Breaking into the top-six an achievable goal for Leicester – Chilwell

Chelsea vs Leicester

Leicester traveled to Chelsea in the second Premier League game of the day on Sunday.

The Foxes had a decent start to the new season, as they drew 0-0 with last season’s 7th place side, Wolves.

Brendan Rodgers had yet another tough opponent on Sunday, away to the current holders of the Europa League, Chelsea.

While Chelsea were smashed 4-0 in their opening PL game, they did show signs of promise vs Liverpool in their 2019 European Super Cup clash.

Brendan Rodgers

LEICESTER, ENGLAND – MARCH 30: Brendan Rodgers, Manager of Leicester City acknowledges the fans after the Premier League match between Leicester City and AFC Bournemouth at The King Power Stadium on March 30, 2019 in Leicester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Chilwell on Leicester finishing in top-six

Ahead of the Chelsea tie, Leicester full-back Ben Chilwell had been discussing Leicester’s top-six ambitions.

While Chilwell claimed that it is not something that the Foxes squad talk about, the defender does state that he believes it is an achievable goal:

“It’s not something that has been spoken about but it is at the back of everyone’s minds and is an achievable goal [finishing in top six].

 “It’s something that everyone at the club wants to happen this season.

“When you look at this season compared to last season it seems more competitive. We have bought players and certain positions might be a bit more crowded, but that shows the quality we have and the gaffer has said that people that train the best will play at the weekend, which has made training more intense.

“To have that strength in depth and people fighting for places is only going to bring the best out of everyone.” As quoted by Sky Sports News.

If Leicester do want to push for a top-six spot this season, they need to show that they can do it against the big sides, and getting something out of Sunday’s game at Stamford Bridge certainly showed that they could be in with a shout.

Leicester managed a 1-1 draw, thanks to Wilfred Ndidi canceling out Masson Mount’s 7th-minute goal.

Related: Former Chelsea & Arsenal defender Ashley Cole announces his retirement

Brendan Rodgers explains why Ben Chilwell missed Chelsea vs Leicester

Man City would have managed Alexis Sanchez better than Man United – John Cross

Sanchez’s struggles

When honing his craft at Arsenal, Alexis Sanchez was arguably one of the best players in the Premier League.

In 166 games for the Gunners, Sanchez would net 80 and assist 45.

Sanchez would then be sold to Manchester United in January of 2018.

However, since making the switch to Old Trafford, Sanchez has really struggled for form.

During his first half-season with United, Sanchez would score just two league goals in 12 outings.

The 2018/19 season was also very disappointing from the 30-year-old.

In 27 appearances across all competitions, Sanchez would find the back of the net on just two occasions.

Alexis Sanchez

HUDDERSFIELD, ENGLAND – MAY 05: Alexis Sanchez of Manchester United down injured during the Premier League match between Huddersfield Town and Manchester United at John Smith’s Stadium on May 5, 2019 in Huddersfield, United Kingdom. (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images)

Cross on Sanchez

Back when United were trying to sign Sanchez, their cross-town rivals Manchester City were also said to have been interested in him, with BBC Sport claiming that they decided not to pursue the Chilean due to his wage demands.

Now, on Sunday, the Daily Mirror’s chief football writer, John Cross, has stated that he believes Man City would have managed Sanchez better:

“I feel sure that City would have managed him better.

“The only thing I would say about it is that you would take more confidence in Pep Guardiola’s management than that of Jose Mourinho.

“I think Solskjaer would do better to sanction a move and say let’s move on with a clean slate. Yes, it leaves them short. But for whatever reason, whether he is that big a figure, or his wages are so big, he’s a disruptive influence in that dressing room from the perspective that other players are jealous and ask what he’s done to deserve that.

“I’m more positive about Manchester United. If the argument is that you should finish the window stronger than you started it, then they’ve definitely done that. I’m a believer that Solskjaer will be given time and patience.” As quoted by Sky Sports.

