Birkirkara name Liverpool hero Riise as ‘first’ sporting directorby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveFormer Liverpool Champions League winner John Arne Riise has been named new sporting director of Maltese club Birkirkara FC.Birkirkara have announced the role has been created for Riise.“John shall work together with the Club Technical Director, Mr. Michael Valenzia and Senior Team Manager, Mr. Jeffrey Farrugia in a new set-up which shall commence with immediate effect,” a club statement read.“Further details of the clubs plans for the future shall be published in the next few days.”Birkikara are four-time Maltese League winners, winning the title the last time five years ago. TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say
Bordeaux defender Laurent Koscielny: Why I had to leave Arsenalby Paul Vegas20 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveBordeaux defender Laurent Koscielny has opened up on his departure from Arsenal.The French defender left Arsenal under somewhat of a cloud as he forced his way out by refusing to go on the club’s pre-season tour to America.But the 34-year-old has now revealed he wanted to leave for the sake of his family.Koscielny told L’Equipe: “A Premier League season is very long. It requires a lot physically and mentally. I didn’t feel I could play 40-50 matches and I didn’t want to end my career with injuries.”I’ve gone down a level, but to take more pleasure.”Either I finished there or changed clubs. With my family, we felt it was time.”Everything was in my thinking: football, my physical state, my wife, my children, the daily life we could have.”I can only say that I left with my head held high. All of those I worked with for nine years… everyone respected my decision to return home with my family.” TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say
About the authorCarlos VolcanoShare the loveHave your say Real Sociedad midfielder Odegaard ready to face Spainby Carlos Volcano13 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveReal Sociedad midfielder Martin Odegaard is ready to play for Norway against Spain on Saturday night.The two nations will meet in Oslo as they look to take a step towards qualification for the 2020 European Championship.Odegaard is set to go up against his current Real Sociedad teammates, as well as his teammates at his parent club, Real Madrid.”It’s going to be very special because I’m going to play against teammates and friends,” he told the Norwegian press.”But we’re only thinking about the game and we want to do our best.”We know that the first thing tomorrow is to be good in defence. The work that we’re doing on the pitch and our positioning will be the most important things.”
About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say BVB coach Favre on axing Sancho: He still has much to learnby Paul Vegas5 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveBorussia Dortmund chief Michael Zorc says dropping Jadon Sancho yesterday was the right call.Sancho had returned late from international duty with the England squad and was dropped for the win over Borussia Monchengladbach.”We did not make the decision easily, but it was without alternative. Sancho is an excellent player, but we have a responsibility for the club, for the spirit in the team,” said Zorc.BVB coach Lucien Favre also spoke of the former Manchester City winger: “Jadon is a great player, not a discussion. But he still has a lot to learn. He must continue to enjoy training and progress.”
Chelsea star Eden Hazard has paid tribute to his team-mate Cesc Fabregas, who is set to depart the club after four and a half seasons. The 31-year-old is closing in on a move to Monaco, where he will link up with manager Thierry Henry, a team-mate of Fabregas at Arsenal. Before leaving Chelsea, Fabregas had one final chance to say farewell to the Stamford Bridge faithful on Saturday. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Fabregas captained the Blues in their 2-0 FA Cup win over Nottingham Forest, and was emotional when he was taken off the pitch late in the match.Hazard has been at Chelsea every step of the way with Fabregas, winning two Premier League titles, one FA Cup and one League Cup together. And the Blues star has praised his outgoing team-mate, while also taking the chance to get a playful jab at a player now on the wrong side of 30.”In five years I can say that I was lucky to play with him,” the Belgium international told reporters after the Forest game. “Since the beginning when he came, we saw it the first year, we won the double together. “Top guy on the pitch, off the pitch, a great friend of mine. I hope he will have a good future.”He’s a bit old now! But he’s still very good and he will enjoy.”Fabregas all but confirmed his move away after the match, saying: “I can’t say anything out of respect for Chelsea but everyone knows the situation.”
