Emery backs Cech to keep his place against Chelsea

Unai Emery has backed Petr Cech to keep his place when his Arsenal side travel to play Chelsea in Saturday’s London derby despite the goalkeeper’s discomfort with the ball at his feet against Manchester City. Emery believes the goalkeeping selection is “easy” for this weekend’s challenge and the former Chelsea player is expected to keep his place ahead of the new arrival from Germany, Bernd Leno, who will get game time soon enough when the cup competitions begin, if not before. “Petr Cech can continue to start the match. I…

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Three Bosses Who Could Be the First Premier League Manager to Go in 2018-19

With the 2018-19 Premier League campaign underway, sooner or later there’ll be a managerial casualty. It’s become one of those certainties like death and taxes. The transient life of a football manager or head coach means departures from top-flight clubs are inevitable, but who is looking prominent in the so-called sack race? If you thinking of having a bet on this market with bookmakers, remember the boss doesn’t have to be sacked to count. They can resign or leave by mutual consent – what some might say is just a…

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Victor Moses retires from international football with Nigeria

Chelsea winger Victor Moses on Wednesday announced his shock retirement from international football with Nigeria. Moses made his debut for the Super Eagles in a 2013 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier in February 2012 away in Rwanda. The debut indeed took a year before it happened due to a prolonged delay by FIFA in confirming his international switch of allegiance having already represented England at youth level, and a late minute withdrawal from a pair of international friendlies in 2011. The 27-year-old stated his desire to focus on his club career…

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Wilfried Zaha signs new deal to become highest earner at Crystal Palace

Wilfried Zaha has committed his long-term contract future to Crystal Palace by signing a new contract and in the process becomes the highest paid player in the club’s history. The new contract which contains no release clause will take Zaha until the end of the 2022/23 campaign and is believed to be worth £130,000/week. Zaha’s importance to Palace cannot be overstated with Roy Hodgson’s side failing to secure a single point in his absence last season. The Ivory Coast international scored nine times last term as Palace overcame a difficult…

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David Ospina joins Napoli on loan deal from Arsenal

David Ospina has joined Napoli on loan with the Italian club having the option to buy the goalkeeper from Arsenal on a permanent basis. Ospina had fallen down the pecking order at the Premier League club following the arrival of Bernd Leno from Bayer Leverkusen for £19.2m this summer. With Leno and Petr Cech expected to battle it out to be new manager Unai Emery’s first choice goalkeeper, opportunities would have been few and far between for Ospina. The Colombian international joined Arsenal from Nice in July 2014 for £3m after impressing for…

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Manchester City’s Kevin de Bruyne suffers knee injury in training

Manchester City have been dealt a major blow in their title defence as midfielder Kevin De Bruyne suffered a knee injury in training on Wednesday. De Bruyne was immediately sent for tests on suspected ligament damage but later appeared with his teammates in Manchester at the premiere of All or Nothing, a documentary about last season’s champions to be aired on Amazon Prime, on crutches and with his right knee heavily strapped. The extent of the injury is still unknown although there are fears the Belgian international could be out…

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Tiemoue Bakayoko moves to AC Milan from Chelsea on season-long loan

Chelsea midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko has joined AC Milan on a season-long loan move in a deal that could become permanent next summer for a fee in the region of £35m. The 23-year-old joined moved to England last summer from Monaco for £39.7m, and despite making 43 appearances and scoring three goals, he struggled to make an impact at Stamford Bridge. The arrivals of midfielders Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic this summer from Napoli and Real Madrid respectively and Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s return from a successful loan spell at Crystal Palace meant opportunities would have…

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Qatar SC sign former Chelsea striker Samuel Eto’o

The former Chelsea striker Samuel Eto’o has joined Qatari side Qatar Sports Club on a free transfer. The 37-year-old was on the hunt for a new club after being released by Turkish Super Lig side Konyaspor at the end of last season, and was said to be in talks with a number of French clubs with the possibility of a move to Ligue 1 on the table. But the Qatari side have stolen a march on potential suitors and have announced the signing on their official Twitter page, saying they…

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Petr Cech in row with Bayer Leverkusen over Twitter remarks

