22 Sep

Manchester United Board to blame for club’s on-field woes, says Neville

first_imgRelatedPosts Ighalo: My best moment as ‘Red Devil’ EPL: Crystal Palace stun sloppy Man U EPL: Red Devils attack Palace Manchester United’s struggles are the result of poor planning by the club’s board and manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer needs time and money to get the team back on track, former defender Gary Neville has said.United, once the dominant force in English football, made their worst start to a Premier League campaign in 30 years and dropped to 12th in the table two points above the relegation zone after Sunday’s 1-0 defeat at Newcastle United.Solskjaer is the fourth permanent manager to take charge since Alex Ferguson retired in 2013, with the 20-times English champions enduring mixed fortunes under David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho despite spending heavily on players.“United are getting the pain they deserve for poor decisions at board level,” Neville told Sky Sports.“The board (is) responsible for this with poor recruitment, poor selection of managers, going with them and then pulling off them.“If you change direction as a board every two years, investing 250 million pounds ($308 million) along the way in each manager, you’re going to have big problems.”Solskjaer, who sanctioned the departures of Alexis Sanchez and Romelu Lukaku in the close season, is trying to rebuild the side with a greater emphasis on youth, and Neville said the board would have to be patient with his former team mate.The club signed centre back Harry Maguire, right back Aaron Wan-Bissaka and winger Daniel James before the season started, but need to bring in another “five or six top players”, he added.“Solskjaer needs… the opportunity to spend the money the others have had to spend.“If United recruit well in the next three or four windows, they’ve got the bones of something. If they recruit badly, they’ll end up suffering.“There’s no quick fix and it has to be done methodically. I hope, because of the poor results, they don’t come off the path they’re on which is to develop a young, progressive team but they do need some quality and experience in there,” Neville said.Reuters/NAN.Tags: Gary NevilleManchester UnitedOle Gunnar Solskjaerlast_img read more

22 Sep

EPL: 10-man Arsenal force Chelsea to draw

first_imgRelatedPosts Runarsson joins Arsenal on four-year deal Arsenal, Wolves want Michael Olise Mane double eases Liverpool to win over 10-man Chelsea Arsenal have twice come from behind to earn a 2-2 draw with Chelsea, despite David Luiz being handed a red card during the first half of Tuesday night’s Premier League contest at Stamford Bridge. After Luiz had prevented Tammy Abraham from converting into an empty net, the former Blues defender was dismissed, leading to Jorginho scoring from the spot. However, during a frantic second half, Gabriel Martinelli and Hector Bellerin both scored equalisers for their team, either side of Cesar Azpilicueta putting Chelsea back in front during the closing stages. After disappointing results at the weekend, both teams started brightly, with Chelsea’s Andreas Christensen squandering the first opportunity of the contest by heading wide from eight yards. Tammy Abraham wasted an even better opportunity moments later, heading the ball straight into the hands of Bernd Leno from six yards after a clever knockdown from Antonio Rudiger. Callum Hudson-Odoi then hit the crossbar for the Blues, although the winger’s inswinging effort which struck the top of the woodwork appeared to be a cross rather than a shot. Arsenal had been second best as the game headed towards the half-hour mark, and their task was made no easier when a mistake from Shkodran Mustafi led to defensive teammate Luiz being dismissed. After a short back-pass from Mustafi, Abraham was able to round Leno before setting himself to convert into an empty net, only for Luiz to cynically prevent the striker from getting his shot away. Despite a defender getting back on the line, VAR ruled that the Brazilian deserved his red card, before Jorginho stepped up to slot the ball into Leno’s left-hand corner. While Chelsea almost doubled their lead through a fine Hudson-Odoi half-volley which was saved by Leno, Arsenal were able to see out the rest of the first half without further damage, even causing their hosts concern at the other end of the pitch. Mikel Arteta had toyed with making an alteration immediately after Luiz’s sending off, but the Gunners returned for the second half with Granit Xhaka in central defence and Mesut Ozil occupying a role in the middle of the park. Despite the Spaniard soon feeling the need to replace Ozil, his bold approach was working with Chelsea failing to get any notable shots away in the final third. The Blues were ultimately made to pay, although Arsenal’s leveller, which came no more than 10 seconds after they defended a corner, was the home side’s own doing. As Martinelli broke forward, N’Golo Kante slipped on the halfway line to gift the youngster a way through to goal, and the forward made no mistake with a composed finish past Kepa Arrizabalaga after a 65-yard run up the pitch. While being clawed back encouraged Chelsea to go back on the offensive, there was still a concern that Arsenal would hit them on the break, leading to the game being played end-to-end. However, Chelsea eventually got their noses back in front through Azpilciueta, who held his run perfectly to volley Hudson-Odoi’s inswinging cross into the bottom corner from eight yards. The Blues naturally would have expected to see out the rest of the contest, especially given that they remained with a man advantage despite a knock being carried by Abraham. Arsenal had other ideas, however, as Bellerin received the ball on the edge of the area before managing to find the far bottom corner with his weaker left foot.Tags: ArsenalChelseaDavid Luizlast_img read more

