Saturday, 3 December 2016

West Ham 1-5 Arsenal: Sanchez hat-trick sinks Hammers

Alexis Sanchez scored a 14-minute hat-trick in a frantic finale as Arsenal moved second in the Premier League with a 5-1 victory over struggling West Ham at London Stadium on Saturday.

With Manchester City having lost 3-1 at home to leaders Chelsea, Sanchez ensured Arsenal took their chance to move one point ahead of Pep Guardiola's side in a match that exploded into life in the closing stages, highlighted by a six-minute spell in which four goals were scored.

Arsenal moved ahead when Chile international Sanchez capitalised on an error from Angelo Ogbonna to tee up Mesut Ozil for his eighth strike in all competitions this term – equalling the total he managed in the entire 2015-16 season.

Sunderland 2-1 Leicester City: Defoe fires Black Cats off the bottom

Sunderland moved off the bottom of the Premier League table thanks to a 2-1 victory over Leicester City at the Stadium of Light.

The hosts got back to winning ways thanks to an own goal from Robert Huth and Jermain Defoe's strike as their early-season malaise showed more signs of lifting.

David Moyes' team started positively but had to wait until the 64th minute to open the scoring when substitute Jan Kirchhoff's header ricocheted off Huth and nestled into the back of the net.

Stoke 2-0 Burnley: Jon Walters and Marc Muniesa lift Potters into the top-half

Stoke City's recent resurgence continued with a fifth Premier League win in seven as Mark Hughes' men comfortably beat Burnley 2-0 at the bet365 Stadium on Saturday.

Hughes found himself under pressure earlier in the season after losing four in a row, but the club's patience is now paying dividends as they built on last week's strong 1-0 win at Watford with another impressive display to leave Stoke with just one defeat in nine.

Barcelona 1-1 Real Madrid: Ramos snatches late point in Clasico

A 90th-minute header from Sergio Ramos saw Real Madrid snatch a 1-1 draw against Barcelona to retain their six-point lead at the top of La Liga after a lacklustre Clasico.

The Spain centre-back turned in a brilliant free-kick from Luka Modric to cancel out Luis Suarez's opener and stretch Madrid's unbeaten run to 33 matches in all competitions.

Suarez nodded in Neymar's free-kick shortly after half-time to put Barca ahead in a cagey contest at Camp Nou, and the home side spurned a number of opportunities to double their advantage before Ramos struck.

Crystal Palace 3-0 Southampton: Benteke double sinks Saints

Christian Benteke scored twice as Crystal Palace eased some of the growing pressure on under-fire manager Alan Pardew with a 3-0 Premier League victory over Southampton at Selhurst Park.

Pardew's position has come under scrutiny after the Eagles lost six consecutive top-flight 
matches, including last week's incredible 5-4 defeat to Swansea City, and they were only outside of the relegation zone on goal difference prior to Saturday's contest.

Borussia Dortmund 4-1 Gladbach: Aubameyang double fires hosts back to winning ways

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang netted a double as Borussia Dortmund edged closer to Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich and RB Leipzig with a comprehensive 4-1 victory over Borussia Monchengladbach.

Aubameyang moved three clear of Anthony Modeste in the Bundesliga scoring charts when he slotted in Dortmund's fourth midway through the second half, the culmination of an exquisite move from Thomas Tuchel's side.

Tottenham 5-0 Swansea City: Kane leads from the front as Spurs run rampant

Harry Kane celebrated his new Tottenham contract in style as he scored twice in an easy 5-0 win over Premier League strugglers Swansea City on Saturday.

The striker put pen to paper on a deal that will keep him at Spurs until 2022 on Thursday and capped off a fine week with a demonstration of his goalscoring prowess at White Hart Lane.

Manchester City 1-3 Chelsea: Costa & co. strike to spare Cahill blushes

Diego Costa, Willian and Eden Hazard struck for Chelsea to fire them to a 3-1 Premier League win at Manchester City on Saturday, cancelling out Gary Cahill's spectacular own goal in the first half.

