NFL news: Tom Brady slams penalties, Jalen Ramsey set for pay day, Ezekiel Elliot fitness, plus more

20 Sep

New England Patriots star Tom Brady slammed the performance of officials while watching Thursday night’s clash between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Tennessee Titans.

The Jags claimed a 20-7 victory with many proclaiming the return of Sacksonville, while quarterback Gardner Minshew thrilled with his showing too.

But Brady wasn’t so happy about the performance of the men in the middle as he raged on Twitter about penalty calls during the game.

There were 15 in the first-half with another five after the break, frustrating those on and off the pitch.

It comes following huge increases in holding offensive holding penalties, while roughing the passer calls have also been criticised by some.

Brady may be hoping his outbursts don’t land him in trouble.

Jalen Ramsey trade latest

The victory over the Titans came at a great time for the Jaguars given Ramey’s trade request.

Several clubs are reportedly interested in the cornerback but his current side are still hopeful they might be able to hang onto the player.

NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported on Good Morning Football owner Shahid Khan would be comfortable making Ramsey the highest-paid CB in the league.

He said: “Also worth noting that owner Shad Khan loves Ramsey, would be willing, from what I understand, to pay him and make him the highest-paid cornerback in the NFL as soon as he possibly can.

“There is a lot of love here. So, for the Jacksonville Jaguars to part with Ramsey they’re going to have to be convinced, overwhelmed that it’s the right move.”

Ramsey refused to talk about the trade request after the 20-7 win over the Titans.

Ramsey in action against Tennessee
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Ezekiel Elliott to have full workload for the Dallas Cowboys?

Zeke looks set to be the workhorse running back in week three.

Having played just 66.1 per cent of his team’s snaps in the first two following his training camp holdout.

Now, though, the Dallas superstar is set to be on the field for the majority of the game.

“This is our third game,” offensive coordinator Kellen Moore said, via the Dallas Morning News.

Elliott is raring to go
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“I think he’s at that point where we’re pretty much playing this thing out at this point. It was good those first two weeks just to be aware of it and then also trust Zeke’s response and how he feels and all those things and just balancing that stuff out.”

The Cowboys are facing a poor Miami Dolphins side, though, so he may find himself off the turf early on if the game is done and dusted with time to spare.

Philadelphia Eagles without DeSean Jackson

Injuries have blighted the big names this week and now Philly will be without their star wide-receiver.

Jackson snagged two touchdowns in week one but barely featured last week. Now he is definitely out of a clash with the Detroit Lions.

The Eagles and quarterback Carson Wentz will be hoping Alshon Jeffrey and can take some part in the game on Sunday or his pass-catching team will be severely limited.

Arsenal vs Aston Villa team news: Nicolas Pepe set for first-team return but will wonderkids get another chance?

20 Sep

Arsenal’s Europa League victory over Eintracht Frankfurt went someone to expunging the collapse against Watford from the minds of fans.

The 3-0 win still had its downside with the Gunners once again conceding far too many shots – 24 in total.

Arsenal players celebrate against Eintracht Frankfurt
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Manager Unai Emery has his work cut out improving his side defensively and Aston Villa will be willing to test them just as they did north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur.

Villa have their own issues too and failed to capitalise on a man advantage against West Ham United on Monday night, with a result now needed to keep them away from the relegation zone and boost their confidence.

It could be a mighty scrap at the Emirates on Sunday night but how will the teams look?

Arsenal team news

The Gunners will have Mesut Ozil back in their squad after he was rested for the Europa League win over Eintracht Frankfurt.

Sead Kolasinac is hopeful of being fit despite coming off early on Thursday night, while Rob Holding is pushing for a return.

Wonderkids Joe Willock and Bukayo Saka will be hoping to be under consideration after their performances in Germany too.

How Arsenal could look

Will the Gunners set up like this?
Buildlineup.com

Aston Villa team news

Trezeguet returns to the fold after a one-match ban but whether he will start is a matter for Dean Smith to consider.

Matt Targett may also come in after his injury problems but Jonathan Kodjia and James Chester are still absent.

