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Arsenal say their position on Alexis Sánchez is unchanged – the striker is not for sale – after Manchester City finally moved for their long-time target with a straight cash offer of £50m.
Ferran Soriano, the City chief executive, spoke to his Arsenal counterpart, Ivan Gazidis, on Tuesday and after weeks of dancing around he put forward the official bid. It was not to alter Arsenal’s resolve over the player.
They are determined to hold Sánchez to the final year of his contract, even though he has made it clear he will not sign a new one and, as such, would stand to leave for nothing next summer. Moreover, it is his preference to join City before the transfer deadline on Thursday. Arsenal continue to believe he would apply himself in their colours after 1 September and give his best for one last season.
The situation is delicate and complex and there is the acceptance at Arsenal that every player has his price – even Sánchez, Bryce Harper #34 Authentic Jersey who is undeniably the club’s biggest star. Were City to come back with an offer that located the tipping point, the saga could twist again. City have the time to do so before deadline. But, as things stand, that has not happened.
Arsenal have had an interest in the Monaco attacking midfielder Thomas Lemar throughout the summer – Liverpool are also now in for him – but the French club have indicated it would cost €80m (£74m) to get him. In other words he is not for sale. It is safe to assume Arsenal’s tipping point for Sánchez would, at the very least, be equal to this figure.
During the conversation between Soriano and Gazidis, the City forward Raheem Sterling emerged as a potential makeweight in the deal for Sánchez. http://www.officialnationalshop.com/authentic-6-anthony-rendon-jersey.html City contend it was not Soriano who suggested this. The club went to great lengths to prise Sterling from Liverpool for £49m in 2015 and he has started the season with vital goals against Everton and Bournemouth. But it is unclear whether Pep Guardiola counts on him. Mixing players into deals is notoriously complicated and City would prefer a straight cash transaction for Sánchez.
Arsenal know that selling their best player to City and, in effect, getting an unwanted one back from Guardiola would not wash with their supporters. Perhaps, if they could add Lemar as well, it would be more palatable. But they are acutely aware of the difficulties, at this late stage, of the practicalities of getting a replacement or replacements for Sánchez.
The 28-year-old is in Chile preparing for his World Cup qualifier against Paraguay on Thursday. Were there to be a breakthrough over his move, http://www.officialgiantsfootballs.com/Damon-Harrison-Jersey-Cheap" target="_new" rel="nofollow">Damon Harrison Authentic Jersey City would get a doctor out to him to supervise the medical.
Arsenal are interested in the West Bromwich Albion centre-half Jonny Evans, who is also wanted by Manchester City and Leicester City, as they consider whether to move Shkodran Mustafi out to Internazionale. Mustafi wants to leave Arsenal. The club are also in talks with West Brom about selling Kieran Gibbs to them for £7m. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is primed to complete his £40m switch to Chelsea.
City have a potential problem over Sergio Agüero, with the feeling within the club being that the Argentina striker might pursue a move away in January. http://www.officialgiantsfootballs.com/Darian-Thompson-Jersey-Cheap" target="_new" rel="nofollow"> http://www.officialgiantsfootballs.com/Darian-Thompson-Jersey-Cheap He was dropped by Guardiola for the Premier League win at Bournemouth on Saturday and there has been tension between the player and manager. Agüero is determined to play regularly in World Cup year.
In the thick of Arsenal’s chronic breakdown at Anfield on Sunday it did not take long for football’s splurging social commentary to begin establishing just how bad this was compared with other abhorrences. How rotten exactly are things in the state of Arsenal? As bad as the 8-2 at Manchester United? On a par with the season they were dismembered by vicious scorelines at Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea? Worse than an aggregate 10-2 thumping from Bayern Munich? More embarrassing than imploding in fright at home to Swansea or Watford or Aston Villa?
Hereby hangs Arsenal’s sharpest problem. Scanning through the past five years to pick out the performances that were especially awful is instructive. This is not an exercise in recalling the common or garden soft defeats at Stoke or West Brom, but a search for the goriest of horror shows. This involves the type of ordeal to leave observers wondering how much longer, how much worse, how much more intolerable, how many times it is possible to repeat the same mistakes without wanting to smash the place up and sweep everything out to start afresh.
This was a subjective exercise but a rough count tots up 20 such occasions over five years. That tells of a damning sense of paralysis, a club constructed in such a way they cannot change the record no matter how screechingly discordant their most annoying songs sound. If Arsenal turn on their internal radio and hear a tune they loathe which taunts them by infernal repetition, they just do not have it in them to change the station. Think about it: 20 times in five years with no radical reaction.
Arsenal have managed to respond to setbacks in their own way. They usually regain enough composure to qualify for the Champions League (missing out only once, Lorenzen Wright Authentic Jersey last May) and to have earned the sweet salve of three FA Cup victories out of four attempts. But real, profound change, the kind to reset the club as one with ambition to believe in, the kind that creates a team resolve that does not look as if it is made of straw ready to be obliterated by a mere puff of wolfish intent from any opponent, remains a long shot.
The greatest concern to those who care about Arsenal is the fact that getting lacerated by Liverpool with a reasonably strong if weirdly imbalanced selection does not necessarily represent depths significantly lower than other nadirs they have skulked around in the past. If the club did not feel the necessity to address serious issues at any of the previous 19 calamities, why suddenly feel pushed to do things differently after No20?
Which introduces the other major problem. For a long time Arsène Wenger has been a lightning rod for the issues that dog the club. What Arsenal did or did not do in terms of management alone started off as an elephant in the room. But now there is an entire herd of them. http://www.authenticgrizzliestore.com/Allen_Iverson_Jersey One can hardly see the wall on the other side for doleful elephants, great big creatures squishing all their complaints against each other. They have become noisy, too, which is understandable.
The difficulties are manifold. At the top of the business the majority shareholder, Stan Kroenke, has never shown any inclination to take active control of goings-on. The chief executive, Ivan Gazidis, who called for a “catalyst for change” a few months ago, is unable or unwilling to challenge the status quo. The manager presides over a set of players who play as if they either do not know what they are supposed to be doing, cannot do what they are asked to do or do not wish to – a mere three games into the season. To be too tactically sunk and low in determination to perform basic tasks is a desperate recurring theme. Quite what was going on inside the heads of Alexandre Lacazette or Sead Kolasinac as they watched from the bench is hard to fathom. Quite how Jens Lehmann kept any kind of calm counsel is harder still.
