Posted on Leave a comment

How Pep Guardiola is already exploiting the new goal kick rules

content_img

data-js=”article-body” data-insert-mobile-adslot>

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on Leave a comment

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

content_img

data-js=”article-body” data-insert-mobile-adslot>

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.

Posted on Leave a comment

Premier League executive chairman Richard Scudamore to stand down after almost 20 years in charge at end of year

content_img

data-js=”article-body” data-insert-mobile-adslot>

Scudamore has put collective bargaining at the heart of his reign ensuring that the league’s competitiveness has been maintained by a meritocratic sharing of the vast spoils of the television revenue generated from the like of Sky, BT Sport and a huge range of overseas broadcasters.

His successor, who is yet to be appointed, will never be able to wield that kind of influence over the competing forces in the Premier League. One of Scudamore’s last acts was to announce a new revenue-sharing agreement for overseas broadcast deals which are growing quicker than the value of the domestic rights and were previously shared equally among the 20 clubs.

He announced the sale of the two remaining broadcast packages to BT Sport and Amazon Prime, the first partner from among the big streaming corporations. Scudamore leaves with the domestic market finally slowing down having seen astonishing growth in the current cycle of rights, from 2016-2019. The clubs are said to have been reluctant to see him go but accepted his decision.

Were the likes of Manchester United, especially, and also Liverpool and Arsenal to go alone in the future and negotiate their own television deals there would be little doubt that the league’s general competitiveness would be lost forever preseason.The Belgian says he’s fit and ready following a 2018/19 campaign interrupted by injuries.”I’m fine,” De Bruyne said after the 3-1 win against Yokohama F. Marinos, in which he netted the opener.”What happened last year happtheir Melwood training ground.The Athletic reports Liverpool legends Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher will captain teams next summer in the last ever match to be played at the club’s Melwood training ground.The Reds are moving into a new training fens to everybody.. Scudamore has kept them all in line by reminding shareholders that it is the power of the collective to provide competition every weekend that is the great strength of the Premier League.

He will see his greatest achievement as turning the league into the most lucrative in the world. He also pushed through the Elite Player Performance Plan which underpins youth development in the professional game’s academy system. He persuaded the clubs to adopt the £30 cap for away tickets. The league also pays around £100 million to community and grassroots programmes a year, including its Football Foundation charity, a.Allegri announced his departure last week amid claims of losing the trust of president Andrea Agnelli, along with directors Pavel Nedved and to a lesser extent Fabio Paratici.Allegri said, “We talked, expressed our ideas on what was best for Juvennd another £100 million in solidarity payments to the Football League.

His reign has not been without controversy. His proposal in February 2008 to play a 39th game overseas was conceived to give smaller clubs with little global appeal a share of the Premier League’s huge international audience. Instead it backfired and cast him as the enemy of English football. He was embroiled in a leaked email scandal in 2014.

A Bristol City supporter who previously worked for the Football League, Scudamore has seen the sea-change in ownership from largely British families to a range of the planet’s super-rich. It is his organisation that has investigated the fitness of these owners to buy clubs and tried to keep them on the same page when it comes to their responsibilities to the rest of football.    

Buck said that the search for Scudamore’s successor had begun and the new man or woman will be expected to navigate a very different pay-TV market that is likely to feature more streaming platforms like Amazon. Scudamore said that he would spend more time watching his club Bristol City, still yet to play in the Premier League. He said he has no plans to retire.

Posted on Leave a comment

Mousa Dembele casts doubt over his Tottenham future with talks on hold until after the World Cup

content_img

data-js=”article-body” data-insert-mobile-adslot>

“At the beginning of the season, I said ‘I had physical problems, I want to see at the end of the season how I feel’. That’s what the club and I decided by mutual agreement.

“If we talk about a new contract in the middle of the season, it will cost energy. Imagine that a player feels not appreciated after a disappointing proposal, it can disrupt his game.

“At this moment, I am very happy at Tottenham. I do not lie when I say that I do not think about a big transfer. I want to play a World Cup and afterwards we will see.

“Really, I’m not aware of the interest of other clubs. And, besides, I told my agent to wait for the summer to tell me about any offers. For now, I’m only focussing on Tottenham. Maybe this is my last season. Or maybe I’ll sign a new deal. We’ll see.”

Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy has insisted that players will only leave the club if Pochettino gives his blessing, regardless of their contract situations.

Central defender Toby Alderweireld is expected to move after his contract negotiations were put on hold and uncertainty over Dembele will concern fans.

Pochettino has hailed Dembele a “genius” and one of the best players he has ever worked with, buerbroker Franz Beckenbauer admits he’d like to see James Rodriguez stay.James is coming to the end of a two season loan at Bayern from Real Madrid and can be bought outright for €42m.However, Bayern coach Niko Kovac would prefer James be allowed tot his age and injury record mean that contract negotiations could be complicated.