Hat-trick hero Sergio Aguero was quick off the mark again as Manchester City closed the gap at the top of the Premier League to two points with a 3-1 victory over Arsenal at the Etihad Stadium.Pep Guardiola’s side had faced the prospect of falling seven points behind Liverpool after Tuesday’s shock 2-1 loss at Newcastle United, but the league leaders could only manage a home draw with Leicester City the following day.And with Jurgen Klopp’s charges not in action again until Monday’s trip to West Ham, City got to within touching distance of the summit as Aguero broke the deadlock after just 46 seconds. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Laurent Koscielny’s leveller against the run of play reminded City of their opponents’ quality, but unlike at St James’ Park – when Aguero’s goal after just 24 seconds came in a losing effort – the reigning champions bounced back to wrap up the points.Aguero took the match ball with two close-range finishes, the latter having hit his arm, to ramp up the pressure on the Merseysiders and keep Arsenal in sixth, three points adrift of the Champions League spots.10 – Sergio Aguero’s hat-trick is his tenth in the Premier League for Manchester City; only Alan Shearer (11) has more in the competition’s history. Magic. #MCIARS pic.twitter.com/Avmh184Z6J— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) February 3, 2019City started the match in third spot following Tottenham’s victory over Newcastle but had won their last four home games with an aggregate score of 24-0, and another three points seemed inevitable after Aguero’s early stooping header from Aymeric Laporte’s cross.Indeed ,Guardiola, who has never lost a match to Arsenal boss Unai Emery in all competitions, saw his side make a barnstorming start and Aguero had a penalty appeal waved away following contact from Shkodran Mustafi before Raheem Sterling stung the palms of Bernd Leno.An offside flag cut short celebrations when Laporte nodded in Kevin De Bruyne’s free-kick, but a seemingly beleaguered Gunners side hit back when Nacho Monreal flicked on Lucas Torreira’s corner and Koscielny headed in.Ederson had to be alert to clear from in front of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as he looked to get on the end of Alexandre Lacazette’s throughball, with the visitors evidently growing into the contest.But their hard work was undone a minute before the interval as Aguero tapped home from Sterling’s low cross.The hosts sought to put the game to bed in the second half and De Bruyne should have done better at the end of a swift counter-attack in which he had played a key role, but the Belgian’s finish was tame.It took until after the hour mark for City to end Arsenal’s hopes, Aguero getting the scruffiest of goals after the ball struck his arm as he slid in when Leno failed to collect Sterling’s cross.A late Denis Suarez debut cameo did little to lift the Gunners’ gloom and City will now watch Liverpool’s trip to West Ham with interest.FULL-TIME | @aguerosergiokun’s 10th @premierleague hat-trick means we take another valuable three points! Back to winning ways!3-1 #MCIARS #mancity pic.twitter.com/vgS7gPyX6e— Manchester City (@ManCity) February 3, 2019What does it mean? City title tilt back on trackThe defeat at Newcastle, though somewhat mitigated by Liverpool’s slip-up 24 hours later, was a shock to the system for a City side who were uncharacteristically lacklustre in midweek. This showing was far more befitting of champions and once more the pressure is back on Liverpool.Aguero the goal machineDoes Aguero always get the credit he deserves? A prolific striker in the Premier League season after season, and yet who raises his name in conversations about modern greats of the game? This treble moved him onto 157 top-flight goals for City and you can be sure there are more to come.Kolasinac lacking tactical disciplineWhen you visit the Etihad, you have to be prepared to do a great deal of work without the ball, but Sead Kolasinac did not seem up for that. Despite ostensibly being deployed as a left wing-back, the German’s average position was higher up the field than Lacazette. His passing accuracy of 52.6 per cent will also have contributed to Emery’s decision to take him off after 66 minutes.Key Opta facts- Manchester City have won four consecutive top-flight games against Arsenal for the first time since April 1937.- Since the start of 2018, only two teams have lost more away games than Arsenal (12) in the Premier League – Brighton (14) and Huddersfield (13).- Manchester City have won eight of their nine games in all competitions in 2019 (L1), scoring 34 goals and conceding just four in return.- Aguero has been directly involved in 27 goals in his last 15 home starts in the Premier League (22 goals, 5 assists).- At the age of 24 years and 57 days, Sterling has become the seventh youngest player in Premier League history to register 100 goal involvements in the competition (59 goals, 40 assists).- 50 per cent of Manchester City’s goals conceded in the Premier League this season have been from set pieces; the highest ratio in the division (10/20).What’s next?City travel to Everton on Wednesday having beaten the Toffees 3-1 on home soil in December, while Emery’s side are next in action at rock-bottom Huddersfield Town next Saturday. read more
(Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)Referee Ron Cherry took a nasty shot to the head and was knocked out by a USC player.Ron Cherry is a well-known referee in football. He’s well-known for one play call individual.But we’ll get to that later.First things first. Cherry took a helmet-to-head hit and went limp right away. With so much concern surrounding helmet-to-helmet hits, its easy to see why Cherry went down. Although he wasn’t hit too hard, the contact was more than enough to knock him down.Ron Cherry just got knocked out in the USC-Notre Dame game. @RedditCFB pic.twitter.com/7XMUkSm2xl— Henry Skutt (@henryskutt) November 26, 2016Cherry did get up and walk off the field under his own power, but looked clearly dazed.This is the same ref who gave us one of the best moments from a referee in football history.Ron Cherry is a legend. Not sure “giving him the business” is in the refereeing dictionary, but that won’t stop this guy.We wish him a very speedy recovery and wish him well.
