We Beat Man City By Strategy, Says Mourinho

Tottenham Hotspur’s Argentinian midfielder Giovani Lo Celso (R) reacts with Tottenham Hotspur’s French goalkeeper Hugo Lloris (C) after the final whistle of the English Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, on November 21, 2020. (Photo by NEIL HALL / POOL / AFP)

 

 

Tottenham coach, Jose Mourinho has said his players’ commitment and their ability to follow through a strategy, ensured victory over Manchester City in a Premier League clash on Saturday. 

“The players gave everything and followed a strategy. They were amazing,” Mourinho said. “We found a way to play and it was magnificent to see them play how they did.”

Tottenham powered to the top of the Premier League with an impressive 2-0 win against Manchester City, while Chelsea are up to second place after their victory at Newcastle on Saturday.

Manchester United remain well off the pace in ninth but did manage a first home win in the Premier League for seven games as Bruno Fernandes’s twice-taken penalty saw off lowly West Brom 1-0.

Spurs end the day on top of the table for the first time in six years as goals from Son Heung-min and Giovani Lo Celso saw off a toothless City at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium.

Tottenham took the lead after five minutes as Son ran onto Tanguy Ndombele’s lofted pass, beat the City offside trap and slotted a cool finish under Ederson for already his 11th goal of the season.

City dominated possession but struggled to create chances and were cut open again for Spurs’ second with just their second shot on target.

Lo Celso came off the bench to score just 35 seconds after his introduction as he raced onto Harry Kane’s sublime pass to slot past Ederson.

On the one-year anniversary of Jose Mourinho’s appointment, Tottenham are unbeaten in their last eight league games since losing to Everton on the opening weekend, sparking hopes of a genuine title challenge.

Tottenham, who last won the top-flight title in 1961, lead Chelsea by two points with the two set to face each other next weekend.

City are languishing in 11th place, eight points behind the leaders, albeit with a game in hand.

Pep Guardiola extended his contract at the Etihad to 2023 this week, but his side look a shadow of the swaggering outfit that won successive league titles in 2018 and 2019.

Twelve points from eight games is City’s lowest total at this stage of a Premier League campaign since 2008-09.

“We had more chances than them but we lost. Mourinho’s teams are like this, you make a mistake and they punish you on the counter attack,” Guardiola said.

– ‘Stay humble’ –
Chelsea maintained their fine form as Federico Fernandez’s first-half own goal and Tammy Abraham’s strike sealed a 2-0 win at St James’ Park.

Frank Lampard’s side are unbeaten in nine games in all competitions and have not lost in their last six league matches.

With five clean sheets in their last six outings in all competitions, Chelsea’s third successive league victory was the perfect way to start a hectic period leading up to Christmas.

The visitors’ pressure was rewarded in the 10th minute when Mason Mount whipped in a low cross and Fernandez turned it into his own net under pressure from Ben Chilwell.

Chelsea put the result beyond doubt in the 65th minute when Timo Werner accelerated away from the Newcastle defence and slipped a pass to Abraham, who guided his shot in off the post.

“I won’t get excited about being top of the table for five minutes,” said Lampard. “It’s important to be humble and know it’s a long race.”

United still have a long way to go to claw themselves back into title contention as they again flattered to deceive at Old Trafford despite picking up a long-awaited win.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men got two slices of penalty fortune as West Brom were awarded a spot-kick first early in the second-half when Fernandes challenged Connor Gallagher.

However, on review, referee David Coote overturned his original decision.

Moments later, the Red Devils got a penalty for Darnell Furlong’s handball.

Fernandes’s first effort was saved, but he got a second chance as Sam Johnstone had jumped off his line prior to the Portuguese international’s kick.

Fernandes slammed home the reprieve, but was still not happy at missing from the spot for the third time this season.

“Ok, I scored the second one but I need to score the first one,” he said. “Three points is the most important thing but we know we can do much better and we will do for sure.”

Earlier, Aston Villa missed the chance to go top for a few hours as Brighton ended a run of seven games without a win with a 2-1 victory at Villa Park.

Solly March scored the winner after Ezri Konsa cancelled out Danny Welbeck’s opener.

