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It is Friday, just after 10am, but Ashton Gate is alive and kicking. Lee Johnson and his backroom staff are among those gearing up for the following day’s FA Cup tie at Watford and Tuesday’s trip to Manchester City in the first leg of the Carabao Cup semi-finals. Mark Ashton, meanwhile, has an eye on the January transfer window. “It is a bizarre time of the year – my phone’s in my pocket and in a minute it will just http://www.authenticmagicproshop.com/authentic-2-elfrid-payton-jersey.html buzz, buzz, buzz,” Bristol City’s chief executive officer says. “I’ll have three or four people on hold, chasing me or after information.” He is awaiting confirmation that midfielder Liam Walsh has joined from Everton.

Outside Ashton’s office are the Latin words ductus exemplo – lead by example – and a print of a flock of geese. Inside the conversation moves to the club’s motto, born from a discussion between Ashton and Johnson last summer, that hangs in the tunnel on match-day and at the training ground: relentless in the pursuit of excellence. The motto can also be found in the red leather players’ handbook, a bible of sorts given to each squad member, so that “everybody knows who’s who in the zoo”. In it there is an introduction from Steve Lansdown, the billionaire owner, plus every detail imaginable: club contacts, player welfare, social media policies as well as player-derived club fines. “It brings a no-excuses culture,” Ashton says, whereby, “for the first time, everyone knows the rules.”
Bristol City is a fun place to be, though, and a hungry learning environment as is evident during a fascinating day Bart Starr Jersey behind the scenes at one of the Championship’s most exciting clubs, led by one of the brightest young managers, empowered by a rare owner. “Not only do we have UK ownership … but we have Bristolian ownership, who care about the football club and are looking to build sustainable success,” Ashton says. There is a robust philosophy and a thirst to improve, to share ideas and practices – such as the use of drones at training or a bespoke app – between coaches under the Bristol Sport umbrella, from Johnson to Pat Lam, the Bristol Rugby head coach, or Andreas Kapoulas of Bristol Flyers, who will take England’s basketball team to the Commonwealth Games in April. “We have a WhatsApp group between us all,” Ashton says. “And the first person who messages after a football win is Pat, and vice-versa.”
This time last year the Robins had lost nine of their previous 10 league matches and were three points above the relegation zone. Now they are two points off second and in the last four of a national cup competition after beating Manchester United in the quarter-finals. The match-winner that delirious December night, Korey Smith, reveals that one family placed a picture of him at the top of their Christmas tree. Jaden Neale, the 10-year-old ballboy whose celebration with Johnson became the defining image of that win, will be at the Etihad Stadium with his family as Manchester City’s special guest.
“We probably ran before we could walk,” Johnson says, reflecting on last season’s struggles. “Maybe we didn’t set the rules within the squad. We thought we had but maybe we didn’t.” A frank debrief last summer proved the bedrock for this season. “We probably did more work, believe it or not, on the culture over the summer than we did on transfers – that’s how important we felt it was,” Johnson says, crediting the human resources “general superhero” Sara Sainsbury. “It’s Gandhi; you have to be http://www.officialpatriotsfootballproshop.com/SUPER-BOWL-BRANDIN-COOKS-JERSEY the creature you want to create.”
Forensic player recruitment has also been key to City’s “partial-success”, as Johnson puts it. Ashton has a hefty in-house dossier, reviewing the previous transfer Authentic Martellus Bennett Jersey window, that makes a thud as it lands on the desk. “It takes in all the business that has taken place across all divisions, to understand the market as it moves. It helps us value our own players and those we might be looking at.”
There is a weekly recruitment meeting, where usually 10 staff will talk targets and analyse core data against tailor-made technical specifications. There is also the due diligence and personality profiling that includes taking a look at a prospective signing’s tweets. “First and foremost we try and recruit great people,” Johnson says. There is an equal emphasis on developing players through the club’s academy, the source of enormous pride and several first-team players, including the key pair Bobby Reid and Joe Bryan. “We had another real watershed moment,” Gary Davenport, the academy assistant manager, says, “when Lloyd [Kelly] scored against Reading on Boxing Day. He runs to the corner and the first two on the scene to celebrate with him are Joe and Bobby. That image says so much.”
Two further academy players – Opi Edwards and Connor Lemonheigh-Evans – made their full debuts at Vicarage Road on Saturday. Eight have been handed first-team debuts in the past two years, including Shawn McCoulsky, the 21-year-old on loan at Newport County who scored the winner against Leeds United on Sunday. A relatively clear pathway helps.

For the grand arrival of VAR in English domestic football there ought to have been a fanfare of whistles, a cheerleading display of referee’s assistants waving flags and the two groups of players drawing rectangles instead of the pre-match handshake. As it turned out the handy monitor on the touchline waited, tucked on its stand, quietly inactive, like an unplugged robot, a few yards to the left of the managers’ technical areas. But Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Womens Jersey if that is the glitzy side of VAR, the drama for all to see if and when a referee chooses to use the monitor to look again for himself at something he has doubts about, then the nitty gritty is the quick line of communication back to base camp and the additional officials studying the angles.

