Vincent Kompany, take a bow. An absolute hero. Hard to believe he could command even more respect – but he does. How? He was fit and able to play for his country, to proudly represent his homeland – and he did. And to hell . “These players play for their clubs, and every month the clubs pay their salary,” whined Mancini. True. But at the end of a career – unless you are the shallowest of individuals – you don’t frame pay-slips. You don’t show your grandchildren your collection of P60s. You don’t put your tax returns on the mantelpiece. In Mancini’s eyes, Kompany’s crime was to play for Belgium in their crucial World Cup qualifier against Macedonia, despite not having played for City for a couple of months. But Kompany’s only crime was to complete a recovery from injury at a time that coincided with an international break. And if you want another offence to be taken into consideration, charge Kompany with desperately wanting to help a country growing increasingly proud of its burgeoning footballing reputation. Similarly, Mancini and Manchester City should be proud of their captain, not making veiled threats against him. It is pathetic. And, by the way, it says something about Mancini’s stature that a senior player is so obviously prepared to risk his wrath. Yet in the Premier League, Mancini’s attitude is typical. There are already negative vibes coming from Arsene Wenger about for this summer’s European Championship finals in Israel. There is a feelgood factor growing around Stuart Pearce’s set-up and the team has won eight on the spin without conceding a goal. They have a serious chance of going all the way in a major tournament. What an invaluable experience that would be for Oxlade-Chamberlain. It is not as though he is getting that type of trophy-chasing experience at club level right now. And the idea of a supremely fit and athletic 19-year-old being in danger of burnout just because he plays a handful of games in the summer is laughable. Scepticism over international duty is not the sole preserve of Mancini and Wenger – who, incidentally, earns an extra crust doing TV work for international fixtures. Sir Alex Ferguson has provided more players for the English national team than any other club manager of the modern era. Yet you can’t tell me did not influence the player’s decision to opt for an air-conditioned Qatari TV studio rather than, four days later, the heat of battle in Podgorica. If Ferdinand had shared Kompany’s overwhelming desire to pull on the national jersey, he would still have joined up with England. But if Ferdinand was wavering on a decision, Ferguson’s commenter Frank Lampard says it is only a “matter of time” before Jack Grealish wins an England call-up.Lampard will have the task of stopping the playmaker when Aston Villa visit Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.”I think he’s doing it,” Lampard said of Grealiss would have sealed it. The Premier League acting as a hindrance to the progress of the Englis United contract rebel Tahith Chong.With his deal to expire in June, the Dutch winger has so far refused to accept fresh terms offered by United.A move to Italy has been mooted for Chong, where Juventus are keen.However, Sky Italia says Inter are nowh national team goes far deeper than the issue of a manager’s enthusiasm for his players going away. Improved coaching of English talent is being encouraged through the Premier League’s Elite Player Performance Plan. But as long as those at the top of a club’s recruitment department continue to work against their academies by providing relatively cheap, short-term foreign fixes rather than trusting the development of homegrown talent, England will continue to be starved of technical excellence. National teams – not just England – will have to soldier on despite the barriers erected by club managers. “I think sometimes the player has to understand that the club is more important,” said Mancini. No, it isn’t, Roberto. The club just pays the salary. And if one club won’t do it, another will. Clubs will come and go. Representing your country lasts a lifetime.