AFP

Calvert-Lewin’s Brace Hands Everton First Win In Five League Games

Fulham’s Portuguese striker Ivan Cavaleiro (C) slips as he takes a penalty, putting the ball high over the crossbar and failing to score during the English Premier League football match between Fulham and Everton at Craven Cottage in London on November 22, 2020.
JOHN SIBLEY / POOL / AFP

 

Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored after just 42 seconds as Everton ended their losing run with a 3-2 win at Fulham, while injury-ravaged Liverpool prepared for their crucial clash with Leicester on Sunday.

Calvert-Lewin maintained his fine form to put Carlo Ancelotti’s side ahead inside a minute at Craven Cottage.

Bobby Decordova-Reid equalised for Fulham, but England striker Calvert-Lewin netted again and Abdoulaye Doucoure got Everton’s third before half-time.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek reduced the deficit in the second half, but Everton held on to win for the first time in five league games.

After a three-game losing streak dented their bid to finish in the top four, Everton are up to sixth place.

“The most important part of the game was to be back to winning,” Ancelotti said.

“We lost energy in the second half, the players were tired. I changed to put more fresh legs on the pitch but we had to defend. In the end it went well.”

Fulham’s Portuguese striker Ivan Cavaleiro (2R) slips as he takes a penalty, putting the ball high over the crossbar and failing to score during the English Premier League football match between Fulham and Everton at Craven Cottage in London on November 22, 2020. Julian Finney / POOL / AFP

 

Everton made the perfect start when Richarlison advanced into the Fulham area before whipping over a low cross that Calvert-Lewin bundled in for 12th goal of the season.

Fulham equalised in the 15th minute when Tom Cairney’s pass picked out Decordova-Reid and he eased clear of Yerry Mina to fire in.

Everton hit back as Calvert-Lewin netted again in the 29th minute from Lucas Digne’ cross.

Digne was the provider once more in the 35th minute when his cross was headed home by Doucoure.

Ben Godfrey gave away a 68th minute penalty with a trip on Loftus-Cheek.

Ademola Lookman had missed embarrassingly from the spot against West Ham in Fulham’s previous game, so Ivan Cavaleiro stepped up, but the winger slipped as he took his kick and the ball flew high over the bar.

Loftus-Cheek got one back in the 70th minute when he met Lookman’s pass with a shot that deflected in off Mina.

Fulham remain one place above the relegation zone after their third defeat in four games.

– Haller ends drought –
Bottom of the table Sheffield United’s wait for their first win this season goes on after they were beaten 1-0 by West Ham at Bramall Lane.

Chris Wilder’s side have lost eight of their nine league games, shattering the feelgood factor after last season’s impressive first campaign back in the top-flight.

Sebastien Haller broke the deadlock in the 56th minute with his first goal since September.

When Pablo Fornals’ blocked effort ricocheted to Haller just outside the area, the Ivory Coast striker unleashed a fierce shot that flashed into the roof of the net.

It was Haller’s first goal from outside the area in 190 games across the Eredivisie, Bundesliga and Premier League combined.

Declan Rice headed against the bar as West Ham looked for a second, but Oli McBurnie was inches away from equalising when he crashed a left-footed strike off the woodwork.

The game of the day is at Anfield, where Leicester would replace Tottenham on top of the table if they can beat champions Liverpool, who will climb to second with a victory.

Already rocked by the long-term injury to Virgil van Dijk, Liverpool’s defensive resources were further depleted during the international break with Joe Gomez ruled out for the remainder of the season.

Trent Alexander-Arnold is out for a further two weeks, while Jordan Henderson is an injury doubt after picking up a muscle strain on international duty.

Top scorer Mohamed Salah will also be missing after testing positive for coronavirus while in Egypt.

There is a huge opportunity for former Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers to become the first man to lead a visiting side to a league win at Anfield since April 2017 with no such injury concerns for the third placed Foxes.

Jamie Vardy’s retirement from England duty means Leicester’s top scorer has had two weeks off, while Rodgers could have full-backs Ricardo Pereira and Timothy Castagne back from injury.

In Sunday’s other game, Leeds host Arsenal.

AFP

Man City, Liverpool’s Vulnerabilities Promise Wide Open Title Race

AFP PHOTO

 

For the past three years, Manchester City and Liverpool have dominated the Premier League to an extent never seen before in English football.

