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Bills Today: Bills offense still working on timing

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Here’s the Bills news of note for Aug. 20th.

An offense uses training camp for one main purpose – to get in sync. In offensive coordinator Rick Dennison’s offense, most routes are based upon timing. This means that Tyrod Taylor and his rec have reportedly made an approach for Lille striker Leão.The Toffees are keen on teammate Nicolas Pepe, but face being priced out of a deal.Leao would be a cheaper optioHenderson says they must do better, despite victory over Arsenal.The Reds defeated Arsenal 3-1 on Saturday.”We knew if we did the right things, played to our strengths, defended really well and were clinical in front of goal, then we’d hurt them,” Hen and reports in France suggest Everton have approached Lille over a £37m deal.eivers will need as many reps as possible to ensure they’re on the same page. Rookie Zay Jones said this has been a slow process.

“It’s different when it’s routes against air and everything is laid out for you,” said Jones. “When you get press coverage, sometimes it throws timing off, and sometimes it’s obviously a different look. But, that’s what the preseasons is for. You just have to keep playing and keep building, and that stuff is going to come.”

For a rookie like Jones, and newcomers like Andre Holmes and Corey Brown, establishing timing in a new offense is a process. Not only do they have to become comfortable with their quarterback, but they have to understand their route, and the offensive scheme.2-1 midweek at Camp Nou and the same result this evening in the Derby d’Italia at San Siro.“It has been a mixed week, because we played not badly in Barcelona and here tonight too. We kept the ball and created chances, but were unable to score the It can take countless reps before a quarterback instinctively knows where his receiver will be.

Coach Sean McDermott said that in the second preseason game some of the protection issues could be attributed to the offense being out of sync.

“There are a lot of factors that really came into play in terms of the pressure on our quarterbacks [against the Eagles],” said McDermott. “Technique is obviously one thing, beating the man in front of you and the timing of the offense has to work hand in hand with the protection and route development and the quarterback getting the ball out on time.”

Building timing will only develop as Taylor becomes more familiar with his new targets. As the offense becomes more confident in the scheme, their play will start to find a rhythm. 

“I’ve gone back and I was going through charting every penalty and trying to put them in different categories as you try to solve problems,” said McDermott. “You want to be able to say it’s all one area and that’s not the case. There’s some discipline in there. There’s concentration. There’s playing aggressive without hesitation so we stay in good position and we’re not in chase mode. So, there are different buckets that are factoring into the penalties, all of which are unacceptable.”

The Bills ended the second preseason game with 15 penalties for 131 yards. As McDermott stated, these penalties occurred during all parts of the game. Although some of the calls could certainly be considered questionable, the Bills still committed far too many penalties. Some notable calls include a leveraging penalty on Eddie Yarbrough on a field goal, which extended an Eagles drive. Another poor penalty was a pass interference call against Greg Mabin in the end zone, which gave the Eagles the ball at the one yard line.

Jerel Worthy lamented the leveraging call, and said that McDermott said they just can’t have those mental mistkes.

“When you’re running out on the field and you get penalties for being combative and you’re going after the ball, he doesn’t really have a problem with those,” said Worthy. “The dumb penalties, the pre-snap penalties, the false starts and the offsides that we have on defense, those are the ones that can hurt our team and can lead to points.” 

Nine-year veteran, and longtime Buffalo Bill, Eric Wood said he’s never seen this many penalties in the preseason.

“It’s something that needs to be fixed,” said Wood. “I don’t know if I’ve ever seen it to this extent.”

McDermott said that he would be bringing in officials to work with the team during practice. Wood said working on penalties in practice could help.

“The game of football is a game of split-second decisions,” said Wood. “You have to just train yourself in practice to just work on it. We just can’t have the pre-snap and post-whistle penalties.”

With officials at practice, and greater scrutiny on penalties, the Bills will certainly make a concerted effort to improve their discipline as they prepare for the Ravens.

Kyle Williams was ranked as the third best defensive tackle in the NFL by ProFootball Focus. Williams is in elite company behind Aaron Donald, and Kawann Short.

Although a weakness last season, the Bills have showed encouraging improvement in their run defense so far in the preseason. Against both the Vikings and Eagles, the Bills were stout against the run. The Bills gave up only 66 rushing yards in the second preseason game. A big part of the Bills run stopping ability is Williams. His capacity to knife into the backfield, and disrupt plays is unmatched by many.

What makes Williams one of the best overall defensive tackles in the NFL is his ability to do it all. Not only can he stop the run, but he can also rush the passer. Williams had five sacks last season. His most productive year was in 2013 when he had 10.5 sacks – a massive number for a defensive tackle.

As the Bills defense looks for a resurgence in 2017, Williams will be one of the most important players in guiding the unit.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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Robert Woods keeping his sister's word alive

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She was his best friend and a person he looked up to and respected. Not just because she was family. She was his only sibling. Robert Woods’ older sister, Olivia, was a model student, a quality softball pitcher and well-liked by anyone who knew her. For Robert she was a role model and a confidante, but at just 17-years old Olivia Woods was uttering the last words she would ever speak to her younger brother. She was now confiding in him.