Midfielder James Milner believes Manchester City have got their title challenge back on track by learning lessons from their disappointing Christmas results. City's previously strong grip on top spot in the Barclays Premier League was loosened as they were held at West Brom and beaten at Sunderland over the holiday period. But Roberto Mancini's men put those frustrations behind them on their return to the Etihad Stadium, where they are unbeaten since December 2010, as they comfortably saw off Liverpool 3-0 last night. Manchester City 3-0 Liverpool: Aguero, Yaya and Milner heap further punishment on Reds Milner, scorer of the third goal, told City TV: "It was an important game for us. "We had a couple of disappointing results over the Christmas period. ing Bournemouth today.Lampard is adamant there’s no questioning their talent.He said, “I didn’t expect us to roll over West Ham. I understand people on the outside might have expected it but similar happened at Everton – we didn’t perform well. If yoWe know it is a critical time over any season and (we needed) to get the momentum back. "We set our standards very high and the first half was not good enough the other day. We probably still did enough in the second half to win it but it is a learning curve. "We need to make sure we learn from those sort of experiences and I think it shows how much character and ability there is in the dressing room that we can come back 48 hours later." City had been expected to win comfortably at The Hawthorns but were frustrated as a well-organised West Brom side defended deeply and claimed a goalless draw. The Sunderland game was heading for a similar outcome until the Black Cats broke away in injury-time to snatch a winner through Ji Dong-won. Milner, who turns 26 today, said: "The manager was obviously very disappointed with us but no more so than we were as individuals and as a team. "We didn't quite have the luck over the last two games but last night it was good to get off to a good start. "We kept the pressure on, defended very well and got a very good victory." City took charge against Liverpool after Sergio Aguero's speculative 10th-minute shot from distance was misjudged by Jose Reina and bounced in for the opening goal. Yaya Toure doubled the advanteran Juan Mata says they can’t worry about Liverpool’s runaway Premier League lead going into Sunday’s trip.The Premier League leaders can go 30 points ahead of United with victory over Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side at Anfield.“It’s thinking about utage with a firm header from a 33rd-minute corner and Milner, after a spell of Liverpool pressure, made victory certain from the penalty spot 15 minutes from time. City had to play out the closing 17 minutes with 10 men after Gareth Barry was sent off for two bookable offences but they did so with little alarm and even hit the post through Adam Johnson. Milner said: "Liverpool are a very good side, you can see that from the side they put out and the players they brought on off the bench. "They have got quality all over the field and it was always going to be tough. "To win the game like we did, and pretty convincingly as well, down to 10 men, was good. "That showed the quality and determination and what we are about as a team." Milner has impressed this season despite not being a regular starter and could be set for an enhanced role in the coming weeks as key man Yaya Toure departs for the African Nations Cup. Toure and his brother Kolo are expected to join up with the Ivory Coast for the tournament in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea after this weekend's FA Cup third-round clash with Manchester United. Milner, however, is not thinking about his individual prospects despite the lift of getting on the scoresheet last night. He said: "It was nice to get on it and put it away. "It was important to get the victory, that was the main thing. "All the boys have done brilliantly. We need to make sure we take this momentum because the games keep coming thick and fast."
Tim Sherwood has bitten his tongue for months as a succession of big names were linked with his job. Rivals have, Sherwood says, “touted” themselves to be the next Tottenham coach, breaking the usual convention that if a managerial colleague is in a role, at least be discrete about wanting it. It looks like his chief tormentor Louis van Gaal, who spoke to, has a better offer and . Sherwood himself has hardly been a flop – his side's haul of 39 points since mid-December is bettered only by the top three of Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City. Bolstered by “digging out” , and after being asked about his chances of becoming the next Newcastle boss after the decent job he has done at White Hart Lane, Sherwood could keep schtum no longer. Unsettling Alan Pardew was not on his agenda, but when asked about the constant , Sherwood said: “You ask me what I think about being linked to other jobs? “I have suffered that myself. Every press conference I do is about who is coming, whether it be about Van Gaal or Hoddle or whoever. “Some of these managers are actually touting themselves for my job and I don’t think that’s right. That doesn’t sit well with me, so if someone asks me about another club I’ll say, 'They already have a manager.' And until they haven’t got a manager I haven’t got a job. “It’s always about me keeping the seat warm for someone else. I am [doing that], but the seat is getting quite hot.” Maybe he will end up remaining in charge for next season, or maybe the fact he galvanised Spurs to a sixth-place finish – possibly higher – will earn him a job elsewhere. Sherwood says they can get close to last season’s record tally of 72 points, which was achieved with Gareth Bale’s heroics. “My brief was to help us score more goals,” he said. “We had 15 when I took over and now we have 38. So I tick that box. I’m proud of my record so far.” Spurs deserved their win, thanks to a first-half Maddison and Ben Chilwell.The Sun says United have sent scouts to watch the Foxes pair during their recent matches against Tottenham and Liverpool.It is understood the Old Trafford chief was impressed with Maddison and Chilwell during their 1-0 home Danny Rose header. When the smallest man on the pitch beats Stoke’s giants in the air, you know it is a strange day. Rose became the villain for an amazingly partisan home crowd when caught high on his shin by Ryan Shawcross, the defender earning a second yellow card that provoked fury. City boss Mark Hughes claimed ref Andre Mariner’s confidence was “shot” after recent high-profile errors, an observation that could land him in trouble, especially given the decision appeared fair. Rose was later taken out in a foul by Geoff Cameron, and retaliated with a shove to the chest. The resulting yellow saw the excellent Rose substituted by Sherwood as fury was whipped up on the terraces. Hughes insisted it should have been red, and described as “bull” a suggestion a push below head height only merited a yellow. And Rose conceded Sherwood made the correc with Arsenal about the manager’s job.The former Gunners’ midfielder, who spent nine seasons with the North London club, is currently in his second year with the French side.Vieira told the Arsenal-legend-Patrick-Vieira-Arsene-Wenger-Roy-Keane-managit decision. He said: “I don’t mind people booing me but I did lose my head for 10 seconds. It was because of the bad tackle but nothing to do with the fans. "I never want to hide but taking me off was the right thing for the manager to do.”
Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp has confirmed he'd jump at the chance of signing controversn.The striker missed Friday’s friendly against Kawasaki Frontale with tonsillitis but is fully fit again and determined to impress with the Blues this season having spent the past three years out on loan”I am more ready than ever for the season to stial Manchester City striker Carlos Tevez – but concedes the deal is unlikely to happen. Speaking on TalkSPORT, Redknapp said: “I like Tevez, he’s a fantastic playesn’t interested about Liverpool’s Premier League title chances.The Reds moved 13 points clear with a stunning 4-0 win over second-placed Leicester on Boxing Day.”I couldn’t be less interested in that [talk that the title race is over] to be honest,” r. I couldn’t see it happening, but I’d be a liar if I said I wouldn’t take him if I had the chance. “When he plays, he’s top class. Whatever you say about him, when he players he has a real go and never plays without putting in all in.” Manchester City are desperate to offload wantaway striker Tevez but on their own terms. AC Milan are thought to be the favourites to secure his signature, but City are holding out for a permanent deal rather than the Italian giants' preferred plan of a January loan with an option to buy in the summer. Sneijder to United! Donnelly to Liverpool! 10 transfers we expect to happen in the window Transfer news, rumours and gossip from Thursday's papers
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says "two mistakes" cost his side And has also declared that Ronald Koeman's side "were beatable". A goal in either half from Sadio Mane and Dusan Tadic – both ably assisted by Arsenal's defence and goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny – handed the Saints victory, and ensured end their festive programme with a first defeat since the 3-2 loss at Stoke on December 6. Fraser Forster made a number of good saves for in the first period, and after winning their last match at West Ham, Wenger says he finds the loss on the south is determined to make their Europa League final in Baku.The Sun says the injured midfielder will break off from a family holiday in Portugal to make the long-haul journey so he can roar on his Gunners team-mates in Azerbaijan’s Olympic Stadium.Rambo coast "difficult to swallow". "We looked like we were in control until the first goal," stated the Frenchman. "Overall they defended better than us. We made two mistakes and that cost us. The keeper kept them in the game with early chances and after that we helped them a lot. "The team really had a great generous attitude after what we had given at West Ham and to lose a game like that is difficult to swallow. Southampton are a good side but beatable today and we can only look at ourselves." Although Wenger was disappointed with his side for squandering chances in the second period, he was also unhappy with the referee, Craig Pawson for not sending off Florian Gardos in the 67th minute for a foul on Alexis Sanchez as he looked to race through on goal. "When you're 1-0 down in the Premier League everyone tends to defend well and they did. We had chances today and were a bit unlucky as when was through at 2-0 I don't see how the referee can't give a red card. It looks like he didn't na on Sunday night.Real won 2-0 thanks to goals from Vinicius Junior and Mariano Diaz.Ramos said: “Winning a Clásico is a positive thing. After recent results, some of which were not so good, and having been knocked off top spot, we needed to makeget it right. "We have to learn to win these kind of games. We will give our best to be as high as we can. We have to be more consistent." In pictures – Southampton 2-0 Arsenal:
So this is how the fan-player dynamic goes in English football these days. 1. Fans sing mocking song about injured player lying on ground in front of them. 2. Injured player, who will soon be told his dream of playing at a World Cup is over for another four years, is carried off on a stretcher. 3. Despite everything, injured player takes it in good heart, holds up the two fingers on his right hand and balls his left hand into a loose fist to signal his team are leading 2-0. 4. Fans shower him with coins, then demand that the FA take action against him. That’s right. Against HIM. Against Theo Walcott, in this instance. Thankfully, the FA treated the suggestion the Arsenal forward should be punished for what he did . But that does not mask the fact that some supporters need to take a long, hard look at themselves over their attitude to opposition players. This isn’t just about Spurs fans – although it was they who were chucking the coins at Walcott at the Emirates on Saturday. This is about a culture where some supporters scream for instant and disproportionate penalties to be visited on a player i joined Celta Vigo he would have stayed at Barcelona. The midfielder cut ties with Barca this past summer.”You have a phrase ‘from the heart’ which sums up what the players who have come feel for the club,” said Rafinha. “If it wasn’t for Celta I wouf he looks at them the wrong way. This is about a culture where we too often seem to take a perverse