His next contract represents Dembele’s last chance to earn himself a lucrative deal and the Belgian is also keen to finish his career with more medals.

Whether or ded four youngsters to his senior squad.United have officially added young players Mason Greenwood, Angel Gomes, Tahith Chong and James Garner to their first team squad.Solskjaer is keen for the quarter to be heavily involved in first team matters thnot Tottenham are ready to make a big commitment to Dembele and also provide evidence they can start to star Salomon Rondon says he could rejoin the club in the future.Rondon is currently in China, where he joined former boss Rafa Benitez at Dalian Yifang.But he admits that it was not entirely his choice to leave, as Newcastle did not offer him a contwin trophies may ultimately decide whether or not an agreement is reached after the World Cup.

Regardless of Dembele’s future, Tottenham are keen to strengthen their midfield during the summer and had hoped Italy’s Bryan Cristante would play a part against England at Wembley on Tuesday night.

Spurs have been tracking Cristante, who is on loan at Atalanta from Benfica, but he was left on the substitutes’ bench by Italy. He has played all through the age groups for his country and made two senior appearances.

Posted on Leave a comment

Southampton 0 Man City 3: Vincent Kompany inspires hard-earned win for efficient City

content_img

data-js=”article-body” data-insert-mobile-adslot>

As days at the office go, few can have been more satisfying for Pep Guardiola than this. No wonder he wore a full beam grin at the end.

“I’m so, so happy,” the Manchester City manager exuded. “I’m so happy for the players, it was so important for them ahead of the [FA Cup] semi-final.”

A week before his side face Arsenal at Wembley, everything went right for him and City. Three points were ­secured in pursuit of a Champions League place, three goals were scored, a clean sheet was preserved. 

Here is how pleasing this trip to the south coast was for the Spaniard: his goalkeeper actually pulled off a save. Yes, for the first time since Jan 2, Claudio Bravo successfully managed to get in the way of a goal-bound effort, throwing himself at a header from Maya Yashida and falling to the turf, the ball grasped to his chest. “Bravo, Bravo” sang the visiting supporters, jovially aware of the significance of the ­moment.

Brisk, efficient, clever as they were, what will have pleased the City manager all the more was the industry with which his team went about their task. Effort was everywhere on display. Not least from Sergio Agüero. Statistically this is the brilliant Argentine’s worst ever Premier League season. Statistics, though, are relative things: he had scored 10 goals in 10 games in all competitions before this. And boy was he busy here, determined to help City improve on their record of only one win from their last five visits to St Mary’s. He had volleyed the ball wide from Gaël Clichy’s swerving cross, hit a shot past the post after Kevin De Bruyne found him in space, then misdirected a sledgehammer drive from the edge of the area all within the first eight minutes.

But City’s early failure to capitalise on superior possession seemed to ­inspire their hosts. Brilliant work by Nathan Redmond and Manolo Gabbiadini created an opening for Dusan Tadic, alone and unmarked on the edge of the City box. His shot, however, was ballooned well over the bar. Which must have frustrated his manager Claude Puel, watching from his technical area. 

Just put it somewhere near the City goal would have been the lament. After all, that is all you generally need to do when Bravo is playing: the City goalkeeper had arrivet McNeil.The 19-year-old broke into the first-team last season, making 21 Premier League appearances and scoring three times.Dyche believes McNeil will one day move to an elite club, and praised the player’s attitude.“He remains very humble, he remd on the south coast with the unenviable record of conceding goals from the last seven shots on target he had faced.

But there were few of such things here: Southampton rarely came close to testing him. And the reason for that was largely the identity of the man playing in front of Bravo. Vincent Kompany, after a wretched, injury-plagued four months, was back. His first intervention – cool, calm and perfectly executed – spoke volumes for what his absence has meant.

“We miss him a lot,” admitted Guardiola. 

“He’s a real defender. No doubt about that. We are so happy he is coming back and hopefully we can keep care of him for the rest of the season.”

It was not just the skipper’s tackles and organisational nous that stood out. It was from his boot that many a City ­attack began. 

One burst started by him concluded with Leroy Sané darting into the area. As the quicksilver forward approached the Southampton goal, from the stands it appeared Fraser Forster had clipped his ankle rather than the ball as he dived at his feet. The referee was not interested, however, preferring to award City a corner.

“I thought it was a penalty,” said Guardiola. “But Sané tells me it was not a penalty. He is a German, so I believe him.” 

Not that it mattered. City, in total control of possession, continued to surge forward. And after 55 minutes the effervescent Agüero was fouled on the edge of the area. When De Bruyne’s smart free kick was cleared, the ball fell to Jesús Navas, midway inside the Southampton half. His excellent shot, seemingly destined for the back of the net, was saved at full length by Forster. From the resulting corner, who else but Kompany came barrelling in to rise above Ryan Betrand and power a header past the keeper. It was his first goal since August 2015. No wonder he celebrated with such vigour in front of the ecstatic City fans.