Behind the scenes the scouting department and the men detailed with arranging contracts and dealing in the transfer market are failing. George Gervin Youth Jersey Numerous players are out of contract this summer or next and it has not gone unnoticed that recent purchases recommended by the StatDNA data business Arsenal bought supposedly to give them a competitive edge have struggled and are among those Wenger seeks to offload. Elsewhere the marketing and commercial gurus strain to strike deals that compare well with their rivals.
It is not as if this kind of situation was freakish. A flaky run exposing basic problems in the team’s structure and motivation was not exactly unpredictable. Perhaps the shock for Arsenal is how quickly it manifested itself this season.
Can they enforce the changes needed to turn a club that looks unhealthy into one that is radiant and positive? It will not be easy, simply because there appear to be so many departments that are underperforming, http://www.authenticspurstore.com/Dejounte_Murray_Jersey complacent, overwhelmed (or any combination of). The probability of any substantial remodelling is wafer thin. There is no reason to believe a change of management, ownership, chief executive or a wholesale shake-up of team personnel or dynamic is around the corner.
The herd of elephants have nowhere obvious to go.
Frank de Boer’s future as Crystal Palace manager is in serious doubt after only three Premier League games in charge with the club’s hierarchy understood to be deeply unimpressed with the start he has made in English football and increasingly unconvinced he will be willing to adapt his approach and instigate a revival.
The former Ajax and Internazionale manager was appointed in late June to succeed Sam Allardyce at Selhurst Park after a month-long selection process headed by the chairman, Steve Parish, and with the input of Palace’s American major shareholders, David Blitzer and Josh Harris. De Boer arrived in south London on a three-year contract promising “evolution, not revolution” and the aim to make Palace “a solid Premier League team, not to struggle with relegation”.
However, the playing staff have struggled to adapt to the 47-year-old’s demands and desire to play a more possession-based style built around three at the back, and there has been concern raised in the boardroom over perceived naivety due to the manager’s inflexibility over tactics in the Premier League.
Palace have lost their first three league games of the season, Daniel MurphyWomens Jersey including home matches against newly promoted Huddersfield Town and last season’s fellow strugglers Swansea City, and have yet to score a goal.
Saturday’s spluttering loss to the Welsh club, when De Boer again started with three centre-halves and ended up switching to 4-3-3 at the interval when his team were chasing a deficit, pushed an already tense relationship between manager and the club’s hierarchy to breaking point. Parish is understood to have spent the remainder of the weekend considering his options.
De Boer has been in charge for only 62 days, still 23 days shorter than he managed at San Siro, and the owners would clearly prefer to offer him more time to prove his pedigree. http://www.officialnationalstore.com/Gio_Gonzalez_Jersey But they have been alarmed at his apparent reluctance to bend his approach and, if they receive no indications the situation will change, are conscious a swift decision would allow more time for recovery. A firm decision will be made over the international break.
If the axe does fall then Dougie Freedman, who enjoyed a 22-month spell as manager at the club in the Championship and was appointed as sporting director last week, could fill the role on an interim basis if required.
De Boer, whose 14 games at Inter yielded five wins after four Eredivisie titles in six seasons at Ajax, suggested his players lacked courage on Saturday and was dismissive of talk that tactical systems were wrecking their chances. “I don’t see a change of style,” he said. Alexei Kovalev Youth Jersey “It’s just [about them] showing the spirit and doing what we tell them to do. It was not different to against Liverpool, where we did really well. I want to see that every time. If we play 3-4-3 or 5-3-2 or 4-3-3, everybody knows what he has to do. It all starts with courage when you have the ball. Defending, you know, is not the most difficult thing. When you have the ball, you have to make the right choices. We did that in the second half much better.”
The manager has inherited a squad effectively put together by Ian Holloway, Tony Pulis, Neil Warnock, Alan Pardew and Allardyce over Palace’s five-year stint in the top flight. There have been only three signings in this transfer window and the only permanent deal was the £7.9m signing of Jairo Riedewald from Ajax.
The club had hoped to push through a deal for Liverpool’s Mamadou Sakho this week, http://www.officialcanadiensauthentic.com/Alexei_Emelin_Jersey conscious of the impact the France defender made while on loan last season, though it remains to be seen whether a compromise over the fee can be reached before Thursday’s deadline. Liverpool have been insistent the centre-half will cost suitors £30m.
Chelsea are increasingly confident they will secure Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain from Arsenal before the closure of the transfer window and hope to speak to Everton over the potential purchase of Ross Barkley after Sunday’s meeting between the sides at Stamford Bridge.
The pair could yet be joined by another England international, Leicester City’s Danny Drinkwater, as the champions seek to satisfy Antonio Conte and bolster his senior options before Thursday night’s deadline. Oxlade-Chamberlain, who has entered the final 12 months of his contract, has been offered new terms by Arsenal but is understood to have made clear his desire to depart for a fresh challenge after six years at the club.
Arsenal are not prepared to lose all of Oxlade-Chamberlain, Mesut Özil and Alexis Sánchez under freedom of contract next summer and, Authentic #42 Arthur Brown Youth Jersey given the lack of suitors for the German and the hierarchy’s intransigence over the prospect of selling Sánchez this summer – Manchester City are likely to test that resolve before Thursday – the England midfielder appears the likeliest to leave. Liverpool have also been interested but, while no bid has yet been received, Chelsea feel an offer worth around £35m will be accepted and the player will make the switch across the capital.
They will compete with Tottenham Hotspur for Barkley, who is in rehabilitation with a torn hamstring which will keep him out until the new year. Chelsea’s interest has surfaced late but they are ready to trump any Spurs offer for the 23-year-old and hope to speak face to face to the Everton owner, Farhad Moshiri, or the chairman, Bill Kenwright, if they attend Sunday’s game. There are bridges to be rebuilt with the visitors after the fallout from Chelsea’s interest in John Stones last summer and Romelu Lukaku this year. Those players ended up joining Manchester City and Manchester United respectively.
Drinkwater has yet to feature for Leicester this season with Chelsea’s opening bid, http://www.seahawksofficialsproshop.com/Ahtyba-Rubin-Jersey worth around £15m, having been rejected. City value the 27-year-old at more than £30m but the player has made clear he is keen to move to Stamford Bridge and a compromise is likely to be reached next week.
