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Manchester City put Fulham to the sword with straightforward win

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Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan addressed Manchester City supporters for only the second time since he bought the club 10 years ago this month. “It feels that we are only halfway up our Everest,” the billionaire said as he reflected on the past decade and, spelling out his vision for the future, declared that there was “much more to win”.

For opponents, coming to the Etihad must invariably feel like trying to scale a treacherous mountain in relentlessly suffocating conditions. Fulham became the latest to more or less accept defeat at base camp. Pep Guardiola had said his team would get fully up to speed after the international break and so they are.

Bernardo Silva was the pick of a brilliant bunch, David Silva marked his 350th game for City with his 50th goal in the Premier League and rumours of Leroy Sane’s demise have, evidently, been greatly exaggerated. Restored to the team after recent criticism, the Germany winger capped a memorable week after becoming a father to a baby girl with a goal.

The only slight disappointment for Guardiola was that his side squandered so many chances and Sergio Aguero will require assessment before Wednesday’s Champions League tie against Lyon about being substituted early in the second half with a sore ankle.

“Three-nil is a good result but we created a lot of chances to score five, six, seven goals and we have to be more clinical because the contenders are so tough and the goal difference is important,” the City manager said.

A word or two on the man-on-the-match, Bernardo, first. His touch and quality has never been in doubt but he has now adjusted to the physicality of the Premier League. City’s second goal was a clear case in point.

This time last year, the Portugal playmaker would probably have been knocked over when Stefan Johansen tried to barge him out of the way as they challenged for the ball near the right byeline. But it was Bernardo who won this duel, outmuscling the Fulham midfielder, and then showing awareness to turn and feed Aguero.

The Argentine’s shot was deflected into the path of Silva, who controlled on his chest before rifling home off the bar.

“It is almost impossible to be more pleased as a manager with him,” Guardiola said of Bernardo. “I don’t forget the behaviour he had last season when he didn’t always play. He is a good example to all the others.”

City’s second goal was scored after 22 minutes and already by then there was no way back for Fulham. If you come here you have to at least make yourself competitive. That does not involve playing careless passes deep in your own half less than two minutes in that are just asking to be punished. But that is what Jean Michael Seri did, turning over the ball with a feeble pass intended for Odoi that Fernandinho intercepted. The Brazilian surged forward and squared for Sane – with a clear point to prove after his omission against Newcastle – to tap home.

“Even when he didn’t play we never doubted Leroy’s quality,” Guardiola said. “At his age, sometimes these things happen – a little bit up and down but I’m delighted for his performance.”

Fulham paid the price for backing off and giving fast, skilful players too much time and space. Ryan Sessegnon’s insistence on standing off Raheem Sterling was baffling while his positioning was suspect throughout. Had Sterling not been so wasteful in front of goal, the damage could have been more severe. “This will be a huge learning experience [for Ryan]”, said Fulham manager Slavisa Jokanovic.

Twice Fulham were indebted to keeper Marcus Bettinelli for shutting out Sterling. The first was a particularly disappointing miss. Bernardo showed outrageous skill to spin away from Seri and Kevin McDonald before releasing Sterling, whose shot was knocked on to the crossbar by the visitors’ No 1.

Ederson, the City goalkeeper, twice denied Andre Schurrle but Fulham were very vulnerable defensively. The second half was only two minutes old when Aguero powered down City’s right, with Sessegnon in no-man’s-land, past Alfie Mawson and squared for Sterling to score from a yard out. This time the England forward could not miss. City oozed control and the only blemish for Bernardo came late on when he blazed over fros Chelsea mustn’t give up hope of upsetting Bayern Munich in the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie.The Blues have a mountain to ce time under former manager Unai Emery, and looked certain to leave the Emirates in the January transfer window.But Arteta made it clear he considered Ozil to be an important player for Arsenal in his fist press conference as boss, and already appearlimb after being beaten 3-0 by Bayern at Stamford Bridgelon D’Or.The Dutchman was integral to Liverpool’s Champions League final triumph, which included beating Lionel Messi’s Barcelona in the semi-finals. And Barnes thinks van Dijk has done enough this season to be crowned as the world’s best player.Aske on Tuesday.”We have to go to Munich and play withm 10 yards.

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Cardiff goalkeeper Neil Etheridge saves Kenedy penalty to deny 10-man Newcastle victory at the death

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eadline-day signings Victor Camarasa and Harry Arter were included to inject a much-needed boost into the midfield ranks after Cardiff failed to register a shot on goal in their opening defeat to Bournemouth.

There was to be no reunion for twins Josh and Jacob Murphy after Benitez chose to only swap Javier Manquillo for DeAndre Yedlin in the backline.

Kenedy unleashed the first shot on target of the game when he shimmied past Sean Morrison to test Neil Etheridge in the Cardiff goal, before the hosts went close to taking the lead.

Sol Bamba was left unmarked to head Joe Ralls’s corner towards goal, but Ayoze Perez was there to block it short of the line.

Kenedy, who became the first player for eight years not to complete a pass in the opening 45 minutes, was lucky not to see red when his kick-out at Camarasa was not spotted by Craig Pawson.

erez had another chance to break the deadlock before half-time after latching onto Jonjo Shelvey’s sweeping ball, but the Cardiff stopper closed down the space to keep it level.

Vincent Tan was almost sent jumping out of his seat after the restart when Zohore crossed for Camarasa, but Shelvey nipped in to send it behind.

Newcastle were left scrapping for a point when Hayden, who had come on as a stand-in right back for Javier Manquillo, went flying into the back of Murphy after 66 minutes. He was shown a straight red card to leave Newcastle with 10 men for the remainder of the match.

But they should have stolen it after Morrison raised his arm to block Yoshinori Muto’s cross and concede a penalty deep into stoppage time.

ut Kenedy’s nightmare afternoon ended with a twist of justice as he saw his weak penalty comfortably saved by Cardiff hero Etheridge. The search for Cardiff and Newcastle thinks Arsenal have a good player in Pablo Mari.The Spaniard, on loan from Flamengo, made his debut for the Gunners in Monday’s FA Cup fifth-round win over Portsmouth.And Arteta was impressed with his performance when speaking after the game.”I thin’s first victories of the season continues, but both sides now have a foundation to build their Premier League campaigns.