The weird twist in this tale came late and in that manner. Just as it seemed the match was set to finish without controversy, with VAR uneeded and unused, Glenn Murray popped up with a matchwinner that was accompanied by enough questions to justify another look from the new backup technology. The word from the referee, Andre Marriner, was quick and to the point: “Check it.”
Neil Swarbrick and his assistant, Peter Kirkup, who spent the match installed in front of a selection of monitors relaying more than a dozen angles and specialist goal cameras at the Premier League TV headquarters at Stockley Park, referred to the replays to check for two things. Was it offside? No. Did the ball skim his arm as it deflected in off his knee? That was the more complicated area. The angles Swarbrick and Kirkup studied were inconclusive so there was no clear reason to disallow the goal.
On we went, Brighton 2-1 up. That was not much consolation for Crystal Palace’s following, who raged with the urge to appeal when the goal was plastered across the big screens at the Amex Stadium. It was maybe not the smartest move under the circumstances. Roy Hodgson had no problem with the goal, though, which helped the cause of VAR moving forwards. The upshot is that VAR was used and generally adjudged to come to the right decision, but just as notable was the speed with which the intervention took place. The exchange between Marriner and his assistants in front of the screens was barely discernible, so the concerns about how much it might delay the flow of the game were not an issue in this case.
The nature of VAR is to attempt to deal with controversy, so it will not be surprising to have some minor issues. Teething problems will come with the territory as the game adjusts to this innovation. For all parties with a http://www.floridapanthersofficialonline.com/Adidas-Aaron-Ekblad-Jersey vested interest – managers, players, officials, supporters, media – it will take some time to http://www.officialdodgersteamshop.com/Adrian_Gonzalez_Jersey settle.
This looked like being the gentlest of introductions. The majority of the game was so devoid of the dubious the mind wandered to a wacky encounter between these two teams in 1989 for a game marked by the award of five penalties in less than half an hour. The footage includes the sight of Kelvin Morton, the referee that day, enacting a speedy A.J. Bouye Jersey version of Monty Python’s Ministry of Silly walks as he races away from players’ complaints. Stick that in your VAR monitor and watch it smoke.
The Amex was far from heaving on a night when the post-Christmas chill and pinch was evidently felt. There were plenty of unused blue seats – not only the entire corner blocks on either side of the Palace fans which were completely empty, with their section behind the goal hemmed in by a row of orange-coated stewards. For all the antipathy between these clubs – and the two sets of fans amused themselves by exchanging unpleasantries – nothing seemed out of the ordinary, which was a relief after the last meeting of these local-ish rivals, which had been a fiercer affair.
Brighton took the lead midway through the first half, Wayne Hennessey offering only a startled half save at his near post which was not enough to keep out Dale Stephens’s shot. Marriner fiddled with his earpiece but to no discernible effect. Some wags in the Brighton support wondered if they might check the VAR for a case of mistaken identity as the sight of Stephens scoring was unusual enough to require confirmation. There was absolutely nothing contentious about that goal or Bakary Sako’s scorching equaliser. He controlled the ball, spun and walloped a shot that fizzed past Tim Krul.
In terms of the laws of the game the VAR monitor remained dormant, in its self-spooning position. It remains to be seen how that goes down when a referee needs to consult it.
The fact that the VAR referee Swarbrick was consulted, and gave his opinion with the mininum of fuss, is already a form of progress. wholesale jerseys all cheap mlb jerseys wholesale jerseys cheap nhl jerseys china
The day after the summer transfer market closed Barcelona’s sporting director, Albert Soler, and their director of football, Robert Fernández, ran through a PowerPoint presentation, specially prepared for the occasion. They sat in the press room at the Camp Nou but might as well have sat in the dock. As they talked their way through it, player by player, deal by deal, those that happened and those that did not, they sought to justify what some considered the unjustifiable. Barcelona were in crisis and they stood accused. The interrogation was intense, the explanation not always convincing.

Instead it was contradictory, as if they could not always get their story straight. More importantly they had not got their man. Neymar had left for Paris, barely a fortnight after the vice?president, Jordi Mestre, declared himself “200% sure” the Brazilian was staying and they had been unable to stop him. Womens Will Lutz Jersey In his place there was no sign of Philippe Coutinho, the man they had so publicly pursued. Everybody demanded that someone take responsibility for a Brandon Belt Youth jersey summer that most judged disastrous.

The €222m PSG had deposited in their account did not help. It might even have made matters worse and, Soler insisted, they would resist being drawn into wild spending – even if they did sign Ousmane Dembélé for €105m, rising to €145m. He and Fernández bemoaned an “inflated market” while the president, Josep Maria Bartomeu, called for a limit on signings, describing the market as “mad”. Soler even claimed Liverpool had offered Coutinho “at the end” for €200m. “Logically,” he insisted, “we did not accept that.”
Some had called for resignations, a complete restructuring of a model in which eight different men had a say on signings – only for the signing that really mattered not to happen at all. “There will be no resignations,” Soler said. “We could Jeff Skinner Youth jersey have signed two players for €270m – and we could have – but then we would have to resign for being irresponsible. We’re not going to be drawn into that game.”
Four months on they have been drawn into exactly that. Dembélé could cost €145m, Coutinho €160m. Counting only easily achievable add-ons, that sack-inducing €270m outlay will surely be reached. But no one is seriously calling for sackings now and the pressure on the president has receded. Instead there is excitement at this signing, a belief that it strengthens Barcelona enormously. And, even as the price rose, even as Barcelona unexpectedly reached this market eight points clear at the top, 14 ahead of Real Madrid, the determination to sign Coutinho remained.
That is not to say there have not been doubts and debate. One high-ranking board member wondered whether it was financially responsible to commit to such an expensive signing and asked Malik McDowell Jersey what impact it might have on other players within the squad. Even after the deal was done, even with the satisfaction of the signing finally complete, another of those involved privately expressed his belief the fee http://www.atlantafalconsauthorizedstore.com/deion-jones-jersey-elite was too much.
That may, as José Mourinho and Jürgen Klopp have said, simply be an inescapable reality: either you pay that or you do not have the player. And Barcelona were determined to have this player, a fundamental, strategic piece.
At 25 his role is part of a longer?term project, part of the error is seeing him through the prism of Neymar’s departure. That is where Dembélé comes in – even if, because of injury, he is only just coming in now. As for Coutinho, he can play in a front three and Neymar’s departure may have made the need to sign him feel more pressing, especially amidst summer fears, but more significant is the need to replace Andrés Iniesta, who is 33 (Luis Suárez and Lionel Messi are both older than 30 as well), to find someone who can help secure some continuity in http://www.authentickingstore.com/marian-gaborik-jersey_c-460.html the model, the idea.
“Coutinho has a Barcelona ‘profile’,” Iniesta says. Suárez, who was at Barcelona airport to collect him on Saturday night, said of their 15 months as Liverpool team-mates: “Philippe was incredible. He changed us completely. He’s the one that gave us the faith in having the ball because his http://www.footballseahawksproonline.com/Bryan-Walters-Jersey technical ability is so good. You knew he wouldn’t lose it, you knew that he would produce something special with it, that he would always choose the right pass … you could see straight away that he was different.” Those qualities are the ones that mean Barcelona feel he is the best equipped for their future. baseball jerseys wholesale jerseys nfl jerseys free shipping discount jerseys cheap nfl jerseys nike nike nfl jerseys nfl jerseys wholesale
A sledgehammer to crack a nut was the expression that came to mind as Liverpool’s new £75m defender made his debut against a side with only one goal in their last four games and no shots on target in either of their last two home matches. Everton supporters were clinging to the slender hope that Jürgen Klopp might have taken a risk in throwing Virgil van Dijk straight into the heat of a Merseyside derby.

