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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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‘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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Bills name Marvin Allen and Brian Adams national scouts

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The Bills pro and college scouting departments are filling up quickly. On Thursday the team announced the hiring of Marvin Allen and Brian Adams as National Scouts.

“Both men are veterans in this league. They’ve been in it for a long time,” said Bills GM Brandon Beane. “It’s the same thing as players, we want to grow and develop. These are two guys who will be over the younger scouts and be part of helping us grow and develop our scouting staff. You just can’t replace their time and accomplishments in the league.”   

Allen has spent the last four years as the Director of College Scohis style of play.The now retired Bulgarian was always a polarising figure among fans of the club, as some felt his style was too lazy compared to forwards Carlos Tevez and Wayne Rooney.But Berbatov considers himself “an artist on the pitch” and had uting for the Kansas City Chiefs. A 24-year veteran in NFL scouting, he also spent five years scouting for the Atlanta Falcons, serving as a National Scout after a few years as a regional scout.

The early part of his career was spent with the New England Patriots where he served as an area scout ed with Barcelona.Griezmann finally completed his long-awaited move from Atlético de Madrid to Camp Nou on Friday having seemed set to join Barça last year before opting to stay put. Barça triggered the €120million release clause in his contractfor 16 years (1993-2008).

“Marvin started in the 90’s. He’s most recently been a college (scouting) director so he’s sat in that seat,” Beane said. “He’s going to be a great resource not only for me, but for all our college scouts.”

Allen also had a four-year NFL career as a running back with the PatJody Morris said Chelsea need to address their home form ahead of their third round FA Cup tie with Nottingham Forest on Sunday.With Tribalfootball.com in attendance, Frank Lampard’s assistant was standing in for the pre-match press conference and sariots, who made him an 11th-round pick in the 1988 NFL draft.

Adams has more than 30 years of scouting experience. He spent the 2016 campaign as the Midwest regional scout for the Dallas Cowboys, but spent seven years with the Saints. He also has a working history with Beane, spending seven years in the Panthers scouting department.

“I worked with Brian in Carolina. We had a long history there,” said Beane. “Brian went to the Saints to take a promotion to Assistant Director of College Scouting, and was most recently with Dallas. He’s a veteran in scouting and well respected across the league. I look forward to reuniting with him.”

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Top 10 reasons why Bills-Raiders is a must-watch matchup

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10. White on blue

For this week’s contest, the Bills boys will be wearing a white on blue uniform combination. Take a look.

After two consecutive victories against AFC opponents, the Bills are looking to secure a third against a tough Oakland squad on Sunday. With the Raiders sitting at 9-2 in the competitive AFC West, the Bills will have their work cut out for them and will be ready to rise to the occasion.

Bills fans, voting is still open and there’s time for you to help send your Bills to the 2017 Pro Bowl!

Cast your vote !

For a few Bills players and coaches, Oakland is far from uncharted territory. Bills sack leader LB Lorenzo Alexander is a native of Berkeley, Calif. and also spent the 2015 season with the Raiders. Additionally, Bills assistant head coach/defense Rob Ryan, wide receivers coach Sanjay Lal, outside linebackers coach Jeff Weeks and offensive line coach Aaron Kromer all spent time on Oakland’s coaching staff.

Buffalo’s offensive line will be tasked with containing one of the NFL’s top pass rushers in DE Khalil Mack this weekend. Coming ofgainst Newcastle United.The United right back has been excellent defensively this season, but has seemed tentative going forward.He was at his explosive best against the Magpies, getting an assist for Marcus Rashford’s header that sealed the win for f an elite Week 12 performance, the University at Buffalo product will look to disrupt Buffalo’s rhythm. It won’t be easy, but the Bills are up for the challenge.

One of the biggest surprises on Buffalo’s offense this season has been wide receiver Justin Hunter. Signed in late September to help bolster the team’s receiving corps, Hunter has managed four touchdowns on just seven receptions. With those stats, expect Hunter to continue to find the end zone.

In Week 13, players around the NFL will be able to showcase the causes they are passionate about through the “My Cause, My Cleats” initiative.  The league-wide program allows each participant to customize their cleats and wear them during the game. Several members of the Buffalo Bills will be taking part in the campaign to help share their unique stories and raise awareness for various causes.

A post shared by (@shadymccoy) on Dec 2, 2016 at 11:13am PST

It’s no secret that Bills running back LeSean McCoy is on a roll. The eliteclash with crosstown rivals Manchester United. The Belgian was absent for Wednesday’s 1-0 win over Sheffield Wednesday in the FA Cup fifth-round. And manager Pep Guardiola has confirmed DeMarcus McGuane has ended his loan with Telstar.McGuane’s time at Barcelona has come to an end, reports Sport.He signed in January 2018 from Arsenal but after being loaned out to Telstar, in Holland, he’s ready to sign permanently for Nottingham Fores Bruyne has suffered an injury.”He [Kevin de Bruyne] fell down ball carrier has already racked up four 100-yard rushing performances this season and he’s ready to make it five.

In his first game back since he was placed on the injured reserve list in September, Bills top wide out Sammy Watkins definitely made an impact. On just three receptions, Watkins racked up 80 yards and helped the Bills come away with a Week 12 win. Although he’s listed as questionable to play in Oakland, the Bills expect that the difference maker will take the field.   

1. Playoff implications

At 6-5, the Bills are in eighth place in the AFC and still very much alive in the hunt for the playoffs. Aware that they’ll need to continue to stack up wins to earn a trip to the postseason, the Bills are prepared to do what it takes.

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Pep Guardiola to explain yellow ribbon stance in letter to the FA

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In 2016, Fifa had ruled that poppies on shirts contravened its rules on political symbols but the FA defied the regulation with England’s players wearing poppies for an international against Scotland close to Remembrance Day in November that year and later secured a new ruling from Fifa to permit poppies.

Guardiola could also consider arguing that his was unwitting. The ribbon had been concealed under a bomber jacket he was wearing during the first half at the DW Stadium last Monday but Guardiola ended up unzipping the jacket in the second half, leaving the symbol clearly visible. Guardiola had clashed with Wigan manager Paul Cook at the end of the first half after City defender Fabian Delph’s red card.   

Guardiola elected to wear the ribbon on his jumper during City’s Carabao Cup final win over Arsenal on Sunday although it was mostly concealed during the game by a coat and scarf. The Catalan is free to wear the ribbon before and after matches and during pressWolves striker Rafa Mir is attracting fresh Spanish interest.El Periodico de Aragón says Wolves striker Mir is wanted by Real Zaragoza.Mir spent last season on loan at Las Palmas.He’s due to go back to Wolves – and is also being linked with Hull City.Wolves boss Nuno is expected to take a close look at Mir in preseason before making a final decision. conferences.

Some City fans wore ribbons in support of Guardiola on Sundanited .Although City have no chance of catching runaway leaders Liverpool , their top-four status is assured, with Guardiola’s side holding a 15-point lead over fifth-placed United.”When we believe it’s more important for them, we’re going to lose,” y and the manager thanked them for that. “The feeling to belong to something, I am really grateful for that initiative,” he said.