pleasure in baiting a player and then demanding retribution if he responds. This is about demanding a player behave like an angel while we dance and spit like devils. Step out of line, when a few Manchester City fans were baiting him about his children and you get a two-game ban. This is the other side of the celebrity lifestyle, where earning stacks of money is suddenly supposed to make you fair game for the worst kind of abuse. And where you must respond with the dead soul of an automaton unless you wish the wrath of the self-righteous coin-thrower to be visited upon you. What has happened to us as supporters that frothing outrage has replaced laughter as the normal response to light repartee from a player? Some Spurs fans took particular pleasure in the news winger Jadon Sancho.The Telegraph says United feel they have the best chance of signing the 19-year-old.United are also in a stronger position than Premier League champions Manchester City, whom Sancho left to join Dortmund for £8million in 2017.Saof how bad Walcott’s injury was when it emerged. It was karma, they said. What? Karma is making a light-hearted gesture and then missing six months with a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament? It is another symptom of the distance that has grown between players and fans. A kind of hostility rooted in jealousy is never far below the surface. It is there in the speed in which some fans can turn on the players they claim to support. I have no problem with Spurs fans chanting about Walcott – or Arsenal supporters singing about Samir Nasri, say. It’s part of the game. It’s part of the tribalism that can make watching English football so exciting. But if you give it out, you’ve got to take it. It’s as simple as that. Ways of behaviour in cricket are veering towards football too much for the liking of many. But at least in cricket, fans and players can still engage in exchanges on the boundary without moral indignation taking hold. I sat on the hill for a couple of hours every afternoon at the third Ashes Test match at the WACA in Perth last month. David Warner, Stuart Broad, Mitchell Johnson and Kevin Pietersen were among those who copped plenty of flak and gave some back. No one went running to the police. No one started spouting football’s go-to garbage about players being role models. In fact, the fans on both sides loved it when the players engaged with them. It made them part of the theatre. It included them. It brought them closer. In our anger and our vindictiveness and our thirst for downfall, we have lost that dynamic in the Premier League. We have lost our sense of humour. We are told so often and so earnestly about the importance of the game we are watching that, for the 90 minutes we watch, we have lost our ability to laugh.
Paul Lambert has lit the touch paper ahead of Monday's West Midlands derby by declaring that Aston Villa are a 'bigger club' than West Brom. The Villans boss points to the club's fans-base and their 1982 European Cup success as proof that they are the top dogs in the area. But the Baggies finished above their rivals last season and their recent success under Steve Clarke has only served to enhance the . Lambert said: " is a massive club. I don't think anyone can ever dispute that. It's a club that's won a European Cup, league titles, has a massive fan-base and has a bigger stadium. "That's no disrespect to West Brom at all – they're a good club in their own right. "I haven't been at West Brom or managed the club but Aston Villa, for me, is a bigger club." He added: "There's a rivalry because of the vicinity where the two clubs are. We'll go there and try to win. "I don't think you use the aim of finishing above them as a motivational tool. "Everybody knows a derby is important for supporters, first and foremost. For the teamo after their 0-0 draw with Athletic Bilbao.Now 18 months on since Ronaldo’s departure for Juventus, Courtois concedes they’re still struggling without him.He said, “Cristiano is an uncle who scores 40 or 50 goals a year, you obviously miss that, but and the football club it's vital to try to win a derby game. But the thing with a derby is the fact it doesn't matter who is playing well, you could be top or bottom of the table or near each other. "Because in that game people do things which look extraordinary that they wouldn't do in a normal game. That's a derby." Despite risking the wrath of Baggies supporters with his comments, Lambert did have some words of praise for the job Clarke has done since taking the helm at the Hawthorns. "Stevie's got a good team there," he said. "They&apo for Napoli attacker Hirving Lozano.Carlo Jacomuzzi says the links are obvious given Everton football chief Marcel Brands originally signed the Mexico international for PSV Eindhoven.He told Radio Area Napoli: “At Everton there is a director (Brands)s;re a good side with a lot of experienced lads there who were there before Stevie even came in. They're a good side." Villa could be boosted by the return of Andreas Weimann (hamstring), Gabriel Agbonlahor (ankle) and star striker, Christian Benteke who damaged his knee on international duty with Belgium.
