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#406 January 8, 2:05 am
Virgil van Dijk’s dream
A sledgehammer to crack a nut was the expression that came to mind as Liverpool’s new £75m defender made his debut against a side with only one goal in their last four games and no shots on target in either of their last two home matches. Everton supporters were clinging to the slender hope that Jürgen Klopp might have taken a risk in throwing Virgil van Dijk straight into the heat of a Merseyside derby.
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There were few worries on that score, even before the centre-half scored the winning goal five minutes from the end. Joël Matip and Van Dijk had only Dominic Calvert-Lewin to look after between them and the latter towered over the Everton centre-forward in every sense, invariably getting to the ball first whether in the air or on the ground. The former Southampton player even found time to launch a few attacks in the first half, sometimes Daryl Johnston Womens Jersey carrying the ball to the halfway line, sometimes sending out 50-yard passes in Brandon Sutter Authentic Jersey search of team-mates further forward.

Van Dijk looks the part, in short, but then he always did. It was in the other half of the pitch that Liverpool looked unusually disjointed until Everton came to their aid with a couple of defensive blunders. First was a penalty as soft as the one that earned them a point in the league derby at Anfield last month. With only two of the Fab Four on the pitch Liverpool were making hard work of breaking through Everton’s two banks of defenders before Mason Holgate made his first misjudgment of the evening.

The defender made the error of laying his hands on Adam Lallana as the Liverpool forward attempted to turn on the ball just inside the area. There was no question of throwing him to the floor or ripping the shirt from his back but Lallana felt the contact and went to ground anyway. It was almost an exact replica of the challenge Dejan Lovren made on Calvert-Lewin for the penalty in the league game, and as Sam Allardyce fully backed that decision he could have no complaints here. “Don’t raise your hands, don’t touch the opponent, don’t mess with him” was the gist of Allardyce’s advice last month, so he probably needs to have a word with Holgate about keeping his hands to himself to avoid undoing half an hour’s worth of otherwise doughty defending.

Allardyce would have been reasonably pleased with that first half- hour too, because not only had Everton been keeping Liverpool at bay; they had won two corners to the home side’s none. There were no shots on target, needless to say, but as far as Allardyce is concerned corners are the next best thing. Everton must have been hoping to make it to the interval without conceding, to at least raise the tension levels, though in the event they were lucky to make it to half-time with a full complement of players on the pitch.

At first sight it seemed ludicrous that Holgate should make his second misjudgment of the evening by deliberately shoving Roberto Firmino over the perimeter fence into the crowd and get away with it, though the Everton player lost his head to such an extent that it appeared likely he had been verbally abused or provoked. There was no other explanation for such a blatant transgression under the nose of the referee, and the fact that Robert Madley failed to produce a card – not to mention the amount of time he spent talking to the fourth official and discussing the matter behind his hand with various interested parties on the pitch – suggested this was a complex incident that even VAR might not have been able to clear up. Whatever the provocation, Holgate was lucky to get away with using his hands again so soon after conceding the penalty.

With Everton chasing Griffin Reinhart Womens Jersey the game in the second half Allardyce permitted Liverpool supporters their biggest cheer of the night by withdrawing Wayne Rooney well before the hour mark. Ademola Lookman was sent on in his place, but it is debatable whether Allardyce was trying to boost his attack. More likely he was protecting Rooney, who had picked up an early booking for a foul on Joe Gomez and had looked in danger of collecting a second when he clattered into Emre Can.

Nevertheless Lookman played his part in helping set up an unlikely equaliser, moving the ball neatly upfield to find Phil Jagielka, of all people, hovering close to the Liverpool penalty area, ready to lay off to Gylfi Sigurdsson. One shot on target, one goal. Set up by a substitute and a centre-half it may have been, but for just a few minutes it appeared Everton under Allardyce might have a charmed life in Merseyside derbies, especially after Lallana and Gomez wasted good chances to put the game to bed. Any Allardyce team has to be able to defend corners, however, and Everton were ultimately undone by a lapse of concentration almost as big as a £75m Dutchman. nike nfl jerseys from china nba jerseys cheap nfl jerseys outlet nfl jerseys authentic nfl jerseys wholesale
#407 January 8, 7:00 am
Manchester United’s Jesse Lingard
Manchester United seemed destined for an unwanted replay before Jesse Lingard again took responsibility, scoring a superb eighth goal in his past 10 appearances with six minutes remaining, which was followed by Romelu Lukaku sealing the win at the end of normal time.
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José Mourinho’s side had appeared unable Victor Hedman Youth jersey to kill off Derby County, as towards the close Marcus Rashford crashed the ball off the right post, Lukaku’s header hit the left, and Paul Pogba missed a sitter. Yet Lingard’s swerving long-range shot showed them how to do it and so United move on content.

Of Lingard, whose season tally is now 11, the manager said: “He is in a clear evolution. He’s comfortable in the position he plays, improving with the progressive style of the team, which makes him feel even more like a fish in the water. He’s the opposite of Devin McCourty Authentic Jersey Marcus because Marcus scores unbelievable goals in training and missed unbelievable chances in games. I’m not worried with Marcus because his good moment will arrive. Jesse won’t lose his stability. He’s mature, he understands the game better.”

Mourinho made five changes, drafting in Sergio Romero, Daley Blind, Chris Smalling, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Rashford. Gary Rowett’s XI showed six different personnel from their previous match, the 1-1 draw with Sheffield United, with Tom Lawrence, Andre Wisdom, Alex Pearce, Sam Winnall, Marcus Olsson and George Thorne all selected.

United made a crisp start. Luke Shaw and Pogba moved the ball along the left. The Frenchman beat a Derby defender and switched possession to Lingard, who should have scored, instead lifting the shot over Scott Carson’s goal.

Yet following a flurry of United chances, the visitors stroked the ball around. Lawrence, the No10 in Rowett’s 4-2-3-1, broke up the middle and reversed play to Winnall but the centre-forward was stymied. The contest had an attractive flow. Lingard and Mkhitaryan put Rashford in and after a trick to create space the striker missed a glaring chance to open the scoring. Mata’s free-kick was saved well by Carson to his right and from the ensuing corner United found themselves back-pedalling. Mkhitaryan took this short and suddenly Shaw was passing back towards the centre-circle.

