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08-11-2017, 10:12 AM

Mourinho backed by Crespo to make more history at Man Utd in Premier League title bid


Jose Mourinho’s man-management skills will allow him to make history at Manchester United and land the Premier League title, says Hernan Crespo.The Portuguese manager is about to enter his second season at the Old Trafford helm.

He helped the Red Devils to three trophies in his debut campaign and has already seen them take in a UEFA Super Cup clash with Real Madrid this year – which they lost 2-1.


Full focus has now been shifted to domestic matters and Crespo, who worked with Mourinho at Chelsea and Inter during his playing days, believes good times lie ahead for United under one of the best bosses in the business.

The former Argentina international told The Mirror: “I think Manchester United will win the Premier League because Mourinho has never failed in a second season.

“Jose is one of the best in the world. He’s made history everywhere with Porto, Inter and now he can do it with Manchester United.“It’s difficult to explain, but when you play with Mourinho, you feel like the best striker in the world. There are two different people with Mourinho.

"The one in front of the camera and another Mourinho in the dressing room. I prefer the Mourinho in the dressing room, he’s friendlier."I really like his method of training, his motivation and his passion.”

Crespo won the Premier League title with Chelsea in 2005-06, having spent Mourinho’s first season at Stamford Bridge on loan at AC Milan.He has fond memories of his time in England and would relish the opportunity to return to British shores in a coaching capacity at some stage in the future.

The 42-year-old, who is currently vice-president at Italian side Parma, added: "Wow, I hope so. Yes because I like this kind of situation that there is for managers in England because it’s not only about the players or not only about the pitch.

"It involves the 360 degrees in the club. And I like so much this kind of situation, I don’t try to do this in Italy because they would never do it."Crespo did take in a short spell as a manager of Modena in 2015-16.

He has been retired since 2012, with a prolific career in front of goal seeing him net 271 times at club level and on 35 occasions in 64 appearances for his country.
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Up Barclays Premier League Opening Day Fixture 2017.08.11 - 08-11-2017, 10:15 AM

Barclays Premier League Opening Day Fixture 2017.08.11

Arsenal Vs Leicester City
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08-12-2017, 02:01 AM

Pedro ruled out of Chelsea's opener as Conte hints at Rudiger start


Chelsea forward Pedro has been ruled out of the Premier League champions' opener against Burnley on Saturday due to an ankle injury, while new signing Antonio Rudiger could start.

Head coach Antonio Conte provided a fitness update ahead of the game at Stamford Bridge, revealing Pedro has not recovered from a problem he sustained before being sent off in the Community Shield against Arsenal last week.Former Roma defender Rudiger, meanwhile, could be in line to make his first start for Chelsea due to Victor Moses' suspension.

"Pedro is not available because he is suffering from an injury he got during the Arsenal game," Conte said at his pre-match media conference."He wasn't able to recover from this injury. It is a knock in his ankle."Conte added: "There could be an opportunity to start the game for Rudiger because Moses will miss out for one game.

"I have been impressed because he is a good player. He is strong physically, has a good personality and technique."Conte has been thrilled by the commitment of his players ahead of the defence of their title, claiming it is better than it was ahead of the 2016-17 season."Honestly, I am pleased with the squad because we are working very well with the players, the commitment is incredible, better than last season," he said.

"[They have improved from last year] in the way they work in the training session. I am very happy because these players are working very well, so hard. We are trying to improve.
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08-12-2017, 02:03 AM

Guardiola: Man City spending spree justified but unsustainable


Pep Guardiola admits Manchester City's £200 million overhaul is unsustainable and it will not be repeated in future transfer windows.

City have splashed out on Ederson, Bernardo Silva, Kyle Walker, Benjamin Mendy and Danilo as Guardiola plots an improvement on the first trophyless campaign of his coaching career.


Kylian Mbappe was linked with a move to the Etihad Stadium, but Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid have taken up the running in the chase of Monaco's France international star.

City's spending is a part of an explosion of fees, with PSG forking out a world-record €222m to sign Neymar from Barcelona, but Guardiola believes the bubble will soon burst.

"I think it is unsustainable," Guardiola said. "Sooner or later it's going to finish. "For example, hopefully next season I will be here and we are not going to spend how we spent this season. Six players were out of contract. In the last six or seven years Manchester City didn't buy full backs. We didn't have full-backs and you have to buy full-backs. "We bought three and the market is so demanding for all the teams, not just Manchester City.

"It started with Real Madrid and Ronaldo going for £80 million and then Bale for £85 million and everything went more expensive. Now with Neymar. "But it is going to finish, it is unsustainable. In the next three or four years Manchester City will buy one, two, maybe three players. But not what happened this summer.