Steven Gerrard became the first player to score a Merseyside derby hat-trick since Ian Rush, then declared: Don't compare me to him. Liverpool 3-0 Everton: It's Stevie 3 in Red derby rout Tweet my Goal! The best gags from Liverpool 3-0 Everton Gerrard: I can get Carroll and Suarez firing Gerrard's three goals wrecked David Moyes' 10th anniversary celebrations as Everton boss and he is the first player to achieve this feat in the league since Rush bagged four in 1982. Gerrard was honoured to have emulated his boyhood hero on his 400th Premier LInter Milan burned off competition from Europe’s biggest clubs to land Lucien Agoume.The former Sochaux midfielder, 17, joined Inter this summer.And L’Equipe says Agoume also had offers from Manchester City, Arsenal, Barcelona, Wolfsburg and Saint-Etienne.But eventually the teen accepted a proposal from the Nerazzurri.Agoume is tied to Inter until 2022.eague appearance, but says he can't be compared to the Reds' all-time leading scorer. "That makes it more special, because Ian Rush was a hero of mine," said the Liverpool skipper. "I looked up to him for a long time and watched many videos of him. "But let's not be stupid. I'm not comparing myself to Ian Rush's scoring record and he scored 380-odd goals for the club. He was a different breed. "To beat Everton is always special and to get three goals is a little extra-special. I have to give my team-mates credit and Luis Suarez put two of them on a plate for me." Kenny Dalglish played that day Rush scored four at Goodison Park and claims he has run out of words to describe his talismanic midfielder. "I'm not educated enough to add to what other people have already said about Steven," said the Liverpool manager. "For him to score three goals is fantastic for him. He's had one or two bumps this season and to come back and score three in the derby, I think he will have a wee smile on his face later. "He has been fantastic for this football club. "For a guy who left school at 15, my vocabulary is not that great. There is no way I could extol the virtues of Steven Gerrard and do him justice. "He was fantastic – but I think the three other local lads we had were as well. They didn't do too badly. He is the first to say he wouldn't have been there with three goals without the help of the others." Gerrard appeared to hobble as he left the field at half-time, but Dalglish played down concerns over his fitness. He said: "I would hate to see him when he is flying." Although Liverpool, who remain seventh in the table, were poor in defeat at Sunderland last weekend, Dalglish thought such a convincing home win was long overdue. It was only the Reds' fifth league success at Anfield this season despite a number of dominant displays. Dalglish said: "I think it was a fantastic performance – the result reflected the performance. For us, we are delighted we have at last got reward forr United to sell him this summer.The Sun says the French World Cup winner has made it clear to United that he wants to join his hero Zinedine Zidane at Real Madrid.But United’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward says he does not want Pogba, 26, to l a great performance here. "It is one of the many we have had here, but we got reward for the effort we put in. "It is always nice when you play really well and win. Sometimes it is even better when you are rubbish and you still get three points but that hasn't happened to us too many times this season. "It is a good reward for the players. It is great they maintained the belief in themselves and the philosophies we have got and the way they have been playing. "I don't think it will do them any harm but we have got a really difficult game coming up on Sunday. We will enjoy this for a couple of days and then look forward to Sunday." Liverpool's second league win of 2012 ended their three-match losing streak to leave them 10 points off fourth and Gerrard has challenged his team-mates to build on the victory. "We need to find a level of consistency where we go on a winning streak rather than win one lose one, otherwise we'll find ourselves in a position in the league that we don't want," said Gerrard. David Moyes defended his decision to rest several big names for Saturday's FA Cup clash with Sunderland, and said his players were at fault for all three goals. "We've got a big week and I thought the lads did OK," said the Everton boss. "Some bits were OK and some bits weren't. "We gave away three terrible goals. They were all instigated by ourselves and we led to our own downfall. "The first we were on the break to try to score ourselves, the second we gave away on the halfway line and the third as well. "We led to our own downfall, but after you give it away you still have to score and Liverpool did that. "I am hurt because I am the Everton manager and I have lost to my rivals, Liverpool. I am the same all the time. We will get on with the next game. "It doesn't make any difference. It is not about me, it is about the Everton players."