“They don’t have to do it. It is another country, yet they did that. That makes me really happy because that makes people understand the situation, what is going on, people in prison in Spain so 100 per cent grateful to them.”

City face Arsenal in the Premier League tomorrow with Guardiola insisting the league is the priority over the Champions League. City are 13 points clear of Manchester United with 11 fixtures to play.

“We are fighting for the most important title of the season by far, the Premier League, more than Champions League, more important than the FA Cup, Carabao Cup. That is enough encouragement to be focused,” he said.

“The next six fixtures are terrible in terms of quality of the opponents, and we have four games away and we still have to win six games. When you think about Arsenal, you think about Chelsea, Tottenham and Arsenal and our away games, Stoke City playing for relegation, going to Goodison Park is always a tough game. We have a lot of tough games still to play and have to remain focused.

“The league is always the most difficult, a game every three days. It shows how good you are over 11 months. All the titles I have won, La Liga, Bundesliga, the league is the most difficult. In the Carabao Cup we won two penalty rounds, Bravo saved them or you could be out. That is a toss of a coin, sometimes good, sometimes bad. The league is conso Everton did not happen over the summer.Everton were one of many clubs linked with a possible deal ahead of the summer window.He told HLN: “There was interest and there have been conversations, but it never came to a point where I had to decide: Do istency, the players know that. They know exactly how important the league is for this club, for our futures. Of course we have to be focused, we know how tough it will be until the end of the season.”

Meanwhile, it was revealed today that Guardiola gave a short speech as part of a champagne toast at Manchester City’s training ground on Wednesday afternoon in which he thanked staff for the part they played in helping to win the first trophy of his managerial reign at the club.

Guardiola addressed scores of staff in City’s canteen at their CFA headquarters in the wake of Sunday’s Carabao Cup triumph over Arsenal by telling them, “Thank you to everyone for helping us win”.

The City manager concluded his speech by telling the assembled employees that the team would do everything to ensure they now delivered “the most important title”, the Premier League. City currently lead Manchester United by 13 points with 11 games remaining.

Guardiola’s address was followed by a speech from Omar Berrada, City’s chief operating officer, and a champagne toast. The League Cup was also brought into the canteen for staff to see and have their picture taken with.

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Monday Morning Football: A definitive analysis of the Premier League weekend

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So credit where credit is due for his terrific performance against Crystal Palace. The nature of their draw, with a late equaliser conceded deep in stoppage time, will mean it feels like two points dropped rather than one point earned for West Ham, but without Hart on top form they could easily have left Selhurst Park with nothing at all.

His finest moment was a diving save from a terrific Yohan Cabaye free-kick, from which the Frenchman was already wheeling away in celebration.

Hart’s performance was summarised most accurately by Palace winger Wilfried Zaha. “He was literally saving everything."

Liverpool’s defenders

For all their shambolic defending on the road this season, it is worth mentioning that Liverpool have let in just one goal at Anfield all season. Only Manchester United have conceded fewer at home.

Admittedly, David Wagner’s Huddersfield were unlikely to pose the biggest attacking this weekend. But considering just how haphazard Jurgen Klopp’s side were against Tottenham Hotspur last Sunday, this was a welcome return to defensive stability.

That it came without Dejan Lovren, injured in the warm-up, is perhaps no coincidence, although other members of that defence have been equally culpable at times this season.

More encouraging for Klopp will be the ongoing consistency of left-back Alberto Moreno, seemingly inspired by the arrival of Andy Robertson as competition, and the ever-growing excellence of young Joe Gomez at right back.

Antonio Rudiger

Many Chelsea fans have been calling for Rudiger to be given a regular starting place after the side’s somewhat turbulent to the season, and Antonio Conte has duly obliged for two Premier League matches in a row.

That has led to back-to-back victories for the champions, over Watford and Bournemouth. The fall guy has been Gary Cahill, who now has a genuine fight on his hands if he wants to wrestle back a starting berth from a Germany international who appears to be growing in stature with each game.

Rudiger was terrific against Bournemouth in a match that Chelsea utterlyal legend Emmanuel Petit says Unai Emery should be sacked.The Gunners are sixth with just four wins in 12 Premier League games.He told PaddyPower: “I believe it’s time for Unai Emery to leave Arsenal. The results are not good at all. I don’t recognis dominated, despite the narrow 1-0 scoreline. He was quick across the ground, strong in the air and more accomplished with his passing than many would have been expecting upon his arrival from Roma for £29m.

At just 24, . Under a manager as obsessed with detail as Conte, it is surely onwards and upwards from here.

Kyle Walker

The game’s gone! Football has lost its head! It’s only Kyle Walker! Such were the reactions to Walker’s £50m transfer fee this summer, and understandably so. This was unprecedented territory for a right-back, and it was hard to justify.

Such sums are, of course, still hard to justify. But at least Walker is doing his bit. In fact, he’s doing more than that. Walker has been consistently excellent this season, playing in a far more tactically and individually complex role under Guardiola than he has ever been tasked with before.

Admittedly, it’s easy to look good when City are battering teams into submission as they have been for much of this campaign. Yet Walker has been a major part of that, providing pace from deep and the constant width that allows City’s creative players to strut their stuff infield.

Walker’s presence has certainly been good for Raheem Sterling, which can only be good for England’s World Cup ambitions. Fittingly, it was Walker who whipped in a perfect cross for Sterling’s goal in the 3-2 victory over West Brom.

Murray, now 34, could have been forgiven for thinking his Premier League days were over when he was loaned out to Brighton last season. He would not have been alone.

And yet here he is, back in the top flight and back in the goals. In the absence of Tomer Hemed, Murray has stepped up when his side have needed some firepower.

Two goals against West Ham last week fired Chris Hughton’s side to a valuable three points, while his powerful back-post header secured another point at home to Southampton this weekend. He may not be the most mobile, but here is a man who will forever know the way to goal, and that is precisely what Brighton will need if they want to stay afloat this season.

Whose stock is falling?

Jordan Ayew

It is hard to pinpoint exactly what Ayew’s strengths are. He seems quite quick, but he’s certainly not fast enough to frighten Premier League defences. He seems to dribble a lot, but he rarely weaves through challenges. He seems to find himself in decent positions, but he hardly ever makes the right decision.

Swansea manager Paul Clement has already said this season that he wants to see more from Tammy Abraham and Wilfried Bony, but the same can be said for Ayew. Abraham, at least, is chipping in with some goals.

Ayew has one in the league this season. Last year, in 42 appearances across all competitions, he scored only five (as an aside, he got seven yellow cards). Frankly, Swansea need attacking players like Ayew to deliver the goods, particularly now Gylfi Sigurdsson has left for Everton.

The struggling Renato Sanches has received most of the spotlight this season, but the glare should also be directed at Ayew. He could have given Swansea a crucial 2-0 lead over Arsenal on Saturday, but tried to dink Petr Cech rather than providing Abraham with a tap-in. Such errors are punished against teams like Arsenal. Such errors cost teams their place in the Premier League.