But after three seasons in which the title winner has averaged 99 points, neither side carries the same fear factor in an unpredictable campaign that offers a series of challengers hope of winning the league.

Defending champions Liverpool still head to City on Sunday in second place, trailing surprise leaders Southampton only by goal difference.

But Jurgen Klopp’s men have already dropped more points in seven games than they did in their opening 27 in romping to the title last season.

Of more lasting damage to their title credentials, the Reds have also lost the towering presence of defender Virgil van Dijk for what looks set to be the lion’s share of the season.

Even when the giant Dutchman was still present, Liverpool suffered a historic 7-2 humiliation to Aston Villa a month ago that leaves them with still the worst defensive record in the league.

“So many things are different this year,” said Klopp on Friday in a season where a packed schedule and empty stadiums appear to be levelling the playing field.

“Nothing is to compare with last year. Nothing is to compare with the year before.

“We just have to make sure we get through very intense periods, line up the fittest players and play the best football we can. In this case, it is against Man City, which is obviously one of the most difficult games to play in the world.”

Fitness issues have also contributed to City’s shaky start.

After a two-week-long pre-season due to their Champions League commitments in August, Pep Guardiola’s men won just two of their opening five league games, including a 5-2 thrashing at home to Leicester.

Injuries to Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus have left City often without a natural striker, while Aymeric Laporte, Riyad Mahrez and Ilkay Gundogan also missed matches due to positive coronavirus tests.

City start the weekend down in 10th, albeit just five points off Liverpool and with a game in hand.

– Too early to call –

Both have steadied the ship in recent weeks and remain bookies favourites to fight for the title.

But they face stiff competition with Chelsea and Tottenham significantly strengthening for a title challenge, while Guardiola warned of the threat posed by Leicester and Arsenal.

“They (Liverpool) are the biggest favourite, but I think what happened with the pandemic this season is different, so I see other teams really strong,” said Guardiola.

Yet, the mutual respect between the two managers mean they continue to see each other as the biggest threat for the title.

Guardiola admitted earlier this year that Klopp’s Liverpool are “the toughest rival I have faced in my career.”

But City have never lost at home to Liverpool in the league since the Catalan arrived in Manchester, including a 4-0 thrashing of the newly-crowned champions when they last met in July.

Clashes between the two have gone a long way to settling the destiny of the title in recent years. After an uncertain start to the season, City’s 5-0 triumph over a 10-man Liverpool in September 2017 was the second of an 18-match winning run that catapulted them towards a record 100 Premier League points.

A thrilling 2-1 win for Guardiola’s side in January 2019 was Liverpool’s only defeat of the season in which they still missed out on the title despite amassing 97 points.

Last season it was Liverpool’s 3-1 success early in the campaign that opened up a nine-point lead between the sides that City never recovered from.

This time, though, Guardiola believes it is too early to make conclusions this time, much like another battle for power this week.

“It’s an important game, but as the presidential elections in the United States of America, all the votes must be counted,” he said on Friday. “There are a lot of points to play (for).”

-AFP

Full EPL Fixtures: Man City Face Liverpool Showdown, Solskjaer Under Fire

premier-league-fixtures-today
 Photo: Twitter/Premier League.

 

Manchester City’s bid to regain the Premier League title faces a defining moment against leaders Liverpool this weekend, while Ole Gunnar Solskjaer fights to silence the critics as troubled Manchester United take on Everton.

City are already five points behind Liverpool, albeit with a game in hand, and cannot afford to lose to the champions at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

Pep Guardiola’s side have allowed Liverpool to steal a march on them after winning just three of their first six league games.

Although City have won five of their last six games in all competitions, including a midweek Champions League success against Olympiakos, they remain some way short of their peak form.

Hampered by Sergio Aguero’s recurring injury problems, City have lacked a cutting edge at times.

Guardiola can take heart from the return to fitness of Brazilian striker Gabriel Jesus, who came off the bench to score against Olympiakos.

Acknowledging the significance of the Liverpool match to City’s title hopes, Jesus said: “It’s a very important game for us. It’s a direct confrontation against the leader of the table.

“We need to be very focused, especially playing at home. We need to play our way and try to win the game. We need to win those three points if we want to aspire to win the Premier League again.”

While City have made a spluttering start, Liverpool appear back to their best despite the absence of key defender Virgil van Dijk.