Petr Cech has become involved in a row with Bayer Leverkusen after the German club appeared to criticize his performance in Sunday’s 2-0 loss to Manchester City. Cech struggled with new manager Unai Emery’s demands to play the ball out of defence and almost scored an own goal after mis-hitting a back pass from Matteo Guendouzi. With Arsenal having spent £19.2m on former Leverkusen number Bernd Leno in the summer, it was slightly surprising to see Cech given the nod ahead of the German. A video of Cech almost scoring an…

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Mignolet agent says Liverpool ‘keeper is ‘waiting’ on Napoli approach

Napoli are yet to make an offer for Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet, according to his agent Nico Vaesen, while adding that the 30-year-old is waiting on a concrete approach from the Serie A side before the end of the transfer window. Mignolet has been relegated from first to third-choice keeper at Anfield over the last 12 months, and is thought to be keen on a move away from Merseyside following the arrival of Alisson Becker from Roma. Napoli have been linked with Mignolet and are thought to be looking to add an experienced…

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Jose Mourinho says manager role should be downgraded to ‘head coach’

Jose Mourinho believes the football has changed to the point where managers should now be referred to as “head coach”, because their responsibilities have been significantly reduced in recent years. This was an apparent dig at Ed Woodward, Manchester United’s executive vice-chairman, for not sanctioning all of his transfer targets. Speaking after United’s 2-1 win over Leicester on Friday night in the Premier League’s opening game, Mourinho could barely hide his frustration at not getting the players he wanted. “It will be a difficult season for everybody, not just for us,” the…

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Jürgen Klopp says Liverpool are like Rocky Balboa, not Ivan Drago

Jürgen Klopp has likened Liverpool to Rocky Balboa on the basis they must work and compete harder than any of their rivals to win the Premier League title. The Liverpool manager, a huge fan of the Rocky films, said: “We are still Rocky Balboa, not Ivan Drago.” The analogy was not that Liverpool are underdogs, he later explained, but that they must be prepared to sacrifice everything to end the club’s current 28-year wait for a 19th league championship. “It’s not about being the underdog, not one little bit,” said Klopp. “I…

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Thibaut Courtois joins Real Madrid from Chelsea

Real Madrid have completed the signing of Thibaut Courtois from Chelsea for £31.5m on a six-year contract. Courtois had a year remaining on his Chelsea contract and did not report for training with the club this week as he held out for a move to the Champions League holders. Courtois lifted two Premier League titles during his time at Stamford Bridge and is keen to continue winning silverware. “I’m coming into a club that has just won three Champions Leagues in a row and it’s important to keep winning all…

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Can Dele Alli Recapture His Past Form in the Premier League This Season?

Dele Alli will return to Premier League action with Tottenham Hotspur buoyed by his success with the national side at the World Cup last summer. The young midfielder is desperate to put last season’s below-par campaign behind him and recapture the form he showed upon first joining the North London outfit. Spurs’ title hopes could hinge on players like Alli hitting the ground running in the season ahead. Alli has enjoyed a somewhat meteoric rise to the top level of English football, after plying his trade with MK Dons initially.…

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Athletic Bilbao say Kepa Arrizabalaga’s £71m buyout clause has been met

Kepa Arrizabalaga’s €80m (£71m) buyout clause has been met, Athletic Bilbao have announced, as the goalkeeper appears on the verge of a world record move to Chelsea. The LaLiga club confirmed the 23-year-old’s release clause has been activated and his contract terminated, although there is no mention of Chelsea. The fee is a world record for a goalkeeper, surpassing the £65m paid by Liverpool to Roma for Brazil goalkeeper Alisson Becker last month. Chelsea have made Kepa their number one target to replace the want-away Thibaut Courtois who has stayed away from pre-season…

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Stan Kroenke acquires 100% Arsenal ownership for £600m

Arsenal’s majority shareholder Stan Kroenke has acquired full ownership of the Premier League club after his £600m offer to buy the remainder of shares out of his control was accepted by the Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov and his company Red and White Securities which owns 30% of the outstanding shares. The American businessman previously owned 67% of the club’s total shares and this deal takes Arsenal’s value to £1.8bn, with Kroenke insisting his ambition is “to see it competing consistently to win the Premier League and the Champions League.” Kroenke is acting through his…

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Joe Hart completes £3.5m Burnley switch from Manchester City

Burnley have completed the signing of Joe Hart from Manchester City on a two-year deal for a fee in the region of £3.5m. The move to Turf Moor ends Hart’s 12-year association with the Premier League champions where he was previously undisputed first choice before Pep Guardiola’s 2016 arrival meant he became surplus to requirements. Hart spent the past two seasons on loan at Torino and West Ham but failed to establish himself at either club, and subsequently missed out on England’s World Cup squad. Burnley manager Sean Dyche did…