“We knew it would be difficult,” said Newcastle manager Benitez. “We had some problems in the right full-back position and we had to move players around when Hayden was sent off so too many things were against us and in the end the penalty we missed to get the three points.

“We had some problems in the beginning but still we had two clear chances and we have to defend well and take chances but we didn’t do it.”

Etheridge 9; BennFormer Barcelona captain Andres Iniesta expects Ivan Rakitic to stay.The midfielder has opened the door to leaving.But Vissel Kobe star Iniesta told GOL: “I don’t know if he’s non-transferrable.”But I know he’s happy and wants to stay at Barcelona.”I hope that he can keep performing like before. I’d be happy for him.”ett 7, Morrison 6, Bamba 7, Manga 6; Camarasa 7 (Reid 76), Ralls 6, Arter 8; Josh Murphy 7 (Mendez-Laing 78), Hoilett 6 (Paterson 83), Zohore 6. Richards, Sme title race is over.Liverpool have won their last 14 matches leading to Pep Guardiola to jokingly congratulate them as “champions” after Manchester City’s shock defeat at Norwich.Klopp said: “Nothing is won already. We have seen teams make big stepsithies, Cunningham, Madine. Camarasa, Arter, Morrison.

Dubravka 6; Dummett 6, Clark 6, Lascelles 7, Manquillo 5 (Hayden 46); Ritchie 6 (Jacob Murphy 70), Diame 7, Shelvey 7, Kenedy 4; Perez 6 (Muto 65); Joselu 5. Ki, Rondon, Fernandez, Darlow. Ritchie, Manquillo. Hayden.

Craig Pawson (South Yorkshire).

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Bills Today: A bigger role for Justin Hunter?

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Here’s the Bills news of note for Nov. 29th

All he’s done since joining the Bills is catch touchdowns. Of his seven receptions for Buffalo this season, four of Justin Hunter’s catches have gone for scores including last Sunday’s game winner in the fourth quarter.

“I think so,” said Ryan of more playing time for Hunter. “All he does is catch touchdowns. I remember that quote. Just like we had T-D Mike (Gillislee), now we’ve got TD Hunter, touchdown Hunter. He gives us a huge red zone threat, but also I think he does warrant more playing time. With some ofity to sign Lloyd Kelly, who joined Bournemouth from Bristol City earlier this week.The Sun claims Liverpool have moved their sights towards Leeds United teenager Leif Davis.The 19-year-old made only four Championship appearances this season but has the injuries we have there’s no reason he shouldn’t be able to play more.”

Robert Woods is still dealing with by coach Quique Setien.Setien replaced Ernesto Valverde at the turn of the year.”Honestly, after seeing the last few Barcelona matches, I haven’t seen any improvement since they sacked Valverde and brought in Setien,” he admitted. ‘With the great pla knee injury suffered in Week 11 and Walt Powell exited Sunday’s game with an ankle injury. Percy Harvin is dealing with debilitating migraine headaches that kept him out of the Jaguars game. That leaves the team with four healthy receivers in Hunter, Marquise Goodwin, Brandon Tate and Sammy Watkins.

Through the first half of the season the Bills had a top five red zone defense. Through the first six games of the season Buffalo allowed just six touchdowns on 18 red zone possessions by their opponents, good for just a 33 percent success rate to rank first in the NFL.

In the last five games however, the success rate for opponents has skyrocketed to 81 percent (13-16), with the last three opponents a perfect eight for eight scoring touchdowns once theala remains high on Manchester United’s shopping list.Tuttosport says United are willing to reopen negotiations to sign Dybala from Juve.United failed to sign the Argentine in the summer window but remain on the hunt for a new forward after selling Ry reached Buffalo’s 20-yard line. The Bills now rank 19th in red zone defense.

So what gives?

“That’s an area in particular that we have to get better at,” said Ryan. “We’ve already studied where we’re failing in the red zone and I think we’re amongst the leaders in the league from the 20 all the way down to the five-yard line, but it’s when we get inside the five-yard line they’ve scored 12 times on 22 plays. So that’s a huge area of concern.”

Buffalo’s defensive staff is already devising ways to improve their performance in goal line situations, and it hasn’t all been short yardage runs. Two weeks ago at Cincinnati, Andy Dalton scored on a two-yard run outside the tackle box, but he also threw a one-yard fade to the corner for their other red zone score to go two-for-two against the Bills.

“There are some things to look at obviously,” said Ryan. “Everybody runs the same call down there we just have to get better playing down there. That’s an area where you can’t focus a whole lot, but that area right there is killing us. So we have to do some internal things down there so we can get better there.”

“I wish we knew, but that’s when you’ve got to be at your best to stop them, but unfortunately we have given up quite a few of those, two back to back this past game,” said Ryan. “You’ve just got to line up and play every play and find a way to get them off the field. That was the thing that was disappointing to me (Sunday).”

Ryan felt the defense was particularly hurt by the read option keepers and scramble runs by Jaguars QB Blake Bortles. He was Jacksonville’s leading rusher with 81 yards on eight carries to average better than 10 yards per rush. Bortles converted two third downs for the Jaguars with his legs.

“I thought we had some calls set up to give our coverage a chance and the quarterback makes some big runs on us to convert third downs,” said Ryan. “Those are killers. I’ve mentioned how that can be frustrating for the defense when you have them all covered up and then the quarterback makes a play. Now we know how other teams feel when they play us because Tyrod does the same thing. We’ve got to balance up the rushing lanes and not let these quarterbacks take off on us.”

Fortunately for the Bills, Oakland QB Derek Carr, doesn’t run with nearly the success that Bortles has this season. He’s averaged less than two yards per carry.

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Important Dates in Bills History: Jan. 23, 1994. Bills win fourth consecutive AFC Championship

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Important Dates in Bills history presented by M&T Bank helps fans recognize what’s important. In the NFL, titles are important, and on Jan. 23, 1994 the Buffalo Bills solidified their fourth consecutive AFC Championship.

Thomas, the iconic ball carrier, led the offense with 33 carries for 186 yards rushing and three touchdowns. Averaging 5.6 yards per carry, Thomas ran through Kansas City’s defensive unit. Buffalo’s defensive game leaders include, safety Henry Jones and defensive back James Williams. Both Jones and Williams were credited with an interception. Other key contributors were defensive end Bruce Smith, defensive end Phil Hansen, linebacker Darryl Talley and nose tackle Jeff Wright, who each accumulated a sack.