Newcastle United and Wolves open up the 2019 Premier League Asia Trophy at the Nanjing Olympic Sports Centre.It has been a shambolic summer so far for the Magpies, who begin their pre-season campaign without a manager – much less having signed a player – following the drawn-out departure of Rafael Benitez at the end of his contract. Wolves, meanwhile, are quietly seeking to build upon a promising 2018-19 season, which will see them return to Europe on July 25 with a tie against either Crusaders or B36 Torshavn. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Ox-rated! Dream night in Genk for Liverpool ace after injury nightmare Messi a man for all Champions League seasons – but will this really be Barcelona’s? Game Newcastle vs Wolves Date Wednesday, July 17 Time 11am BST / 6am ET TV Channel, Live Stream & How To Watch In the United States (US), the game will not be broadcast. US TV channel Online stream n/a n/a In the United Kingdom (UK), the game will be broadcast on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Premier League. It can be streamed via Sky Go. UK TV channel Online stream Sky Sports Main Event / Sky Sports Premier League Sky Go Squads & Team News Position Newcastle squad Goalkeepers Dubravka, Darlow, Woodman, Harker Defenders Clark, Dummett, Schar, Lascelles, Fernandez, Manquillo, Lazaar, Sterry, Bailey, Watts, Allan Midfielders Ki, Colback, Shelvey. Ritchie, Hayden, S. Longstaff, M. Longstaff Forwards Aarons, Murphy, Gayle, Muto Newcastle starting XI: Darlow, Sterry, Lascelles, Clark, Lazaar, Hayden, Shelvey, Colback, Murphy, Ritchie, Muto.Subs: Harker, Woodman, Dummett, Manquillo, Bailey, Fernandez, Schar, Watts, Ki, M.Longstaff, S.Longstaff, Aarons, Allan, Sorensen Position Wolves squad Goalkeepers Patricio, Ruddy, Norris Defenders Bennett, Boly, Otto, Coady, Vinagre, Francis, Kilman, Marques, Miranda, Sanderson Midfielders Neves, Dendoncker, Moutinho, Gibbs-White, Cundle, Perry, Taylor, Wan Forwards Jota, Traore, Corbeanu, Ennis, Samuels Wolves starting XI: Patricio, Bennett, Neves, Boly, Coady, Gibbs-White, Jota, Otto, Moutinho, Dendoncker, Traore.Subs: Ruddy, Sanderson, Miranda, Perry, Vinagre, Norris, Cundle, Francis, Marques, Samuels, Taylor, Ennis, Kilman, Hong Wan.Betting & Match Odds Wolves are odds-on favourites with bet365 , priced at 19/20. Newcastle can be backed at 11/4, while the draw is 5/2.Click here to see all of bet 365’s offers for the game, including goalscoring markets, correct score predictions and more. Match Preview The Premier League Asia Trophy is supposed to be an opportunity for managers to begin to finalise their plans for the forthcoming season, but for Newcastle, matters are rather more complicated as they play their first pre-season fixture of the season against Wolves.The St. James’ Park side have yet to replace Rafael Benitez in the dugout, and while Steve Bruce appears poised to take over , he faces a massive challenge in filling the void the popular Spaniard has left.Indeed, Benitez was widely believed to have performed miracles last season to make Newcastle as competitive as they were, and with not a single signing made yet this summer, the club is already playing catch up in a big way.Just how far they lag their rivals will become clearer after their two-game trip to the Far East, though captain Jamaal Lascelles is looking forward to the challenge.“We are travelling to China and it’s going to be a great experience playing in a completely different country with different surroundings and environment. We are very thankful to be taking part,” he told the club’s official website.“Winning games will put a marker down and set an example for what we are going to do during the new season.