When the ball found its way to Johnny Russell he coasted down the left and found Martin Olsson’s head, the left-back forcing Romero to tip over. As the half-hour approached United became sloppy. Mkhitaryan gifted possession to Derby, Winnall raced forward and the Armenian was Carlos Rodon Authentic Jersey fortunate to see the attack fizzle out.

The same was true of United’s initial momentum: their display had flattened and they were now vulnerable. The lack of ruthlessness Mourinho can bemoan was evident when a Rashford glancing header from Mkhitaryan’s ball hit Carson’s left post. The No19 was at close range so had no excuse for missing. It was a repeat story when Mata picked him out and he could only head straight at the keeper.

As the interval neared United kept pressing. A Pogba free-kick drew “oohs” from the home support as Carson saved sharply to his right. Yet at the break the tie remained deadlocked.

Mourinho believed a change was required so Lukaku, who missed the win at Everton due to a head injury, replaced Mkhitaryan for the second half. The Belgian took his customary No9 berth, Rashford moved left and Lingard went in behind Lukaku.
#408 January 9, 2:20 am
Officials aim for VAR to bring
Mike Riley has said that Drew Kaser Womens Jersey while Video Assistant Referees are not intended to make refereeing decisions 100% accurate, the game’s newest technological innovation will be viewed positively if it leads to a 2% reduction in errors by officials.
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VAR is set to make its debut in English club competitive matches this week, first in Monday’s FA Cup tie between Brighton & Hove Albion and Crystal Palace and then in Wednesday’s Carabao Cup semi-final between Arsenal and Chelsea, and before its trial run the authorities were keen to point out that the system is not supposed to usher in perfection. Instead Riley, the director of Professional Game Match Officials Limited, said experiments have shown that it is on Authentic Justin Williams Jersey average required only every two or three games and qualified his target of 2% by saying that select group referees currently get 96% of decisions correct.
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“If we’re saying that 4% of decisions are wrong, a 2% improvement is good for the game,” Riley said. “As long as we don’t increase interference.”

Critics believe that too much technology will lead to too many stoppages during games, disrupting football’s natural flow. However, Riley stressed at a media demonstration that VAR will focus on “clear and obvious” errors, noting that the aim is for “minimum interference, maximum benefit”.

Instead of checking every debatable decision or off-the-ball incident, the system will mainly be called upon for mistakes that are black and white. To minimise disruption, VAR will focus on checking four match-changing situations: whether a goal should stand, penalty awards, direct red cards and mistaken Todd Bertuzzi Jersey identity.

A line has been drawn at checking the merits of a second yellow card, while a booking can be given only if replays show a player has dived to win a penalty, scored with a deliberate handball or provoked an opponent into committing a red-card offence. Simulation outside the area will not be looked at, meaning that Jack Wilshere would not have run the risk of being sanctioned by VAR for his apparent dive in Arsenal’s draw with Chelsea last Wednesday.

Goals will be checked for offside, a foul in the build-up or the ball going out of play. VAR cannot intervene once a new attacking phase has started and clubs have said that they do not want goals to be ruled out for a foul at the other end of the pitch.

An example was Son Heung-min’s equaliser for Tottenham Hotspur against West Ham United on Thursday. The move began when Serge Aurier appeared to catch Manuel Lanzini in Tottenham’s half, but VAR would not be used here as it was a 50-50 challenge rather than a clear and obvious error.

The message is to leave it if it is not clear Michael Fulmer Jersey and obvious. Referees have been told to continue as normal, especially as they have no recourse to call for a review, and players will need to play to the whistle instead of assuming that VAR will come to their aid. Riley, who insisted that linesmen will not be rendered obsolete by the system, said referees will need to relearn their skills. If they see the linesman’s flag go up for offside, for instance, is it worth delaying a whistle?

That was an acknowledgement that there will be imperfections at first. However, Riley said that the time has come for live tests after 18 months of planning. “This will be really good for football when we’ve worked through it and ironed out all the subtleties,” Riley said. “This is a journey and we’re at the start of it. It will take two or three years for it to benefit football.
#409 January 9, 7:15 am
reflects badly on both managers
Antonio Conte had spent his afternoon supervising an unsatisfactory goalless draw with Norwich City but the frustration of watching Chelsea’s squad players labour was nothing compared with the other feelings dammed up inside. An hour after the final whistle he let it all out in the Carrow Road press room and, by the time he had finished, nobody among the cluster of agog onlookers could doubt the force of his animosity towards José Mourinho. When he finally took his leave after labelling Mourinho a “little man” and Byron Scott Jersey a “fake”, the question hanging in the air was how much further such an extraordinary set-to can possibly run from here, a long-simmering feud having exploded with barely precedented venom from relatively innocuous beginnings.
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Few would have expected Conte to ignore Mourinho’s barb, not directed by name but clearly aimed at his counterpart, at the ban he received for allegedly failing to report match fixing while working in Italy. A gust of discontent seemed more likely, though, than the storm he eventually unleashed. Post-match press conferences are rarely the best arena for squabbles to play out into something more: if things get too animated there is usually a team bus to board, a waiting plane to catch, a press officer at hand to cut awkward follow-up questions short. This time Conte whetted the appetite with his comments to broadcast media and then, with the Chelsea director of communications, Steve Atkins, standing to his right throughout, aired his grievances in full, uninterrupted flow to those seated opposite.
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The affair reflects woefully on both managers but Conte’s unwillingness to let the latest jibe go can be explained. In bringing up the match-fixing case, in which Conte was exonerated after a long-running investigation, Mourinho had aimed low and it would take a generous Mikhail Grigorenko Youth jersey soul to suggest he did not know exactly what he was doing. After being cleared in 2016 Conte said: “I have difficulty saying it is a happy ending. It never will be. An acquittal does not make you forget four years under investigation, a search of my house at five o’clock in the morning, television under your windows at six o’clock, front-page headlines, the judgments, a lot of situations which have done harm to me and my family. I cannot forget it. These things have left a mark, they will remain forever.”