To the home supporters’ disappointment, Puel responded by substituting the local hero Gabbiadini. In truth, the Italian who has made such an impression since his arrival in January, did not look fully up to speed after his injury lay-off. Shane Long replaced him, and was soon involved in a fifty-fifty tussle with Kompany. As the entire visiting section held its breath, it was the Belgian who emerged unscathed from the fray, while a hobbling Long was substituted himself.

Here was concrete proof that everything was going City’s way. And as Southampton pushed for an equaliser, they left themselves exposed to the visitors’ rocket-fuelled pace on the break. They were duly punished when De Bruyne accelerated forward and pl to land a bumper boot deal.The Sun says Maguire, the world’s most expensive defender, has NO footwear deal despite his £85million move to Manchester United.But Nike, Adidas, Puma and Under Armour want him on a long-term contract worth £700,000-a-sayed in Sané, whose sharp finish left Forster marooned. Agüero then got his just reward for his industry – not to mention his eleventh goal in eleven matches – when he met De Bruyne’s adroitly chipped cross for the third.

Now come Arsenal. And after that, the Manchester derby. City’s form – and their skipper – have returned at precisely the right star, who is currently participating in the UEFA Nations League Finals with his country, is a wanted man.Fernandes is valued at roughly £71million by his club, with City and United bought thought to have an interest.However, A Bola suggest that Cittime.

 

 Aguero off, Iheanacho on. This game is dead though so I can’t see him adding to his already impressive goalscoring record.

 

A perfect counter-attack! City win the ball, hit one touch passes, De Bruyne moves in behind and is clean through, then spots Sane for the finish.

 And just look at how attacking City’s shape has been all match:

 Southampton are now starting to press high up the pitch. Balls into the box are being aimed at Bravo… they’ve spotted a weakness.

That’s Kompany’s goal. Meanwhile, City have been piling on the pressure. Aguero goes close and catches Forster at the near post, Silva can’t convert from the loose ball. 

 

 It’s Kompany! Superb header from a well timed run! City draw first blood and it’s from a corner.

 

 

AND SANE IS THROUGH ON GOAL NOW! The keeper comes out, Sane drops the shoulder, goes around him and…. goes down! Is that a penalty?

The referee says no but the replay says yes! Toure heads over at the back post from the corner.

Graham Poll says: "Clear penalty, Forster doesn’t get any of the ball. Definite penalty but no card."

More danger for City and Bravo is directly involved! The keeper comes way off his line to deal with crosses into the box, palms one away and is then fortunate his defenders block the follow up shot.  

 What is it with City controlling games before conceding?

 

And another chance for Aguero! He turns Stephens in the box and shoots low to the back post… dragging his shot just wide!

 

"He was perfect in Stamford Bridge and no physical problems and it was so demanding for him and he’s ready to play. John Stones is injured, we’ll know what it is in next few days.

"Every day, every game decide what I see. I’m not a manager who blame the reasons why we have success on different situations. We talk always what we can do to improve, I try to be a good human being Monday to Saturday but Sunday I am a football manager." 

Bravo, Clichy, Kompany (c), Otamendi, Fernandinho, Toure, Sane, Silva, De Bruyne, Navas, Aguero

 

What is the team news?

The returns of Manolo Gabbiadini and Steven Davis mean Southampton have a near fully-fit squad for Saturday’s Premier League visit of Manchester City.

Manager Claude Puel is yet to decide whether either will start, but their presence in his squad leaves Charlie Austin – close to returning from an injured shoulder – and Virgil van Dijk, who has an injured foot, as his only major absentees.

Beyond those two, only Matt Targett and Alex McCarthy are unavailable due to to hamstring injuries.

Team from: Forster, Taylor, Cedric, Martina, Pied, Yoshida, Stephens, Caceres, Bertrand, McQueen, Romeu, Hojbjerg, Davis, Clasie, Ward-Prowse, Tadic, Boufal, Redmond, Rodriguez, Long, Gabbiadini.

Pep Guardiola is waiting on fitness updates on two of his centre-backs. Their win over Hull last weekend was achieved with John Stones and Aleks Kolarov as the central pairing. Stones has become a key player for City in recent weeks and Kolarov took his place alongside the England man with Vincent Kompany and Nicolas Otamendi not fit enough to be named in the XI.

Kompany, who turned 31 earlier this week, needs to prove he can put his injury woes behind him and still be a valued member of the squad.

Any interesting match stats?

How are the below for you…

City have only picked up eight points out of a possible 18 in past six games.Saints full-back Jeremy Pied is fit after seven months out injured.City striker Aguero has scored 10 goals in 10 games.Southampton centre-back pairing of Yoshida and Stephens conceded 10 goals in eight league games they have played together.

What are they saying?

"We know the next game against Manchester City is a strong challenge, a great team, but it’s better to play against Manchester City after two wins, as it gives us confidence.