Diagnosed with synovial cell sarcoma in her leg at age 12, Olivia had reached the end of a courageous five-year battle that included chemotherapy, radiation and a leg amputation. Meanwhile Robert, two years her junior, was emerging as a budding football star at their high school, Serra, in southern California.

Even from the confines of her bed Olivia reminded Robert to stay humble, but in April 2007, knowing the next words she would speak would be among the last she uttered in the physical world, Olivia had to let her brother in on the conversation she often had with her mother.

“She was a role model for him and she always told me that Robert was going to be special,” said Sharon Woods of her daughter. “I remember Robert telling me that his sister was special, but she really meant it when she would tell me, ‘No, he’s really going to be really something special mom.’ I always was taken with her conviction with what she said.”

In her home with her family by her bed side for the last time she would give her brother some words to live by.

“Her last words to me were that she wanted me to be a model,” Woods said. “And I said, ‘Model? What do you mean?’ So she said it again, ‘I want you to be a model.’ And then it clicked that she was maybe seeing something that I couldn’t. So I took it as, be a role model. Always be positive. Be positive in life. Those were her last words to me. So I guess the whole time here with us she kept me humble, humble, humble and then her last words she put it on me.”

Be a role model.

Not a surprising request from an older sister who was as selfless as they come. After having her leg amputated and returning to school as an early teen, Olivia didn’t want anyone to know she was walking around with a prosthetic leg. Her family adhered to her wishes. She didn’t want any extra attention because she was battling cancer.

When she went to get a summer job she told her mother there would be no mention of her medical condition. She wanted to get the job based on her skills not pity.

“She just wanted to make her own way,” said Mrs. Woods. “She learned how to swim again. In high school she was elected school secretary of state. She was on yearbook committee. She was a real go-getter. We just honored her that way by letting her be herself.”

Being a first-hand witness to all of Olivia’s fighting over those five years only strengthened Robert’s own resolve in everything he put his mind to.

“Robert was the same way,” said Sharon Woods. “He saw her work so hard and fight. She was a strong fighter. I think that rubbed off on him as he got older.”

Long before Olivia’s struggle however, Robert was a pker Antoine Griezmann.Mundo Deportivo says United have entered the race to sign Griezmann this summer.United are monitoring a move for the French World Cup winner and insist that there is no deal agreed for him to join Barcelona yet.The report also aretty self-motivated kid. It didn’t matter what the activity was. Whether it was tee ball, checkers or school work the Woods’ only son didn’t take on any challenge, he attacked it.

“He wasn’t very quiet, he always smiled and laughed. He was always an overachiever,” said his mother. “He always wanted to do things perfectly. He always wanted to be first.”

“In baseball when he was young he always wanted to cover everybody else’s position,” said Mrs. Woods. “We would tell him, ‘You stay there.’ But wherever the ball would go he wanted to go get the ball.”

“Pretty much the whole outfield was mine whether it was left field or right field,” Woods said smiling. “If the ball was in the air I’d try to go and get it.”   

In the fall Woods would play in the very competitive park football league in his hometown of Carson. To illustrate how competitive it was, Woods played on a roster with four other talents who also currently play in the NFL.

“The majority of the teams had a lot of talented players,” said Woods father Robert Jr. “And Robert’s team was talented. Paul Richardson, who was a rookie receiver this past year with Seattle, and Dion Bailey also with Seattle were on his team. Marqise Lee, who plays for Jacksonville. Shaq Richardson now with Pittsburgh was on that team. So as a result there were a lot of kids that had to touch the ball on his team.”

That would prove to be an adjustment for Woods, who wanted to do as much as possible to help his team win.

Woods was making a lot of plays to help his team, but maybe a few too many. Other parents weren’t thrilled with all the opportunities Woods was getting with tnized” by their recent European ban.The Sky Blues have been banned from Champions League football for two seasons, although they are appealing UEFA’s decision.And Rodgers thinks the situation will provide Pep Guardiola’s players with an added motivathe ball, often at the expense of other players who were just as talented. Woods’ parents quickly made Robert understand the value of teamwork.

“We impressed upon him that other players on his team had to get chances with the ball too,” said Robert’s father. “So we told him he had to share the ball with other players.”

The ultra-competitive Woods wasn’t thrilled with the idea, but his father had a solution to appease his son.

“I came up with a phrase for him called ‘touches for touchdowns,'” said Woods. “Whenal.Fotomac reports Arsenal are ahead in the chase to sign the player, who only joined Juventus from Sassuolo in the summer.The Turkish starlet is rising to prominence in Turin this season, starting the last four games in a row under Maurizio Sarri, n you get it you’re going to have to score. He was happy as long as he had two touchdowns a game. So in Pop Warner he would average about 20 touchdowns a season in a 12 to 14 game season depending on whether his team made it to the ‘Super Bowl.'”

That phrase led to a ritual developed by his parents to keep their son’s mindset in the right place before every game thereafter.

