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Postby xiaolan » Thu Aug 24, 2017 3:19 am

Napoli cruised into the Champions League group stage with a 2-0 win at Nice on Tuesday, scoring their first goal as the Ligue 1 side’s striker Mario Balotelli was arguing with match officials on the touchline.
José Callejòn took advantage of Balotelli’s absence in the 48th minute of the play-off round second-leg tie, handing them an away goal which, Image added to their 2-0 win from the first leg, effectively ended Nice’s challenge as it left the French side needing to score four. Lorenzo Insigne added another goal as the Serie A side completed a comfortable 4-0 aggregate win.
Balotelli, who missed the first leg through injury, was sluggish, off the pace and never threatened the Napoli goal. The Italian was eventually substituted during the second half to jeers from the home fans.
The low point of the striker’s evening came shortly after the start of the second half, Barry Larkin Authentic Jersey when he went over to the touchline and became embroiled in an argument with match officials. The row appeared to centre on a white bandage over his wrist which French media said was covering up a bracelet – banned under the laws of the game.
While Balotelli was arguing, Marek Hamsik crossed from the left and Callejòn, unmarked at the far post, scored easily.
The Nice coach Lucien Favre reacted furiously to the goal while Balotelli continued his discussion with officials. Insigne wrapped things up in the 89th minute, collecting Faouzi Ghoulam’s pass and firing into the corner.
“I don’t want to comment on Balotelli,” Favre said afterwards. “It wasn’t very satisfactory, it was not good enough.” He also complained that Balotelli was too slow in leaving the field when he was substituted.
Napoli’s win ended a dismal run for Italy in the final play-off round. Bo Jackson Youth Jersey Serie A teams have lost at the same stage of the competition in the last three seasons, and it will be the first time since 2013-14 that Italy have had three teams in the group stage.
Sevilla suffered a fright, going 1-0 down at home to Istanbul Basaksehir, before drawing 2-2 to win 4-3 on aggregate in another of Tuesday’s ties. Eduardo Berizzo’s side had won the first leg 2-1 in Istanbul, but Eljero Elia’s goal after 17 minutes levelled the tie. In the second half goals from Sergio Escudero and Wissam Ben Yedder swung the contest back in Sevilla’s favour before Edin Visca’s late goal for the visitors set up a nervous finale.
Slovenia’s champions, Maribor, overcame Israel’s Hapoel Beer-Sheva on away goals after a 1-0 home win in the second leg gave them a 2-2 aggregate, and Olympiakos beat Rijeka 1-0 away to qualify 3-1 on aggregate, Marko Marin’s goal securing victory and denying the Croatian champions a first-ever group stage appearance.
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Postby xiaolan » Thu Aug 24, 2017 8:56 am

Barcelona are expected to test Liverpool’s resolve with one final bid for Philippe Coutinho in the next few days before looking around to see if there are any credible alternatives. Image For the sake of Jürgen Klopp’s peace of mind it is to be hoped they do not settle on his other Brazilian, Roberto Firmino, because in the absence of the little magician this season the former Hoffenheim player has not only stepped up to the plate but also stepped up his game.
There is a tendency to see Firmino as simply a top-quality finisher, and he certainly is that, though there are other aspects of his game too, and when Liverpool raced into a three-goal lead before the mid-point of the first half their mobile No9 was pulling the strings just as effectively as the object of Barcelona’s attentions does.
Liverpool could quite easily have been four goals to the good by that stage, for Firmino’s first act of note had been to play Sadio Mané clean through with an inspired diagonal ball. The winger only had Oliver Baumann to beat but had far too much time to think about how to do it and ended up tamely waiting too long. No matter, Adidas Colin Wilson Womens Jersey Firmino played exactly the same pass five minutes later and once again Hoffenheim were sliced open. This time Mané was not quite on his own, and as the cover moved in to block his path he produced a backheel for Emre Can to open the scoring.
Firmino was involved in the second goal as well, cutting in from the left to provide the cross from which Georginio Wijnaldum struck a post for Mohamed Salah to tuck away the rebound, then when set free down the left by Mané’s pass the Brazilian produced a perfect first-time cross to present Can with his second goal of the evening.
The cross was just the end result really, for Firmino had begun the move in his own half with a lay-off to Wijnaldum, before setting off on a 50-yard run into free space on the left flank.
All Firmino needed to do to complete a virtuoso evening was score, and he almost did that when Trent Alexander-Arnold’s cute pass allowed Salah to cross from the right. Firmino was quickly on to it but Baumann came out to deny him on the six-yard line.
One of the most impressive things about Firmino is that, though blessed with vision and a range of skills, he resists the temptation to overcomplicate. If a short or simple pass is the best pass, Corey Perry Authentic Jersey that is the one he will play, as at the end of the first half when he almost put Mané away again with a pass of no more than a few feet. He also covers the ground well, coming deep in search of the ball then materialising almost unnoticed in the opposition danger area as soon as an attack has been put in motion.
With such a whirlwind start the tie looked as good as over when the third goal went in, though that is not quite the modern Liverpool way and Alberto Moreno allowing Mark Uth to get outside him on the half-hour put a brake on any premature celebrations.
Klopp himself had been somewhat guilty of that, perhaps not assuming victory was in the bag when the third goal went in but certainly celebrating wildly with the fans behind him. To be fair to him he might just have been overjoyed in recognition of a hallmark Liverpool goal.
Quick passing and movement, crisp first touches and a man spare at the end of the move to apply a slick finish, it was all there. The crowd liked what it saw as well. “Bobby Firmino” was the chant from the Kop at the start of the second half, and Firmino was also the player Kevin Vogt barged over in frustration a few minutes later, a challenge that earned the German captain a booking.
Vogt was also the player Jordan Henderson caught in possession just after the hour to unselfishly set up Firmino for a richly deserved goal. One could readily understand Hoffenheim’s frustration, however.
It cannot be much fun chasing a three- or four-goal deficit when your opponents have Firmino, Mané and Salah ready to hurtle into any space you might leave behind your back-line. Whatever happens on the Coutinho front, Liverpool look well-equipped to give a good account of themselves in the Champions League group stage.
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Postby xiaolan » Fri Aug 25, 2017 5:31 am