Grown men

There were laughable scenes at Vicarage Road on Saturday, and not just because Darren Fletcher scored an actual goal. Stoke and Watford demeaned themselves and delighted spectators with two embarrassing cases of handbags-at-dawn in the final minutes of .

Highlights include:

Troy Deeney’s manic grin as he grabbed a chunk of Joe Allen’s throat

Supposed hard man Ryan Shawcross flying across the turf after a Deeney shove

Long-haired Watford coaching staff leaping into the melee with locks swirling in the wind

The brief and completely half-hearted attempt of the well-mannered Will Hughes to get stuck in.

It was petulant, immature and unbecoming. It was also magnificent.

Asmir Begovic

Amid all the weekly controversies over team selection and refereeing decisions, the most curious decision of the weekend was made by whoever nominated Begovic as man of the match in Bournemouth’s clash with Chelsea.

Begovic was at fault for , letting the low shot past him far too easily at the near post, and could easily have thrown away another goal when he gifted the ball to Hazard in the first half. Only Alvaro Morata’s profligacy saved him.

There was, in fairness, one terrific stop from Morata. But this was not an evening to remember for Begovic against his former club, on his 200th Premier League appearance.

He has been otherwise solid in a tricky start to the season for Eddie Howe’s side, and he was not helped by his defence on this occasion, but top-flight goalkeepers simply cannot afford to make one major error against teams like Chelsea, let alone two.

Phil Jagielka, Ashley Williams, Leighton Baines. All in their 30s, and all hardly blessed with speed at their youthful peaks.

Riyad Mahrez, Jamie Vardy, Demarai Gray. A trio bristling with speed and a canny ability to exploit open spaces.

It is any surprise, then, that Everton were so ruthlessly ripped apart by Leicester’s front three in the first half at the King Power Stadium? 

Gray, in particular, was having a lovely time. It was a total mismatch, and it shone a light on one of Everton’s most pressing problems: refreshing that back-line. Too often they have been criticised for falling deep in games, but here was a prime example of why they really cannot push higher up the pitch.

As a rule, Monday Morning Football is never fond of having a pop at referees. What’s the point, when there are far more interesting things to discuss that are more complex than simple human error?

But then along comes a decision like Kevin Friend’s call to give Liverpool a penalty for the most innocuous shirt-pull in the Huddersfield box.

“I have no idea why he whistled,” said Huddersfield manager David Wagner. “If it was for holding then we have to have five or six penalties in every game.”

Precisely. Either make it a hard-and-fast rule and punish everyone for doing it, or apply some common sense. You can’t pick and choose, or we will never know where we stand. Friend’s only saving grace was that Mohamed Salah could not score from the spot.

Stat attack

13 – Arsenal have won their last 13 games at the Emirates in all competitions. It is their longest ever winning run there.

– Watford had 14 shots against Stoke City, but not one of them hit the target.

18 – All 18 of Georginio Wijnaldum’s Premier League goals (for Newcastle United and Liverpool) have been scored at home.

41 – All 41 of Javier Hernandez’s Premier League goals have been scored from inside the penalty box.

100 – Daniel Sturridge’s strike against Huddersfield Town was the 100th club goal of his career.

Goal of the weekend

Out of principle, Monday Morning Football is unable to award the title to Darren Fletcher. On paper, his goal sounded wonderful. A volley on the edge of the box, straight from a corner. It reads like a Paul Scholes classic. But no. Fletcher committed a crime against football aesthetics by side-footing the shot, rather than blasting it with his laces. Unacceptable.

Instead, we will award the title to Raheem Sterling, for another vintage Guardiola goal. One-twos in the build-up, then it’s worked out to Walker, who finds Sterling for the tap-in. A glorious team effort.

Jason Burt’s team of the weekendTactics corner, with JJ Bull

Before kick-off, David Unsworth spoke of the importance of giving Everton fans the kind of football they wanted, playing on the front foot and creating width for strikers. By the end of this one he must have wished they didn’t want quite so much.

, happy to absorb tame, uninspired build-up and strike quickly with pace and power. Claude Puel played to Leicester’s strengths, Unsworth played into Leicester’s hands.

From kick-off the standard was set, as Phil Jagielka humped a long ball out to the left wing, giving Leicester possession from a throw-in immediately. It’s supposed to be difficult to win the ball back in the Premier League, and while Leicester worked hard off the ball throughout, they didn’t have to try that hard… especially after a simple opening period to the game rewarded them with two goals.

Everton’s plan seemed to be to send high balls into the box for Calvert-Llewin, a nimble, quick striker best at playing on the shoulder, against a central defensive pairing of Harry Maguire and Wes Morgan, who towered over him like a cartoon wrestling tag-team. It didn’t look like working even once.

Things changed after half time as Unsworth switched to a 4-4-2 diamond but Ronald Koeman has struggled all season to make this group of players look good – nothing seems to work.

Leicester, obviously, were always going to play on the counter attack – it’s what they do – and the decision to attack with a high defensive line was curious. And with Jagielka, who makes a post office queue look quick, next to a seriously out-of-form Ashley Williams at centre-back, providing some defensive cover might have made sense.

Higher up the pitch, nothing worked. Mirallas kept wandering inside and disrupting the shape, Rooney cut a frustrated figure throughout, a big gap was left between midfield and defence. Playing two wingers and two strikers away from home in the Premier League was… not ambitious… but certainly ill-advised.

“The second half was much better,” said Unsworth after the game. “We gave them a two goal start and didn’t perform. Formations and tactics go out the window if you don’t play on the front foot and for some reason we didn’t.

“(At half time) I wanted an extra man in midfield and an extra striker and we felt the best way was to do it with a diamond. For whatever reason, first half it didn’t work. You’ve got to be reactive and show the players that you’re on the front foot as well.”

The positive for Unsworth is that he realised his team was in trouble and made changes early on. He knows it didn’t work, realises this is not an easy fix. The negative though is the lack of clear, clever strategy, players in straight lines, passes being sent over the top of the midfield. If you want to ping it into channels you sit deep, like Leicester. If you want to pass-and-move you need to put players into space to receive the ball – this was a mish mash of both and none.

“Whoever gets the honour of being Everton manager, including myself, needs time with this set of players. You need time and time on the training ground to implement those ideas.”

Unsworth won the Under-23 league last season and must know what he’s doing. On this evidence though, his ideas include playing a suicidal high line against Leicester, playing a left-footed inside forward on the left wing and fielding a fairly standard 4-2-3-1 wioach Ryan Giggs won’t hear criticism of Real Madrid star Gareth Bale.Bale’s commitment and professionalism has been questioned in Spain.But Giggs says: “We played a game [on Tuesday] and he looked really good, sharp and really fresh, I’m excited to sth instructions to, effectively, get stuck in, get on the front foot, show some desire etc.

With a different group of players, perhaps he’d be able to turn Everton’s season around. Maybe he’s the next Sir Alex Ferguson. Perhaps we’ll get the chance to find out. Everton can’t afford to get are threatening to pull out of talks with Manchester United for Paul Pogba.Fed-up with United’s stubbornness in negotiations, Real are prepared to turn elsewhere to boost coach Zinedine Zidane’s midfield options.And while he views Pogba as a summer it wrong.