22 Sep

FA Cup: Chelsea end Liverpool treble hopes

first_imgRelatedPosts Lampard: I still have confidence in Tomori Mane double eases Liverpool to win over 10-man Chelsea EPL: Chelsea, Liverpool in cagey duel Recalled Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalga pulled off a stunning triple save as Willian and Ross Barkley’s strikes condemned Liverpool to a third defeat in four matches. Under-fire stopper Kepa seized the chance to reassert his worth to boss Frank Lampard as Chelsea battled to a fine 2-0 FA Cup fifth-round win at Stamford Bridge. Only two weeks ago runaway Premier League leaders Liverpool had lost just twice in 41 matches in all competitions this season. Fast forward 14 days and Jurgen Klopp’s Reds have surrendered their rampant form, with defeat at Atletico Madrid, a 3-0 humbling at Watford and now this hefty blow in west London. Chelsea battled their way to a 1-0 lead at half-time, with the resurgent Kepa keeping the Blues afloat. The recalled Spain stopper denied Sadio Mane early on before the Senegal striker failed to connect with Divock Origi’s cross. Kurt Zouma pulled off a fine recovery to thwart Mane, who had appeared clear and away, but then Chelsea struck, pouncing on the Reds’ rare miscue playing out from the back. Willian had hardly finished kicking himself for firing straight at Adrian when he found the ball back at his feet on the edge of the Liverpool area. Joe Gomez’s loose pass had Fabinho at full stretch and the Brazil midfielder could only prod desperately square – inadvertently teeing up his compatriot. Willian latched onto the gift and stubbed another strike on goal, and another straight down Adrian’s throat. The 33-year-old Spanish keeper should have saved with ease, but could only fumble the ball into the net. However strong the protest that he was unsighted, Adrian should still have mopped up the danger. Instead a howling error handed the hosts the advantage. To add insult to injury, Chelsea’s under-fire keeper Kepa then jumped back to top form. The Spain star’s triple save to deny Mane, Origi and Curtis Jones proved just as pivotal in assuring Chelsea’s interval lead as Willian’s fortunate strike. The luck that kept Lampard’s men ahead at the break did not extend to the injury front however, as Kovacic hobbled off in a worrying new fitness concern. And no sooner had the second half begun than Willian left the field in some distress too. Mason Mount quickly matched the pace and intensity of the contest in a boost to the Blues however, and the talented young midfielder rattled the bar with a high-quality whipped free-kick. The Blues continued in the same vein and Barkley conjured a sumptuous break and finish to solidify the home side’s dominance. Pedro should have added a third moments later after finding himself clean through on goal, but could blast at the diving Adrian’s legs. Giroud should have killed the tie too, but Adrian palmed his close-range effort onto the bar when the France striker should really have hit the net.Tags: ChelseaFrank LampardJurgen KloppKepa ArrizabalgaLiverpoollast_img read more