Argentine legend has launched a scathing attack on FIFA president Sepp Blatter. The Swiss is l defended his players after their 0-0 draw with Wolves.Solskjaer insists United left everything on the pitch.He said, “We were close in the second half. I thought we dominated the game, controlled it quite well, but then again you can never say you’vikely to win a fifth term later this month, and Maradona has once again voiced his displeasure at his leadership. In a column in the Daily Telegraph , Maradona says Blatter has made the sport a 'painful embarrassment'. He wrote: "In the last few decades, football has changed – and not for the better. Once, it was a sport you could be proud of, a sport that united the world. But Fifa, its governing body, has turned into a playground for the corrupt. "Most football fans can predict what I am about to say next: Under Sepp Blatter, Fifa has become a disgrace and a painful embarrassment to those of us who care about football deeply. Maradona: Blatter has plunged FIFA into anarchy "Why? The whole notion of a fifth term is an absurdity in 2015 – it is not acceptable in democratic countries anywhere. But somehow it is OK for Fifa. We have a dictator for life." Prince Ali bin al-Hheir erratic form this season.As the halfway point of the campaign approaches, United have beaten Manchester City, Leicester, Chelsea and Tottenham. They are also the only team to take points off Liverpool.But there have also been shock defeats by Crussein will now be the only candidate to challenge Blatter at the FIFA presidential elections, and the Argentine earlier this month. "If I didn't believe he (Prince Ali) would be a good president, I wouldn't be here," said the Argentine icon. "Everyone in football knows that in FIFA there is total anarchy, where there is only one man who decides everything. "But he knows absolutely nothing. Therefore it is time for a change. He has done a lot of damage to football. "It is time for him to step aside and let us, who are full of strength, renovate football. Because football is becoming poorer and more corrupt. " is scared of being left out. I was chasing the ball and he is chasing champagne." Should Sepp Blatter win a fifth term?1000+ VOTES SO FAR
New West Brom boss Pepe Mel has held a clear-the-air summit meeting with his squad ahead of facing Liverpool. Spaniard Mel is still searching for his first win since taking charge at The Hawthorns two games ago. Albion looked on course for victory at local rivals Aston Villa in midweek when they roared into a 2-0 lead early on, but they promptly amid some dire defending. Now, are about to entertain Premier League top scorer Luis Suarez and his in-form England international strike partner Daniel Sturridge. Mel called his ed back at Twitter trolls after being ridiculed about his career achievements.The Spaniard posted a photo of 12 shirts from his career and asked followers which one gave them the best memories.Marcos Breton called out the former Chelsea and Arsenal mentire squad together for frank talks on Friday after his very attacking side gaped wide open at Villa Park, and is likely to axe Diego Lugano for Gareth McAuley at centre-back. "It is incredible – you score three goals away and get no points," said the 50-year-old. "We talked to my players in a meeting. It was very good for me and a good meeting. All players spokuning collapse.Marca says sources close to Bale and to the negotiations say the talks are difficult and that they have come to a standstill.Real Madrid know that Bale isn’t in Zinedine Zidane’s plans and that, due to the player’s high salary, an exite their opinion. For me, that is important. "I think, the next match, West Brom will play together in defence and attack. They enjoy this way but they think it is not possible this way if we don't work together in defence – the first attacker is a defender, too. "They all know it is important for the team to win the match that we are together in defence." Mel stressed it is imperative that Albion tighten up against Liverpool's deadly attack on Sunday. He added: "Suarez, for me in this moment, is one of the two best forwards in the world. But Steven Gerrard is also very important, providing the passes to Suarez." Albion will be without former Liverpool striker Nicolas Anelka after he had seven stitches in a knee injury suffered at Villa. Former Everton striker Victor Anichebe is likely to lead the line again, with Saido Berahino working behind him. Mel added: "Next week it's possible Nicolas will be back to work."
With Luis Suarez announcing , Brendan Rodgers' top priority will be to replace the Reds' leading scorer. The Anfield club have already reportedly , who's no stranger to controversy himself, as we pointed out in our . But who else could Rodgers bring in to replace the fiery Uruguayan? We look at five potential Suarez replacemen director Fredi Bobic admits they face losing Luka Jovic this summer.Having bought Jovic outright from Benfica, Eintracht Frankfurt now expect a €60m offer from Real Madrid to sell.”We don’t need to sell anyone for financial reasons,” Bobic said. “ts that would fit in at Anfield. If Liverpool look to go South American again, Colombian Luis Muriel could be a good choice. The 22-year-old Udinese striker has impressed in Serie A this season and has seen him dubbed 'the Colombian Ronaldo' after the Brazilian legend. He has scored 10 goals since the start of the year and could be snapped up for around £15million. A long-standing Liverpool target, Ajax's prolific attacking midfielder Christian Eriksen could help ease the goalscoring burden for Liverpool's striking corps. The 21-year-old Eriksen fits the moneyball template for Liverpool signings and could be available for around £15million, but the Reds would face competition from Champions League runners up Borussia Dortmund, who have recently . Spain's all-time leading scorer could be a good short-term option for Liverpool. With Villa finding playing time limited at the Nou Camp and the impending arrival of Neymar, the striker is keen for regular football ahead of next summer's World Cup and . French striker Loic Remy was linked with a host of clubs following QPR's relegation from the Premier League. With six goals in his 15 appearances this year Remy adapted to life in the Premier League quickly, although his may deter Rodgers from making a move. The final man on our list is Saint Etienne's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. has netted 19 times in Ligue 1 this season and is rumoured to be on his way outlity in the 5-0 win over LASK on Thursday.The Red Devils are all but assured of a place in the Europa League quarter-finals after an emphatic win in Austria.A superb goal from loan signing Odion Ighalo got the Red Devils off to a great start after 28 of the club this summer. Blessed with speed, strength and a great right foot, this product of the AC Milan youth system could be available for around £13million.