Gareth Southgate has said there is still a possibility he might invite Wayne Rooney out of international retirement for the World Cup if the former Manchester United striker maintains his form for Everton this season and is open to the idea of playing for England in Russia next summer.
Southgate said he would not discount the idea, saying it would be “foolish” to eliminate Rooney from his thinking, Image but he also called on England’s other players to show they can prosper without the man who won 119 caps for his country. Some of those players, Southgate said, had been guilty of “hiding” behind England’s record scorer.
Rooney announced on Wednesday that he was bringing an end to his 13-year international career, deciding to concentrate on his club career and turn down Southgate’s offer to return to England’s squad. Southgate had previously removed him as captain and dropped him from the squad, leading to one question at the press conference on Thursday about whether he felt like “the man who shot Bambi” but the England manager had wanted to recall the Everton striker for the forthcoming World Cup qualifiers against Malta and Slovakia and is not ruling out the idea of similar conversations before that tournament.
“I don’t see why you ever shut the door on anything,” Southgate said. “I suppose we would have to see where he was at, where the squad was at, where everything else was at. Andrej Sustr Authentic Jersey But it would be foolish to say ‘no’ because anything is possible. A part of that question should go to Wayne because you have to respect his decision and the thinking behind it. But have I seen players change their minds? Yes, I think we all have.”
In the meantime, Southgate’s message to the other England players, with Harry Kane still not officially announced as the new captain, is that they now have to compensate for Rooney’s absence.
“Wayne has been somebody it may have been easy for the other players to hide behind because he was always the one who has carried the burden. I think that’s been unfair on him. Now everybody has the chance to take the mantle.
“Since Steven [Gerrard] retired, Wayne has probably had to carry that on his own. Even prior to that, he was carrying a lot of responsibility. He has done that tremendously well but now others have to grasp that initiative and responsibility. It is an opportunity for other people now.
“If we are gong to be an outstanding team we need players who are going to step up in the big moments and realise, every time they play for England, they have the chance to be involved in an iconic moment, a historic performance, Andy Janovich Authentic Jersey and that they have that choice every time they go on the field. I want to give them their heads a bit and see what might be possible.”
Southgate confirmed he had been planning to recall Rooney until a telephone conversation made it clear the player did not want to be considered. “In one way there’s a tinge of sadness because, ideally, I would liked to have managed Wayne at his peak and not had to make some of the decisions I have had to make. I’ve taken no pleasure from not selecting Wayne and would have preferred to have had a relationship with him where he was in the team all the time and playing at a world-class level. Unfortunately I was the one who got him at this time. I think I’ve made decisions for the right reasons and I’ve always communicated them in a respectful way. As a manager, you can’t do any more than that. I sit comfortably with that. But I’ve not enjoyed it.
“I go back to the fact I was fortunate enough to play with him [in the Sven-Goran Eriksson era]. I played in his first competitive game when he came on in Liechtenstein. He’d played against Australia before that and, at that point, we were saying: ‘Who is this kid, what’s he up to?’ We’d seen his goal against Arsenal but he didn’t really say very much at all. By the end of the week it was: ‘Blimey, Sven’s got to pick him, he can’t possibly not pick him.’ We were seeing something I hadn’t seen since [Paul] Gascoigne in terms of all his different attributes.
“I see people debating now about whether Wayne deserves to be thought of as a legend of the English game. Well, he’s our most-capped outfield player and our record scorer. I’m not sure what else you have to do to be a legend. I guess people have a similar debate about [Lionel] Messi because he has not won a World Cup. We are talking about that level of player. We are talking about greats within their own country. We cannot compare ourselves to the Brazilians or Germans but Wayne has done pretty much everything else.
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Postby xiaolan » Sat Aug 26, 2017 4:37 am

Zlatan Ibrahimovic would have to accept “that’s life” if José Mourinho selects Romelu Lukaku and Marcus Rashford before him when he is available again for Manchester United.
On Thursday Ibrahimovic re-signed on a one-year deal but is still recovering from a serious knee injury and Mourinho believes the 35-year-old will not be ready for action until next year. Image The manager is insistent that, if Ibrahimovic proves deserving of first-choice status, he will receive it. By the same token the striker will have to settle for a substitute’s berth if Lukaku and Rashford are on form.
“Zlatan knows me,” the manager said. “And he knows that I play the players that are the best for the team. I always did that in my life so, if he comes here and he proves that he is the best, he plays. If the other ones don’t give him a chance to prove that, that’s life. But I try always to be honest with my players and with my team. I try. Maybe sometimes I do not do the correct things. But I always try.
“Zlatan is going to arrive into a made team. He is going to arrive mid-season with the team playing in a certain way and with players having what I call the functional links in the dynamic of the team. We are going to be a better squad and I give you just one example – if we play Stoke and two days later we play against Burton and I want to give a rest to my two strikers, Authentic Adam Graves Youth Jersey who do I play against Burton? I have to play Rashford or Lukaku. I don’t have another one to play so I cannot give rest to my players. So we need a striker and we have one just around the corner that belongs to our family, that likes to be with us and play for us.
“He is one more striker, he is one more experienced player, one more player that can play No9 or No10, that can play in a double striker [system]. There are lots of matches to play. If we progress in the Champions League and one of the two cups we are going to be in the position where we couldn’t do it only with Lukaku and Rashford, especially if I play both together. So if I need a striker, probably in January I would be knocking on [executive vice-chairman] Ed Woodward’s door and [now] I don’t need to. I have one of the best in the world.”
Mourinho praised Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s start and admitted the forward’s progress could have been quicker last season if they had understood each other better. Mkhitaryan started United’s 4-0 wins over West Ham and Swansea City in the No10 berth, impressing in each. Last season Mkhitaryan did not make his full debut until Manchester City’s visit on 10 September and was replaced at half-time.
Asked about the 28-year-old’s form now Mourinho said: “He understands me and I understand him. Beginning of [last] season, if he had understood me better he would start better. If I had understood him better, probably I would have helped him in a faster way than I did. But we spent a lot of time together, learning each other. I know him well. He knows me well. The second part was good for him. With his talent, this season [will be] even better.”
Mourinho offered a similar analysis of Anthony Martial, who has scored in both league wins as a substitute. “When you are blessed with talent, Alex Pietrangelo Womens Jersey you have to fulfil and explore it. You cannot be happy with just glimpses. That I am not going to change. I want more and more and more. He has all the qualities for that. He understands me better too.
“Our personal relationship is good. I don’t think player-manager relationship is fundamental but it is an added good thing to have a good relation. I hope he will be better this season than last.”
On Saturday Leicester City travel to Old Trafford for the late kick-off. The 2016 champions have started the season well, losing narrowly to Arsenal at the Emirates and beating Brighton at home. Mourinho said: “It is the same team as they were two seasons ago [when they were champions]. After what they did, [we could probably] could feel that they would not be champions a second consecutive season. Are they going to be champions again? Honestly, I don’t think so. All the other teams are not all going to fail.”
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Postby xiaolan » Mon Aug 28, 2017 3:06 am

