No Harry Kane, Trent Alexander-Arnold, or Aaron Wan-Bissaka – Is this the England squad Gareth Southgate should name to face Bulgaria and Kosovo?

28 Aug

England manager Gareth Southgate will name his squad for the upcoming UEFA 2020 European Championship qualifying matches against Bulgaria and Kosovo on Thursday.

Speculation suggests Chelsea starlet Mason Mount could get his first call-up having impressed in his three appearances for the Blues this season.

Mount made it two goals in two games when he scored against Norwich and was later chosen as man of the match by talkSPORT’s Dean Ashton
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The Three Lions currently top their group on goal difference thanks to their thumping 5-0 win against Czech Republic and could fire themselves well clear of their opponents with two victories at the start of September.

Southgate, though, can expect plenty of scrutiny about his squad with huge selection dilemmas throughout the group.

James Maddison’s good form continues despite the England boss’ seeming unwillingness to pick the Leicester ace, while at right Trent Alexander-Arnold, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, and Kieran Trippier have all started well.

Kieran Trippier appears to have acclimatised to life at Atletico Madrid very quickly
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It promises to be a fascinating squad reveal but how would the 25-man group look if it was picked on statistics from the 2019/20 season?

Here at we’ve looked at the best English stars according and made our selection based on their ratings (out of 10) – and there are some big shocks…

Goalkeepers (3)

Nick Pope (Burnley) – 7.10

Jordan Pickford (Everton) – 6.64

Aaron Ramsdale (Bournemouth) – 6.55

Ramsdale denies Kyle Walker
AFP or licensors

Full-backs (4)

Ainsley Maitland-Niles (Arsenal) – 7.29

Kieran Trippier (Atletico Madrid) – 7.23

Solly March (Brighton) – 7.13

Solly March is starring at left wing-back for Brighton under Graham Potter
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Luke Shaw (Manchester United) – 6.86

Centre-backs (5)

Tyrone Mings (Aston Villa) – 7.42

Harry Maguire (Manchester United) – 7.39

Harry Maguire helped United keep a clean sheet against Chelsea
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Lewis Dunk (Brighton) – 7.32

Ben Mee (Burnley) – 7.31

Jack O’Connell (Sheffield United) – 7.14

Midfielders (7)

Mason Mount (Chelsea) – 7.73

James Maddison (Leicester City) – 7.50

James Maddison has been in fine form for Leicester this season
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Ross Barkley (Chelsea) – 7.12

Jack Grealish (Aston Villa) – 6.99

John Lundstram (Sheffield United) – 6.89

Lundstram scored the winner for Sheffield United against Crystal Palace
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Jonjo Shelvey (Newcastle United) – 6.95

Forwards (6)

Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund) – 8.57

Jadon Sancho enjoyed a breakthrough season at Dortmund in 2018/19
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Raheem Sterling (Manchester City) – 8.29

Ashley Barnes (Burnley) – 8.12

Ashley Barnes has started the season in rich vein for Burnley
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Dwight McNeil (Burnley) – 7.23

Marcus Rashford (Manchester United) – 7.21

Nathan Redmond (Southampton) – 6.98

Southampton got off the mark with a win at Brighton – Nathan Redmond scoring in the game

You can listen to England’s Euro 2020 qualifiers against Bulgaria and Kosovo live on talkSPORT

Barcelona 2-1 Arsenal: Ainsley Maitland-Niles scores comical own goal as Gunners throw away lead in Joan Gamper Trophy match

4 Aug

Ainsley Maitland-Niles’ disastrous own goal and Luis Suarez’s last-minute winner saw Arsenal lose 2-1 to Barcelona in their final pre-season match.

Arsenal took the lead in the Joan Gamper Trophy game at the Camp Nou thanks to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s drive into the top corner from just inside the box.

Aubameyang gave Arsenal a surprise lead on 36 minutes
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The home side dominated much of the play but found it difficult to create clear-cut chances in the absence of captain Lionel Messi.

Messi addressed the Barca fans before kick-off and said he did not regret vowing he and his team-mates would do everything to bring the Champions League back to Catalonia ahead of last year’s Gamper.