There were few worries on that score, even before the centre-half scored the winning goal five minutes from the end. Joël Matip and Van Dijk had only Dominic Calvert-Lewin to look after between them and the latter towered over the Everton centre-forward in every sense, invariably getting to the ball first whether in the air or on the ground. The former Southampton player even found time to launch a few attacks in the first half, sometimes Daryl Johnston Womens Jersey carrying the ball to the halfway line, sometimes sending out 50-yard passes in Brandon Sutter Authentic Jersey search of team-mates further forward.
Van Dijk looks the part, in short, but then he always did. It was in the other half of the pitch that Liverpool looked unusually disjointed until Everton came to their aid with a couple of defensive http://www.bearsonlinesprostore.com/DEVIN-HESTER-JERSEY-CHEAP.html blunders. First was a penalty as soft as the one that earned them a point in the league derby at Anfield last month. With only two of the Fab Four on the pitch Liverpool were making hard work of breaking through Everton’s two banks of defenders before Mason Holgate made his first misjudgment of the evening.
The defender made the error of laying his hands on Adam Lallana as the Liverpool forward attempted to turn on the ball just inside the area. There was no question of throwing him to the floor or ripping the shirt from his back but Lallana felt the contact and went to ground anyway. It was almost an exact replica of the challenge Dejan Lovren made on Calvert-Lewin for the penalty in the league game, and as Sam Allardyce fully backed that decision he could have no complaints here. “Don’t raise your hands, don’t touch the opponent, don’t mess with him” was the gist of Allardyce’s advice last month, so he probably needs to have a word with Holgate about keeping his hands to himself to avoid undoing half an hour’s worth of otherwise doughty defending.
Allardyce would have been reasonably pleased with that first half- hour too, because not only had Everton been keeping Liverpool at bay; they had won two corners to the home side’s none. There were no shots on target, needless to say, but as far as Allardyce is concerned corners are the next best thing. Everton must have been hoping to make it to the interval without conceding, to at least raise the tension levels, though in the event they were lucky to make it to half-time with a full complement of players on the pitch.
At first sight it seemed ludicrous that Holgate should make his second misjudgment of the evening by deliberately shoving Roberto Firmino over the perimeter fence into the crowd and get away with it, though the Everton player lost his head to such an extent that it appeared likely he had been verbally abused or provoked. There was no other explanation for such a blatant transgression under the nose of the referee, and the fact that Robert Madley failed to produce a card – not to mention the amount of time he spent talking to the fourth official and discussing the matter behind his hand with various interested parties on the pitch – suggested this was a http://www.officialcowboysnflstore.com/WOMENS_YOUTH_COLE_BEASLEY_JERSEY.html complex incident that even VAR might not have been able to clear up. Whatever the provocation, Holgate was lucky to get away with using his hands again so soon after conceding the penalty.
With Everton chasing Griffin Reinhart Womens Jersey the game in the second half Allardyce permitted Liverpool supporters their biggest cheer of the night by withdrawing Wayne Rooney well before the hour mark. Ademola Lookman was sent on in his place, but it is debatable whether Allardyce was trying to boost his attack. More likely he was protecting Rooney, who had picked up an early booking for a foul on Joe Gomez and had looked in danger of collecting a second when he clattered into Emre Can.
Nevertheless Lookman played his part in helping set up an unlikely equaliser, moving the ball neatly upfield to find Phil Jagielka, of all people, hovering close to the Liverpool penalty area, ready to lay off to Gylfi Sigurdsson. One shot on target, one goal. Set up by a substitute and a centre-half it may have been, but for just a few minutes it appeared Everton under Allardyce might have a charmed life in Merseyside derbies, especially after Lallana and Gomez wasted good chances to put the game to bed. Any Allardyce team has to be able to defend corners, however, and Everton were ultimately undone by a lapse of concentration almost as big as a £75m Dutchman. nike nfl jerseys from china nba jerseys cheap nfl jerseys outlet nfl jerseys authentic nfl jerseys wholesale
Antonio Conte believes Ross Barkley is a “complete player” and the Chelsea manager hopes the midfielder can fulfil his potential at Stamford Bridge. Conte warned it would take Barkley time to find his feet after the 24-year-old joined from Everton for £15m on a five-and-a-half-year contract.

Barkley has only just returned to training following a hamstring injury that needed surgery and has kept him out all season; his last appearance was for Everton on 21 May at Arsenal. But there was excitement and anticipation in Conte’s words as he reflected on what feels like a coup.

Chelsea were poised to pay £35m for Barkley last summer and the http://www.coltsonlinesofficialstore.com/Scott-Tolzien-Jersey four-month delay in concluding the deal has cost Everton £20m in transfer revenue. The player’s contract there had been due to expire at the end of the season and, with Barkley showing no inclination to renew at his boyhood club, Everton were forced to reluctantly accept the Duron Harmon Authentic Jersey fee.
“We are talking about a player with great potential,” Conte said. “He is a complete player Womens Troy Hill Jersey but, at the same time, he is very young. He is complete because he has it all. He has stamina, he is strong physically and he has good technique. He is fast. He is a modern footballer.”
Barkley, who will wear the No8 shirt, said: “I’m overwhelmed. I’m http://www.officialsharksteamonline.com/Tomas_Hertl_Jersey looking forward to it and I’m really excited to get started. To be given a fresh start at a new club like Chelsea – it’s unbelievable for me. I’m looking forward to continuing where I left off at the end of last season Kevin Bieksa Youth jersey and hoping to improve and add more goals to my game.”
Conte has sometimes used a 3-5-2 formation this season – hence the need for another body in central midfield – and he mentioned how it was always preferable for the club to sign English players, particularly as they had lost John Terry, Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole in recent years. Barkley has 22 caps.
Conte has been linked with a move for the West Ham United striker Andy Carroll, which he did not rule out at his press conference on Friday, and he signed the midfielder Danny Drinkwater from Leicester City last summer. Gary Cahill is the other English player in Conte’s senior squad.
“An English player understands very well this league because you grow [up] in this league,” Conte said. “For Chelsea, also, it is positive to buy English players because we lost important players like John Terry http://www.footballeaglesofficial.com/WOMENS_YOUTH_PATRICK_ROBINSON_JERSEY.html and Frank Lampard.”
Conte made it clear that he wanted to strengthen in more than one area during January – “there is the priority to improve this team, especially in some roles,” he said – and, for him, the sooner the http://www.minnesotawildofficialonline.com/Adidas-Thomas-Vanek-Jersey club can complete incoming deals the better.
“Our start to the season was poor because many players arrived in the last moment and also injured,” Conte said. “[Tiémoué] Bakayoko was injured and Drinkwater too. [Davide] Zappacosta arrived in the last moment. If I have the opportunity to work soon with the new Chandler Jones Authentic Jersey players it will be better for my team and the new players, so they can adapt in our idea of football.”

If he paid any attention to the scoffing that greeted his appointment as Slaven Bilic’s replacement two months ago, http://www.packershopnfl.com/WOMENS_YOUTH_JAHRI_EVANS_JERSEY.html David Moyes would be entitled to hold up this game of attack-versus-defence and wonder goals at either end as evidence that reports of his demise were premature. Son Heung-min blasted Tottenham Hotspur level just when it seemed that West Ham were going to pull off one of the great Wembley heists, but Moyes could still reflect on another minor tactical triumph.

