22 Sep

EPL: Leicester cement third spot with massive win over West Ham

first_imgRelatedPosts EPL: Foxes attack Burnley EPL: Underdogs tackle Leicester City EPL: Newcastle hammer West Ham away Leicester City shrugged off a recent slump in form to consolidate third place in the Premier League with Ayoze Perez’s late double capping a 4-1 home win over lowly West Ham United on Wednesday. Back-to-back defeats by Southampton and Burnley had cast some doubt over their top-four credentials but goals by Harvey Barnes and Ricardo Pereira before halftime put them in control. The only surprise was it took Brendan Rodgers’s side 24 minutes to go ahead, with Barnes applying the finishing touch after combining well with Ricardo. Premier League top scorer Jamie Vardy became the latest victim of the injury curse afflicting English strikers when he limped off in the 43rd minute but Leicester responded by doubling their lead on the stroke of halftime when Barnes turned provider for Ricardo to fire home. Skipper Mark Noble gave West Ham a lifeline in the 50th minute when he converted from the spot after Wilfred Ndidi was adjudged to have fouled Sebastien Haller. West Ham stayed in contention but Perez restored Leicester’s two-goal lead from the spot after 81 minutes and rubbed salt into the Hammers’ wounds with a second goal in the 88th minute. Leicester have 48 points from 24 games, eight ahead of fourth-placed Chelsea, while West Ham, who have 23 points, are only outside the relegation zone by virtue of goal difference.Tags: Leicester CityWest Hamlast_img read more

22 Sep

EPL: Gunners target Newcastle scalp

first_imgRelatedPosts EPL: Newcastle set to extend winning streak EPL: Gunners survive West Ham scare EPL: Gunners gun for West Ham scalp Arsenal vs. Newcastle Venue: Emirates Stadium Kick off: 3PMArsenal play host to Newcastle United this afternoon with the two clubs locked on the same points in the Premier League table. Despite sitting in 11th and 12th positions respectively, the Gunners and the Magpies have put together lengthy unbeaten runs in 2020. Having lost just one of his opening nine matches as Arsenal manager, Mikel Arteta is well on his way to winning around the club’s supporters at a time when the Gunners are striving to make headway up the standings. However, the Spaniard will be aware that the optimism at the Emirates Stadium will soon disappear if his side do not start to convert draws into victories in the very near future. As it stands, there is an acceptance that the former midfielder requires time to stamp his authority on a squad which have under-performed for a number of years, and confidence will be taken from how the North Londoners were able to twice come from behind with 10 men to earn a draw at Chelsea towards the end of last month. Nevertheless, dropping points at Crystal Palace and Burnley, as well as squandering a lead against Sheffield United, means that Arteta cannot afford to sit too comfortably in the Emirates dugout just yet. With three points being regarded as a necessity this afternoon, Arteta knows that he must find a way to improve his misfiring attack, one which has scored just 13 goals in 12 matches. Having remained as an unused substitute in the goalless draw with Burnley, Nicolas Pepe will be hoping for a recall as he bids to improve on his three goals and three assists in the Premier League this season. There is also an argument for Eddie Nketiah to be provided with an opportunity down the middle, with Alexandre Lacazette having failed to score in his last eight starts. At the other end of the pitch, Shkodran Mustafi received widespread praise for helping Arsenal to a clean sheet at Turf Moor, although the German knows he must prove himself at the Emirates Stadium to win over a fanbase which have become accustomed to feeling nervous by his presence at the back. Steve Bruce has had to work hard in order to gain the support of a similarly demanding group of supporters, a target he is on his way to achieving with an eight-match unbeaten streak in all competitions. The Magpies manager has spoken of placing a prolonged run in the FA Cup as one of his main ambitions for the rest of the campaign, a declaration which would have been warmly greeted by the St James’ Park faithful. That said, while Newcastle are only six points adrift of the Premier League’s top six, there cannot be any complacency with the North-East outfit still just seven points above the relegation zone. Bruce will feel that three more wins should achieve their minimum target for the campaign, but he will want more with his squad having shown against the top teams in the division that they are capable of being a long-term fixture in the top 10. With a favourable schedule to come, that is still a possibility for this season, although Bruce may need some luck with injuries for that objective to feel realistic. Despite the injuries to Andy Carroll and Dwight Gayle, Bruce will hope that Joelinton is now ready to fill the void having shown confidence when netting against Oxford United in the FA Cup for just his third goal of the season. The Brazilian’s poor form in front of goal has contributed to Newcastle possessing the joint-worst attack in the Premier League, and Bruce may be prepared to throw more caution to the wind in order to improve that statistic. However, having found a successful formula against the better sides this season, a balance will have to be found in order to overcome opponents who will also view this contest as a chance to make headway up the table. Arsenal possible XI: Leno, Bellerin, Mustafi, Luiz, Kolasinac, Torreira, Xhaka, Pepe, Ozil, Martinelli, Aubameyang. Newcastle United possible XI: Dubravka, Lazaro, Fernandes, Lascelles, Clark, Rose, Almiron, Hayden, Bentaleb, Saint-Maximin, Joelinton.Tags: Arsenal FCMikel ArtetaNewcastle Unitedlast_img read more