Image Chelsea are increasingly confident they will secure Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain from Arsenal before the closure of the transfer window and hope to speak to Everton over the potential purchase of Ross Barkley after Sunday’s meeting between the sides at Stamford Bridge.
The pair could yet be joined by another England international, Leicester City’s Danny Drinkwater, as the champions seek to satisfy Antonio Conte and bolster his senior options before Thursday night’s deadline. Oxlade-Chamberlain, who has entered the final 12 months of his contract, has been offered new terms by Arsenal but is understood to have made clear his desire to depart for a fresh challenge after six years at the club.
Arsenal are not prepared to lose all of Oxlade-Chamberlain, Mesut Özil and Alexis Sánchez under freedom of contract next summer and, Authentic #42 Arthur Brown Youth Jersey given the lack of suitors for the German and the hierarchy’s intransigence over the prospect of selling Sánchez this summer – Manchester City are likely to test that resolve before Thursday – the England midfielder appears the likeliest to leave. Liverpool have also been interested but, while no bid has yet been received, Chelsea feel an offer worth around £35m will be accepted and the player will make the switch across the capital.
They will compete with Tottenham Hotspur for Barkley, who is in rehabilitation with a torn hamstring which will keep him out until the new year. Chelsea’s interest has surfaced late but they are ready to trump any Spurs offer for the 23-year-old and hope to speak face to face to the Everton owner, Farhad Moshiri, or the chairman, Bill Kenwright, if they attend Sunday’s game. There are bridges to be rebuilt with the visitors after the fallout from Chelsea’s interest in John Stones last summer and Romelu Lukaku this year. Those players ended up joining Manchester City and Manchester United respectively.
Drinkwater has yet to feature for Leicester this season with Chelsea’s opening bid, worth around £15m, having been rejected. City value the 27-year-old at more than £30m but the player has made clear he is keen to move to Stamford Bridge and a compromise is likely to be reached next week.
Conte would welcome the addition of the three Englishmen after a tense summer behind the scenes, with Chelsea’s attempts at squad strengthening laboured. Tiémoué Bakayoko and Álvaro Morata joined for significant fees but, as it turned out, only as direct replacements for Nemanja Matic and the disaffected Diego Costa. The Italian has also secured Antonio Rüdiger – who is set to start again against Everton in the continued absence of the suspended captain, Gary Cahill – but had spent the tail-end of the last campaign warning that playing in the Champions League would require significant additions to be made.
“My focus is only on the pitch,” Conte said on Friday. “The club is working very hard to try and strengthen our team and our squad. We’ll see what happens at the end of the transfer market. Authentic Bobby Orr Womens Jersey We are trying to strengthen our squad and, if we are in the transfer market, that means we need to improve the squad. That’s logical. Otherwise we’d stay out of the market.”
Eden Hazard, who starred in last season’s 5-0 thrashing of Everton at Stamford Bridge, will not be involved on Sunday as he continues his rehabilitation from ankle surgery. The forward was picked to play against Everton’s Under-23s at Aldershot on Friday evening, with Conte admitting to being “surprised” Roberto Martínez had chosen to call up the player for Belgium’s games against Gibraltar and Greece. Hazard will not be ready to play in those qualifiers.
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Postby xiaolan » Mon Aug 28, 2017 8:23 am

Frank de Boer’s future as Crystal Palace manager is in serious doubt after only three Premier League games in charge with the club’s hierarchy understood to be deeply unimpressed with the start he has made in English football and increasingly unconvinced he will be willing to adapt his approach and instigate a revival.
The former Ajax and Internazionale manager was appointed in late June to succeed Sam Allardyce at Selhurst Park after a month-long selection process headed by the chairman, Steve Parish, Image and with the input of Palace’s American major shareholders, David Blitzer and Josh Harris. De Boer arrived in south London on a three-year contract promising “evolution, not revolution” and the aim to make Palace “a solid Premier League team, not to struggle with relegation”.
However, the playing staff have struggled to adapt to the 47-year-old’s demands and desire to play a more possession-based style built around three at the back, and there has been concern raised in the boardroom over perceived naivety due to the manager’s inflexibility over tactics in the Premier League.
Palace have lost their first three league games of the season, Daniel MurphyWomens Jersey including home matches against newly promoted Huddersfield Town and last season’s fellow strugglers Swansea City, and have yet to score a goal.
Saturday’s spluttering loss to the Welsh club, when De Boer again started with three centre-halves and ended up switching to 4-3-3 at the interval when his team were chasing a deficit, pushed an already tense relationship between manager and the club’s hierarchy to breaking point. Parish is understood to have spent the remainder of the weekend considering his options.
De Boer has been in charge for only 62 days, still 23 days shorter than he managed at San Siro, and the owners would clearly prefer to offer him more time to prove his pedigree. But they have been alarmed at his apparent reluctance to bend his approach and, if they receive no indications the situation will change, are conscious a swift decision would allow more time for recovery. A firm decision will be made over the international break.
If the axe does fall then Dougie Freedman, who enjoyed a 22-month spell as manager at the club in the Championship and was appointed as sporting director last week, could fill the role on an interim basis if required.
De Boer, whose 14 games at Inter yielded five wins after four Eredivisie titles in six seasons at Ajax, suggested his players lacked courage on Saturday and was dismissive of talk that tactical systems were wrecking their chances. “I don’t see a change of style,” he said. Alexei Kovalev Youth Jersey “It’s just [about them] showing the spirit and doing what we tell them to do. It was not different to against Liverpool, where we did really well. I want to see that every time. If we play 3-4-3 or 5-3-2 or 4-3-3, everybody knows what he has to do. It all starts with courage when you have the ball. Defending, you know, is not the most difficult thing. When you have the ball, you have to make the right choices. We did that in the second half much better.”
The manager has inherited a squad effectively put together by Ian Holloway, Tony Pulis, Neil Warnock, Alan Pardew and Allardyce over Palace’s five-year stint in the top flight. There have been only three signings in this transfer window and the only permanent deal was the £7.9m signing of Jairo Riedewald from Ajax.
The club had hoped to push through a deal for Liverpool’s Mamadou Sakho this week, conscious of the impact the France defender made while on loan last season, though it remains to be seen whether a compromise over the fee can be reached before Thursday’s deadline. Liverpool have been insistent the centre-half will cost suitors £30m.
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Postby xiaolan » Tue Aug 29, 2017 5:33 am