Conte would welcome the addition of the three Englishmen after a tense summer behind the scenes, with Chelsea’s attempts at squad strengthening laboured. Tiémoué Bakayoko and Álvaro Morata joined for significant fees but, as it turned out, only as direct replacements for Nemanja Matic and the disaffected Diego Costa. The Italian has also secured Antonio Rüdiger – who is set to start again against Everton in the continued absence of the suspended captain, Gary Cahill – but had spent the tail-end of the last campaign warning that playing in the Champions League would require significant additions to be made.
“My focus is only on the pitch,” Conte said on Friday. “The club is working very hard to try and strengthen our team and our squad. We’ll see what happens at the end of the transfer market. Authentic Bobby Orr Womens Jersey We are trying to strengthen our squad and, if we are in the transfer market, that means we need to improve the squad. That’s logical. Otherwise we’d stay out of the market.”
Eden Hazard, who starred in last season’s 5-0 thrashing of Everton at Stamford Bridge, http://www.officialbruinsprostore.com/adam-oates-jersey-for-sale-c-29.html will not be involved on Sunday as he continues his rehabilitation from ankle surgery. The forward was picked to play against Everton’s Under-23s at Aldershot on Friday evening, with Conte admitting to being “surprised” Roberto Martínez had chosen to call up the player for Belgium’s games against Gibraltar and Greece. Hazard will not be ready to play in those qualifiers.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic would have to accept “that’s life” if José Mourinho selects Romelu Lukaku and Marcus Rashford before him when he is available again for Manchester United.
On Thursday Ibrahimovic re-signed on a one-year deal but is still recovering from a serious knee injury and Mourinho believes the 35-year-old will not be ready for action until next year. The manager is insistent that, if Ibrahimovic proves deserving of first-choice status, he will receive it. By the same token the striker will have to settle for a substitute’s berth if Lukaku and Rashford are on form.
“Zlatan knows me,” the manager said. “And he knows that I play the players that are the best for the team. I always did that in my life so, if he comes here and he proves that he is the best, he plays. If the other ones don’t give him a chance to prove that, that’s life. But I try always to be honest with my players and with my team. I try. Maybe sometimes I do not do the correct things. But I always try.
“Zlatan is going to arrive into a made team. He is going to arrive mid-season with the team playing in a certain way and with players having what I call the functional links in the dynamic of the team. We are going to be a better squad and I give you just one example – if we play Stoke and two days later we play against Burton and I want to give a rest to my two strikers, Authentic Adam Graves Youth Jersey who do I play against Burton? I have to play Rashford or Lukaku. I don’t have another one to play so I cannot give rest to my players. So we need a striker and we have one just around the corner that belongs to our family, that likes to be with us and play for us.
“He is one more striker, he is one more experienced player, one more player that can play No9 or No10, that can play in a double striker [system]. There are lots of matches to play. If we progress in the Champions League and one of the two cups we are going to be in the position where we couldn’t do it only with Lukaku and Rashford, especially if I play both together. So if I need a striker, probably in January I would be knocking on [executive vice-chairman] Ed Woodward’s door and [now] I don’t need to. I have one of the best in the world.”
Mourinho praised Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s start and admitted the forward’s progress could have been quicker last season if they had understood each other better. http://www.authenticrangersstore.com/antti-raanta-jersey_c-439.html Mkhitaryan started United’s 4-0 wins over West Ham and Swansea City in the No10 berth, impressing in each. Last season Mkhitaryan did not make his full debut until Manchester City’s visit on 10 September and was replaced at half-time.
Asked about the 28-year-old’s form now Mourinho said: “He understands me and I understand him. Beginning of [last] season, if he had understood me better he would start better. If I had understood him better, probably I would have helped him in a faster way than I did. But we spent a lot of time together, learning each other. I know him well. He knows me well. The second part was good for him. With his talent, this season [will be] even better.”
Mourinho offered a similar analysis of Anthony Martial, who has scored in both league wins as a substitute. “When you are blessed with talent, Alex Pietrangelo Womens Jersey you have to fulfil and explore it. You cannot be happy with just glimpses. That I am not going to change. I want more and more and more. He has all the qualities for that. He understands me better too.
“Our personal relationship is good. I don’t think player-manager relationship is fundamental but it is an added good thing to have a good relation. I hope he will be better this season than last.”
On Saturday Leicester City travel to Old Trafford for the late kick-off. The 2016 champions have started the season well, losing narrowly to Arsenal at the Emirates and beating Brighton at home. http://www.authenticbluesstore.com/al-macinnis-jersey_c-429.html Mourinho said: “It is the same team as they were two seasons ago [when they were champions]. After what they did, [we could probably] could feel that they would not be champions a second consecutive season. Are they going to be champions again? Honestly, I don’t think so. All the other teams are not all going to fail.”
Gareth Southgate has said there is still a possibility he might invite Wayne Rooney out of international retirement for the World Cup if the former Manchester United striker maintains his form for Everton this season and is open to the idea of playing for England in Russia next summer.
Southgate said he would not discount the idea, saying it would be “foolish” to eliminate Rooney from his thinking, but he also called on England’s other players to show they can prosper without the man who won 119 caps for his country. Some of those players, Southgate said, had been guilty of “hiding” behind England’s record scorer.
Rooney announced on Wednesday that he was bringing an end to his 13-year international career, deciding to concentrate on his club career and turn down Southgate’s offer to return to England’s squad. Southgate had previously removed him as captain and dropped him from the squad, leading to one question at the press conference on Thursday about whether he felt like “the man who shot Bambi” but the England manager had wanted to recall the Everton striker for the forthcoming World Cup qualifiers against Malta and Slovakia and is not ruling out the idea of similar conversations before that tournament.
“I don’t see why you ever shut the door on anything,” Southgate said. “I suppose we would have to see where he was at, where the squad was at, where everything else was at. Andrej Sustr Authentic Jersey But it would be foolish to say ‘no’ because anything is possible. A part of that question should go to Wayne because you have to respect his decision and the thinking behind it. But have I seen players change their minds? Yes, I think we all have.”
In the meantime, Southgate’s message to the other England players, with Harry Kane still not officially announced as the new captain, is that they now have to compensate for Rooney’s absence.