Klopp has been forced to alternate between inexperienced youngsters Rhys Williams and Nat Phillips as Joe Gomez’s partner in central defence, but the Liverpool machine is still running smoothly.

Jurgen Klopp’s team have won five games in all competitions and conceded just two goals since Van Dijk suffered the serious knee injury that is likely to rule him out for the rest of the season.

Liverpool, one point clear of second placed Leicester, crushed Atalanta 5-0 in the Champions League in midweek thanks to in-form Diogo Jota’s hat-trick.

“We are not a team of only one player. The last weeks have been difficult times because we have lost some important players in our team, but now we have many coming back as well,” Liverpool keeper Alisson Becker said.

– Under pressure –
Meanwhile, Manchester United’s dismal start to the season has left Solskjaer in danger of the sack.

After two successive losses, another damaging defeat at Everton would put the Norwegian under intense pressure amid reports United’s board have made contact with representatives of former Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino.

United’s shock 2-1 defeat at Istanbul Basaksehir in the Champions League on Wednesday was an especially embarrassing night for Solskjaer as his team’s defensive frailties came back to haunt him yet again.

Beaten by Arsenal in the league last weekend, United are off to their worst start at home since 1972, so Solskjaer might welcome an away game against an Everton side who have lost their last two games.

But Solskjaer, whose side sit just four points above the relegation zone, will know the forthcoming international break potentially presents an opportunity for his dismissal if he doesn’t inspire a win against Everton.

United, losers in three of their six league games, have not been beaten in four of their first seven in a league campaign since 1989-90.

“I decline to comment on such a thing. Of course, it’s early on and opinions are out there all the time. You’ve got to stay strong,” Solskjaer said after the shambles in Istanbul.

“I’m employed by the club to do a job and I do that to the best of my ability with my staff.”

Elsewhere this weekend, if Liverpool drop points against City, then Leicester, who host Wolves, or Tottenham, who travel to West Bromwich Albion, could seize first place.

Fixtures (all times GMT):

Friday

Brighton v Burnley (1730), Southampton v Newcastle (2000)

Saturday

Everton v Manchester United (1230), Crystal Palace v Leeds (1500), Chelsea v Sheffield United (1730), West Ham v Fulham (2000)

Sunday

West Brom v Tottenham (1200), Leicester v Wolves (1400), Manchester City v Liverpool (1630), Arsenal v Aston Villa (1915)

Chelsea’s Havertz Tests Positive For Coronavirus

File photo: Chelsea’s German midfielder Kai Havertz (L) celebrates after scoring his team’s fifth goal during the English League Cup third round football match between Chelsea and Barnsley at Stamford Bridge in London on September 23, 2020. (Photo by NEIL HALL / POOL / AFP)

 

Chelsea forward Kai Havertz has gone into self-isolation after testing positive for the coronavirus.

Havertz’s Covid-19 test was revealed after the German was missing from Chelsea’s squad for their Champions League clash with Rennes at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.

“Frank Lampard has confirmed Kai Havertz has tested positive for Covid-19,” a statement on Chelsea’s website said.

“As a consequence the player is now undergoing a period of self-isolation and is not involved in tonight’s Champions League game versus Rennes.”

Havertz has endured a difficult start to his time at Chelsea since joining from Bayer Leverkusen in the close-season.

The 21-year-old has scored just one goal in the Premier League, struggling to reach his peak form after being used in a variety of positions by Blues boss Frank Lampard.

Arsenal Beat Man United, Break 14 Years Winless Streak At Old Trafford

Arsenal have not won at the Old Trafford since 2006. Photo: Twitter @Arsenal FC

 

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang slammed home from the spot to give Arsenal a 0-1 victory over Manchester United in a Premier League tie on Sunday, ending Arsenal 14-year winless streak at the Old Trafford. 

With the defeat, United have gone six matches in the league without a win, leaving them 15th in the table.

Starved of the chance to counter-attack by the visitors’ disciplined set-up, United were far from the threat that thrashed RB Leipzig 5-0 in the Champions League in midweek.

Arsenal have struggled for goals of late, but were gifted the chance to win the game by Paul Pogba’s mis-timed lunge on Hector Bellerin and Aubameyang’s first league goal since the opening day of the season moved Mikel Arteta’s men up to eighth.