Key question of the week

Are Bournemouth losing their identity?

When promoted teams find success in the Premier League, it tends to be for one of two reasons. They are either well organised, defensively solid units who are hard to beat (eg Burnley), or they are committed to a certain style of play that makes them a unique proposition (eg Swansea under Brendan Rodgers).

For two seasons under Eddie Howe, Bournemouth fell into the latter category. With their passing football, high-energy pressing and array of midfield schemers, Bournemouth have been relentlessly impressive in the top flight, other than a mid-season blip last year (they still finished ninth).

So it is was endlessly frustrating to see Howe line his players up so defensively against Chelsea in their 1-0 defeat on Saturday. There were none of the passing triangles we have come to expect from this side, none of the energy without the ball. Instead they sat deep and tried to hit the champions on the break.

It was not what Bournemouth do best. And it’s not as if Chelsea were even strolling into this match on a particularly formidable run of form, either.

Bournemouth have been so enjoyable because they have not been afraid to have a go at teams and play their own way, irrespective of the opposition. It would be a shame if they were to lose that.

Who’s showing the most cards?How is the table looking?Off the Ball, by Alistair Tweedale

54% – Everton just as hopeless before

18% – Blankly staring into the distance

13% – Hoping Wayne Rooney might still be good

10% – 4-4-2

5% – Spirited late push that he can cling onto

0 – Christmas cards Michail Antonio should expect from Slaven Bilic after his mistake led to Wilfried Zaha’s late equaliser

“Listen, unless somebody decides otherwise, you’ve got me, boring old big nose f***ing fart with s***e football until May. Unless somebody decides different.”

Mick McCarthy to the disgruntled Ipswich fans following his side’s late 2-1 win at Burton. 

Race for the Golden Boot What’s coming up next?What’s on TV this week?

  Burnley v Newcastle United, Premier League, 8pm on Sky Sports

Manchester United v Benfica; Roma v Chelsea, both 7.45pm on BT Sport

Wednesday:  Liverpool v Maribor; Napoli v Manchester City; Tottenham Hotspur v Real Madrid, all 7.45pm on BT Sport

Thursday: Arsenal v Red Star Belgrade, Europa League, 8.05pm on BT Sport

Stoke City v Leicester City, Premier League 12.30pm on Sky Sports; West Ham United v Liverpool, Premier League, 5.30pm on BT Sport

Tottenham Hotspur v Crystal Palace, Premier League, 12pm on BT Sport; Manchester City v Arsenal, Premier League, 2.15pm on Sky Sports; Chelsea v Manchester United, Premier League, 4.30pm on Sky Sports

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Scouting Report: Bills at Lions

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– Buffalo’s right guard will be seeing Suh more than any other offensive lineman, and he’ll need some assistance knowing most opponents cannot handle him in one-on-one situations very often.

– It’s a dynamic rookie receiver against a second-year corner, who is fourth on the team in tackles and leads the team in pass breakups. Slay is also tied for the team lead in interceptions.

Bills Top 2 Advantages

– Detroit’s pass rush is pretty formidable in its own right, but facing the Lions’ offensive line could prove fruitful for Buffalo’s pass rushers off the edge. Through the first four games this season the Lions have given up the third-most sacks in the league.

– Again the Lions’ run ‘D’ is a top 10 unit as well, but in this matchup Buffalo’s third-ranked run defense has a big edge against a Manchester United midfielder Ander Herrera is happy with his first weeks at PSG.Herrera joined PSG this month in a Bosman deal.He revealed, “I’m just trying to be myself, to be natural. I’m lucky because I joined a great group of other Spanish playerDetroit run game that ranks just 25th in the league and might be without the services of Joique Bell (concussion).

Bills Number 1 Must

– Buffalo’s third down success rate has been on a steady decline through the first four weeks of the season. With Kyle Orton at quarterback this week, the Bills need to improve their efficiency on third down to keep drives alive against a team that’s capable of putting up points.

Scouting Eye

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He doesn’t make the play every time, but Matthew Stafford is pretty cool when facing blitz situations. So far this season the Lions’ former number one overall pick has gone 16-25 passing for 257 yards and two touchdowns, while also taking two sacks. Those numbers are good for a passer rating of 124.9, the fourth highest figure in the league.

The Lions will be playing their second game since losing MLB Stephen Tulloch to a season-ending knee injury. Tulloch suffered a torn ACL in Week 3 when he was celebrating a sack of Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers. Surgery was performed this week and deemed a success. Last Sunday was the first game Tulloch missed in his nine-year career. Stepping in to take his place is Tahir Whitehead a third-year player out of Temple.

Detroit’s offense has solid weapons at the skill positions, but it hasn’t translated into much offensive success on first or second down. In fact the Lions rank 30th in the league in first down efficiency where they gain four lightly this season.Arsenal will meet Chelsea in the final next week in Baku.Sanllehi told arsenal.com: “He’s won it three times already, he’s never lost a final, and we’re hoping that that streak continues. From day one, when we were talking with hyards or more just over 40 percent of the time (40.2%). On second down their conversion percentage is just a shade over 27 percent, which ranks 27th in the NFL. However, those substandard numbers haven’t meant a whole lot in negatively impacting the Lions’ success rate on third down.

The Lions stand fourth in the league in third down conversion percentage at an impressive 52.4 percent. In third-and-short situations they rank fourth in the league as well (75%) and in third-and-medium they rank second in the league with a 73.3 percent conversion rate.

Detroit’s defense has been stingy the first month of the season when it comes to giving up yards. They rank first in the league in yards allowed per game, but perhaps even more impressive are their tackles for loss. The Lions are tied for second in the league in opponent rusdeparture for Juventus last summer.Perez denied that Real Madrid’s refusal to help the player pay debts to the tax authorities contributed to his departure.”I think he already had it quite clear that he wanted new challenges,” Perez said on El Transihes for negative yardage with 16. They also rank third in the NFL for opponent yards lost on negative plays (-113).

Lions’ All-Pro WR Calvin Johnson has been hobbled by an ankle injury the last couple of weeks. His two-catch 12-yard output last week against the Jets was his lowest production in a game in almost five seasons. Johnson did not practice at all last week leading up to last Sunday’s game. There’s a chance he might practice more this week, and he is expected to play, but he’s not expected to be 100 percent healthy.

Buffalo Chips

“I think we’ve got a lot of good players. All across the board we’ve got young talent on the outside. We’ve got two running backs that can take a lot of pressure off of us. And I think when you ask the offensive line to do the right thing I think they can really play hard for you and do a lot of great things. We’re going up against a good defense on the road. We’re going to have to play our best football to come out with a win.”

-QB Kyle Orton

Stat of the Week

Kyle Orton is 4-0 lifetime against the Detroit Lions passing for 822 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions and a 102.2 passer rating.

Milestones in reach

-Fred Jackson needs two rushing touchdowns to become the fourth Bills player with 30 or more in his time with Buffalo.

-Mike Williams needs three receptions for 225 in his career.

-Mario Williams needs one sack for 80 in his NFL career.