There will be a temptation to belittle West Ham’s approach, even though they were confronted by a brilliant Spurs side who have already torn to shreds Borussia Dortmund, Liverpool and Real Madrid this season. They swallowed the key after parking the bus and there were times when a repeat of West Ham’s Carabao Cup victory here in October, when they produced a sensational comeback from two goals down, looked about as likely as Moyes running on to join his team’s desperate defensive effort

However they were hardly the first lowly team to go into lockdown mode against a so-called big-six opponent – negativity from the inhabitants of the bottom half has been a prominent feature in the most exciting league in the world all season – and a dismissal of West Ham’s willingness to cede possession would underestimate how broken they were when Bilic was finally sacked. The Croat’s final game in charge was a humiliating 4-1 home defeat by Liverpool at the start of November. Since his arrival, Moyes has beaten Chelsea, drawn with Arsenal and Spurs, and almost held Manchester City.
West Ham remain in grave danger of going down despite ending the festive period on a positive note, with this battling 1-1 draw and Tuesday’s dramatic 2-1 victory over West Bromwich Albion lifting them two points above the bottom three. Their uncertain future, which stems from their long litany of mistakes in the transfer market, has forced them into an embrace of pragmatism.
Moyes has often sighed about his squad’s lack of depth and balance, weaknesses that threatened Damien Wilson Authentic Jersey to undermine them against Mauricio Pochettino’s side. Without the injured Marko Arnautovic, Michail Antonio and Aaron Cresswell, West Ham arrived Ted Hendricks Jersey with a scratch side, naming four academy players on the bench and using a raw but game 18-year-old defender, Declan Rice, as part of a five-man defence whose onerous task was to keep Harry Kane quiet.
Kane had his first sight of goal after four minutes, forcing the impressive Rice to hook clear in the six-yard box, and it would not be his last. One of Kane’s most impressive qualities is how regularly he looks to unload shots and he had four in the first half an hour, testing Adrián with the best of them, a curling effort from 25 yards.
With Cheikhou Kouyaté, Mark Noble and Pedro Obiang performing screening roles and in midfield, West Ham’s Emmanuel Sanders Womens Jersey ambition was limited. Midway through the first half the isolated and ineffective Javier Hernández produced an inviting cutback from the right, only to realise that none of his team-mates had managed to burst into the Spurs area. Then http://www.nashvillepredatorsofficialonline.com/Adidas-Craig-Smith-Jersey Manuel Lanzini got a bit excited and ran into a threatening position before losing possession; Tottenham broke, but West Ham still had five defenders back and the attack fizzled out.
There were, http://www.officialcavaliershop.com/authentic-5-jr-smith-jersey.html of course, plenty of moments to make the visitors wince. Kane miscontrolled in front of goal, while Christian Eriksen and Son tested Adrián’s reflexes.
This was one of Winston Reid’s better performances, though, and the home team’s frustration grew despite their dominance. The crowd’s howls when Moussa Sissoko sent a pass out for a throw were telling. Spurs were vulnerable to a sucker-punch and Obiang duly landed it when he let fly from 25 yards. Hugo Lloris was stunned, just like everyone else inside the stadium. West Ham had taken until the 70th minute to have a shot and now they were in front.
But back came Spurs, with Son conjuring an equaliser to rival Obiang’s spectacular goal, and the points were shared. It seemed slightly preposterous. West Ham had contributed so little as an attacking force. As he barked orders from his technical area, though, Moyes was not alone in appreciating the value of good organisation. basketball jerseys wholesale jerseys nfl jerseys from china cheap jerseys elite nhl jerseys wholesale
José Mourinho has responded to speculation that he is unhappy at Manchester United, insisting he will be at the club next season and hopes to extend his stay beyond three years.

Launching something of a charm offensive in comparison with his sour demeanour at recent press conferences, the http://www.officialpelicansstore.com/Demarcus_Cousins_Jersey United manager described reports of a rift between him and the board as “garbage news”, adding that the owners and the board were happy with his work.
“I can’t find a better word than garbage to define the [recent] talk,” Mourinho said in the buildup to Friday’s FA Cup game at home to Derby. “If you want to ask me directly, I see myself next season at Manchester United. I will leave when the club wants me to leave; at the moment I have no intention to leave at all. I want to stay, I don’t see any reason not to stay.
“I still have a contract – in fact I am only in the middle of my contract, not in the last couple of months. My desire is to stay until the board and the owners are happy with my work. The worst thing about the garbage news is that it puts doubt on my professionalism, and that affects me because it is something I don’t admit. I hope by the end of my contract the board are happy enough with my contribution http://www.minnesotavikingsauthorizedproshop.com/michael-floyd-jersey-elite to want me to stay. Whether I get a new contract or not depends on the club but my commitment is total and I want to stay.”
Mourinho went on to dispute the theory that his body language of late has suggested someone disenchanted with his job, even taking a swipe at one or two fellow managers in the process. “Just because I don’t behave like a clown on the touchline it doesn’t mean http://www.officialbasketballkings.com/authentic-55-jason-williams-jersey.html I have lost my passion.,” he said. “I prefer to behave as I am, more mature; it’s better for myself and the team. You don’t have to behave like a crazy guy to be a good manager – it’s not all about what you do in front of the cameras.”
Perhaps aware of the need to lighten the mood following public gripes over Paul Scholes’ punditry and the club’s spending, Mourinho offered a jokey response to the suggestion that he could show a greater commitment to Manchester by moving to the area. “If the fans want me to be comfortable, that’s the way I feel comfortable,” he said. “I am Curtis Samuel Authentic Jersey very lazy, I like to arrive in the hotel . I don’t want anyone to worry about me, because I am not living in a two-square-metres room. I have an apartment within the hotel where I have all the comfort and support I need. If I was in a house that I didn’t like, lonely and away from my assistants, then I would be a sad guy – and sad guys don’t work well.”
Mourinho insisted he is emotionally connected with United in the same way he has been at all his previous clubs – “everyone knows in Italy I am Inter, in Spain I am Real Madrid” – though Olivier Vernon Jersey admitted he may struggle at his present club to top his achievements with Chelsea.
“The difference between Chelsea Don Barclay Womens Jersey and United is that I really belong to Chelsea history,” he said. “I won three titles there, their first Premier League, cups, lots of things. At United we won the only trophy the club had never won, though I know the Europa League is not the Eldorado of football. It might be that I have come here in a moment when it is more difficult to make history. The Premier League now is completely different from 10 or 20 years ago. There used to be two big forces or perhaps a maximum three, but now you have clubs not fighting for the title or even the top four and their spending is amazing, even higher than ours. Everything changes, the nature of the job changes too, but my dedication to my work remains total.”
Mourinho confirmed he would name a strong team to face Derby, because he regards them as a Premier League-standard side. “I’m going to play Sergio Romero because he’s a top keeper and he deserves to play – he will be Argentina’s goalkeeper in the summer [at the World Cup] and David de Gea needs a rest. But otherwise I will go with a strong team with first-team players.” Romelu Lukaku will be back after missing the game at Everton as a precaution after being concussed, and Marouane Fellaini is also available should Mourinho wish to make changes in midfield.

Luka Milivojevic’s 2018 began rather better than his 2017 ended: on New Year’s Eve he cost Crystal Palace a victory by missing a penalty against Manchester City but 48 hours later he sealed three points with a beautiful late winner at Southampton.