Victory also ended a run of 29 games without a win away from home for Arsenal against their ‘big six’ rivals stretching back to January 2015.

The day started in sombre fashion for United as they remembered former great Nobby Stiles, who died at 78 this week, and confirmed the news that another legend of the club Bobby Charlton is suffering from dementia.

On the field, there was precious little to lift the mood at Old Trafford as United again failed to shine on their own patch.

In his 100th game as United manager, Solskjaer stuck with the 4-4-2 system that demolished Leipzig in such stunning fashion.

However, Arsenal were not so easily opened up on the counter-attack as Arteta’s side again just lacked a cutting edge up front to turn a disciplined performance into a more convincing win.

Aubameyang had not scored a Premier League goal since signing a new three-year contract six weeks ago and prior to his penalty endured another frustrating day in front of goal as he could not stretch far enough to turn home Bellerin’s dangerous low cross at the back post early on.

Mason Greenwood fired low into the feet of Bernd Leno from Marcus Rashford’s pass in a rare sighting of United’s front two in the first half.

But Solskjaer would have been content just to get to half-time on level terms as Willian struck the bar for the visitors after a well-worked one-two with Aubameyang before Bukayo Saka headed the best chance of the half over the bar.

Arsenal continued to pose the greater threat after the break as Aubameyang curled wide the sort of half-chance he has made his speciality from the edge of the box before the outstanding Thomas Partey stung the palms of David de Gea.

Solskjaer’s change of shape has been seen as a way of getting Pogba back into the team alongside Bruno Fernandes.

But a moment of ill discipline from Pogba finally gave Arsenal the breakthrough 21 minutes from time as the Frenchman needlessly dived in to clip Bellerin inside the box.

Aubameyang kept his cool to break his scoring drought by sending De Gea the wrong way and score Arsenal’s first goal in the Premier League for 277 minutes.

The visitors then held out doggedly with the closest United coming to an equaliser when Mohamed Elneny and Leno combined to turn Donny van de Beek’s cross onto their own post.

Premier League Chief Masters Pleads For Second Look At Stadium Fan Ban

Photo Credit: Premier League

 

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters has pleaded with the government to rethink its stadium supporter ban, calling for football to be treated “fairly”.

Matches at the end of last season in the English top-flight and the beginning of the new campaign have been played behind closed doors due to the coronavirus crisis.

Plans to pilot a limited return of fans from October 1 were shelved last month due to tighter lockdown measures following a surge in cases of Covid-19 in Britain.

Masters told The Times newspaper that he welcomed the return of audiences to concert venues but said football stadiums should be included.

“It’s good news that (concert) venues can run socially distanced events indoors, it gives them a lifeline,” he said. “We are starting to see the return of the paying spectator at a ticketed event and we just believe that football should be allowed to do the same.

“We do understand why caution is needed but what we are asking for is consistency from the government so that sport is treated as fairly as other activities.”

“We are a highly regulated environment. We have the Sports Grounds Safety Authority in place to ensure that supporters are safe at all times and we’re outdoors in a highly stewarded environment. What we really need is clarity for our clubs and supporters and a road map from government.”

Masters said Premier League clubs were facing a number of tough challenges including the scrapping of the October return date for fans, expectations to help clubs lower down the pyramid and the frustration of seeing entertainment arenas close to football grounds reopen with no “roadmap” for the return of supporters.

Masters cited the example of the Bundesliga, which has allowed limited number of fans back depending on local virus rates, as one that clubs could potentially follow.

“The government is managing the country around local conditions so we have to be flexible in that respect,” he said.

“We have been in regular conversation with our German counterparts and we are aware of how it’s working and how it is not working for some clubs where the numbers are higher.

“Like everything, you have to start somewhere and just to do it would be fantastic. Football needs its voice back, we need fans back in the stadiums to provide that missing ingredient.

“Having fans back, even if it is not exclusively across the league, has given German football a massive boost.”

-AFP

Premier League Clubs Spend Big In Transfer Window Despite COVID -19 Crisis

 

The empty stadium is pictured ahead of the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Liverpool at the Emirates Stadium in London on July 15, 2020.
Glyn KIRK / POOL / AFP

 

The spectre of empty stands and uncertainty over future broadcast and commercial contracts failed to halt the Premier League’s arms race as clubs again splashed out more than £1 billion in the transfer window.