How Aston Villa could look

Buildlineup.com

Saturday is GameDay on talkSPORT and talkSPORT 2 as we become your go to destination for all the Premier League action.

We’ll bring you LIVE commentary of Premier League games across all three time slots on Saturday – 12.30pm, 3pm and 5.30pm – delivering award-winning coverage to more GameDay listeners than ever.

Leicester vs Tottenham team news: Predicted line-ups with Spurs set for multiple changes

20 Sep

As we all know, things can change in a moment in the fickle world of football.

If anything, it’s even worse in the Premier League. On Monday Tottenham Hotspur were back to their brilliant best but by Wednesday night they were a faltering force once more.

Its been a mixed week for Mauricio Pochettino
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A 2-2 Champions League draw with Olympiakos seemingly wiping the memory of a thumping 4-0 win over Crystal Palace out of everyone’s minds.

Now Leicester City will be looking to do more damage to Spurs as they battle it out at the King Power Stadium on Saturday at 12:30pm – and you can hear it live on talkSPORT.

Foxes boss Brendan Rodgers has been quick to back opposite number Mauricio Pochettino, who has had criticism come his way.

“I would rather talk about the great job Mauricio Pochettino has done,” said Rodgers. It’s the first time I have come across him for a number of years, since I was at Liverpool, and look where he is now and what he has achieved.

Brendan Rodgers will want to make things worse for Tottenham
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“He’s a very talented coach. He has done a great job. It is a wonderful thing he has created. Look at how he has improved the players and the status he has given the club.”

Kind words from the ex-Celtic boss but on Saturday afternoon the pair will forget niceties and fight it out for glory as Leicester look to establish their credentials as top six gatecrashers.

Tottenham team news

Serge Aurier and Danny Rose return to the Spurs squad after being rested for the Champions League trip to Greece, meanwhile Juan Foyth was not included in the club’s injury round-up so may also be available.
Sadly, summer signings Giovani Lo Celso and Ryan Sessegnon remain absent with hip and hamstring complaints.

Heung-Min Son could return to the starting XI having missed out in midweek, while Erik Lamela is likely pushing for a recall too.

How Tottenham could look

Spurs could return to the side which beat Crystal Palace
Buildlineup.com

Leicester team news

The Foxes have a full squad to choose from with just Matthew James and Daniel Amartey out.

With a defensive XI stifling them in the 1-0 defeat to Manchester United, we might see Rodgers go all out this weekend.

Harvey Barnes could come into the side, along with Demarai Gray, this could push James Maddison into the middle with Youri Tielemans and Wilfred Ndidi.

How Leicester could look

Can an attacking XI hit Spurs where it hurts?
Buildlineup.com

Saturday is GameDay on talkSPORT and talkSPORT 2 as we become your go to destination for all the Premier League action.

We’ll bring you LIVE commentary of Premier League games across all three time slots on Saturday – including Leicester City vs Tottenham at 12:30pm

Fantasy Premier League tips: Five players you must sign for Gameweek 6, including Chelsea and Tottenham stars

20 Sep

We all know the Fantasy Premier League can be attritional at this point in the campaign with injuries, selection issues, and poor form battering your team.

These early stages can make or break a season, especially if you aren’t keen on using your wildcard after just five games.

Tottenham star Heung-Min Son was top points-scorer in Fantasy Premier League last weekend
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You’re probably having a tough time picking out your limited free transfers too, pondering whether it’s better to make moves to accumulate money or to get points on the board – it’s a tricky situation.

Luckily, we’re here to help you make some tough choices.

So who should you think about bringing in this week? talkSPORT.com has identified five must-haves for Gameweek 6.

Have a look at our verdict below…


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Check out all the live commentaries coming up across the talkSPORT network this week

  • Leicester vs Tottenham (Saturday, 12:30pm) – talkSPORT
  • Leeds vs Derby (Saturday, 12:30pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Everton vs Sheffield United (Saturday, 3pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Newcastle vs Brighton (Saturday, 5:30pm) – talkSPORT
  • West Brom vs Huddersfield (Sunday, 12pm) – talkSPORT 2

Emiliano Buendia (Norwich City) – £6.0m

Here at talkSPORT.com we were on the Buendia hype train from the very start, including him in our bargains list having watched him excel in the Championship last season.