“I do think every game we play, especially in pre-season, will push us toward a good start of the season. We will be looking to win the games.”Wolves, meanwhile, are not without question marks themselves this summer, having seen the size of their squad trimmed, with popular players Helder Costa and Ivan Cavaleiro leaving on loan.The Molineux club are, however, expected to answer these challenges later in the summer, although the situation complicates the early part of their campaign, which will see them thrust into Europa League action.Nuno Espirito Santo accepts the limitations of his squad before the China trip but has talked up the importance of the matches to his team.“It going to be tough because we have a very short squad – we brought a lot of boys, U18s to help us,” the Portuguese noted.“We prepare ourselves, but at the same time we are in a different environment, so we have to be flexible, patient. The Asia Trophy is very important, a very good competition. It’s one more step in preparation for the season ahead.”The winner of this tie will play the winner of the later semi-final between Manchester City and West Ham on July 20 in Shanghai, while the loser will take part in a third-place play-off immediately before that clash. Check out Goal’s Premier League 2019-20 fantasy football podcast for game tips, debate and rivalries.
AUSTIN, TX – SEPTEMBER 5: Fans cheer on the Texas Longhorns against the Louisiana Monroe Warhawks on September 5, 2009 at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)Texas football’s Jeffrey McCulloch had a very scary moment on Thursday in rainy Austin.The area experienced heavy rain, leading to numerous road closures and flash flood warnings in the region.McCulloch, a junior linebacker who has played in every game this year and started one, hydroplaned and hit a telephone poll.Tom Herman updated Jeffrey McCulloch’s status after practice on Tuesday.From the Austin American-Statesman:Texas linebacker Jeffrey McCulloch was involved in a single-car crash on Tuesday after his vehicle hydroplaned on a wet road and hit a light pole, UT coach Tom Herman said.McCulloch was treated at the scene and went for more treatment at a local hospital. After complaining about neck soreness, McCulloch was expected to have a CT scan, the coach said.“All early indications are that he should be OK,” Herman said after Tuesday’s practice. “He hydroplaned and hit a light pole. Single-car accident and want to make sure everything is OK.”McCulloch has recorded 15 total tackles in seven games, including three tackles for loss. He also has one pass break-up through seven games.Hopefully any issues he’s dealing with are minor. The Longhorns are on bye this week, ahead of an Oct. 27 game at Oklahoma State.[Austin American-Statesman]
TAMPA, FL – JANUARY 09: Head coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide talks with head coach Dabo Swinney of the Clemson Tigers after the Tigers defeated the Crimson Tide 35-31 in the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game at Raymond James Stadium on January 9, 2017 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)The College Football Playoff has been around for five years, and in four of them, Alabama has taken on Clemson in one of the games. Three times, they’ve played in the national title contest against one another.The general public – along with the rest of the teams in college football – is getting tired of the matchup.Brett McMurphy, formerly of ESPN and currently with Stadium, has a clear and simple message for those hating on the situation college football finds itself in.He says that if you’re sick of this matchup – beat one of them. Makes sense.Alabama & Clemson are combined 106-4 last 4 years when not playing each other. If you’re sick of Bama & Clemson in @CFBPlayoff title game, then beat them— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) December 31, 2018Of course, that isn’t really up to the fans. It’s on the other programs in college football to find a way to stop this cycle.As for the game itself, tickets are a bit cheaper this year. The field also could be an issue, given the location.This year’s title game will take place on Monday night.