Thứ Năm, 17 tháng 11, 2016

Premier League managers counting cost of international games

England's Wayne Rooney claps after winning the World Cup group F qualifying soccer match between England and Scotland with a 3-0 score at the Wembley stadium, London, Friday, Nov. 11, 2016. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
The final round of international fixtures in 2016 did no favors for managers of some of the English Premier League's title hopefuls.
Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger, in particular, will vouch for that ahead of the renewal of their often-heated coaching rivalry.
When Mourinho's Manchester United and Wenger's Arsenal meet at Old Trafford on Saturday for the standout game in the 12th round of matches, there could be some major names missing because of injuries sustained on international duty.
United captain Wayne Rooney has caused a furor by being photographed, looking bleary-eyed, alongside some guests at a wedding party taking place at the England team hotel on Saturday. But by then, he'd picked up a knee injury during England's 3-0 win over Scotland the night before, causing him to miss Tuesday's match against Spain, and Rooney is now doubtful for the Arsenal game.
It was the last thing Mourinho would have wanted, considering he is already without suspended striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic and center backs Eric Bailly and Chris Smalling, as well as having serious doubts over the fitness of midfielder Marouane Fellaini and full backs Luke Shaw and Antonio Valencia.
Wenger, meanwhile, will ask Alexis Sanchez for an honest assessment of his fitness after Arsenal's star forward sustained a hamstring injury while away with Chile. Sanchez missed a draw against Colombia but returned for the 3-1 win over Uruguay on Tuesday, although his right leg was heavily strapped for the match.
Sanchez isn't due to return to Arsenal's training base until Friday and the match against United is a lunchtime kickoff on Saturday.
"What I will consider is the risk of injury because he played while recovering from a hamstring injury," Wenger said on Thursday. "I'll consider the way he feels as well. On that front you depend on the honesty of the player, how they feel and how they recover."
Wenger will be careful about overloading Sanchez, who has scored eight goals for Arsenal this season from his new position as converted striker. This time last year, Sanchez picked up a hamstring injury following a grueling run of back-to-back games for club and country and ended up missing the next two months, which proved to be a huge blow to Arsenal's title hopes.
Arsenal plays Paris Saint-Germain in a big Champions League game on Wednesday, too.
Liverpool and Chelsea, the Premier League's top two, could also be counting the cost of the recent international games after injuries to key players.
Adam Lallana, one of Liverpool's quartet of sprightly forwards that has been in devastating form this season, hobbled off during England's game against Spain and is a doubt for the leaders' trip to Southampton.
As for second-place Chelsea, Diego Costa was ruled out of both of Spain's games during the break because of groin injury and Eden Hazard limped off during Belgium's 8-1 win over Estonia with an apparent calf injury. It isn't yet clear if either Costa or Hazard — the scorers of 15 league goals between them — will be fit for the Chelsea's match at Middlesbrough.
Here's what else to look out for this weekend:
Palace has conceded 10 goals in its last three games and hasn't kept a clean sheet in the league all season. In terms of points per game (0.73) in 2016, Alan Pardew's side is the worst-performing team across England's four leagues this calendar year.
Probably, then, the last team it would want to see arriving at Selhurst Park on Saturday is Pep Guardiola's free-scoring Man City side. Star striker Sergio Aguero will be raring to go for City, having failed to start for Argentina in either of their World Cup qualifying games over the international break.
Leicester can clinch qualification to the knockout round of the Champions League on Tuesday, but its players would be wise not to look that far ahead this weekend.
The Premier League champions head to Watford just two points above the relegation zone, having lost at home to West Bromwich Albion in the last game before the international break.
Leicester will be boosted by leading striker Jamie Vardy ending his run of 14 games without a goal for club or country by scoring for England against Spain. Vardy scored 24 league goals last season, but has only two so far this season.

More games: friv

Thứ Ba, 27 tháng 9, 2016

Celtic braced for Manchester City raiders

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers has a goalkeeping dilemma to resolve before Manchester City turn up for their Group C Champions League match in Glasgow on Wednesday.