The 22-year-old now has four assists in five games, including two against Manchester City, he’s also one of the best at playing key passes in the Premier League, averaging 2.6 per match, so expect plenty more to come.

This week Norwich play Burnley before upcoming clashes with Crystal Palace, Aston Villa, and Bournemouth, a mouth-watering run of fixtures.

Oh, and only 1.6 per cent of managers have him – the perfect differential.

Buendia is looking like a real star for Norwich
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Mason Mount (Chelsea) – £6.5m

Okay, seeing as he’s injured and if he is fit he’ll play against Liverpool, this could be a hard sell.

Hear us out, though, Mount is clearly one of the first names on the teamsheet for Frank Lampard when able to play – always promising. He’s cheap and playing in a, theoretically, top six team – lovely so far.

Mount is also in-form with 6.2 points per match this season and following the Blues’ clash with the Champions League holders he’s set to have a really kind run of games.

Brighton, Southampton, Newcastle, Burnley, Watford, and Crystal Palace. If Mount is the real deal you can expect him to cause a real splash and send you flying up your mini-leagues.

Mason Mount is a must-have right now – even if Chelsea are about to play Liverpool
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Callum Wilson (Bournemouth) – £7.8m

The England striker is always a player who features heavily in Fantasy Premier League and this season is no different.

Wilson is yet to have a gameweek without either a goal or an assist this campaign and this makes him a hugely attractive proposition.

Last year the forward added creativity to his game, jumping from two assists in 2017/18 to 12 assists in 2018/19.

He’s carrying this on again with two already, as well as three goals for himself.

Wilson has Southampton next up and in the next five games Arsenal are the only ‘Big Six’ side he will face.

He’s still only selected by less than 10 per cent of teams too so could give you a real boost.

Wilson is in fine fettle this season
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Serge Aurier (Tottenham Hotspur) – £4.9m

After just one Premier League game, the Ivorian is already Spurs’ second highest defensive point-scorer in FPL.

Two assists and a clean sheet were exactly what the doctor ordered and they clearly missed him the Champions League draw with Olympiakos.

Given he was rested for this clash, it seems likely he’s now first-choice right-back in north London and for the low price £4.9m.

Under one per cent of managers have selected him so he could be an absolute bargain for your side in the long-term.

Aurier could finally realise his potential in the Premier League
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Frederic Guilbert (Aston Villa) – £4.4m

Another man who is looking like a decent long-term prospect is the Villans’ Frenchman.

He’s already usurped Ahmed Elmohamady to become Dean Smith’s No.1 right-back and while a game against Arsenal this weekend isn’t palatable, Guilbert should do well with Burnley, Norwich, and Brighton following it.

He’s perhaps not too creative but he does love taking shots and is seventh when it comes to shots per game for defenders, averaging 1.3 per game – one will go in soon, right?

Getty Images - Getty
Guilbert could be a smart and cheap option for your Fantasy Premier League team[/caption]


Saturday is GameDay on talkSPORT and talkSPORT 2 as we become your go to destination for all the Premier League action.

We’ll bring you LIVE commentary of Premier League games across all three time slots on Saturday starting with Leicester City vs Tottenham Hotspur at 12:30pm.

Premier League Fantasy Football tips: The bargain defender you must sign to beat your rivals on Dream Team

20 Sep

We’re over half way through September so if you haven’t made any of your three Dream Team transfers this month, you might want to consider it.

We’ve seen injuries and tactical overhauls recently so you need to make sure your XI are all starting and scoring points regularly.

Aurier was in fine form as Spurs eased past Crystal Palace
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If you’re in need of a cheap defender to boost your numbers, though, we might just have the perfect man for you.

Since the exit of Kieran Trippier at Tottenham Hotspur, it’s been uncertain about who will take over as the first-choice right-back.

Kyle Walker-Peters was in charge until a hamstring problem against Newcastle United, suspension and injury ruled out Juan Foyth, while Davinson Sanchez has now played two games in the position.