“Wayne has been somebody it may have been easy for the other players to hide behind because he was always the one who has carried the burden. http://www.officialtampabaylightning.com/Adidas-Anton-Stralman-Jersey I think that’s been unfair on him. Now everybody has the chance to take the mantle.
“Since Steven [Gerrard] retired, Wayne has probably had to carry that on his own. Even prior to that, he was carrying a lot of responsibility. He has done that tremendously well but now others have to grasp that initiative and responsibility. It is an opportunity for other people now.
“If we are gong to be an outstanding team we need players who are going to step up in the big moments and realise, every time they play for England, they have the chance to be involved in an iconic moment, a historic performance, Andy Janovich Authentic Jersey and that they have that choice every time they go on the field. I want to give them their heads a bit and see what might be possible.”
Southgate confirmed he had been planning to recall Rooney until a telephone conversation made it clear the player did not want to be considered. “In one way there’s a tinge of sadness because, ideally, I would liked to have managed Wayne at his peak and not had to make some of the decisions I have had to make. I’ve taken no pleasure from not selecting Wayne and would have preferred to have had a relationship with him where he was in the team all the time and playing at a world-class level. Unfortunately I was the one who got him at this time. I think I’ve made decisions for the right reasons and I’ve always communicated them in a respectful way. As a manager, you can’t do any more than that. I sit comfortably with that. But I’ve not enjoyed it.
“I go back to the fact I was fortunate enough to play with him [in the Sven-Goran Eriksson era]. I played in his first competitive game when he came on in Liechtenstein. He’d played against Australia before that and, http://www.denverbroncosauthorizedstore.com/adam-gotsis-jersey-elite at that point, we were saying: ‘Who is this kid, what’s he up to?’ We’d seen his goal against Arsenal but he didn’t really say very much at all. By the end of the week it was: ‘Blimey, Sven’s got to pick him, he can’t possibly not pick him.’ We were seeing something I hadn’t seen since [Paul] Gascoigne in terms of all his different attributes.
“I see people debating now about whether Wayne deserves to be thought of as a legend of the English game. Well, he’s our most-capped outfield player and our record scorer. I’m not sure what else you have to do to be a legend. I guess people have a similar debate about [Lionel] Messi because he has not won a World Cup. We are talking about that level of player. We are talking about greats within their own country. We cannot compare ourselves to the Brazilians or Germans but Wayne has done pretty much everything else.
Barcelona are expected to test Liverpool’s resolve with one final bid for Philippe Coutinho in the next few days before looking around to see if there are any credible alternatives. For the sake of Jürgen Klopp’s peace of mind it is to be hoped they do not settle on his other Brazilian, Roberto Firmino, because in the absence of the little magician this season the former Hoffenheim player has not only stepped up to the plate but also stepped up his game.
There is a tendency to see Firmino as simply a top-quality finisher, and he certainly is that, though there are other aspects of his game too, and when Liverpool raced into a three-goal lead before the mid-point of the first half their mobile No9 was pulling the strings just as effectively as the object of Barcelona’s attentions does.
Liverpool could quite easily have been four goals to the good by that stage, for Firmino’s first act of note had been to play Sadio Mané clean through with an inspired diagonal ball. The winger only had Oliver Baumann to beat but had far too much time to think about how to do it and ended up tamely waiting too long. No matter, Adidas Colin Wilson Womens Jersey Firmino played exactly the same pass five minutes later and once again Hoffenheim were sliced open. This time Mané was not quite on his own, and as the cover moved in to block his path he produced a backheel for Emre Can to open the scoring.
Firmino was involved in the second goal as well, cutting in from the left to provide the cross from which Georginio Wijnaldum struck a post for Mohamed Salah to tuck away the rebound, then when set free down the left by Mané’s pass the Brazilian produced a perfect first-time cross to present Can with his second goal of the evening.
The cross was just the end result really, for Firmino had begun the move in his own half with a lay-off to Wijnaldum, http://www.authenticnashvillepredators.com/authentic-dante-fabbro-jersey before setting off on a 50-yard run into free space on the left flank.
All Firmino needed to do to complete a virtuoso evening was score, and he almost did that when Trent Alexander-Arnold’s cute pass allowed Salah to cross from the right. Firmino was quickly on to it but Baumann came out to deny him on the six-yard line.
One of the most impressive things about Firmino is that, though blessed with vision and a range of skills, he resists the temptation to overcomplicate. If a short or simple pass is the best pass, Corey Perry Authentic Jersey that is the one he will play, as at the end of the first half when he almost put Mané away again with a pass of no more than a few feet. He also covers the ground well, coming deep in search of the ball then materialising almost unnoticed in the opposition danger area as soon as an attack has been put in motion.
With such a whirlwind start the tie looked as good as over when the third goal went in, though that is not quite the modern Liverpool way and Alberto Moreno allowing Mark Uth to get outside him on the half-hour put a brake on any premature celebrations.
Klopp himself had been somewhat guilty of that, perhaps not assuming victory was in the bag when the third goal went in but certainly celebrating wildly with the fans behind him. To be fair to him he might just have been overjoyed in recognition of a hallmark Liverpool goal.
Quick passing and movement, crisp first touches and a man spare at the end of the move to apply a slick finish, it was all there. The crowd liked what it saw as well. http://www.officialsanaheimducks.com/Adidas-Dustin-Tokarski-Jersey “Bobby Firmino” was the chant from the Kop at the start of the second half, and Firmino was also the player Kevin Vogt barged over in frustration a few minutes later, a challenge that earned the German captain a booking.
Vogt was also the player Jordan Henderson caught in possession just after the hour to unselfishly set up Firmino for a richly deserved goal. One could readily understand Hoffenheim’s frustration, however.
It cannot be much fun chasing a three- or four-goal deficit when your opponents have Firmino, Mané and Salah ready to hurtle into any space you might leave behind your back-line. Whatever happens on the Coutinho front, Liverpool look well-equipped to give a good account of themselves in the Champions League group stage.
Napoli cruised into the Champions League group stage with a 2-0 win at Nice on Tuesday, scoring their first goal as the Ligue 1 side’s striker Mario Balotelli was arguing with match officials on the touchline.
José Callejòn took advantage of Balotelli’s absence in the 48th minute of the play-off round second-leg tie, handing them an away goal which, added to their 2-0 win from the first leg, effectively ended Nice’s challenge as it left the French side needing to score four. Lorenzo Insigne added another goal as the Serie A side completed a comfortable 4-0 aggregate win.