Final Note

In his last eight games against NFC opponents, Mario Williams has 10.5 sacks.

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Southampton 1 Arsenal 1: Olivier Giroud rescues a point after Charlie Austin terrorises chaotic defence

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The positive for Arsenal was the benefit again of having such a distinct option off the bench as Giroud, whose goals to minutes ratio continues to overshadow most of his team-mates. With the January transfer window fast approaching, Wenger again also reiterated his opposition to the French striker leaving. “Why should we lose an important player?” he asked. “It’s up to us. He will start games.”

Austin had been similarly frustrated at a lack of starting opportunities at Southampton until his recent recall coincided with a wider improvement, and he finished emphatically here after three minutes. Arsenal captain Per Mertesacker had come back insays they’re set to offer a new deal to Ryan Fraser.Arsenal have been tracking the 25-year-old Scottish winger, who is about to enter the last year of his contract at the Vitality Stadium.It led to Fraser being linked to the Gunners in a potential £to the team following a thigh injury to Shkodran Mustafi but was easily dispossessed by Austin who then exchanged passes with Dusan Tadic before shooting confidently past Petr Cech. 

The presence of Mertesacker seemed to have disorientated Arsenal defensively, and Southampton could and should soon have been further ahead. Austin was then released by Tadic after Mertesacker had again been caught, but Cech got down well to save his low shot. 

The Soul van Dijk.Van Dijk is UEFA’s player of the year and has a fan in Lampard ahead of tomorrow’s showdown.Lampard said: “Van Dijk is an incredible player. Seemingly, he has every attribute needed to be a defender and more. It is a test for our centre thampton striker was then only marginally offside after again getting behind the Arsenal defence before also hitting the post from a narrowly offside position after running onto Ryan Bertrand’s cross. 

Austin has now scored four goals in his past four games but admitted that Southampton missed their big chance in that opening salvo. “We get the second and it’s over – one’s not enough in the Premier League,” he said. 

Arsenal remained defensively vulnerable throughout, but they did eventually at least settle into a passing rhythm that allowed them to dominate possession. 

Alexandre Lacazette had again been preferred to Giroud as the main striker and wasted an excellent counter-attacking chance when his heavy first touch just gave Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg sufficient time to make a goal-saving block.

Aaron Ramsey did also almost equalise, but his low shot was quite brilliantly saved at his near-post by Forster following Sanchez’s cross. 

The pattern was set, and while Arsenal continued to have most of the ball, Southampton’s defence was solid and they also always retained their threat. Cech made another save from James Ward-Prowse, and from the resulting corner, a header back across goal by Bertand was almost inadvertently turned in by Granit Xhaka. Oriol Romeu also shook Cech’s crossbar with a powerful dipping shot from 25 yards. 

Arsenal’s supporters were becoming increasingly frustrated, and there were persistent chants for Jack Wilshere. But Danny Welbeck was Wenger’s choice when he did make his first change after 64 minutes, predictably replacing Mertesacker as Arsenal switched to a more attacking 4-2-3-1 formation. 

They were almost immediately punished, with Laurent Koscielny and Nacho Monreal getting themselves into a mess and fortunate that Bertrand just lofted his finish wide after lifting the ball over Cech.

Wenger did then bring on Wilshere for Xhaka in an attempt to add some cutting edge. Southampton, however, are a class above BATE Borisov, and Wilshere had nothing like the time or space that had allowed him to exert such influence on Thursday. 

The more telling change was Giroud, whose introduction for Lacazette was still greeted with groans from Arsenal fans. Sanchez, who again kept losing possession, had just tested Forster with a curling free-kick before producing a perfectly weighted cross for Giroud to glance his header past Forster. 

“We missed players in the box so I tried to bring it. This was a good point,” said Giroud, whose 17th goal as a substitute places him level with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on the all-time Premier League list. 

It was just about what Arsenal deserved – but there is little doubt now that their Premier League season will again be about no more than fighting for a top-four place.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Pellegrino’s Alaves side played with four at the back for all but a handful of games last season and when he switched to five against Real Madrid, they were still humped Liverpool are set to go head to head with Borussia Dortmund to sign Ferran Torres from Valencia.The 19-year-old Spanish winger is producing some eye catching displays in La Liga this season.And Reds manager Jurgen Klopp will do battle with his old cl4-1 and 3-0, though they did knock off Barcelona at the start of the campaign 2-1. 

 Cech; Koscielny, Mertesacker, Monreal; Bellerin,  Ramsey, Xhaka, Kolasinac; Ozil, Sanchez; Lacazette.   Ospina, Wilshere, Giroud, Iwobi, Welbeck, Maitland-Niles,  Coquelin. 

 Robert Madley (Leeds) 

 

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Jurgen Klopp: No price could tempt Liverpool to sell Philippe Coutinho… who would we replace him with?

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“Our goal is to have the best possible team. So we want to keep our guys and add new ones. That is our plan.”

Klopp indicated one of the issues is how little opportunity Liverpool would have to replace a player of Coutinho’s class with only three weeks left in the transfer d AC Milan scouting chief is well aware of talk of Messi becoming unsettled at the Nou Camp.Braida told Radio Anch’io Sport: “Leo is an extraordinary player, we all know that. In Barcelona he is doing too well, he as well as his family, and it is verwindow.

He has been frustrated already with his and Virgil van Dijk, whose valuations demonstrate Klopp still has a kitty well in excess of £100 million at his disphristian Eriksen has backed up the Dane’s words today about leaving Tottenham.Real Madrid target Eriksen has confirmed he wants to leave Spurs, stating he wants to “try something new”.And Martin Schoots told the London Evening Standard: “Last seaosal this summer.

He would have almost double that if he sold Coutinho, but s a necessary decision for the club’s future.”There’s no doubt it’s harsh from a human and personal perspective,” he said.”I get that. But I’ve got to make a professional decision and what I think is best for the football club is not perhaps what thesecuring players has been a problem and Liverpool could .

Klopp is exploring which players to add, not sell his senior stars.

“Today no player on the planet is untouchable. But a transfer is also a question of timing and if you have the opportunity and the need to react to such a transfer,” said Klopp.

“Also you have to ask, if you have the time to react. But just because of one request of one club, we don’t have to think about that. We are not in that situation.

“Liverpool is not a club that has to sell players. That is set in stone. So what they pay in the end doesn’t matter.”

Barcelona are expected to return with a bid nearer £100 million, but Liverpool’s response will be the same.

Coutinho has been reporting for training every day as normal but he has a back injury which makes it unlikely he will face Watford this weekend.

Philippe Coutinho is valued at £5.4m in Telegraph Fantasy Football, but is he good enough to make your team? –

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Spring returns to Spiller's step in big play performance

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He’s been hampered for weeks, slowed by a high-ankle sprain, but Sunday, Bills teammates were glad to have the C.J. Spiller they’re used to seeing.

“I was just joking with him and just saying it’s good to have old C.J. back,” Jeff Tuel said.

