Pellegrini wants top six finish for West Hamby Ian Ferris10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveWest Ham are hoping to make it five straight Premier League wins for the first time since 2006.”The most important thing is to be in the top six at the end of the season,” said boss Manuel Pellegrini.”There are still 21 games to go. We are in a good moment now so we must try to take it game by game and add points.” TagsPremiership NewsAbout the authorIan FerrisShare the loveHave your say
TagsTransfersAbout the authorFreddie TaylorShare the loveHave your say Okazaki frustrated with Leicester as Huddersfield circleby Freddie Taylor9 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveShinji Okazaki says he is waiting on Leicester City to decide his future.The 32-year-old has expressed his displeasure at his lack of playing time this season and believes it might be time to part ways with the club.”It’s up to Leicester. Right now, I don’t know whether they need me or not,” Okazaki told Japanese press after the 2-1 loss to the Saints. “Of course, (playing for) a team that wants me would be ideal.”I can’t feel satisfied as a player. After three-and-a-half years, maybe it’s time to move on. I have no intention of quarrelling with the team, but I will make my feelings known.”Huddersfield have reportedly had a bid rejected for the forward.
TagsTransfersAbout the authorFreddie TaylorShare the loveHave your say Southampton eyeing Brentord duo Watkins and Mephamby Freddie Taylor9 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveSouthampton want to sign two players from Brentford.According to Sky Sports, boss Ralph Hasenhuttl has scouts checking on Ollie Watkins and Chris Mepham.No bid has been made, while Brentford would want north of £20 million for both of them.Watkins has seven goals this season in 25 games, while Mepham is a central defender who is comfortable on the ball.At only 21, he is seen as a great prospect in the position, while he would compliment the style Hasenhuttl is attempting to instill at the Saints.
Twitter/Ole MissWeek three of the college football season delivered, yet again, further adding to the confusion regarding the playoff picture. In our current College Football Playoff rankings, we only have teams from two conferences – the SEC and the Big Ten – in the field. But that’ll change by the end of the year, given the fact that some of those teams have to play each other.Last week, it was Ole Miss’ victory over Alabama that served as the most interesting contest of the weekend. Which will it be this Saturday? Utah vs Oregon? USC vs. Arizona State? UCLA vs. Arizona?We’ve made our picks for the week. Check them out below:Who do you have?
Monday, Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh revealed at one of his program’s camps that his wife, Sarah, is pregnant with the couple’s fourth child. Harbaugh, who is 52, also has three children from a previous marriage, which means that he’s soon going to be the proud father of seven kids.Former WWE star Ric Flair, who is a big fan of Harbaugh (and vice versa) has now publicly congratulated the Wolverines head coach on Twitter. He also made a wife joke in the process. Flair, for the record, has been married four times.Congrats to my man @CoachJim4UM on number 7! (Kids, not wives!)— Ric Flair® (@RicFlairNatrBoy) June 20, 2016We’ll see if any other celebrities chime in to congratulate Harbaugh – Flair likely won’t be the last.
Maurizio Sarri believes now is the time for Chelsea to decide on Eden Hazard’s future at the club amid continued speculation.Links with a move to Real Madrid for the Belgium international have persisted, with the winger recently refusing to be drawn on whether he would commit long term to Chelsea and extend a contract that expires at the end of next season.Hazard said he was “just focused on the pitch” after scoring twice in Chelsea’s 2-1 win over Watford on Wednesday, the 27-year-old having now scored four goals in his last four games. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Asked about whether Hazard will remain with the club in his pre-match media conference ahead of Chelsea’s Premier League clash with Crystal Palace, Sarri said: “I don’t know but it’s time to decide.”I am the coach. I am not the president, I am not in charge of the market, I am the coach. I want to speak to him only about the position on the pitch.”I think we have to solve the problem.”19 – Eden Hazard has been directly involved in 19 goals in the Premier League this season (10 goals, nine assists); the most of any player in the competition. Leader. pic.twitter.com/Si7ZWPtv8T— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 26, 2018Hazard has flourished playing in the middle as a false nine, but, despite his excellent recent form, the ex-Lille man has insisted his preferred position is on the wing.Sarri faced continued questioning from reporters about the decision to move him into the middle, but sees no issue with using Hazard’s flexibility to play in both roles.”He is able to play as a winger. He is able to play in the centre of the pitch,” Sarri explained. “I am really very happy with him in this position because he is very able to score and to open spaces for the team-mates. He is able to come and play with the team-mates. I am happy with him in this position but he can still play as a winger, of course.”He is a great player. One of the most important in Chelsea’s history, I think, so I was really confident that he would be able to score more [from the middle].”I don’t know if he prefers to play as a winger or striker. But if he is able to play like he did in the last match in the centre, then for me it is not a problem to put him in the centre.”I cannot see a problem of Hazard in this role. He played four matches as a false number nine and he scored three goals and got three assists. So I am not able to see the problem.”One player Sarri will not have the services of for the trip to Palace on Sunday and likely the visit of Southampton and the FA Cup tie with Nottingham Forest is Pedro.Sarri said: “Pedro has an injured hamstring and I think that he will have to rest for about 10 days.”