Serge Aurier should have been the automatic pick but his wish to leave the club in the summer meant he was out of action.

The Ivorian, though, is now back in action and, if his performance against Crystal Palace is anything to go by, he’s raring to go and make up for lost time against Leicester City – live on talkSPORT.

Not only did he claim two assists with deadly deliveries from the flank, he caused the Eagles problems with his positioning, along with Erik Lamela.

And with him being ‘rested’ for the Champions League match against Olympiakos in the week, Aurier is sure-fire starter, especially given Sanchez’s rough ride in the 2-2 draw.

Davinson Sanchez was poor for Tottenham against Olympiakos
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For Dream Team managers he’s a steal too, listed at just £2.1million, while only being selected by 0.3 per cent of those playing the game.

Last week he managed an fine 12-point haul and a similar performance, with him trying to make hay up against another attacking full-back in Ben Chilwell, could be profitable.

Aurier was superb against Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League last season
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Spurs’ run of fixtures are helpful here too, after Leicester City comes Southampton, Brighton, and Watford.

Mauricio Pochettino will be hoping for clean sheets having had a leaky start to the campaign.

Aurier might be the man to help deliver them and if he does, you’ll profit too.


Saturday is GameDay on talkSPORT and talkSPORT 2 as we become your go to destination for all the Premier League action.

We’ll bring you LIVE commentary of Leicester City vs Tottenham on Saturday at 12.30pm.

Tottenham ace Erik Lamela must finally fulfil his potential or risk leaving unloved and under-appreciated

20 Sep

Erik Lamela is once again at the heart of Tottenham’s early season Premier League form.

The 27-year-old is now almost a veteran in a young squad and proving he could well be vital for Mauricio Pochettino’s attempts at returning his team to their form of old.

A 4-0 win over Crystal Palace showcased an intensity and an attacking style missing for well over a season, despite their Champions League final appearance last year.

Erik Lamela celebrates his goal against Crystal Palace with his Tottenham teammates
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For most of the 2018/19 campaign, it felt as if Spurs were stumbling towards the finish line, an injury-racked squad succeeding, for the most part, because Arsenal and Manchester United failed to capitalise.

Lamela was one of those absent towards the end of the year, suffering a hamstring issue – just when the club needed him.

It’s been a common theme for him too. As well as last season, his 2013/14 and 2016/17 were both curtailed by injuries.

Last year he fired a warning shot he was ready for a big role, managing four goals and an assist in the league by early November, while netting against Barcelona and also laying on the ball for Harry Kane in their 4-2 loss at Wembley.

From there he was only available in patches. His 2016/17 was similar, nabbing two goals and creating seven across all competitions in Spurs’ opening 14 games before hip injury struck.

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  • Newcastle vs Brighton (Saturday, 5:30pm) – talkSPORT
  • West Brom vs Huddersfield (Sunday, 12pm) – talkSPORT 2

It’s fairly surprising to note Lamela has played in 192 matches for Tottenham, despite only managing more than 30 league appearances twice since his arrival at the club.

The Argentine is now into his seventh season as a Spurs player and he continues to be under-appreciated when he does play.

A £30million purchase from Roma in 2013, Lamela, has been plagued by back and hip issues, with the latter seeing him miss 57 games between October 2016 and November 2017.

Injuries have troubled Lamela throughout his Spurs career
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When signed during the club’s courageous but calamitous attempt to replace Gareth Bale, it was believed he the then 21-year-old would offer an almost like-for-like replacement for the Welshman.

He was showcased playing on either wing and firing left-foot shots beyond helpless goalkeepers on YouTube showreels.

His first Premier League goal for the club, against Burnley (a year and four months after signing), was almost identical to some of Bale’s blockbuster’s from the right flank in his final year at Tottenham.

Lamela celebrates his wonderstrike against Burnley in 2014
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Things have changed since then. Lamela, it became apparent, perhaps due to the injuries, wasn’t able to deliver anything like what fans had seen from Bale – a point which appears to have consistently dogged the midfielder.