Despite Kansas City’s efforts, the Bills managed to secure the conference title while playing aughas gone AWOL amid interest from Sheffield United.Verrips, reports HLN, has gone missing from training as the Blades move for the shot-stopper.An approach to KVM is yet to be made, though it’s claimed contact is ongoing with the player’s camp.KVM coact the eye of Arsenal scouts.Arsenal spotted Lochereau while he was playing in a junior tournament in France recently.Little is known about the playenard Mensah has been cut loose by Atletico Madrid.Kayserispor have signed Mensah on a permanent transfer from Atletico Madrid.The player from Ghana joined the Spanish side in 2015 from VitoriaGuimaraes, but was loaned back out to the Portuguese team r other than that he was turning out in the competition while on a trial period with Nice.Lochereain front of a sold out crowd. Advancing to the Super Bowl for the fourth time in franchise history, the Bills prepared to take on the Dallas Cowboys. The feat also marked the first time since the Super Bowl’s 1967 inception, that a team would reach the championship four seasons in a row.

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Mary Wilson helps impact girls with sports

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Saturday, Mary Wilson and the Buffalo Bills celebrated the eighth annual Westerto Nicolas Pepe to edge ahead in the race for the Lille striker.Pepe will sign a five-year contract at Arsenal having been offered wages of £105,000 a week after at one stage it looked like he would be heading to Italy, says the Arsenal-Nicolas-Pepen New York Girls in Sports program. The platform, founded by Mary Wilson, wife of Buffalo Bills Owner Ralph Wilson Jr., began in 2006 with tr Inter beat Serie C side Gozzano 2-0 on Sunday.He struck four goals on his Inter debut last weekend, but the focus since then has been on his weight.Nonetheless, the striker went some way towards answering critics as he started up top with Lautaro Mhe goal of enriching young girl’s lives with sports.

“It’s become more than I ever expected,” said Wilson. “For many of the girls, it’s their first time attending, many of them could have come a total of eight times. I’m hoping that even a little bit makes an impact.”

The WNY Girls in Sports program, hosted in partnership with the United Way of Buffalo and Erie County and the Girl Scout Council of WNY invites 250 Buffalo Public School girls ages 9-12 from “Closing the Gap” schools to the Buffalo Bills Healthy Zone Fieldhouse for an afternoon of sports.

Girls rotate in stations around the Bills Healthy Zone Fieldhouse trying old sports and learning new ones, from soccer, golf, track, volleyball, and tennis, to basketball, agility exercises, Double Dutch and Zumba.

Wilson, who has always been active in sports began the program to teach adolescents the life lessons that sports offers. Mary learned the structure sports provides at an early age. At age 60, she was the top ranked tennis player in the country. Today, she loves to share her passion with the girls, helping them learn core qualities such as discipline, sportsmanship and working as a team.

“Sports impact your whole life,” Wilson told buffalobills.com. “Learning how to work together… there are a lot of times you’re going to lose in life and you need to be able to move forward from there. There’s no doubt that for me sports has given me more than I have given it, and this is my way to pay it back.”

The program coincides with the NFL and Buffalo Bills PLAY 60 initiative, encouraging kids to get out and play at least 60 minutes per day.

“Whether it’s running or going to the gym, sports makes a difference, and affects you in a positive way,” said Wilson.

And Western New York Girls in Sports wouldn’t be what it is without the volunteers. Tlkeeper Anders Lindegaard insists there’s no one individual to blame for the club’s slide since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement.Lindegaard stayed with United under David Moyes before leaving during Louis van Gaal’s time in charge.He told the London Evhe program has gathered a vast following of community organizations eager to help out. This Saturday, over 80 volunteers from the University at Buffalo, Canisius College, Medaille College, Upstate NY Jr. Golf – First Tee of WNY, Niagara Frontier Jr. Olympic Volleyball Club, Buffalo Soccer Club, Girls on the Run, United Way, and members of the Buffalo Bills Strength and Conditioning Department attended the event to encourage the young girls.

The annual WNY Girls in Sports clinic takes place twice per year, once in the spring and once in the fall.

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Bills trying to finish on winning note

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The 2012 season has fallen considerably short of expectations, but Bills players are determined to push their disappointment aside in preparation for Sunday’s season finale against the Jets. Going out on a winning note is one of the things the players in Buffalo’s locker room are emphasizing.

“To put everything in perspective we obviously haven’t accomplished the goaexander-Arnold insists Liverpool can handle whatever people throw at them.The Reds scored yet another late goal to seal victory over Crystal Palace on Saturday.He said: “We had a setback with their goal and we bounced back pretty much straight away. ls we set out to for our team this season,” said George Wilson. “We’re not going to make any excuses for it. We have to take ownership of it. We’ve got to finish it out on a strong note this week. There’s nothing we can do right now to change what has happened up until this point. We can only focus on the Jets this week.”

Ryan Fitzpatrick, who has expressed his disappointment in his personal game this season, aood for their FA Cup win at Tranmere Rovers.Solskjaer admits he wanted to see how Greenwood, who scored from the spot, handled the rough conditions and physical approach of Rovers on Sunday.The manager said, “The first 15-20 minutes might have been admitted it’s not easy to think what might have been.

“With all the disappointment that’s happened this year, with all the injuries, the criticism, all the different things, I think towards the end of the year, when there’s no playoffs, when there’s not a whole lot to play for in terms of this win catapulting us to somewhere else, it’s tough,” said Ryan Fitzpatrick. “You always at the end of the season kind of evaluate what went wrong, but this is a game where they’re not really playing for a whole lot in terms of playoff implications. But it’s a pride game, and it’s a game to go out there, and as Chan put it, who hates to lose?  You go out there, and we hate losing and I’m sure they do too, so we’ve got to go out there and prove we’re the team that hates to lose more.”

It’s a division game and that adds some measure of incentive, especially knowing that the Jets have won eight of the last nine against the Bills.

“It’s very important, not just for myself, but the people in this locker room, the people upstairs,” said Mario Williams. “For the fans, for the way the season is going. Obviously, it’s not going the way any of us wanted it. But we got to come out and we got to win, some way somehow. No matter what it is, no matter what we’re doing schematically. We got to come out and put points on the board and don’t let them put points on the board.”   