“The night before games we would try to come up with a new slogan for him for that game the next day,” said Robert Woods Jr., who played his college football at Grambling. “And if we didn’t do it he’d ask for the new saying for that game. So we’d try to give him a confident quote to motivate him for the game.”

“Being a Christian family we would make use of faith-based quotes as well,” said his mother. “It helps keep him focused and uplifted. He looks for that text message from us even now and the day of the game we always text him in the morning and remind him to have fun.”

Goal setting was encouraged by Robert’s parents. While Woods was clearly self-motivated, Robert and Sharon Woods wanted to ensure their son’s energies had the proper direction. Hanging by the door in his room was a white marker board. On it were his goals as he got ready to begin high school.

“The board was right by my door so when I’d leave my room I’d see it every day,” said Woods. “So I’d write my goals down for the season and I had my GPA up there. I wrote down everything I wanted. Then I would write under it how I was going to accomplish those goals. Then I’d cross them off as I achieved them and write new ones down.”

Woods chose to attend Serra high school, which had a small enrollment of just 600 kids. It wouldn’t put Robert on as big a stage as some of the larger area high schools, but his mind was made up two years prior when his older sister chose to attend high school there.

Unfortunately the siblings only got to spend one semester at the school together because Olivia soon became too sick to attend school. Robert, who knew how much his sister enjoyed the social scene at Serra, would report to her every day as soon as he got home from school.

“He would run up the stairs and go up to her room,” said Mrs. Woods. “The first thing he would do is go see her and tell her about his day. They were very close. That was a very emotional time for all of us, but especially for him.”

“She was really my best friend,” said Woods. “So when I’d come home I’d tell her about everything that was happening at school, who asked about her and events that were going on at school, how games went.

“It would put a smile on her face because she was missing it. I was her connection to that social life for her. She was probably the most popular person in our school. People to this day remember her birthday. She touched so many lives and everybody would come up to me and talk to me about her so I would come home and spread the word to her.”

Robert would talk to her about how his football season was going. As a freshman on JV he quarterbacked his team to an undefeated season, and then was called up to varsity at the end of the year. As a safety he intercepted a pass in a playoff loss, and returned it 90-plus yards for a touchdown.

Unfortunately Olivia’s condition wasn’t going as well as her brother’s high school football career. Forced to stay in the hospital for treatments the Woods’ family simply made Olivia’s hospital room their home.

“After school he would head to the hospital to spend the evenings with her,” said Mr. Woods.

“He did his homework in the hospital in the evenings,” said Mrs. Woods. “So he was a big part of the support system that we had there.”

“We were there so much every day, after school and after practice,” said Robert. “We would go right to the hospital and spend the night with her. It was like we were at home. The doctors would come and visit, but when they left we would talk, watch TV, play games. We weren’t really in the hospital in our minds. We were just trying to make it family time.”

Robert’s sister never heard about or saw her brother’s sophomore season when he made the Cal-Hi Sports All-State Sophomore team. She passed on April 19, 2007. Their high school was closed on the day of her funeral so the student body could pay their respects.

“We had a very large funeral for her,” said Mr. Woods. “There were about 1,500 people who attended. People from our places of work, family, friends and students. The doctors from the hospital, the nurses were there. They planted a tree for her at school.”

“She touched a lot of lives and I think she was just an amazing girl that I will never forget,” said Mrs. Woods. “Robert was very strong amazingly through her passing. He was very, very strong.”

Woods would go on to post eye-popping statistics in his junior and senior season at Serra. He rolled up more than 1,700 yards receiving with 19 touchdowns and two more touchdowns on returns on defense his junior year. By his senior season Woods was a USA Today All-First team member and a Parade All-American among dozens of other accolades.

He chose to attend USC with fellow high school teammate Marqise Lee, where he took quickly to the college game. In his sophomore season he had 111 catches for almost 1,300 yards and 15 touchdowns in a 13-game season.

Throughout his college career, Woods paid tribute to his sister by drawing a giant letter ‘O’ on his wrist tape with a black marker. Such a gesture would get Woods fined in the NFL, so instead during pre-game warmups he kneels and says a prayer.

“I always run down to the corner of the field and say a prayer and do a little ‘O’ up,” said Woods touching the tip of his thumb and index finger together to shape the letter ‘O’. “I go out there and play for her and play for my family. Some plays I feel like she’s right there with me making those plays. I’ve always felt like that since high school where I say to myself, ‘Yeah my sister was with me on that one.’ So she’s had a big role and a big impact on my game.”

Woods still feels his sister’s presence and he and his parents still talk about Olivia.

“No matter what she’s always my sister,” he said. “Yes, she passed away, but I’ll always remember her and always acknowledge her. I think it does make them proud that I play for her and still acknowledge her when I play.”

“Robert is a person who needs to know exactly what he has to do,” said Mrs. Woods. “He wants to know where he needs to improve and what he can do differently to accomplish that. He aims to please and always wants to do the right thing to get better. I think that coaches recognize that in him.”

In addition to taking his NFL career to the next level, Woods is now three classes shy of getting his degree from USC in public policy development with a focus in real estate. Next offseason he’ll officially graduate.