In the thick of Arsenal’s chronic breakdown at Anfield on Sunday it did not take long for football’s splurging social commentary to begin establishing just how bad this was compared with other abhorrences. How rotten exactly are things in the state of Arsenal? As bad as the 8-2 at Manchester United? On a par with the season they were dismembered by vicious scorelines at Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea? Worse than an aggregate 10-2 thumping from Bayern Munich? More embarrassing than imploding in fright at home to Swansea or Watford or Aston Villa?
Hereby hangs Arsenal’s sharpest problem. Scanning through the past five years to pick out the performances that were especially awful is instructive. Image This is not an exercise in recalling the common or garden soft defeats at Stoke or West Brom, but a search for the goriest of horror shows. This involves the type of ordeal to leave observers wondering how much longer, how much worse, how much more intolerable, how many times it is possible to repeat the same mistakes without wanting to smash the place up and sweep everything out to start afresh.
This was a subjective exercise but a rough count tots up 20 such occasions over five years. That tells of a damning sense of paralysis, a club constructed in such a way they cannot change the record no matter how screechingly discordant their most annoying songs sound. If Arsenal turn on their internal radio and hear a tune they loathe which taunts them by infernal repetition, they just do not have it in them to change the station. Think about it: 20 times in five years with no radical reaction.
Arsenal have managed to respond to setbacks in their own way. They usually regain enough composure to qualify for the Champions League (missing out only once, Lorenzen Wright Authentic Jersey last May) and to have earned the sweet salve of three FA Cup victories out of four attempts. But real, profound change, the kind to reset the club as one with ambition to believe in, the kind that creates a team resolve that does not look as if it is made of straw ready to be obliterated by a mere puff of wolfish intent from any opponent, remains a long shot.
The greatest concern to those who care about Arsenal is the fact that getting lacerated by Liverpool with a reasonably strong if weirdly imbalanced selection does not necessarily represent depths significantly lower than other nadirs they have skulked around in the past. If the club did not feel the necessity to address serious issues at any of the previous 19 calamities, why suddenly feel pushed to do things differently after No20?
Which introduces the other major problem. For a long time Arsène Wenger has been a lightning rod for the issues that dog the club. What Arsenal did or did not do in terms of management alone started off as an elephant in the room. But now there is an entire herd of them. One can hardly see the wall on the other side for doleful elephants, great big creatures squishing all their complaints against each other. They have become noisy, too, which is understandable.
The difficulties are manifold. At the top of the business the majority shareholder, Stan Kroenke, has never shown any inclination to take active control of goings-on. The chief executive, Ivan Gazidis, who called for a “catalyst for change” a few months ago, is unable or unwilling to challenge the status quo. The manager presides over a set of players who play as if they either do not know what they are supposed to be doing, cannot do what they are asked to do or do not wish to – a mere three games into the season. To be too tactically sunk and low in determination to perform basic tasks is a desperate recurring theme. Quite what was going on inside the heads of Alexandre Lacazette or Sead Kolasinac as they watched from the bench is hard to fathom. Quite how Jens Lehmann kept any kind of calm counsel is harder still.
Behind the scenes the scouting department and the men detailed with arranging contracts and dealing in the transfer market are failing. George Gervin Youth Jersey Numerous players are out of contract this summer or next and it has not gone unnoticed that recent purchases recommended by the StatDNA data business Arsenal bought supposedly to give them a competitive edge have struggled and are among those Wenger seeks to offload. Elsewhere the marketing and commercial gurus strain to strike deals that compare well with their rivals.
It is not as if this kind of situation was freakish. A flaky run exposing basic problems in the team’s structure and motivation was not exactly unpredictable. Perhaps the shock for Arsenal is how quickly it manifested itself this season.
Can they enforce the changes needed to turn a club that looks unhealthy into one that is radiant and positive? It will not be easy, simply because there appear to be so many departments that are underperforming, complacent, overwhelmed (or any combination of). The probability of any substantial remodelling is wafer thin. There is no reason to believe a change of management, ownership, chief executive or a wholesale shake-up of team personnel or dynamic is around the corner.
The herd of elephants have nowhere obvious to go.
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Postby xiaolan » Wed Aug 30, 2017 4:18 am