The 30-year-old had unwittingly opened the scoring for Pep Guardiola's men right on the stroke of half-time, acrobatically vollying Jesus Navas's cross into his own net.

Ronaldo is a great goalscorer but not a genius like Messi - Capello

Cristiano Ronaldo is a great goalscorer but does not possess the same "genius" as Lionel Messi, according to Fabio Capello.

Fans, players and pundits alike have long-since debated who is the greater talent between Real Madrid legend Ronaldo and Barca great Messi.

The two are set to battle it out in the latest chapter in their rivalry in Saturday's Clasico in La Liga, with Ronaldo's Madrid aiming to open up a nine-point gap over Barca with victory at Camp Nou.

Luis Garcia warns Barcelona: You MUST win El Clasico!

Barcelona have little choice but to beat Real Madrid if they are to defend their La Liga title, according to their former midfielder Luis Garcia.

Luis Enrique's men already find themselves trailing their arch-rivals by six points ahead of Saturday's encounter, having endured a stop-start beginning to their campaign.

A loss would see the Spanish champions trail Zinedine Zidane's side by a huge margin, making the quest for a third consecutive league win an uphill task.

Roberto Carlos: Ronaldo STILL the best in the world

Cristiano Ronaldo remains the best player in the world and fully deserves to win the Ballon d'Or, Roberto Carlos said as he talked up the Real Madrid star ahead of El Clasico.

Saturday's blockbuster at Camp Nou featuring La Liga leaders Madrid and reigning Spanish champions Barcelona will see Ronaldo go head-to-head with rival Lionel Messi in another showdown.

Ronaldo makes his way to Barca as the league's leading goalscorer with 10 - one more than 
Messi - and favourite to win France Football's 2016 Ballon d'Or prize.

Iniesta in line for Clasico return - Luis Enrique

Andres Iniesta is in contention to make his return from a knee injury when Barcelona meet Real Madrid in El Clasico on Saturday, Luis Enrique has confirmed.

The Spain international suffered ligament damage during the dramatic 3-2 La Liga win at Valencia on October 22, leaving the field in tears following a strong challenge from Enzo Perez.

Iniesta was initially expected to miss between six and eight weeks of action, but he looks set to return sooner than predicted.

Mourinho & Ronaldo's lawyers deny €150m tax evasion claims

Cristiano Ronaldo and Jose Mourinho are "fully compliant with their tax obligations", their agent Jorge Mendes' company has insisted, amid allegations of tax evasion against the pair.

A consortium of 12 European newspapers has said it will publish the findings of what is described as "the largest leak in the history of sport" under the banner 'Football Leaks' over the next three weeks.

As part of that leak, several media outlets have alleged that Real Madrid superstar Ronaldo and Manchester United manager Mourinho avoided taxes using tax havens through structures set up by Mendes' company, Gestifute.

According to the report, the Portugal international has allegedly evaded €150 million in taxes since 2009, prior to his arrival at Madrid. 

Martial is happy again at Man Utd, says Mourinho

Jose Mourinho says Manchester United striker Anthony Martial is happy again and working harder now that he is back on the goalscoring trail.

The France international scored twice in Wednesday's 4-1 EFL Cup victory over West ham – the same number he had managed in his previous 13 appearances across all competitions this season.

Martial's start has been inconsistent given he has been in and out of Mourinho's plans, first with injury and then enduring a spell on the bench following his return.

Everton fortunes will depend on new signings, says Koeman as the prepare to face Man Utd

Ronald Koeman admitted Everton need more time and the transfer windows to revamp the squad as they continue to struggle for form.

After an encouraging start to the season, Everton have only won one of their past eight Premier League matches heading into Sunday's visit of Manchester United.

Everton suffered a 1-0 loss to Southampton in Koeman's return to his former club last time out, a result which left the Merseyside outfit seventh in the table and five points outside of the European places.