The Scottish champions shipped seven goals at Barcelona in their opening group game and Rodgers needs the safest pair of hands he can find to keep out some of the most lethal finishers in English soccer.
City have scored more than anyone in the Premier League this season, leading by four points and winning 10 out of 10 games in all competitions under new manager Pep Guardiola.
Their latest victims were Swansea City, rolled aside 3-1 on Saturday with Argentina striker Sergio Aguero scoring twice.
The first goals Aguero scored in English soccer were against Swansea, in 2011, when Rodgers was in charge and the manager needs no reminding of the Argentine's talents.
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He may, however, have to put his faith in a man whose confidence was described only last week by former Celtic striker Chris Sutton as "shot to pieces".
Unconvincing Dutch goalkeeper Dorus De Vries was substituted at halftime due to injury in Celtic's 6-1 Scottish Premier League win over Kilmarnock on Saturday, with Scotland international Craig Gordon the replacement.
"Dorus strained his chest when he landed. He could have played on but we had Craig there fit and capable and I didn't want to take any risk with it so we will see how Dorus is over the next couple of days," Rodgers told reporters.
The Northern Irishman said he would have no qualms about fielding Gordon against City, who beat Borussia Moenchengladbach 4-0 in their opening group game thanks to an Aguero hat-trick.
"He's more than capable. He's a brilliant shot stopper, he's improving his game with his feet all the time," he added of a player who drew Sutton's criticism after a high challenge in a Scottish League Cup quarter-final against Alloa.
City will be a very different class of opponent to Kilmarnock, but Celtic will still feel buoyed by Saturday's win.
"It's a great game for us. Games at home here at Celtic Park in the Champions League are really special nights," Rodgers said.
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City will feel the likely loss of Belgian midfielder Kevin de Bruyne, to a hamstring injury, but they have plenty of other options with Raheem Sterling ready to relish the reunion with his former Liverpool boss.
One more win would also allow Guardiola to equal his predecessor Manuel Pellegrini's club record of 11 consecutive wins, achieved last season.
Wednesday's game is the first between the two sides in European competition, but Celtic have several ex-City players in their squad including defender Kolo Toure, Scott Sinclair and on-loan winger Patrick Roberts.
"People are saying that Celtic are the weakest team of the group but, believe me, we know it's going to be really hard because they're a really strong team when they play at home," City defender Pablo Zabaleta told the Mirror newspaper.
"We won't be thinking about what happened to Celtic against Barcelona."

Thứ Ba, 30 tháng 8, 2016

Sergio Aguero is out of the Argentina squad due to injury

Sergio Aguero picked up an injury on Sunday
Manchester City forward Sergio Aguero is out of the Argentina squad for their upcoming World Cup qualifiers.
The 28-year-old picked up a calf injury during Sunday's 3-1 victory over West Ham at the Etihad Stadium and was substituted in the 88th minute.
And it was confirmed on the Argentina team's website on Monday that Aguero will sit out the games against Uruguay (September 2) and Venezuela (September 7).
Meanwhile, Aguero is waiting to find out whether the FA is to take any action against him following his clash with Winston Reid during Sunday's game.
Aguero appeared to catch Reid with his elbow and, if the referee says he did not see the incident, the City man may be facing an FA charge and a possible suspension.
In addition to Aguero, Paris Saint-Germain attacking midfielder Javier Pastore has pulled out of the Argentina squad with a tear to his right calf. 
Lionel Messi will be involved in the two upcoming fixtures however, having reversed his retirement decision when new Argentina manager Edgardo Bauza visited Spain to convince him to change his mind.
Lionel Messi will feature for Argentina after reversing his retirement decision
Argentina face Uruguay in a World Cup qualifier in Mendoza on Thursday and travel to Venezuela for another qualifier on September 6. 

Thứ Ba, 19 tháng 7, 2016

From NSW to old south Wales: Birighitti completes Swansea move

UPDATE: Mark Birighitti has completed his "dream" transfer to the English Premier League – but don’t expect the talented goalkeeper to have his head turned by his move to the big time.
As revealed on on Friday, Perth-born Birighitti has signed a two-year deal with Swansea City with the option of an extra 12 months.
Mark Birighitti and agent Vince Grella after the West Aussie completed his move to Swansea. Pic supplied
It is a fantastic step-up from the A-League, where the 25-year-old excelled with struggling Newcastle Jets last season.

But amid the excitement of hopefully testing himself against the likes of Sergio Aguero, Alexis Sanchez and new Manchester United superstar Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Birighitti is steeling himself for the more immediate task of trying to dislodge current Swans No.1 Lukasz Fabianski.
"It's been a long wait dealing with a few offers, so to come to this stage signing for Swansea City it's a dream come true,” Birighitti told

“It's going to be a huge test but I always play my best when there's a challenge in front of me.

“As a young footballer growing up, you dream of playing for the Socceroos. But going to the Premier League, it's a huge honour.
“Fabianski is a great goalkeeper who's got a wealth of experience. 

“He played with Arsenal and recently he was enormous for Poland in the Euros. It'll be great to go and work with him and pick his brain and work with one of the best in England.
Birighitti praised the coaching set-up at Newcastle Jets. Pic: Getty Images
“But, of course, it’ll be my job to put pressure on him and be better than him each day at training.

“The good thing about English football is there are so many games. Not only the Premier League, but there's the Capital One Cup and the FA Cup.

