Arsenal manager Unai Emery fined for Brighton bottle incident

Arsenal manager Unai Emery has been fined £8,000 by the Football Association for kicking a bottle which hit a Brighton fan during last week’s Premier League match between the sides. The FA charged Emery with improper conduct following the incident near the end of the 1-1 draw on 26 December. The Spaniard apologised for the incident, which was not included in the officials’ match report. “I said to them I’m sorry,” Emery said after the game. “It wasn’t hard but it touched one supporter.” An FA spokesperson said Emery had “accepted the…

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Tottenham extend Toby Alderweireld deal but activate £25m release clause

Tottenham will trigger the extension clause in defender Toby Alderweireld’s contract, but have also included a £25m release clause, manager Mauricio Pochettino says. The Belgium international’s current deal runs out next year but the club has an option to extend it until 2020. The release clause of £25m will apply up to the last two weeks of the summer transfer window. Pochettino said on Thursday: “It is the same situation as Jan [Vertonghen].” Spurs announced earlier in December that the club had extended Vertonghen’s contract until 2020. The Belgium defender is back…

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Mateo Kovacic eyes permanent stay at Chelsea

Mateo Kovacic has admitted he “can imagine” staying on at Chelsea, but acknowledges that Real Madrid will have the final say on his future. The midfielder joined the London club on a season-long loan from the European champions after becoming frustrated at a lack of regular playing time in Spain. Kovacic has taken to life in the English capital, playing 23 times in all competitions for Maurizio Sarri’s Chelsea, and with the possibility of a permanent switch now being mooted, the 24-year-old is open to staying if all parties reach an agreement. “I…

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Manchester City receive timely boost with Silva return

Manchester City have been handed a timely reprieve from injuries as the club announced David Silva returned to training on Christmas Day and is in the running to face Leicester. The Spanish midfielder had been out of action since suffering a hamstring injury in City’s loss at Chelsea earlier this month, missing games against Hoffenheim, Everton, and the shock home defeat to Crystal Palace. The 32-year-old is now in the frame to play when City travel to Leicester on Boxing Day as Pep Guardiola’s side aim to claw back the four-point…

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Lille reveal price for hotshot Arsenal target Nicolas Pepe

Lille winger Nicolas Pepe will only be allowed to leave the club for a fee of €80 million (£72m), according to the club’s sporting director. The 23-year-old has been linked with a number of Europe’s top clubs following an impressive start to the season that has seen him score 12 goals and provide five assists in 19 Ligue 1 appearances. Arsenal have consistently been mooted as a potential destination for the Ivorian international. “I hope he will stay this winter. We’ll do everything to keep him,” Lille sporting director Luis Campos…

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Arsenal dealt injury blow as Mkhitaryan is ruled out for up to six weeks

Arsenal have been handed a blow in the packed festive season after midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan was ruled out of action for up to six weeks with a fractured metatarsal in his right foot. Mkhitaryan, 29, was replaced at half-time during the Carabao Cup quarter-final loss to Tottenham and missed the Premier League win over Burnley. The Armenian has scored four goals and provided three assists for the Emirates Stadium side this season. He joins a lengthy injury list for Arsenal that also includes long-term absentees Danny Welbeck and Rob Holding, with both not…

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MLS Champions Atlanta United hire Frank de Boer as new head coach

Atlanta United have announced the appointment of Frank de Boer as the club’s new head coach. The former Ajax and Crystal Palace boss was only recently linked to the job vacated by Argentinean coach Tata Martino, and the club have now confirmed the hiring of only the second ever manager in its history. New chapter. Same mission.#ATLUTD name @FdeBoerOfficial as 2nd head coach in club history 📝 https://t.co/H2VX85UytQ pic.twitter.com/AT7rLstHHf — Atlanta United FC (@ATLUTD) December 23, 2018 “Frank de Boer has a distinguished background, both as manager and player, and…

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Inter Milan suspend Radja Nainggolan for ‘disciplinary reasons’

Inter Milan have suspended midfielder Radja Nainggolan for ‘disciplinary reasons’, the club confirmed in a statement on Sunday. The 30-year-old, who reportedly arrived late for training on three separate occasions in the last week, has also been fined a substantial sum of money. Nainggolan joined Inter from Roma for €38m in the summer and has since made 11 Serie A appearances for the club, with the latest a 67-minute appearance at Chievo on Saturday in a 1-1 draw. It is unlikelyNainggolan will feature in the Boxing Day fixture against Napoli. Inter are…

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Turkish club declare interest in Arsenal’s Ozil