“It’s the last week. We’ve got to give it our all,” said Stevie Johnson. “Obviously there are no playoffs, but w after a series of crunch meetings with owner Peter Lim.A statement released by the club affirmed that the sporting structure will remain as it had been in previous seasons under Lim’s ownership and Alemany’s guidance.”In a meeting held on Friday in e’re going against the New York Jets. They don’t like us, we don’t like them and basically it’s going to be a physical battle and whoever hates to lose is going to be the team that wins this game. Right now we’re feeling like we’ve got to take this.”

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AP: Early NFL Draft entries announced

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Keenan Allen, WR, California

Stedman Bailey, WR, West Virginia

Le’Veon Bell, RB, Michigan State

Gio Bernard, RB, North Carolina

Knile Davis, RB, Arkansas

Mike Edwards, DB, Hawaii

Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State

Stefphon Jefferson, RB, Nevada

Joe Kruger, DE, Utah

Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina

Corey Lemonier, DE, Auburn

Kevin Minter, LB, LSU

Justin Pugh, OT, Syracuse

Eric Reid, S, LSU

Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State

Da’Rick Rogers, WR, Tennessee Tech

Logan Ryan, CB, Rutgers

Akeem Spence, Daffled by Atletico Madrid’s negative tactics at Anfield on Wednesday.It paid off for Diego Simeone as his side knocked out the Champions League holders with a 3-2 victory.And Klopp was clearly annoyed with the opposdate Dominic Calvert-Lewin.The 22-year-old striker has scored three goals in his last two matches, with reports claiming Manchester United are now interested in his services.Sigurdsson said: “It’s obviously very important for Dom to be scoring goals. eal to sign Bruno Fernandes from Sporting Lisbon.Fernandes will reportedly join United for a fee of €55m, with the amount potentially reaching €80m if add-ons are met.”We’ve agreed with the club now, so hopefully we can announce it very soon thaition’s tactics when speaking afterT, Illinois

Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State

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Bills ink OL Calloway

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The Bills are now a third of the way toward having their entire draft class under contract. Buffalo signed seventh-round draft choice Kyle Calloway to a multi-year deal Tuesday shortly after the team’s OTA practice.

“It’s awesome,” Calloway told Buffalobills.com moments after signing. “It’s a relief to finally actually feel a part of the team when I signed that contract. It’s a relief. I’m thankful. Thirty-two teams had a chance to draft me and Buffalo did and I’m glad that they had enough faith in me that I could help the team in whatever way they need me to.”

Calloway (6’7″ 315) was the second of two seventh-round draft picks made by the Bills this past April. The offensive lineman was initially projected by Buffalo’s coaching staff as a guard, but to this point in OTAs and the most recent voluntary minicamp offensive line coach Joe D’Alessandris has had Calloway primarily lined up at right tackle.

“Coach ‘D’ made it perfectly clear to me that I need to know both positions and be able to prospect of re-signing PSG star Neymar.While the Brazil attacker’s return has the support of the players, there’s disagreement inside the boardroom over the prospect.A high level source told L’Equipe: “A return of Neymar? This is not the majority op play both,” said Calloway. “I did rookie camp at guard and after that I c Vardy is up for a big performance tonight against Manchester City.Vardy has scored nine goals in eight games under Rodgers, including two in last week’s 3-0 win over Arsenal.”Well he does [strike fear into opponents] there’s no getting away from thaame back for OTAs in May and he just said that watching college tape he saw I was playing a lot of tackle and that I’d probably be more comfortable at tackle. So they kind of want me to learn the system as a tackle for now and be able to switch and go wherever.”

The Iowa productis wary blunting their attack by fixing their defensive lapses.Spurs have conceded 14 goals in eight games under their new head coach.”I know how to do it,” said Mourinho. “But to do it 100 per cent I am going to take away from the team some qualitie has fared well on the strong side, having played tackle for most of his last two collegiate seasons.

To make room for Calloway on Buffalo’s roster the Bills released cornerback Stephan Virgil. The rookie from Virginia Tech was an undrafted free agent signing of the club last month.

Calloway is the third of Buffalo’s nine draft choices to sign with the club joining Danny Batten and Ed Wang, who both signed over the past two weeks. Fellow seventh-round pick Levi Brown and sixth-round pick Arthur Moats are the only late round draft choices yet to sign.

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Safety Ko Simpspon – 8/1

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PM Practice – August 1, 2008

 

Yes but the doctor said it had nothing to do with the injury. It was just a bone bruise and he said the injury that I did have, it didn’t have to do anything with that.

 

It was great for the MRIs to come back negative. It puts your mind at ease and to just come out here and move forward.

 

You can’t just worry about the injuries. You have to go out there and do your job. You just have to let that go and just play ball.lov is being linked with Chelsea and Crystal Palace this week.Christian Emile said on Nobel Arustamyan’s Youtube channel: “First of all, it depends on CSKA. Do they want to sell him? We must know the position of CSKA, because we respect the club. Thi Like some of the guys said when I first came back, just play and don’t worry about the ankle. That’s what I’m trying to do.

 

Yes, it’s a bone bruise and it didn’t have anything to do with the injury. They just said it’s a little bone bruise. They said it could have been the same thing on the other leg so just don’t worry about the United midfielder Paul Pogba has dropped a hint he will be soon back in action.Ole Gunnar Solskjaer confirmed that Pogba would miss out on United’s game with Liverpool as he failed to recover in time from a foot injury.Pogba took to Instagram workininjury and keep going.

 

Going in there yesterday I thought it was something to do with the ankle, I’m not going to lie. Fortunately it was just a bone bruise so I feel good.  I am just trying to move forward and am trying to help this team.

 

I was kind of nervous. It’s just getting back out there when something like this happens. You know you had the injury before but luckily it was just a bone bruise and hopefully the pain will go away in a couple of days.

 

No, actualls delighted hearing that Barcelona are keen to buy him back.The Spain international is the subject of a formal €35m offer from Barca this week.And Olmo has welcomed the development, telling L’Esportiu, “It makes me happy that the rumours have becomy it felt great. A lot of people asked me back home how I felt. I haven’t even been thinking about it. I’m just coming out here and playing. I’m lucky I just had a little pain with the bone bruise and I’ll just keep moving.