For three games immediately after sustaining his high-ankle sprain in Week 4, Spiller struggled to cut and explode off his injured left ankle. Week seven at Miami he struggled managing just 11 yards on six attempts. Coach Marrone chose to hold him out of their Week eight game at New Orleans, a day when Buffalo ran for only 88 yards on 68 plays.

A week off apparently did wonders as Spiller delivered three of the four longest plays in the game Sunday. Sunday against the Chiefs also marked the first time since Week two that Spiller ran for over 100 yards.

C.J. Spiller:

Spiller’s power and explosion were evident, and Buffalo’ Oxlade-Chamberlain is getting stronger.Oxlade-Chahamberlain was withdrawn at half-time during the Super Cup and Klopp indicates the England international is still working his way up to top speed. “It was positive for Oxlade-Chamberlain,” Klopp sais ground game was the beneficiary hitting a season high Sunday with 241 yards. Spiller gained 9.7 yards per carry on 12 runs for 116 yards and added two receptions for 39 yards. He even outran Kansas City’s Jamaal Charles, who had 90 yards off 17 carries. Charles makes up nearly 40 percent of the Chief’s offense.

“He’s a tremendous player for us,” Fred Jackson said. “So any time you get a guy like that back, you want to take advantage of his skill set. He was able to make some big plays for us.”

Starting on the Bills very first scoring drive, Spiller’s presence hit the field in a pair of runs which gained one of three first downs, allowing Tuel breathing room to toss a deep touchdown to Marquise Goodwin.

Two possessions later, Spiller touched the ball four times on a five-minute-drive, most notably finding a hole opened by a trio of thundering blocks in the middle. Spiller slashed through the void and ran for 29 yards before being forced out of bounds. The drive was capped by a field goal.

“Offensive line and tight ends and wide receivers did a great job blocking,” Spiller said. “Just trying to make a couple plays, a couple guys miss, just try to give us a spark.”

West Ham United can achieve something special with the current team.The fullback has extended his deal with the Irons until 2023, which could take the No3 up to nine years in Claret and Blue. He said, “Going back to the last year we had at the Bole

Unfortunately six plays later with the Bills on the doorstep of Kansas City’s end zone, Tuel threw an interception, which Kansas City returned 100 yards for a touchdown.

“We went right down the field, C.J. (Spiller) did a nice job, made a great run and we get down there and we don’t punch it in on goal line,” head coach Doug Marrone said. “We get a penalty on the pass play first and then we don’t punch it in with a goal line formation.”

“That’s a huge momentum swing, for anybody,” Jackson said. “It was something we had to get over fairly quickly. That’s something you don’t want to deal with, being down there and not only getting no points, but also giving them seven points. It’s something we just cannot do in that situation.”

Buffalo would tie the score a short time later and again Spiller was the catalyst. He singlehandedly ran the offense into field goal range off a flare pass from Tuel, which he took up the left sideline for 27 yards. Jackson earned the drive another first down, but the offense stalled at Kansas City 12-yard-line. Buffalo again took a field goal, but they proved to be Buffalo’s final points in a 10-point loss.

While the Bills feature back was glad he could contribute in the fashion that teammates and fans have come to expect, rney jokes that he was at a local park when he got a call about his move being complete.The Scottish left back made a deadline day move to the Premier League giants from Celtic.When asked about how he spent the past 24 hours before the finalising of being saddled with the loss made it hard for Spiller to take pride in his efforts.

“Like I said all week, I feel good,” Spiller said. “I feel like the spring is coming back. It’s still not back but it’s definitely very close. (Sunday) was very encouraging for me. It was a great day to run the ball as well as we did against a good team. At the end of the day, we still lost and that’s all that matters.”

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Antoine Griezmann’s brother teases Manchester United fans with Old Trafford tweets

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Depay’s largely unsuccessful two-year spell at Manchester United was brought to an end after Lyon agreed to meet Manchester United’s £12m valuation. 

The former PSV winger impressed in his first appearance for Lyon, coming on as a substitute during Lyon’s win over Marseille on Sunday evening. 

Griezmann tweeted a picture of the 22-year-old as he conducted his first post-match interview following Lyon’s 3-lback has underlined the importance of being capable of clinching the LaLiga Santander title, despite missing out on the Champions League and the Copa del Rey silverware this season.”It’s a very difficult moment for the whole team as we were very clo1 win over Marseille.

"Sorry Memphis I think Old Trafford is better!" wrote Griezmann.

Just days later the French DJ sent out another Manchester United tweet, attaching a picture of Old Trafford without any caption.

Theo Griezmann, who is thought to support Manchester United, reactivated his Twitter account earlier this month after temporarily suspending his account.

The tweets sen plans to replace wantaway midfielder Paul Pogba.The Daily Mail says Pogba still wants to leave after pushing for moves to Barcelona and Real Madrid over the last two years.The Frenchman only has 18 months left on his £290,000-a-week contract, althot a number of Manchester United fans into a minor frenzy, with some club in the summer.The player has confirmed discussions over the contract extension are ongoing and that he would very much like to stay at St James’ Park.Ritchie became a fan favourite in the recently finished season as he impressed in a left wing-baalling on Theo Griezmann to persuade his brother to sign for the club.

As reported by James Ducker earlier this week, Manchester United are understood to be already working on a £86m deal to bring Griezmann to the club in the summer.

Atletico Madrid manager,

Simeone is likely to leave the Vicente Calderon at the end of this season after taking the unprecedented step of reducing his Atletico contract and his imminent departure is likely to hasten Griezmann’s exit.

"I don’t tie anybody down. I simply work in order to continue getting better for the good of the club," said Simeone. 

Despite admitting his star striker has been attracting plenty of interest

“There are many offers,’ Cerezo said. “I don’t know what will come of Manchester United’s interest. What I can say though is that Griezmann will be an Atlético player for a long time.”

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Easley, Troup out for Sunday

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They were both listed as questionable on Buffalo’s injury reporanchester City have 10 days to lodge their appeal against being thrown out of the Champions League to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.The club were banned on Friday from European club competition for the next two seasons for “serious breaches” of t this week, but WR Marcus Easley and DT Torell Troup have not made the trip to Kansas City for the season opener and won’t play on Sunday.

Easley left Friday’s pallum Hudson-Odoi’s return from rupturing his Achilles.He operated centrally as England Under-21s drew in Slovenia on Friday night, with manager Aidy Boothroyd keen to experiment.Hudson-Odoi’s peers have remarked that the 18-year-old appears to have ractice due to illness. Head coach alkeeper David James admits he’s a fan of Manchester United goalkeeper Sergio Romero.Romero is expected to replace United No 1 David de Gea in goal for Sunday’s clash against rivals Liverpool after the Spaniard picked up an injury while on internatioChan Gailey had hoped it would clear up before today’s game, but it has not as Easley stayed back in Buffalo and won’t be available for Sunday’s game.

Torell Troup also did not make the trip after his lower back tightened up in practice on Wednesday. He did not practice Thursday and was limited on Friday. His back has not improved enough.

Troup in his second season is an important rotational cog in Buffalo’s improved run defense. It’s expected that Kellen Heard will have an even larger role in the Bills’ defensive line rotation Sunday with Troup not available.