"We play at home and, with the support of the fans, we can do fantastic work against them."

"I want to win trophies. I hope we can lift something for us and the fans this year.

"All this year, we’ve been fighting for something… The FA Cup is a big target for us this year. We’re looking forward to it.

"I’m the type of player that always wants to win. In football, sometimes you can lose or draw. We want to always be at the top but we want to keep on going… We play Southampton and we’ll try and win that game." 

What are the odds?

Man City 8/11

Southampton 4/1

Draw 13/5

What’s our prediction?

Southampton are unbeaten in three winning their last two matches against West Brom and Crystal Palace while Manchester City have had a sticky spell recently.

City need to win to enhance their hopes of a top-four finish but Puel’s men will not be a pushover. We’re going for a 2-2 draw here.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Glenn, Urbik likely to miss two weeks

content_img

They both left with ankle sprains in Sunday’s game and did not return. According to head coach Chan Gailey right guard Kraig Urbik and left tackle Cordy Glenn will both be on the shelf for the next couple of games.

“It may be two (weeks) minimum on both of them, but we’re not going to rule out the second game today,” said Gailey Monday. “I’ve not been very good about doing that lately, so we’re going to say it’s probably two but I don’t know about that.”

Urbik left Sunday’s game in the first quarter with what he confirmed was a high-ankle sprain. He was hobbling around the locker r behind the rest of the players in terms of fitness having joined up with them after taking part in the Copa America with Chile. He suffered a hamstring injury in his final game of the competition which also set him back.Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insists oom Monday in an immobilizer boot.

“It’s always a disappointment toor Nolito.Celta are enjoying an impressive transfer window and are in talks with Sevilla to sign Nolito.”We have to see them reach an agreement, Sevilla and Celta, and in turn our club with Nolito. I would like him to come back, as I said last season lose a game like that and to go out in the first quarter like that is always heartbreaking to not finish the game,” said Urbik. “I’m going to take it day by day and see how it goes from here on out.”

For Urbik the injury is particularly frustrating because it’s the third straight season he’s missed time due to injury. He missed three games last season and was placed on injured reserve toward the end of the 20 with Sergio Guardiola about his journey from Spain’s fourth tier Tercera to leading the line in the LaLiga, his career hopes – and of course, we ask the striker about playing for his idol Ronaldo – the president of Real Valladolid.A: Well, it’s a dr10 season.

“You can’t really avoid it if a guy falls on your legs,” he said. “It’s a part of football and it happens sometimes and unfortunately it’s happened to me each of the past three years.”

Urbik will be replaced in the lineup by veteran Chad Rinehart, who has appeared in 20 games for the Bills over the past two seasons.

Glenn’s injury was also an ankle, as he too had his leg rolled up on from behind at the end of a pass play late in the third quarter.

The left tackle walked off the field under his own power, but his ankle was bent awkwardly inward as it was caught under the pile on a Ryan Fitzpatrick sack.

Glenn will be replaced by Chris Hairston, who started seven games at left tackle last season.

S Jairus Byrd, TE Scott Chandler and WR Donald Jones all left Sunday’s game with injuries. Byrd’s hip contusion is not considered serious.

“It’ll take a few days to get it moving again, but I think he’ll be fine,” said Gailey.

Gailey said all indications are Chandler and Jones will be fine looking ahead to the team’s Week 5 game at San Francisco. 

Posted on Leave a comment

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

content_img

data-js=”article-body” data-insert-mobile-adslot>

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.”

Posted on Leave a comment

Easley, Troup out for Sunday

content_img

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.

Posted on Leave a comment

Mauricio Pochettino urges Tottenham players to react positively to Marcelo Bielsa-style tough love

content_img

data-js=”article-body” data-insert-mobile-adslot>

. He stuck to his guns after watching three replays of the match and also revealed he has been unhappy with the way in which his team has started all of their matches this season, including the thrashing of Stoke City.

Now, after he decided to follow the example of Bielsa and deliver some home truths.

Flushed with pride at being heralded as the best central defender in La Liga while at Espanyol, Pochettino was asked to assess his form by Bielsa.

“In my head I was a nine or a 10, but I decided to be very humble and say maybe a seven or eight,” said Pochettino. “He said to me ‘you were s***’ and my face was like this (shockeUnited have madwould be a great fit for Manchester United, according to former defender Wes Brown.United are expected to be heavy players during the January transfer window.”I think Ole will try and buy in January. United need another striker and an attacking midfie an opening offer of £35million to sign Dembele, according to reports in France.The former Celtic and Fulham striker has netted 23 times in Ligue 1 this season and has attracted attention from a number of top European teams.Ole Gunnad). He said ‘because of this, this and this’ and showed me why, and said ‘if you perform like this then you cannot play for me and you cannot play for the national team’.