"We needed to do that because it was one of the oldest teams in Europe, not just the Premier League, and we needed to change it. We were not able with those players to find a solution. But the solution is not changing players every season."

Guardiola again pointed to a defensive example in his examination of inflated fees in
the current climate, suggesting a younger Dani Alves would command a fee similar to that which City paid for Walker and Mendy.

He added: "A few years ago, Spain used to have the most expensive signings, now PSG has made a great signing with Neymar. This is relative."I remember signing Alves for €37 million, everyone thought that was crazy.
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08-12-2017, 02:04 AM

Higuain out as Aguero returns for Argentina in key World Cup qualifiers


Gonzalo Higuain has been left out of Argentina's squad for their crunch World Cup qualifier against Uruguay and Venezuela but there is a recall for Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero.

Jorge Sampaoli will lead Argentina in competitive action for the first time after the former Chile and Sevilla coach took charge for June friendlies against Brazil and Singapore.On that occasion Aguero was omitted despite a fine run of form in the Premier League towards the end of last season.


This time around, Juventus star Higuain finds himself as the odd man out among Argentina's vast array of attacking riches as Inter captain Mauro Icardi retains his place.

It is the first time Icardi has been included in a competitive Argentina squad since November 2013, when he made his debut in a World Cup qualifier against Uruguay with a place at Brazil 2014 already assured.

Aguero's club colleague Nicolas Otamendi is one of only five specialist defenders named by Sampaoli, along with Nicolas Pareja – the 33-year-old Sevilla centre-back who will hope to add to the solitary senior international cap he won in 2010.

That number will be bolstered later by call-ups from the local Primera Division, with the likes of River duo Jonathan Maidana and Javier Pinola and Independiente full-back Nicolas Tagliafico among those likely to be included.

Sporting CP's Marcos Acuna and Benfica's Eduardo Salvio come in to bolster Sampaoli's options in midfield, where Lucas Biglia has been named but is unlikely to feature after AC Milan ruled their new signing out for four weeks with a thigh injury.

Argentina currently lie fifth in the CONMEBOL qualifying section, occupying the inter-confederation play-off spot with four matches remaining.A 2-0 defeat in Bolivia last time out cause Sampaoli's predecessor Edgardo Bauza his job.

Argentina squad in full:

Goalkeepers: Nahuel Guzman (Tigres), Sergio Romero (Manchester United), Geronimo Rulli (Real Sociedad).

Defenders: Federico Fazio (Roma), Gabriel Mercado (Sevilla), Javier Mascherano (Barcelona), Nicolas Otamendi (Manchester City), Nicolas Pareja (Sevilla).

Midfielders: Marcos Acuna (Sporting CP), Ever Banega (Sevilla), Lucas Biglia (AC Milan), Angel Di Maria (PSG), Augusto Fernandez (Atletico Madrid), Manuel Lanzini (West Ham United), Leandro Paredes (Zenit), Guido Pizarro (Sevilla), Eduardo Salvio (Benfica).

Forwards: Sergio Aguero (Manchester City), Joaquin Correa (Sevilla), Paulo Dybala (Juventus), Mauco Icardi (Inter), Lionel Messi (Barcelona).
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08-12-2017, 02:05 AM

Neymar set for PSG debut as Barcelona receive transfer fee


The bank problem holding up Neymar's Paris Saint-Germain registration has cleared and the Brazil international should be free to make his debut on Sunday against Guingamp.

The 25-year-old made a world-record €222 million move from Barcelona to PSG last week but was unable to play because final details of his registration had not been completed.Those issues were ironed out on Friday and PSG confirmed he would be allowed to play at Stade du Roudourou this weekend.


"The FFF and the LFP have finalised the procedures allowing the qualification of the Brazil international," PSG said in a statement."Neymar will be able to be part of the squad that will be summoned tomorrow by Unai Emery, the coach of PSG, in view of the match in Guingamp, Sunday evening, on the second matchday of the French championship."

Neymar had been waiting on his International Transfer Certificate (ITC), but Barca refused to clear it until they had received the funds from the French outfit into their bank account. The Camp Nou side have received the money and as such gave the OK for the Spanish FA (RFEF) to send the ITC to their counterparts in France.

The French FA has confirmed it has collected the document, stating via their official Twitter account: "The FFF confirms the receipt of the transfer certificate of Neymar, which was sent by the RFEF."Neymar was in the spotlight on Friday as he participated in his first PSG training session open to the media since making his huge move, and it is anticipated that he will go straight into Unai Emery's starting XI at a ground where PSG have won only one of their previous five visits.

