunday as they try to secure fourth place in the Premier League and return to the Champions League next season.There would also be another cup final on the horizon if they can finish crossed low for Ollie McBurnie who could not convert, but Billy Sharp did so with the rebound ensuring a memorable day for him and the club.

“Maybe it was written in the stars. All my family were down and to get the first Sheffield United goal in the Premier League after 12 years, it’s something I’ll never forget and I’m just glad it meant something to the club,” said the 33-year-old Sheffield-borntract in June and already has fielded interest from keen clubs.ESPN says Inter Milan, Atletico Madrid, Manchester United and Napoli are all interested.Indeed, these four clubs have regularly made attempts for Cavani in recent years, but without ever United fan. “I’m disappointed I didn’t start but he [Wilder] knows that and we’ve got five good strikers at the club now so I think it is going to chop and change at the top of the pitch.”

When relegated from the Premier League, Sheffield United scored just eight goals in their 19 away league games and signed three attackers this summer – Callum Robinson, Lys Mousset and Ollie McBurnie – breaking their transfer record on each occasion.

“We’ve got to score goals,” said Wilder. “Our recruitment this year was based on that at the top of the pitch. We’ve signed some good players all over the pitch to give it balance and strength and competition but we wanted goals in us. Can they score in the Premier League? We feel they are natural goal scorers and people talked about Billy – can he score in the Premier League? He’s had 10 minutes on the pitch and scored. Will that continue? Who knows.”

There is a sense of togetherness about the club which is perhaps untypical of the corporate, social media led communication of most present day Premier League organisations.

The team were mobbed by fans as they walked past a pub in Bournemouth on the morning of the game, something that Wilder says is not unusual or unwelcome.

“I remember going to Marbella a couple of years ago and us being on a coach and the supporters have just appeared from nowhere, about 500 or 600 of them, surrounding the bus. There’s an obvious connection between the supporters and the players and there has to be, this club has been at its best when there has been,” said Wilder.

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Man Utd counter-punch Watford into submission in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s first match as permanent manager

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et this was 90 minutes that supported that the only change from the “defensive, counter-attacking football” of Jose Mourinho “is that Solskjaer is winning”. United certainly do the counter punch well, and the game’s highlight was a sublime pass from Shaw for Rashford’s goal, but Watford had 20 shots all told and as many on target – eight – as their opponents had efforts at all.

Paul Pogba, Nemanja Matic and Ander Herrera were uniformly dismal, outshone throughout by Doucoure, and with no platform in midfield, United were indebted to some robust defending and Watford’s tendency to snatch at chances. Pogba has had a lot more good games under Solskjaer than bad ones but it is telling that when he plays poorly – and he spent much of this match half-heartedly milling around and cheaply conceding possession – United suffer terribly for it.

Addressing that is one of several challenges for Solskjaer. “Paul is important for us and we couldn’t keep the ball,” he said. “He has been away, played two games with France – a bit deeper for them – so that is something we may have to think about to get him more involved.”

“This is the start of the start,” said Solskjaer in his programme notes, although that message had obviously not got through to his players before Rashford opened the scoring. United were slow, sloppy, sluggish and half asleep. Passes were underhit or misplaced, which invited needless pressure against a Watford side who could not have imagined they would be given so much room and who, with a little more composure, could and probably should have taken the lead. Doucoure dragged a shot wide from 12 yards as the goal opened up, Troy Deeney forced David De Gea to scoop the ball away with a header and an effort from Roberto Pereyra lacked the power to trouble the United goalkeeper.

olskjaer will have b boss Chris Wilder blew a fuse over VAR after their 1-1 draw with Tottenham yesterday.Wilder called for a major review of VAR after Jon Moss failed to follow the Premier League’s OWN guidelines to deny Sheffield United a famous victory.After video reeen most grateful that his team scored first – and what a goal it was. Shaw has been United’s most consistent performer this season and he was their best on show again here. Winning the ball from Deeney deep inside his own half with a well-timed interception, the England left back galloped forward, looked up and, still in his own half, is “baffled” by Mesut Ozil’s lack of involvement this season.The German has not featured in Unai Emery’s last three match-day squads.”I want to see more offensive players on the pitch in positions where we’re going to be able to hurt teams,” Wright bent a quite superb low 40-yard pass in behind Christian Kabasele that Rashford, perfectly positioned in between the Watford defender and Miguel Britos, did not need to break stride to run on to. The England striker took one touch and then, with his second, dinked the ball past the onrushing Ben Foster.