22 Sep

Ighalo credits Mata, De Gea, Romario for success

first_imgRelatedPosts Ighalo: My best moment as ‘Red Devil’ EPL: Crystal Palace stun sloppy Man U EPL: Red Devils attack Palace Odion Ighalo said he’s been made to feel like family since joining Manchester United and has thanked “brothers” Juan Mata, David de Gea and Sergio Romero for helping him settle in at the club. The 30-year-old striker completed a loan move from Shanghai Greenland Shenhua to Old Trafford in the January transfer window, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer desperate for attacking reinforcements following Marcus Rashford’s back injury. Eyebrows were raised at the deal considering the standard of the Chinese Super League but Ighalo has hit the ground running on his return to the Premier League, scoring four goals in his opening eight appearances for the Red Devils. Ighalo, a lifelong United fan, took little convincing to join once Solskjaer’s interest became known and the forward has revealed that the move was made even easier thanks to three Spanish-speaking members of the squad. “I have a lot of guys there who have helped me. The guys in the dressing room are very good guys,” the Nigeria international said during an Instagram Q&A session. “The first time I stepped my feet in that dressing room – wow. There are two or three players that took me and made me feel welcome and comfortable. “After two or three days we started living like brothers, like I’ve been there for five years, laughing together and cracking jokes together. ‘Especially Juan Mata, De Gea and the other goalkeeper Romero, because they speak Spanish and I speak Spanish.” Ighalo has been happy to prove his initial doubters wrong after a barnstorming start to life in the north west. “Firstly it was, ‘Why are you going to England?’, with your age and all and that it is one of the biggest teams in the world,” the ex-Watford attacker added. “Number two, nobody gave me a chance but I know I’m a hard worker. “I don’t get carried away, I don’t listen. I do my work and just remain focused. When I came to Manchester United I pictured what I wanted to attain but I did not say a word, I did not go solo. “People on social media can always talk but you do not need to speak to people that you do not know. You must focus and do your job. The same people that criticise you will praise you when you do well and when they praise you, you can’t get carried away. “I am telling you, If I miss one chance now they will insult me, you understand? [Now] It’s, ‘Ighalo you are the best’, but okay, one chance I miss and they will insult me so do not get carried away with hype, praise or criticism because those things are bound to happen.”Tags: David De GeaManchester UnitedOdion IghaloOle Gunnar SolskjaerSergio Romerolast_img read more

22 Sep

EPL: Wolves attack Everton

first_imgRelatedPosts Fulham keen on Lookman loan deal Ighalo: My best moment as ‘Red Devil’ Arsenal, Wolves want Michael Olise EPL: Wolves attack Everton Wolves vs. Everton Venue: Molineux Kick off: 12PMWolverhampton Wanderers play host to Everton this afternoon realistically requiring all three points to retain their hold of sixth position in the Premier League table. Meanwhile, despite registering eight points from five games since the resumption, the Toffees remain in the bottom half of the standings.In the space of a week, Wolverhampton Wanderers have gone from a club who were challenging for a Champions League spot to a team who must now improve just to gain a place in the Europa League.Two poor performances against Arsenal and Sheffield United have gifted the momentum to their nearest rivals in the race for the top six, while Espirito Nuno’s team selections and use of substitutions have started to frustrate supporters.The Portuguese made just one alteration against the Blades on Wednesday night, a rare occurrence for any manager since the enforced break, and it subsequently contributed to his tiring side conceding a potentially-crucial 93rd minute winner.Wolves have also barely laid a glove on either of their last two opponents, and it leaves Nuno’s close-knit group of players needing to produce a positive response this weekend. While victory would see them stay in sixth place, a third successive defeat could result in Wolves dropping down to eighth position.They go up against opponents in Everton who deservedly defeated them in the reverse fixture at Goodison Park, a result which had suggested that the teams were on contrasting trajectories.However, after a season of upheaval at Goodison Park, most Toffees fans will feel that they are making progress under Carlo Ancelotti ahead of the next campaign.Although they have recently failed to defeat Tottenham Hotspur or Southampton, a seven-point haul from their previous three outings gave supporters reasons to be optimistic for the future.Now sitting seven points adrift of Wolves, Ancelotti is likely to instruct his players to go on the offensive this weekend as they look to make a late bid for seventh. Wolves possible XI: Patricio, Boly, Coady, Saiss, Doherty, Dendoncker, Moutinho, Neves, Jonny, Jota, Jimenez. Everton possible XI: Pickford, Coleman, Keane, Mina, Digne, Walcott, Davies, Sigurdsson, Gordon, Richarlison, Calvert-Lewin.Tags: EvertonMolineuxPremier LeagueToffeesWolverhampton Wandererslast_img read more