Ralph Kreuger, the Southampton chairman, backed Mauricio Pellegrino this week but the manager’s prospects looked as dark as the weather after this defeat, with the home crowd losing what little patience remained as Saints were beaten despite taking the lead through Shane Long’s first goal in nearly a year. James McArthur equalised, before Milivojevic’s delicate shot from the edge of the box earned Palace the points.
Roy Hodgson expressed pleasure with Palace’s form. “For any team in this league, if you can look back on 11 games and the only one you’ve lost is to Arsenal, that’s John Smoltz Youth jersey very satisfying,” he said. “When you start as badly as we did, there’s only as many blows you can take. After seven games we were pretty much on the canvas.”
They are up and punching now. This victory provided a handy marker for how far Palace have come under Hodgson. His first game in charge was against Southampton at home in September, when a Steven Davis goal condemned them to Womens Zach Britton Jersey their fifth straight defeat without scoring a goal. Now they are 14th and, while in no way safe, things are looking up.
The same cannot be said for Southampton. Palace have gained 11 points from losing positions since Hodgson arrived but in the same time Pellegrino’s side have dropped nine after being in front. The way they folded after the break would be even more concerning if it was surprising, but that has been a feature of their play under the Argentinian.
“In the second-half we gave them the possibility to be in the game,” Pellegrino said. “We played five metres deeper – I think it’s the lack of confidence in the players. We didn’t have the intention to go forwards, we just had http://www.philadelphiaflyersofficialonline.com/Adidas-Steve-Mason-Jersey the intention to pass the time.”
He was asked whether he feared for his job. “I feel fear for other things, not football. I’m disappointed that we lost but not fear.”
It was looking pretty good for a while. That Long was the scorer of Southampton’s opener suggested it might be their night. This is not to unfairly question the striker’s abilities but it was his first competitive goal since 11 February last year, thumping Jeremy Pied’s low cross into the bottom corner with the certainty one does not associate with a player who had not scored for 324 days.
As the rain, wind and an already choppy pitch worsened, the visitors improved. Palace, playing their third game in six days and 48 hours after that exhilarating, exhausting performance against City, grew in confidence and endeavour and they equalised after 69 minutes, although the goal probably should not have stood. Andros Townsend clipped a nice cross into the middle, where Christian Benteke was half a yard offside as he knocked it down, but the linesman stayed still as McArthur hammered the ball into the roof of the net.
Pellegrino http://www.officialindianstore.com/Jim_Thome_Jersey made attacking changes, bringing on Manolo Gabbiadini and Nathan Redmond but it was Palace who scored next. Townsend and the substitute Luca Sbisa Womens Jersey Bakary Sako combined nicely on the right, the former slid a pass to Milivojevic on the edge of the area and he measured a delicate finish into the bottom corner.

Swansea City’s old boys continue to come back to haunt them and Fernando Llorente became the third summer departee to score against his struggling former team-mates.

The Spaniard started in place of Harry Kane and took only 12 minutes to head a goal that piled more misery on Swans fans who had http://www.officialfootballrams.com/Trumaine-Johnson-Jersey seen Jack Cork strike for Burnley and Gylfi Sigurdsson score for Everton earlier in the season. To http://www.authenticnikefalconshop.com/alex-mack-jersey-for-sale-c-38.html add insult to injury, TV footage showed Llorente was offside.

“Maybe Fernando was offside for his goal and maybe Swansea have a right to complain but Frank White Authentic Jersey in football you always need some luck to open up the game,” said Mauricio Pochettino, the Tottenham manager.
“It was fantastic for Fernando to score. He has been waiting for his time to play and for any player it is good for their confidence when they score. The conditions were so, so difficult but we http://www.footballchargersofficialstore.com/Antonio_Gates_Jersey deserved the victory. I’m very pleased to take the three points.”
Storm Eleanor dumped gallons of water on players and pitch, and made it a miserable night for both. Every pass brought a spray of water as the ball went from player to player and the majority came from the visitors.
Carlos Carvalhal started with three centre-halves and set up Swansea to contain and frustrate Spurs. They barely got a kick, in much the same fashion as in the 0-0 draw between the teams at Wembley earlier in the season, and got caught out at a free-kick.
Tom Carroll brought down Son Heung-min, Christian Eriksen floated over an inch-perfect cross and Llorente rose to head home at the near post. There was no celebration from the centre-forward but his goal sunk his former side deeper into the mire at the Tyus Jones Youth jersey bottom of the table.
For Eriksen it was a continuation of his chief executioner role against Womens Tony Sanchez Jersey the Swans. Coming into the http://www.brownsauthenticofficialstore.com/authentic-shon-coleman-jersey.html game he had scored six goals and provided four assists in eight Premier League games against them.
The deluge continued until 10 minutes before half time, by which time the home side had managed one effort on the Spurs goal from a Renato Sanches free-kick. Thankfully, the rain stayed away in the second half and a proper game broke out.
Swansea changed their shape, played with more Jack Johnson Womens Jersey ambition and confidence, and took some risks. Davinson Sánchez was lucky to escape with a warning from the referee, Bobby Madley, for a foul that looked worthy of a second yellow card when he scythed down Martin Olsson on the edge of the area and it was no surprise Pochettino soon took him off. Nike NFL Jerseys Size Chart Cheap NFL Jerseys USA NHL Jerseys Cheap Hockey Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys Paypal Hockey Jerseys Cheap NHL Jerseys Wholesale NFL Jerseys From China
For Son Heung-min the statistics tell the story and one, in particular, stands out. The South Korea forward has started 75 games in all competitions for Tottenham Hotspur since joining them from Bayer Leverkusen for £22m in August 2015 and he has been substituted in 53 of them. In the Premier League the trend is slightly more pronounced. Son has started 49 matches and come off early in 38.