Friday, 2 December 2016

Messi, Ronaldo & Griezmann make The Best FIFA Men's Player of the Year award shortlist

Barcelona star Lionel Messi, Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo and Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann are the remaining three nominees in the race for the inaugural The Best FIFA Men's Player Award.

High-profile names such as Gareth Bale, Luis Suarez, Neymar, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Robert Lewandowski all made the initial 23-men shortlist, but miss out on a podium place.

The original list of 23 names has been trimmed down to the Liga trio after voting by captains and coaches of national teams, select members of the media and fans voting on the official FIFA website.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

No break clause in Southgate's England contract

New England manager Gareth Southgate has confirmed that there is no break clause in his four-year contract.

Southgate took over as Three Lions boss on an interim basis in September following Sam 
Allardyce's dismissal after he was caught up in a newspaper sting regarding corruption in football.

The Football Association confirmed Southgate's full-time appointment on Wednesday in a deal lasting until 2020.

Mkhitaryan 'excited' at Man Utd improvement

Henrikh Mkhitaryan was left excited by his and the team's display after putting in a Man of the Match performance in Manchester United's EFL Cup quarter-final victory over West Ham.

The Armenia star arrived at Old Trafford among much fanfare in the close-season, but has largely found himself on the periphery of the first team at Old Trafford.

However, Mkhitaryan dazzled in last week's Europa League rout of Feyenoord and was once again in impressive form as United swept aside the Hammers 4-1 to seal a semi-final berth, with Hull City awaiting in the last four.

Schweinsteiger thanks Man Utd fans after shock return

Bastian Schweinsteiger has thanked Manchester United fans for their support after making his long-awaited return for the Red Devils during their 4-1 win over West Ham on Wednesday evening.

The German midfielder was forced to train with the club's reserves and told to work on his fitness by Jose Mourinho as his time at Old Trafford looked to have come to an end.

However the Portuguese boss brought Schweinsteiger back into the fold in November, allowing him to train with the first-team and included him in the matchday squad for Wednesday's cup tie. 

Wenger blasts 'weak' Arsenal after EFL Cup elimination to Southampton

Arsene Wenger said Arsenal looked incapable of scoring as they slumped to an EFL Cup quarter-final elimination at the hands of Southampton.

Goals from Jordy Clasie and Ryan Bertrand secured a 2-0 win for the Saints and a first League Cup semi-final in 30 years at Emirates Stadium on Wednesday.

Wenger made 10 changes from the weekend's 3-1 win over Bournemouth and was rewarded with the Gunners' first defeat since the opening day of the Premier League season.

Ronaldo & Griezmann head World 11 nominations

Cristiano Ronaldo and Antoine Griezmann both feature on the 55-strong shortlist for the FIFPro 2016 World 11.

Portugal captain Ronaldo, who lead his country to victory at Euro 2016, and Italy counterpart 
Gianluigi Buffon are the only men to have been included in all 12 editions of the award, which is based upon votes from 25,000 professional players across 75 countries.

Meanwhile, France forward Griezmann, who won both the Golden Ball and the Golden Boot at Euro 2016, has made the cut for the first time in his career.

PSG keen to bring in Martial from Manchester United

Manchester United forward Anthony Martial is being targeted by Paris Saint-Germain who want to bring the France international to Parc des Princes, according to The Sun.

OFFICIAL: Kane signs new Tottenham deal

Tottenham striker Harry Kane has signed a new deal at the club that will keep him at White Hart Lane until 2022, the club have confirmed.

The England international is the club's top scorer this season with six goals despite missing a large chunk of the campaign due to injury.

However, the 23-year-old returned to action in the north London derby against Arsenal and has now grabbed five goals in his last four games.

Liverpool to offer £20m for Celtic striker Dembele

Liverpool are preparing a £20 million bid for Celtic striker Mousa Dembele in the January transfer window, according to Glasgow Live.