22 Sep

El-Clasico: Real, Barca clash in Madrid

first_imgRelatedPosts Vidal lands in Milan to complete move from Barca to Inter Barca president Bartomeu says he won’t go to war anymore with Messi Bale completes Tottenham return from Real Madrid Real Madrid vs. Barcelona Venue: Santiago Bernabeu Kick off: 9PMBarcelona make the trip to the Bernabeu to face Real Madrid holding a two-point advantage at the top of the La Liga standings. When Real sat at the top of the standings several weeks ago, Zinedine Zidane still found himself coming in for criticism with his side less than convincing in some of their victories. With just one win coming from their last five in all competitions, which includes defeats in the Copa del Rey and Champions League, Zidane has come under further scrutiny from a demanding fanbase. Although a win over their great rivals will change the mood at the Bernabeu, a second successive loss in La Liga will leave Barcelona five points clear with just 12 matches remaining. When taking the manner of their setback against Man City into consideration, Zidane will feel that today’s showdown has come at the perfect time for his players to prove their worth. Karim Benzema has 18 goals to his name for the season, but the experienced Frenchman has now gone five games without finding the back of the net. The fact that Real have struggled since the 32-year-old’s drop-off in the final third highlights their reliance on the frontman, putting the onus on one of his teammates to step up with Eden Hazard seemingly out until the summer through injury. While Gareth Bale has found himself in and out of the team in recent months, you have to go back to October 5 for the last time that the Wales international contributed a goal or assist for the Spanish giants. Having only featured as a substitute against Man City, it may take a big occasion such as the one today to act as the catalyst for the 30-year-old to rediscover his touch in a Los Blancos shirt. Like his counterpart in the dugouts, Quique Setien felt the weight of responsibility on his shoulders when replacing Ernesto Valverde as Barcelona manager in the middle of January. However, after an indifferent start to life at Camp Nou, Setien has witnessed Barca record three successive wins in La Liga, a streak which has taken the club back into first place. Their unbeaten run was extended on Tuesday night with a 1-1 draw away at Napoli in the Champions League last 16, putting the Catalan giants in a position to take advantage in next month’s reverse fixture. There will be those who still have reservations about the former Real Betis man, but the 61-year-old deserves plenty of credit for improving results when having to contend with numerous selection issues. Although the arrival of Martin Braithwaite has boosted numbers in the final third, Setien is having to manage the workload of Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann. The pair have chipped in with six of Barcelona’s last eight goals, strengthening the argument that the club could miss out of silverware this season should either man join Ousmane Dembele and Luis Suarez in the treatment room. Despite concerns over a defence which have kept just three clean sheets in 10 matches since Setien’s appointment, there is a feeling that Barcelona will always have a chance of victory with their star attacking duo on the pitch. That said, Griezmann’s best work this season has come from the left flank, rather than down the centre in the role he is expected to occupy on Sunday night. Real Madrid possible XI: Courtois, Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Mendy, Kroos, Casemiro, Valverde, Isco, Benzema, Bale. Barcelona possible XI: Ter Stegen, Semedo, Pique, Umtiti, Firpo, Arthur, Busquets, De Jong, Vidal, Messi, Griezmann.Tags: FC BarcelonaLa LigaQuique SetienZinedine Zidanelast_img read more