Mourinho had struck the rawest of nerves and it is worth noting that, before the more headline-grabbing aspects of his outburst on Saturday, Conte took the time to outline in simple terms the chronology of his ban and his acquittal. It was a matter of correcting innuendo with fact and that is why the discussion was Womens Anders Lee Jersey allowed to take the turn it did. Latavius Murray Youth jersey If all Mourinho had wanted to achieve was the distraction of a direct rival, he had alighted on the one topic guaranteed to pay dividends.

In truth it is a squalid state of events and there is no halo above Conte either. He arrived in England with a reputation for abrasiveness but in his first 18 months rarely diverged from courtesy and good humour. His interactions with the media have been gracious: direct eye contact, handshakes and respectful nods. But his recent responses to Mourinho have, as one colleague put it, been more akin to the “Italian Conte” and it was impossible not to detect a mask slipping when he offered that crass diagnosis of “demenza senile”. It was hastily corrected to “amnesia” but the horse had bolted by then; Conte’s meaning was unmistakable and one wonders what further depths an exchange that has, up to now, invoked life-ravaging medical conditions and long-disproved allegations must plumb before the FA shows an interest in punitive measures for disrepute.

It is just not good enough from such high-profile ambassadors for their clubs and league but the escalation in hostilities is itself no particular shock. If it was essentially a misunderstanding that flared things up – there is no particular evidence that Mourinho was referring to Conte when he said he “did not have to behave as a clown on the touchline” – the readiness with which both have lined up their broadsides speaks volumes. Last season Mourinho accused Conte of trying to humiliate him towards the end of a chastening return to Stamford Bridge, which his Manchester United side lost 4-0, in an animated conversation at full-time. Various affronts exchanged since then include a pledge from Conte in July that he wanted to avoid “the Mourinho season with Chelsea”, a reference to the disastrous title defence of 2015-16, while in October he advised the United manager to “start looking at himself, not others” after Mourinho had indirectly accused him of a tendency to “cry” about injuries.

Anything left unsaid in the meantime is coming out in the open now. Conte has never appreciated what he sees as an unnecessary interest in events at Chelsea from Mourinho, who was undoubtedly bruised by the tainting of his legacy in west London. In Mourinho’s case Stamford Bridge forms a more direct reference point for one-upmanship than the Etihad Stadium, where Pep Guardiola’s supremacy is barely worth contesting for the next five months. Their current teams’ league positions, United just a point ahead of Chelsea in second, serve Mourinho’s appetite for confrontation well but there is a sense that – perhaps for the first time in England – he has met his match.,101073,101550
#410 January 10, 2:37 am
Glenn Murray leaves it late as Brighton
In the moments after Glenn Murray had plundered the winning goal for Brighton & Hove Albion – against his one-time employers, Crystal Palace – it is fair to say that confusion reigned. The striker, who entered as a late substitute, had strained every sinew to reach Uwe Hünemeier’s header towards the far corner but with which body part did he apply the decisive touch?
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The replays appeared to show that the ball flicked in off his thigh yet he came awfully close to touching it with his arm, afterwards, before he turned away in triumph. Thankfully, this slow-burning FA Cup tie featured the debut in English club football of the Video Assistant Referee. So, there could be no controversy, right?
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What actually happened was a lot of nothing but a lot of wondering about what might have happened. Did Neil Swarbrick, who played the role of the video assistant from a studio in west London, review the incident and radio to Andre Marriner, the on-field referee, to tell him that there was no decision to make?

Basically, yes. That is what Chris Hughton, the Brighton manager, said in his post-match press conference and the conclusion to which Roy Hodgson, his opposite number at Palace, jumped. There had been plenty of hand-wringing among the pundits in the BT Sport TV studio and, essentially, disagreement. In real time, Hodgson had raged on the touchline and, after the game, he admitted that he had directed a few “spiteful” words at the officials.

But, in the end, the decision seemed about right and everyone, not least the referees’ chief, Mike Riley, and the Football Association could breathe a sigh of relief. Perhaps the only thing that could be said for certain was that fans would prefer to see the referee perform some sort of VAR Chad Henne Authentic Jersey routine, making the outline of a television set and going off to check the monitor. Rather that than him hear a whisper in his earpiece and carry on.

It would emerge that Swarbrick had reviewed 11 decisions during the game and referred none of them to Marriner. His silent hand was a big part of the story. This is all going to take a little getting used to. Welcome to the brave new world.

It was inevitable that Murray would be a central figure against the club where he previously Benson Mayowa Jersey spent four seasons. It looked as though it would not be Brighton’s night after Womens Vontaze Burfict Jersey Bakary Sako had equalised for Palace with a bolt from the blue. Sako’s was a firecracker from distance, which ripped past Tim Krul and, when Brighton subsequently hit the post through the substitute, Sam Baldock, and blew other chances, it was easy to fear they had blown it. Murray had other ideas and his goal set up a fourth round trip to Middlesbrough.

Hodgson was more distraught about the injuries that his team picked up than the result. He lost Jeff Schlupp to a knee injury in the early running and Andros Townsend to an ankle problem at half-time. Both players departed the stadium on crutches and they face anxious waits ahead of scans. As Hodgson pointed out, his squad were already carrying too many injuries. Hughton was equally upset to have lost Izzy Brown to what looked like a serious knee problem.

Hodgson had described this as “one the of big games of the year,” Alshon Jeffery Jersey with a nod towards the rivalry that has built between these clubs since the late 1970s. It is the derby that does not fit the standard criteria, with the clubs’ stadia being separated by 45 miles. His players did not seem to realise what was at stake and they were second best throughout the first-half. baseball jerseys custom mlb baseball jerseys jerseys from china nike nfl jerseys cheap nfl jerseys wholesale nba basketball jerseys nfl jerseys outlet cheap jerseys from china
#411 January 10, 7:22 am
breathe life back into FA Cup
Anfield, Friday. While Virgil van Dijk humbly celebrates scoring Liverpool’s late winner the TV cameras pan out to capture one of the images of the season: Jürgen Klopp shaking his fists with the jittery frenzy of someone suddenly plugged into the national grid while yards away the Everton assistant manager, Sammy Lee, simultaneously twists his body, shuts his eyes and barks a pained expletive.
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The Ricoh Arena, Saturday. The Coventry City defender Jack Grimmer meanders unchallenged towards the Stoke City box, swings his right foot and seems stunned as it evades a stuck‑in‑the-mud Jack Butland to put the Sky Blues ahead. Then Grimmer’s tongue comes out and he is clowning around with his team-mates and no wonder: Coventry are on their way to humbling a side 56 places higher in the League pyramid.
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The City Ground, Sunday. Eric Lichaj’s deft volley in Nottingham Forest’s thrilling 4-2 win over the holders, Arsenal, finishes the FA Cup weekend on a high. Three games. Three very different scenes. Yet together they make up a triptych which hints that the mini-revival of the world’s oldest tournament just might be gathering pace.

