Arsenal have faced more shots than any other team in Europe’s top five leagues as they collapse at Watford

16 Sep

The number of shots Arsenal have faced in the league this season gives a damning verdict of how poor they have been defensively this season.

The Gunners threw away a two-goal lead against Watford on Sunday as they drew 2-2 at Vicarage Road.

Unai Emery received criticism for his side’s performance against Watford
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The Hornets capitalised on shocking errors by Sokratis and David Luiz to get themselves back on level terms after a first-half brace from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

It would be unfair to say that Watford did not deserve to get back to 2-2 because they peppered Bernd Leno in the Arsenal goal.

They managed a staggering 31 attempts with 10 on target and were perhaps unlucky not to have grabbed all three points.

Tom Cleverley capitalised on Sokratis’ poor pass in his own box while Luiz tripped Roberto Pereyra who then scored the proceeding penalty.

It was the most shots Arsenal have faced in a match since data collection started in 2003 while Watford’s second half efforts accounted for two per cent of all shots in the Premier League this season.

Most shots faced in Europe's top five leagues

1. Arsenal – 96

2. Norwich – 93

3. Tottenham – 82

4. Toulouse – 79

5. Aston Villa – 77

=6. Amiens – 76

=6. Bournemouth – 76

8. Southampton – 75

The Gunners top the list with the most shots faced in Europe’s top five leagues so far this season with a staggering 96 but have let in just eight goals.

Newly promoted Norwich are second with 93, including the 25 they faced against Manchester City on Saturday.

Tottenham complete an all Premier League top three with 82.

Ligue 1 side Toulouse are fourth with 79 while Aston Villa are fifth on 77 but have only played four games so far.

Bournemouth and Amiens both have 76 with Southampton having faced one fewer on 75.

In the Premier League, Manchester City have faced the fewest on 31 with Everton next on 42 followed by Leicester (47), Chelsea (48), Man United (48) and Liverpool (50).

Lionel Messi vs Cristiano Ronaldo in Champions League goals: How many the Barcelona and Juventus players have scored so far

16 Sep

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo’s battle for Champions League supremacy is set to resume this week as the 2019/20 instalment of the competition begins.

The pair are the leading goalscorers by quite some distance and show no signs of slowing down.

Messi and Ronaldo are the two best players in football and are way out in front for Champions League goals scored

Going for Goal

The two best players in the world are well out in front in terms of goals scored in Europe's elite competition

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE GOALS
Ronaldo: 126
Messi: 112

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE GOALS FOR ONE CLUB

Ronaldo: 105 for Real Madrid
Messi: 112 for Barcelona

GAMES TO REACH 100 CHAMPIONS LEAGUE GOALS
Ronaldo: 144
Messi: 123

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE HAT-TRICKS
Ronaldo: 8
Messi: 8

Ronaldo is currently ahead on 126 goals, having found the net for Manchester United, Real Madrid and current club Juventus.

Messi is slightly behind on 112 with all of his coming for Barcelona.

The pair were level pegging at the end of the 2014/15 competition with 77 goals each, but Ronaldo has since pulled away.

Their decade long dominance over the Ballon d’Or – they’ve won it five times each – was only broken last year when Luka Modric picked up the prize.

They continue to be the top goalscorers in the Champions League season after season, though.

No player has scored more than either Messi or Ronaldo since the 2006/07 competition with Neymar coming the closest when he equalled both in 2014/15.

They also have a remarkable amount of other records between them.

Ronaldo says he and Messi push each other to get better
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They each have eight hat-tricks while Ronaldo has netted twice on 35 different occasions.

Messi has been on the losing side on just three times when he has scored.

The Juventus star is the only player to score in three Champions League finals and was the first player to score 50 knockout goals.

Cristiano Ronaldo has won the Champions League with two different clubs
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It took Ronaldo 144 games to reach the century milestone, despite taking 30 games to get his first, while Messi took just 123 matches.

And their goal records are in little danger of being broken considering Raul is the next highest scorer with 71 Champions League goals and he is long retired. Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema is currently on 60.

The list of records Ronaldo and Messi have broken during their careers is endless but they will be the ones wanting to be lifting the trophy come the end of the season.

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  • Napoli vs Liverpool (Tuesday, 8pm) – talkSPORT
  • Borussia Dortmund vs Barcelona (Tuesday, 8pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Olympiakos vs Tottenham (Wednesday, 5:55pm) – talkSPORT
  • Shakhtar Donetsk vs Man City (Wednesday, 8pm) – talkSPORT
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Messi has won the Champions League four times with the last coming in 2015 while Ronaldo has five titles to his name.

Speaking at the Champions League draw in August, the Juventus forward, who ended his 10-year stay at Real Madrid in 2019, revealed he misses competing against Messi.