The sight of Son’s No7 going up and him trooping off has become a feature of Tottenham matches and something else almost always follows. The 25-year-old collapses back into his seat and looks as though he is ready to draw his last breath. Son’s fitness http://www.officialcoloradoavalanche.com/Adidas-Gabriel-Landeskog-Jersey has been questioned in some quarters but what is abundantly clear is that he leaves nothing on the pitch.
Son’s whole-heartedness is a big reason why he is loved by the manager, Mauricio Pochettino, and his team-mates. Another is his attitude. Although he gave consideration to his Tottenham future after a difficult first season in north London, he never shows any dissent when he is substituted or omitted from the starting lineup.
As much as anybody at Tottenham Son appreciates the power of a harmonious collective. And this is from a player who is surely the most recognisable in Asia at present. Son will carry South Korea’s hopes at the World Cup finals next summer.
Pochettino smiled when it was put to him that Son enjoys David Beckham-like status in Asia. “That is what we think but we cannot prove whether it is like this or not,” he said. “When we talk about Beckham, he is a massive icon in the world. Maybe Son is like this but here he is so humble and such a normal guy. That only makes him bigger.”
It was sometimes said last season that Christian Eriksen was Tottenham’s unsung hero but Son, while not quite in the Dane’s class, has flown lower beneath the radar. He finished last season with 21 goals – 14 of them in the league – while he has nine in all competitions this season and seven in his last 12 appearances, which are eye-catching numbers for a wide attacker.
When Son is hot he is extremely hot and he is capable of pulling off the spectacular, such as his winning goal against Crystal Palace on 5 November – a lovely curled finish from the edge of the penalty area. Son brings pace and directness, together with the capacity to stretch opposing defences. Swansea City will be wary of him when Tottenham visit on Tuesday night.
“It’s true that Son doesn’t get the headlines of Harry Kane and other players,” Pochettino said. “It’s like a player that is next to Messi or Ronaldo who deserves a lot Lamar Miller Jersey of credit. When you are next to Harry Kane, who scores and scores, it is normal that the focus is more on him – or on Messi or Ronaldo – than Son.
“But it is good to recognise him. He is a great guy and a very good professional. He is always there and he scores a lot of goals. He was very important for us last season. All of Drew Stanton Authentic Jersey his team-mates love him not only because of his performances but also because of how he is as a man.”
Son is, perhaps, a victim of his selflessness and flexibility. He has http://www.officialauthenticravenstore.com/womens_carl_davis_jersey shown that he can fill in at centre-forward for Kane – he was magnificent there in the home win over Manchester City last season – while he has even played at left wing-back. MLB Authentic Jerseys Hockey Jerseys Cheap New Nike NFL Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys All
José Mourinho’s dark mood was not transformed entirely – Paul Scholes and the so-called “kings of rock and roll” got it in the neck after the game – but the same could not be said of Manchester United’s second-half display at Everton. Clinical, classy and confident; Mourinho’s men welcomed in the new year in a manner that seemed beyond them during their festive slump.

Superb finishes Authentic Max Garcia Jersey from Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard brought United a first win in five matches and a return to second place in the Premier League. A 12-point gap remains between themselves and Manchester City but, after a slow-burning start and despite missing several key performers, they imposed their quality and superiority over Sam Allardyce’s ambitionless team. It needs to be a benchmark for the remainder of the campaign or those kings of rock and roll – presumably the “Class of 92” – will be playing the record that so irks the United manager.
“From the first minute to the 70th we were improving, improving, improving,” said Mourinho. “We controlled the ball, we crossed a lot, the goals were phenomenal, Juan Mata’s shot hit the post and there was an amazing save by the kid [Everton’s Jordan Pickford]. We found a way to play without Romelu [Lukaku] and Zlatan [Ibrahimovic] and we played really well.”
The first half lived down to expectations, reflecting the dour recent form that both teams brought into a contest played on a wet and windy Merseyside evening, but United gradually took command with Paul Pogba to the fore. Mourinho’s new captain almost fashioned a breakthrough when he broke into the Everton area but his low cross eluded several team-mates who were waiting to convert. The midfielder also tested Pickford with a 30-yard drive that the Everton goalkeeper tipped round his post while Martial forced a fine low save from the £30m summer signing.
Allardyce once again deployed his team purely to contain. The end result was a second consecutive defeat and a second home game in succession without an Everton shot on target. Goodison’s patience is wearing thin and Allardyce’s attempts to sign Cenk Tosun from Besiktas have stalled with the Turkish club now demanding more than the £25m agreed in principle last week.
“I http://www.officiallightningsshop.com/authentic-17-alex-killorn-jersey.html presume we will know in the next 24 hours if we are successful or not,” said the Everton manager of the Tosun deal. “We need a bigger goalscoring threat than we have at the moment. Our attacking powers are limited. I knew that before I arrived and that’s why I’ve worked so hard on keeping clean sheets. That’s our main objective, to make sure we pick up more results by not conceding goals and hoping we can score one to win a game. Our ratio of chances created is very limited.”
Mercifully from a United perspective there was improvement after the interval as they built momentum and forced the home side ever deeper. Better movement and distribution Johnny Hekker Womens Jersey was key to their strong start to the David Andrews Authentic Jersey second half and Mata twice went close to opening the scoring from distance. The Spain international’s first attempt from 25 yards was pushed over by Pickford. His second, a left-footed drive after cutting inside, flew beyond the goalkeeper but struck a post.
Everton’s reprieve did not last long. The breakthrough had developed an air of inevitability, such was United’s dominance, and was executed with a touch of excellence. At the end of a sweeping counterattack Pogba picked out Martial in more space than he should have been allowed just outside the Everton penalty area. Central, and 20 yards out, the striker took aim for the top-left corner of Pickford’s goal and found his spot perfectly. Martial’s seventh goal of an inconsistent campaign was a fine way to end a barren run.
Allardyce responded to falling behind by introducing Aaron Lennon and James McCarthy for Yannick Bolasie and Rooney respectively, the latter switch attracting audible derision from the Gwladys Street end. United responded by remaining on the front foot and Pogba twice almost doubled their lead, forcing another good stop from Pickford at close range and just failing to connect cleanly with Martial’s inviting cross moments later. Pogba was a persistent threat roaming in from the left and teed up Lingard for a low shot that Everton’s keeper, yet again, foiled.
In fairness to the Everton manager his double substitution sparked a much-needed reaction from the hosts. Oumar Niasse headed wide when Mason Holgate’s cross found the striker http://www.ravensofficialfootballshop.com/WOMENS_YOUTH_ALEX_LEWIS_JERSEY.html unmarked in front of goal and Everton belatedly exerted pressure on the United defence, but the game was put out of their reach by another supreme finish. Pogba, inevitably, was involved, playing Lingard into space on the left before wheeling away in celebration as the winger cut across a weak challenge by Michael Keane and curled an unstoppable finish into the top corner.

Jack Wilshere was not short of admirers during Arsenal’s 3-2 victory at Selhurst Park. Vernon Davis Jersey His first touch was a beautiful piece of velcro control as the ball dropped on to his left boot in the first minute, making everyone in the away end go weak at the knees, and the Arsenal midfielder even had a fan in the opposition’s technical area. It was Roy Hodgson, of course, who sent eyebrows rocketing skywards when he named Wilshere in England’s http://www.officialsanjosesharks.com/Adidas-Melker-Karlsson-Jersey Euro 2016 squad.