he goal settled United. They were denied a second soon after when Foster made an excellent reaction save from Martial and created several other inviting openings but the momentum built up in the closing stages of that half evaporated after the interval. Off the pace and sitting deeper and deeper, Watford were encouraged to attack. De Gea had to be alert to push away a shot from Pereyra and Will Hughes shot wide from an attack that originated from Pogba squandering possession and it became very apparent that something had to change for United.

errera and Juan Mata made way for Andreas Pereira and Jesse Lingard just after the hour mark as Solskjaer sought more impetus and those two substitutes would eventually combine to tee up Martial for United’s second against the run of play, the Frenchman scooping the ball home on the rebound from close range after Foster had saved his initial backheel. Doucoure’s goal – slicing through the heart of United’s defence after a one-two with Isaac Success – simply came too late for Watford.

“It’s difficult to explain [how we lost] because we created chances, had more shots, spent a lot of time in the opposition half,” Gracia said. “We need to make a step forward against these teams but I believe we can do it. I see it every day, the commitment and belief from my players, I can feel it but we have to show it.”

was left out of United’s squad after the defender – whose wife Maja has just given birth to a baby son – had received death threats for pulling out of Sweden’s squad for their recent internationals. "We felt Victor was better off not playing because he’s had a couple of things to sort out," Solskjaer said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

ere is Watford’s knocking on the United door visualised. No answer yet. 

atford line up thus:

"If I can walk out of here, when leaving the club, having won things – of course, the Premier League – then I’d be a proud man. I’m a happy man, I’m a determined man – the day I walk out of here, I hope to be a proud man."

alk will now be about transfer targets, new contracts and clearing out the deadwood: the bread-and-butter duties of a permanent Premier League manager. But, first, the tricky proposition of a visit from Watford. Honeymoon’s over, the real job starts now.

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As the football season heads towards an exciting climax, the 10 domestic fixtures you must watch

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data-js=”article-body” data-insert-mobile-adslot>3) Burnley vs Cardiff (April 13)

his game looks to be most crucial between now and the end of the season in the fight to avoid the drop. Burnley sit two points above Cardiff having lost their previous four Premier League games. They play Bournemouth and Wolves between now and this big match, while Cardiff have the daunting task of facing Chelsea and Man City. It could be the teams are still separated by two points come April 13. If that is the reality, it will be a must-win game for Neil Warnock’s side if they are to avoid the drop. It is also a hugely-important game in Burnley’s season as their final four matches are tricky: Chelsea (a), Man City (h), Everton (a), Arsenal (h). Cardiff still have to play Brighton, Fulham and Crystal Palace after this game.    

4) Liverpool vs Chelsea (April 14)

This is the final of the top-six fixtures Liverpool have during the run-in. The history between the two sides is rich: Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea went to Anfield in April 2014 and won 2-0 to ultimately destabilise Liverpool’s title bid. At least this time Liverpool know it’s unlikely Maurizio Sarri will go there and play 10 men behind the ball as Mourinho did five years ago. Indeed, Sarri’s Chelsea may well play into Jurgen Klopp’s hands. Liverpool will be confident they can beat Chelsea on their own patch but if the league is in their hands once this game comes around then Anfield is sure to be full of nervous excitement.