It was notable the Merseyside derby was watched by more than seven million people – higher than any TV game in Britain this season – and four times the number who tuned into last month’s match on Sky Sports. It was also, impressively, close to a million more viewers than ITV had for both England’s friendlies against Germany and Brazil in November.

Sure, it is only one match. But given all the anguish about declining FA Cup audiences in the past decade such figures are worth celebrating. (In 2009 and 2010, for instance, the FA Cup finals had fewer than six Justin Tucker Youth jersey million viewers.)

Coventry, meanwhile, did not just provide one of the biggest FA Cup shocks of recent years; they did so in style. Too many times in the Premier League weaker teams not only park the bus but let down the tyres, wreck the ignition and clamp the wheels. Sometimes it works. Most of the time it merely delays the inevitable while boring the rest of us. Yet even though the Sky Blues were facing a close to a full-strength Stoke side, they continued to attack and were rewarded with a fourth-round spot.

They were not the only smaller sides who threw caution to the wind. The League One leaders Wigan Athletic were 2-1 up against Bournemouth yet Wesley Matthews Authentic Jersey continued to bomb forward trying to kill the game Sean Rodriguez Jersey off – while the League Two leaders Luton Town had more possession in their 3-1 defeat at Newcastle United. Forest, too, got their just rewards after repeatedly targeting Arsenal’s rickety defence.

The threat of an unwanted replay also appeared to encourage Everton to attack on Friday and the contrast in quality between the Merseyside derby last month, when Liverpool controlled 79% of possession and peppered Everton’s goal with 23 shots to three only to be swindled, was stark.

True, seven of the third-round ties finished goalless, with Fleetwood v Leicester City, Norwich City v Chelsea, and Shrewsbury Town v West Ham United all TV stinkers. But at least those games were rubbish in the traditional sense, because of a lack of quality, not because teams set their stall out for a draw.

There were other reasons for mild optimism. Usually there is some gap between the manic gluttony of Premier League fixtures over Christmas and the new year and the FA Cup; a chance to breathe and recalibrate. This year there were barely 22 hours between Spurs’ game against West Ham ending at Wembley and Liverpool kicking off against Everton. It would have been understandable if most Premier League sides fielded reserves en masse. Yet many – including Manchester City and Manchester United, as well as several threatened by relegation, such as West Brom and West Ham – put strong teams out. nike nfl jerseys supply cheap jerseys nfl cheap jerseys wholesale nike nfl jerseys size chart wholesale nfl jerseys free shipping nike nfl jerseys wholesale
#412 January 11, 3:04 am
Sergio Agüero rides to Manchester
Manchester City had to fight throughout this semi-final first leg as they will Womens Omar Gonzalez Jersey surely have to do in the return game. That is Frostee Rucker Womens Jersey in a fortnight and for Bristol City still to have a chance of reaching Wembley shows how fine a display this was.
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Sergio Agüero may have broken the visitors’ hearts with his added-time headed winner but, given the talent at Pep Guardiola’s disposal, Lee Johnson and his players can feel rightly proud at losing by only the odd goal.
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As Aden Flint, the Bristol City centre-back, said: “We are disappointed to concede late on but we can hold our heads high. We’ve taken probably the best team in the world almost all the way.”

Guardiola selected a strong side. Agüero and Fernandinho dropped to the bench while Nicolás Otamendi and David Silva were not in the 18. Yet Kevin De Bruyne, John Stones, Ilkay Gündogan, Leroy Sané and the club’s joint-top scorer Raheem Sterling, who has 18 goals this season, were included.

Johnson made one change from Bristol City’s last league game, Frank Fielding replacing Luke Steele as goalkeeper. This was their sixth tie in the competition, against their fifth Premier League opponents, the Robins having already dispatched Watford, Stoke City, Crystal Palace and Manchester United.

There were 7,680 travelling fans – a record at the venue – and they watched the home side come at their end almost instantly from kick-off. In Agüero’s absence Guardiola asked Sterling to operate at Womens Zdeno Chara Jersey centre-forward, The 23-year-old’s pace was evident when De Bruyne turned a ball round the corner into his path from behind halfway.

The contest flowed, with the visitors growing more confident. When De Bruyne swivelled near halfway he ran straight into Joe Bryan. Suddenly the home side were back-pedalling, the left winger racing to the penalty area’s edge before drawing a save from Claudio Bravo, the keeper flinging himself to his right.

Johnson’s side, fourth in the Championship, were hardly overawed. Jamie Paterson, the No10, swept a pass to Josh Brownhill on a left-right diagonal. Oleksandr Zinchenko stamped on his toes and Anthony Taylor gave a free-kick. If this was a warning for City, they continued to pose their own threats on Fielding’s goal.

De Bruyne hit a first-time pass into Sané and the German raced on and slid the ball along the line but it was scrambled clear. Sané and Bernardo Silva were Guardiola’s brightest performers, the Portuguese’s touch and force illustrating his club’s strength in depth as the former Monaco man is not yet a first choice for his manager.