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Nine reasons why LSU’s Joe Burrow may be on his way to the best season ever by a college QB

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Best ever? That might be a label worth considering for LSU’s Joe Burrow.

Check that. Best season ever … by a quarterback. It’s worth discussing considering the numbers, the winning, the personality and the transformation of a career, a team and a program.

Six players have thrown for more yards in a season than Burrow’s 5,208. Only one has thrown for more touchdowns in a season (55).

But none of them went from afterthought to projected No. 1 overall pick. None of them packaged an undefeated season with an SEC title and survived a Playoff to get to the brink of a national championship.

That national crown is the last step. Chasing it is a kid from rural Ohio, a transfer from Ohio State who embraced Louisiana, its culture and its team.

“Standing at the 50-yard line before each game and the Saints run out … Drew Brees is gathering his thoughts before he walks in that huddle and gives them a pregame speech,” recalled LSU passing game coordinator Joe Brady, a former Saints offensive assistant. “And you know there is not a person in that stadium or person in that huddle who doesn’t feel like we have an opportunity to win. … We have that at LSU. I feel that way about Joe Burrow.”

What follows are 10 things to consider about Burrow and his incredible 2019 season as we begin that best-ever debate. In the process, CBS Sports mixed in the reaction of various football sources.

That was the year Jameis Winston led Florida State to the national title in the last year lback Aaron Wan-Bissaka was left frustrated by his U21 Euros campaign with England.The Daily Mail says Wan-Bissaka has been left fuming by his treatment from England U21s boss Aidy Boothroyd.The right back was in the process of completing a move fromof the BCS. (Pay attention to Winston’s shockingly low interception total that season, 10.) Before that, it was Cam Newton, almost as a one-man offense for Auburn. Before that, it was Matt Leinart (2004 USC), Danny Wuerffel (1996 Florida) and Charlie Ward (1993 Florida State).

Going into Monday’s game, Winston had 15 fewer touchdown passes than Burrow. Newton had 2,366 fewer passing yards. Leinart finished with 22 fewer touchdown passes. The record for a Heisman-winning quarterback is 48 touchdown passes. Burrow has 55 with one game to go.

“This transformation from a seemingly average guy is truly amazing! Remember, Ohio State let him walk out the door!  … On the run? When was the last time something bad happened when he extended the play? Ability to make plays with his legs? Check. Freakish football season.” — Rick Neuheisel, CBS Sports college football analyst, former Pac-12 coach

Seventeen players have thrown for at least 5,000 yards. Seven have thrown at least 50 touchdown passes. What makes those benchmarks so remarkable is Colt McCoy. In becoming the Heisman runner-up in 2009, the former Texas quarterback completed 76.7 percent of his passes. That record has stood for 11 years. Burrow would have to go 13 of 25 (52 percent) in the CFP National Championship to finish below McCoy’s 2009 mark of 76.7 percent. The last time Burrow finished below 52 percent was 19 games ago in the 2018 Alabama game.

To put it in perspective, Burrow completed 57.8 percent of his passes in 2018 (219 of 379). To reach his 2019 mark of 77.6 percent, Burrow would have had to complete an additional 336 consecutive passes.

In his last two games at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Burrow has thrown 11 touchdown passes. The Atlanta Falcons threw 11 touchdown passes all season in their home stadium.

“Not a fan of absolute judgments in the moment but who’s ever had a better year?! Never had a clunker game this season, either.” — Charles Davis, Fox analyst, former Tennessee defensive back

This is real simple to put in perspective. Brennan set that record in a conference that no longer exists — the Western Athletic Conference.Twelve of those 58 scores came against four Power Five schools: Alabama, Arizona State, Purdue and Oregon. The rest came against the likes of Eastern Illinois, New Mexico State and Idaho.

Burrow has faced 12 Power Five opponents (throwing 46 touchdown passes), including nine SEC foes (37 TDs).Oh, and there were seven scoring passes against Oklahoma in the Peach Bowl semifinal. Burrow needs four touchdown passes vs. Clemson to break Brennan’s record. Five would give him 60.Fasten your seat belts. He’s thrown four in a game nine times in his career. Five times Burrow has thrown five touchdown passes.

“Never seen anything close to his performances in a single season!” — Steve Clarkson, owner of Dreammaker quarterback camps, throwing coach for Leinart

One of the results was Burrow becoming arguably the best quarterback in the last five years. Since Pro Football Focus has begun keeping stats in 2014, Burrow’s had the best season in Wins Above Average (2.52). Ohio State’s Justin Fields was second this season at 1.78. “He’s the highest-graded passer under pressure and is setting LSU and PFF College records in the process of a historic season, the likes of which we haven’t seen,” PFF wrote in November 2019.

“Quarterbacks are not gameid chief Emilio Butragueno admits they’re fed-up with VAR.Butragueno was left frustrated by the use of VAR in Los Blancos’ 0-0 draw at home to Real Betis on Saturday night, with a Zou Feddal handball the subject of much debate.”We are confused about managers. You don’t come to LSU to manage games. That’s not what we are looking for. You come to excel at the biggest stage.” — Joe Brady

“Impressive but also a product of the times. Spread offenses/formations have given these guys such easy completions. Not to mention protection for pass catchers with targeting. Quarterbacks can make tighter window throws not worrying about repercussions.” — Brady Quinn, CBS Sports HQ analyst, former Notre Dame quarterback

“We have five guys in routes every single snap, and it’s tough to cover. You kind of have to pick your poison. We have three receivers that can beat you at all times and a tight end and a running back that can beat yo says the club should not stop Paul Pogba from leaving.The Frenchman looks set to stay at Old Trafford despite stating earlier this month that he wanted a new challenge next season.Juventus and Real Madrid are still interested in the World Cup winneru in routes, as well. We’re a tough match-up for a lot of people, and then I just try to get the ball in their hands on time and accurately and then let them do the rest.” — Joe Burrow

 

“LSU fans have always had this running joke that the answer to every trivia question was always Billy Cannon. So now we have a new answer.” — Jason Ramezan, former LSU vice president of alumni engagement

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Landing No. 1 seed drastically improves LSU’s College Football Playoff title chances, projection model shows

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jumped above to the No. 1 spot in the final Playoff rankings that were released on Sunday, which earned them a game against No. 4 rather than No. 3 . The debate on which top team would avoid facing Clemson was one of the more intriguing storylines on Sunday morning and statistics suggest that the Tigers are far more likely to win the national championship now than they were heading into championship weekend.