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Simon Mignolet: I will not stay as Liverpool’s No 2

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“So I’ll work hard and I’ll never give up – giving up is not what I want to do. I see it as a challenge that I can overcome. So hopefully it will be a fair challenge based on performances put in on the pitch.” When Karius was signed, for £5 million from German club Mainz, Klopp said he “did not have a No 1” goalkeeper but before the Spurs tie, Mignolet’lix Passlack this summer.Bild says Passlack has been released by the German club.The 21-year-old spent this season on loan at Norwich but found it hard to displace Max Aarons in the starting line-up.However, the Norwich Evening News says manager Danis first appearance since Sept 16, the manager stated there was now a pecking order: “We have a No1 and that is Loris Karius. That’s the situation. I cannot leave them in doubt.” 

The fear for Mignolet, who was signed for £9 million from Sunderland in 2013 under previous manager Brendan Rodgers, and whose performances haveLiverpool goalkeeper Kamil Grabara has joined Huddersfield Town on a season-long loan.The highly-rated 20-year-old signed a new deal at Anfield before making the switch to John Smith’s Stadium.An U21 international for Poland, Grabara joined the club from Ruch Chorzow in 2016.Grabara went on loan to Danish club Aarhus in January and went on to make 16 appearances. come under scrutiny, is that Klopp has already made up his mind.

“I don’t want to think about that. It’s not in my character,” Mignolet slayers are bouncing after a positive run of results.Newcastle travel to Villa Park in the Monday Night Football clash on Sky Sports and Bruce has said his players are in confident mood after two successive Premier League wins.”The difference in a couaid. “I will always support the team and the club.  “Hopefully I can get my chance again to show what I can do. I am happy with my performance against Tottenham. 

Asked whether he had to keep showing his ‘worth’, Mignolet said: “Yes, exactly and I don’t want that to take long. I don’t really think about time or anything like this. I just stay in the moment and what happens today. The only thing I can then do is do what I’ve done today.”

The goalkeeper added: “You are always happy to play a game. That’s what you want to do week in, week out. I will keep fighting to get my place back….To be honest, the only thing I can do is work hard, keep my head down.” 

Eric Dier, the one Spurs player to to start the League Cup tie who had played in the league last weekend, said it was a test of the team’s “attitude” as to how they bounce back after a first domestic loss of the season.

Dier, who began his career in Portugal, also backed team-mate Vincent Janssen who has yet to score in the league, but has two League Cup penalties, since the striker’s £18 million move from AZ Alkmaar.

“I can speak from experience, when you come from a different country – he’s come from Holland. It’s not easy. People at home may not understand, but he’s come from a different country, a different culture. He moved here by himself. He’s got to get used to a whole new way of training, playing, a whole new way of life. These things take time. It’s only natural he will keep on improving.”

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Manchester United 4 Leicester 1: Jose Mourinho’s men back on track after four goal first-half

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Rooney played just seven minutes of the game, summoned as a substitute for his 528th appearance for the club, replacing Marcus Rashford, who had scored United’s third. Mourinho was prepared to play any tune necessary to get the show back on the road, and despite his protestations about a tactical decision to introduce pace and width to the side this was unquestionably a significant chapter in the Rooney years.

The last time United were four goals up at half-time Rooney had bywill leave Manchester United next month.The French midfielder has been linked with Real Madrid and Juventus.But Raiola insists Pogba will not force his way out of Old Trafford in January.“Paul has always respected Manchester United just as Manchest then scored one of two goals he would get in that game, against Fulham on Aug 20, 2006. The first time in a new manager’s era that a big name is left out – and it happened to Rooney under Sir Alex Ferguson – is always an awkward moment for all concerned but it is always a case that life moves on to fresh controversies.

As for United, they scored an improbable three goals from corners, while the second was a brilliant passing movement finished by Juan Mata, Rooney’s replacement. They blitzed Leicester at the end of the first half, and Ranieri’s men were complicit in their own defeat, but it was a strange game that was played out without much note in the second half, save from a brilliant strike from the substitute, Demarai Gray.

Afterwards, Ranieri said that his team had been the more likely to score the first goal, and then having conceded Chris Smalling’s header direct from Daley Blind’s corner from the left, fell apart seven minutes before half-time, when United scored their remaining three goals. At half-time Ranieri replaced Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez to save the legs of his key players for the Champions League game against Porto on Tuesday.

There was also Paul Pogba’s first goal for United, the fourth before half-time. Sam Allardyce was in the directors’ box to witness Gray’s right-footed hit on the hour and also to see Michael Carrick come on in the second half for his first minutes in the Premier League this season.

Mourinho said before and after the match that he selected Jesse Lingard and Rashford because he expected a “phenomenally intense and fast” game and wanted those two young players to offer width and pace. Mata was having a quiet afternoon until he shaped the move that ended with his brilliant 37th-minute goal, the pick of United’s four, and for now it is the Spanish midfielder who is ahead of Rooney in his manager’s mind.

In spite of Mourinho’s predictions it was a slow burner in which United only came alive in the last third of the first half. Without the intensity to overwhelm their opponents, United required the quality of their passing to pick their way through the substantial defensive line that Leicester had established to stop them.

The first decent sequence of United passes came on 22 minutes and won them the corner from which they scored their first. Daley Blind, an accomplished left-back for the day, whipped a left-footed ball in from the left and amid the general Leicester confusion, Smalling got above Islam Slimani to head the ball down past Ron-Robert Zieler.

From there, United hit a groove that would deliver another three goals before half-time. Ander Herrera was outstanding in midfield. He seems to have played his way into favour under Mourinho, who says the Spanish midfielder offers a defensive intensity others do not. Herrera played arguably the ball of the game to Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who teed up Rashford with the outside of his right foot, but the teenager missed.

The three goals in five minutes in the lead-up to the break finally got Old Trafford on its feet. Mata started the move for his goal with the ball going to Pogba and then to Lingard, whose sharp flick with his right foot put the ball on track for a fine left-footed finish from Mata. Lingard seems to have been forgiven earlier than expected for his first-half performance against Manchester City two weeks’ previously.

Leicester looked broken, and two more goals followed quickly, both from corners from the left. Blind played the first low into the inside-left channel, where Mata struck it hard across the face of goal, and Rashford finished. Then Pogba met another Blind corner to head past Zieler with three minutes of the half remaining.

Gray’s right-footed shot from the left with Lingard hanging off his arm was a fine goal for the half-time substitute, who had a good 45 minutes for his team. The game was long over by then, and a victory over the champions – however flat Ranieri’s team might be – was just what Mourinho needed. He says that he is still weaning them off Van Gaal’s negative approach – and this, you might say, was the start of the shock treatment.

 

 

Perhaps too nonchalant … Gray picks the ball up on the left, drops his shoulder to get past Valencia and rifles a missile that dips over De Gea and under the bar. What a goal! 

 

 

 

That’s one way to shut the Einsteins up, isn’t it? It’s self-evident that United have been working intensely on set-pieces, both defending and attacking them, since  looking so feeble at Watford. It’s a third goal from a Blind corner. The left-back whips it to 12 yards where Pogba beats and beasts Fuchs in the air and buries a header with tungsten-necked force.  