Arsenal say their position on Alexis Sánchez is unchanged – the striker is not for sale – after Manchester City finally moved for their long-time target with a straight cash offer of £50m.
Ferran Soriano, the City chief executive, spoke to his Arsenal counterpart, Image Ivan Gazidis, on Tuesday and after weeks of dancing around he put forward the official bid. It was not to alter Arsenal’s resolve over the player.
They are determined to hold Sánchez to the final year of his contract, even though he has made it clear he will not sign a new one and, as such, would stand to leave for nothing next summer. Moreover, it is his preference to join City before the transfer deadline on Thursday. Arsenal continue to believe he would apply himself in their colours after 1 September and give his best for one last season.
The situation is delicate and complex and there is the acceptance at Arsenal that every player has his price – even Sánchez, Bryce Harper #34 Authentic Jersey who is undeniably the club’s biggest star. Were City to come back with an offer that located the tipping point, the saga could twist again. City have the time to do so before deadline. But, as things stand, that has not happened.
Arsenal have had an interest in the Monaco attacking midfielder Thomas Lemar throughout the summer – Liverpool are also now in for him – but the French club have indicated it would cost €80m (£74m) to get him. In other words he is not for sale. It is safe to assume Arsenal’s tipping point for Sánchez would, at the very least, be equal to this figure.
During the conversation between Soriano and Gazidis, the City forward Raheem Sterling emerged as a potential makeweight in the deal for Sánchez. City contend it was not Soriano who suggested this. The club went to great lengths to prise Sterling from Liverpool for £49m in 2015 and he has started the season with vital goals against Everton and Bournemouth. But it is unclear whether Pep Guardiola counts on him. Mixing players into deals is notoriously complicated and City would prefer a straight cash transaction for Sánchez.
Arsenal know that selling their best player to City and, in effect, getting an unwanted one back from Guardiola would not wash with their supporters. Perhaps, if they could add Lemar as well, it would be more palatable. But they are acutely aware of the difficulties, at this late stage, of the practicalities of getting a replacement or replacements for Sánchez.
The 28-year-old is in Chile preparing for his World Cup qualifier against Paraguay on Thursday. Were there to be a breakthrough over his move, Damon Harrison Authentic Jersey City would get a doctor out to him to supervise the medical.
Arsenal are interested in the West Bromwich Albion centre-half Jonny Evans, who is also wanted by Manchester City and Leicester City, as they consider whether to move Shkodran Mustafi out to Internazionale. Mustafi wants to leave Arsenal. The club are also in talks with West Brom about selling Kieran Gibbs to them for £7m. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is primed to complete his £40m switch to Chelsea.
City have a potential problem over Sergio Agüero, with the feeling within the club being that the Argentina striker might pursue a move away in January. He was dropped by Guardiola for the Premier League win at Bournemouth on Saturday and there has been tension between the player and manager. Agüero is determined to play regularly in World Cup year.
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Postby xiaolan » Thu Aug 31, 2017 2:54 am

Nathaniel Chalobah has admitted his decision to leave Chelsea this summer was “brave” but has already been justified by a first call-up to the England squad, with the Watford midfielder hoping to make his senior debut in the forthcoming World Cup qualifiers against Malta and Slovakia.
Chalobah, who had entered the final 12 months of his deal at Stamford Bridge, opted to turn down Chelsea’s offer of a new contract after talks with Antonio Conte and the academy graduate moved instead to Vicarage Road for a cut-price £5.5m. Image The 22-year-old believed he would have been loaned out for a seventh time in five years had he agreed new terms and remained with the champions, so took the bolder decision to seek out regular first‑team football with a team who finished 17th last season. He has started all three of Watford’s Premier League matches to date.
“It takes a lot [to leave],” he said. “You have to really look deep into yourself and see what makes you happy. For me I was at a top club and people were saying to me: ‘You are at Chelsea; you should stay at Chelsea, a big club.’ But that was not the problem. The problem was I wanted to play after getting a taste of it last year.
“I needed to go out and try to do better things for myself. You really have to be brave and sometimes decisions can be hard to make, especially when it is your future at stake. Andrew Quarless Authentic Jersey I had my family and friends and my agent, who is an ex-footballer himself and played a big part in it.”
Conte had reiterated his disappointment to lose Chalobah only last week in the wake of his first senior call-up to Gareth Southgate’s squad, having been unable to persuade him to remain at the club earlier this summer. “I have a lot of respect for the manager,” said the player. “I had a few discussions with him and he was always honest with me, which is what I needed at the time.
“He gave me the opportunity that a lot of other managers hadn’t given me at Chelsea and for that I will forever be grateful. I have no bad things to say about the manager really.”
Chalobah had joined the Chelsea academy at the age of 10 but, despite impressing Conte, started only one Premier League game for the club. His tastes of senior football had come in a previous loan spell at Watford in the Championship, then with Nottingham Forest, Middlesbrough, Burnley, Reading and even Napoli in Serie A.
“I’d been on a few loans, back and forth,” he said. “But I was never really settled, so it was more a case of trying to find somewhere to call home. Bob Uecker Authentic Jersey I was finding that difficult at Chelsea even though I was there for the whole season last year and played a few games.
“But it was still a hard decision. Chelsea was all I knew, the club I loved and supported. But I had to put myself in the best position and that was to go out there and get opportunities to play games. It’s a tough place, Chelsea, and sometimes you can get a bit carried away with being there and being on the brink, almost there [in the team]. But it’s very hard with established players ahead of you. For the youngsters it is a lot harder to get into the team. Now I can say that it was a good decision.”
The midfielder, along with Kieran Trippier, Phil Jones and Jake Livermore, was absent at England training at St George’s Park on Tuesday with a minor niggle but will hope over the next week to add a first senior cap to the 97 gained in England’s junior ranks. Jordan Pickford has returned to Everton with a minor leg injury.
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Postby xiaolan » Thu Aug 31, 2017 8:32 am