Jurgen Klopp is looking to add to his striking options in the new year as the Reds look to sustain their Premier League title challenge, and has sent scouts to watch the former Fulham forward on five occasions this season.

Gabriel breaks down in emotional message to Chapecoense

Arsenal defender Gabriel Paulista broke down in tears while recording an emotional message to Chapecoense following the plane crash which killed 71 people.

Nineteen of the Brazilian team's players were among those who lost their life in the tragedy, which occured while they were travelling to Medellin in Colombia to face Atletico Nacional in the first leg of the Copa Sudamericana final.

Gabriel held up a banner reading #ForcaChape before Arsenal's EFL Cup fixture against Southampton on Wednesday night and later expressed his grief over the loss of life, with his former coach at Vitoria, Caio Junior, among those killed.

Ronaldinho could play for Chapecoense after tragic crash

Brazilian legend Ronaldinho could offer to play for Chapecoense to help the club after a plane crash killed the majority of their squad.

Chapecoense players and officials were among the 71 people to lose their lives when a plane carrying the Brazilian team to Colombia for their Copa Sudamericana final first leg with Atletico Nacional crashed over Cerro Gordo, La Union.

The Brazilian Football federation has requested that Chapecoense fulfil their fixtures in the Campeonato Brasileiro "to have a big party that you deserve, that Chapeco deserves".

Cazorla ruled out for three months ahead of ankle surgery

Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla has been ruled out for three months after learning he will require surgery on an ankle injury.

Cazorla injured the plantaris tendon in his right foot during the Gunners' 6-0 victory over Ludogorets in the Champions League on October 19.

The Spaniard has not featured since and now faces an extended spell on the sidelines because his rehabilitation has not progressed as hoped.

Chapecoense asked to play last Brasileirao fixture to honour plane crash dead

Chapecoense president Ivan Tozzo says his team have been asked to fulfil their next scheduled league fixture to honour the players and staff that died in an air crash before their Copa Sudamericana final.

The flight, carrying members of the first team and a number of journalists, came down in Cerro Gordo, Colombia killing 71 of the 77 people on board.

Chapecoense were in Colombia to face Atletico Nacional in the first leg of the second-tier continental final. Atletico have requested that Chapecoense be crowned champions by CONMEBOL, South America's governing body.

Hercules 1-1 Barcelona: Alena stunner saves Blaugrana from embarrassing defeat

A superb goal from debutant Carles Alena saved Barcelona from an embarrassing defeat as they drew 1-1 at Hercules in the first leg of their Copa del Rey last-32 tie.

Luis Enrique made 11 changes with Saturday's El Clasico in mind and watched his side endure a significantly more testing evening than he would have expected.

Manchester United and Liverpool won't play each other in EFL semi-final Cup draw

Manchester United and Liverpool could face each other in the EFL Cup final after they were kept apart in the semi-final draw.

The great rivals are the highest-placed sides left in the competition after Southampton shocked Arsenal on Wednesday to earn a two-legged tie with Jurgen Klopp's side.

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Guijuelo 0-6 Atletico Madrid: Simeone's men steamroller hosts

Yannick Carrasco proved key for a much-changed Atletico Madrid side as he scored a double in a 6-0 hammering of third-tier Guijuelo in the first leg of their Copa del Rey round of 32 clash on Wednesday.

Diego Simeone rested a host of his regulars, including the likes of Antoine Griezmann and Diego Godin, for the trip, but the changes had little impact on Atletico's ability to get the job done, as Carrasco played a starring role in attack.

Manchester United 4-1 West Ham: Ibrahimovic & Martial secure spot in final four

Manchester United booked their place in the EFL Cup semi-finals on Wednesday with a 4-1 win over West Ham at Old Trafford.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic had United in the lead after just two minutes, taking on a Henrikh Mkhitaryan pass, beating Antonio and slotting past Adrian.