Balotelli, who missed the first leg through injury, was sluggish, off the pace and never threatened the Napoli goal. The Italian was eventually substituted during the second half to jeers from the home fans.
The low point of the striker’s evening came shortly after the start of the second half, Barry Larkin Authentic Jersey when he went over to the touchline and became embroiled in an argument with match officials. The row appeared to centre on a white bandage over his wrist which French media said was covering up a bracelet – banned under the laws of the game.
While Balotelli was arguing, Marek Hamsik crossed from the left and Callejòn, unmarked at the far post, scored easily.
The Nice coach Lucien Favre reacted furiously to the goal while Balotelli continued his discussion with officials. http://www.authenticcincinnatireds.com/Billy-Hamilton-Jersey Insigne wrapped things up in the 89th minute, collecting Faouzi Ghoulam’s pass and firing into the corner.
“I don’t want to comment on Balotelli,” Favre said afterwards. “It wasn’t very satisfactory, it was not good enough.” He also complained that Balotelli was too slow in leaving the field when he was substituted.
Napoli’s win ended a dismal run for Italy in the final play-off round. Bo Jackson Youth Jersey Serie A teams have lost at the same stage of the competition in the last three seasons, and it will be the first time since 2013-14 that Italy have had three teams in the group stage.
Sevilla suffered a fright, going 1-0 down at home to Istanbul Basaksehir, before drawing 2-2 to win 4-3 on aggregate in another of Tuesday’s ties. Eduardo Berizzo’s side had won the first leg 2-1 in Istanbul, but Eljero Elia’s goal after 17 minutes levelled the tie. In the second half goals from Sergio Escudero and Wissam Ben Yedder swung the contest back in Sevilla’s favour before Edin Visca’s late goal for the visitors set up a nervous finale.
Slovenia’s champions, Maribor, overcame Israel’s Hapoel Beer-Sheva on away goals after a 1-0 home win in the second leg gave them a 2-2 aggregate, http://www.authentickansascityroyals.com/Brandon-Moss-Jersey and Olympiakos beat Rijeka 1-0 away to qualify 3-1 on aggregate, Marko Marin’s goal securing victory and denying the Croatian champions a first-ever group stage appearance.
In terms of prestige, reward and potential ramifications, Liverpool face the third final of Jürgen Klopp’s reign when they host Hoffenheim in the Champions League play-off round. “You can look on it as a final,” the Liverpool manager said, “but in the end it is a football game. It is not allowed to make it bigger.” For Liverpool and Klopp, however, there is no disguising the magnitude of Wednesday’s second leg at Anfield.
Liverpool have a glorious opportunity to not only qualify for the Champions League group stage for a 10th time, and the second time in eight seasons, but also to shape the complexion of their campaign from the start. A return to the European elite would reward last season’s labours and the fight to finish above Arsenal and Manchester United in Klopp’s first full term as manager.
It would also make Anfield an even more appealing prospect for Virgil van Dijk with a little over a week of the transfer window remaining and Liverpool still keen on the commanding Southampton defender. And it should make staying more palatable for Philippe Coutinho. Liverpool have made it clear to the Brazilian, through Klopp in Hong Kong last month, the FSG president Mike Gordon in Munich three weeks ago and in rejecting a bid of €130m last Friday, that he will not be sold to Barcelona this summer.
“Of course,” said Klopp, when asked if he would welcome Coutinho back into the Liverpool fold. “Absolutely 100%. It’s 100% clear that nothing changed. Authentic Jarell Martin Youth Jersey I said already, nothing changed.” Though illness as well as a back injury will keep the unsettled playmaker away from a game that even Klopp, despite his attempt to down-play the importance, admits will have the feel of a final.
The Liverpool manager added: “I do not think in life it makes a lot of sense that if you have big chance you think about the consequences if you lose. In finals you go for it and try your best. Is it good to be in a final? Yes. Is it good to lose it? No. But the only possibility to lose it is to go to it. I will not think about this when I am at home in my bed and thinking about the game.
“It is not about what can happen, it is about what we can influence. I know it is a legend of Anfield on European nights, they are really special and we need these special nights. Everyone who wants this needs to do their job tomorrow. http://www.officialgrizzliestore.com/authentic-jordan-adams-jersey.html I can guarantee the boys will fight for everything. It does not mean we will do it, but it means we will fight for it. I hope we will show the world what we were are able to do. We have to make the next step. The big difference between the game last week and now is that everybody knows how strong the opponent is. I don’t think anyone thinks, ‘great, half-way through’. We have a good result – not a perfect result – but a good one and with the power of Anfield we have to put it to bed.”
History stands on Liverpool’s side and not only because the Champions League play-off constitutes Hoffenheim’s entire experience of European competition after 10 years as a professional club. In 18 European games against German opposition at Anfield, Liverpool have never lost, keeping 13 clean sheets in the process. In 33 European ties when Liverpool have won the first leg away from home, they have never been eliminated at Anfield. The advantage is with Klopp’s team after the 2-1 win at Rhein-Neckar-Arena last week but the first leg encouraged both coaches.
“It is half-time,” insisted Klopp. “That is how I see it. It is half-time and we are in the break. We spoke after the game last week, yesterday, Brandon Marshall Womens Jersey today and tomorrow about Hoffenheim. We want to learn from our mistakes and what we did over there.”
Klopp’s defenders were vulnerable in the first leg and grateful to Simon Mignolet for two important saves. Alberto Moreno was caught out frequently and although one of the five rested against Crystal Palace last Saturday, his place is under increased pressure following Andy Robertson’s assured Liverpool debut in that game. Offensively it was a different story with Sadio Mané flourishing against Hoffenheim’s three-man central defence and revelling in the space behind the right wing-back Pavel Kaderabek. The Senegal international prompted Ermin Bicakcic’s substitution by gliding beyond the defender twice in as many minutes.
Hoffenheim’s shape and selection may alter at Anfield although their coach, Julian Nagelsmann, http://www.officialgiantsfootballs.com/Brad-Wing-Jersey-Cheap insists the natural adventure of a team that kept only three clean sheets away from home in the Bundesliga last season will not be contained.