This year, he assured the club would compete for all the biggest prizes again this term but sat the game out due to his participation in the Copa America this summer.

Barcelona’s major signing of the summer Antoine Griezmann had an effort ruled out for offside and received a warm applause from the 98,812-strong crowd when he came off on 78 minutes.

At that stage they were level as Maitland-Niles intercepted a loose ball into the Arsenal area and, without looking, played a pass back towards goalkeeper Bernd Leno, who had moved off his line.

Gunners defender Sokratis Papsatathopolous frantically raced back to clear the ball away but to no avail – the goal mirroring that of former Tottenham defender Kieran Trippier who inadvertently put the ball past Hugo Lloris in a defeat to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in March.

The game appeared to be heading for penalties when Suarez hit the side netting and Gabriel Martinelli volleying the ball just wide with ten minutes left at the other end.

However, Suarez would have the final say after directing a precise volley past Leno to seal the win for the Blaugrana in the final minute.

Suarez, who Arsenal almost bought in 2013, scored the winning goal
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Premier League fantasy football tips: Seven bargain wonderkids to sign for your Dream Team XI

29 Jul

The new Premier League season is finally here and you can still sign up and play Dream Team’s fantasy football game.

If you do join up take the plunge and select a team, you’ll be in with a shout of winning a portion of the £100,000 prize pot.

Sign up to Dream Team now

It seems like Premier League squads are getting younger as manager’s opt to find and mould the next generation into world-class superstars.

And your fantasy side might benefit from some youthful exuberance too with several bargain talents available.

So who should you sign for your Dream Team? We’ve picked out top seven below.

Mason Greenwood (Manchester United) – £1m

It appears Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is ready to give the young striker his shot in the first-team this season.

A nice strike against Inter Milan in pre-season helped his cause and he should see plenty of minutes from the bench, especially if Romelu Lukaku moves on.

He won’t bag big points but at his price he could allow you to spend loads elsewhere.

Greenwood has been a revelation on tour
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Daniel James (Manchester United) – £1m

Set to feature more than Greenwood, James’ pace had Tottenham rattled in their pre-season clash.

There will be questions about how he gets on against defences playing a low block but he should still contribute goals and assists on the cheap in 2019/20.

Moussa Sissoko found James too hot to handle
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Dwight McNeil (Burnley) – £1m

Already linked with moves to bigger clubs, it will be interesting to see how he copes in a first full senior season at Turf Moor.

Clearly talented, the left winger has the ammo and the targets that could help him achieve a big haul of assists.

Only selected by around 0.6 per cent of managers he could be a fantastic secret weapon.

McNeil has interested clubs like Juventus this summer
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Yan Valery (Southampton) – £1.5m

It seems the young Frenchman is set to start the season as the first choice right-back at St Mary’s.

He managed two goals and assist in his 20 appearances last term but as a wing-back he’s set to get forward this season and he should have even more confidence.

We’d be surprised if he didn’t deliver something extra in 2019/20.

If you’re looking for a Saint to be your saviour and help you perform a mini-league miracle then Valery might be your man
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Mason Mount (Chelsea) – £1.5m

A fine display against Barcelona was followed up by a two-goal showing against Reading at the weekend.

He’s proving his worth to Frank Lampard and if he keeps up these performances he should at least be on your watchlist for the season so you can bring him in at the drop of a hat.

Mason Mount has shown glimpses of promise for Chelsea fans
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Ainsley Maitland-Niles (Arsenal) – £1.5m

With Hector Bellerin still out injured, Maitland-Niles is set to be the starting right-back for the two months of the campaign.

He got used to the role after the Spaniard’s ACL injury and in just 16 appearances had a goal and an assist to his name.

For the beginning of the year he could be a smart pick.

Maitland-Niles has established himself as a valuable player under Unai Emery
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Max Aarons (Norwich City) – £2m

Linked with a transfer to a number of top club this summer, including Tottenham, the right-back dazzled for the Canaries in the Championship.

It’s going to be tougher for the 19-year-old from Hammersmith but he’s almost guaranteed to claim some assists for Daniel Farke’s side.