Everton face Serie A giants for Sissoko

Everton, Inter and Juventus are interested in ending Moussa Sissoko's unhappy start to life at Tottenham - but none are willing to pay his €30 million asking price, reports Calciomercato.

The midfielder swapped Newcastle United for Mauricio Pochettino's men in the summer but has been a bit-part player to date, dropping down the pecking order.

Arsenal 0-2 Southampton: Gunners fall flat as Saints reach semi-finals

Arsenal failed to progress beyond the EFL Cup quarter-finals for the sixth season in a row as Southampton beat them to a semi-final spot with a 2-0 win at Emirates Stadium.

First-half goals from Jordy Clasie and Ryan Bertrand did the damage for Southampton, who had lost 2-1 on this ground earlier this season in the Premier League.

Ozil & Di Maria set for Real Madrid return

Mesut Ozil and Angel Di Maria both would like to return to former club Real Madrid, according to Marca.

The duo played together at Santiago Bernabeu from 2010 to 2013, when Ozil left for Arsenal. Di Maria moved to Manchester United the following year, and despite a recent transfer to PSG, is looking to go back to Madrid.

Barcelona set to sign Srna

Barcelona are on the verge of completing the signing of Darijo Srna until the end of next season, according to AS.

The Catalan giants are desperate to strengthen in the right-back position but lack the budget to make a big transfer this winter - but Srna could leave Shakhtar Donetsk on a free.

Shanghai Shenhua to swoop for Terry

Chelsea captain John Terry would be open to the idea of joining Shanghai Shenhua at the end of the season, according to Standard Sport.

The defender has been blighted by injury this season and has had no indication from manager Antonio Conte whether his one-year contract renewal option will be activated next summer.

'Our fans would never forgive us' - Bayern won't sell Muller to Manchester United

Bayern Munich have warned Manchester United that they will not allow Thomas Muller to follow in the footsteps of Bastian Schweinsteiger and move to Old Trafford.

United previously lured Schweinsteiger away from the Allianz Arena and have been linked with a move for Muller on more than one occasion.

Nevertheless, supervisory board member Edmund Stoiber has stressed Muller's situation is nothing like that of Schweinsteiger back in 2015.

Zidane's son Enzo scores on Real Madrid debut

Zinedine Zidane's son Enzo has scored on his Real Madrid debut.

The 21-year-old came on for the second half of his side's Copa del Rey second-leg against Cultural Leonesa and found the net just 18 minutes into his first competitive appearance.

Madrid held a 7-1 lead from the first match between the two and the reigning Champions League holders stormed to a 3-0 lead in the opening 45 minutes, with the opener from Mariano setting a new record as the club's quickest in the competition. 

Real Madrid 6-1 Cultural Leonesa (agg. 13-2): Mariano triple sends Merengue through with dominant win

Zinedine Zidane's son Enzo scored on his Real Madrid debut and Mariano netted a hat-trick as the European champions prepared for El Clasico with a 6-1 win over Cultural Leonesa in the Copa del Rey.

Having won the away leg of this last-32 tie 7-1 a month ago, and with a trip to face Barcelona at Camp Nou just three days away, Wednesday's meeting against third-tier opposition at the Santiago Bernabeu was little more than a warm-up for Madrid as they sealed a 13-2 aggregate success.

Ronaldo Reportedly Donates ₦900m To #Chapecoense Victims

The football world was hit by a devastating tragedy on Tuesday, when Brazil’s Chapecoense Football Club was involved in a plane crash that killed 71 people. In the aftermath of the Colombia plane crash, Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo is reportedly making a 3 million euro donation.

The Portuguese National Team Captain and Real Madrid forward has offered to make the sizable donation to the stricken Brazilian team. The Chapecoense first team and many members of its staff were killed in the crash while on their way to Medellin, Colombia.