Cross also claimed that he thinks Ole Gunnar Solskjaer should sanction a move for Sanchez, and move on from the situation.

Well, according to Sky Sports, Sanchez could be on his way to Inter Milan, as his agent is in the UK to hold talks with United on Inter’s behalf, regarding a loan move for the Chilean.

Related: Man United’s Marcos Rojo pushing for Fenerbache loan – Times

Robin van Persie explains why he left Arsenal for Man United

Official: Former Liverpool & Man City star Mario Balotelli joins hometown club Brescia

Serie A outfit Brescia have this evening confirmed the signing of controversial hitman Mario Balotelli.

Balotelli’s career path

Balotelli, now 29, has enjoyed a wide-ranging career to date, having lined out for multiple clubs in all of Italy, England and France.

The 36-time capped Azzurri international was viewed as one of European football’s hottest properties after initially bursting onto the scene with Inter Milan, eventually leading to a high-profile move to Premier League giants Manchester City.

The years since, though, have seen Balotelli’s attitude problems consistently hold the powerful striker back from his potential best.

Mario Balotelli

LONDON, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 03: Mario Balotelli of Manchester City looks on during the Barclays Premier League match between West Ham United and Manchester City at the Boleyn Ground on November 3, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

Prolific stints with both AC Milan and Nice, either side of a disappointing spell back in England with Liverpool, all also saw Balotelli simply fail to settle.

As such, on the back of 6 months in Ligue 1 with Marseille following the turn of the year, during which he found the net an impressive 8 times in 12 appearances, Balotelli has today signed on with his 8th club.

Brescia switch

The outfit to have clinched the Italian’s signing, meanwhile, are Brescia.

In a post across the club’s social media accounts a short time ago, the Serie A returnees confirmed that Balotelli has put pen-to-paper on a 3-year deal at the Stadio Mario Rigamonti:

Balotelli’s Brescia switch marks a homecoming for the 29-year-old, with the hitman having grown up in the city.

His adoptive family, meanwhile, still live in the Lombardy region.

The Italian has since taken to Instagram to celebrate his latest move, with a video featuring highlights from across his career to date:

 

View this post on Instagram

 

Finalmente torno nella MIA CITTÀ, Brescia ci sono @brescia_calcio #finallyMario #homecoming

A post shared by Mario Balotelli🇮🇹👨‍👧‍👦🦁 (@mb459) on Aug 18, 2019 at 11:14am PDT

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Roy Hodgson on Crystal Palace’s transfer business & Luka Milivojevic’s contract

Palace lose to Sheffield United

Crystal Palace traveled to newly-promoted Sheffield United on Sunday, August 18th.

The Eagles would draw their opening game of the Premier League season vs an Everton side that finished the tie with 10 men.

Sunday’s game didn’t go much better for Roy Hodgson’s side, either.

Palace created very little vs Sheffield United, with a John Lundstram strike ultimately the difference-maker on the day.

Chris Wilder

SHEFFIELD, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 02: Chris Wilder manager of Sheffield United during the Sky Bet Championship match between Sheffield United and Bolton Wanderers at Bramall Lane on February 2, 2019 in Sheffield, England. (Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images)

Hodgson on Milivojevic

Prior to Sunday’s defeat, Roy Hodgson discussed a number of topics in an interview, including Palace’s summer transfer business, and Luka Milivojevic signing a new contract.

Milivojevic has been one of Palace’s top players for the past few seasons.

In the 2018/19 campaign, the Palace midfielder would score 12 and assist two in 38 league outings.

Milivojevic’s contract was due to expire in 2020, but he has signed a new deal, keeping him at Palace until 2023.

On getting the 28-year-old to put pen to paper on a new deal, Hodgson stated:

“He is our signing of the summer.

“Although I’m hoping the other three might get a look-in in that respect.

“It definitely means a lot to the club to have got Luka’s signature on a piece of paper for another four years.

“He’s been such an outstanding player and servant – both by his actions on the field and how he conducts himself off it too.