Supporters haven’t taken him to their hearts like they have others. His injuries, his lapses in form, and a club-record price-tag, frustrating those in the stands and around the globe.

It’s now his tenacity and his close control which mark him out. He’s able to provide attacking output with style but pairs it with relentless work and running off the ball.

A key cog when Pochettino’s men are pressing, it’s no surprise in his best season for the club he registered the same number of assists as he did yellow cards – nine.

Lamela celebrates scoring for Tottenham against Manchester United at White Hart Lane
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His manager evidently trusts him too. Lucas Moura may have been the hero for Tottenham at the end of last season but he can’t deliver the same defensive contributions of Lamela.

Starting in key clashes against Manchester City and Arsenal, the latter was relentless and harried the opposition when required.

In the clash with City he managed to notch a goal and an assist while also winning two tackles and making an interception.

His spritely teammate was left to impact the game from the bench and didn’t even appear against the Gunners.

Lamela chases down Arsenal ace Matteo Guendouzi
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Against Crystal Palace, when one might have expected him to drop out for Lucas, he remained in the XI.

From the first whistle he showed the grit and determination, something evident as he continues to mature in north London.

He tore down the pitch alongside Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son as they looked force a turnover from Crystal Palace high up the pitch following a long ball from Jan Vertonghen. They got it too, with Serge Aurier picking up the pieces.

Just five minutes in, after a shot from Son, it was Lamela, not Kane, who was following in for any rebound that might have occurred.

His ability to play both on the flank and inside as a No.10 gave Palace all sorts of concerns too, leaving their narrow back-four to give room to the marauding Aurier.

This directly led to their second, while Lamela himself tucked away the fourth from his Ivorian teammate. It was his first home goal for a year.

Lamela is showing no signs of fragility despite injury problems throughout his Spurs career
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In a recent interview, Lamela claimed his adoration for Tottenham was growing by the campaign.

He professed: “I love Tottenham too much, every season more and more. It’s been a lot of seasons here, a lot of years.

“Every season my love is more. My family is very happy that I’m here.”

If he can make sure this promising start isn’t diminished by injuries once again there’s a good chance he can be a major catalyst for success.

If he can do this the Spurs fanbase will return the love in kind – if he can’t the naysayers will continue to pillar him and an exit with little fanfare will be the sad conclusion for the under-appreciated star.


Saturday is GameDay on talkSPORT and talkSPORT 2 as we become your go to destination for all the Premier League action.

We’ll bring you LIVE commentary of Premier League games across all three time slots on Saturday – 12.30pm, 3pm and 5.30pm – delivering award-winning coverage to more GameDay listeners than ever.

Premier League clubs with the most football-related arrests last season

19 Sep

Sadly, when it comes to football, some supporters can’t help but get themselves in to trouble.

The Home Office has now released data about the amount of fans who were arrested across the 2018/19 season.

Police at West Ham United’s rented London Stadium
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The report reveals arrests are down 10 per cent with 1,381 made across England and Wales but football banning orders increased by 19 per cent.

Of the 1,381 arrests under Schedule 1 of the Football Spectators Act 1989, the most common types of offence were public disorder (38 per cent) and violent disorder (19 per cent).

Just under a third (31 per cent) of the total banning orders in force at August 1, 2019 were issued during the 2018/19 campaign, which for the purposes of the data covered the period August 1, 2018 to July 31, 2019.

Manchester United’s Old Trafford stadium
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There were 1,771 football banning orders in force on August 1, 2019, a decrease of three per cent compared to the same date in 2018, when 1,822 were in force.

But which Premier League clubs had the most football-related arrests attributed to them? Find out below.