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Sarri admits Thibaut Courtois could leave Chelsea

The Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri has suggested he could allow Thibaut Courtois depart the club if the first choice goalkeeper asks to leave. Courtois’s agent, Christophe Henrotay, has said the player wants to move to Real Madrid to be closer to his daughter, who lives in Spain. But Sarri says the Belgian, who returns on Monday from post-World Cup leave, must explain his ambitions in person before Chelsea consider accepting a bid for him. “I’m not interested in the agent,” Sarri said after Chelsea’s Community Shield loss to Manchester City. “I want…

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Aguero double seals Community Shield win for Manchester City

Manchester City defeated Chelsea 2-0 to lift the curtain-raising Community Shield courtesy of two goals from Sergio Aguero in either half at Wembley on Sunday. The Argentine striker opened the scoring in the 13th minute as he drove home with his left foot, low through Rudiger’s legs and across Caballero into the bottom corner. The goal came about through the impressive Phil Foden’s decisive probing that began from just right of centre with Chelsea offering no resistance. Aguero doubled City’s advantage 13 minutes into the second period when John Stones stopped…

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Iwobi signs long-term contract extension at Arsenal

Alex Iwobi has signed a new contract at Arsenal that keeps him with the club until 2022, the club announced on Friday. Iwobi broke into the first team in 2015 after graduating from the club’s Hale End Academy and, the 22-year-old who joined Arsenal aged 6, was delighted to commit his future to the club despite speculation linking him elsewhere. “It’s always been my childhood dream to represent Arsenal, from young,” Iwobi told the club’s official website. “To get an extended contract is an amazing feeling and I hope I’m…

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Samir Nasri’s doping ban extended from six to 18 months after Uefa win appeal

Samir Nasri has had his doping ban increased from six to 18 months following Uefa’s ethics and disciplinary inspector’s decision to appeal the original sentence that was deemed too lenient. Nasri was given the ban in February after receiving an intravenous treatment at a Los Angeles clinic in breach of the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) rules. Uefa’s ethics and disciplinary inspector argued that ban was insufficient and on Wednesday the European governing body extended his suspension to 18 months. The ban is backdated to 1 July, 2017, even though Nasri has…

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Anthony Martial faces fine despite imminent return to United training

Anthony Martial is set to be fined by Jose Mourinho for departing the club’s tour of the United States early in order to attend the birth of his son in Paris, despite the forward’s imminent return to Manchester United training on Thursday. Martial left United’s tour before the game against Milan last Wednesday to attend the birth of his second child, a son, Swan Anthony, in Paris. The United manager made a pointed comment regarding Martial’s continued absence after his side’s 4-1 loss to Liverpool in Michigan on Saturday. “He…

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How Can Manchester United Dethrone City In 2018-2019

Manchester United underwhelmed under Jose Mourinho last season, despite enjoying the club’s best domestic season since the Alex Ferguson era. Finishing second behind bitter cross-town rivals – and runaway winners Manchester City – there was disappointment from the Old Trafford fans with the way the manager set up the team and the manner of their play. This was compounded by the club going trophy-less in 2018. This year could be a defining one for Mourinho. He has led United to Europa League and League Cup wins and oversaw the team’s…

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Silverware an Absolute Must for Liverpool after Expensive Summer

It was a case of close but no cigar for Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool last season. The Reds were much improved in the Premier League but could only finish third – Liverpool did advance to the Champions League final but fell short against the mighty Real Madrid. Since then, Klopp has spent over £150 million to bolster his squad and lots of fans believe that the Reds are primed to topple Manchester City in the 2018/19 Premier League title race. Naby Keita, Fabinho, Xherdan Shaqiri and Alisson will all help Liverpool in…

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Mourinho bemoans “bad” pre-season as Man United seek to close gap on City

Man United manager Jose Mourinho has never been shy about coming forward, and so it will have come as little to no surprise really to hear that he has stated the Red Devils’ pre-season is a bad one owing to so many absentees. The vast majority of those not present are players still on holiday after good-to-remarkable World Cup campaigns of course, while former Arsenal striker Alexis Sanchez has remained in England to sort out some “personal administrative issues”. With such a depleted squad able to partake in some warmup…

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