22 Sep

Tyson Fury: I want to batter Wilder again

first_imgRelatedPosts Tyson Fury to Anthony Joshua: Don’t risk fighting Usyk Anthony Joshua, Okolie plot world title double Anthony Joshua wants Tyson Fury, Wilder fight Tyson Fury has confirmed who his next three fights will be against after refusing to pay Deontay Wilder to set a clash with Anthony Joshua.WBC heavyweight champion champion Fury said he will not be paying the Bronze Bomber to step aside, with the two due to clash in a rematch later this year. The Gypsy King took Wilder’s belt in their February bout, but the terms of the contract contained a clause allowing the loser to demand a rematch – which the American triggered shortly after his defeat.Fury’s victory led to a clamour for him to face fellow Brit Joshua – who holds the WBA, IBF, WBO, and IBO titles – in a unification fight.However, former Olympic champion Joshua must first defend his three belts against mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev in a fight expected to take place in October.Reports have surfaced claiming Wilder would accept $10 million to step aside, allowing 31-year-old Fury to face Joshua sooner.But Fury was having none of that, and is adamant Wilder will be his next opponent, followed by two fights against his 30-year-old compatriot in what he predicted would be “the biggest fight in boxing history”. “We’ve got the rematch with Wilder at some point,” said Fury. “Then we’ll have the two AJ fights. We’ll have one, then obviously when I batter him, he’ll want a rematch.”Fury added: “Some newspaper reported that [Wilder] wanted $10m to step aside. I’m not paying him to step aside. I’d rather take his scalp again.“I’ll beat him in the ring and that’s how I’ll get him out the way. I wouldn’t pay him, I’d rather give him another battering.“I’m going to take him out again, hopefully at the end of the year.“Then, we’re going to go into 2021 for the biggest fight in boxing history between two undefeated British heavyweights. We’re going to battle it out for all of the gold. “There used to be a three-headed monster in this division. It was me, Wilder and Joshua; then [Andy] Ruiz knocked out Joshua and burst that bubble. Then I broke in the Bronze Bomber. Three became two, and two became one.”Neither Fury nor Joshua are likely to fight in the UK this year due to crowds being banned from sporting events for the foreseeable future amid the coronavirus crisis.Tags: Anthony JoshuaKubrat PulevTyson Furylast_img read more

21 Sep

Kompany: I’m staying at City

first_imgDefender Vincent Kompany has vowed to stay at Manchester City, saying: “I have no reason to go.” Press Association Following last season’s title win, this campaign has been something of a disappointment with below-par showings in the Barclays Premier League and Champions League. That has been enough to spark speculation over the future of the City captain, with Barcelona mooted as a possible destination. But the 27-year-old told The Sun: “I have no reason to go elsewhere. I am happy here, I have five years left and if you knew the plans for this team for the future… I consider that to be a real objective.” last_img read more