“Excitement is the predominant feeling,” said Nagelsmann. “I am not in awe. We are good enough not to have to hide here. We know this is a great club with a great history but my feeling is excitement. Liverpool know they’re not going to need an early goal. They are going to play by waiting a bit to see how stable we are. We are going to try to take the lead and if we do that’s going to change Liverpool.”
To the credit of Manchester City there are not many other teams who could come up with this kind of feat of escapology from a position at half-time where they were not only losing to one of the Premier League’s coming teams but also playing with 10 men because of the sending off that had spoiled Kyle Walker’s first night in front of his new fans.
By the end, there was even the sense that Pep Guardiola’s players were disappointed they could not complete the recovery and conjure a late, decisive winner once Raheem Sterling, one of their second-half substitutes, had volleyed in an 82nd-minute equaliser.
Morgan Schneiderlin’s late dismissal, after two bookings of his own, had levelled the numbers and City were still smouldering with a sense of injustice at the end because of the nature of Walker’s second booking and the amateur dramatics from Dominic Calvert-Lewin that made it an ignominious home debut for the £50m man.
The game was not short of talking points and Everton ought to be disappointed they could not Authentic Bishop Sankey Youth Jersey make it a second successive win given the story of the first half and another goal for Wayne Rooney to advance the theory that he might yet return to the England set-up.
Gareth Southgate, the national team manager, was here in readiness for Thursday’s squad announcement for the World Cup qualifiers against Malta and Slovakia and it is not too outlandish to think Rooney could add to his 119 caps.
This was also his 200th top-division goal, making him only the second player after Alan Shearer to reach that number in the Premier League era, and there was another impressive statistic that showed, approaching the age of 32, http://www.chiefsofficialsauthentic.com/CHIEFS-CAIRO-SANTOS-JERSEY he covered more ground than any other Everton player. Calvert-Lewin cannot have been too far behind and it is just a pity, perhaps, that the 20-year-old tarnished an otherwise impressive night with the incident that led to Walker’s second booking in the space of two minutes at the end of the first half.
Walker cannot have too many complaints about the first yellow card for a challenge on Leighton Baines. He was, however, entitled to be aggrieved in the extreme about what happened as he and Calvert-Lewin waited for a high ball to come down. Walker did give his opponent a nudge but it was little more than a gentle reminder of his presence. The collapse from Calvert-Lewin was a deception and the referee, , Bobby Madley, fell for it, having taken the advice of the fourth official, Michael Oliver.
As the players returned to the pitch for the second half, Guardiola was in the tunnel demonstrating to Oliver what had happened with a little nudge of his own and struggling perhaps to conceal the fact he was obviously livid. Babe Ruth Authentic Jersey It is not often the City manager turns on officials in full view of the TV cameras. On this occasion, however, he had legitimate complaints even if Ronald Koeman argued that Schneiderlin might also have been harshly treated for his two bookings, both for fouls on Sergio Agüero.
After being reduced to 10 men, City deserve a lot of credit for still having the ability to trouble the team with the numerical advantage. Gabriel Jesus was removed at half-time and Sterling quickly set about trying to make a favourable impression on the right. Everton were guilty at times of not taking enough care of the ball – Koeman complained that his side had gone long too often – and chose to operate on the counter-attack when the evidence of the first half indicated that Ederson, City’s new goalkeeper, should be put under more sustained pressure.
Ederson was brought in from Benfica, at £34.7m, following a wretched first season for Claudio Bravo and Guardiola could probably be forgiven for thinking the new man should have saved Rooney’s shot. Instead, http://www.authenticyankeeshop.com/authentic-27-austin-romine-jersey.html a rare left-foot effort from the Everton man went through Ederson’s legs, ricocheted off a post and the former England captain was wheeling away to celebrate, cupping his ears to the fans who had been berating him because of his Manchester United connections.
Rooney’s goal was also an ordeal for Leroy Sané given it was his mistake, trying to keep the ball in play, that gave away possession and left City vulnerable to the attack that saw Calvert-Lewin link up with Mason Holgate before laying on the decisive cross.
A couple of minutes earlier, David Silva had cracked a shot against a post and at that stage, it had looked as though City were getting on top. Yet Phil Jagielka in particular was a difficult opponent for Agüero, denying the striker on a number of occasions with some outstanding defending.
Gylfi Sigurdsson, Everton’s record signing, came on for his debut after an hour but City kept pressing and never looked disheartened. Danilo, one of their own substitutes, forced a splendid save from Jordan Pickford and, finally, the home side’s perseverance paid off. Danilo sent over the cross from the right, Holgate’s attempted clearance went straight to Sterling and it was a lovely, instinctive volley he sent flying into the corner of the net.
Antonio Conte has warned Tottenham Hotspur that the grandiose surroundings of the national stadium may serve to inspire visitors to their temporary home in the season ahead, and praised the champions’ fighting spirit as Chelsea kickstarted their title defence.
The Italian was forced to field a makeshift side against Spurs after suspensions and injury ate into his options, with David Luiz forced into midfield and Andreas Christensen handed a first start in the Premier League. Yet two goals from Marcos Alonso left Tottenham, unbeaten at White Hart Lane last season, with only one win in 10 competitive games in this stadium since they won the League Cup against these opponents nine years ago.
Mauricio Pochettino was quick to dismiss the Wembley effect as a contributing factor to his team’s first home loss in the league since May 2016. Yet Conte suggested the chance to play at Wembley had served to inspire his team. “Honestly, this atmosphere was great and this stadium, Wembley, Authentic Brayden Schenn Womens Jersey is fantastic,” he said. “So to feel this atmosphere was amazing, [but] also as an opponent. Our fans tried to push, despite 70,000 Tottenham supporters. But, honestly, I think this kind of atmosphere is great also for the [visiting] opponents.”
Asked about his team’s record at Wembley, Pochettino replied: “It doesn’t affect me. I understand that we need to talk, everyone needs to talk … But I think the Wembley effect is not the reason we lost the game. The team played really well. It’s not fair to blame Wembley. For me, Wembley is one of the best places in the world to play football. And today it was clear: if you love football and watch football, and watch the game again, you will see that Wembley was not the problem.
“Today was not about the tactics. We were much better than Chelsea and we were a little bit unlucky. So I’m not sad or frustrated. http://www.officialflyersteamonline.com/Brian_Propp_Jersey I’m ‘happy’ to lose in that way. We played better and created chances to score. But that’s football. We have to accept they were more clinical than us in front of goal.”