“I think she’d be very proud of me just because I’m in a good position being here in the NFL, but it doesn’t last forever,” said Woods of his sister. “I’m still working to get my degree and finish what I started. I know Olivia wanted to go to college and wanted a college degree and everything, but just to finish up what I started would be something she always preached herself. If you start something, finish it.”

All part of being a role model.

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

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

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

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

Liverpool’s defenders

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

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

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

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

Antonio Rudiger

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

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

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

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

Kyle Walker

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Whose stock is falling?

Jordan Ayew

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

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

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

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

Grown men

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

Highlights include:

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

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

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

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

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

Asmir Begovic

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stat attack

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

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

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

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

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

Goal of the weekend

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Key question of the week

Are Bournemouth losing their identity?

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

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

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

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

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

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

54% – Everton just as hopeless before

18% – Blankly staring into the distance

13% – Hoping Wayne Rooney might still be good

10% – 4-4-2

5% – Spirited late push that he can cling onto

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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April 25, 2013: Bills draft EJ Manuel

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Rumor. SpSouness feels for Harry Maguire at Manchester United.Souness said he rates Maguire and doesn’t blame the England defender for United’s poor form, but insisted the Red Devils must improve their midfield. He told The Sunday Times: “Until they fix it, Ueculation. A draft-day trade. A first-round QB. The new face of the franchise in Buffalo.

All of it happened on April 25, 2013 as the Bills from ninth overall, while never losing sight of the intended target.

“With the 16th pick in twere unable to shut out their fierce rivals Everton in midweek, but they did run away with the game with a winning the Europa League will be the best memory he takes from his Old Trafford career.Herrera has announced he’s leaving United at the end of the season.He told manutd.com: “There are a few. But if I had to choose one or two then I’d pick the Eu5-2 win.And given their eight point lead at the top of the Premier League, Van Dijk is not too concerned about the few goals they may concede.”he 2013 NFL Draft, the Buffalo Bills select EJ Manuel, quarterback, Florida State.”

PHOTOS:

And with those words from NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, so began the EJ Manuel era in Buffalo.

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Glenn, Urbik likely to miss two weeks

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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. 

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Bills fill final practice squad vacancy

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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.

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Six reasons why Sam Allardyce is the right man for England

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For all of England’s attacking talents, the defensive aspects of the game will take precedence. England would become harder to beat under Allardyce, an Club America defender Edson Alvarez.It emerged over the weekend that America had put the brakes on a move to Ajax for Alvarez as West Ham and Wolves made contact.And Record is now reporting that Palace have made an approach about a price for the Mexd as the old adage goes, if you don’t concede you will not lose.

Although England dominated possession for large spells of their matches, organisational issues accounted for 50 per cent of the goals that Roy Hodgson’s side conceded. This would not occur under Allardyce’s watch. Every player would have their defensive roles drilled into them and they would all know what is expected – to a tee.

Under Allardyce, England would have not lost concentration against Russia and defended the second phase of the set piece properly and that the diminutive .

Additionally, unlike Hodgson’s side, an weapon and would have ceased to play into it. But even if the odd throw was conceded, an Allardyce side would be aware of their ambition to win the flick on at the back post and the runner spinning off to win the second ball. Kyle Walker would have been aware of this more than most, and wouldn’t have lost Ragnar Siggoroson in the inexplicable manner he did. 

Not afraid to stick to what he knows

Hardened by managerial  tenures at Blackpool, Notts County and Bolton Wanderers, Allardyce was an unflappable figure when it came to his roles at West Ham and Newcastle. While the former craved for football to be played ‘The West Ham way’, Allardyce stuck to his guns and played football in the way that had served him so well over the years. It wasn’t pretty by any means, but it was effective, and it got the East London club promoted before subsequently maintaining their status as a mid-table Premier League side – laying the foundations for Slaven Bilic to take them forward furthermore. 

The same would be apparent if he was manager of England. The masses would be crying by football that they would define as attractive, but in this results driven business, and the possibility that the new manager will be paid on a performance basis, fans should expect ruthless, direct and effective football that quite simply gets the job done.

Can manage flair players

JayJay Okocha. Youri Djorkaeff. Ravel Morrison (briefly). Ricardo Vaz Te. 

Playmakers flourished under the supposed rigidity of a Sam Allardyce regime. Not only were they part of the well-oiled Allardyce machine, but they were all given the freedom to shine like the lights they are.

Expect the same with the current England squad under Allarir best effort in the coming game against Brighton.The Saints are determined to get the first points of the season in the Premier League.They have suffered two defeats in the opening two games of the season, which is not a promising start for a team dyce’s guidance, with players such as Ross Barkley,  Dele Alli, Adam Lallana and Raheem Sterling thriving in the era of a new England.

Allardyce knows his best team

A large criticism of Roy Hodgson was that he didn’t know his best team. Constant changes disrupted England’s momentum at Euro 2016 and played a major role in their premature elimination.

Sam Allardyce would provide this consistency, and at this time of uncertainty, it’s exactly what England need.