Tahith Chong impressed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as the exciting teenager talent caught the eye in Manchester United’s FA Cup third round victory over Reading.The 19-year-old winger was handed his competitive debut during a meeting with the Royals at Old Trafford.He entered the fold in the 64th minute and offered glimpses of what he is capable of during a productive cameo, with those at Old Trafford having high hopes for the Dutch youngster. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Solskjaer certainly saw enough to suggest that an academy graduate can make more of an impact on a senior stage.United’s interim boss said of Chong’s bow: “He had two or three really good moments, as you do when you’re young.“You don’t run the game as a first performance for a 19-year-old.“But he got the crowd going, and has shown one or two glimpses of what he can do, he has in training anyway.“And the game wasn’t won, it was 2-0 and was still go out there and perform. It’s not like it was 4-0 and it’s just a party, so he did well defensively as well and I think he’ll remember this for a long, long time.”Solskjaer was also pleased to see a much-changed side secure another shutout, while Alexis Sanchez – who picked up a knock – and Romelu Lukaku got more important minutes under their belts.The Norwegian added: “The pleasing thing is we’re through and another clean sheet, 2-0 flatters us a bit because I think they played some great stuff, but then again we could have had three or four towards the end.“The second goal was excellent with Alexis getting Romelu in, so individual quality managed to get us through, to be fair.”While Lukaku netted United’s second, their first came from a Juan Mata penalty which was awarded courtesy of assistance from VAR.Solskjaer was happy to see technology benefit his side, but feels the match officials should have been able to make the spot-kick call by themselves.He said: “From where I sat it was a clear penalty.“I didn’t need VAR there, but they were probably checking if it was offside or not. Well done by Juan, he gets the ball down and the penalty was well struck.”
When Jose Mourinho oversaw a 3-1 spanking by Liverpool just four weeks ago, Manchester United were 11 points from the top four and had almost nobody believing in their prospects of securing Champions League football.But under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer they have narrowed that gap to six, and, thanks to their 1-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley on Sunday, they have also seen off one of the country’s big six clubs in a huge test of their mettle.Marcus Rashford’s goal just before half-time, together with an absolute goalkeeping clinic by David de Gea in the second stanza, took United to their sixth straight win under Solskjaer and threw them right back into the race for fourth place. They may not have gained points on the Champions League positions this weekend, but they have recorded a statement victory and proven to all that they mean business. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? In Jesse Lingard, Anthony Martial and Rashford they again had a front line of great dynamism, frightening Spurs’ defenders on the break. And in Paul Pogba they had an all-round threat in their midfield which is now becoming a norm rather than the exception it appeared to be under Mourinho.United are a changed side not just in results, but also in the way they appear to the eye. They are so much more expressive, so much more coherent, and so much more credible in all phases of the field.They still owe a lot to the wonderful De Gea for this result, but they can’t be deemed to be fortunate at gaining another three points.While Son Heung-Min had their defence back-pedalling early and teed up Harry Winks for a chance from a narrow angle, United had a solid shape about them almost from the start. Keeping their three attackers high up the pitch primed for the counter gave Spurs something extra to think about, while they could also do little to break down United’s structured base.As such, United got opportunities in large quantities on the break. Lingard, Martial and Rashford squandered the odd chance between them but it always felt like they would get more. And when Kieran Trippier lost possession to Paul Pogba shortly brefore half-time, the Frenchman’s delicious first-time, cross-field ball found Rashford in space and the England front man brilliantly fired low across Hugo Lloris into the far bottom corner.It was the least they deserved for their clever game plan and the excellent execution of it thereafter, and you had to feel like there just needed to be a repeat dose in the second half for United to go home with the three points.But Spurs were much better in the second half and from not having had a single shot on target in the opening 45 minutes they peppered United’s goal after the break.The problem for them was that De Gea was in sensational form. Having already beaten away chances for Harry Kane and Dele Alli among others, the Spaniard also kept out Christian Eriksen before arguably his greatest stop of the lot when reacting superbly to get a foot in the way of Toby Alderweireld’s header from an Eriksen corner.If the second half showed that in some ways United are not the finished article, it also proved that they have come a long way. No longer are they caving under the barrage, and with Pogba prominent they always carried a threat at the other end too.This was United back to somewhere near their best, and on the biggest of stages too. Check out Goal’s Premier League 2019-20 fantasy football podcast for game tips, debate and rivalries.