“We had that battle for the last 15 years, he pushed me and I pushed him, so it’s good to be part of that history of football,” he told talkSPORT’s Reshmin Chowdhury.

Barcelona travel to Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday – live on talkSPORT 2 – while Juventus make the trip to Atletico Madrid on Wednesday.

Pep Guardiola insists it’s no problem, but do Man City struggle against set-pieces?

16 Sep

A possible defensive frailty for Manchester City was exposed by Norwich as the newly promoted side shocked the champions.

The Canaries won 3-2 in the surprise result at Carrow Road with City not getting their second until late on.

Pep Guardiola has already dropped four points this season
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Aymeric Laporte’s absence was noticeable with the centre back out until at least January following surgery on his right knee.

The defender was stretchered off during their 4-0 win against Brighton last month.

This leaves Pep Guardiola worryingly short in that position with just Nicolas Otamendi and John Stones the recognised senior centre backs.

It has been difficult to find any weakness with Pep Guardiola’s side over the last two seasons as they have won back-to-back Premier League titles and accumulated 198 points in the process.

They conceded just 23 goals last season but that was with far more defensive options.

City have already let in six in five games, with set-pieces emerging as a serious problem for them.

Eight of the last nine goals they have conceded have come via set-pieces, with four of those from corners. Norwich’s first goal on Saturday came from a corner.

City may not have conceded many goals over the last 12 months, but more than half of those have come from set-pieces.

They have conceded 29 since August 2018 with 16 of those coming from set-pieces.

Premier League goals conceded from set pieces since August 2018

1. Manchester City – 16 out of 29 (55.2%)

=2. Chelsea – 19 out of 50 (38%)

=2. Everton – 19 out of 50 (38%)

4. Newcastle – 21 out of 56 (37.5%)

Chelsea and Everton and second and third on that list with 19 of their 50 goals being let in in that way.

Newcastle have seen 21 of 56 goals come from set-pieces.

Despite the statistics, Guardiola does not believe his side have an issue dealing with them.

“We’ve defended them really well in the past and in four years our standard has been so high, so it is not a weakness,” he said.

The fixtures Liverpool must win to beat Manchester City’s Premier League record of 18 consecutive victories, includes Chelsea, Man United and Tottenham

16 Sep

Liverpool have so far not faltered in their search for a league title.

Their blistering start has seen them win all five of their Premier League matches this season, while also averaging three goals a game to go five points clear at the top of the table.

Not even Manchester City have been able to keep up the pace as they were beaten by Norwich on Saturday.

Jurgen Klopp’s side’s free-flowing form has stretched back to the end of last season.

Sadio Mane has been vital to Liverpool’s recent success
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They won nine Premier League games in the 2018/19 season run-in, only to be pipped to the title by Pep Guardiola’s side.

The Reds are just the fourth team in Premier League history to win 14 in a row and have equalled Arsenal’s 2002 record by beating Newcastle 3-1.

Jurgen Klopp’s side have a 100 per cent record this season
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The Gunners’ run was brought to an end by a 2-2 draw with West Ham, while Tottenham’s draw with City last month ended their 15-match run.

Guardiola holds the record for the two longest streaks with those 15 games and an incredible 18 in 2017.

Crystal Palace prevented City from adding to that fantastic winning run with a goalless draw in December 2017.

Liverpool, though, may not be thinking about surpassing that number and reaching 19 straight wins just yet.

They need to win their next five games and it will not be easy.

Those matches include trips to Stamford Bridge and Old Trafford, while there are tricky home encounters against Leicester and Spurs.

A visit to Bramall Lane to face Sheffield United should also not be underestimated considering the problems they have caused teams this season.

Liverpool's next five Premier League matches

  • Chelsea (a) – September 22
  • Sheffield United (a) – September 28
  • Leicester (h) – October 5
  • Man United (a) – October 20
  • Tottenham (h) – October 27

Liverpool also kept up their impressive record of 43 matches unbeaten at Anfield for Klopp’s side.

Their last defeat came in April 2017 when Crystal Palace beat them 2-1.

Before their win over Newcastle, Klopp said: “It’s nice; it’s a number, nothing else. It was clear we had to change things since I came here.

“Not only this, but we had to make Anfield a fortress again, that was clear. Everyone wants to do that with their own stadium because each second game is there.

“That makes 100 per cent sense, using your own crowd and using the atmosphere, we all want to do that. But it’s still difficult.”

All the time the Reds have Sadio Mane in their side then they should be okay at home.

The Senegal international reached an incredible 50 matches without defeat at Anfield.

He scored twice in the 3-1 win against Newcastle to extended that to a half century.

Mane already held the Premier League record for most games without suffering a defeat at one ground and is continuing to extend that.