English top-flight clubs committed to deals worth a reported £1.2 billion ($1.5 billion), the lowest spend for a summer transfer window since 2015.

However, the impact of the coronavirus pandemic was more marked when it came to player sales as Europe’s other major leagues tightened their belts.

Outgoings of around £400 million mean the £800 million net spend is the second-highest on record in a single window.

“The sensible way to look at it was that maybe the transfer market is not going to be as buoyant as in previous years,” John Purcell of football finance specialists Vysyble told AFP.

“What we’ve ended up with is actually the second-highest net spend total for a summer window ever.

“When clubs are doing these deals it tends to be a low down-payment and then the rest of the amount that needs to be paid is back-ended.

“That suggests to us that, firstly, the clubs are thinking this COVID situation is not going to last forever. Secondly, it is forcing the clubs to stack up against their risk exposure a little bit further down the track.”

– Barca’s bleak outlook –

In stark contrast to the Premier League’s investment, transfer spending in La Liga, Serie A and the Bundesliga shrank dramatically.

Far from going for a new Galactico, Real Madrid did not make a single signing.

Barcelona’s dire financial figures for the 2019/20 season show why they spent most of the summer trying to get the big salaries of Luis Suarez, Arturo Vidal and Ivan Rakitic off their books. All three were sold for nominal fees.

The Catalan giants saw revenue fall by an estimated 203 million euros last season and expect at least a further 60 million euro drop for the current campaign, with more of the season played behind closed doors.

Meanwhile spending in Serie A fell by over half a billion euros compared to the 2019 summer window, despite Juventus’ 60 million-euro deadline day deal for Italy winger Federico Chiesa and Napoli splashing up to 80 million euros on Nigeria striker Victor Osimhen, according to daily Gazzetta Dello Sport.

However, the competition for lucrative Champions League places and the battle to remain in the top flight is driving the need to spend in the Premier League.

Just a month into the new season, champions Liverpool have been thrashed 7-2 by Aston Villa, while Manchester City and Manchester United have been humiliated at home by two sides that finished outside the top four last season — Leicester and Tottenham.

“It’s no secret that the Premier League is getting increasingly competitive. We used to talk about the big four, now we talk about the big six,” said Chris Winn, football finance expert at the UCFB Global Institute of Sport.

“As things are getting more and more competitive, especially in this environment where seemingly anything is possible, the last thing that clubs want to be worrying about beyond the uncertainty of the pandemic is the effect of relegation or not qualifying for Europe.

“The impact of that alone could be even greater than the amounts we are seeing spent by clubs on an individual basis this summer.”

The huge transfer fees do not even take into account the extra financial commitments some clubs have taken on in terms of salaries — Gareth Bale moved to Tottenham on loan from Real Madrid and Edinson Cavani joined Manchester United on a free transfer.

Further financial pressure comes from the British government, which wants the Premier League to help out clubs further down the football pyramid who rely on gate receipts.

No rescue package has yet been agreed but failure to do so would risk another PR disaster for the Premier League.

Liverpool and Tottenham backtracked after initially planning to use government funds to furlough non-playing staff earlier this year.

And Arsenal faced a backlash after it was reported that the man who played club mascot Gunnersaurus had been released as part of cost-cutting measures on the same day the club paid £45 million to sign Thomas Partey from Atletico Madrid.

On the field, the Premier League has defied the Covid gloom with unpredictable goalfests taking the eye off empty backdrops.

Now it is betting on that product to sustain revenues even in a global economic crisis.

Mourinho Takes Swipe At ‘Gary’ Southgate

File photo: Tottenham Hotspur’s Portuguese head coach Jose Mourinho gestures on the touchline during the English Premier League football match between Southampton and Tottenham Hotspur at St Mary’s Stadium in Southampton, southern England on September 20, 2020. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / POOL / AFP)

 

Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho took a swipe at Gareth Southgate on Thursday as he called the England manager ‘Gary’ and questioned his plans for Harry Kane.

Mourinho does not think Tottenham striker Kane should be involved in all three of England’s forthcoming friendly against Wales and Nations League fixtures with Belgium and Denmark.