Whether he will get enough bonus points through clean sheets and WhoScored ratings, though, is an unknown, which might make you risk averse.

Max Aarons has bags of potential
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Premier League fantasy football tips: 10 bargain defenders you should sign for your Dream Team

19 Jul

The Premier League is back and you cans still sign up to Dream Team fantasy football here.

Pick your best XI using your £50million budget and pick a hilarious name and then own your mates.

It’s fine picking up expensive star men like Mohamed Salah and Harry Kane – but you might need the odd cheap player so you don’t go over your limit.

Some coaches can find it tricky discovering the best bargains, but never fear, we’re here to help you and have done the research on some of the perfect players for you to pick up once you’ve signed up.

So which defenders should you be looking at if you need to save some pennies? Find out our top Dream Team tips below.

Matt Targett (Aston Villa) – £1.5m

Having never had a full season as a starting player, Targett has joined the Villans for £15m.

However, he did get three assists and a goal last term as he made 16 appearances for Saints, which isn’t too shabby.

Targett is set to play a major role for Dean Smith and he could offer cheap points.

Targett has moved on from Southampton and could kick-start his career
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Lewis Dunk (Brighton) – £2.0m

A move to Leicester City appears to be in the works if Harry Maguire joins Manchester United this summer.

Dunk is good for a few goals a season, while last year was the first time he hasn’t averaged more than 7/10 on WhoScored.

Playing for a bigger club is also likely to see an increase in clean sheets – the Foxes got 10 compared to Brighton’s seven in 2018/19.

Dunk is a vital part of the Seagulls’ squad and has formed an excellent partnership with Shane Duffy
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Luke Shaw (Manchester United) – £2.5m

The Red Devils’ standing may have fallen and the ex-Saint might not quite have fulfilled the potential he once showed – but he’s a bargain on Dream Team.

If he remains fit all season he should improve on the one goal and four assists he got last-term.

He also got 14 WhoScored ratings of 7/10 or more, which will come in handy.

Luke Shaw won Manchester United’s Players’ Player of the Year and the Sir Matt Busby Fans’ Player of the Year awards in 2018/19
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Ben Godfrey (Norwich City) – £1.0m

With four goals and two assists in just 31 Championship appearances from centre-back, Godfrey is a possible gem.

Yan Valery (Southampton) – £1.5m

French youngster Valery is on course to be Saints’ starting right-back this season and is very capable of getting goals and assists.

His number of clean sheets is likely to improve too as Ralph Hasenhuttl improves his squad.

If you’re looking for a Saint to be your saviour and help you perform a mini-league miracle then Valery might be your man.
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Ryan Fredericks (West Ham) – £1.5m

The ex-Tottenham and Fulham right-back really kicked on at the end of last season and if he improves his final ball then he could be a huge winner for your XI.

Ryan Fredericks got one over on his former club by helping the Hammers beat Spurs 1-0 towards the end of last season
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Ainsley Maitland-Niles (Arsenal) – £1.5m

Want an early season bargain? With Hector Bellerin still out injured it’s likely the Englishman will occupy the right-back role for a while.

Last season he ended up as one of the top 100 point-scorers in Dream Team, earning 46 points through his his WhoScored ratings alone.

If the Gunners improve defensively he’ll lose nowhere near the 20 he did last term and will be a valuable asset in the opening stages.

Maitland-Niles established himself as a valuable squad member under Unai Emery in 2018/19
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Ryan Bertrand (Southampton) – £2.0m

The ex-Chelsea left-back didn’t have the best of campaigns last year but Ralph Hasenhuttl looks to be turning Saints around.

With a new attack to feed, we could see a far more productive Dream Team player, especially with new signing Moussa Djenepo ahead of him.

Bertrand may enjoy a return to form in 2019/20
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Patrick van Aanholt (Crystal Palace) – £2.5m

He’s not the most consistent man in the world but he now has Tyrick Mitchell snapping at his heels so he needs to up his game.

Usually good for a few attacking contributions every season, if Palace land a goalscorer he could up his point-scoring ability.