22 Sep

Premier League clubs opt to ditch five substitution rule

first_imgRelatedPosts Ighalo: My best moment as ‘Red Devil’ Ings not interested in leaving Saints, Southampton manager says Live stream Premier League, La Liga, Serie A on Showmax Pro this weekend Premier League clubs have voted against retaining the five substitution rule for the 2020-21 season.Following the resumption of the 2019-20 campaign in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, clubs were allowed to name nine substitutes and make five alterations during matches to support player welfare. Some clubs wanted the new regulation carried over, but the Premier League confirmed they were voted down at the Annual General Meeting, held virtually on Thursday morning.“At the Premier League’s annual general meeting, shareholders agreed to rules relating to VAR and substitute players for the 2020-21 season,” the statement read.“Shareholders unanimously approved the implementation of VAR, in line with the full FIFA VAR protocol.“Clubs also agreed to revert back to using up to three substitute players per match, with a maximum of seven substitutes on the bench.”Since the change to five substitutes was implemented, Saints have been one of the top performing teams in the Premier League with 18 points from their nine matches. Despite having the option, Ralph Hasenhuttl only used more than the regulation three substitutes twice, in both the first two games after the restart.The VAR changes come as FIFA aims to have a unified approach to its implementation moving forward.There was controversy across several Premier League games during the previous season, but the new protocols were agreed upon unanimously.The changes will see referees use the pitch-side review area more often, with the Premier League now also using VAR to spot goalkeeper encroachment on penalties, while assistant referees have been told to keep their flag down for marginal offside calls until the attacking move has played out.Tags: FIFAPremier Leaguelast_img read more

21 Sep

Gunners appeal Giroud dismissal

first_imgArsenal have appealed against the red card shown to Olivier Giroud during Saturday’s 1-0 Barclays Premier League victory over Fulham. Press Association If the appeal is unsuccessful, Giroud will receive a three-match ban for the straight red card. Replays showed the £13million summer signing from Montpellier, who has scored 17 goals for Arsenal, made contact with the ball during the tackle. Arsene Wenger hinted after a win that lifted the Gunners to third in the table that an appeal would be made. “Giroud told me he did slip and went a bit over the ball,” the Arsenal boss said “Knowing that Steve Sidwell had been sent off, when the referee went to see him, we knew it would be a red card. “We will have to deal with that now because he will miss three games and that is not easy for us to cope with. “Nobody would say Giroud is a dirty player, it is purely accidental, but sometimes accidental can be dangerous.” center_img French striker Giroud was dismissed by referee Andre Marriner in the 90th minute of the London derby at Craven Cottage for jumping into a challenge with Stanislav Manolev. “We have lodged an appeal to the Football Association for the wrongful dismissal of Olivier Giroud against Fulham,” read a statement on the club’s official website. “An FA regulatory commission will hear the claim and make a verdict on Tuesday afternoon.” last_img read more

21 Sep

Mata wants strong finish

first_img Press Association Speculation has continued that Jose Mourinho will be the man at the helm for the 2013-14 season after a Spanish TV show aired a picture of him shopping in Ikea in Madrid. Punto Pelota claimed the Real Madrid coach spent 200 euros on packing boxes and masking tape with the implication being it could be in preparation for a house move. Should Mourinho return, he is sure to want to build his team around men like Mata. The Spaniard’s decisive strike three minutes from time, although recorded as a Phil Jones own goal after a deflection off the defender, lifted the Londoners back into third in the Barclays Premier League with a priceless win. With a strong goal difference in their favour, they can now effectively secure a top-four place with victory over rivals Tottenham at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday. That would then put them in good heart as they step up preparations for the Europa League final against Benfica later this month. But with Chelsea having already played a club-record 65 games – after campaigns in the Champions League, Europa League, Club World Cup and extended domestic cup runs – Mata concedes the players are feeling the effects. Mata added: “I felt in the first half, and sometimes second half, we played a bit slow, maybe because of the amount of games that we have already played during the season. “I think it is normal. When you arrive at the end of the season your legs are a bit tired, mentally as well – but you have to be ready because it is the most important part of the season. “I think we fight until the end.” Juan Mata has vowed to shake off any weariness to ensure Chelsea complete their troubled and epic season with success in two European challenges.center_img Mata made the difference as the Blues kept themselves on course for Champions League football next season – their prime remaining objective of the campaign – with a 1-0 win at Manchester United. The 25-year-old told Chelsea TV: “It wasn’t our best game.” last_img read more