Emery's side began their Ligue 1 campaign with a 2-0 home win over Amiens last weekend, with Neymar watching on from the stands after being officially presented to the Parc des Princes fans before the match.

He has backed Neymar to take PSG to the next level and dismissed concerns that his price tag could make the pressure to perform too great."He's a player who will help the club to get a level higher," Emery said on Sunday. "Without Neymar, PSG is a great club but with Neymar it's a little better. A little greater.

"The other players here are also some great players so together we can get better. It's true that the enthusiasm from the fans is even bigger.
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08-12-2017, 02:06 AM

AC Milan midfielder Biglia facing a month out with thigh injury


New AC Milan signing Lucas Biglia is facing up to a month on the sidelines after suffering a thigh injury.The 31-year-old joined from Lazio on a three-year deal last month as part of Milan's extensive efforts to overhaul their playing squad for the 2017-18 season.


Biglia played the second half of the Rossoneri's 4-0 International Champions Cup win over Bayern Munich, but has not made an appearance since that clash in Shenzhen.The club have now confirmed he is unlikely to be available again until the middle of September after sustaining a muscle problem.

"After today's tests, Lucas Biglia was diagnosed with a lesion to his left thigh femoral bicep muscle," Milan said in a statement on Friday. "His time of recovery will depend on the evolution of the clinical picture and is estimated to be approximately four weeks."

Biglia will miss Milan's two-legged Europa League qualifier against Shkendija and is likely to be unavailable for the first three Serie A matches of the season against Crotone, Cagliari and Lazio.
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08-12-2017, 10:06 AM

Arsenal 4 Leicester City 3: Giroud settles remarkable opening night thriller



Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud came off the bench snatch victory from the jaws of defeat for Arsenal, who opened the 2017-18 Premier League season with a topsy-turvy 4-3 thriller against Leicester City.

Record signing Alexandre Lacazette handed the ideal start to boss Arsene Wenger, back at Emirates Stadium for the first time since signing his much-debated two-year contract extension, by opening the scoring after 94 seconds, but matters quickly threatened to unravel.

Wenger's gamble to field a back three featuring one recognised centre-back collapsed in a display of complete defensive incompetence. Shinji Okazaki was the initial beneficiary with a fifth-minute equaliser.

England striker Jamie Vardy, who was heavily linked with Arsenal 12 months ago, scored a brace either side of a Danny Welbeck leveller that showed Arsenal's rearguard to be equally dreadful from open play and set-piece situations.

But it was a different story at the other end as Wenger called upon additional firepower in the form of Aaron Ramsey and Giroud to turn the match around inside the final seven minutes and ward off a return to last season's febrile atmosphere of protest on home turf – at least for the time being.


Lacazette went into the match having scored six times on the past four opening days in Ligue 1 with Lyon and he quickly improved an impressive record by dispatching Mohamed Elneny's inviting cross beyond Kasper Schmeichel.

Any notion of an untroubled statement of Arsenal's Premier League title intentions was disabused 160 seconds later when Petr Cech made a horrible hash of pursuing Vardy's cross to the far post from a short corner, an unmarked Harry Maguire nodded back across goal and Okazaki headed in.

Debutant Maguire was making his presence felt in both boxes and the centre-back made a brave block when Welbeck tried to convert Mesut Ozil's 22nd-minute cutback.Welbeck's effort at the end of a jinking run was hacked out of the Leicester goalmouth but the visitors went ahead against the run of play before the half hour.

Marc Albrighton pounced on a loose ball and centred for Vardy to punish more comical Arsenal defending - Okazaki might then have doubled his tally when he headed narrowly wide in the 33rd minute.With murmurs of discontent growing, Lacazette and Sead Kolasinac combined to present Welbeck with a welcome tap-in during first-half stoppage time.

Cech was at full stretch to tip Riyad Mahrez's 56th minute strike over but Vardy was allowed a free run at the Algeria international's resulting corner and glanced in to restore Leicester's lead.

Arsenal's sustained excellent attacking play made their defensive frailties all the more galling. Welbeck bewitched the Leicester backline to delicately play in Hector Bellerin, who was brilliantly denied by Schmeichel.

Fuchs did enough to distract Ramsey when the Wales international powered wide from Lacazette's cross and tensions from the stands seemed to have spilled on to the pitch when Ozil lashed into the side netting with 16 minutes remaining.It was left to Ramsey to drag the masses back in Arsenal's favour.

Handball claims against Ozil went unpunished before an 83rd-minute corner that was worked out to Xhaka, whose raking ball found Ramsey stealing around Wilfred Ndidi for a clinical finish.