Patrick van Aanholt was part of Chelsea’s academy and currently stars for Palace
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Victor Lindelof (Manchester United) – £2.0m

Having a Red Devils centre-back isn’t the most desirable option right now but he’s more than capable of scoring points.

Just small improvements – hopefully thanks to a full pre-season with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer – should mean United run a tighter ship at the back.

The possible arrival of Harry Maguire from Leicester City could help Lindelof too.

This will see an increase in Lindelof’s scoring for sure and may well make him a bargain if he gets enough clean sheets.

Lindelof will be key for the Red Devils even if Harry Maguire joins
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You can sign up here for Dream Team Fantasy Football

Arsenal vs Chelsea: The key battles in the Europa League final including Eden Hazard, Petr Cech and Mesut Ozil

29 May

The first of the two all-English European finals takes place on Wednesday night between Arsenal and Chelsea.

The two Premier League clubs face each other for the Europa League in Baku, with commentary live on talkSPORT.

For Arsenal it is a chance to claim that all important Champions League place while Maurizio Sarri is looking to end a turbulent season with his first every trophy as a manager.

Petr Cech is likely to feature in his last professional game in the Europa League final

Ahead of the 8pm kick-off there is still plenty we do not know.

Unai Emery did not confirm if Petr Cech will start the match in his final professional game while N’Golo Kante was only 50/50 to play.

Here at we have taken a look at the key battles we can look forward to in the match.

Olivier Giroud vs Petr Cech

Both players will be playing against their former club, Cech for Arsenal and Giroud for Chelsea.

The Gunners’ goalkeeper is likely to start in what will be his final game in professional football before retirement.

He will have to stop Olivier Giroud if he wants to end his glittering career with a final piece of silverware.

Giroud has scored 10 goals on Chelsea’s route to the final and has been a key part of their success.

Olivier Giroud recently signed a one-year contract extension at Chelsea

The France international will also want to put down a marker to be considered as their number one striker next season following his one-year contract extension.

With the Blues’ impending transfer ban, Eden Hazard’s possible departure and Gonzalo Higuain’s loan ending, the burden will fall to the 32-year-old to provide the goals.

Eden Hazard vs Ainsley Maitland-Niles

This could be Hazard’s final game in a Chelsea shirt as all things point to a transfer to Real Madrid in the summer.

The forward can add a sixth trophy during his time at Stamford Bridge and also hit 20 goals in a season for the first time if he nets in Baku.

Maitland-Niles, 21, has a tough task on his hands in keeping Hazard at bay during the game.

Eden Hazard could join Real Madrid this summer

The full-back has established himself as a regular under Emery with Hector Bellerin still out injured.

It will be a test for the youngster and one that will show if he is worth his place next season with reports suggest the Gunners are looking at signing a full-back in the summer.

Jorginho vs Mesut Ozil

Former Napoli man Jorginho has been in good form for Chelsea as they hit form towards the end of the season.

The deep-lying midfielder is an important cog in Maurizio Sarri’s side and will be tasked with stopping Ozil from playing and also starting Chelsea attacks.

Mesut Ozil needs to be a key figure if Arsenal are to win the Europa League

Ozil is not known for his defensive capabilities but may need to help out his side to stop Jorginho playing his natural game.

This could be the key battle to decide where the trophy will end up.

Aubameyang and Lacazette vs Chelsea defence

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette have formed a formidable partnership at Arsenal this season.

The pair have combined for an amazing 50 goals in all competitions while they have been directly involved in 17 goals during the Europa League.

Chelsea centre-backs David Luiz and Andreas Christensen have a tough task on their hands keeping them quiet in the final.

Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang could have too much for Chelsea

The Blues’ defence is already thin with Antonio Rudiger missing the last few games of the season.

They have only conceded three goals in their last five games, though, and it will be an intriguing battle at the Olympic Stadium in Baku.

You can hear the Europa League final LIVE from Baku on talkSPORT from 8pm

Arsenal team news: How Gunners could line-up for Europa League final against Chelsea with Unai Emery yet to reveal if Petr Cech will play

29 May

Unai Emery is hoping his first season at Arsenal ends on a high with a Europa League final win.