Liverpool are on the verge of signing Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for £40m from Arsenal and could take their spending inside a week to around £170m should Monaco sanction the sale of Thomas Lemar on transfer deadline day.
Oxlade-Chamberlain was undergoing a medical with Liverpool staff on Wednesday at St George’s Park, where he is preparing for England’s World Cup qualifiers, Image having spurned a move to Chelsea in favour of working for Jürgen Klopp at Anfield. The Premier League champions had agreed a £40m deal with Arsenal on Monday but the England international, wary of replicating his right-wing-back role for Antonio Conte’s team, declined to discuss the personal terms on offer at Stamford Bridge.
The 24-year-old’s stance enabled Liverpool to develop a long-standing interest in the midfielder and agree similar terms to what Chelsea had agreed – £35m plus £5m in add‑ons. Providing there are no unforeseen problems with the medical, Oxlade‑Chamberlain will become Liverpool’s second signing of the week following Naby Keïta. The RB Leipzig midfielder will move to Merseyside next summer after Liverpool paid a £7m premium on a £48m release clause to secure the Guinea international.
Arsenal initially refused to hold talks with Liverpool over Oxlade-Chamberlain with relations between the club strained by the Luis Suárez dispute of four years ago. However, Adidas Cam Ward Authentic Jersey faced with the prospect of losing the player for nothing when his contract expires at the end of this season, and the midfielder’s reluctance to join Chelsea, they entered and concluded negotiations swiftly on Wednesday.
Oxlade-Chamberlain made 198 appearances for Arsène Wenger’s side after arriving for £12m from Southampton in August 2011. Arsenal’s woeful 4-0 defeat at Liverpool on Sunday is destined to be his last. The midfielder started all four competitive games for Arsenal this season but rejected repeated attempts by the club to extend his contract. Wenger had claimed Arsenal would take a financial hit by keeping Oxlade-Chamberlain until the end of his contract only to relent with Chelsea and then Liverpool meeting the club’s valuation.
The England international faces fierce competition to secure the central midfield role he craves at Anfield. Philippe Coutinho, wanted by Barcelona but not for sale, and Adam Lallana will soon return from injury to compete for places with Jordan Henderson, Emre Can and Georginio Wijnaldum, and Keïta’s arrival will further increase Klopp’s options.
The competition may intensify this season with Liverpool refusing to concede defeat in their pursuit of France international Lemar. Liverpool have had several enquiries for the 21-year-old rejected by Monaco in recent days but will continue to pursue what would be another club record signing – in excess of £70m – until the deadline. The club’s medical staff are on standby to travel to Clairefontaine, where Lemar is preparing for France’s World Cup qualifier against Holland on Thursday, should Monaco relent and agree terms with Liverpool on the final day.
Liverpool also remain interested in Virgil van Dijk but have received no indication that Southampton are prepared to sell their unsettled central defender. Anfield’s business on deadline day will not be confined to incomings. Adidas Brendan Shanahan Authentic Jersey Crystal Palace have not given up hope of signing Mamadou Sakho having had three bids for the French defender rejected this summer. West Bromwich Albion and Leicester City are also interested in the former Paris Saint-Germain captain.
Lazar Markovic could be reunited with his former Hull City manager Marco Silva at Watford and Wolfsburg look set to sign Divock Origi on loan after agreeing to pay a fee of £6m for the Belgium strikerOrigi has also been linked with transfers to Tottenham and Newcastle United but Liverpool prefer a loan deal with a European club. They would not consider a loan deal for Origi with a Premier League rival such as Spurs.
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Postby xiaolan » Fri Sep 01, 2017 5:06 am

Chelsea’s difficult transfer window endured yet more frustration on deadline day after Ross Barkley became the latest high-profile player to reject a move to the Premier League champions despite a fee of £35m having been agreed with Everton.
A deal for Barkley had been struck in principle between the clubs only for the player to join Fernando Llorente, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and, earlier in the summer, Image Romelu Lukaku in opting against a switch to Stamford Bridge. The England midfielder, who is in rehabilitation from a torn hamstring, had been hoping to speak with Tottenham Hotspur, only for Everton to refuse to enter into negotiations with Spurs on deadline day. That left Barkley feeling he was being pressured into a move to Antonio Conte’s side, and prompted him to pull the plug at the last minute.
Chelsea, who applied for an extension to complete the £35m purchase of Danny Drinkwater from Leicester and confirmed the signing of the Italy right-back Davide Zappacosta for an initial £23m from Torino, could yet revive their interest in Barkley in January when the player will be fit again and has indicated he will reconsider his options. It remains to be seen whether Everton’s stance on discussing a move with Spurs shifts over the next four months, though Barkley is into the final year of his contract and the Goodison Park club may struggle to attract such a hefty fee from suitors in mid-season.
Everton suggested Barkley had even undergone a medical at Chelsea before the player changed his mind over the move, though those claims have been denied by sources close to the 23-year-old midfielder. “The two clubs agreed a deal of £35m, Eddie Lack Womens Jersey I think personal terms were agreed and, after the medical, we heard from Paul Martin, his agent, that he [Barkley] had changed his mind,” said the Everton majority shareholder, Farhad Moshiri. “He wants to reconsider his position during the January window. He is injured, so I think technically he will be with us because he is under contract for another year. It is a big surprise, but that is football.”
The failure to secure Barkley, for all that he could not have appeared in the group stage of the Champions League as he recovers from surgery, represented the latest blow to Chelsea’s attempts at appeasing Conte after a tense summer behind the scenes. The champions had lost out in their pursuit of Lukaku to Manchester United, Oxlade-Chamberlain to Liverpool and, earlier on Thursday, Llorente to Spurs for around £12m. Conte had made clear the need to add greater depth to his options with a European campaign as well as the title defence ahead.
Yet only Zappacosta, who was first called up into the Italy squad by Conte and now has four caps, had been added to the ranks by the 11pm cut-off. “Davide is a player of international calibre who Antonio Conte knows well and we have been aware of for some time,” said the Chelsea technical director, Michael Emenalo. “We are very pleased to be able to bring him to the club and believe he will become an important member of the squad.”
A deal for Drinkwater was eventually struck with Leicester late on Thursday evening – apparently dependent on the Foxes securing Adrien Silva from Sporting, a deal still to be concluded at 11pm – and Chelsea filed the necessary paperwork before the deadline to earn a two-hour extension to complete that deal. The England midfielder would effectively replace Nemanja Matic, sold to United last month, and reunite with his former Leicester team-mate, N’Golo Kanté, at Stamford Bridge.
The Premier League holders will resume talks with Atlético Madrid on Friday aimed at Chris Driedger Womens Jersey finalising Diego Costa’s return to Spain in a deal that could be worth £49m.
Spurs, bolstered by Llorente’s surprise arrival, missed out on the Barcelona midfielder André Gomes after the Catalan club failed to secure a replacement.
Everton signed the 19-year-old forward Nikola Vlasic from Hajduk Split for €10m on deadline day but did not land the proven striker Ronald Koeman has repeatedly called for following Lukaku’s departure for United.
Moshiri claimed Everton had reconsidered the need for another forward and would look again in January, a decision at odds with the manager’s request and the failed deadline day attempt to sign Lucas Pérez on loan from Arsenal. The Spaniard has rejoined Deportivo de La Coruña a year after moving for £17m.
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Postby xiaolan » Wed Sep 06, 2017 4:19 am