After a gruelling run of fixtures for Tottenham, which continued with a 7-2 win over Maccabi Haifa in the Europa League on Thursday, Mourinho fears Kane could be in danger of burnout.

Southgate recently said Mourinho must look after Kane in April and May with the European Championships around the corner.

With tongue in cheek, Southgate also pointed out that Mourinho had only namechecked England assistant coach Steve Holland as a friend in his comments.

Kane showed why both men want him to play every minute of every game with a hat-trick and an assist in the romp over Maccabi Haifa which booked Tottenham’s place in the group stages.

But Mourinho used his interviews after the game to get the final word in, although he made a slip by calling the England boss ‘Gary’.

“What I can promise to my friend Steve Holland and for Gary (sic) not to be jealous. For my friend Gary, I can promise that until the end of the season I don’t play Harry Kane one minute of any friendly match,” Mourinho said.

“His match was a fundamental match for us. A match that means a few million pounds and means that we are in a group phase of a competition that we have ambitions.”

AFP

Aston Villa Sign Chelsea’s Barkley On Loan

Ross Barkley joins Villa on a season-long loan. Photo: [email protected] Villa

 

Aston Villa have announced the signing of midfielder Ross Barkley on a season-long loan from Chelsea.

The 26-year-old had made three appearances for Frank Lampard’s side this season, scoring once.

Villa manager Dean Smith said: “Capturing a player of Ross’s quality is a real coup for our club and I am certain he will thrive here and improve our team.”

The England international has been at Stamford Bridge since joining from Everton in January 2018.

https://twitter.com/AVFCOfficial/status/1311249680089649152?s=20

He will be unavailable for Thursday’s League Cup visit of Stoke, having already played in the competition for Chelsea this season.

Smith’s side have won their opening two Premier League games and Barkley could make his debut against Liverpool on Sunday.

AFP

Lampard Blames Fast Paced Match Fixtures For Current Chelsea Form


Chelsea's English head coach Frank Lampard gestures during the English FA Cup semi-final football match between Manchester United and Chelsea at Wembley Stadium in London, on July 19, 2020. Andy Rain / POOL / AFP
Chelsea’s English head coach Frank Lampard gestures during the English FA Cup semi-final football match between Manchester United and Chelsea at Wembley Stadium in London, on July 19, 2020. Andy Rain / POOL / AFP

 

Frank Lampard says he is struggling to find the time to work with his new-look Chelsea team on the training pitch as the fixtures come thick and fast.

Tammy Abraham’s last-gasp strike rescued a 3-3 draw against West Bromwich Albion on Saturday after the London side had trailed 3-0.

The result means Chelsea have taken just four points from their first three Premier League matches after an opening win against Brighton and a 2-0 defeat to Liverpool.

Lampard, who has spent heavily during the summer transfer window, blamed “very clear individual mistakes” for his team’s problems at the Hawthorns.

But he said it was difficult to put in enough work on the training ground, with two matches a week and a looming international break.

“I keep saying it and I’m not pleading or making excuses — it’s just a fact,” Lampard said ahead of Tuesday’s League Cup clash against Tottenham.

“Part of the reason we had a successful year last year was the work we put in on the training ground.”

“When you have new players in you really want to work like that,” he added. “We haven’t had the chance. So not just at the back, the whole way we’re playing, it needs work.

“Football doesn’t work that you throw things together and everything is amazing because otherwise, we wouldn’t have had managers who have shown that work brings success.”

After Saturday’s home Premier League match against Crystal Palace, Chelsea are not in action again until October 17, with players jetting off to represent their countries.

Lampard said he hoped they would not be over-worked by international managers and would “come back safely”.

The Chelsea boss made a point of defending goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga, whose future at Chelsea is in doubt after the signing of Senegal keeper Edouard Mendy from Rennes.

Lampard played down suggestions that the error-prone Spaniard may have played his last game for the club.

“It’s been a difficult time for Kepa,” he said. “I think that’s well-documented but I know it and he knows it.

“We should certainly not jump to that conclusion and also, which I feel quite strongly about in the last week, (we) understand that Kepa is a young man and a lot of the spotlight on him has become slightly unfair.

“I have to protect him because I know he’s a good lad and playing with absolute professionalism and intent to do the best he can.”