Turkish side Istanbul Basaksehir have declared an interest in signing Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil. The World Cup winner has endured a difficult season under new manager Unai Emery with many rumours of a breakdown in relationship between the two men. Ozil has been linked with an exit from the club with a return to Real Madrid or a switch to Inter Milan mooted as potential destinations but Istanbul Basaksehir president Goksel Gumusdag has thrown his side’s hat into the ring. “Mesut Özil is a very valuable player,” Gumusdag told BILD. “I hope that…

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Kaboul contract terminated by Watford by mutual consent

Watford have terminated the contract of Younes Kaboul by mutual consent, bringing an end to the defender’s two-and-a-half-year association with the club. Kaboul joined Watford from Sunderland in a reported £4 million deal in August 2016 and featured heavily in his debut campaign at Vicarage Road. The former Tottenham and Portsmouth centre-back has struggled with injuries since then, however, and has not been used since a 2-0 Premier League win over Southampton 15 months ago. 🐝 | The Hornets have agreed to cancel the contract of defender Younès Kaboul by mutual consent. Everyone at #watfordfc wishes Younès…

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Sarri admits Drinkwater can leave Chelsea if he wants

Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri has said that midfielder Danny Drinkwater is free to leave Chelsea if he so chooses. The 28-year-old has completely fallen off the radar under Sarri, having made his only Blues appearance of the season in the Community Shield back in August. Drinkwater signed for Chelsea from Leicester City in September 2017 for a £35 million fee, and featured sparingly in his first season at Stamford Bridge. Under Antonio Conte, Drinkwater made 22 appearances for Chelsea in all competitions last season. But after Sarri took over the England midfielder has fallen out…

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Lukaku set to miss Solskjaer’s first game at Cardiff

Romelu Lukaku is set to miss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s first game in charge of Manchester United against Cardiff City on Saturday. The former United striker was asked about the Belgian’s availability at his first press conference and revealed that the former Everton forward is likely to be missing. When asked about the 25-year-old’s availability, Solskjaer told reporters: “Lukaku has had a couple of days off, I’ve not seen him yet and I’ve not seen Alexis because he’s on his way back as well. “I’m looking forward to seeing them.” Reports have claimed that Lukaku’s absence is due to compassionate leave and…

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The path Solskjaer followed to reach management of Manchester United

The playing career of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was highly successful, albeit after a slow start.  For five years he played in the lowly Norwegian leagues for Clausenengen, until close to his 22ndbirthday.  At that time, just prior to the start of 1995, he got the big move, which he waited patiently for, to Molde. In his first season with them, Solskjaer scored freely.  He developed a good strike partnership with Arild Stavrum.  Between them, they scored 36 Tippeligaen goals, 20 of which were Solskjaer’s.  The pair’s good form helped their…

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer named Man Utd caretaker manager until end of season

Manchester United have named former player Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as caretaker manager until the end of the season, a day after sacking Jose Mourinho. Solskjaer spent 11 seasons at Old Trafford, scoring the winning goal in the 1999 Champions League final. The 45-year-old takes over with United sixth in the Premier League. “Manchester United is in my heart and it’s brilliant to be coming back in this role,” said the Norwegian. “I’m really looking forward to working with the very talented squad we have, the staff and everyone at the…

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Tottenham trigger one-year Jan Vertonghen contract extension

Tottenham have confirmed that they have exercised their right to trigger a one-year extension to Jan Vertonghen’s contract, tying the defender to the club until 2020. The Belgium international’s deal was due to expire at the end of this season, but Spurs have moved to tie him down for a further 12 months. The Club can confirm that we have activated the option to extend @JanVertonghen’s contract until 2020. — Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) December 18, 2018 A statement on the Tottenham’s website read: “The club can confirm that we have…

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Manchester United trigger contract extension for Anthony Martial

Manchester United have triggered the option of a year’s extension on the contract of France forward Anthony Martial. The 23-year-old’s current deal would have expired in the summer but will now run to 2020. United took a similar move with their Spain keeper David de Gea last month. Martial’s representatives remain in discussions with United over a new separate deal beyond the contract that has been extended to 2020. However Martial’s agent Philippe Lamboley told French TV station RMC he is “very pessimistic about a positive outcome of the discussions”.…

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Jose Mourinho sacked by Manchester United after defeat to Liverpool

Manchester United have sacked Jose Mourinho following Sunday’s defeat at Liverpool, ending a tenure that began in May 2016. A poor start to the Premier League season has seen United slip 19 points behind the leaders, Liverpool, and fall off the pace in the hunt for a top-four place. They have won only once in six league matches, drawing during that sequence with struggling Southampton and Crystal Palace. The club issued a statement on Tuesday morning which read: “Manchester United announces that manager Jose Mourinho has left the club with immediate…