Not only will it be a first piece of silverware for the manager but also mean a coveted Champions League final place.

The Gunners finished outside the top four in the Premier League but have a second chance of getting into next season’s elite European competition.

They must beat Chelsea in the final in Baku, with commentary live on talkSPORT, to seal that place.

Here at we have taken a look at how Arsenal could line-up for the final tonight.

How Arsenal could line-up against Chelsea in the Europa League final
Build Lineup

There are still question marks over who will play in goal for the Gunners on Wednesday.

Petr Cech could be in for a final swansong before his retirement at the end of the season and has been their goalkeeper in the Europa League this season.

He could decide to go with Bernd Leno who has been their league keeper and deny Cech the chance to close out his career against his former club.

Speaking in his pre-match press conference on Tuesday, Emery said: “The first XI for tomorrow, I’m going to see tomorrow.

“Cech is a great man, a great professional, it is amazing his behaviour and final year with us.

“I want to do something important with him in the last moment of your career, playing or not playing.

“He deserves trust in him, his career says to us he is a gentleman. He can start or cannot start, I am going to decide.

“How can we not believe in him?”

Emery is likely to go five at the back with Sead Kolasinac and Ainsley Maitland-Niles to be used as the wing-backs.

Mesut Ozil has not been a favourite of Unai Emery but may still start

Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Laurent Koscielny and Nacho Monreal should line-up as the central defenders.

Lucas Torreira and Granit Xhaka will be used in front of the defence with Mesut Ozil in the more advanced attacking role.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette have formed a fantastic partnership this season and have 50 goals between them and will be a danger for the Chelsea defence.

Can Arsenal claim a third European trophy by beating Chelsea in Baku?

Find out by listening to live commentary of the match on talkSPORT from 8pm.

Arsenal team news: How the Gunners could line-up against Valencia for their Europa League semi-final second leg

9 May

Arsenal have the slight advantage going into the second leg of their Europa League semi-final with Valencia on Thursday.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored a late goal at the Emirates in the first leg to make it 3-1 after Alexandre Lacazette had scored twice in the first half.

The Gunners will have to be wary of the away goal Valencia possess as they know a 2-0 defeat will see them crash out.

Unai Emery’s side have a good chance of reaching the final

As we have seen with this week’s Champions League matches, three goal leads have not even been enough of a cushion.

Unai Emery’s side know that their only realistic chance of getting into the Champions League is by winning this competition.

They have been shambolic away from home for large parts of the season, with some particularly questionable results in the Europa League.

Arsenal have already been beaten by Rennes and BATE Borisov and know they will need to rectify this to progress to the final in Baku.

So, how will Arsenal line-up? We’ve predicted their XI below.

How Arsenal could line up against Valencia
Build My Lineup

In defence, Emery should be able to revert to a back-five with Ainsley Maitland-Niles able to return following his domestic suspension.

He will come in for Stephan Lichtsteiner while Laurent Koscielny is likely to be fit for the trip to the Mestalla.

In midfield, Emery will have to choose between Matteo Guendouzi and Lucas Torreira to partner Granit Xhaka in the middle.


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  • Ajax vs Tottenham (Wednesday, 8pm) – talkSPORT
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  • Newport vs Mansfield (Thursday, 7:45pm) – talkSPORT 2
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  • Mansfield vs Newport (Sunday, 6pm) – talkSPORT 2

Guendouzi started the first leg at the Emirates while Torreira replaced him in their match at Brighton on Saturday.

Lacazette and Aubameyang are in fine form up front with the latter netting four times in his last six games.

Arsenal vs Brighton: Some Gunners fans think Unai Emery has ‘given up on top four’ with his selection of Stephan Lichtsteiner at right-back

5 May

Stephen Lichtsteiner starts his first game for Arsenal since February and some fans were less than impressed to see him in the side to play Brighton.

The veteran right-back has not started a game since February 24 and has made 21 appearances for the Gunners this season.

Stephan Lichtsteiner starts for Arsenal against Brighton

He replaced the suspended Ainsley Maitland-Niles, who was sent off in their previous Premier League match.