“It was tough for me. I drove to my house crying, but, after time, I recognised it was true. I was s***, yes I was s***. And then I improved, I played for Argentina in the World Cup and I got a big offer from Paris Saint-Germain to buy me. When I believed I was the star man, maybe from the news or the fans, this big offer never arrived.

“I was a person that liked the reality, that the manager never lied to me. If I was s***, I was s***. But I needed to know sometimes. When you are young, you need to know the reality because when you are in your bubble, you believe that always all you do is right. And sometimes you need people who say ‘hey, come on, what happened with you?’.”

Following last season’s title challenge and all the plaudits that came with it, Pochettino accepts an element of complacency may have crept into the minds of his players.

“It is difficult to understand why in every game we have some period in the first half that is difficult to get the pace of the game and to manage and handle the game like we normally used to do,” said Pochettino.

“And then in the second half it is like we need something from the manager and the staff to wake up and say ‘this is the reality’. You know always the human mind is a very difficult matter to deal with. We need to change that.”

Midfielder Mousa Dembele has returned from the six-game ban he received for an eye-gouge on Diego Costa and Pochettino is confident the incident was a one-off.

Pochettino believes any player is capable of losing his head and once again used himself as an example.

“At Paris Saint-Germain, I remember the striker I was playing ang.The Reds are two games away from clinching the Premier League title as they wait for the season to resume.“I like it, but being obsessed, I’m not sure,” he told the JD In The Duffle Bag podcast when asked about winning. “The first thing I leargainst was big and was s***. Not great,” said Pochettino. “My team-mate was Gabby Heinze who played for Manchester United. I said to Gabby ‘the next time the ball comes in the air, please, move aside, let me challenge’. The next time it did, I jumped and put my studs in his neck. As I got him, I closed my eyes and said ‘what have I done?’ I was sent off and I said sorry. I was 27-years-old and captain of Paris Saint-Germain.

“Mousa knows that it is one thing is to play aggressive and to tackle and to go always to the ball and be honest on the pitch. Another thing is to do what he did. He paid for that and it was difficult for us because he was an important player and then you miss the talent of him in the last few games.”

Posted on Leave a comment

Bills fill final practice squad vacancy

content_img

It may have taken a bit longer than anticipated, but the Bills finished filling out their eight-man practice squad Wednesday morning signing free agent tight end Dajleon Farr.

Pronounced (DAY-lay-on), Farr was most recently with the after the team signed him August 10 due to a rash of injuries at the position on their roster. The 6’5″ 256-pound tight end however, did not make the team’s final cut and was released last weekend.

He’s considered more of a receiving tight end that offers good speed and hands. Farr also displays good effort as a blocker.

Farr was originally signed as an ue to win Euro2020.But the Spaniard admitted the Red Devils must prove they are the best team in Europe by performing at their best in next year’s tournament.”Whether we can win the European Championship, that is something that we have in our hands,” ndrafted rookie free agent by San Diego this past spring. Her Gianluigi Buffon will leave Paris St-Germain when his contract expires at the end of the month.The 41 year old Italy legend, joined on a free transfer in July 2018, making 25 appearances in all competitions for the club as they won the Ligue 1 titl finished his college career at the University of Memphis after transferring from the University of egime.Cobolli Gigli says Juve are leading the Serie A down to good fortune over the summer and the failings of sports director Fabio Paratici.He explained on TMW: “If Juventus does what it does, it is because it has two players, in addition to (CristMiami.

An athletic prospect that’s still developing his receiving game, Farr finished his college career with 24 receptions for 210 yards and four touchdowns.

Posted on Leave a comment

6 – Will the pass rush be reliably effective?

content_img

Every summer leading up to training camp Buffalobills.com asks 25 of the most pressing questions facing the team as they make their final preparations for the upcoming regular season. With a new regime and practices at St. John Fisher fast approaching, here is the latest installment as we closely examine some of the answers the Buffalo Bills have to come up with between July 28th and shed for being too passive in the first half against Leicester City.The Albion were in control of the game for large periods, but they were unable to make their dominance count when it mattered.Leicester eventually got a counter attacking goal througSept. 12th.

The potency of the Bills’ pass rush has centered around Aaron Schobel for the better part of the past decade. He has been the linchpin on which Buffalo’s pressure packages have relied most, and entering the 2010 campaign he is still at the forefront of the discussion. Unfortunately his tie to the pass rush question is whether or not he’ll be around to be a part of it.

With Schobel admitting in June that he’s leaning toward retirement, the burden of carrying the pass rush mantle could soon fall to secone a one club man.The 20-year-old has been a revelation since breaking into the Reds side in recent seasons and is now considered to be one of the finest full-backs in European football. He told Sky Sports: “I am fortunate to have the people around med-year linebacker and former first-round pick Aaron Maybin. He has his share of veteran support in players like Chris Kelsay, Reggie Torbor and inside linebacker Kawika Mitchell, who times his blitzes as well as anyone on the roster.