Premier League arrest table 2018/19

1. Manchester City – 39 football-related arrests

2. Manchester United – 36 football-related arrests

3. Tottenham – 34 football-related arrests

4= Chelsea – 30 football-related arrests

4= Newcastle – 30 football-related arrests

6. Arsenal – 27 football-related arrests

7. West Ham – 25 football-related arrests

8. Everton – 23 football-related arrests

9= Burnley – 19 football-related arrests

9= Southampton – 19 football-related arrests

11= Leicester – 18 football-related arrests

11= Wolves – 18 football-related arrests

13. Brighton – 16 football-related arrests

14= Cardiff – 14 football-related arrests

14= Liverpool – 14 football-related arrests

16. Crystal Palace – 12 football-related arrests

17. Fulham – 6 football-related arrests

18. Huddersfield – 5 football-related arrests

19= Bournemouth – 3 football-related arrests

19= Watford – 3 football-related arrests

The Home Office report has, though, said that of those hate crime incidents, 79 per cent related to race. It stated that the increase may be due to improvements in recording the data.

Kick It Out released a statement to the PA news agency which read: “The Home Office’s latest arrest figures are a serious concern – and reflect a similar increase of hate crime at professional matches, as revealed in Kick It Out’s reporting statistics for the 2018-19 season.

“It’s encouraging to see that more people are comfortable reporting discrimination and we are working hard to make this as easy for all to do, but it is undeniable that we are experiencing a rise in hateful behaviour across the game and wider society.

“These figures should serve as a reminder for football – we must increase our efforts to send a clear message to any fan who discriminates at a match: you will be identified, arrested and face a football banning order.”

The news comes after high-profile Premier League stars Marcus Rashford and Tammy Abraham, amongst many others lower down the league pyramid have suffered racist abuse on social media.

Is Zinedine Zidane at risk of ruining his Real Madrid legacy? After being ‘steamrolled’ by PSG the goodwill is starting to run out

19 Sep

“Made of glass” is how Marca described Real Madrid’s humiliating 3-0 defeat in Paris on Wednesday night.

AS bemoaned a team “without soul”. El Pais concluded that PSG had simply “steamrolled” the European giants. It was hard to disagree. 

Zinedine Zidane watches his Real Madrid side flounder in Paris
AFP

For the first time in over a decade, in 578 games, Real Madrid failed to register a single shot on target.

“They were better than us in every aspect,” Zinedine Zidane admitted post match, but the question that Madrid will reasonably be asking now is why? As is so often the case when they falter under his tutelage, their coach blamed a “lack of intensity”. That feels like far too easy and ambiguous an excuse.

An excuse that doesn’t explain the lesson in tactics that Thomas Tuchel gave the Frenchman. From kick-off the home team were in a different gear to their opponents, winning the ball high up the pitch and clearly instructed to move it around at a pace that would expose the sluggish, disjointed visitors.

Without entering into the debate over whether Thibaut Courtois should have done better at his near post for Ángel Di María’s opener, that Mauro Icardi eliminated Raphaël Varane from the equation so simply, and Juan Bernat was able to ghost behind Dani Carvajal with relative ease to provide the assist said far more about the level of analysis that the two respective coaching teams had put in.

“Icardi writing the textbook on how to pull a defensive system apart with your back to goal in 45 minutes. He’s taking advantage of the distance Madrid leave between the lines, getting tight to Varane and Éder Militão as a reference, then releasing PSG’s second line,” Alberto Edjogo-Owono, a former striker with over a decade of experience playing in Spain, explained.

That space between the lines Madrid left was striking to see at this level. With less than half an hour on the clock Karim Benzema screamed at his counterparts, furious at his lone attempt to press, but they likely wouldn’t have heard anyway.

Madrid were divided in two, their defence so deep that the midfielders were on the edge of the box and in no way positioned to help the forward line push up. That in turn only worsened their floundering attempts to play out of PSG’s pressure.

At one stage Casemiro had no other option than to try a risky dribble past two opponents because there was no passing option available to escape his own third. 

Real Madrid midfielder Casemiro can’t halt Angel di Maria
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The mistakes, glaring as they were, could perhaps have been forgiven had the Spanish giants made any significant improvement in the second half once Zidane had time with his players to make adjustments, but instead it was more of the same.

The Parisians continued to play one-twos at will, and it is no exaggeration to say they could have been five up by the time Thomas Meunier scored the third and final goal in added time. The nature of that goal summed up Madrid’s inadequacies: finished off by the right-back after he and PSG’s left-back eliminated both of Madrid’s centre-backs and their goalkeeper with a series of passing exchanges. Chaos exposed by precision.