Mark Sampson, the England women’s team manager, has said he has been through a “difficult and upsetting time” and wants to “move on” from allegations he made racial remarks to two players.
Sampson said his “conscience was clear”, Image denying both allegations, but said he had regrets over the Eni Aluko case and claimed he was still open to the idea of recalling a player dropped for “un-Lioness behaviour” within two weeks of reporting him to the Football Association.
In his first interview since the allegations surfaced, Sampson insisted Aluko’s 11-year, 102-cap England career had not been ended as retaliation and reiterated that he had been cleared by an internal FA inquiry as well as a separate investigation by the barrister Katharine Newton on behalf of the organisation.
However, his interview leaves the FA facing further questions about its handling of the case following the England midfielder Jill Scott’s comments – “I don’t think we are allowed to answer questions on it” – when the midfielder was this week asked for her views, Andrew Whitworth Womens Jersey having been in the meeting at the 2015 China Cup when Sampson, according to Aluko, “distressed” a mixed-race player by asking how many times she had been arrested.
The FA, which denies it has tried to silence the players, refused to let any newspaper journalists attend Sampson’s squad announcement for the game against Russia on 19 September.
Sampson, who insisted he had never thought about resigning, spoke to only two hand-picked media outlets as part of an FA strategy to allow him to make comments in what has been described as a controlled environment.
Asked how hard it had been for him, Sampson said: “It’s been a difficult and upsetting time for everyone involved – myself, my family, Eni, the players and the staff. This has not been a nice situation for anyone but allegations were made, they need to be reacted to, respected, and investigated thoroughly to make sure there are clear conclusions.” Of the allegation that he told Aluko to make sure her Nigerian relatives did not bring the Ebola virus to Wembley, Sampson said: “I’m very disappointed the allegation has come up. I understand it; all I can say is I didn’t say that to Eni.”
Sampson also stated he had received “universal support from the players and the staff” and went on to say he would be willing to meet Aluko and that her England career could “absolutely” be revived.
He added that there was “always going to be an element of regret” but said his only focus was on picking the right players to make England successful. It was not true, he added, that one member of his staff used to talk to Aluko in a mock Caribbean accent.
Aluko has described the two inquiries as a “farce” bearing in mind that the mixed-race player at the centre of one of the allegations was not interviewed for either investigation and that the FA’s review reached its initial verdict before speaking to at least one of the witnesses.
The mixed-race player, who has asked the Guardian not to name her, has provided written evidence to back up Aluko’s story and the Professional Footballers’ Ameer Abdullah Authentic Jersey Association wrote to the FA last November to complain about “a sham” which was “not designed to establish the truth but intended to protect Mark Sampson”.
The FA maintains there will not be a third inquiry, despite Kick It Out and the PFA saying the case should be re-opened, and Sampson wants to put it all behind him. “These allegations were investigated thoroughly and now we’re in a position where I feel strongly that we need to move on and continue to work hard to bring more success to this team,” he said.
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Syria Jersey

Postby xiaolan » Wed Sep 06, 2017 9:30 am

Syria scored deep into stoppage time at Iran to keep alive their hopes of qualifying for the World Cup for the first time amid an ongoing civil war at home.
With Syria facing elimination from Asian qualifying, Omar Al Soma marked his return to the team after a five-year absence to clinch a 2-2 draw and a place in the playoffs. Image Players, with Syria rather than names emblazoned across the back of their red jerseys sank to their knees on the turf in Tehran. From the bench, members of the back-up staff with flags streamed on to the field.
Syria will play Australia in a two-match Asian series next month. To make the World Cup, the winner will then have to beat a team from the Concacaf confederation covering north and central America, and the Caribbean. Syria will likely play their ‘home’ match against Australia in Malaysia, as they have during Asian qualifying, due to the ongoing war.
Back home, the pursuit of a place at the World Cup in Russia has provided a flicker of joy in parts of a country divided by six years of war. Brandon Brooks Womens Jersey Big screens were erected in public squares in the capital Damascus for public screenings and fans also packed into coffee shops and sports halls to watch the broadcast from Iran. Thousands of dancing fans filtered on to the streets chanting Syria and waving the country’s flags afterwards, bringing traffic to a complete halt in the city centre.
“This is the happiest day of my life,” said Bashir Rahal, a 26-year old, who was watching the game in a Damascus hotel, with the country’s flag on a table in front of him.
Outside, the skies lit up with pyrotechnics, some launching red tracers above the thousands of revellers who filled the streets, leaning out of their car windows or marching in the city centre. The upbeat news came on the same day troops reached Deir el-Zour, in eastern Syria, breaching a months-old siege on government troops by Islamic State militants.
“There are two victories today: the army entered Deir el-Zour and we equalized with Iran, which I consider a victory,” said Fayeq Shmais, a 46-year-old government employee. “Syria is witnessing a revival as large rallies roam the streets of Damascus. This is something we have not seen since the start of the crisis.”
But football is not completely unifying the country, with even a sporting success politicised. Some fans also chanted the name of the Syrian president, Authentic B.J. Upton Womens Jersey Bashar Assad, on the streets of Damascus.
Online, opponents of Assad were also vocal. Some called it a team that represents the government, while others shared pictures of athletes and footballers players who were killed during the war.
Iran is a regional political ally that has provided crucial political and military support to shore up Assad’s forces. Qualification could have been automatically clinched with a win in Iran, which had nothing to play for after already securing their place in Russia.
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Postby xiaolan » Thu Sep 07, 2017 5:44 am