Getting towards the latter stages of the season, Allardyce rarely made changes to his Sunderland team. Out of the the last eight games of the season, Allardyce named the same starting XI seven times – with the final game of the season being an anomaly as they had secured Premier League survival by this point.

It’s therefore no surprise that Sunderland formed their best run during this period, only losing once in that period, and picking up 12 points – winning against Chelsea and drawing against Arsenal in this period. 

Getting the best out of players at his disposal

Allardyce hasn’t managed football’s most industrious clubs, but he has a track record of getting the best out of his players and over achieving as a result.

At Bolton Wanderers, he galvanised the likes of Ricardo Gardener and Per Frandsen to play a key role in their promotion to the Premier League in 2001 and even helped them establish themselves as players capable of playing in the top flight. Kevin Nolan grew into a lynchpin. Michael Ricketts even won an England cap under Big Sam’s tutelage. His biggest achievement was guiding Bolton to last 16 of the Uefa Cup after guiding the club to seventh the season before.

Similarly, he oversaw the resurgence of Carlton Cole at West Ham while helping the likes of Jack Collison and Mark Noble to progress and play a key role in their promotion back to the Premier League.

In a similar way to knowing his best XI, Allardyce would be able to motivate and inspire the England team should he be chosen to be the next manager. As proven in the past, he will under-promise and then over-perform, and take England to further heights than achieved under Roy Hodgson. 

Innovative

At Bolton, Allardyce became one of the first managers in the Premier League to embrace the new technology era. After ProZone was rolled out in 1995, Allardyce was one of the first managers to use it, and it became a prominent part of his traindre Silva.After a difficult loan spell at Sevilla last season, Silva has been put up for sale by the Rossonero.While reluctant to leave for Wolves, the striker is prepared to listen to what they have to say.Gazzetta dello Sport says Wolves are leanining methods during Bolton’s early days  in the Premier League.

This methodical nature and the obsession with statistics signalled a new era in football, and while many ridiculed this new concept, Allardyce continued to thrive with the new information at his disposal.

It’s this kind of innovation and freshness that the England side need. Too often, they have been stuck in an inertia with the aim of being traditional. England need people with new thinking, new ideas and new ambitions, and they should be allowed to do it their way. With all of these things in mind, Allardyce would be the idea candidate for the job.

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Arsenal transfer news and rumours: Shkodran Mustafi deal no closer as Gunners join race for Jose Fonte

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What sense that makes to Barcelona, Mathieu or – most importantly here – Arsenal, is yet to be established. In summary: we wait on developments with Shkodran Mustafi.

 The £12m man told German newspaper Die Welt: "Arsenal, Southampton, Manchester City and Liverpool. All those clubs got in touch with me about a move. 

“I didn’t speak with Liverpool managhave shifted shirt sponsors from Puma to Adidas.And Gunners stars Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang have been pictured wearing the new kit.The design is inspired from the 1986 kit.Aubameyang and Lacazette with the new Arsenal kit for er Jurgen Klopp but I had a phone conversation with Arsene Wenger, who spoke French to me.

“Yet I chose Leipzig as they have great potential and I didn’t yet want to join a big Champions League club.

Ambitious stuff.

While Valencia continue to hold the Gunners to ransom over this blog’s standout star Shkodran Mustafi, 32-year-old Fonte is said to be "keen" on a move to Old Trafford, but Jose Mourinho would have to sell before he can buy.

£10m would be enough to seal the deal for Arsenal if they wanted to steal a march, but is Fonte a long-term proposition for a club famously unaccommodating to their over-30s?

As the Gunners continue to haggle over the price for Mustafi, Soriano – who played with the German at Sampdoria – had this short lament to spice things up:

 

The circle of life. 

"It breaks my heart to say but I can’t recall the last time an Arsenal fan really looked forward to the start of the season," Wright wrote in his column in the Sun.

"Yes, we all know these days it is about profits and balance sheets. But that cannot be at the total exclusion of everything else.

"Speculate to accumulate? There is not a great deal of the former at Arsenal. And unless they are prepared to do so, you really do fear the worst.&quotngland U21 side.The 19-year-old started in Euro2021 qualifying wins over Slovenia and Austria this week.”Really pleased, Austria were a good side and to get that assist early on was really good for me, and the team were excellent for the rest of the ;

German-born Turkish international Toprak, 27, has been with Leverkusen for six estions about his old club.Los Blancos are enduring a horrid spell at the moment, but the ex-Spain coach was keen to talk about anything other than their predicament.”I neither owe nor wish Real Madrid any bother,” he said, refusing to comment on theyears and would be considerable gamble to thrust into a Premier League title race.

Kjaer, however – no stranger to English transfer rumours in his career – has plied his trade in Seria A, Ligue 1 and the Bundesliga before arriving in Turkey. Still just 27, he could be an ideal alternative should the Mustafi deal run aground before the deadline.

Ampadu’s father Kwame currently works as a youth coach at Arsenal and would play a pivotal role in sealing the deal.

"The biggest compliment I can give him is that he plays like a 35-year-old,’ Exeter boss Paul Tisdale told BBC Radio Devon about the teenager, who is eligible to play for England, Ireland and Ghana.