21 Sep

Liverpool to consider ban response

first_imgLiverpool will review the full reasons behind the Football Association’s 10-match ban for Luis Suarez before deciding whether to appeal against the punishment imposed for biting Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic. The club were left “shocked and disappointed” after the striker was hit with the sanction that could see him suspended from domestic football until October. The severity of the ban caught Liverpool by surprise and the club will also have to make a decision over whether to sell the Uruguayan striker. Liverpool’s managing director Ian Ayre, who earlier this week insisted the club were determined to keep Suarez, said in response to the decision: “Both the club and player are shocked and disappointed at the severity of the independent regulatory commission decision. We await the written reasons before making any further comment.” Suarez missed eight matches last season due to his racist abuse ban, and following the punishment imposed by an FA independent regulatory commission now faces the prospect of missing the last four games of this campaign and the first six of next season. Suarez had admitted violent conduct after biting Ivanovic during the 2-2 draw with Chelsea on Sunday but challenged the FA’s contention that he deserved more than a three-match ban. The commission, however, agreed with the FA, which said in statement: “A three-person independent regulatory commission today upheld the FA’s claim that a suspension of three matches was clearly insufficient and the player will serve a further seven first-team matches in addition to the standard three. The suspension begins with immediate effect.” Suarez has until midday on Friday to appeal the additional suspension, above the standard three matches. Former Liverpool defender Mark Lawrenson believes the latest ban leaves the club in a difficult position. Lawrenson told BBC Radio Five: “The thing about Suarez is he is now becoming a constant offender, and Liverpool are going to have to make a decision re Suarez and the future “I think it’s a possibility he will have to leave. They are trying to sell season tickets at the moment and people will be saying ‘hold on a minute, is Suarez going be here, is he going to miss 20% of the season,’ it’s a really tough one for Liverpool.” center_img Press Associationlast_img read more

21 Sep

Kemp: Still work to do

first_img Midfielder Charlie Adam’s first goal since November 24, 50 seconds into the second half, was enough to seal a 1-0 win over Norwich at the Britannia Stadium, providing the club with back-to-back wins for the first time in four months. Stoke have now hit the 40-point mark long heralded by boss Tony Pulis as enough to clinch safety, although they are not yet mathematically secure of a sixth successive season in the Barclays Premier League. “You are always pleased when you do hit 40, but we can’t relax,” said Kemp, standing in for Pulis for the post-game press conference. Stoke assistant boss Dave Kemp believes people within the club can start leading normal lives again in the wake of their latest win that has further eased their relegation worries. “I don’t like setting targets. There is a danger in thinking ‘well, we’ve got to 40 we can relax, we can take our foot off the gas’. But we’ve three games to go and we’re quite capable of getting 49 points, so let’s go for them and we’ll look at the table at the end of the season. As far as I’m concerned there’s still work to do.” At least Pulis, Kemp and the players can enjoy a degree of normalcy again after enduring a wretched run of one win in 13 matches prior to these last two successes. “Like any club, when you win on a Saturday, you can all watch Match of the Day again, read the papers tomorrow. It’s a bit more like it,” added Kemp. “When you are losing you lose touch with the outside world because you are not watching TV and reading the newspapers because you don’t want to, but we can live a normal life again. “We were on a bad run, but that’s football. You have ups and downs, you have to deal with the difficult periods as well as when things are going well. Hopefully we’ve come through it, we’ve put two wins together, and now we can look forward to these last three games.” Norwich’s latest slice of away-day misery – they have only won once on the road in the league all season – should have been tripled but for Peter Crouch missing two embarrassing sitters. In failing to test Stoke goalkeeper Asmir Begovic even once, Norwich find themselves just six points above the relegation zone, and still looking over their shoulders. Manager Chris Hughton said: “We were up against a Stoke side at their most direct and most physical. But you know what you are going to get when you come here, and I don’t have too many complaints. It’s something you have to deal with. I thought, if anything, they would get even more direct in the second half and we would have our chances. “But to concede so early in the second half really hurt us, and with this defeat it means we’ve still work to do. We’ve two home games, which is a plus, and the situation is still in our hands.” center_img Press Associationlast_img read more