5) Walsall vs Southend (April 19)

hris Powell was sacked by Southend after 11 games without a win, a run stretching back to January 19. At that point, Southend were 10th and just nine points from a play-off place. Sinn Newcastle United.The 27-year-old forward was linked to a move to Tyneside following the Magpies’ promotion to the Premier League under Rafa Benitez in 2017.Jose told Marca: “For me the best team is Real Madrid and then Barcelona. I could be in the ce then though they have fallen like a stone and are now down in 20th with only goal difference keeping them out of the relegation places. The side below Southend are Walsall, who have only won two from 11 games themselves. Both sides aeat to Liverpool.Cherries are now on their worst losing run since promotion to the top flight, with losses against Newcastle, Wolves, Tottenham and Crystal Palace, as well as the setback against the Reds. Howe said: “I don’t want to make the excusere level on points as things stand so this game on April 19th could well decide which turns their season around to stay in League One. Harry Bunn scored twice as Southend comfortably beat Walsall 3-0 at Roots Hall in October. But Walsall will be fighting for survival and it promises to be a hotly-contested affair just three games from the end of the season.

6) Man City vs Tottenham (April 20)

Spurs’ record at the Etihad Stadium over the last decade has not been too strong. They have won just once there since that famous Peter Crouch goal which gave them Champions League football back in 2010. In the eight times since then, they have conceded 23 goals. The intriguing part about this fixture is it comes off the back of a two-legged Champions League tie between the sides, something which could have a huge psychological impact. It also comes in the middle of a pivotal week for City as they host Spurs twice and then travel to Old Trafford. So can one of the teams claim three victories? If Tottenham are taken apart in the Champions League, they may be on the end of a similar City performance to the one that put six past Chelsea in February.

7) Leyton Orient vs Solihull Moors (April 22nd)

The biggest game outside of the English Football League by a mile. The penultimate day of the season in the National League sees current table toppers Leyton Orient take on the team currently level on points and in second place on goal difference, Solihull Moors. Orient are bidding to get back into League Two at the second time of asking while Solihull have yet to reach England’s fourth tier since they were founded 11 years ago. With three teams going up, both sides are in line for automatic promotion but Wrexham and Salford City are both within earshot of top spot. There are many permutations that could be in play when April 22nd rolls around, but it’s likely both teams will be in the mix.

8) Manchester United vs Man City (24th April)

This is likely to be one of the games that decides the title. City will come into the Manchester derby having played six games in 17 days including an FA Cup semi-final and a two-legged Champions League quarter-final against Spurs. They can take solace in the fact that United will also have played five games in three weeks, though Solskjaer’s side are growing into a season after some incredibly sluggish displays under Mourinho pre-Christmas. But City have only lost once at Old Trafford in the league since 2011 and beat their fierce rivals convincingly 3-1 at the Etihad back in November. Meanwhile, United should still be in top four contention and would love to beat City on the way to achieving that, even if it did mean handing Liverpool the title.

9) Championship Play-Off Final (27th April)

t is estimated that Fulham’s Championship Play-Off Final win last season made them £160m in revenue and the number only increases every season. But it isn’t just the money. If you look at the teams in the play-off positions at present – Leeds, West Brom, Middlesbrough, Aston Villa – all of those sis down to draw with Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.Christian Eriksen, who wants to leave the club before Monday’s European transfer deadline, finished from close range to open the scoring after 10 minutes.Granit Xhaka’s rash challenge on Heung-min Son ides have tasted Premier League football in the past and their fans will be hungrier than anyone to get back there. It is often more of a tense, emotional affair than a platform for exciting football – only six goals have been scored in the last six Championship Play-Off finals – but it is one that is captivating in its own way. In an era where Premier League football is everything, the Championship Play-Off final showcases just what it means to both players and fans. Despite most people’s belief that finishing third is a curse, it is actually the position that produces the most winners – 11 out of 30 Championship play-offs have been won by the side which finished third in the table.

10) FA Cup Final (18th May)

Perhaps the FA Cup Final is no longer the biggest game of the domestic season given the importance and money that is now behind the Premier League. But this year’s FA Cup semi-finals involve three teams which have not won the competition since 1960, and another other side who are going for an unprecedented quadruple, of which this could be the completion of the domestic treble (which has also never been done before in England). If Brighton beat City then the final will be an exhilarating atmosphere between two unlikely trophy contenders. If City do get there, it will be David vs Goliath and that in itself provides a captivating spectacle. Whatever the make-up of the final, for most it will always be one of the biggest games of the season and a perfect curtain-closer to what has been a tremendously compelling campaign.