But what figures to help Maybin and his teammates the most is the new 3-4 scheme being implemented by defensive coordinator George Edwards.

“I just think its better suited to us because when you run a 3-4 defense it just gives you the opportunity to throw so many different things at the offense,” said Maybin. “When you run 4-3 packages you’re a little bit more limited in certain things you can do from a blitz perspective and certain looks that you can give.

“When you run a 3-4 defense it’s really hard for the offense to match up with a lot of the guys, especially when you have a lot of the athletes that we have on this team. Athletically it’s going to definitely create a lot of matchup (problems) for some teams.”

Buffalo is expected to have a hybrid type of 3-4 system that may morph into some 4-3 looks depending on down and distance, but the 3-4 scheme is largely what will define their defensive approach this season. A system isn’t always the defining factor in a team’s success in developing a consistent pass rush. Sometimes it’s premier talent that carries the day (see: Bruce Smith). But with Buffalo’s talent largely unproven in a 3-4 scheme, Edwards’ system will be depended upon to create opportunities.

What has Buffalo’s players encouraged about their new scheme when it comes to the pass rush is a track record of proven success for the 3-4. With coordinators able to more effectively disguise their intentions in a 3-4 front it makes it more difficult for offenses to adjust their protection schemes to account for anyone and everyone that might be bearing down on their quarterback.

“If you look at the trend that’s gone on in the league, if you get the right guys in and play it right it seems like we should be able to make more plays and get guys on the quarterback,” said Paul Posluszny. “It seems like there are always a lot of good pressure schemes coming out of the 3-4. I’m excited aboullessen.Cillessen is moving in a deal independent of Barca’s swoop for Valencia keeper Neto.Although it has not been confirmed, everything is pointing towards current Los Che shot-stopper Neto replacing Cillessen as Marc-Andre ter Stegen’s back-up att it. It should be a good change for us.”

In 2009, 3-4 defensive units accounted for seven of the 10 highest sack totals in the NFL, seven of the 10 lowest completion percentages allowed by opposing passers and six of the 10 highest pass breakup totals. It’s a small indication as to how effective the 3-4 scheme can be in creating pressure and disrupting the opponent’s passing attack.

In a league where passing is becoming more and more prevalent year after year, being able to thwart that propensity is critical.

“We think it will be the most advantageous thing to start out with because it gives us the flexibility to adjust to a lot of things where offenses will have to guess who is rushing and who is dropping, what we’re doing coverage-wise, it should help with the disguise aspect of what we’re doing,” Edwards said of his 3-4 scheme.

But how much can be accomplished in year one?

Buffalo is coming off a season in which they did increase their sack totals from 24 in 2008 to 32 in 2009, but that was with a healthy Schobel, who was responsible for 10 of those quarterback takedowns. If he is not in the picture can the likes of Maybin, Chris Ellis, Kelsay and Torbor lead the charge?

One good example of what’s possible can be found in the switch to the 3-4 by the in 2009 under defensive coordinator Dom Capers, a coach under whom Edwards has worked in the past.

Last season the Packers were able to increase their sack total by 10 to go from a ranking of 25th to 11th in the league. Their opponents’ completion percentage, which was already very low, also improved dropping to 54.4 percent to rank second in the NFL in 2009. And their interceptions and pass breakups went up by eight and 10 respectively, with the Packers leading the league in interceptions with 30 last year.

Most important is the fact that they did it without one of their best pass rushers for half the season as Aaron Kampman played in just nine games last year logging just 3.5 of the team’s 37 sacks.

As proven as the 3-4 system might be in generating pressure opportunities, ultimately Maybin and his teammates realize they can’t rely on the scheme to make plays.

“I think the fact that you never really know where the blitzes are coming from, where the pressure’s going to be coming from, just from an offensive standpoint, it makes it a lot more difficult,” said Maybin. “But at the end of the day X’s and O’s are only X’s and O’s. As players we’ve got to go out and make things happen.”

Posted on Leave a comment

Bills CB McKelvin willing to forgive vandals

content_img

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) -Still a little upset ovego Simeone insists that Diego Costa is happy for his strike Ajax are weighing up a swoop for Brighton midfielder Davy Propper.The Argus claims Ajax chiefs have been discussions over whether they want to pursue a deal for the Netherlands international.The Amsterdam giants will lose midfielder Frenkie De Jong to Barcelona this summer.And Propper is just the sort of veteran presence they want in the squad.partner Alvaro Morata.The former missed out on a place in the starting XI against Athletic Club on Saturday, whereas Morata scored their second in a 2-0 win.”Diego’s happy,” Simeone said aher having his lawn vandalized, Bills cornerback Leodis McKelvin is willing to forgive and forget.

Referring to Bills fans as being great, McKelvin said Wednesday he doesn’t want anyone arrested for painting an obscenity and the game’s score on the front lawn of his home shortly after a 25-24 season-opening loss at New England on Monday.