Still, the home side could easily have fallen behind from a cleverly worked free-kick which had Bryan zipping in behind and finding Paterson, who should have finished. Shortly afterwards, though, calamitous home defending proved costly. Eliaquim Mangala was pick-pocketed by Brownhill, then Stones scythed down Bobby Reid in the penalty area. Taylor pointed to the spot, Guardiola wheeled away in disgust and up stepped Reid to give Bristol City the lead. Sterling almost equalised immediately with a lob at an apparently vacant net but Flint made a fine clearing header over the bar to preserve the advantage.
#413 January 11, 7:34 am
Mayor of Liverpool asks FA
The mayor of Liverpool has asked police to investigate whether Ross Barkley’s cut-price transfer from Everton to Chelsea constitutes Chris Conley Jersey fraud.
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Barkley joined the champions last week for £15m having rejected a £35m move to Stamford Bridge on transfer deadline day in August. The move so incensed Joe Anderson, Liverpool’s elected mayor and a lifelong Evertonian, he posted a series of tweets on the day criticising Barkley and the player’s agent while calling on the Football Association and Premier League to investigate the deal.
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Anderson has now written to the FA chairman, Greg Clarke, and the Premier League executive chairman, Richard Scudamore – in an official capacity and using mayor of Liverpool headed paper – alleging the transfer “could be seen as a deliberate attempt to drive down a player’s value in the transfer market so as to benefit the player, his agent and the buying club”. And he claims to have contacted “the appropriate police authorities” with a request they investigate the deal for fraud.

Barkley had six months remaining on his Everton contract and could have left on a free transfer at the end of this season. He pulled out of the move to Chelsea in August having ruptured a hamstring. Anderson describes the stated reason as “a groin strain”, yet Barkley needed surgery to reconnect the hamstring and has not played this Drew Stanton Womens Jersey season as a consequence.

In his letter to Scudamore and Clarke Anderson Authentic Lavonte David Jersey writes: “I believe the circumstance of his transfer now warrants serious investigation. There seems to me to be at least a public perception that collusion has taken place. While that may not be the case, it is in your interest this is at least looked at to reassure fans transfers will be monitored more closely and no individuals are benefiting inappropriately.

“Football fans are often treated as the forgotten minority and the Premier League would Joe Pavelski Authentic Jersey not be the fantastic product it is without them. Those committed fans pay exceptional ticket prices to watch their team play which I believe gives them a stake in this whole process, and they deserve the right to a degree of transparency.

“I am so concerned about the circumstances surrounding this transfer I am asking the appropriate police authorities to consider whether any fraud has taken place.”

Barkley’s £60,000-a-week wage with Everton is believed to have at least doubled at Chelsea, where he has signed a five-and-a-half-year contract.

Anderson was widely criticised on Twitter last week for using his mayoral position to criticise a transfer between two Premier League clubs. Everton have not registered any complaint over a deal they sanctioned but Anderson defends his efforts in the letter. He adds: “As a politician – and someone who supports and rightly welcomes scrutiny under the Nolan Principles – I feel it is right the public receive an assurance on this matter and that transfers are monitored more closely. I hope we can count on the sport’s governing bodies to provide those assurances.” wholesale jerseys mlb jerseys cheap nike nfl jerseys size chart cheap jerseys usa cheap jerseys wholesale jerseys nfl cheap nfl jerseys usa
#414 January 12, 3:35 am
facing bullying accusations
Peter Beardsley has always been a man of contradictions. As an immensely gifted footballer regularly dubbed a genius by team-mates, he was very much a dressing‑room outsider. As a coach, he represents an awkward amalgam of expansive Pep Guardiola-style tactical vision and a narrowly old‑fashioned mindset.
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On the pitch Beardsley cut a thrillingly anarchic, creative and improvisational figure who, by joining the dots between midfield and attack, somehow invariably succeeded in also being a quintessential team player. Off it, though, a man who sometimes gave the impression he would have been happier playing in an earlier era never seemed afraid to stand alone.

Perhaps instructively, the shuffling, teetotal, Geordie creator with the pudding bowl haircut Rod Gilbert Jersey never really appeared “one of the lads” during those late 20th century days and rarely courted peer group popularity. Where some with a fraction of his talent swaggered, Beardsley’s off-field gait and general head-down demeanour was faintly apologetic and determinedly humble. If balls, cones or bibs needed collecting he always volunteered while, after matches, the winner of two league titles and an FA Cup with Liverpool, as well as the holder of 59 England caps, could often be spied helping staff load kit skips on to the team bus.

Few stars can have disguised their ego as heavily but observers at Newcastle United suggest this anything-but-synthetic public humility coexists alongside a passive-aggressive coaching persona which has arguably contributed towards one of the club’s greatest players being placed on gardening leave from his job as the under‑23s coach during an internal investigation into alleged bullying and racism.

Newcastle’s Yasin Ben El-Mhanni, a 22-year-old Londoner of Moroccan heritage, has accused Beardsley of bullying and is supported by written submissions from five team-mates. Beardsley is also said to have made an allegedly racist comment to an African academy player. In a statement issued through his solicitor, Beardsley – who will be 57 next Thursday on 18 January – vehemently denies all allegations.

Potentially the most damaging is Beardsley’s alleged – “you lot should be good at this” – comment when a couple of African players struggled with climbing apparatus at “Go Ape” during a squad outing to the Tyneside adventure playground. He is understood to adamantly maintain this was a general reference to the entire group of fit, young, supposedly agile footballers, and had nothing to do with ethnicity.

If Beardsley the player – a blend of David Silva and Andres Iniesta – would have been good enough to have played for Guardiola’s Barcelona, his coaching career has been less gilded. In habitually eschewing the usual methods of winning young hearts and mind – charm, humour, sports science and psychology among them – Beardsley is viewed by some as a rarely-satisfied perfectionist with limited understanding of younger players lacking real talent or the sort of consummate commitment and professionalism which characterised his own playing days.

This, after all, is a man who as a schoolboy growing Womens Sheldon Richardson Jersey up in Newcastle used to routinely carry out shopping errands for his parents with the ball at his feet. “I never touched it with my hands, not even in shops or crossing roads,” he has said, recalling those days of holding carrier bags while shoulder dropping and shimmying his way past pedestrians while dribbling along pavements.

“Peter was different from everyone else and there were some snide comments about him,” his old Liverpool team-mate John Barnes has said. “But he’s the player I most enjoyed playing with. He was crucial to my success.”