Schmeichel then suffered the same cruel fortune as Cech before him – saving superbly after Lacazette zig-zagged through a defence that allowed Giroud to head in the corner via the crossbar for the FA Cup and Community Shield holders.
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08-12-2017, 10:07 AM

Conte: The pundits are right - Chelsea are not favourites for the title


Antonio Conte has admitted he agrees with the doubters about Chelsea’s Premier League chances as he says that his side are not the best team “on paper.”The Premier League champions have signed four players this summer but have sold several squad players from last season's title win.This coupled with a host of injuries to the likes of Pedro, Eden Hazard and Tiemoue Bakayoko has left the Blues short of depth ahead of Burnley's visit for the first Premier League game of the season.


As a result Chelsea will name several youth and fringe players on the bench for Saturday’s match. Community Shield substitutes Charly Musonda, Kyle Scott, and Jeremie Boga will be joined by two more youngsters, possibly including Fikayo Tomori who spent last season on loan at Brighton.

Some pundits have suggested that Conte's side aren't favourites to retain their title, and as he pointed out the lack of depth in the Blues squad the Italian affirmed that he agrees with their assessment.“Honestly, if you give your evaluation on paper then it’s right. It’s right not to put Chelsea to be a favourite,” Conte told reporters at Cobham Training Centre.“If you have to give an evaluation only on paper. It was the same last season.

“Not one person believed Chelsea would win the title. This season, in this moment, I agree with these people who think this. We must be ready, also in this moment many players are missing and we have to go with these players, we have to try to play good football, we have to try to win the game.

"For sure it will not be easy in this part of the season, but I don’t want to find any excuses for me, for my staff or for my players. We have to go and to fight to try to win with these players.

"When you speak about pressure with me. I am used to this pressure but the young players, they are not used to it. It is very difficult to judge a young player during the training sessions.

"There are moments but we have to take risks also because we haven’t got any other possibilities and we will have to cope with the young players. It’s not important who is injured. It’s important to try to do our best.

"Then if our best will bring us to win the game, it’s right. The most important thing, I repeat, is to put 120 per cent. I hope and I want to see the real Chelsea tomorrow because I think that now the season is starting and we must be ready."We must be ready also in this moment, even if many players are missing.”Conte has hinted in previous weeks that Chelsea need to do more transfer business to remain competitive in the final weeks of the season.

"For sure, it is very important to have quality players. It is very important because every coach can have the best idea of football but then there’s the quality of players. It is important to try to improve your quality because if you improve your quality and you improve, it is simple," he said.

"Sometimes you have the possibility to spend money, sometimes you don’t have the possibility to spend money. It is important to spend money to improve the quality of your team. This is the right way to try to be competitive and to fight for something important."
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08-12-2017, 10:08 AM

Wenger: I love Giroud and happy he's staying at Arsenal


Arsene Wenger revealed he gave Olivier Giroud the opportunity to leave Arsenal before the striker became his match-winner in the thrilling opening 4-3 victory over Leicester City in the Premier League.

Giroud was linked with moves away from Emirates Stadium during the close season, with Marseille head coach Rudi Garcia only conceding defeat in his pursuit of the France striker this week.

Record signing Alexandre Lacazette gave Arsenal a second-minute lead against Leicester, who twice led through Jamie Vardy after Shinji Okazaki headed a swift equaliser.


The presence of Lacazette among forward options including Alexis Sanchez and Danny Welbeck, who impressed and netted Arsenal's second on Friday, led Wenger into a frank conversation with Giroud.

After watching his magnificent header crash home off the underside of the crossbar, the long-serving manager could reflect happily on the 30-year-old's decision."I love the man and the player," Wenger told Sky Sports. "He is a fantastic guy as well – committed, he loves the club.

"He doesn't want to leave and I'm happy that he wants to stay."But at some stage I opened the door for him because I knew that I had many strikers."He is really loved here, we love him and, in the end, he decided to stay."

In stark contrast to his vast riches in attack, Wenger had far less to be satisfied with defensively, with the absences of Laurent Koscielny, Shkodran Mustafi and Per Mertesacker left youngster Rob Holding exposed.

"The first goal is on a short corner, we were not focused enough. On the second goal we lost the ball in the build-up and were punished," the 67-year-old added.
"There were some mistakes and I think we lacked a bit of experience.

"Holding will be a great central defender but tonight after one or two mistakes he lost a bit of confidence and you could feel that."Insecurity goes quickly through a team and we had many experienced defenders out tonight – Koscielny, Mustafi, Mertesacker.
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