Cut to Neymar and Kylian Mbappe laughing in the stands. They, like Edinson Cavani, didn’t even play. This was PSG’s second string pulling Madrid’s pants down.

Paris Saint-Germain stars celebrate against Real Madrid
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Even the greatest team can have an off night, but neither the result nor the performance comes in isolation for Zidane.

Last weekend his team were a late Courtois wonder-save away from letting a three goal lead slip against Levante. They have already dropped points twice in four rounds of LaLiga, against Villarreal and Valladolid, who were in relegation battles last season.

Taking his record in the 16 matches since he returned to Madrid last spring as a whole, a pattern emerges. Valencia, Leganés, Getafe, Real Betis and now PSG are all examples of teams coached by someone with a clear philosophy, the opposite of Zidane’s man-manager style. All exposed Madrid and took something against them.

Zidane’s managerial style isn’t working second time around
AFP

In football circles there have long been rumours of Zidane’s basic approach to preparation, coaching and training.

The suspicion that Cristiano Ronaldo was behind his success in knockout competitions is overly simplistic, but it is true that the way the Frenchman has comfortably been bettered in all but one of his league campaigns at Madrid cannot be ignored.

Nor the manner in which his team continue to flounder despite significant sway over signings being conceded to their manager this year, allowing him to bring in personal targets like Ferland Mendy and Eden Hazard, while feasible club options for midfield reinforcement like Cristian Eriksen and Donny van de Beek were nixed in favour of a fruitless pursuit of Paul Pogba.

Another midfielder Zidane didn’t fancy, Dani Ceballos, was sent out on loan, while two other players he unsuccessfully tried to move on – Gareth Bale and James Rodríguez – have been among Madrid’s better performers this season.

Bale was denied a wondergoal by VAR
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A three-time Champions League-winning coach has a lot of goodwill in the bank, but it is starting to run out.

Gradually, the dissenting voices are growing. “I don’t see Zidane as capable of finding a solution,” Madrid’s 1998 Champions League final hero Predrag Mijatović lamented on Wednesday.

Zidane needs to find a solution fast. On Sunday his team travel to the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán, a ground they often have trouble at.

Waiting are a Sevilla side currently top of the league and undefeated, coached by the last man to succeed Zidane at Madrid before his reign was ended after only 14 matches. Julen Lopetegui.

The Champions League statistic Tottenham Hotspur fans are going to hate seeing

19 Sep

Tottenham Hotspur returned to Champions League action last night and just about scraped to a 2-2 draw with an impressive Olympiakos side.

The Greeks gave their Premier League opponents quite a scare throughout and might have won if it had not been for the woodwork.

Davinson Sanchez was poor for Tottenham against Olympiakos
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It was a tough watch for supporters, who had been buoyed by a 4-0 win over Crystal Palace at the weekend.

Davinson Sanchez, in particular, floundered against the side from Piraeus playing in a unfamiliar right-back role.

The Colombian, who had struggled to push on in the last 18 months, looked well out of his depth with Serge Aurier rested and Kyle Walker-Peters left on the bench, presumably still nursing a hamstring injury picked up against Newcastle United.

Aurier was in fine form as Spurs eased past Crystal Palace
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Sanchez failed to push forward like his Ivorian team-mate had done against Palace, allowing Olympiakos to remain tight in the middle, restricting space for Harry Kane and his fellow attackers.

He didn’t inspire too much confidence defensively and found himself turned by the excellent Greeks on several occasions.

While Sanchez was struggling, just a few hours later ex-team-mate Kieran Trippier was making vital contributions for Atletico Madrid having been sold by Spurs in the summer.

The 29-year-old Englishman had a huge dip in form last season, something the player has put down to carrying an injury for most of the campaign, with him often seen nursing a groin issue during matches.

He said: “Tottenham probably got rid of me at the wrong time because I just needed that four-week rest for recovery, because I was struggling with injuries, to come back fresh and ready.

“So, maybe I could have stayed, but I’ve got no regrets. I’m at Atletico now and I’m just looking to the future.”