21 Sep

Roche tips Martin to challenge

first_img He added: “Dan is one of those riders who you don’t want to give too much time to. He’s the kind of rider on his day who can rise to the occasion. If he gets in a lucky break and gets five, 10 minutes up, it would be very hard to get them back.” Martin is likely to play a key mountain support role to Garmin-Sharp team-mate Ryder Hesjedal, the 2012 Giro d’Italia champion, but the Irishman is capable of seizing any opportunity. “Dan’s the kind of guy who will look for those lucky breaks,” Roche added. “He isn’t the kind of guy who would say, ‘The Tour’s not for me, it’s too big for me’. “I know deep down he’s thinking, ‘I can win this’. They will underestimate him a little bit, but at the same time, Dan’s the kind of guy that even if they do give him the recognition that he deserves, he can slip away. “He’s the kind of guy where you don’t see him and he’s gone. He can hide very well and can make himself forgotten easily. He’s one of these guys who is a joker for any big tour, capable of winning stages, sourcing the lucky break and gaining some time. “He’s very consistent. We saw that in the Tour of Spain two years ago (when Martin finished 13th). He’s getting stronger and stronger and definitely this year a top-10 contender.” Another Irishman, Nicolas Roche, faces a new experience at the Tour. The son of the 1987 winner is used to leading a team at the Tour and carrying the expectations, but this time around will be riding for two-time champion Alberto Contador in the Saxo Bank-Tinkoff team. Dan Martin is expected to be confirmed in the Garmin-Sharp Tour team this week and is being backed by 1987 champion Stephen Roche for a successful three weeks in France. There is a caveat to Roche’s comments: he is Martin’s uncle. But there is no doubt the 26-year-old is a prodigious talent, who earlier this year won fabled one-day race Liege-Bastogne-Liege. “Dan is capable of anything,” HotChillee ambassador Roche told Press Association Sport. “Dan’s capable of winning the Tour, more than capable of winning one, two, three stages, maybe.” All British eyes will be on Team Sky’s Chris Froome at the Tour de France, but a Birmingham-born Irishman is capable of upsetting the odds, according to one former winner.center_img Press Associationlast_img read more

21 Sep

Defoe hits hat-trick as Spurs win

first_imgGareth Bale was again missing as Jermain Defoe grabbed a hat-trick in Tottenham’s comfortable Barclays Asia Trophy win over South China in Hong Kong. Bale’s future has been the subject of intense scrutiny in recent days, with Real Madrid obviously keen to sign the Wales star. But his absence had been predicted as Andre Villas-Boas confirmed on Friday Bale was still struggling to shake off a buttock injury. In his absence, Tottenham cruised home on a pitch that looked more like an aquatics centre at times. Manchester United have to play here on Monday, although at least there was no rain as the Red Devils coaching staff, including David Moyes and Ryan Giggs, saw Defoe profit from some woeful defending, Tottenham also netting through a Tse Sean Ka Keung own goal, a close-range effort from Clint Dempsey and Andros Townsend’s late strike. Prior to Saturday, this has not been the greatest of trips for Tottenham. What with the speculation over Bale’s future, the injury to Jan Vertonghen and concerns over the pitch so great Andre Villas-Boas would have been happy for the game to be called off, Spurs will probably be glad to get on the plane home. They left with a flourish though, completely outclassing a South China outfit who had run Manchester City close on Wednesday. By half-time, Tottenham had three goals and could well have scored twice as many. Clint Dempsey fired over after being sent clean through by Scott Parker, Defoe hit a post and also had a close-range effort saved by Zhang Chunhui. In addition, referee Neil Swarbrick inexplicably failed to award a penalty when Kyle Walker was blatantly taken out by Joel Bertoli Padiha. It meant Tottenham had to settle for just three, the first of which came when Tse Sean Ka Keung turned Danny Rose’s shot into his own net. Dempsey then tucked home Defoe’s cut-back before the England striker got one himself after Kyle Walker’s long-range free-kick was deflected into his path. Defoe probably scored the easiest goal of his entire career 10 minutes after the re-start when Zhang rolled an attempted clearance straight to him. With a gaping goal to aim at, Defoe was not likely to miss. And his hat-trick duly arrived when the South China defence disintegrated once more and Andros Townsend completed the rout late on. Press Associationlast_img read more