 “When a player of his quality gets into the last year of his contract, you’d be surprised if there aren’t an awful lot of clubs keen to take him off you.” As quoted by the Evening Standard.

Hodgson on transfers

Hodgson also commented on Palace’s summer transfer business, and though the Eagles did bring in three players, the former England manager didn’t sound too happy with the business conducted:

“Yes, we’ve signed players but we’ve not exactly blasted the market.

“If you take it as a trio of Steve Parish, Dougie Freedman and myself we wanted certain things to happen, certain players to come in and strengthen in areas that we needed strengthening so when at the end of the window you haven’t been able to achieve that there is a sense of disappointment and failure.”

Related: “We were nowhere near good enough!” | Roy Hodgson Post Match | Sheffield United 1-0 Crystal Palace

Sheffield United’s John Fleck injured vs Crystal Palace

Valverde Criticizes Griezmann As Barcelona Lose Opener

griezmann barca

Barcelona head coach Ernesto Valverde says Antoine Griezmann has to come into play more following his underwhelming league debut for the La Liga champions.

The 28-year-old made his first La Liga appearance for Barca, who suffered a shock 1-0 defeat to Athletic Bilbao in their opening fixture on Friday.

A €120 million signing from Atletico Madrid, all eyes were on Griezmann, but he struggled to make an impact in absence of captain Lionel Messi, while Luis Suarez’s first-half injury left him isolated.

If he’s near the area, he is decisive and moves well, but you have to dominate the game for that to happen,” Valverde told reporters.

“Putting him on the left side, we know that you are going to focus on the goal, but we have a side and players that can hold the game.

“Of course, he is aware that we all expect a lot from many players and he has to look to get more into the game.”

Suarez left San Mames just after the half-hour mark due to an apparent calf injury away to Athletic.

The Uruguayan veteran had to be substituted moments after hitting the post, which would have given two-time reigning champions Barca the lead.

Valverde added: “He has a muscular problem and we have to wait for the tests. In the second half, when we were around Athletic’s area, we missed him.”

Barca eventually succumbed to Athletic, who triumphed thanks to veteran Aritz Aduriz’s stunning overhead kick in the 89th minute.

The 38-year-old made an immediate impact off the bench, meeting Ander Capa’s cross in sensational fashion to seal all three points.

“With Aduriz, any ball in the air is a danger and he got his goal,” former Athletic boss Valverde said.

“That move is dominant, and he’s scored similar goals. When I saw him line it up… I wasn’t surprised with the execution at all.”

Barcelona will have the chance to make amends in their second league match as they host Real Betis at Camp Nou on August 25.

While Athletic will be hoping to continue their early season momentum in a August 24 road trip to Getafe.

Frank Lampard singles Mason Mount out for praise after Leicester: ‘He will get better and better’

Chelsea boss Frank Lampard has this evening moved to praise youngster Mason Mount, on the back of his goal-scoring home debut at Stamford Bridge.

Leicester secure share of spoils

The Blues welcomed Leicester to London a short time ago, for their 2nd Premier League outing of the campaign.

The hosts headed into proceedings hoping for a bounce-back result, having followed their opening day drubbing at Old Trafford with a Super Cup defeat to Liverpool during the week.

In the end, however, Lampard’s wait to secure his first competitive win as Chelsea boss dragged on once again.

The capital outfit actually got off to a scintillating start this evening, pressing Leicester back with a constant high-press and cutting the Foxes’ backline open time and again with incisive football.

This eventually led to Mason Mount opening the scoring with 7 minutes on the clock, after the 20-year-old dispossessed Wilfred Ndidi on the edge of the Leicester box, before firing home past the helpless Kasper Schmeichel.

Chelsea, however, failed to turn their early dominance into an all-important 2nd.

And, in the end, as it did against both Liverpool and Manchester United, the Blues’ wastefulness cost them dearly.

A whipped Leicester corner from the right a little over 20 minutes from time saw Ndidi make up for his earlier mistake with a bullet header beyond Kepa.