Wilshere had only just returned from one of his many injuries, but that misguided show of faith from Hodgson was easier to understand after watching him help Arsenal recover from a sticky spell in the second half to take Palace apart. Like Arsène Wenger, Hodgson is a believer, even though the Devan Dubnyk Womens Jersey 25-year-old has not produced much of note since that wonderful performance against Pep Guardiola’s great Barcelona side.
Recently there has even been plenty of talk that Wilshere might be allowed to leave Arsenal when his contract runs out next summer. There are times when even hopeless romantics like Wenger have to be cold and ruthless.
Fortunately for Arsenal’s manager, however, there remains a chance that he will be rewarded for listening to his heart. Loaned to Bournemouth at the start of last season, it felt like Wilshere was approaching the end of his time as an elite footballer when he suffered a broken leg in April. That curtailed his preparations for this campaign, meaning that he was in danger of becoming Arsenal’s forgotten man just when he was supposed to be approaching his prime. He turns 26 on New Year’s Day and instead of being a regular starter in the league, he was forced to adjust to the slog of appearances alongside the kids and the reserves in Max Tuerk Jersey low-intensity Carabao Cup and Europa League games.
Wilshere embraced the challenge, however, and here he was on a bitterly cold December evening in south?east London, starting for the fourth consecutive league game and looking every inch like the talent who was once hailed as the future of Arsenal and England’s midfield.
A player who has received as many blows as Wilshere must be careful not to ask too much of his body. There have been times when his bravery in possession, the way that he pushes the ball forward and tempts opponents into forceful challenges, has conspired against him, leading to long spells on the sidelines. Clearly, though, Wilshere is not afraid of hard work, which he demonstrated with a smart early challenge on Wilfried Zaha.
He has been impressive since winning back his place in the first team and there are signs that he is giving Arsenal’s midfield more balance. He is more disciplined than the injured Aaron Ramsey, who likes to burst forward in the style of Frank Lampard or Steven Gerrard, but he is also technically sound and it was his glorious pass from a deep position which allowed Alexis Sánchez to calm Arsenal’s nerves midway through the second half.
Arsenal had been rocking after Andros Townsend equalised for Palace shortly after the break. The visitors dominated the opening period, taking the lead when Shkodran Mustafi stroked home the rebound after suspect goalkeeping from Julián Speroni, and they had chances to take the game away from their lowly hosts. Mesut Özil and Alexandre Lacazette missed decent chances, though, and such profligacy left Wenger’s side vulnerable.
They have been disappointing on their travels in the league this season – they had only won at Burnley and Everton before arriving in this corner of south-east London – and their flakiness resurfaced after Townsend swept home Zaha’s cutback from the left. In those moments it was possible to see why there can be no guarantees Arsenal will regain their spot in the top four. Sloppy defending also allowed James Tomkins to nod home Palace’s second in the http://www.officialauthenticpackersstore.com/Nike-Dean-Lowry-Jersey.html 89th minute, creating a nervous finale.
Ending Palace’s eight-match unbeaten run required a gutsy display, however, especially as Arsenal were beaten 3-0 here in April. Those memories briefly came flooding back after Townsend’s leveller, but Arsenal’s individual brilliance made the difference. Sánchez roused himself, lashing a venomous shot past Speroni, and then Wilshere superbly released the Chilean to score his second.

If Sam Kerr didn’t already believe she had become a household name Casey Cizikas Authentic Jersey this year, there came a moment in September when there could be no denying it. The Matildas had arrived triumphantly back on home shores, having swept aside USA, Brazil and Japan at the inaugural Tournament of Nations. In Penrith, and then Newcastle, they appeared to a heroes’ welcome, with record home crowds waiting to greet their newfound champions.

In the Pepper Stadium crowd, a male fan, Richard Cuthbert, was spotted sporting a Socceroos jersey with Lucas Neill’s name crossed out and replaced in tape with “Kerr”. Cuthbert had also added a ‘0’ to Neill’s No2 to make Kerr’s No20. The image of this glorious gendered http://www.authenticcanadiens.com/bob-gainey-jersey_c-482.html role reversal made its way to Kerr via Twitter, where she retweeted it, eventually tracking Cuthbert down to gift him her own jersey at the next game in Newcastle.

“I said, ‘I’ve got to find this guy,’ not thinking that anything would come of it, just showing how cool it was,” Kerr tells Guardian Australia at the end of a hugely successful year. “[But] someone got a hold of it and sorted it out. I got to meet him and give him tickets to the game.
“He said he couldn’t buy the Matildas jersey with my name on it, that’s why he did it. It was a really cool moment for both of us, I think.”
There is no descriptor too hyperbolic for the year the 24-year-old has had. 2017 will go down as the year Kerr earned the kind of wider recognition very few female footballers have achieved. Some have even touted her as the best in the world – a claim clearly Womens T.J. Ward Jersey in the ballpark after she was named in the women’s world team of the year http://www.officialsfalconsauthenticshop.com/Levine_Toilolo_Jersey_Cheap in mid-December. Earlier in the month she also added the title of Asian footballer http://www.mavericksteamonline.com/Dennis_Smith_Jr_Jersey of the year to a résumé chock full of such accolades.
When put to her that no less than 91 countries voted for her spot Jason Taylor Authentic Jersey in the world team, Kerr is characteristically humble. “I don’t love talking about myself,” she says, laughing. “But it’s obviously a huge honour. I didn’t know 91 countries had voted. I’ve heard most people are pretty Womens Rhett Ellison Jersey happy with the team, which is quite unusual in the women’s game when there’s a vote.”
Kerr was embroiled in a voting controversy of her own this year, missing out on the three-person shortlist for Fifa women’s player of the year. The omission drew no shortage of negative press; beating Kerr was a teenage student who had not represented her country at senior level. But despite outrage from fans and team-mates on social media, Kerr says the oversight did not faze her.
“I didn’t expect to be in the top three, and I think that’s why it didn’t bother me so much,” she says. “I’ve seen so many people angry at the system, so I wasn’t going to hold my breath. Once you get excited, that’s when you get disappointed.
“But honestly, it just motivates me more. I don’t think people respect the Matildas enough and there’s so many of our players who could be in contention for world player of the year – so it just motivates all of us, really.”
Kerr is acutely aware of what an incredible year it has been for the Matildas, both in terms of their achievements on-field, and the unforeseen levels of public attention they have garnered off it.

After five seconds, Jonjo Shelvey tried to score from near the halfway line. Ederson saved the Newcastle United midfielder’s ambitious effort with ease, however, and so it began, with Manchester City’s goalkeeper having to wait another 14 minutes before touching the ball again. One of his team-mates had passed it back to him, presumably just to make sure that the Brazilian had not nipped to the away dressing room to check the sound system.

The home fans had a different view, sensing that a minor victory had been achieved, urging http://www.officialmarinershop.com/Jean_Segura_Jersey their rattled players to keep pressing and running and http://www.anaheimducksofficialonline.com/Adidas-Patrick-Eaves-Jersey hassling the Premier League’s dominant force. City, however, simply kept playing their enchanting football throughout their 1-0 victory at St James’s Park, pushing the home side back so much that at times Newcastle were in danger of retreating into the back rows of the Gallowgate end. It spoke volumes that Pep Guardiola’s response to seeing Vincent Kompany pull up with a calf injury in the 11th minute was to replace the centre-back with another attacker.