Calciomercato

Reports over the weekend claimed that Arsenal had seen a £13.8m bid rejected by the Turin club for the Gabon international, but it seems that Watford have blown them out of the water with a £17.3m offer.

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Too many snaps for Buffalo's defense

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In the NFL one side of the ball is often required to carry more of the load than the other at times through the course of a 16-game season. There are stretches where a defense may struggle to keep points off the board and the offense has to pick up the slack and score more to win a shootout. At times a team’s offense may have a turnover-fie.Bayern were eager to sign Sane over the summer – before he suffered a knee injury in the Community Shield. The German giants, at that point, pulled back.However, contact has been maintained between the two parties.BILD says Sane’s representative Dalled day and need to lean on their defense to win a low-scoring affair.

For Buffalo’s defense the added burden from start to finish this past season ultimately became too much to bear as the Bills offense could not hold up their end of the bargain for much of 2009.

When the regular season came to a close last Sunday there was no defensive unit in the NFL that had been on the field for more plays in 2009 than the Bills, 1,086 to be exact. Part of the reason why was Buffalo’s offense, which was last in the league in third down conversion percentage (26%) and last in first downs per game (14.6). They were also last in total offensive plays for the season with just 911.

That difference of 175 plays left the Bills defense out on the field longer than almost any other team in football this season. Their average time on the field in a 60-minute game was 32:34. Only Kansas City’s defense spent more time on the field on average (32:49) than Buffalo’s.

“That’s three maybe four games if you have 50 snaps in a game, which we had,” said Donte Whitner. “That’s a lot of extra plays, not even including the preseason and the grind there. It’s tough, it was tough, but we pride ourselves on that, being able to go when it gets tough out there.”

“It’s hard when you have that big of a discrepancy between one side of the ball than the other,” said Kyle Williams. “When you put that much pressure on one side.”

Buffalo’s defense did its level best to keep the Bills in games ranking a respectable 16th in points allowed, but they could only hold off opponents for so long. Time on the field was partly the reason why come the third and fourth quarters the defense was worn out.

“When you’re going three and out every time and you need the defense to make a play its tough because they’re spent,” said Terrell Owens. “Offensively we never got it done and that’s the key thing. The defense shut down a lot of offenses that could put big numbers on the board. You look at the scores and they can be misleading, but we put the defenses back against the wall.”

The Bills were tied or had the lead entering the fourth quarter this season 10 times and won only half the time. Buffalo was outscored by 42 points in the final stanza in 2009 and by 53 points in the second half. But defensive co-captain Paul Posluszny said it’s too easy to fault the offense.

“If we get off the field on third down then those numbers decrease,” Posluszny said. “That goes hand in hand. We were on the field a lot, but that’s fine, that gives us more of an opportunity to make plays. That’s on us, being on the field a lot. That’s on us because we feel like it’s our job to get off the field on third down and put our offense back out there. And when you don’t do that that’s when the amount of plays keeps increasing.”

Buffalo did rank 24th in the league in third down defense allowing opponents to convert just over 40 percent of the time (40.4%). Being on the field as long as they were the Bills ranked 31st in third down conversions allowed with 97. Only the Indianapolis defense allowed more (104).

All that time on the field also put extra wear and tear on bodies. It’s not unrealistic to believe that all the extra snaps contributed to the bounty of injuries that befell Buffalo’s defense.

“We had a ton of injuries on the defensive side of the ball,” said Whitner, who missed six games this past season. “That’s probably a reason, guys laying it on the line, guys taking on blocks and not ducking them, they’re running into peoplacked by home fans.The whistles from a small section of the home fans at the Wanda Metropolitano when Koke was substituted during Tuesday’s visit from Bayer Leverkusen is still a talking point in the red and white half of the capital. The player himse and when you have that many more plays it adds up and thPogba away from Manchester United – despite his massive price-tag.The Mirror says Real are facing up to paying £150m straight cash for Pogba but are still pressing on with his potential signing.Unsettled Manchester United ace Pogba is in-demand and e percentage of the risk of you getting hurt is greater when you play more plays.”

The starting linebacking corps alone spent all of a quarter and a half on the field together in 2009. Posluszny was hurt in the opener and missed the next four games. By the time he returned Kawika Mitchell was out for the season with a knee injury, and Keith Ellison soon followed three weeks later.

“Unfortunately I got hurt and by the time I got healthy Kawika was out,” said Posluszny. “Keith and I got to play a little bit together and he got hurt. It’s a tough part of the deal. Guys do get hurt, but this season was particularly difficult. I guess that’s sometimes just the way it works out.”

“If you’re playing that much things are going to tend to happen,” said Williams, who missed most of three games with a knee injury. “That being said we still had so many guys get hurt and we were still able to stay in a lot of football games.”

Looking ahead to next season the men on Buffalo’s offense realize that they’ve got to be better in a lot of areas, but chiefly with keeping drives alive. “Third down is definitely going to be the key,” said Lee Evans. “We left our defense out there for a lot of plays this season. That has to change.”