Mathieu out of Clasico with calf injury

Jeremy Mathieu will miss Saturday's Clasico against Real Madrid as a result of a relapse in his recovery from a calf injury, Barcelona have confirmed.

The defender hoped to be available after sitting out the last five La Liga games - two of the latest being draws.

However, the club announced on Thursday that Mathieu is unlikely to be available again until the middle of December at the earliest.

Chelsea's Moses wins PFA Fans' Premier League Player of the Month

Victor Moses has been voted the PFA Fans' Premier League Player of the Month for November.

The Chelsea wing-back received 18,756 of 40,000 votes to scoop the prize ahead of Gylfi Sigurdsson (7,791), Nordin Amrabat (5,378), Sergio Aguero (3,457) and Matt Phillips (1,203).

Poulsen: Don't compare Leipzig to Leicester City triupm

RB Leipzig's fairytale debut campaign in the Bundesliga should not be compared to Leicester City's heroics in the Premier League last season, says Yussuf Poulsen.

Leipzig, who were only formed in 2009, have enjoyed a meteoric rise through the leagues in Germany and are floating on a cloud this term having stormed to the top of the Bundesliga.

After 12 matches, Leipzig are three points clear of reigning champions and Bavarian powerhouse Bayern Munich, and their unbeaten start to the season is a record for a newly-promoted side.

Man Utd eye world-record move for Neymar

Manchester United are set to renew their interest in Barcelona forward Neymar, reports the Daily Record.
The Premier League club have asked to be kept up to date of Neymar's position, with the Brazil international apparently weighing up whether or not he should leave Camp Nou.

Coutinho names three Barcelona players better than Ronaldo

Liverpool star Philippe Coutinho did his transfer links to Barcelona no harm by tipping MSN trio Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar for the 2016 Ballon d'Or - snubbing Cristiano Ronaldo in the process.

The Brazilian has truly come of age this season, firing the Reds to Premier League title contention before suffering an untimely injury last weekend against Sunderland.

Coutinho's performances at Anfield have reportedly seen long-term suitors Barcelona renew their interest in signing him to boost their own charge for silverware, with Neymar thought to be urging his compatriot to join him at Camp Nou.

Southgate named permanent England manager

The FA on Wednesday confirmed that Gareth Southgate has been appointed as England manager permanently, with the trainer signing a four-year contract till the end of Euro 2020.

The former England Under-21 boss was promoted to the top job at the end of September after predecessor Sam Allardyce was removed from the position owing to his alleged involvement in the bungs scandal.

Southgate then went undefeated over four games in the Three Lions' dugout, earning two wins and two draws - notable amongst them a 3-0 win over Scotland and 2-2 draw against Spain.

#AWCON2016: Nigeria's Super Falcons beat South Africa 1 - 0, qualify for final

Congrats to our girls! Nigeria's National Women's football team, Super Falcons, have qualified for the final match of the Women’s African Cup of Nations (AWCON) tournament, after beating South Africa’s Bayana Bayana, in the semi-final match today.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Pique: El Clasico more crucial to Barcelona than Real Madrid

Gerard Pique admitted the upcoming El Clasico is more important for Barcelona than Real Madrid, warning that his team cannot afford to lose.

Madrid are flying high atop La Liga, six points clear of their rivals ahead of Saturday's encounter at Camp Nou.

Luis Enrique's men have stuttered in the start of their title defence this term, and were held to a 1-1 draw against Real Sociedad on Sunday.

Infantino: Chapecoense crash a very, very sad day for football

FIFA president Gianni Infantino has described the plane crash which claimed the lives of 76 people, including players and staff from Brazilian club Chapecoense, as a "very, very sad day for football".

The plane was carrying the team to the first leg of the Copa Sudamericana final, in which they were due to face Atletico Nacional in Medellin, but came down on Monday night in Cerro Gordo in the Colombian municipality of La Union.

CONMEBOL has announced the suspension of all its activities until further notice and Infantino expressed his sadness on behalf of FIFA.