It’s just one little incident. I hope it doesn’t happen any more,” McKelvin said following practice.I was mad, I was kind of like angry in a way, but I was laughing a little bit for what they put on there.”

McKelvin is being partlyder Rodrigo.City boss Pep Guardiola sees the Spain international as a natural successor for Fernandinho and has urged management to move for the player. Indeed, City have shown a willingness to pay Rodrigo’s €70m buyout clause to bring him to Engla blamed for the loss after his fumble set up the Patriots winning drive. He discovered the vandalism shortly after returning home from the game.

Posted on Leave a comment

LSU hires former Nebraska coach Bo Pelini as its new defensive coordinator

content_img

A former face is returning to Baton Rouge. Former Nebraska coach Bo Pelini is set to become the new defensive coordinator at LSU, according to a release from LSU. Youngstown State also released a statement that Pelini had resigned his post as coach — a role served in for five years. The hir Samir Nasri has been flooded by offers from around the world.While he failed to win a new deal with the Irons, the six months he enjoyed at West Ham was enoted Spurs from the competition last night.”It’s a very difficult moment for us,” Lucas said. “But the only way that we have is to keep fighting, keep believing.”Now we have only the Premier League and we need to be in a better position.”Our objectiveugh to put him in the shop window.Foot Mercato says several Ligue 1 clubs have made contact, ing fills in a huge vacancy for coach Ed Orgeron’s staff after Dave Aranda left to take the head coaching job at after spending four years with the program.

Prior to his time in Youngstown, Pelini was the head coach at from 2008-14 and defensive coordinator from 2005-07.

“The opportunity to return to LSU is truly unique,” Pelini said. “Culturally, with my prior experience at LSU, I know it is a great fit for me. The chance to work with Coach (Ed) Orgeron, the ability to take charge of the Tigers defense. All of that in a place that both my family and I immensely enjoyed when we were there before is very exciting for us.  We are very honored and looking forward to this next chapter.”

Sports Illustrated reports that Pelini that will pay him around $2.3 million per season. Pelini’s hire is pending approval from the Board of Supervisors, .

Pelini’s defenses finished in the top 20 nationally in total defense in each of his three seasons with the Tigers, including in 2007 when they won the BCS National Championship over . That successful stint in Baton Rouge earned him the head coaching gig at Nebraska where he won nine or more games in each of his seven seasons. Despite that, he was let go following the 2014 season. 

He took over at Youngstown State and led the Penguins to a 12-4 record in his second season in 2016.h a shock move for unsettled Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos.Both Marca and El Chiringuito reports that Ramos is staring at a Real Madrid exit following a meeting with president Florentino Perez earlier this month.The experienced Spanish defender is They lost to James Madison 28-14 in the FCS National Championship Game. He has gone 33-28 in five seasons, including a 6-6 record in 2019.

“The past five years have been terrific,” Pelini said. “I can’t thank [Youngstown State] President Jim Tressel and [athletic director] Ron Strollo enough for the opportunity here and support along the way. For all of the people, honestly too many to name, who were part of my YSU experience, I also want to extend a heartfelt thank you.”

Pelini is 100-55 as a head coach in his stints at Nebraska and Youngstown State. 

Posted on Leave a comment

UCF vs. South Florida odds: 2019 War on I-4 picks, top predictions from proven computer model

content_img

The look to build momentum towards the postseason when they meet the in the 11th edition of the War on I-4 rivalry game. The Bulls (4-7), who are fourth in the American Athletic Conference East Division at 2-5, are 2-2 on the road, while the Knights (8-3), second in the AAC East at 5-2, are 5-0 at home this season. Friday’s game is scheduled to start at 8 p.m. ET from Spectrum Stadium in Orlando, Fla. UCF has won two of its last three games against South Florida at Orlando. The Knights are favored by 23.5-points in the latest South Florida vs. UCF odds, while the over-under for total points scored is 61.5. You’ll want to see the predictions from the SportsLine Projection Model before laying any South Florida vs. UCF picks down.

The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every FBS college fo president Jean Michel Aulas has revealed Karim Benzema turned down a bigger offer from Manchester United to sign for Real Madrid.Benzema moved to Real ten years ago, having also been courted by former United manager Sir Alex Ferguson.Aulas recalled:otball game 10,000 times, and those who have followed it have seen huge returns since its inception. Over the past four-plus years, the draw from his time with Everton.The former Ajax captain had a year at Goodison Park before leaving for Werder.He told Spox: “It also had something positive, because otherwise I would not be with Werder Bremen now. Moreover, I had no clear plan, beproprietary computer model has generated a stunning profit of almost $4,000 for $100 players on its top-rated  against the spread. Anyone who has followed it over that time is way up and consistently beaten .