Nobody in their right mind would defend And Suarez, who , can have few complaints that his ban stretches well into next season. He shamed a proud football club which is a worldwide institution. But I am stumped by the Football Association’s moral code in which you can be suspended for 10 matches for making a meal of an opponent – but (or four matches if you are an ex-England captain). Now we know where the FA stand on the two issues, I don’t think they have got their priorities right. Surely insulting a man’s creed, colour and roots – a grotesque insult against the basic values of humanity – is worse than an infantile assault which was disgraceful but did not cause Ivanovic any lasting physical harm. And where does violent conduct, in the shape of career-threatening tackles or recklessness with no regard for the safety of your fellow professionals, fit into the FA’s tariff of punishments now? Ask Iain Hume if he would rather have been bitten or had his skull fractured by Sheffield United defender Chris Morgan’s elbow. Ask Alf Inge Haaland if a bite is worse than Roy Keane’s infamous tackle in the Manchester derby. Ask Pedro Mendes if Suarez is worse than Ben Thatcher’s appalling challenge which left him eating through a straw in hospital. And ask Germany’s Rudi Voller if a bite-mark is worse than Frank Rijkaard spitting at him at the World Cup in Italia 90 None of those things, including biting, belong in football. Men behind desks at Wembley have decided to make an example of Suarez by . No arguments about that. But it seems the FA now base their deterrents on which way the wind is blowing. If there is any consistency in the punishments they have administered in the last couple of seasons, they have only been hoping for some introspection from the team after recent results.The Saints have lost three games in a row heading into the international break.Their most recent setback was a 4-1 loss to Chelsea at home.Ward-Prowse knows they must start picking up consistently baffling. Ivanovic will be able to turn out for Chelsea this weekend. In training, he was even Players on the receiving end of leg-breaking tackles, flying elbows or head-butts are not so lucky. In some cases, they spend months out of ward.Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola and Tottenham’s Mauricio Pochettino are also on the 10-man shortlist for the prize at the Best FIFA Football Awards.Klopp is among the favourites for the award after guiding Liverpool to Champions League glothe game and, in a few, they never make a full recovery. In my career, I suffered a broken leg, I was head-butted by Dion Dublin in the Villa-Birmingham derby and a Hungarian fella spat in my face when I was on international duty with Wales. In my opinion, all three of those incidents were more nasty, in their own way, than being bitten. But Watford’s Al Bangura was not even booked for the challenge which put me out of the game for six months, Dublin served only a fraction of the ban Suarez is facing… and for me, spitting in someone’s face is simply the lowest of the low. Don’t get me wrong, biting is dreadful – and no fine was ever going to be sufficient punishment for Suarez because players earn so much money now that docking him £200,000 would be like fining a factory worker £10 for being late. But . Jermain Defoe chomped on Javier Mascherano’s shoulder six years ago, when the Argentine was playing for West Ham, and all he got for it was a yellow card because the referee saw it and decided that was the right sanction. Suarez, on the other hand, gets a 10-match ban because the ref didn’t see it – so the FA can hammer him because the Liverpool striker has previous. One thing which MUST happen from next season is that retrospective justice should be applied in cases where the referee has ‘dealt’ with incidents on the pitch and he has been too lenient. So Wigan forward on Newcastle’s Massadio Haidar would incur a three-match ban, for example, and we would have consistency: one bad tackle would be punished in much the same way as the next. As for Suarez, . If they put him up for sale today, there would be no shortage of takers – so if he’s going to score 30 goals a season for someone else, he might as well do it at a club where he is already loved. Now read on: Arsenal on guard for Van Persie, the reign in Spain is over and ref justice for Clattenburg.