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Arsenal face familiar opponents in BATE as Chelsea draw Malmo in Europa League

Arsenal face a reunion with their former midfielder Alexander Hleb after being drawn against Belarussian side BATE Borisov in the Round of 32 of the Europa League. Chelsea, who won the competition in 2013, take on Swedish side Malmo, with Scottish champions Celtic drawn to face Spanish side Valencia. The two-legged ties will be played on 14 and 21 February 2019. Arsenal are at home in the second leg of their tie and the game will kick off at 17:55 GMT on Thursday, 21 February to avoid a clash with Chelsea’s…

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Manchester United draw PSG in Champions League, Liverpool to face Bayern Munich

Manchester United have drawn Paris Saint-Germain in the last 16 of the Champions League, while Liverpool will face Bayern Munich and Tottenham will take on Borussia Dortmund. Manchester City were drawn against Bundesliga side Schalke, meaning three of the four English teams will face German opposition. Cristiano Ronaldo will return to the city of Madrid, with Juventus drawn against Atletico. Holders Real Madrid must overcome Dutch side Ajax, while Barcelona will take on Lyon and Roma will face FC Porto. The first legs of the last-16 ties will be split…

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Tottenham’s Eric Dier out until 2019 after having appendix removed

Tottenham will be without midfielder Eric Dier until 2019 after he had surgery to remove his appendix. The 24-year-old was not in the squad for Saturday’s win over Burnley after being diagnosed with appendicitis. The England international received immediate treatment and is not expected to return to training until January. Dier has made 13 Premier League starts for Spurs this season, with only Harry Kane, Toby Alderweireld and Lucas Moura ahead of him. Tottenham are due to play six games between now and 4 January. Spurs said: “He will now undergo a…

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Manchester United’s Chris Smalling signs new contract until 2022

Manchester United defender Chris Smalling has signed a new contract until June 2022, with the option to extend for a further year. Smalling joined United from Fulham in July 2010 for an undisclosed fee after impressing in two seasons at Craven Cottage. The 29-year-old has since made more than 200 appearances for United and should he stay until the end of his new deal, it would mark 12 years at Old Trafford for the Englishman. Smalling said: “This is my ninth season with the club and I am delighted to…

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Abuse of Sterling harmful to football

Racism, or discrimination of any kind, can’t be allowed to have a place in football.  The game is being hurt by the behaviour of a minority. They believe it acceptable to enter football stadiums to shout despicable language at certain players. It is a form of abuse, disrespect and intimidation.  In order to eradicate racism, it is important to not only identify the culprits but also to address the root cause.  From as young an age as possible, within football coaching and schools, children need to be educated on the importance of…

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Pochettino eclipses best European performance for Spurs

Since Mauricio Pochettino became manager of Tottenham in 2014, the club’s results in European competition have been mixed.  Successive runs to the knock – out stages of UEFA’s Europa League involved hard – fought away draws with Fiorentina, Monaco and Partizan Belgrade.  In contrast to those positive results, Tottenham did experience disappointment, losing to Anderlecht, Besiktas and Borussia Dortmund. Just as there were successes and failures in the two UEFA Europa League campaigns overseen by Pochettino, his fortunes have varied in the Champions League.  The first encounter which he had…

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Newcastle’s Rafael Benitez wins Premier League manager of the month

Newcastle boss Rafael Benitez has been named Premier League manager of the month for November. Newcastle were 19th in the table at the start of November, with no wins from their first 10 games, before three straight victories moved them out of the relegation zone, and prompted a flood of money with the bookie, Comeon, on them staying in the Premier League this term. The Magpies beat Watford 1-0 at home thanks to a goal from Ayoze Perez, and followed that up with a 2-1 victory over Bournemouth at St James’…

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Liverpool face defensive crisis with Trent Alexander-Arnold ruled out of United clash

Liverpool are facing a shortage of defenders for Sunday’s visit of Manchester United after Trent Alexander-Arnold was ruled out with an ankle injury. The 20-year-old suffered the injury during Tuesday’s 1-0 Champions League win over Napoli and it is feared he could miss the busy festive season games. Jurgen Klopp’s side are desperately short on defenders with centre-back Joel Matip now ruled out for six weeks after fracturing his collarbone in the dying moments of the same game. Another defender, Joe Gomez, is out for around the same period after fracturing…

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