Now, the model has set its sights on . We can tell you that the model is leaning under, and has generated an extremely strong against the spread pick that is hitting in 70 percent of simulations. You can . Now, here are the betting lines and trends for South Florida vs. Central Florida:

South Florida vs. Central Florida: UCF -23.5South Florida vs. Central Florida over-under: 61.5 pointsSouth Florida vs. Central Florida money line: South Florida +1048, Central Florida -2423USF: South Florida leads the all-time series 6-4UCF: Central Florida is averaging 43.8 points per game

The model has taken into account that UCF is one of the best offensive teams in the nation over the past three seasons. Prior to the 27-24 loss at , the Knights had scored 30 or more points in 31 consecutaka and Dan James to be fit for Sunday’s derby against Manchester City.Maguire missed Thursday’s FA Cup win at Derby County after twisting his ankle in training, but manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is hopeful the United skipper will recover in time to five games, which is the longest streak in The Associated Press poll era, which began in 1936. Since the loss to the Bearcats, UCF has scored 30 or more points in each of its last five games.

Defensively, the Knights are led by senior linebacker , who has a team-high 92 tackles, including 56 solo, with three passes defensed. He is on pace to surpass his total from a year ago, when he made 99 tackles – 55 solo – with 2.5 sacks, one forced fumble and four passes defensed.

But just because the Knights can put up a lot of points does not guarantee they will cover the South Florida vs. Central Florida spread on Friday.

That’s because the Bulls are used to success, having had 13 winning seasons since 2000. Under third-year coach Charlie Strong, South Florida is 21-15. Sophomore linebacker has been a disruptive force all season, posting a tackle for loss in eight of his last 10 games, including a team-high three at earlier in the year. He leads the team with 12.5 tackles for loss and is second with three sacks.

Freshman quarterback has carried the Bulls’ offense this season with starts in each of the last nine games. He has completed 115-of-203 attempts for 1,313 yards and 12 touchdowns. He has also rushed 93 times for 245 yards and four scores. South Florida is 4-0 against the spread in its last four games following an against-the-spread loss.

Posted on Leave a comment

USC football Spring Game 2018: date, schedule, players to watch, who replaces Sam Darnold

content_img

With the Coliseum renovation project ongoing, USC will not be hosting its traditional spring game this year. Instead, Clay Helton and the Trojans will hold a end of spring practice that is open to the public on Cromwell Field (Loker Track Stadium). The “game” will be Saturday, April 14 starting at noon PT and will be shown live on the Pac-12 Networks. The top storyline from this spring has been the competition to replace Sam Darnold. Redshirt sophomore Matt Fink and redshirt freshman Jack Sears are the only two scholarship quarterbacks on campus right now and both want rto Mancini says Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo both reached the pinnacle of the game in different ways.Speaking with Corriere della Sera, Mancini was asked who was the superior player – Barcelona captain Messi or Juventus striker Ronaldo.Howeverto be running the show when the Trojans open against UNLV this fall.Fink is the only quarterback with any game experience, including a 51-yard touchdown run in mop-up duty against Oregon State. He has been the leader in the clubhouse, but has yet to separate himself from Sears or even incoming freshman J.T. Daniels, who won’t arrive until the summer.Sears replaced Darnold at San Clemente High School and e is looking to do the same at USC. It has been an up-and-down spring for Sears, but he bounced back during Saturday’s scrimmage with a couple of long touchdowns, which could propel him to a breakout performance in the spring game.Senior outside linebacker Porter Gustin was a mystery man most of last season following toe surgery and a bicep tear. Now bulked up to 270 pounds, he is fully back and ready to make opposing offenses feel the pain. He has had a hand in the quarterback competition as well, forcing both Fink and Sears to scramble and get rid of the ball early. True senior running back Aca’cedric Ware came into USC with Ronald Jones II as a one-two punch of talented Texas tailbacks. But with Jones earning the starting role and subsequent injuries to Ware, Trojan fato Chelsea under new manager Frank Lampard.Premier League winner Drinkwater was the forgotten man in Maurizio Sarri’s one and only season at Stamford Bridge.The Blues finished in third and won the Europa League, but Drinkwater didn’t make a single apns have yet to see his full potential as a tailback. Former five-star Stephen Carr is out this spring with an injury and Ware has taken advantage and emerged as a force for the USC rushing attack. Redshirt senior cornerback Jonathan Lockett was poised to start at nickel for USC before an injury shelved him for the entire 2017 season. Lockett is now healthy, playing both corner and nickel, and has been making plays all spring long. The former Mater Dei standout is part of a much deeper secondary that shouLeicester City forward Ryan Loft has joined League Two side Carlisle United on a season-long loan deal.The 21-year-old joined Spurs’ academy in 2013 and was loaned to Braintree, Stevenage and Exeter before signing a two-year deal with the Foxes in 2018.”We wanted to have a different type of striker available. It was important we had that variety, and Ryan gives us that,” said boss Steven Pressley.ld show marked improvement this season.