Stephen Oh, the principal data engineer for SportsLine, crunched the numbers and determined the simulated percentage to win the national championship based on the matchups and computer-generated statistics.

TeamSimulated national title % (Last week)Simulated national title % (This week)DifferenceLSU25%40.7%+15.7%Ohio State32%28.8%-3.2%Clemson26%27.1%+1.1%Oklahoma3%3.4%+0.4%

Why is there such a big gap between LSU and the field? The matchup vs. the Sooners is the biggest reason.

“The odds-makers agree that facing Oklahoma is a huurprised fullback Charlie Taylor is attracting transfer interest.Taylor has been linked with Leicester City this week.”I think he is a very good player,” Dyche told LancsLive.He added: “We want players to develop here regardless of contracts but whenge benefit to LSU,” Oh said. “A week ago LSU was 3/1 to win the championship so the’s enjoying his partnership with Fred. The pair were impressive for victory over Tottenham last night.McTominay told MUTV: “He’s such a nice guy and we have that connection on the pitch, and it’s just a pleasure to play alongside him. We’re getting eir implied percentage improved from 25% to 41.7%.”

That’s quite the jump considering Clemson rolled in the ACC Championship Game and Ohio State overcame a sluggish start to run away from in the Big Ten Championship Game. Of course, some of that jump was caused by LSU’s win over then-No. 4 in the SEC Championship Game. But it’s a stretch to say that the win over the Bulldogs caused that much of a move. 

Another interesting nugget is that Oklahoma’s simulated chances only went up 0.4% despite and both beGunnar Solskjaer lacks leaders in his side.Fletcher was speaking after Solskjaer’s young United outfit were put to the sword by Manchester City in the first-leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final at Old Trafford.Speaking after the 3-1 defeat, Fletcher sing in the mix last week. The Sooners, of course, dispatched of the Bears in overtime on Saturday and the Utes lost to in the Pac-12 Championship Game on Friday night.

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College Football Playoff: Five keys to Georgia winning the championship

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ATLANTA — The No. 3 have a chance to win their first national championship since 1980 on Monday night in Mercedes-Benz Stadium, when they take on No. 4 in the Playoff National Championship. 

Led by second-year coach Kirby Smart and a punishing running game featuring seniors and , the Bulldogs topped No. 2 52-48 in double overtime in the Rose Bowl last Monday to earn a trip to their home state to take on the Crimson Tide for all the marbles.

What are the five keys for the Bulldogs?

A common theme this week has been criticism of a Georgia defense that gave up 531 yards to the Sooners in the national semifinal. Sure, that’s a big number, but that number doesn’t tell the whole story. The real story is that Georgia’s defense — specifically its defensive front — won that game by generating five straight stops to open the second half.

The Rose Bowl was an anomaly, and more proof that defense doesn’t win championships, “just enough” defense does. “Just enough” is a moving target based on your own offense, your opponent and the style of the game.

Georgia needs to find just enough against the Tide to get it done, and it starts with Julien Rochester, , , and that fast and physical defensive front seven.

That looks like more of a challenge this week than it did over the holiday season, because Alabama’s offensive line flat-out owned in its Sugar Bowl win.

“Once we got beat by , we were ‘the worst offensive line in the nation,’ yada, yada, yada, and all this crap,” center said. “We really wanted to make a statement and prove that we deserve to be here, and I think we did that tonight.”

Was that the anomaly, or a sign that “old school” Alabama football is back? 

If Georgia can prove that it was the exception, they’ll leave Mercedes-Benz Stadium as national champs.

It’s one thing to win the battle in the trenches. But even if Georgia’s defense does that, it still has to contain electric dual-threat quarterback Jalen Hurts.

What did we learn last week about Georgia’s approach to mobile quarterbacks? They need to come right at them. That’s exactly what happened in the second half when harge because of a poor start to the season.Milan are 13th in Serie A, three points above the relegation zone, after three wins in their first seven games.Giampaolo, 52, succeeded Gennaro Gattuso in June after the former Italy midfielder quit becausethe Bulldogs abandoned their quest to contain Sooner quarterback Oklahoma quarterback , and came right at the Heisman Trophy winner. That is going to put a lot of pressure on Smith and the rest of the talented linebacking corps to get him down when they have the chance.

“I think he’s a heck of an athlete, [he] can beat you on the ground, and he has a pretty solid arm, as well, to give his receivers a chance to make a play on the ball in the air,” Smith said.

The last part of that quote is still up for debate, and the best way to find out if it’s true or not is to get right in Hurts’ face when he rolls out. Don’t give him time to look downfield. Make sure he has to make quick decisions in the passing game.

Hurts hasn’t made many mistakes this year, but he also hasn’t faced as many defenses with the speed of the Bulldogs.

A lot of people will say that Georgia has to establish the running game in order to have a chance against Alabama’s defense. 

That’s just not true.

Of course, getting Chubb and Michel going on the ground would be beneficial and certainly will be Plan A –it has been Georgia’s M.O. all year. But we saw true freshman quarterback lead his team to the win in the Rose Bowl — a game in which he led the game-tying drive at the end of regulation with clutch throw after clutch throw. 

You can’t script a bigger moment, and Fromm thrived in it.

No, it isn’t the running game that needs to get going. That calm mindset that didn’t send the Bulldogs into panic mode when they were down 31-14 in the second quarter and brought out the best of Fromm when they were down seven with under five minutes to play is what has to stay with the Bulldogs throughout the entire 60 minutes of the title game.

And I do mean “entire.”

Alabama’s defense saw an inch when it forced Clemson quarterback to throw a pick to defensive lineman to , and it took a mile. That mile included a pass from Hurts to Payne and a pick six by linebacker on the very next play from scrimmage. 

Br Celtic midfielder Nir Bitton.The Sun says Burnley are lining up a cut-price £1million deal for Bitton.Dyche is a keen admirer of Bitton and wants to try to sign him in January to boost his options in a number of areas.The versatile 28-year-old, whlood was in the water, the the Tide swarmed like sharks.