Manchester United made contact over Inaki Williams transfer before he signed nine-year contract extension with Athletic Bilbao

12 Sep

Inaki Williams has revealed that Manchester United made contact with him over a potential transfer to Old Trafford during the summer.

The Athletic Bilbao forward eventually committed his future to the LaLiga club despite interest from elsewhere.

Inaki Williams has scored 50 goals in 207 games for Bilbao
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The 25-year-old was viewed as a possible replacement for Romelu Lukaku, following his £72million move from United to Inter Milan.

Williams confirmed he did speak to United before opting against a move in an interview with Cadena Ser.

He said: “I had contact from Manchester United but I cannot tell you who it was.

“My no.1 option has always been to stay at Athletic Club and to retire here. Joining Real Sociedad? No, I could never go there. 100 per cent.”

The Red Devils ended up without a replacement for Lukaku and have been left short of attacking options.

Alexis Sanchez followed Lukaku out the exit door for Milan, joining Inter on a temporary basis.

Williams was rewarded for his loyalty to the Basque club with an incredible nine-year contract with a release clause of £125million.

It is one of the longest contracts ever handed out in European football and is similar to the 10-year deal Real Betis gave Denilson in 1998.

UFC news: McGregor’s angry response to Poirier’s call out, Askren says former champion will not win another title, Masvidal brags about his UFC 244 paycheck

11 Sep

talkSPORT.com brings you a round up of all the biggest news and gossip from the world of UFC…

McGregor responds to Poirier’s call out

Dustin Poirier is still reeling from his defeat to Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 242 but that has not stopped him from searching for his next opponent.

Conor McGregor has not fought in the UFC since October
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The Louisiana native called out Conor McGregor on Twitter wanting a rematch of their previous encounter.

He wrote: “I think me and Conor running it back makes a lot of sense at this point.”

McGregor landed a devastating knockout against Poirier in the first round of their fight at UFC 178 in 2014.

The Irish fighter reacted angrily to the suggestion that they should meet again.

He replied: “I fed you to the canvas in 90 seconds bro. You should have spoke my name with a bit more respect in that build up. ‘McGregor’s not next.

“M***********, it’s McGregor always! McGregor is the goal! Always!

“Say that now and I’ll think about it.”

McGregor’s championship days are over

It seems like every fighter in the UFC wants to take a shot at Conor McGregor with the latest coming from Ben Askren.

It is not that long ago that McGregor was a two-weight champion who but Askren believes the 31-year-old is past it.

Askren wrote on Twitter: “Let’s be serious @TheNotoriousMMA made too much money to ever have the desire to train at world champ level. He ain’t getting younger those times are gone. Only ‘glory days’ and hot air now.”

McGregor is believed to have made the most career earnings in the UFC plus his numerous ventures outside of the Octagon has seen his net worth stand at around £101million.

It would appear he still wants at least one more fight, though, as he recently called out Khabib on Twitter following his win over Dustin Poirier.

Masvidal brags about his pay

Jorge Masvidal is slated to fight Nate Diaz at UFC 244 and he is about to get a serious payday.

Masvidal caught attention when he scored the fastest knockout in UFC history when he beat Ben Askren in five seconds at UFC 239.

He discussed his upcoming pay on Ariel Helwani’s MMA show.

Jorge Masvidal is renowned as being one of the toughest fighters in the UFC
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He said: “I’m getting paid and not played, that’s for sure. Listen, your boy is happy. They took care of me.

“There is going to a lot of b****** coming out.

“When I say b******, I’m not talking about my female listeners or fans, no. It’s particular individuals who are b******, who are attention w*****, who are very salty individuals. They’re pretty salty, but when these numbers come out? Man, some heads are going to pop.”

Eddie Hearn slams Tyson Fury for taking ‘easy fights’ ahead of Gypsy King’s bout vs Otto Wallin in Las Vegas

11 Sep

Eddie Hearn has criticised Tyson Fury’s choice of opponent this weekend and insists ‘nobody is talking about his next fight’.

Fury faces Otto Wallin on Saturday in Las Vegas, but the little-known Swedish boxer is a sizeable underdog in the contest.

Tyson Fury has a professional boxing record of 28-0-1
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Hearn, who promotes Fury’s heavyweight rival Anthony Joshua, was less than impressed with the ‘lineal’ heavyweight champion’s choice.

He told Sky Sports: “Fury has easy fights that nobody is interested in.

“He supposed to be the best heavyweight in the world? Nobody is talking about his fight.

“The interest in Fury is diminishing. It is nearly a year since he fought Wilder and what has happened? Nothing.”

Hearn was also asked if he expected Fury and Joshua to meet in the ring in the future.

He said: “Fury is a competitor and is up for a fight, but he’s having fights where he cannot get beaten. His profile will dip and his hunger might as well.”