Phil Jagielka admits would have swapped their smooth Europa League progress for wins on the domestic front. But is determined to help guide his side through what promises to be a demanding first leg in their last 32 tie with Young Boys on Thursday night. Jagielka says next Sunday’s visit of in the Premier League has taken on added significance after Everton slipped to just five points clear of the drop zone. The 32-year-old insists he is not ready to hit the panic just yet, but acknowledges the team need to pick up points soon – start are showing an interest in Newcastle winger Miguel Almiron, according to reports.Almiron became Toon’s then-club record signing in January 2019 when he joined for £20million from Atlanta United.The Paraguayan has finally settled in at St. James’ Paing with the game against the Foxes. “We would’ve swapped a couple of wins in Europe for some in the league but we’ve done well, performed well, scored good goals and defended pretty well in the main in the Europa League,” . “We hope to continue that at Young Boys, it is going to be a really tough game especially with the conditions but it will be a nice distraction to have. “But we still need to get back to the Premier League and start picking up some points.” Everton’s six game unbeaten run came to an end at Chelsea on Wednesday night when Willian struck a last-minute winner at Stamford Bridge. The Blues remain 12th in the standings and Jagielka says the Leicester game has taken on the same significance that did at the end of January. “We’re not where we want to be,” Jagielka said. “As far as concerns go, not yet, but we need to pick up some points. “We’ve had a tough run and still have some tough couple of games coming up now. “Leicester is now looking pretty simnando Llorente has joined Napoli as a free agent.The ex-Juventus centre-forward returns to Serie A on a two-year Napoli contract.Llorente 34, said this morning: “I am very happy to start this new adventure with the Napoli team! Surely great moments ailar to the Crystal Palace game at the end of last month. It was a very important game and it definitely puts a little bit more added pressure on those games because of how close you are in relation to points to the team you are playing against.” Jagielka has rekindled his centre-half partnership with and says the longer they play alongside each other, the stronger they will become as a duo. “It is just getting game time together,” he added. “People ask how we can get better as a partnership, well it’s just about playing games together. “Even losing – and these experiences aren’t nice – but what they do is build partnerships and partnerships on the pitch. “Me and Stonesy are getting a few games together now and he’s got a long future ahead of him so if I can hang on with him it will be ok.” Will Everton finish in the top 10?0+ VOTES SO FAR
Ben Marshall aims to prove he is Premier League class at Leicester after his snub by Stoke. The winger, 20, was offloaded to the Foxes for £1million without making a first-team appearance. Instead he found himself farmed out to the likes of Northampton, Cheltenham, Carlisle and Sheffield Wednesday before Nigel Pearson came calling. Now he has become a key part of Leicester’s late play-off charge and followed up last week’s FA Cup goal against Chelsea with a vital wis demanding strict discipline during the coronavirus suspension.Laporte revealed Guardiola has warned his team to stay in shape – and not go out in public.He said: “They have given us a daily training schedule. They trust in you and you have to beinner here. Marshall said: “It was frustrating at Stoke as I really wanted to get a chance in the first team. I felt I was a bit unlucky. “It seems to be more difficult for young lads to get into the side at Stoke than at most other clubs. I don’t know why. Hopefully I can play in the Premier League with Leicester one day.” Pearson put one over the Tigers, who he left in November to rejoin Leicester, but things started badly when Matty Fryatt, the man he took to the KC Stadium from the Foxes, gave Hull an eighth-minlwell.The Blues have identified Chilwell as a top target when their transfer ban ends next summer, according to the Chelsea-lead-chase-Leicesters-Ben-Chilwell.html”>Daily Mail.They could bring the deal forward to January if the ban is reduced.Manchesute lead with a calm finish. But Lloyd Dyer levelled 10 minutes later with a searing shot and Marshall’s long-range shot flew in after a wicked deflection off James Chester 60 seconds later. Leicester’s job got harder when Neil Danns was red carded for a two-footed lunge on Paul McKenna, while Robbie Brady and Sol Bamba hit the woodwork at either end. Hull boss Nick Barmby said: “It was an off day and we got punished.”
Nigel de Jong reckons Manchester City keeping Yaya Toure has been ’ best bit of summer business. Boss Manuel Pellegrini has strengthened last season’s title-winning squad by bringing in Eliaquim Mangala, Frank Lampard, Bacary Sagna, Fernando and Willy Caballero. But ex-City midfield ace De Jong believes it was vital to retain Toure, who was heavily linked with a close-season move to Paris Saint-Germain. De Jong, 29, said: “It was very important to keep Yaya. He’s a very good and important player. He’s one of the best midfielders in the world.” Pellegrini’s side kick-off the defence of their league crown away to Newcastle tomorrow afternoon. And De Jong, who helped the blue half of Manchester back in 2012, was delighted to see the title return to the Etihad Stadium trophy cabinet last term. Now at AC Milan, he aa Benitez wants to stay.Benitez will come off contract at the end of the month.United legend Solano told the Evening Chronicle: “It’s not a surprise really is it? It feels like deja-vu, and I’m sad about that.”Just when you think the club has a chancdded: “Of course, I was happy to see the club win the title again. I still keep an eye on them. “I played a big part there in the last couple of years so I was happy that they won the championship. I’m still in touch is ready to return to Hertha Berlin next season.The Serb completed an impressive campaign last term on-loan with Hertha and has decided he wants to go back.He also had offers from Eintracht Frankfurt and Werder Bremen.However, Mozzart Sport says Gru with a couple of the guys.” Yet, for all City’s recent success, De Jong, impressive for Holland at , claims the time has come to deliver in the Champions League. The Dutchman said: “The Champions League is the main goal for City. It has been like that for a couple of years now. “They want to build the club to compete to win that trophy.” Will Manchester City win the Champions League within the next three seasons?1000+ VOTES SO FAR