Chelsea’s victory helped ease the tension after a difficult summer behind the scenes and the untimely loss to Burnley at Stamford Bridge on the opening weekend, with Conte praising his depleted team’s response in adversity.
“I want to thank every one of my players,” said the Italian, whose selection had been shorn of the suspended Gary Cahill and Cesc Fàbregas, Authentic Jose Barea Youth Jersey the injured Eden Hazard and Diego Costa, who is absent without leave in Brazil. “They showed me great desire, great spirit, great will, great heart, great will to fight. I saw fighters in a moment that’s not easy for us with the suspensions and the injuries. We suffered during the game, but we were always dangerous in every moment.
“We know very well that a lot of teams improved if you compare with last season. But we have to concentrate on ourselves. It’s not important if we are not favourites in this league. http://www.mavericksteamonline.com/Jose_Juan_Barea_Jersey It was the same last season. We know we are trying to improve our team, our squad, and the club is trying to do its best in the transfer market to try and improve the team and the squad. But I repeat, I’m very happy when I see this type of game. I’m not speaking about football, but this spirit, this heart, this desire.
“I must be satisfied because my players gave me everything today. They did the same last season. There will be more great difficulties in this season, but the only way we can get through these difficulties is to work.
From Manchester City last Saturday to Leicester City this Saturday, title favourite to former champions, the journey for us at Brighton continues with a visit to the home of what has been called the “greatest story ever told”.
It is just 15 months since Leicester lifted the Premier League trophy, completing a fairytale in modern sport that may not ever be repeated. Yet the culture of football’s appetite for new stories and heroes seems to have already consigned their amazing achievement to history.
Not for me. I wrote last week about the importance of having belief, self-confidence and that this wonderful sport we love is not played on the financial balance sheet but on the field between teams of 11 players; Leicester are the ultimate example of what can happen.
The legacy of Claudio Ranieri and his players’ title triumph is that they are and will always be an inspiration for teams like us at Brighton and other so-called smaller clubs.
Their example is the very reason we go out and train and play as well as we possibly Authentic Danny Duffy Womens Jersey can because Leicester proved that miracles can happen. Seven of the players who started in that Leicester first team that won the league in 2016 made the journey with their club from the Championship to the Premier League.
While we were focusing on promotion from the Championship that season, there was a real buzz in our dressing room about the incredible results Leicester were securing game by game and week after week. We’d come in for training or even sat in the dressing room after our game and the conversation would turn to the same things: “Surely they can’t keep winning? Spurs will definitely catch them in the end … They’ve been amazing but what about when the pressure is really on?”
I am sure those same questions were being asked in every dressing room up and down the country and all over the world. They reinvigorated the story of the underdog and gave their peers, http://www.officialangelsproshop.com/Garrett_Richards_Jersey fans and people from all walks of life the belief that the impossible can be overcome. Surely that is one of the most important roles that football, and sport in general, is capable of fulfilling?
What was so impressive was that you could see the confidence flowing through their veins, the togetherness of the whole squad, the substitutes celebrating goals like they were on the field themselves and the sheer determination to prove that they were worthy winners in a fantasy football season.
We should not forget this was a team with one year’s experience together in the Premier League. Sean Taylor Youth Jersey It is a side that should be forever remembered by us at Brighton and Huddersfield, teams that have already been written off this year due to the fact we have not got the superstar talent of many, well-established Premier League clubs.
But neither did Leicester and we all know who Riyad Mahrez, Jamie Vardy and N’Golo Kanté are now.
We should also give credit to that team and their club for the way they shook up the hierarchy in English football. If it was not for their remarkable season based on organisation, skill, team spirit and togetherness, would the Manchester clubs have recruited José Mourinho and Pep Guardiola or Chelsea Antonio Conte?
Leicester’s title forced their bigger rivals to look at themselves and ask tough questions. http://www.footballredskinsprostore.com/Clinton_Portis_Jersey_Cheap No one can deny that in the time since the quality has improved drastically and the clubs I cited now have managers who have given their teams contrasting identities and different playing styles – all of which have added to the drama and quality of the Premier League. I doubt that would have happened without Leicester waking the giants up with a huge slap.
The Football Association is facing questions over why it paid “hush money” to international footballer Eni Aluko after it emerged that a bullying complaint against the England manager, Mark Sampson, included an allegation that he made a remark with “racial and prejudicial connotations” to another player.
Aluko, one of England’s most recognisable female footballers with 102 caps, was paid around £80,000 to sign an agreement that the FA claims was to “avoid disruption” ahead of this summer’s Euro 2017. Aluko’s lawyers believe that the agreement she signed prevents her from speaking about it but the FA insists she is now free to talk about the facts of the case.
The Guardian can reveal that her complaint contained an allegation that Sampson made a “highly inappropriate” remark with whereby he asked a mixed race player how many times she had been in trouble with the police.
“During a meeting with the midfielders’ unit of players, of which I was not present, MS [Sampson] used an analogy about pressing hard in midfield and getting a caution like a police caution,” Aluko’s evidence states. “MS then addressed the player individually and said in relation to being cautioned by police: ‘Haven’t you been arrested before? Four times isn’t it?’”
Aluko, whose brother Sone plays for Fulham, http://www.eaglesofficialsshop.com/Allen_Barbre_Jersey_Cheap was last season’s top scorer in the Women’s Super League and featured in the Professional Footballers’ Association women’s Team of the Year.
However, the 30-year-old was not part of the England squad that reached the semi-finals of the European Championship, instead working as part of Channel 4’s commentary team. Herman Ouseley, the chairman of Kick It Out, has already said the FA needs to explain the full details around the case, pointing out it has a “responsibility to be transparent”.
The FA held an internal investigation and also commissioned a confidential independent inquiry, which did not uphold Aluko’s complaint and found no case for disciplinary action, Authentic Brandon Brooks Womens Jersey before deciding not to take action against Sampson or any member of staff. Yet Aluko’s evidence states her team-mate was left “distressed” by the comment and that other players confirmed they did not take it as a joke. The Guardian knows the identity of the player concerned but has chosen not to name her.
Aluko, who is also a qualified lawyer, says in her complaint there were “derogatory, racial and prejudicial connotations” and the FA will now have to explain why it went to such apparently extraordinary lengths to prevent the case becoming public.