Fans have been calling for Fury, Joshua and Deontay Wilder to all face each other, though the match-ups have yet to materialise.

Fury’s draw with Wilder in December 2018 was expected to be met with a quick rematch, but the ‘Gypsy King’ opted out and instead beat Tom Schwarz before arranging this weekend’s fight with Wallin.

Meanwhile, Joshua took on Andy Ruiz Jr in New York and lost his heavyweight titles in a shock defeat earlier this year.

He now has the chance to get them back in their rematch in Saudi Arabia on December 7.

Bernd Leno claims Arsenal are the biggest club in London with Chelsea and Tottenham no comparison

11 Sep

Bernd Leno believes Arsenal are the biggest club in London and overshadow their rivals Chelsea and Tottenham.

The German goalkeeper joined the Gunners in 2018 and took the no.1 spot from Petr Cech.

Bernd Leno has developed into a key player for Arsenal since joining last year
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The 27-year-old is Unai Emery’s first choice and his latest comments will have endeared the German to the Arsenal faithful.

Leno was asked to compare Arsenal with former club Bayer Leverkusen in an interview with SportBild.

He said: “You can’t compare that, of course Arsenal is a world club, THE club here in London.

“Not Chelsea, not Tottenham – Arsenal is the club here with fans around the world. No matter where we are, also in the USA or in Asia, there are many fans of Arsenal everywhere.”

Leno may think that the Gunners have a bigger global fanbase than their rivals but they have not got the better of them on the pitch over the past few seasons.

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  • Derby vs Cardiff (Friday, 7:45pm) – talkSPORT 2
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  • Fulham vs West Brom (Saturday, 12:30pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Tottenham vs Crystal Palace (Saturday, 3pm) – talkSPORT 2
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In 2018/19, Chelsea finished third in the Premier League and also beat Arsenal in the final of the Europa League.

Furthermore, Tottenham reached the Champions League final, to match Arsenal’s best result in the competition, and also qualified for this season’s competition while the Gunners missed out.

England 5-3 Kosovo: Declan Rice calls out Twitter user who criticised West Ham star’s performance in Euro 2020 qualifier

11 Sep

Declan Rice responded to one of his critics on social media after an error resulted in England conceding during their defeat of Kosovo on Tuesday.

The West Ham midfielder gave the ball away in the lead up to their second goal, as the visitors put in an impressive second-half performance.

Declan Rice has now made five appearances for England
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England went on to win 5-3 at St Mary’s to preserve their 100 per cent record in Euro 2020 qualifying, though they led 5-1 at the break and struggled after the restart.

Rice admitted England’s mistakes did take the shine off the victory.

“I thought first half I was really good along with the rest of the team,” he said after the game.

“In the second half I made a mistake and that has taken the gloss off it for me.

“We are a real threat going forward but we need to keep it tight at the back and stop making mistakes.

“We need to look at the goals we have let in. A mistake from myself, sloppy, I could have done better there and it takes the gloss off it.”

Rice owned up to his mistake but that did not stop one Twitter user having a dig at him.

After the game the 20-year-old wrote: “2 wins from 2. Another good nights work from the boys. Lots to improve on but we keep working @England.”

One user with the handle @shoutinghorse replied: “Little tip mate, don’t pass the ball to the opposition.”

Rice had the perfect reply, however, quote tweeting the message for all the world to see, and writing: “We all make mistakes. Part & parcel of the game. I will learn from it & improve.”

Rice is widely regarded as one of the best young midfielders in the world game and his performances for West Ham have resulted in interest from the likes of Man United and Man City.

David Beckham ‘makes contact’ with Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi over sensational move to MLS side Inter Miami

11 Sep

David Beckham has reportedly made contact with Lionel Messi over a move to his new MLS franchise.

Inter Miami are entering Major League Soccer in 2020 and are building a squad to take on the best the league has to offer.

Lionel Messi has scored 603 goals for Barcelona
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Barcelona-based Catalunya Radio claim Beckham has reached out to Messi with a ‘huge deal’ to be the face of the new franchise.

The Barcelona star can remarkably leave the LaLiga giants for free at the end of the season, but it is believed they want to give him a ‘lifetime contract’.

The radio station claim the Argentina international’s advisers have quoted huge demands, which may not be feasible for Inter Miami.

If Beckham can convince Messi to sign it would be a huge coup for the club and MLS.

Any move would appear unlikely, however, with LaLiga’s all-time record goalscorer a committed one club man.

Barca president Josep Bartomeu played down the chances of the club’s superstar leaving in the summer.

He said: “I doubt he’d want to play for another club, but he has earned liberty over his future.

“He’s a big Barca fan and I have no doubt he’ll want to continue until 2021 and we hope another year too.”