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Glenn Murray says Brighton’s win at Crystal Palace is perfect preparation for Millwall FA Cup tie

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lthough Chris Hughton, Brighton’s manager, maintains Premier League survival remains the priority, dressing-room attention is fixed firmly on FA Cup progress.

“That’s our focus now. We can do special things. We can get to Wembley for the semi-finals and you never know what might happen,” said Lewis Dunk, the stand-in captain who showed true leadership qualities in Brighton’s backline on Saturday.

Dunk played a full part in Brighton’s wild celebrations at the final whistle on Saturday. While a clearly emotego Maradona was superior to Barcelona star Lionel Messi.Comparisons are being drawn between the Argentine pair with Napoli to host Barca tonight in their Champions League first-leg round 16 clash.Alemao won the Scudetto with Maradona and told Radio ional Knockaert  removed his shirt to display tattoos of both his father and son, the Brighton-born Dunk also made the most of the moment.

Dunk said: “It’s giving something back to the fans. I’m a local boy, they are the rival club so I’m always going to get it. It’s just nice to celebrate in their ground at the end.”

He also hailed Knockaert’s stunning winner, saying “It was a special finish and you could see what it meant to us at the end. We need people to stand up like that and he did. He couldn’t have placed it any better.”

Dunk epitomised Brighton’s determination and resilience, and is being backed by his manager for a call-up to the England set-up when Gareth Southgate names his squad for the two forthcoming Euro qualifiers on Wednesday.

Hughton said: “He’s at that level. What got him the cap in the first place is what he has now. There would not be any player in the England manager’s thinking that is not going to be up and down. I don’t think he’s changed. He is still the same level of player as he ever was.”

alace also have an interest in the FA Cup but the mood around Selhurst Park was in stark contrast to that of their fierce rivals.

Roy Hodgson’s side face a similarly awkward quarter-final on Saturday when they travel to Watford.

Palace, however, can draw hope from the fact their away form is significantly better than that they produce in front of their home supporters, where they have now won just one of their last seven league matches.

Milivojevic summed up south London frustrations after they emerged with nothing to show from a game in which they enjoyed 60 per cent of the possession.

The Palace captain said: “For 90 minutes we controlled the game and in the end they hey’re confident signing Liverpool winger Ryan Kent.McAllister believes Rangers will be “first in line” to loan Ryan Kent this summer – should Liverpool decide against selling the winger in the transfer window. “It is ongoing, but the decisions at Lad two shots and scored two goals. Brighton defended very well. We are very disappointed. What can we do? That’s football.”

Palace, like Brighton, are on the fringes of the relegation battle but can lend their season a whole new dimension with FA Cup success.

Milco Madrid attacker Antoine Griezmann.The Mirror says with his proposed move to Barcelona suddenly in jeopardy, Griezmann could yet find himself at Old Trafford.The 28-year-old has already confirmed he will move on from Atletico, and it looked almost ivojevic said: “We’re going to try to reach the semi-final to bring our fans to Wembley. We’re going to have a whole week to prepare for that game and from Monday we are turning our attention to that one."

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Chris Wood strikes twice as Burnley outmuscle Brighton to earn vital three points

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ood put Burnley ahead in the 26th minute after taking advantage of a Lewis Dunk slip and added a second in the 62nd minute on the counter-attack.

Chris Hughton, Brighton’s manager, believed the turning point came when ref Stuart Attwell failed to spot a Jeff Hendrick handball inside the Burnley penalty area just before Barnes scored after being brought down by Mat Ryan, the Brighton goalkeeper.