Alexandre Lacazette leads the line and will have an attacking trio of Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Mesut Ozil and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang behind him.

Unai Emery’s side need a win to keep alive their top four hopes as Manchester United dropped out of the race with their draw at Huddersfield.

Some Gunners fans were not overly thrilled to see Lichtsteiner back in the starting XI for the clash at the Emirates.

The 35-year-old is expected to leave the club at the end of the season when his contract expires.

Peterborough striker Ivan Toney becomes latest footballer to suffer racial abuse on social media

1 May

Peterborough striker Ivan Toney has become the latest footballer to suffer racial abuse on social media.

The 23-year-old was sent banana and monkey emojis on Instagram during Posh’s 3-2 win over Portsmouth on Tuesday evening.

Ivan Toney shared the racial abuse on Twitter

Toney scored twice at Fratton Park to keep alive Peterborough’s League One play-off hopes with just one game to go.

After the match, he shared a screenshot of the abuse received on Twitter with an eyebrow raising emoji as a caption.

Peterborough announced they will be reporting the incident to the police.

In a statement, the club said: “We are aware of a message that has been sent to one of our players on social media of a racist nature this evening.

“The content of that message is wholly unacceptable and we will be reporting it to the football authorities, social networks and the police.”

Anti-discrimination charity Kick It Out offered their support to Toney in the wake of the incident.

“Yet again, more racist abuse on social media,” a Kick It Out statement read.

“We fully support @theposhofficial’s condemnation of this behaviour. As always, we are here for support and guidance for both club and player.”

Toney has scored 21 goals in all competitions in a prolific season for Peterborough, who trail sixth place Doncaster by one point heading into the final day of the regular season.

The former Newcastle forward has become the second footballer racially assaulted on social media in less than a week.

Arsenal star Ainsley Maitland-Niles was branded a ‘stupid monkey’ on Instagram after he was sent off in the Gunners’ 3-0 defeat at Leicester on Sunday.


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  • Cardiff vs Crystal Palace (Saturday 5:30pm) – talkSPORT

In addition to those two incidents, Watford captain Troy Deeney disabled comments on his Instagram profile to avoid more racial abuse last month.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles: Arsenal star shares picture of racist abuse he received on social media

30 Apr

Arsenal star Ainsley Maitland-Niles has shared a picture of racist abuse he received on social media platform Instagram.

The Gunners right-back was sent off in the first-half of the club’s 3-0 defeat at Leicester on Sunday.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles is the latest black footballer to be targeted on social media

Arsenal’s third successive Premier League defeat has left their top four hopes in serious doubt. Unai Emery’s men are two points behind fourth place Chelsea with two games remaining.

And in an old Instagram post on Maitland-Niles’ profile which read, ‘We go again #coyg’, the youngster was racially abused by user @reda1011.

He wrote: “You are a stupid monkey get a red card VS Leicester, Arsenal will lose the competition because of your stupidity.”

Maitland-Niles decided to publicise the incident, sharing a screenshot of the abuse with his own comment reading: “When will the racism end? @reda1011 I wish you all the best in life mate.”

Maitland-Niles is one of many black players to be the victim of racial abuse on social media in recent weeks. Ashley Young, Troy Deeney and Wilfried Zaha have all been similarly targeted.


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  • Eintracht Frankfurt vs Chelsea (Thursday, 8pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Cardiff vs Crystal Palace (Saturday 5:30pm) – talkSPORT

Young was branded a ‘f****** n*****’ after Manchester United were dumped out of the Champions League by Barcelona, while Zaha was called a ‘diving monkey’ after winning a penalty in a win over Newcastle earlier this month.

And racial abuse forced Watford captain Troy Deeney to disable comments on his Instagram profile.

In December, Maitland-Niles revealed he had suffered racial abuse on a football pitch as a 12-year-old.

Asked if he had ever been racially targeted, he said: ”Yes I have. Not at the professional level, but growing up in the youth ranks.

“I was 12. I was at Arsenal at the time, it was an away trip to a German side I think.

“I reported it, but nothing was done about it. I guess I just had to move on from it and become stronger from that.”