Megan Rapinoe was the United States’ match-winner for the second game running as she netted another brace to help the holders beat hosts France 2-1 in Paris and set up a Women’s World Cup semi-final clash with England.Reign FC forward Rapinoe, who scored twice in the USA’s victory over Spain on Monday, showed no signs of distraction after her war of words with American president Donald Trump as she put her side into an early lead from which a France team featuring six players from Champions League-winning Lyon never recovered.USA have made a habit of scoring early in this competition and France knew all about the attacking threat of Alex Morgan and Rapinoe. However, France nevertheless fell behind after just five minutes when Morgan won a free-kick that experienced forward Rapinoe converted. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? An expectant crowd at a sold-out Parc des Princes awaited the response from France’s talented front four but could only watch as a USA defence marshalled masterfully by Abby Dahlkemper and Becky Sauerbrunn repeatedly slammed the door in their faces.France had won 17 of their previous 18 matches in all competitions but there was no way back for Corinne Diacre’s players after Rapinoe slid home her second after 65 minutes, despite Wendie Renard’s late consolation, and the USA will take some stopping on current form.2 – Megan Rapinoe is the first player to score two or more goals in back-to-back Women’s World Cup appearances since Marta in 2007. Double. #FIFAWWC #USA #FRAUSA pic.twitter.com/bHY3VbMrcj— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 28, 2019Rapinoe’s opener came when a low free-kick from the left bounced through a crowd of bodies and evaded Sarah Bouhaddi’s left hand before bulging the net.Shaken by the early goal, France steadied themselves and stemmed the flow of USA attacks but failed to muster a shot on target themselves as they struggled to compete with the physicality of Samantha Mewis and Julie Ertz in midfield.Bouhaddi was called into action early in the second half to make a double save from Mewis and Tobin Heath, before Eugenie Le Sommer snatched at a close-range chance at the other end and blazed wide.USA goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher was finally tested when Valerie Gauvin’s header threatened to loop over her head but she dived backwards to claim it.France were still in the game until Renard was caught napping as Morgan’s pass fed Heath, who had a clear run to the box where she dragged the ball back to Rapinoe for an easy finish.Heath thought she had scored one of her own 10 minutes later but an offside flag ruled otherwise.Renard set up a tense finish when she headed Gaetane Thiney’s free-kick home from 10 yards, but the bullish USA defence held firm. Key Opta Facts:- The host nation has been eliminated at the quarter-final stage in each of the last four Women’s World Cup tournaments – China in 2007, Germany in 2011, Canada in 2015 and France in 2019 have all fallen at this stage.- USA have reached the semi-final in all eight of their Women’s World Cup tournaments.- USA have now won their last 10 matches at the Women’s World Cup, equalling the longest run of wins in the tournament’s history set by Norway between 1995 and 1999.- Six of France’s 10 goals at the 2019 Women’s World Cup were scored via set-pieces, with four of those scored by Wendie Renard.- USA’s Megan Rapinoe became the first player to score two or more goals in consecutive Women’s World Cup matches since Marta did so for Brazil in 2007. read more
Olivier Giroud is hoping to help fill the goal gap at Chelsea following Eden Hazard’s summer switch to Real Madrid.The Blues reluctantly sanctioned the sale of a Belgium international forward at the start of the latest transfer window.That move was agreed despite the Blues being stung with an embargo which prevents them from bringing in any replacements. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Ox-rated! Dream night in Genk for Liverpool ace after injury nightmare Messi a man for all Champions League seasons – but will this really be Barcelona’s? Frank Lampard does not expect that to be an issue, with there already plenty of alternative options on the books at Stamford Bridge.Wingers Willian and Christian Pulisic are expected to fill the creative void, while World Cup-winning striker Giroud will be charged with the task of delivering end product.The France international has said of that challenge: “The numbers of goals Eden scored, I don’t know if I can take that from him but we have several strikers with different qualities.“We have the quality and the quantity in the squad but obviously you know you cannot replace a player of Eden’s quality just like that.“But that’s over. Now we need to forget and not put too much pressure on players who will play in his position.“I’m thinking about the young players. I will take the pressure no problem if it can release them.“We know there are a lot of expectations but, even with the transfer ban, we have a lot of quality and ability up front.”Giroud has also offered his backing to Lampard, with a Chelsea legend in the process of getting his message across after inheriting the managerial reins from Maurizio Sarri.“It seems very clear that he wants the best from us,” added the 32-year-old frontman.“He wants to help us improve and he has a clear idea of what he wants to achieve. He’s a competitor, he wants to win every single game.“We’re working on the tactics when we don’t have the ball and playing this 4-2-3-1 we have to know each other a bit better as well.“He repeats every day that we have to take responsibility and we have to show personality.“He’s insisting a lot on this kind of stuff, playing without fear but with confidence. I think we will learn quickly.”Chelsea are currently on pre-season duty but continue to count down the days to an eagerly-anticipated Premier League season opener against Manchester United on August 11. Check out Goal’s Premier League 2019-20 fantasy football podcast for game tips, debate and rivalries.