Beardsley will argue his penchant for delivering quietly issued but sometimes scornful put-downs to young footballers is character Kawhi Leonard Youth jersey building but a clear frustration with perceived underachievers is evidenced by accounts of his pausing training to pull individual under-23s off the pitch and issue public dressing downs.
#415 January 13, 1:00 am
Stoke target Quique Sánchez Flores
Quique Sánchez Flores has emerged as Stoke City’s preferred choice to replace Mark Hughes. The Espanyol manager is expected to make a decision on his future within the next 24 hours and did nothing to dispel the idea he is seriously considering returning to the Premier League after refusing to discuss his position in the wake of last night’s Copa del Rey victory over Levante.
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Although Martin O’Neill remains under consideration for the post and has held talks with Stoke officials, Flores is seen as a longer-term solution to a managerial search that became more problematic from the moment Gary Rowett pledged his future to Derby County.
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It is understood that John Coates, Stoke’s vice-chairman, and Tony Scholes, the chief executive, travelled to Barcelona on Wednesday to meet Flores and outline their vision for the club.

Flores, however, was coy when quizzed by reporters 24 hours later about whether he was planning to take over at Stoke. “I do not talk about me,” he said after Espanyol won 2-0 on the night and 3-2 on aggregate to reach the Copa del Rey quarter-finals.

Pressed on whether he was committed to the project at Espanyol, where he was appointed on a three-year contract in the summer of 2016, Flores replied: “The commitment to my profession is very clear to me, for more than 30 years when I started Miami Marlins Youth jersey playing, that is unavoidable.

“I am very grateful to Espanyol. At some point I felt that we did not advance at the promised speed, but that is not because Espanyol have not wanted to, but because they Authentic Shaquille O'Neal Jersey have not been able to. They have given me the tools they have been able to, we are in happy times, to enjoy, to laugh in the dressing room – I think we are David Price Womens Jersey in the right dynamic.”

The big question for Flores, who guided Watford to a 13th-placed finish in the Premier League and an FA Cup semi-final only to be sacked at the end of that 2015-16 season, is whether he is willing to walk out on Espanyol in the middle of a campaign. Stoke expect an answer from Flores quickly on that front.

The alternative for the Midlands club is O’Neill. Although still in charge of the Republic of Ireland, the 65-year-old has yet to put pen to paper on the new contract that Authentic Nick Easton Jersey was verbally agreed in November, just prior to the Denmark defeat that ended any hopes of qualifying for the World Cup finals.

Vastly experienced, the former Celtic, Leicester and Sunderland manager is highly regarded by Peter Coates, the Stoke chairman, and has a proven track record in the Premier League. Stoke could do without the uncertainty carrying on much longer. They face Manchester United on Monday and although they always accepted there was a possibility that Hughes’s replacement would not be in the dugout for that trip to Old Trafford – it is understood the players have been told that Eddie Niedzwiecki will almost certainly be in charge in a caretaker capacity for that match – Stoke’s hierarchy would ideally like to have appointed a new manager by then. cheap jerseys wholesale baseball jerseys for sale nfl jerseys wholesale mlb jerseys china jerseys wholesale nfl jerseys free shipping wholesale jerseys usa
#416 January 13, 5:46 am
women finally allowed into games
Forget Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona, the biggest move in the world of football this month will come on Friday as women step inside Authentic Keith Smith Jersey a Saudi Arabian stadium to watch a professional game from the stands for the first time in the country’s history. Al-Ahli will be trying to close the gap at the top of the Saudi Premier League behind Al-Hilal with a win over Al-Batin but more attention will be paid to the make up of those in the crowd.
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Until now, in the country ranked by the World Economic Forum in 2016 as 141th out of 144 on gender parity, women have been forced to watch the beautiful game on television. Those caught inside a stadium, as one woman was in December 2014, were arrested. The Chris Hogan Jersey Saudi government announced last October that the long-standing ban was coming to an end, in at least in three stadiums to start with. Arenas in Riyadh, Jeddah and the eastern city of Dammam will have special sections for female fans.
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Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who was elevated to his current position last July, has been easing restrictions on women. In June the driving ban is set to be lifted. After the 32-year-old allowed women into a Riyadh stadium last September to celebrate the country’s national day in a move that went well, the next step was obvious. It is set to be a significant one not least because there is genuine passion for the sport in all sections of Saudi Patrick Roy Womens Jersey Arabian society.

Ghadah Grrah could not watch her favourite team Al-Hilal even in the final of the 2014 Asian Champions League though female fans of Western Sydney Wanderers were allowed inside the King Fahd Stadium. Her wait, however, is finally coming to an end. “It can be hard to have to watch your team only on television especially when it is a big game or a final but now my wish is coming true,” the 22 year-old tells the Guardian.

The fact that it is a huge game against Al-Ittihad of Jeddah, national and continental rivals, just adds to the anticipation. “I don’t know how to describe my feelings to you,” she adds. “I have been waiting since I became a fan in 2010 and it is such a pleasure to go to a match for my favourite team in Saudi Arabia. I am very excited.”

Saudi Arabia is an Asian powerhouse with numerous continental titles at club and country level. The national team reached the second round in a first World Cup appearance in 1994 and celebrated qualification for their fifth World Cup in September. Their coach, Bert van Marwijk, was quickly released and his successor, Edgardo Bauza from Argentina, was dismissed two months later to be replaced by his compatriot Juan Antonio Pizzi.

Decision making by the Saudi Arabian Football Federation may be erratic but the government’s call to allow women into stadiums is anything but, according to the Jeddah-based journalist Aseel Bashraheel. “There are many female fans in Saudi Arabia,” she says. “Many of my female friends and family are huge football enthusiasts. I’ve been to my share of cafes in Jeddah on many game nights and I’ve witnessed all the ladies around me watching the games animatedly and cheering loudly with their husbands and kids. I’ve seen my aunt and uncle cheer for opposing teams and then bicker and tease each other when their teams win or lose.”

It is expected there will be an major influx of women for the opening games before a lull, with numbers hopefully gradually increasing over the months and years to come. “There will be a lot of women attending games as they have been waiting for this for many years,” says Khalin Ghadin of the Saudi Premier League, although the official acknowledges there has been some negative reaction on social media. “There was some criticism. Any decision brings criticism but most people support it.”