“My main aim is to perform well day in, day out at training and prove to the coaches and everyone at the football club why I should be there ... so when I get the opportunity to play for the first team I take it with both hands.”

Birighitti, capped once by Australia in 2013, learnt his football at ECU Joondalup and Perth SC before moving into the A-League with Adelaide United and then onto the Jets.
Current Swansea No.1 goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski. Pic: Getty Images
It’s not all been plain sailing – he previously saw a potential move to Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen fall through at the 11th hour. And 18 months ago he went on loan to the Italian second division to resurrect his career.

But that move to unfashionable AS Varese could turn out to be the making of Birighitti.

Not only did he come back revitalised and hungry for more European football, he also linked up with the man who has played no small part in taking him to Swansea.

“During my time in Italy, the sporting director at the time was Gabriele Ambrosetti, who is now an assistant at Swansea. He's a great person, very well respected and me and him get along very, very well. 

“I’m looking forward to linking up with him and the head coach Francesco Guidolin and the rest of the players.
Swansea City manager Francesco Guidolin. Pic: Getty Images

“The captain, Ashley Williams, he was great for Wales at the Euros and just seeing some of the Swansea games last year, you could see his presence. He's a genuine leader and a person everyone looks up to.”

Birighitti was recalled to the Socceroos squad in May this year after a two-year absence and sat on the bench for the games against England and Greece.
His move from New South Wales to old south Wales will only strengthen his national credentials.

“While I was with the Socceroos squad in England and back in Australia, I spoke to a few of the players who have played in England, like Mile (Jedinak), Fedders (Adam Federici) and Timmy Cahill, asking what to expect if I went.
Swansea City captain Ashley Williams celebrates his goal for Wales against Belgium in the quarter-final of Euro 2016 in Lille. Pic: Getty Images
“They gave me a lot of good advice and there's a lot of Australians over in the UK who I can always catch up with them.

“There are also my agents Frank Trimboli and (former Socceroo) Vince Grella. 

“Since I was first introduced to them a year-and-a-half ago they've been absolutely fantastic. 

“It can be frustrating at times because they don't really say too much, and the whole Swansea thing I've only known about it (going ahead) for 2-3 weeks now. But they're fantastic people who want the best for their players.”

Birighitti also praised the coaching team at the Jets who helped him achieve his dream – and the family who instilled in him an unbending work ethic, even if it meant climbing out of bed before dawn for practice as a 10-year-old.
Birighitti with his extended family, including dad Carlo and mum Fran, at home in Perth before the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil. Birighitti was selected for the extended squad but missed out on the final 23. Pic: WA News
“They are such a proud family. My dad (Carlo) has done so much for me,” he said. 

“Growing up as a young kid, he was my first ever coach. He's put in the hard yards too, dragging me out of bed, taking me to training at six o’clock in the morning ... Some of the stuff was ridiculous, but I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for him. He's such an inspiration, and my mum (Fran) and sister and brother-in-law.

“They make sure nothing gets in the way of me excelling in my football career.
Birighitti poses with Italy World Cup winner Gianluigi Buffon after Juventus had played the A-League All Stars in Sydney in 2014. Pic supplied
"There’s also the team at the Jets who came in last year. Scotty Miller, the coach, Jean-Paul de Marigny, who is now the assistant coach at Melbourne Victory, and Jess Vanstratten, the Jets goalkeeping coach and the one that will always be there for me.

“I probably wouldn’t be in this position if it wasn't for him. He’s been enormous in my career in this past year. Coming back from Italy he has helped me grow as a player and person - he's given me so much belief. I just can't thank him enough.”

Birighitti is ready to grasp his chance with both hands. Pic: WA News.