“The decision was the pivotal moment in the game,” he said. “We’ve got games coming up against teams not in the top six but it seems every period cominunter with Lille as the biggest match of their season.Los Che currently sit third in Group H but, with Chelsea and Ajax playing each other, they will move into the qualification spots with a win at Mestalla.”It’s a very important gaich Albion midfielder Max Sanders has signed for Wimbledon.The under-23 captain will spend the rest of the season at the League One club.It is the first time he has left Albion since he arrived in 2015 as a scholar.Under-23 coach Simon Rusk said of tme, our most imporg up is a pivotal period. We’ve just got to dust ourselves down andlder Jorginho has dismissed claims he should’ve seen red in victory at Arsenal.There were claims the 28-year-old should have been shown a red card in the second half after appearing to tug the shirt of Arsenal’s Matteo Guendouzi having already been b get points from the next game.”

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How Man City can get back on track and what Arsenal will do to stop it

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data-js=”article-bdion Ighalo offers them something different.Ighalo could start tonight at Europa League opponents Club Brugge.“Well for me Odion is a different type of striker for us,” Solskjaer told reporters in Belgium.“He’s a box striker, he’s a goalscorer. Wody” data-insert-mobile-adslot>

. A mid-press is the most likely strategy and this will leave space for City to hit direct passes in behind, something that the forwards must constantly look for. If Arsenal press high it could lead to scoring chances for City, as defenders pass their way out from the back to reach an exposed, vulnerable Gunners midfield.

Arsenal will almost certainly attempt to the block the middle of the pitch to force City’s play wide. City must make the pitch as wide possible to allow forward passes to be played through central areas, having the wingers hug the touchlines to stretch the space between defending midfielders or defenders. This frees up space between bodies to fire the ball to advanced players quickly through the middle.

The wingers must ensure they stay wide to stretch the pitch and create these passing lanes, taking care not to drift inside too early or run into dead ends. Sterling was guilty of doing this against Newcastle.

4-1-2-1-2 and how it caters for Mesut Ozil

Arsenal are great in possession but lack a killer final ball. Mesut Ozil is one of the best in Europe at making that pass but offers nothing defensively. To cater for Ozil, Emery can play three defensive-minded midfielders to provide a barrier in a 4-4-2 diamond, a formation Arsenal have used in their previous two Premier League matches.

All three of Lucas Torreira, Matteo Guendouzi and Granit Xhaka can carry the ball aam.The midfielder revealed that Bruce pinpointed West Ham’s tendency to play a high line and deployed Shelvey to pick holes in their defence.Shelvey told NUFC TV: “We know that Pellegrini’s teams like to play a high line.”The gaffer spoke about it bend play neat forward passes through the centre of the park at Premier League level – all of Arsenal’s players are good at this – the problem is finding that magic end product in the final third.

Man City are the home team and, simply, better than Arsenal. For this reason Emery will almost certainly start without Ozil in a more defensive shape.

Arsenal built for the counter-attack

Newcastle pulled off a shock win over Man City by blocking passing lanes and defending resiliently in a 5-4-1. The wide midfielders doubled up on City’s wingers in wide areas to make sure defenders were never outnumbered by rival attackers, with Ayoze Perez darting forward during attacks to a more central position beside the striker, overlapped by the right back.

Arsenal could attempt to frustrate City in a 3-4-3 shape with the forwards dropping into midfield when out of possession just as Newcastle did. If they can keep City quiet for the majority of the game, eventually cracks will appear to make counter-attacks a possibility.

Before they can race up the pitch, Arsenal need to ensure that they frustrate City with their defensive shape. The 3-4-3 can easily become a 5-4-1 with Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang droppingright to turn things around.The Argentine’s five-year stint at Spurs came to an end on Tuesday after a poor start to the Premier League season.But after leading the club to their first Champions League final in June, the THST believes Pochettino didn to a left midfield position (LM), supported by the left-back Sead Kolasinac (LB). The idea is to push play wide, then backwards and repeat until City give the ball away.

The pace of Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang, Alex Iwobi and Alexandre Lacazette will cause big problems if Man City are caught with too many players ahead of the ball. Employing a slightly deeper press suits their physical attributes – expect a mid-press or low block to ensure City leave space in behind their defensive line to suit pacy strikers.