Bashraheel knows it will take time for more conservative elements in the country to be won over. “There were those who welcomed the decision and expressed their eagerness to attend a family-oriented football match. And then there were others who believed the decision goes against Saudi’s culture and tradition.” That culture may be not quite as immovable as previously thought. “Society is changing in Saudi Arabia but I also believe there’s always room for more change.” nba jerseys cheap nfl jerseys nike nike nfl jerseys supply nfl jerseys free shipping cheap jerseys from china basketball jerseys
#417 January 15, 1:29 am
Antonio Conte refuses to rule
Antonio Conte has refused to rule out leaving Chelsea in the summer, saying “everything is possible” in response to speculation about his exit.
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The Juventus manager, Massimiliano Allegri, has been linked with taking Conte’s position at Stamford Bridge in the event that he departs in pre-season, a year before the end of his contract. Conte stressed, though, that it would be the club’s decision and suggested that Chelsea’s high turnover of coaches increases the amount of scrutiny on the role.
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When asked about the link with Allegri, who has been joined by Luis Enrique and the Napoli coach Maurizio Sarri on Chelsea’s list of reported targets, Conte said: “Everything is possible. I have another year of contract at this club, but everything is possible. In one moment you stay here; in another moment you are in another place and another person replaces you and your job. Football is like this. Our job is very difficult – everything can change a few times.”

Pressed later on whether that means he could walk away from the club, Conte offered a flat “no” and said he was “fully committed”. He explained Chelsea would have to break his contract, also saying the club’s history – Conte is their fifth full-time manager this decade while Rafael Benítez and Guus Hiddink have also taken interim roles – makes rumours Hau'oli Kikaha Womens Jersey inevitable.

“It is normal for the manager of this club to have this type of situation, also if you won last season the league and Joonas Donskoi Womens Jersey reached the final of the FA Cup – this is the history of this club for the manager,” he said, perhaps thinking back to Carlo Ancelotti’s sacking in 2011, a year after winning the double. “I have a lot Mitch Unrein Jersey of experience in dealing with this type of situation but there Womens Stanley Cup Jersey is something strange if after the first game, which we lost against Burnley, the press push quickly to sack me. In another club this doesn’t happen.

“I have another year of contract and in this case I think the club has to decide to send me away. We have started a big work here with the players and the club, and you need time to improve your work and create a solid basis. In football now it is very difficult to predict if you can stay many years with one club, especially in England. Before, managers in England were in charge for many years. Now all of a sudden you decide to sack managers earlier.”

Conte, whose side face Leicester City at home on Saturday, was also asked about a conversation he held with Alexis Sánchez in the tunnel at Stamford Bridge before the Arsenal game on Wednesday night. He is a long-term fan of the 29-year-old but said that, if Manchester City wish to sign him, Chelsea would be powerless even in the event they were interested.

“He’s a great player and knows very well that in my first season at Juventus we tried to buy him from Udinese, but then he decided to go to Barcelona,” he said. “He knows well my admiration for him and this was a good chance to say hello to him. I have great admiration for great players and Alexis Sánchez is one of those players.

“If Manchester City want Alexis Sánchez then they buy Alexis Sánchez. They don’t have a problem about money or this investment. I think it is a good investment – we are talking about a price that is not so high. The amount is around £20m. Maybe the normal amount is €80m to €90m.”

A more local concern for Conte is the form of Álvaro Morata, who has scored only five times in his past 21 games and looks short of confidence in front of goal. Conte acknowledged the striker’s difficult spell but said he is happy with his overall contribution. basketball jerseys cheap wholesale nfl jerseys cheap wholesale nfl jerseys supply nfl jerseys outlet hockey jerseys cheap cheap nba jerseys cheap jerseys usa
#418 January 15, 6:11 am
erman Ouseley, the chairman of Kick It Out, has warned against assuming the bullying and discrimination that former youth-team prospects at Chelsea allege they were subjected to is the scourge of a bygone era.
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Ouseley claimed young players throughout the game were still being routinely discriminated against even if the abuse may not be as Dany Heatley Jersey horrific as that claimed to have been inflicted by the Chelsea coaches Graham Rix and Gwyn Williams. Speaking in a personal capacity, Ouseley called on the organisations that govern the game, including the Premier League and the Football Association, to unite and provide a “drastic” solution to the problem of players feeling they have no appropriate whistleblowing or grievance procedure. “I’m aware there are many people in the professional realms of football who are governed by the Keenan Allen Womens Jersey fear of challenging the managers and coaches where things are happening,” Ouseley said. “Although it’s much better than it used to be, the fear is still there.
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“We’re doing exceptional work at Kick It Out in academies but the fact is people will still be fearful of challenging things that are said because they don’t want to ruin the opportunity they have to go on to be successful players.

“Somewhere along the line the Premier League, the Football League, the FA and the PFA need to come together and say: ‘We are going to eliminate this now with radical, drastic action. We are going to guarantee the mechanisms are there so no individual should be fearful, so they know where to go to get help to resolve whatever the situation is.’”

Three former youth-team footballers at Chelsea have launched legal claims against the club after allegations black players were subjected to horrific racism by Rix and Williams, who have denied “all and any allegations of racial or other abuse”. A police investigation was launched but after seven months it was deemed there was insufficient evidence to take any action. However, Chelsea began their own inquiry and the FA’s safeguarding officials have interviewed two of the players. Among the alleged abuse is that during a youth-team fixture in Spain, Rix humiliated one of the black outfield players by substituting him with the reserve goalkeeper. As the player was showering afterwards, it is claimed Rix shouted: “If his heart was as big as his cock, he would be a great player that ran more”.

The former Chelsea defender Frank Sinclair, however, was shocked by the allegations. “After knowing Gwyn Williams from the age of 11 as a schoolboy and throughout my career both Gwyn Williams and Graham Rix played integral parts in the development of my football career, I also saw Gwyn as a father figure in my life and find this hard to read,” he said.

Ouseley said his “gut feeling” was that young players are still in fear of revealing the truth about abuse because of the power exercised by coaches over their future careers.

“Clearly what is referred to in the article is something that should be of another era and to a Womens Vernon Davis Jersey large extent it is but, if we think that it’s gone away, it hasn’t,” he said. “Young people who go into football want to become professional footballers and, if they’re with a club, they’re not going to do anything they think will damage their opportunity. So things go unchallenged and it’s only in later life you feel able Womens Mario Chalmers Jersey to challenge it.