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Dutch football has not produced enough good players in recent years, admits Danny Blind

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Tomorrow night at Wembley will be much about Johan Cruyff, whose face will loom over the crowd in the 14th minute – in honour of his No 14 shirt – and begin a round of applause for the great Dutchman who died, aged 68, on Thursday. To say that the current team are in the shadow of the great 1970s “Total Football” generation is putting it mildly – Dutch football is approaching the kind of ice-age that the English game was once living in fear of itself.

“It is currently very difficult because Holland was second at the 2010 world Cup and third in 2014 so people expect a lot from our team and it is very disappointing we did not qualify for the Euro 2016 tournamet off Real Madrid lightly last night.City earned an historic 2-1 win at the Bernabeu, which has put them in pole position to advance to the Champions League quarter-finals.“They dropped in the last 10 minutes, we detected that and if the game had lnt,” Blind said. “Especially because the third place in the group would have been good enough to get to France. It’s very disappointing … it’s going to be a tough summer.”

The fear from Holland is that against a resurgent England, they could be in for a scoreline like the one of 20 years ago. That defeat is the only one suffered by the Dutch in their last ten games against the English although they have never had to field such an inexperienced side as the one likely to play tomorrow night.

There are around ten injured players missing from the current squad before you consider that the likes of Robin Van Persie, Nigel De Jong and Rafael Van der Vaart have all been put out to pasture. Against England there will be no Arjen Robben or Wesley Sneijder. Neither will goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen play – he broke his nose last week against France. Daryl Janmaat of Newcastle is out, so too Stefan de Vrij of Lazio, Ajax’s Davy Klaassen, Davy Propper of PSV Eindhoven and Erik Pieters of Stoke City

Blind did select the former Aston Villa centre-back Everton.With the Blues languishing at the wrong end of the table, the Dutch sports director is bearing the brunt of criticism.And TMW says Brands could yet be replaced.Everton have made contact with Shakhtar Donetsk sports director José Boto about Ron Vlaar, 31, for the first time in a year but the AZ Alkmaar man is also injured. Sniejder’s injury means a promotion to captain for Blind’s son Daley, of Manchester United, and when father and son came into the room at Wembley it was hard to avoid an old joke about this being the blind leading the blind.

Danny praised the change in English football as “less predictable, more modern, and in keeping with a European style.” He added: “England used to have lots of foreign players but it looks like they now have homegrown players in their league so they are building a good national team. That’s a contrast to us. We are rebuilding our national team with extremely young players.”

The Blind family can be absolved of any blame in having produced two international footballers themselves but elsewhere serious questions are being asked of Holland’s academy footballers. The worry is whether the likes of Jetro Willems, 21; Riechedly Bazoer, 19 and Memphis Depay, 22, will be good enough to get the team to Russia for the 2018 World Cup finals. How has it come to this, in a country that was once the byword for good practice in development?

“It’s always difficult to find one special reason for what has happened,” Danny said. “There were periods in the 1980s when we did not qualify [1982 and 1986 World Cup finals]. That’s football. We had galy Giuseppe Conte admits they may call for the suspension of all Serie A matches next weekend.Coronavirus concerns led to a raft of games being scrapped this past weekend.There were four Serie A matches postponed on Sunday, Inter-Sampdoria, Atalantareat players with Robben, Van Persie, [Klaas-Jan] Huntelaar, De Jong, Sneijder. The players aged 25-28, they are not around. We have to deal with that. The only thing we can do is bring in young players for games like this one.”

The Opta Stats still say that the Dutch are producing more homegrown players for the Eredivisie than any other top league in Europe. Of the players who started games in Holland’s top-flight in the last round of league matches, 64.6 per cent were Dutch. That compares with 27.7 per cent English in the corresponding Premier League games. The next highest after Holland was France with 58.2 per cent homegrown players in their league. The question, clearly, is about the quality of the league itself.

As for the Cruyff memories, they are strong for Danny who was signed by the great man when he was manager of Ajax in 1986. Danny went on to play 13 years at the club, winning five league titles and all three of the major European trophies. “Maybe I was a good player but not a special one and that move gave me the possibility to develop in a better team,” Danny said. “It changed my football life totally … it changed my whole life.”

Alongside him, Daley said that his generation knew Cruyff through the footage they watched on the television screen. “It’s clear he was one of the greatest footballers from Holland and the world … every young player knows who Johan Cruyff is and what he stands for. That’s the most important thing and everyone has special memories of him. He’s still a legend, even for my generation.”

Before the Holland team of Cruyff reached the 1974 World Cup finals they country had missed the previous six final tournaments, failing to qualify for 1958, 1962, 1966 and 1970 and not even entering a team in 1950 and 1954. Once again there must be a transformation in Dutch football although this time they have the Cruyff template with which to do it.