As well as the £80,000 payment, the governing body also awarded Aluko a new one-year central contract, B.J. Upton Womens Jersey worth £20,000, despite her making it clear she would never appear for England again “under his [Sampson’s] management”.
Aluko has not played for England since April and her eight-page complaint, emailed to the FA’s technical director, Dan Ashworth, and head of performance, Dave Reddin, as part of an exercise to gather information about the culture within England’s squads, alleges a “culture of bullying and harassment” in the women’s setup.
Aluko’s evidence continues: “This comment about the player was made with derogatory, racial and prejudicial connotations. It was also a defamatory, untrue statement given that the player has never been arrested and MS’s comment indicates an assumption (subconscious or conscious) that being mixed race from London suggests a criminal record with the police.
“Although I was not present at the meeting, other players confirmed MS made this comment. http://www.officialbluejaysproshop.com/Dalton_Pompey_Jersey Other players confirmed the comment was not received as a joke and created an awkward atmosphere in the room. I was deeply concerned about this comment and felt it was highly inappropriate for the national team coach to make such a sweeping negative generalisation about a new player in the team.”
Publicly, Aluko has stated only that she believes team selections were made on the basis of “popularity” rather than form. However, privately the player who has won 102 caps for her country appears to have felt like she was the victim of sustained bullying and alleges the unfavourable treatment began a month after Sampson’s appointment in April 2014.
Drawing a link to the alleged incident, Aluko’s complaint continued: “As a black female in the team, understanding the unfavourable, racial and social connotations underlying MS’s comment further heightened my feelings of fear and isolation, especially in light of the previous instances where I have been negatively singled out, too.”
Jürgen Klopp hailed Trent Alexander-Arnold’s courage and revealed he told the teenager to take the free-kick that sent Liverpool on their way to a valuable Champions League play-off win away at Hoffenheim.
The 18-year-old defender marked his Champions League debut with a first senior goal for his boyhood club as Liverpool recorded a 2-1 win in the first leg in Germany. http://www.eaglesofficialsshop.com/Allen_Barbre_Jersey_CheapAuthentic Brandon Brooks Womens Jersey said Klopp. “It was an intensive game for him. He has still some things to learn. He thought it was offside but it was obviously not offside, unfortunately. Trent is a great player and I have to say I would rather have 2-1 than 1-0.”
Emre Can and Alberto Moreno both shaped to take the free-kick before Liverpool’s homegrown right-back swept the ball beyond Oliver Baumann. And Klopp admitted: “He took it because I told him he has to do it. I don’t take credit for the free-kick because he takes them better than I ever could. B.J. Upton Womens Jersey But I watched as many under-23 games as I could last season and he took many of the free-kicks then. The goal is the same size even if the wall is not as tall. There is always a big challenge between him and Ben Woodburn with free-kicks after training. It was good. He was lucky the wall didn’t jump but it was a very important moment for us.”
Alexander-Arnold, who grew up close to Liverpool’s training ground in West Derby and joined the club’s academy aged six, reflected: “It is a thing of dreams to make your European debut for your boyhood club and to make it with a goal was very special for me. I got egged-on to take the free-kick, to be honest. I never put my hand up first but I had the confidence to take it and it paid off.”
Klopp said Liverpool had allowed Hoffenheim possession in unthreatening areas during the game, a view that did not go down well with his opposite number. “I don’t agree,” countered Nagelsmann. http://www.officialbluejaysproshop.com/Dalton_Pompey_Jersey “We had the ball in many important spaces.He has to say that and defend his team. He can’t say, ‘Hoffenheim played great and we were.
Jürgen Klopp has described Liverpool’s Champions League play-off with Hoffenheim as “the most difficult step” towards reaching the lucrative group stage for only the second time in eight seasons.
Liverpool visit the Rhein-Neckar-Arena on Tuesday without the injured Philippe Coutinho, Authentic Alec Ogletree Youth Jersey Adam Lallana and Daniel Sturridge and with the transfer saga surrounding the Brazilian plus fresh set-piece problems at Watford on Saturday casting a shadow over the start of their campaign. Hoffenheim, who like Liverpool finished fourth in their league last season, have also suffered disruption this summer with two key players, the Germany internationals Sebastian Rudy and Niklas Sule, departing for Bayern Munich.
Klopp insists Liverpool are “in a good moment” for the first leg of the play-off and that the stance of the owner, Fenway Sports Group, towards Coutinho has not changed following Friday’s transfer request. But he believes Julian Nagelsmann’s “confident and aggressive” Hoffenheim team represent the most difficult obstacle to Liverpool’s aim of rejoining the European elite this season.
“This is the strongest qualification round,” the Liverpool manager said. “England play Germany and you can go out against Germany. We were both fourth last season, both in strong leagues, http://www.losangelesramsauthorizedstore.com/aaron-donald-jersey-elite but that does not increase the pressure. We want to go to the group stages. That was our target for the whole of last season and now we have two steps to go – but they are the most difficult steps. That is how it is.
“If anybody thinks because they don’t know about German football or the quality of Hoffenheim – and a lot of people only know two names [Bayern and Borussia Dortmund] – it is clear we have to do the job. I am really positive and looking forward to the game, even when I know it is really difficult. That is no problem. That is how it should be in the Champions League, where all the games are difficult.”
Despite the difficulties posed by Hoffenheim Klopp has called on his players to enjoy the pressure of the Champions League play-off. Authentic Ameer Abdullah Womens Jersey “From all the signs of pre-season and the first game I think we are in a good moment,” he added. “But we have to show it tomorrow.
“Yes, it is big because we can go in the Champions League. You can see the opportunity in different ways. We have already qualified for European competition which we didn’t have last year. I know now people will say: ‘Yes, but who wants to play in the Europa League?’ Manchester United didn’t want to play it last year but they won it and now they are in the Champions League. Things happen like that. We can either allow the pressure on this game to increase over the next 24 hours to the extent that we cannot walk any more or we still try to enjoy this opportunity. I think that is the best way to do it.”
The Liverpool manager reiterated that FSG will not sell Coutinho this summer even with the 25-year-old, who misses the play-off first leg with a back problem, http://www.officialauthenticlions.com/WOMENS_YOUTH_ASHAWN_ROBINSON_JERSEY.html agitating for a transfer. Klopp was reluctant to discuss the Brazil international but clarified his comments at Watford on Saturday, when he stated “his bosses” will decide the player’s future.
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