“It’s a shame the evidence isn’t there for the police to deal with but it’s good the FA and the club are investigating in this case.” cheap jerseys elite baseball jerseys nfl jerseys authentic wholesale nfl jerseys cheap cheap nfl jerseys china cheap jerseys online baseball jerseys wholesale
#419 January 16, 1:55 am
Tottenham’s Wembley comforts
It may not go down as a season-defining moment but the turn executed by Son Heung‑min 106 seconds after half-time, leaving Jonjoe Kenny plodding through quicksand while Wembley gasped in admiration, held significance of its own. For one thing it led to the goal from Harry Kane that broke the resolve of Everton, who had looked competent at 1-0 down but disintegrated rapidly after the deficit doubled. For another it crystallised a feeling that has, after the awkwardness of early life at Wembley, grown over the past six weeks. Tottenham are, at last, looking consistently like Tottenham again.
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Mauricio Pochettino was in no mood to disagree and must feel his side have turned a corner after that patchy period in the autumn when rousing European nights were offset by stodgy afternoons against Burnley, Swansea and West Bromwich Albion.

Back then Pochettino would react wearily to suggestions that Spurs’ temporary accommodation was doing them no favours, while not altogether dispelling them. Now, after watching his players score four goals or more for the third time in five home league games, he was more than willing to mark the change. “You know very well the circumstances are different after we moved to Wembley,” he said. “I’m so proud of them.”

Once Everton had been weakened, Tottenham went for the jugular. They spent the second half attacking in tides, showing little appetite to slow up until Christian Eriksen had swept home their beautifully conceived fourth. Even then Son could be seen chasing Mason Holgate into an ungainly tangle on the edge of Everton’s six‑yard box as the clock ticked down: it all evoked the best of the Pochettino era and their confidence has returned at a time when others are more given to introspection.

While Arsenal fret about Alexis Sánchez, Liverpool look to salve the open wound of Philippe Coutinho’s departure and the managers of Manchester United and Chelsea trade insults before the media, Tottenham’s worries are reducing. The festive period’s churn left them relatively unscathed and now, unencumbered by any serious suggestions that big names will leave this month, they exude a stability not evident in all their rivals for a top-four spot.

“Maybe it’s boring for you to hear the same [thing] but Tottenham can’t compare to other teams like Liverpool, Arsenal or Chelsea,” Pochettino said. “We are the opposite. We are doing our job; they have their strategy and we have our strategy. All that happens in other clubs will not affect us. It’s so important to focus on what we Drew Smyly Jersey need to achieve and how to improve.”

One of those improvements has come in the form of Son, who has been important to their tempo for some time and now operates as incisively as anyone in his position. He said afterwards that his partnership with Kane, at whose feet records continue to fall, “works really good” and there Dylan Bundy Womens Jersey were also signs that Dele Alli, provider of a glorious backheel for Eriksen’s goal, is playing his way out of a sticky spell. Then there is Eriksen, who had one of those games where nothing seems too much trouble and gave the impression – not for the first time – that Barcelona may have fixated on the wrong playmaker.

Pochettino was keener, though, to talk about the growth of his wider squad and expressed his happiness at the form of Serge Aurier, who created Son’s opener and has become an increasing influence. Aurier arrived from Paris Saint-Germain with some baggage but appears to have edged ahead of Kieran Trippier in the right-back pecking order. “There are a lot of bad things from his past in France, but he is a great guy and a great personality,” Hugo Lloris said of Aurier after the 4-0 win. Kevon Looney Womens Jersey “You can make mistakes as a person and learn a lot. Inside him is a fresh guy with good energy.”

Spurs radiate that freshness and energy just now. That spin and flick from Son, executed in one dizzying movement as he seized on Eric Dier’s firm pass, set the tone on Saturday but their collective shift in gear could not have been better timed.
#420 January 16, 6:35 am
Alexis Sánchez close to Old Trafford
Arsène Wenger says he expects Alexis Sánchez to leave Arsenal in the “next 48 hours”, with Manchester United having emerged as the forward’s preferred destination. The manager omitted Sánchez from the squad he took to Bournemouth for their 2-1 defeat on Sunday, although he remained a major talking point.
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Wenger explained he did not select Sánchez because of the knife-edged nature of his situation and suggested his transfer could even have happened during the buildup to the Bournemouth game – a distraction he could not have tolerated. Wenger described Sánchez as having been on standby and the Chilean did not travel to the south coast with the rest of the Arsenal squad on Saturday.
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United have indicated a readiness to outbid Manchester City for Sánchez and to offer him more lucrative personal terms, and they have turned the 29-year-old’s head. He had looked certain to join City and enjoy a reunion with Pep Guardiola, the manager under whom he played for one season at Barcelona.

City almost got him for £60m last summer and they have indicated a willingness to pay £20m for him this month. But United have moved ahead of their crosstown rivals and there is a confidence at Old Trafford that they are poised to pull off a coup. City are not willing to raise their offer.

Sánchez’s agent, Fernando Felicevich, is due in England for negotiations and Wenger made it clear the saga had entered its Anthony Davis Jersey end game.

“It will be decided in the next 48 hours,” Wenger said. "It was a bit difficult for Alexis [to play Robby Fabbri Jersey at Bournemouth] because he was on standby, a little bit. That’s why I decided not to do it [select him].

“He did not refuse to play. He would have played but it’s a difficult period for Dante Fabbro Womens Jersey him. He’s always been committed until now but he could have moved yesterday, today or not.

“I don’t master the rhythm of it [the transfer] but it could happen today, tomorrow or not at all. That’s why I didn’t take a decision [to select him] – I didn’t want to travel with him and, suddenly, he goes somewhere.”

Wenger said that, if Sánchez left, he had been assured Arsenal would replace him. His No 1 target is the Bordeaux winger Malcom and a deal for him Brandon Dubinsky Authentic Jersey is believed to be close. A meeting to discuss personal terms with the Brazilian’s representatives took place in France on Sunday, with Arsenal expected to pay £45m for the 20-year-old.

Wenger was asked whether Malcom was the player he wanted. “It’s better I don’t come out on any specific name,” he said. basketball jerseys cheap jerseys from china nfl jerseys from china nhl jerseys wholesale cheap nfl jerseys usa baseball jerseys for sale cheap jerseys from china
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