21 Sep

Moyes fumes over disallowed goal

first_img “The referee said Victor impeded the goalkeeper but the goalkeeper ran into him so it can’t possibly be a free-kick. It is not a foul. It is disappointing because it is not easy here. “You people (the media) are quick to remind me I’ve not won at Anfield but if you don’t get any decisions at Anfield it makes it very difficult to win and that (not getting decisions) is quite a regular occurrence when you come here. If you score a good goal you need to get something going for you.” Reds boss Brendan Rodgers had a different view of the incident, insisting referee Michael Oliver was right in his assessment. “I think when you see it again the referee has good sight of it early,” he said. “As the ball has virtually left the corner he has blown up for a foul. I wasn’t 100 per cent sure at the time it wasn’t for Distin’s foul on (Jamie) Carragher or whether it was Anichebe but I think it was Anichebe’s initial push. “It is one of those where if you are the manager you probably see the decision as the correct one. I am sure David will be disappointed the goal did not stand but I thought Michael was very good.” Comparisons were made to the goal Luis Suarez had ruled out when the two sides drew 2-2 earlier in the season, but Rodgers disagreed. “This was different to our goal at Goodison Park, he (Suarez) was clearly onside when he scored,” he added. “If you look at this decision here, the referee has had a clear view of it and before there is any contact with the ball he has already blown. That was probably Everton’s best possibility, to score from a set-piece.” Everton manager David Moyes complained that another decision went against his side to deny him a first win at Anfield. The 220th Merseyside derby ended goalless but the Toffees boss was unhappy Sylvain Distin’s second-half header was ruled out for a foul on goalkeeper Jose Reina. A draw extended Everton’s winless run in the league at their near-neighbours to 14 years – beyond Moyes’ time at the club – but the Scot said that had his side got their fair share of decisions in that time, their results would have been dramatically different. “It was a legitimate goal. The goalkeeper runs into Victor Anichebe and it is a goal,” he said. center_img Press Associationlast_img read more

21 Sep

Villa to start talks with key men

first_img Benteke’s 19-goal contribution to Villa’s Premier League survival push this year has seen him linked with some of Europe’s biggest teams, while the likes of Matthew Lowton, Ashley Westwood, Brad Guzan and Andreas Weimann have emerged from relative obscurity to become key men. “Who has he been linked with now?” the Scot said. “I always knew it would happen. Christian and a few other lads are in my thinking.” Paul Lambert will sit down with Christian Benteke and Aston Villa’s other stars of the season next week to thrash out improved deals and begin building towards next year. Lambert quipped: “I don’t know how much he’s on, I leave the finances to other people. No, I know everything that’s going on and exactly what’s happening, everybody’s finances. “Christian is one of a few who have been brilliant for us, collectively as a team and individuals they’ve been great. We’re coming to the end of the season and yes, we’ll sit them down and try to get things done. “Every one of the players have helped us stay up, it’s not just one player. Every one of the lads contributed something and they’re the ones that have done it, we got ourselves over the line.” Lambert bristled at any suggestion Arsenal did Villa a favour by beating Wigan 4-1 on Tuesday to confirm his side’s safety. “People say we were relying on Arsenal to get us a result but we weren’t,” he said. “It’s because we did the job ourselves. “We’ve won all the games that counted, only the top four have beaten us. There are no celebrations yet, the job is not done yet. But the crowd is special here. “I knew how tight the league always was, even teams in mid-table had to have one eye behind them. We’re going to have a fantastic following up at Wigan on Sunday and we have to try to win it and not slack off and let it become one of those games where it’s like a festival.” center_img Press Associationlast_img read more

21 Sep

Ince: Cardiff move was not right

first_img The England Under-21 international traveled to south Wales to discuss a move to the Bluebirds with manager Malky Mackay after a bid was accepted by the Tangerines. But he revealed that it did not feel like the right move with a young daughter and family in the north-west. Press Association “It just felt the right thing to do, after weighing up all the pros and cons,” he told the Daily Mail. “Malky has done magnificent things for Cardiff, and I wish them all the very best in the Premier League, but I had to conclude I would not be going there with them. “Sometimes, you have to follow your instinct, and my gut feeling was that it just wasn’t right for me. “I’m still very young. At 21, I’m still learning the ropes and developing, and I’m also thoroughly enjoying my football at Blackpool. “On top of that, all my family are in the north-west, not least the little baby girl whose recent arrival means I’ve now got a young family of my own to think of.” center_img Blackpool winger Tom Ince has revealed he turned down a move to Barclays Premier League new boys Cardiff because of his gut instinct.last_img read more