Oh dear. I fear I rather jinxed Amartey who was dozing at a corner. Mata was wholly unmarked so Blind passed it to him at the near post and he squared it to Rashford who slid in and stabbed his shot home. 

 

First Rooney’s replacement as captain and now his replacement as No 10 score. Mata cuts in from the right, passes to Pogba and continues his run towards the box. Pogba clips it out to Lingard who pushes it into Mata’s path and he hits it on the half-volley from 15 yards and watches as it arcs into the corner around Zieler’s dive. 

 

 

 

Made by Pogba’s first-time early pass down the left and Rashford’s deft, cushioned header out to Blind on the overlap. The left-back wins the corner off Simpson, clips in an attractively whipped cross and Smalling gets up to bury the header from eight yards.  

 

He tackled well, bombed forward in support and was effective and energetic throughout in a man of the match display. You could tell how much his team-mates appreciated his contribution when about half a dozen of them converged on him, rather than the scorer Jamie Vardy, when his tackle set up the opener. 

City have lost both their away games, they need Amartey today because Fellaini isn’t there to plod about and Herrera and Pogba will push on. 

 

And meanwhile, a sign that exiles can be much worse:

 ht he guided them into the Champions League round of 16.Despite the result against Genk, Ancelotti has been axed just three hours after the final whistle.In a statement, Napoli announced:”The Sporting club Calcio Napoli has decided to revoke the role

 

 

 

The champions, Leicester City, were full of the old verve against an admittedly feeble Swansea and ran Club Brugge and Burnley ragged. That defeat at Anfield, though, was alarming even if Liverpool were unstoppable. They haven’t won at Old Trafford since 1997-98 when Tony Cottee’s goal at the end of January took the points and, lest we forget, United were pipped to the title by eventual Double-winners Arsenal by only one point. Islam Slimani has been terrific so far and it will be interesting to see if United pick Chris Smalling to cope with him even though they look better with Daley Blind in the side. We shall find out imminently.  

Manager Jose Mourinho has spoken about his new charges reacting badly to "negativity",b after departing Millwall in the summer, says the Millwall-goalkeeper-searches-new-club.html”>Daily MailMillwall-goalkeeper-searches-new-club.html”>.Archer was released by the Lions at the end of the last campaign and would be an experienced option which some observers felt he increased with public criticism of defender Luke Shaw after the 3-1 defeat by Watford last weekend.

A 3-1 win over Northampton Town in the League Cup on Wednesday night prevented a fourth straight defeat, but it was not an entirely convincing United performance against the third-tier outfit.

There will particular interest in Mourinho’s team selection at home to Leicester and whether England and United captain Wayne Rooney, who has been in poor form, keeps his place.

Manchester United are unbeaten in seven home Premier League games against the Foxes, winning five, drawing two and conceding just four goals in that time.Leicester have won one of their last 18 league trips to Old Trafford (D5 L12), claiming victory in January 1998 courtesy of a Tony Cottee winner.United have scored in each of their last 14 Premier League games against Leicester, netting 33 goals.Jamie Vardy has scored in three of his four games against United for Leicester in all competitions.Jose Mourinho has suffered 12 defeats in his last 23 league games as a manager. His previous 12 league defeats as a boss came over a period of 110 games.Mourinho has not won any of his last four league meetings against a team led by Claudio Ranieri, including defeats in the last two games.Islam Slimani has scored 22 goals in 23 league appearances so far in 2016, after adding to his 20 Portuguese Liga goals with two more on his Premier League debut last weekend.

"He played in England, of course, when he was younger and he has quality so it’s a matter of time and he will be playing really well.

"It’s difficult to adjust – new manager, some new players. They have some good players and of course you need time for everybody, but unluckily in football, time is not what you have every time.

"But I think the directors and everybody knows that this could happen and that some games you have to be patient."

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College bowl confidence pool odds 2019: Picks, best predictions from top-rated expert on 96-69 roll

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With the start of bowl season quickly approaching, fans everywhere are locking in college football bowl confidence picks. The college football bowl schedule begins in earnest on Friday with the Frisco Bowl and Bahamas Bowl and continues on Saturday with an action-packed six-game slate. With tight college football spreads in the coming weeks like vs. (-2) in the Hawaii Bowl and vs. (-2.5) in the Belk Bowl, which confidence picks can you bank on?

Is relying on large college football lines like vs. (+7) in the Citrus Bowl a winning bowl confidence pool strategy? To get a leg-up on your competition during bowl season,  from SportsLine’s Emory Hunt.

Hunt is enjoying an incomparable 2019 season: He’s 96-69, returning a whopping $3,188 to $100 bettors. A former college football running back, Hunt rafford yesterday to see Manchester United’s victory over Norwich Citike an early deal with Feyenoord for midfielder Orkun Kokcu.The Gunners are keen on the 19 year-old, reports Fanatik, but face competition from Barcelona.As such, Arsenal chiefs wish to reach terms with Feyenoord for Kokcu before the end of the seasoy.The ’99 Treble hero is currently coaching at FK Eik Tønsberg and is in the frame for the Valerenge job in Norway.Indeed, Valerenga advisor Christian Eidem would love to see Johnsfounded Football Gameplan in 2007 and has been producing high-level analysis ever since. Now, his expertise is paying off big-time for SportsLine members. Anyone who has followed him is way, way up. 

So before filling out your college football pool picks, you need to see Hunt’s . He’s using a season’s worth of data gathered from game film, analytics and his strong feel for the game as a former player. He has analyzed each bowl matchup and ordered every game by level of confidence. He’s only sharing his final picks over at SportsLine. 

One pick we’ll give away: Hunt says No. 20 (-16.5) defeats in the 2019 New Orleans Bowl, assigning a whopping 39 confidence points to that selection, his most confident pick. “The most complete team in the Group of Five plays in Boone,” Hunt told SportsLine. The 12-1 Mountaineers repeated as Sun Belt Conference champions after downing Louisiana-Lafayette 45-38, and lost only to this season. 

Along the way, Appalachian State knocked off Power Five teams and . While coach Eliah Drinkwitz is moving on to coach at , the Mountaineers will retain continuity after offensive line coach Shawn Clark was promoted to the head coaching job. Quarterback passed for 2,57ent as manager expected in 48 hours.The Blues will pay Derby County around £4m to buy out the remaining two years of Lampard’s contract with the Pride Park club, according to Goal.Lampard, 41, spent 13 years at Chelsea as a player, winning three Pre6 yards and 26 touchdowns, and running back rushed for 1,323 yards and 17 TDs. UAB’s offense scored a relatively paltry 23.6 points per game and the 9-4 Blazers lost their regular-season finale 49-6 to .

Hunt also is assigning a huge confidence ranking of 30 to a small-conference underdog playing one of the big boys. This sneaky team is an underdog of more than a touchdown, even though it’s facing a favorite that’s in disarray on both sides of the ball. 

Hunt is highly confident in the winner, but many people in your pool may be skeptical. Picks like these could be the difference between winning your 2019 bowl confidence pool and going home empty-handed.