Georgia is the more complete team. It proved in the Rose Bowl that it can win games outside of its comfort zone, as long as it doesn’t hurt itself.

Don’t get cut.

We saw Georgia play and beat Oklahoma playing the Sooners’ brand of point-per-minute football. If the situations presents itself to force Alabama into a similar situation, do it.

That means Smart and his staff need to live by one simple mantra: Don’t let up.

It can be argued — I think rather successfully — that Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley made a poor decision going conservative in overtime in the Rose Bowl loss to the Bulldogs. Smart should remember that, and make sure his foot stays on the gas for as long as possible.

That means blitzes, play-action passes and enough creativity on both sides of the ball to make sure the Bulldogs don’t get complacent and don’t give Alabama any window to crawl back in the game if the Bulldogs do get a lead.

After all, we saw Alabama dominate Clemson playing Alabama football. We saw Georgia top Oklahoma playing Oklahoma football.

Smart and the Bulldogs want to play old-school, smash-mouth football too. That has been and always will be Plan A. But they also know that their Plan B works better than Alabama’s.

 Alabama lost linebacker Anferenee Jennings late in the Sugar Bowl to a knee injury, after Jennings had a monster day against Clemson. That’s the latest in a long line of linebacker injurieson have agreed a fee for Tanguy Ndombele.The London Evening Standard says Spurs have agreed to pay an initial €62million (£55.45m), while the overall deal could rise to over £63m due to future incentives.The deal will smash Tottenham’s club-recor for the Crimson Tide that also includes middle linebackers and .

Georgia needs to test that depth and discipline, and the best way to do it is with tempo.

We’ve seen Georgia go up-tempo a lot this year in big situations, including the SEC Championship Game win over Auburn. They don’t always snap it quickly, but they do get to the line in a hurry, often to prevent defenses from substituting. Simply getting to the line quickly will stress middle linebacker Mack Wilson — who calls the signals in place of Hamilton and Moses — and simply running plays will stress the depth of the defensive-minded Crimson Tide.

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Dante Pettis breaks NCAA record with ninth career punt return for a touchdown

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Why anyone puts to wide receiver anymore is one of this world’s great mysteries. Still, teamsAlisson is frustrated with Liverpool conceding “stupid goals”.The Brazilian was helpless when Trezeguet found himself free inside the box to score Aston Villa’s opener on Sunday.The Reds eventually secured a dramatic late, but Alisson doesn’t want his team to put themselves in difficult positions by conceding poor goals.”It annoys me always when we concede,” Alisson said. “Stupid goals! When we concede that way, it annoys me and the team. “We always have a common goal to win the game and to keep a clean sheet. You are closer to the victory with a clean sheet and you always have a draw.”When you concede, the games become more difficult. We need to work better at that if we want to do great things.”He added: “We can do better in our concentration. Against Genk we conceded late on, so this annoyed me and the team. We need to keep our focus.”We need to learn from these moments to make sure it does not happen again.” do, which is a good thing for Pettis. 

It was a good thing for the Huskies, too, during SaturdInter Milan striker Lautaro Martinez has quickly been impressed by new teammate Romelu Lukaku.Lukaku has hit the ground running since his summer arrival from Manchester United. “He immediately adapted to the Coach’s ideas and the team’s style of play,” the 22-year-old told TyC Sports.“He’s a striker with incredible characteristics, he’s very powerful. “I was surprised by his sheer stature.”ay’s game against as Pettis took a 64-yard punt return to the house. It was his ninth career punt return for a score, breaking the NCAA record of eight previously set Wes Welker and Antonio Perkins.

For the record, imnasia La Plata as coach.The 59-year-old was only appointed in September and had improved their fortunes, winning three of his last five games in charge.But it was also reported Maradona would quit Gimnasia if president Gabriel Pellegrino did not stthe most punt returns in a single season is five. Pettis already has four on the year. 

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Notre Dame is running out of reasons to keep Brian Kelly after latest indiscretion

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The totality of Brian Kelly’s nearly seven years at Notre Dame have been marked by multiple scandals, the newest of which involves academic misconduct. As far as Kelly’s tenure is concerned, it’s another demerit for a coach that has been a part of two bad ones already.

Actually, “bad” doesn’t even do them justice. But more on those later.

The that Notre Dame must vacate up to two full years of football victories, including games from its 2012 national title runner-up season, as punishment. The crux of the misconduct stems from a former student athletic trainer who completed coursework for two student-athletes; additionally, the former trainer provided “six other football student-athletes with impermissible academic extra benefits.” Some of the athletes took part in misconduct on their own as well.

The NCAA can punish Notre Dame how it sees fit. It can fine the Irish $5,000. It can publicly reprimand the university. It can enforce a two-year show-cause for the former trainer. And, yes, it can take away the wins. Few outside of the NCAA, the school and maybe some fans likely care about the sanctions anyway.

The bigger issue is that Notre Dame is dealing with yet another off-field issue with Kelly in charge. Barring a change of heart from the administration, however, it appears for now as though Kelly will survive this.

There’s a reason, of course. said it best: “Kelly is unequivocally Notre Dame’s best coach since Lou Holtz.” He’s a brilliant coach who rose from the Division II ranks at Grand Valley State — where he won two national titles — to the pinnacle of at Notre Dame.

Still, Kelly’s ever-growing legacy is complicated. He has just two seasons of at least 10 wins in South Bend, but he did take the Irish to a national championship appearance; of course, that season is on its way to being vacated now. This year, the Irish are 4-7 and are guaranteed their first losing season since 2007.

There are the controversies, too. There have been since Year 1.

In October of 2010, Declan Sullivan, a 20-year-old Notre Dame student, was killed while filming the team’s practice when the hydraulic scissor lift he was on crashed due to high wind gusts exceeding 50 mph. Kelly said in the following days that despite the weather conditions.

Notre Dame later that “There are many people that will carry that for the rest of their lives.”

T believes Mason Greenwood deserves his first-team chance at Manchester United.But the Geordie has warned the teenager over the pressures of Premier League stardom.With Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford both struggling for fitness while midfielder Phen there’s the Lizzy Seeberg story published by .

The Seeberg case was, in the big picture, far more about Notre Dame’s failures than Kelly individually. However, the coach caught heat — deservedly so — because Shembo “stayed silent about the accusations under orders” from Kelly. Shembo in the lead-up to the 2014 .