Gabriel Jesus came on for Kompany, who looked distraught Jonathan Drouin Youth jersey after sustaining the latest in a long line of muscle injuries, and City’s threat showed no sign of diminishing. The only surprise was that they needed 31 minutes to Jason Verrett Womens Jersey find a way through, not that there was any doubt that Guardiola’s team would extend their advantage over Manchester United to a staggering 15 points and earn their 18th consecutive victory once Kevin de Bruyne had created Raheem Sterling’s goal with another magnificent assist.
After United’s 2-2 draw with Burnley on Boxing Day, José Mourinho found himself in the unfortunate position of needing a favour from one of his old enemies. Yet Rafael Benítez was under no illusions. Many of the greatest moments of Benítez’s career have stemmed from his ability to suffocate glamorous opponents, but Newcastle’s manager knew who he was facing. “You can prepare the best tactics in the world,” Benítez said before kick-off. “And you can still lose.”
One theory was that this was a free hit for Newcastle after Kasey Redfern Jersey they defeated West Ham United to win for the first time in 10 games last weekend. But they finished the http://www.miamidolphinsauthorizedstore.com/matt-haack-jersey-elite evening a point Dallas Thomas Jersey above the bottom three and Benítez, who made five changes here, did not seem interested in allowing his players to have a few swings early on. Instead they were cautious, conceding territory in the hope that City would struggle to find space and enjoy nothing more than sterile possession.
Yet Guardiola’s team are growing accustomed to dealing with those stifling tactics. With Ilkay Gundogan setting a pleasing tempo in midfield, City were cool enough to stay patient and trust in their talent. Only generous finishing was letting them down. Sergio Agüero ought to have had a hat-trick but the striker hit the woodwork twice and saw Rob Elliot make a stunning save from his sharp header. He also had a goal disallowed for offside with 25 minutes to go.
In the absence of David Silva, who was missing because of personal reasons, it was tempting to wonder if City would lack a spark. Not for long, though. Bernardo Silva, a £43m arrival from Monaco last summer, slotted daintily into midfield, while it helped that City were able to call upon one of the most penetrative and imaginative passers around.
What a pass it was from De Bruyne to release Sterling after half an hour of comically one-sided action. Sterling has 17 http://www.pacersprostore.com/WOMENS-DOMANTAS-SABONIS-JERSEY.html goals for the season now, many of them coming at crucial times, and the way that he rolled his studs over the ball to squeeze a difficult chance past Elliot was another demonstration of his increasing maturity. What really took the breath away, though, was De Bruyne’s vision, how quickly he spied the opening and worked out the angles, how easy it was for him to flight the ball towards his intended target.
Newcastle’s early caution was understandable in that context, even though they occasionally troubled City after letting go of their fear and introducing Christian Atsu and Dwight Gayle. Nicolás Otamendi had to clear a Rolando Aarons chip off the line after Kyle Walker’s slip, Gayle headed wide and it must have been satisfying for Benítez when Guardiola replaced Agüero with Eliaquim Mangala near the end.
Ultimately, however, Newcastle had two shots on target and one of them was Shelvey’s early sighter. A special team took another step on their journey towards greatness and it is impossible to see anyone stopping them.

In terms of attention-grabbing headlines and photographs of Manchester United’s manager looking less than delighted with life, José Mourinho truly is the Christmas gift that keeps on giving. Yet amusing as it was to hear the erstwhile Special One complaining that his club have not yet spent enough to compete with the likes of Burnley and Leicester, it must be conceded that Mourinho has a point when he talks of a difference between big clubs and big teams.

United are a big club, he suggested, but not yet a big team. They are trying to become a big team, though that is actually quite difficult when you have already been a big team once and are now trying to put the pieces of the jigsaw back together after a couple of previous managers have had a go.

Mourinho has spent around £260m since taking over at Old Trafford, which is around four or five times the cost of the entire Burnley team, but that is what the have and have not Premier League is like. The essential difference between the clubs is that Burnley have never had any money, far less any plans to rule Europe or compete on a level footing with the best in Spain and Italy, so when Sean Dyche goes shopping he does not visit the same store as Mourinho, perhaps not even the same street or city.
There is absolutely no chance, in other words, of Burnley spending £90m on Paul Pogba, a player United had in the first place but let go for next to nothing. Not because Burnley don’t have £90m http://www.nfltitansofficialonline.com/Nike-Kevin-Byard-Jersey.html to spend on any one player – although naturally they don’t – but because they would never have let him go so cheaply in the first instance. Burnley do business Authentic Tamba Hali Jersey like most clubs do business. They either use their best players or Authentic Nazair Jones Jersey make sure they sell them for the best possible price. What happened to Pogba could only take place at a big club like United, both the letting go and the buying back.
It could never be regarded as an example of good housekeeping, either on Sir Alex Ferguson’s watch or Mourinho’s, though in defence of the latter the two midfielders he had inherited from his predecessors were Marouane Fellaini and Bastian Schweinsteiger. Needing to both stamp his personality on the team and begin building a side http://www.officialfootballfalconstore.com/WOMENS_YOUTH_DEION_JONES_JERSEY.html that could once again compete for top honours in this country and abroad, Mourinho paid over the odds to bring Pogba back. The following summer he went out and bought Nemanja Matic, another obvious though expensive capture, and one that until a few weeks ago was being hailed as a masterstroke.
Matic did improve United – he would be http://www.packersfootballofficialshop.com/authentic-demetri-goodson-jersey.html good in almost any team – but suddenly all the superlatives were being diverted to Manchester City. Until the festive period at least United were in good shape and playing well, as were Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur. But playing well is not quite the same as winning 17 matches in a row. No one can compete with that, although if you are Mourinho you can point out that they paid as much for a new set of full backs as most teams spend on strikers. If that seemed unnecessarily curmudgeonly given one of the full backs will miss the season through injury and City have still been winning plaudits for flowing football and solid defending, bear in mind it cannot be easy trying to overhaul United when there is a conspicuously better side not just in the same league but in the same city.
Since Ferguson’s first title-winning side at least, the assumption has always been that a fully-functioning Manchester United, properly funded and sensibly led, would naturally be the strongest team in England. Even Ferguson had to accept second place to Arsenal or Chelsea on occasion, though the interruption to normal service would usually be short and with a few tweaks and a little squad strengthening United would be back on their perch.
That was broadly the imagined scenario when Mourinho moved to Manchester. He might not have been ideal in some ways, he would http://www.sabresofficialauthenticshop.com/Evan_Rodrigues_Jersey_Adidas probably not stay all that long and he would almost certainly attract the wrong sort of publicity, but if he could turn Louis van Gaal’s painfully ponderous side into a version of Chelsea it would at least be a step in the right direction. United would start winning things again, and as soon as that happened they could return to hoovering up the best available talent and generally lording it over the rest of the country.
Whatever you think of José, it was said, he’s a proven winner. If he comes across as more of a proven whinger these days that is entirely down to City blocking off the high ground and forcing everyone else to look upwards. Mourinho is now caught in the middle of a United rebuilding project with no immediate prospect of success. For all the investment, United appear to be little better off than they were under Van Ryan Hewitt Jersey Gaal and his three-year plan. There is a residual fondness for the idea that United might trump City’s Clint Boling Jersey league success by winning big in Europe, just as they did in 1968, though half a century ago there was only one English team in Europe. Now there are five, and several of them would be confident if drawn against United, partly because Mourinho’s strategy in the big games this season has been so reactive.

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