For any footballer dealing with rejection or slogging away with little reward in the lower leagues hoping one day his performances will grab the attention of someone who matters, no player is more inspiring than Jamie Vardy. He is the one who refused to listen after being discarded as a youngster; the former factory worker who defied the doubters by becoming the unlikeliest of Premier League champions and England internationals. Now he is the one who wants to give others like him a second chance.
It is Vardy’s belief too few professional clubs look hard enough in non-league football and his hope the academy he has set up with his agent, John Morris, Image will offer lost or overlooked players the opportunity to follow in his footsteps. The Leicester City striker speaks from a position of authority, having been released by Sheffield Wednesday at 16, and he is on a mission to prove English football’s backwaters contain a heavy flow of talent.
“I don’t have to do any of it,” he says, “but I know what I had to do to get to where I am and from playing in non-league I was playing against players who should have had pro clubs.”
The nascent V9 Academy has enjoyed early success. This summer Vardy’s scouts picked out 42 applicants to take part in a week-long programme at Manchester City’s Etihad Campus; Danny Duffy Womens Jersey four players, Danny Newton, Alex Penny, Lamar Reynolds and Blair Turgott, landed professional contracts. Newton, a 26-year-old maintenance engineer, has scored three goals in his first five matches for Stevenage after joining the League Two side from Tamworth. Because he never had an agent, he has never known if any scouts were looking at him. Newton did not rise through the academy system, despite spending time at Leicester’s centre of excellence when he was younger, and he has never had a trial anywhere. He still carries his boots to games and has heart, speed and finishing ability. Newton scored 29 goals for Tamworth in the National League North last season.
“I’ve just played non-league,” he says. “I was at Hinckley United in the Conference North when I was 17. I broke into the first team and was playing every week for three years and they went bust.”
Newton’s strike partner at Hinckley was Andre Gray, who joined Watford for £18.5m from Burnley this summer. “Luton took him and he’s progressed after getting that chance,” Newton says. “I’ve just left it a bit late. I’m 5ft 11in, I’m quite physical on the pitch, so it’s nothing to do with size. A lot of it’s right place, right time.”
Vardy sank into the eighth tier of English football after being let go by Wednesday, joining Stocksbridge Park Steels. He had spells with Halifax Town and Fleetwood Town before Leicester signed him for £1m five years ago. Accustomed to the robust physicality of non-league, he had to adjust to the pace of the Championship.
However his experience had steeled him, with his raw, sharp-edged style helping Leicester win the Premier League two seasons ago. Authentic Sean Taylor Youth Jersey Now Vardy surveys the money spent by Premier League clubs in the summer and argues there are smarter ways to find players. “With clubs now it is all about instant success,” he says. “They want it here and now.”
Chris Ramsey, who coached at the academy, concurs with that assessment. “Jamie’s proved a lot of people wrong coming in through the back door,” the former Queens Park Rangers manager says. “Clubs need to be more patient with regards to people who are released, how long they stay in the club. Timing is a major factor.
“If you bring in Jamie Vardy for £1m from non-league, or you get someone with an exotic name from somewhere else, sometimes fans do become a little bit snobby. Rather than giving one of these lads the opportunity to be developed, sometimes people want what they think will be successful straight away.
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Postby xiaolan » Fri Sep 08, 2017 4:34 am

Arsène Wenger has lost faith in one of his guiding principles and called for financial fair play to be scrapped. The Arsenal manager says clubs have found a way to bluff around Uefa’s regulations and it has effectively rendered them unenforceable. He feels that if the Premier League is to “remain the best league in the world” the decision must be taken to revert to no financial limits.
Wenger reflected on a wild summer transfer window in which he suggested that Liverpool had most likely tapped up Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain before taking him from Arsenal for an initial £35m on 31 August. Image Four days earlier, the midfielder had played for Arsenal in the club’s 4-0 defeat at Anfield. Wenger said he did not know whether Liverpool had spoken to Oxlade-Chamberlain in the hours leading up to kick-off. He hoped they had not.
Wenger did not make his comments in an angry or accusatory fashion; they were underpinned by realism. In short, tapping up is a part of the modern game. Everybody does it. But Wenger was less willing to shrug off what he sees as the holes in FFP.
He was asked whether he had a view on the complaint made to Uefa by the La Liga president, Brian Propp Authentic Jersey Javier Tebas, about the summer spending of Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City. PSG broke the world transfer record with their £198m purchase of Neymar from Barcelona while they took Kylian Mbappé from Monaco on a season‑long loan with an option to buy him for £166m. Uefa are investigating PSG but not City, who have threatened Tebas with legal action. Wenger did have a view and it was strident.
“Financial fair play raises new questions,” Wenger said. “I always did plead for it. Today, I am not convinced that we can maintain it. Football is maybe only at the start of a huge financial investment. It has become the most powerful sport in the world. It means do we have to open the door completely to investments? It is a question we have to raise because, aAt the moment, it looks like we have created rules that cannot be respected. There is nothing worse than when you create rules that are not respected.
“Maybe we are at the crossroads and we have to think, do we open it with complete freedom to investment for people like the Chinese and Americans, who want to invest here [in England]? If you want to remain the best league in the world, that is certainly the way we have to go.
“Do I want to get rid of financial pair play? I think so because there are too many legal ways to get around it. The question, at least, has to be raised. At the moment, it looks like you can buy clubs in China and get the players there, and buy them in other clubs, then get them, after, here. You can get around [FFP]. Am I convinced that, at the moment, the rules are strong enough to make it respected? I’m not sure.”
Wenger’s remarks on tapping-up came as he explained why he was in favour of the summer transfer window closing before the start of the Premier League season. Authentic Jose Juan Barea Womens Jersey “You sit there before the games and in players’ minds, they have no clarity,” Wenger said. “Are they in? Are they out? Are they half in? Are they half out? Are they tapped up in the afternoon of the game by people who want to get them out?”
Wenger was asked whether any player in his dressing-room at Liverpool on the Sunday before last had been tapped up in advance of the game or on the day of it. It was clear that the question related to Oxlade-Chamberlain. “I don’t know,” Wenger replied.
Was it his suspicion? “Have they been tapped up?” Wenger said. “Of course. But on the day of a game? I don’t think so. I hope not. But it’s inevitable. France played against Holland on the last day of the transfer window. Do you really think that not one French player or Dutch player had phone-calls in the afternoon about do they move or not? You’re not naive enough to believe that.”
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