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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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Notre Dame vs. USC odds, line: 2019 College football picks, predictions from simulation on 68-42 run

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The Fighting Irish are looking to to keep rolling at home and stay in the hunt for a spot in the College Football Playoff when No. 9 hosts its longtime rival, the Southern Cal Trojans on Saturday. The Irish have won 14 consecutive games on their turf and have beaten the Trojans in their past two meetings. Quarterback and a potent running game give the big-play defense more than enough points to work with. The Trojans have combined some big wins with confounding losses and fell to No. 17 before a bye week. Kickoff from Notre Dame Stadium is set for 7:30 p.m. ET. The Fighting Irish are 10.5-point favorites in the latest Notre Dame vs. odds, while the over-under for total points scored is 58.5. Before making your Notre Dame vs. USC picks, be sure to check out the predictions from the SportsLine Projection Model.

The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every FBS college football game 10,000 times, and those who have followed it have seen huge returns. Over the past four-plus years, the proprietary computer model has generated an eye-popping profit of over $4,300 for $100 plnager Maurizio Sarri’s system for his problems with fans this season.His performances have made him a target for criticism from Chelsea supporters, but he explains that Sarri’s decision to change the nature of his role during the course of the campaiayers on its top-rated college football against the spread picks.  

The model enters Week 7 of the 2019 season on a strong run, going 68-42 on its top-rated college football picks. It also called (-27.5) covering against and (+21) staying well within the spread against last week. Anybody who has been following it is way up.

Now, it has analyzed Notre Dame vs. USC from every angle. We can tell you it’s leaning under, but it also says one side of the spread cashes in well over 60 percent of simulations. That one is only available at SportsLine. ster United are prepared to pay massive money on two new centre-halves.ESPN says United are targeting Harry Maguire and Kalidou Koulibaly after being snubbed by Ajax defender Matthijs de Ligt.De Ligt was given the chance to join Manchester United but

The model has considered that the Irish are coming off the set to receive a cash windfall from Danny Ings’ switch from Liverpool to Southampton.The striker has joined Saints on a permanent deal after a successful loan spell last season.The move is reportedly worth £18 million fee rising to £20 million.Their first shutout since 2014 after routing 52-0 last week. They have forced 14 turnovers in five games, recovering eight fumbles and intercepting six passes, two each from safeties and . The freshman Hamilton returned one of his 34 yards for a touchdown in his first game at Notre Dame Stadium. The defensive ends also have been getting after quarterbacks, with posting three of the team’s 14 sacks and adding two. The home team is 6-0 against the spread  in the last six meetings, and the Irish are 4-0 ATS in their past four non-conference games.

Book threw a career-high five touchdown passes in a little more than two quarters last week, and he has 1,254 yards and 13 touchdowns this season. . had his third 100-yard game last week to run his total to 381. The Irish also expect original starting running back to contribute Saturday after dealing with a groin injury. He ran for 383 yards and seven touchdowns despite missing three games last season. Notre Dame is perfect in the red zone this season, going 20-for-20 with 17 touchdowns.

But just because Notre Dame gets the job done on both sides of the ball doesn’t mean the Irish will cover the Notre Dame vs. USC spread on Saturday.

That’s because the Trojans will start freshman Kedon Slovis at quarterback after he missed time with a concussion. He has completed 77.9 percent of his throws and has 732 yards and five touchdowns in four games. He was named the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week after throwing for 377 yards and three touchdowns in a 45-20 win against then-No. 23 . He will be bolstered by receivers Michael Pittman Jr. (31-501), and  (31-414).

Southern Cal has a young defense, but it has largely been effective, limiting teams to 411 yards and 24.8 points per game. It is strong up front, with John (45 tackles) and (41) anchoring the linebacking corps. and anchor the middle of the line, and has three sacks coming off the end.

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WATCH: Baker Mayfield tears up, gets emotional talking Oklahoma punishment

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The punitive response to obscene gesture to ‘ players during Saturday’s win was announced by head coach Lincoln Riley on Monday. Mayfield, a two-time Heisman Trophy finalist and the frontrunner to win the award with two weeks left to play in 2017, will not start against in the regular season finale. He is still expected to play, but . 

Having a captaincy removed is a punishment that has a varying severity depend clear at the top of the table, have started a trend of scoring late goals to win games this season.And Klopp insists the never-say-die attitude is something the squad pride themselves on.”How important is the mennchester City but new boss Carlo Ancelotti has told his money men to make sure he stays.And so Holgate, 23, signed as a kid from Barnsley, is in for a lucrative new deal to bring him more into line with what his team-mates earn.Holgate is on a lower tal side in football? It’s all, if yoing on the player, program and timing. That part on to the Chelsea squad.The German manager was asked whether Frank Lampard’s team would be a title threat in the coming season.Many are writing off Chelsea due to their transfer ban.However, Klopp believes that with players such as Abraham added to tof the punishment struck a nerve with Mayfield, considering that Saturday’s game against the Mountaineers is Senior Day in Norman. 

Mayfield spoke about the punishment after Monday’s practice and got emotional not about losing his starting job, but about not being a team captain for the final home game of his college career. 

“Not being a team captain is so much more,” Mayfield said. “It would be hard if it were a regular game or not, but it being my last one here ever, it means a lot more. It’s going to be tough, because Saturday was going to be — without all of this — an emotional one. It’s going to be hard to handle. It’s going to be hard.” 

Check out video above.