Dealing with injuries

Laurent Koscielny may not be able to play due to a jaw injury. Sokratis, Bellerin and Holding are all definitely out while Maitland-Niles is a doubt – Arsenal don’t have (m)any defenders left and unless they wish to play Xhaka at centre-back again, will have to field a weakened back four instead of a three simply due to numbers available.

Man City’s forwards will be keen to test any vulnerability at the back, particularly Kolasinac’s tendency to drift forward and leave space vacant behind. Riyad Mahrez has often caused problems for Arsenal in the past and may well start on the right wing to test this theory, with Sterling running at whoever has to fill in at right-back.

The Arsenal centre-backs must watch for City’s trademark move in particular; a winger gets to the line and fakes to cross low into the box, before cutting the pass back to the penalty spot, or edge of the box for a waiting forward to slot past a bamboozled goalkeeper.

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‘I’m Jan Siewert and I have to do it my way’: New Huddersfield manager rejects comparisons with David Wagner and Jurgen Klopp

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Siewert, who began to focus on coaching at the age of 23 after a series of knee operations that evenhan Barnett, speaking with Sky Sports, has refused to shut down the prospect of Bale joining United this summer.”Manchester United? He could go,” revealedNorwich City striker Teemu Pukki says he’s having “fun” this season.The Finn scored in defeat to Italy in last night’s Euros qualifier.He told TMW: “I’m having fun playing football. “I’ve had two very good years, I have confidence in myself, scoring so many goals makes you confident in your abilities. “Things are going very well, I hope to continue like this.” Barnett. “I think he could get there, he’s still one of the best players in the world. “But it’tually forced him to retire, is also keen to avoid comparisons with Klopp.

“Jurgen is definitely an inspiration,” he said. “But please, I can’t be compared to Jurgen Klopp, you know what I mean, because he has had so many successes, and he’s an outstanding manager. And I’m Jan Siewert.”

The new manager’s early days in England have also seen him involved in a more comical identity mix-up, after he was confused with the chief executive of a Yorkshire-based children’s charity during Sunday’s match against Manchester City.

Sky Sports reporter Patrick Davison approached a man he thought was Siewert during the game, only to discovan coach Antonio Conte.The Italy international was brought to Stamford Bridge by Conte in January 2018.Now at Inter, Conte is getting to work with setting up his characteristic 5-3-2 system.Ivan Perisic is the favourite to fill the LWB role, however,er it was Manchester City supporter Martin Warhurst, head of the Martin House charity.

Siewert confirmed he was at Sunday’s match, but hidden elsewhere at the John Smith’s Stadium to avoid the media.

“I have to thank Martin from Wakefield because it was fantastic that I could observe the game,” Siewert said. “And he’s a good-looking guy, yeah? I’m not kidding; for me it was good to have a silent look at the game and get the atmosphere and the feeling.”

Siewert takes charge of a club who face a near-impossible job to avoid relegation, sitting bottom of the Premier League, 10 points from a position of safety, having won just two of 23 matches.

Wagner left by mutual consent on January 14 after more than three years in charge, having taken the club into the top division for the first time since 1972, then kept them there last season.

Julian Winter, Huddersfield’s chief executive, said that Wagner had indicated before Christmas that he needed to take a break from management.

Winter said: “David is a good man. We maybe first had a conversation four weeks ago, something of that order.

“David, being the human being that he is, sort of said building up to a January transfer window: Does the club want to adapt, think about different things? The maturity of that conversation was exactly as it was publicised.”

Winter added that Huddersfield had made preparations so that the club would not suffer off the field in the event of relegation.

He said: “To be blunt, this club has been prepared for getting into the Premier League and it will be prepared if it is not in the Premier League.

“We retained our status last season, which was fabulous. But we know that if this club does get relegated, it doesn’t fall into crisis. There aren’t fire sales.”

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4 things to watch in the AFC wild card race and Bills-Dolphins this weekend

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It all comes down to the final weekend for the Bills. They’ve got a bona fide shot to end their 17-season playoff drought with their first meaningful final regular season game in 13 years.