Trippier celebrates with his Atletico Madrid team-mates against Juventus
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And how supporters will have wanted a more effective player in the attacking third like Trippier against Olympiakos.

According to statistics experts OPTA, he made seven key passes – more than any other player this week, with four from corners and three from open play.

Sanchez, meanwhile, managed just one – in the 91st minute – but Kane was unable to find room to get a shot away on the edge of the area.

Trippier may have been lambasted for allowing Alex Sandro to get a cross in for Blaise Matuidi to score, although with the Brazilian flying at full pelt and Cristiano Ronaldo tearing in just behind him he can perhaps be considered unfortunate.

He did, though, get his revenge with a fine corner finding the head of fellow Atleti new boy Hector Herrera, who netted the 90th minute equaliser at the Wanda Metropolitano.

Spurs will have done anything to have some of that creativity on the field in their clash and may well be considering their options at right-back if Aurier cannot keep up the form he showed in the Premier League.

FIFA 20: Career mode wonderkids with the highest potential

18 Sep

FIFA 20 is here and if you’re planning to get stuck into a game on Career Mode you’ll be desperate to land some top talent.
Everyone loves developing wonderkids and turning them into the best players on the planet, capable of demolishing every opponent you come up against.

Whether they’re to compliment the superstars already in your side and go from super subs to first-team heroes or whether you’re going to throw them in at the deep end, they can be a vital part of your squad.

But who are they players with the highest potential in FIFA 20? Thankfully EA Sports have let us in on the secret on their official website.

You can find you the top 20 below – so make sure you snap them up immediately.

20. Dominik Szoboszlai (RB Salzburg)

Current rating – 74

Potential rating – 89

19. Sandro Tonali (Brescia)

Current rating – 75

Potential rating – 89

Tonali has already featured in Italy squads
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18. Rodrygo (Real Madrid)

Current rating – 76

Potential rating – 89

17. Moise Kean (Everton)

Current rating – 76

Potential rating – 89

Moise Kean has joined Everton from Juventus
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16. Lucas Paquetá – (Milan)

Current rating – 79

Potential rating – 89

15. Houssem Aouar (Olympique Lyonnais)

Current rating – 81

Potential rating – 89

Aouar is a talented young midfielder who also offers versatility
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14. Lautaro Martínez (Inter)

Current rating – 81

Potential rating – 89

13. Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool)

Current rating – 83

Potential rating – 89

Alexander-Arnold is now a regular for England and Liverpool
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12. Luka Jović (Real Madrid)

Current rating – 83

Potential rating – 89

11. Phil Foden (Manchester City)

Current rating – 76

Potential rating – 90

There are high hopes for Foden at the Etihad Stadium
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10. Ousmane Dembélé (FC Barcelona)

Current rating – 84

Potential rating – 90

9. Frenkie de Jong (FC Barcelona)

Current rating – 85

Potential rating – 91

De Jong joined Barcelona in the summer after a stunning campaign with Ajax
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8. Vinícius Jr. (Real Madrid)

Current rating – 79

Potential rating – 92

7. Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund)

Current rating – 84

Potential rating – 92

Borussia Dortmund and England star Jadon Sancho
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6. Kai Havertz (Bayer 04 Leverkusen)

Current rating – 84

Potential rating – 92

Havertz is making a name for himself in the Bundesliga
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5. Gianluigi Donnarumma (Milan)

Current rating – 85

Potential rating – 92

Donnarumma is now into his fifth season as a first-team regular
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4. Leroy Sané (Manchester City)

Current rating – 86

Potential rating – 92

Leroy Sane scored 16 goals for Manchester City last season
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3. João Félix (Atlético de Madrid)

Current rating – 80

Potential rating – 93

Joao Felix is already impressing at Atletico Madrid
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2. Matthijs de Ligt (Juventus/Piemonte Calcio)

Current rating – 85

Potential rating – 93

Matthijs de Ligt is one of the best centre backs in the world
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1. Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain)

Current rating – 89

Potential rating – 95

Kylian Mbappe has again started the season well for PSG
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