‘Better and better’

As such, on the back of his side’s latest disappointing result, Frank Lampard was this evening drawn on some of the positives from the Leicester stalemate.

One of those was the performance of gifted young midfielder Mason Mount, who, as outlined above, notched the hosts’ solitary goal.

And Lampard was full of praise for the Englishman, insisting that his strike today was just the first of many ‘big moments’ in Mount’s future:

‘The epitome of his talent is the goal. Great off the ball and energy to close people down and then the quality to finish it.’

‘In those opening periods he could have almost scored two more goals. He will get better and better as he’s 20 years of age. That’s the first of some big moments for Mason going forward.’

‘I’m delighted for him on that level. I know he will be slightly disappointed as he would have wanted that goal to be part of a win. He will get better.’

Quotes via Goal

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Kevin De Bruyne has his say on handball rule after Man City 2 – Tottenham 2

Man City 2 – Tottenham 2

Manchester City dropped their first points of the new season on Saturday.

Pep Guardiola’s side played host to Tottenham in Saturday’s late Premier League kick-off.

City dominated the game, having 30 attempts on goal compared to Spurs’ three attempts.

Despite City’s dominance, though, the game finished 2-2, as Erik Lamela and Lucas Moura’s goals canceled out strikes from Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – APRIL 03: Josep Guardiola, Manager of Manchester City looks on prior to the Premier League match between Manchester City and Cardiff City at Etihad Stadium on April 03, 2019 in Manchester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

KDB on handball rule

Manchester City did think that they had won the tie in the dying minutes, when Gabriel Jesus put the ball in the back of the net.

However, the goal was disallowed, as Aymeric Laporte was adjudged to have handled the ball before it made its way to Jesus.

While the handball didn’t look intentional, the new handball rule meant that it was correctly disallowed.

ESPN have recently explained said rule:

The handball law now says that if a player creates a goal-scoring opportunity by the ball hitting their arm, even if accidental, then it’s an automatic infringement .

With that goal being ruled out, VAR/the handball rule has been taking the headlines amongst both pundits and players:

Man City’s Kevin De Bruyne has also spoken about the rule:

“It is what it is.

“If they want to make football better they should have it. But I think the only thing – the rules should be clear. If the ball had touched somebody of Tottenham’s arm it’s not a penalty, but if it touched our arm it is not allowed.

“It should go both ways in something like that. I don’t understand that as a player. It makes it really confusing.” As quoted by Sky Sports News.

Related: Tottenham fans share reports of abuse & violence from Man City supporters

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Perez: Gareth Bale Can Be Decisive For Real Madrid This Season

gareth bale

In a statement that illustrates how large the divide is at the Bernabéu between president and manager, Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has hailed Gareth Bale’s influence at the club for the 2019-20 La Liga season.

The Welsh international has been heavily linked with a move away from the Spanish capital in recent weeks, with manager Zinedine Zidane simply not rating him. Zidane froze Bale out at the end of last season, excluding the winger from the squad altogether for two of the last three games and leaving him on the bench on the last day of the season as Madrid lost to Betis.

“If he leaves tomorrow, all the better,” Zidane had said in July as Bale looked close to a transfer to Chinese Super League club Jiangsu Suning, but that deal fell through and Bale is still here.

According to reports in Marca, Bale and Perez has spoken and the former Tottenham has stated his desire to remain in Madrid, and Perez has expressed his full confidence in the 30-year old to be a key player for Real Madrid this season.

With Hazard out for three to four weeks and Marco Asensio sidelined with a long-term injury, Zidane was forced to turn to Bale at Celta Viga on Saturday.

“He is important,” the Frenchman had said on Friday. “I hope he makes things difficult for me.”

And he was important. Bale is often at his best when he has a point to prove and it was his run into the area and low cross which put Madrid’s crucial opening goal on a plate for Karim Benzema.

The goal came from the left after he had switched flank – Bale and Vinicius Junior interchanged positions effectively and earned praise from Zidane for their defensive contribution after the game.