Here are some things to keep an eye on this weekend as the Bills head south to play the Dolphins:

The NFL’s flex col has advised James Maddison to snub Manchester United for Liverpool or Manchester City.Nicol believes the Leicester City star could stagnate his career at Old Trafford, in a similar vein to Paul Pogba.The Reds legendary defender told ESPN FC: “Undscheduling policy set it up so all four games that impact the AFC Wild Card chase kick off at 4:25 pm Sunday. So, Bills fans will be busy tracking all four games at once. If they all go Buffalo’s way (all of them don’t have to) here are some reasons why. Remember Buffalo needs to win and a Baltimore loss or a Tennessee loss and a Los Angeles Chargers loss.

They just did two weeks ago in Orchard Park. The Dolphins have already been eliminated from playoff contention. Tyrod Taylor has had his best games against Miami. Cincinnati may want to “win it for Marvin” if indeed it is Marvin Lewis’ last game as head coach. In his last three games in Baltimore, Andy Dalton has averaged 322 yards passing per game, with 5 touchdowns and 1 interception. WR A.J. Green has played four games in his career at Baltimore and has a total of 579 receiving yards with 4 touchdowns.

Jacksonville has the third ranked defense in the NFL. The Jaguars are looking for revenge after losing to Tennessee earlier this season. Jacksonville QB Blake Bortles owns the Titans – he has thrown 9 TDs and 1 INT in his last three games at Tennessee, and averaged 332 yards per game.

The Raiders have won 4 of their last 5 against the Chargers. Raiders Coach Jack Del Rio is 6-3 lifetime against the Chargers. “Beast Mode” Marshawn Lynch ran for 95 yards last week against the Eagles and the Chargers are dead last in the NFL in rush defense.

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You hear the cliché “coming up big” a lot in the hockey world. With the magnitude of the game in Miami Sunday, there are a couple of Bills who can be serious difference makers in the season finale:

 has had a strong finish to the regular season, averaging 84 rushing yards per game in the Bills last five. He’s got three touchdowns in those five games, two of them against Miami a couple of weeks ago. McCoy has a knack for making Dolphin defenders (and others) miss in space and he seems to have a personal grudge with Miami LB Kiko Alonso who he was traded for three years ago.

has been a difference maker in his five career games against the Dolphins. He’s won three of those five, and he’s completed 65-percent of his passes in those matchups. Taylor has 9 TD passes and 0 INTs against the Dolphins over the years, and he’s run for two touchdowns also.

will need to “bring his lunch pail” Sunday when he lines up across from Miami’s dominant DT Ndamukong Suh. It should be a familiar feeling—he just went to battle two weeks ago in Buffalo and Ducasse held his own. Offensive line coach Juan Castillo was singing Ducasse’s praises after the Miami win but it won’t be any easier this weekend. Suh can take over a game with his sheer strength and unnatural quickness. It won’t be entirely on Ducasse’s shoulders, but he’ll play a big role in how much room Shady has to run and how much time Taylor has to throw.

The Bills will finish ahead of Miami and the Jets in the AFC Eden Hazard.The Mirror says Hazard is on his way to Real Madrid after the Spanish giants agreed an initial £88million deal with Chelsea .In a stunning piece of business for a player out of contract in a years’ time, the Blues could rake in as much East this year. They’ve locked up second place in the division for the second time in four years. They’re this year’s first runner-up in the division the Patriots seemingly own.

But Buffalo has a chance to finish the division with a 3-3 record with a win on Sunday. And they get their final crack at beating a division rival in the second match-up of the year. They lost previous rematches this year to the Jets and the Patriots.

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Right before kickoff Sunday, look at the field at Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium. It could look a little worn out.

At 8 pm Saturday, the Miami Hurricanes play Wisconsin in the Orange Bowl at Hard Rock. That game should end around 11:30pm, and 17 hours later, the Bills and the Dolphins will be right back on the grass field, hoping the college teams haven’t tornt not freeze against Fiorentina.The Grifone go head-to-head with the Viola, who could also still be relegated, but need to get a better result than Empoli manage away to Inter Milan to stay up. Prandelli said, “It’s marvellous to see and feeling th it up too much.