Thứ Ba, 14 tháng 6, 2016

Copa America 2016: Tuesday Group Times, Odds, Live Stream and TV Schedule

Defending champions Chile face the prospect of crashing out of the 2016 Copa America at the group stages but can confirm a spot in the knockout rounds if they avoid to defeat to Panama on Tuesday in Group D.
Argentina have confirmed their place in the quarter-finals after winning two from two and will look to continue their perfect tournament when they face bottom of the group Bolivia in Seattle on Tuesday.
Chile and Panama have one win apiece, but a superior goal difference means La Roja need only avoid defeat in Philadelphia to advance from the group along with Argentina.
Here's a look at the schedule for Tuesday's Copa America Centenarioaction, along with match odds and television details:
Copa America Schedule, Odds
DateTime (ET/BST)FiuxtureOdds
June 148 p.m./1 a.m.Chile vs. PanamaChile(2-5), Draw (22-5), Panama (9-1)
June 1410 p.m./3 a.m.Argentina vs. BoliviaArgentina (2-13), Draw (44-5), Bolivia (25-1)
Fox Sports will broadcast the matches in the U.S, while Premier Sports will do so for the UK. The action can also be streamed live at Fox Soccer 2GO (U.S.) and FuboTV (U.S.).\
Chile were downed 2-1 by Argentina in their opener of this year's Copa—a repeat of the 2015 final—but they bounced back with a 2-1 victory over Bolivia last time out to keep their tournament hopes alive.
Midfielder Arturo Vidal was the key man against La Verde as he netted both Chile's goals, the winner coming from a controversial penalty deep into stoppage time, per Copa America 2016:Chile were handed a lifeline with the late spot-kick award and must step up their performance level if they are to go far again in this year'sCopa.
Panama will not be easy opponents on Tuesday as they know that a victory will see them into the knockout stages.
They were thrashed 5-0 by Argentina in their last match—substituteLionel Messi netting a 19-minute hat-trick—but claimed their three points by beating Bolivia, also 2-1, in the opener.
Blas Perez was the hero as he scored a double, and Bayern Munich's Arturo Vidal is all too aware of the threat Panama pose to Chile's chances of advancing, per Radio Cooperativa(via FourFourTwo):
"Panama are physically very strong," said Vidal. 
"We are going to better prepare for the game and hopefully will be able to show all the quality we have. These matches are very difficult, you have to keep improving, starting now."
Chile undoubtedly have the stronger squad. In Claudio Bravo they have a very experienced goalkeeper, while Gary Medel, Vidal, Eduardo Vargas and Alexis Sanchez are high-quality players.
Given that they need only a point to join Argentina in the quarter-finals they are heavy favourites to get the job done, but they must not be complacent against a capable Panama side.
Argentina have now won their last six matches on the bounce, while their Tuesday opponents, Bolivia, have lost their last six.
Given the quality in the Albiceleste squad—the likes of Messi, Angel Di Maria, Gonzalo Higuain, Sergio Aguero and Javier Mascherano—there seems little doubt that they will earn a third win of the tournament against Bolivia.
With top spot in the group effectively already sealed—there would have to be a big swing in goal difference for Argentina not to advance as group winners—manager Gerardo Martino may choose to make some changes to the starting XI and rest his more important players.

However, they should still have more than enough quality to prevail against a struggling Bolivia side and take some decent momentum into the knockout rounds as they aim to claim a first Copa title since 1993.

Chủ Nhật, 8 tháng 5, 2016

Man City 2-2 Arsenal: Sergio Aguero and Kevin De Bruyne goals not enough to ease top-four worries

Manchester City impressed going forward, yet will need Man Utd to slip up if they are to compete in the Champions League next season.


Manchester City were twice pegged back by Arsenal to leave them frustrated.
Sergio Aguero got them off to the perfect start when he lashed home from inside the box. But their fine start was undone within minutes as Olivier Giroud evaded Eliaquim Mangala to head the visitors level with their first attack.
Despite Kevin De Bruyne scored a superb solo goal to put the Blues back ahead early in the second half, they could not kick on and Alexis Sanchez drew Arsenal level again.
CITY: Hart, Sagna, Otamendi, Mangala, Clichy, Fernando (Toure 79), Fernandinho, Navas (Bony 79), De Bruyne, Iheanacho (Sterling 70), Aguero Not used: Caballero, Delph, Demichelis, Angelino


Unlike in Madrid, this XI was determined to take the game to their opponents and looked to be on the front foot whenever they could.
It created an open and absorbing contest, and while Aguero and De Bruyne's quality was there for all to see so were the absences in concentration at the back that allowed Arsenal to twice get back in the game.

Main man

Aguero looked sharp from the first whistle and his efforts set the tone for City's efforts for the whole game.
He was willing to run at the Arsenal defence, made himself available for the midfield and got the team up and running with the opening goal.
Don't write him out of the Golden Boot race yet.

Bigger picture

At a critical point of the season, City's hopes of finishing in the top four are no longer in their hands.
The draw means that whatever they manage at Swansea on the last day, United will claim the last Champions League spot if they win their remaining two games.
It made Manuel Pellegrini's home farewell far fom ideal, with an encouraging performance not enough to give City the result they needed.

English Barclays Premier League

1Leicester CityLeicester City372311367353280
2Tottenham HotspurTottenham Hotspur371913568303870
4Manchester CityManchester City371981070403065
5Manchester UnitedManchester United36189944311363
7West Ham UnitedWest Ham United361514761471459
10Stoke CityStoke City37139153954-1548
11Swansea CitySwansea City371210154151-1046
14Crystal PalaceCrystal Palace37119173847-942
15West Bromwich AlbionWest Bromwich Albion371012153347-1442
18Newcastle UnitedNewcastle United37810193964-2534
19Norwich CityNorwich City3687213562-2731
20Aston VillaAston Villa3738262772-4517