-AFP

Vardy Scores Twice From The Spot To Hand Leicester Massive Win Over Man City

Leicester City’s English striker Jamie Vardy shoots to score their third goal from the penalty spot during the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and Leicester City at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north-west England, on September 27, 2020. Catherine Ivill / POOL / AFP

 

English striker Jamie Vardy scored twice from the spot on Sunday to give Brendan Rodgers’ men a 2-5 win over Manchester City in a Premier League encounter at the Etihad Stadium.

 

Jamie Vardy hit a hat-trick as Leicester exposed Manchester City’s defensive flaws with a stunning 5-2 win at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

Pep Guardiola’s side went ahead after just four minutes thanks to Riyad Mahrez’s thunderous strike.

But that was as good as it got for City as Vardy tore Guardiola’s creaky defence to pieces with his pace and superb movement.

Kyle Walker’s foul on Vardy led to a penalty that the striker converted himself before the break.

 

Leicester City’s English striker Jamie Vardy walks off with the match ball having scored a hattrick during the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and Leicester City at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north-west England, on September 27, 2020. Leicester won the game 5-2. Catherine Ivill / POOL / AFP

 

Vardy struck again with a fine finish in the second half and netted another spot-kick after being fouled by Eric Garcia.

James Maddison’s brilliant strike added Leicester’s fourth before Nathan Ake scored his first City goal.

Youri Tielemans’ penalty made it five, sealing Leicester’s third successive victory and leaving City bruised after their most embarrassing league defeat under Guardiola since a 4-0 loss at Everton in 2017.

For the first time ever, Guardiola saw one of his teams concede five goals in his 686th game as a manager with City, Bayern Munich and Barcelona.

It was the first time City had conceded five goals in a home league game since 2003 against Arsenal — a devastating setback after their win at Wolves in their Premier League opener last Monday.

City looked even worse at the back than last season despite the signing of Bournemouth centre-back Ake.

Amid reports City could be about to sign Benfica centre-half Ruben Dias, Guardiola could have been forgiven for rushing to seal the deal once the final whistle blew.

While it is too early to write off City’s title hopes, they will need to improve significantly if they are overhaul champions, Liverpool.

With Gabriel Jesus joining Sergio Aguero on the sidelines due to injury, Guardiola was without an experienced central striker.

As he did in the Champions League win against Real Madrid last season, England midfielder Phil Foden filled the role upfront as a false nine, but he struggled to make an impact.

– Rattled City –

City were ahead in the fourth minute when James Justin could only half-clear Kevin De Bruyne’s corner and Mahrez smashed a superb strike into the top corner from wide on the right-hand side of the Leicester area.

Fernandinho should have doubled City’s lead, but the Brazilian headed De Bruyne’s free-kick straight at Kasper Schmeichel.

But after dominating the first half, City were rocked in the 37th minute.

Harvey Barnes’ precise pass played Vardy in behind Walker and the City defender made a panicked tug on the Leicester striker that sent him tumbling.

Vardy picked himself up to drill the penalty high into the roof of Ederson’s net for his third successful spot-kick this season.

City were rattled by that setback and Guardiola sent on 17-year-old striker Liam Delap for his Premier League debut.

 

Manchester City’s Spanish manager Pep Guardiola (R) offers his hand to Leicester City’s Northern Irish manager Brendan Rodgers (L) after the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and Leicester City at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north-west England, on September 27, 2020. Leicester won the game 5-2. Catherine Ivill / POOL / AFP

 

But it was Vardy who showcased his predatory instincts in the 54th minute.

Making a clever run to meet Timothy Castagne’s low cross at the near-post, Vardy flicked a sublime finish past Ederson with his trailing foot.

Garcia missed the Wolves game after having 16 stitches inserted into a wound he suffered in training and took to the pitch wearing a Petr Cech-style head guard.

Vardy ensured Garcia’s discomfort wasn’t limited to his headgear as his run forced the defender into a push that gave Leicester another penalty in the 58th minute.

Once again Vardy was ice cool from the spot as he completed just the third treble against a Guardiola team — with one of the others also scored by the Leicester star.

Maddison came off the bench to compound City’s misery with his 25-yard curler into the top corner in the 77th minute.

Ake headed City’s second in the 84th minute, but Benjamin Mendy fouled Maddison four minutes later and Tielemens made Leicester the first team in Premier League history to score three penalties in one game.

AFP