“I’m happy with his match,” the Frenchman said. “He and Vinicius did well and they defended well.”

Bale was full of running and showed he is in excellent shape with one sprint which saw him catch up with Celta defender Lucas Olaza and breeze past him in the first half.

Bale played 76 minutes in Real Madrid’s 3-1 weekend win at Celta Vigo, and was given a standing ovation by the visiting fans as he was substituted for Isco.

Alexis Sanchez To Have Inter Milan Medical On Tuesday

alexis sanchez Manchester United

Alexis Sanchez is expected to undergo an Inter Milan medical as early as Tuesday after agreeing a loan with €15m option to buy from Manchester United.

According to Sky Sport Italia transfer expert Gianluca Di Marzio, the Chile international would move to Inter on a free loan deal with option to buy at the end of the season for €15m.

Manchester United would also contribute to pay approximately half of his salary during the loan deal, which is reported to be £300,000 a week.

If all goes well. Alexis could be in Italy tomorrow evening, preparing to undergo a medical and sign the contract on Tuesday.

The former Udinese star, who turns 31 in December, has emerged as Inter’s top pick to supplement Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez after Edin Dzeko signed a new contract with Roma.

Alexis has reportedly been on Antonio Conte’s wish-list for many years, going back to Juventus. Sanchez shot to fame at Udinese in 2008-11, moving to Barcelona for €26m, then Arsenal for €42.5m in 2014 and four years later Manchester United for €34m.

At Arsenal, Alexis was one of the top strikers in the world, but he became a shell of the player he was when he arrived at Old Trafford, scoring just 5 goals in 45 appearances.

Inter are hoping that they are getting the Arsenal Alexis, but the worry here is that he never regains that form again and we get more of the same that Manchester United saw.

Barcelona boost? PSG open to Neymar loan – Goal

As per a report from Goal.com, Paris Saint-Germain are warming to the idea of allowing Neymar to depart the club on loan this summer.

PSG troubles

The story surrounding the future of Brazilian superstar Neymar has dominated the European headlines for months now.

Neymar of course departed Barcelona for Ligue 1 giants PSG two summers ago, for a world-record 222 million euro fee.

To this point, however, the 27-year-old’s stint in France has proven somewhat underwhelming.

All told, Neymar has directly contributed to a frankly-staggering 80 goals across 58 appearances in PSG’s colours.

PARIS, FRANCE – NOVEMBER 28: Neymar of Paris Saint-Germain reacts during the UEFA Champions League Group C match between Paris Saint-Germain and Liverpool at Parc des Princes on November 28, 2018 in Paris, France. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

However, while the Santos youth product has absolutely dazzled when fit and firing at the Parc des Princes, a pair of long-term injury problems have seen the 27-year-old confined to the sidelines when PSG have needed him most in each of his two seasons in Paris.

This, coupled with rumours of mounting tension between Neymar and the French champions’ board, has seen speculation mount that the South American could be on the move this summer.

Barca & Real links

To this point, meanwhile, the attacker’s former club, Barcelona, have been the outfit most persistently-touted as a potential destination.

Despite having already added Antoine Griezmann to their star-studded attack this summer, the Blaugrana are said to be eyeing one more signing up top.

And the Catalan giants’ pursuit of their former star looks set to ramp up imminently, with Philippe Coutinho’s move to Bayern Munich expected to be announced over the next 24 hours.

Barca, though, are not the only Spanish powerhouse reportedly keen on Neymar.

Zinedine Zidane’s Real Madrid have also been hotly-tipped for a potential swoop for the Brazilian of late.

Loan departure?

And, if the latest reports across the European media today are to be believed, then any and all of Neymar’s suitors have been handed a boost in their respective pursuits of the 27-year-old.

As per the aforementioned report from Goal.com, PSG have opened to the idea of their star man departing on loan.

Such a deal would require an obligatory purchase clause to be included for next summer, worth a fee between 220 and 250 million Euro.

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