The Dolphins have recently installed Platinum TE natural grass on the field at home, but they’ve had some issues with it in the past.

Dolphins radio color commentator Joe Rose, a former Miami tight end, says if it doesn’t rain Saturday night the field should be OK. Should be.

“This is the sixth different field we’ve put down,” Rose told earlier this week.

“We’re fine as long as we don’t get any rain the night before, when the big guys from Wisconsin and the big guys from the Miami Hurricanes are out there. Quick turnaround–we’ve had some of those games when it’s been rough.”

The weather forecast calls for clear skies with only a 10-percent chance of rain Saturday night and Sunday in Miami. And that’s good, according to Rose.

“It has been a struggle for the Dolphins trying to get the right turf that can handle back to back games when it’s raining,” he says.

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Glenn Murray shows Wolves value of a finisher as Brighton make it three wins in a row

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Chris Hughton acknowledged Glenn Murray’s fearlessness after Brighton’s 35-year-old striker secured a third consecutive win in the top flight for his club for the first time since 1981.

Knocked out and, Murray displayed a prize-fighter’s powers of recovery to start this game and score his 100th goal for the Albion after an interchange with the full-back, Bruno, who is 38.

“Glenn was adamant he was fine and wanted to play,” Hughton said after Brighton drew level with Manchester United on 14 points. “For us it was always about – wouldolari feels the club needs to consider the futures of Toni Kroos and Luka Modric.Solari admits the pair are now in the veteran status.”They are very intelligent football players and, alongside Casemiro, they built one of the best midfields in Real Ma there be a nervousness? Because we followed the protocol we knew medically he was fine. So then really it’s about the player – [whether] we feel there might be some reluctance, a bit of fear. But we never got that feeling off Glenn. My thoughts were always to play him because wjoined Wolves in a deal worth £1m, but will remain on loan at Rochdale until the end of the season.The 17-year-old England Under-18 international scored against Manchester United in the EFL Cup in September.Matheson has made 15 starts for the Leaguee were able to.”

This victory against a stylish but blunt Wolves side marked the first time in 37 years since Brighton have won three in a row at this level. And they have now earned 39 of their 54 Premier League points at the Amex Stadium. 

Murray reached his century a week after he swallowed his tongue on the pitch at St James’ Park and ended up at the local infirmary. If his first-half performance was unconvincing, his work after the interval showed why he has become indispensable to Brighton’s new life at the top.

He also reminded Wolves what they lack: a finisher to round off their incisive passing, which was too good for Hughton’s team in the first-half. Raul Jimenez, with two, is the only Wolves player to score more than one in the league this term, but he was innocuous and removed after an hour.

Murray’s role as totem was further enhanced by his perseverance, which reflects Brighton’s talent for fighting back in games that seem to be going against them.

Wolves changed their league starting line-up for the first time this s want to see a summer transfer settled.That’s according to BILD reporter Christian Falk, who insists both parties are in agreement about an end of season move.Falk posted to social media: “Our story: Leroy Sane is trying to get back into the Germany eason, in their 10th outing, with Diogo Jota apparently paying the price for last week’s defeat to Watford. Adama Traore, who has impressed from the bench, was the beneficiary, for 60 minutes, at any rate. Frustrated by the lack of a goalscoring threat, Nuno Espirito Santo, the Wolves manager, made a double substitution after an hour, sending on Ivan Cavaleiro for Jimenez and Kota for Traore. But still Wolves failed to convert possession into goals. Santo said he was “disappointed because we conceded to Brighton’s only shot, disappointed because we were not focused for [Murray’s] goal.”

Hughton on the other could reflect on another notable advance. “The focus in the changing room is on three on the spin, which for a team like ours is very difficult to do,” he said. “In the last two weeks we’ve had to rely on determination in the team – on team spirit, and players defending very very well.

“In the second season in this division you’re always looking down as opposed to up. It’s all about picking up points and securing as big a gap as you can from that bottom three.”