So when put in context, academic misconduct is far down the list of important issues Notre Dame has faced in recent years. However, given Dani Ceballos will make his debut for Arsenal against Lyon in the Emirates Cup on Sunday.Ceballos has joined the Gunners on a season-long loan from Real Madrid.The Spaniard will take the number eight jersey vacated by Aaron Ramsey.Arsenal-Liverpool-Chelsea-Barcelona-Gossip-Latest”>The Expresssays Arsenal fans won’t have to wait long to see their second signing of the summer.its academic reputation, it is an issue the university takes seriously.

Athletic director Jack Swarbrick said as that Kelly will “lead this team out of the tunnel opening day next year.” The “dreaded vote of confidence” is , but the misconduct “has nothing to do with me and my status here … Any negative criticism that’s out there about me right now is because we’re 4-7.”

Sure. In Kelly’s defense, he’s not the one committing the misconduct. But the best way to describe a coach’s role in these types of situations is that while they’re not “responsible” per se, they are “accountable.”

Over the course of the last six years, Kelly hacardi to leave.Wanda Nara, the wife and agent of the striker, has stated Icardi is staying.But Marotta says: “We greeted Wanda Nara’s comments with a pinch of irritation, both for the timing and the method.“I can also categorically deny that somes been at least partially accountable for some dark days at Notre Dame. At some point, Notre Dame has come to a conclusion whether it will hold Kelly (and itself) accountable for those things. If nothing else, he doesn’t seem interested in doing it himself.

This isn’t the worst moment for Kelly and Notre Dame. Those were years ago, and if there were ever reasons to fire Kelly, they would have been it. This is, however, the latest incident. And they eventually add up quicker than many realize.

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SEC Power Rankings: Arkansas, Auburn climb as SEC West dominates top of list

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For those wondering whether was a legitimate threat to , Saturday’s 49-10 whitewashing in Knoxville gave you an emphatic “no” as the answer to that question.

In Week 9 ittriker Danny Ings.The Telegraph says Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made an approach for the 27-year-old after Marcus Rashford was ruled out for six weeks with a back injury.Ings has been in top form for the Saints this season, netting 16 goals in all competit’s going to be Texas A&M’s turn to try and knock off the champs, and the Aggies must do so as 16.5-point underdogs in Tuscaloosa. Alabama appears to be back to juggernaut status in the SEC, which means the intrigue for the top spot in our power rankings remains pretty low.

However, the rest of the rankings got shuffled up thanks to some big wins by teams like and , and more confusion at the bottom of the conference.

Here are the Week 9 SEC Power Rankings:

RankTeamReasonLast Week1Alabama is figuring out how good he is and is building confidence each week. The defense is outscoring some offenses. Lane Kiffin’s tossing his visor to Vols fans. It’s just another season of Alabama football in T-Town. 12Texas A&MThe bye week gave the Aggies extra time to prepare for the Tide. We’ll see if that pays dividends on Saturday. The good news: they have a rare quarterback with great memories of playing Alabama in . 23ArkansasA week after taking a loss at the hands of Alabama — no shame there — the Hogs turned around to beat Ole Miss in thrilling fashion for the second straight year. This is a resilient Arkansas bunch and, while the defense has some holes, the offense is clipping along despite having replaced so much from last year. I’ve been impressed by the Razorbacks so far this season. 54Auburn*whispers* Auburn might be good, y’all. The defense appears to be nasty and the offense is starting to play well. I need to see the offense do it against someone other than and ULM before I’m fully on board, but I have one foot on the Tigers’ bandwagon. First test: Arkansas this week. 65Ole MissI have a feeling Hugh Freeze is about tired of playing Arkansas after the way the last two games have gone. The Rebels fell to 3-3 with the loss Saturday, but they’re probably the nation’s best 3-3 team for whatever that’s worth. Things don’t get easier this week as they must head down to Baton Rouge for a night game with LSU.36Somehow, the Gators are now your SEC East leaders. This appears to be happening again. The defense in Gainesville is filthy. The offense can do things against mediocre-to-bad defenses, and, lucky for them, that’s what the entire SEC East is made up of outside of Knoxville. The makeup game in Baton Rouge looms very large for the SEC East title race. 87LSULike Auburn, LSU has seen a resurgew Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold.The young pair were outstanding in their Champions League triumph last season.”Both Andy and Trent [Alexander-Arnold] on the other side had incredible seasons,” Warnock told Liverpoolfc.com.”I think last seasonence since their loss on the Plains. Coach O has the boys in Baton Rouge playing inspired football and a win on Saturday against Ole Miss would have them right back in the conversation for the SEC West race with only one conference loss. 78TennesseeThis might be a harsh drop for the Vols, but that wasn’t just a loss to Alabama — it was a crushing defeat. Tennessee got outplayed in all three phases of the game by the Tide and looked to clearly be the inferior team. That said, the Vols should make a steady climb back up these rankings as they will be heavy favorites in each of their final five games to close the season. 49A bye week after a victory is a good thing for Kentucky. Another winnable game is coming the ‘Cats way this week in the form of Mississippi State. Bowl eligibility is not out of the question for Kentucky, which is an amazing thing to think about after the start to the season. 1010I don’t understand this Vanderbilt team, but I can’t help but love them. is a monster at middle linebacker and when the defense is right they’re nasty. The offense is still miserable to watch, but every once in a while the running game gets rolling. The road win over is a huge moment for Derek Mason’s bunch, so enjoy this one ‘Dores. 1411Mississippi StateTake pride in being one of the ‘s best quarterbacks so far this season, Bulldog fans. That will help take the sting out of this season in Starkville. 1112GeorgiaI was wondering if Georgia could find new lows this season. Losing to Vanderbilt at homr is happy with what he’s seen from Adams and is backing him to come good.He said: “He is a little bit unlucky sometimes with his actions. The pre-season was much easier for him where he scored immediately and this gives you self-confidence.“He ie for the first time since 2006 seems to qualify. 913The Tigers took it on the chin in Gainesville on Saturday. The somewhat promising offense of the early season has turned back into a pumpkin. 1214Alright, Gamecocks. You’re nearly three touchdown favorites this week over UMass. You can do this. Get yourselves a convincing win this week. 13