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Please Read Before Posting / La Liga Sportblog
« Last post by xiaolan on Today at 08:35:26 PM »
Quique Setién says he has told Atlético Madrid’s manager Diego Simeone exactly what he thinks of him but Simeone hasn’t told him back. He can guess, though: it doesn’t take a genius. “He might not like what I do, but he has the decency not to say so,” admits the chess-playing, beach football international, former manager of Equatorial Guinea (for one night only) and defender of an aesthetic footballing faith who briefly made Las Palmas the best thing in the league and is now at Real Betis, if maybe not for much longer. “He might go: ‘Bloody hell, this bring-the-ball-out thing, I shit on its mother!’ He’s good enough not to say that, but I’m sure he thinks it.”

So is everyone else, and more than before. Because if Simeone never told Setién, on Sunday afternoon he showed him. Really, really showed him. It was easy to imagine him barely suppressing a smirk, winking his way back to the dressing room at the Benito Villamarín and breaking into a giggle as soon as he got through the door, points won and point made. At the same time as he arrived, midfielder Koke stood pitchside. Talking to the telly, Koke’s opening line couldn’t have been clearer: “Betis were spectacular,” he said. “They played very well, they play very nice football.” Antonio Adán, Betis’s goalkeeper, agreed: “The football we played was incredible,” he insisted, “our opponents were truly dominated.” The problem was, a ‘but’ hung in the air and it was a big one. Dominated? Perhaps, but still not defeated.

Betis had more shots, more chances, and more of the ball. Much, much more; 74%, in fact. Atlético, who had never had less possession, completed just over 150 passes, Betis over 600. “Atletico were a mere spectator,” said AS. But Atlético were also the victor, Saúl Níguez scoring the only goal. “Betis bring the football, Atlético take the result,” AS added. “Setién’s team plays well, Simeone’s wins,” agreed Marca. And far from feel offended, Atlético felt a tingle of pride.
They’d done it again and the way they did it posed the question: could they do it again? As for Betis, much as Setién said the performance “strengthened” them, much as he insisted he’ll “never change”, and much as they’re still six points and seven places above the relegation zone, they’ve been knocked out of the cup, this was their sixth consecutive game without a win, and he’s under pressure, his philosophy now held against him. Simeone’s philosophy meanwhile, questioned at times, now reinforces him.
That all seemed to crystallise on Sunday. Betis versus Atlético, Setién versus Simeone, was always set up to be a clash of styles. Few clubs, few managers, are as clear in how they play; few are as far apart, either. Which was why ultimately perhaps there was something predictable about the way it played out. At the end of the match, the Betis defender Aissa Mandi insisted: “It sounds strange to say this but this might have been our best game this season.” He was wrong: maybe not about it being their best performance – although they won at the Bernabéu, beat Levante Authentic Walter Payton Jersey 4-0 and drew 4-4 at Real Sociedad – but about it sounding strange. It actually sounded pretty standard … only more so. This match was almost like a caricature and, like any caricature, it was exaggerated but there was also something in it.
“Betis were as pretty as they are ineffective,” El País insisted. “Atletico were a rock,” Zouhair Feddal said, and although they are more than that, not just the defensive team they’re sometimes accused of being, he was right. Simeone admitted Betis were “far superior”, but he was only talking about the opening 20 minutes and he was probably also right to limit it to that. To begin with, Atlético struggled a little and again they needed a sharp save Jaquiski Tartt Jersey from Jan Oblak, but by the end they had won again and as the game went on they were rarely exposed.
Simeone has faced Setién four times now and beaten him in each of them, never conceding. This time was, as Marca put it, “particularly bitter medicine” for Setién to take and AS was saying much the same: “You don’t like Simeone? Here, take two spoons of Simeone,” it wrote. You could imagine ‘El Cholo’ feeling especially satisfied, vindication served through victory. Atlético started with four central midfielders and finished with six defenders; they also finished with a win. “Setién couldn’t have knocked down that wall with a nuclear bomb,” ran one report.
None of which would matter that much if it wasn’t for the fact that this felt like something of a threshold. It was as if, much as this has been coming Anthony Zettel Jersey for weeks, there was suddenly some sort of recognition, an awareness of where Atlético are and who they are. Maybe it’s the exaggeratedly Atlético way it Womens Tracy Mcgrady Jersey happened, their identity enhanced, or the fact victory meant they’re still the only unbeaten team in La Liga apart from Barcelona. More likely, it’s because this was the 19th league game in a row that they had avoided defeat – a new club record. The last team to defeat them were Villarreal, in April, and the last team to beat them away were also Villarreal, four months before. In other words, Atlético have not been beaten on the road in an entire season’s worth of trips. Baseball Jerseys For Sale Nike NFL Jerseys Supply NFL Jerseys Paypal Wholesale Jerseys NFL Cheap Jerseys NHL Hockey Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys Usa
Please Read Before Posting / Otamendi strike
« Last post by xiaolan on Today at 06:08:06 PM »
For Manchester City, this was not just the day they declared themselves the best team in town. It counts for more than that, surely, when there is now an 11-point gap at the top of the Premier League and the team in second place have just learned the hard way why Pep Guardiola’s side are disappearing into the distance.

Guardiola and his players certainly give the impression they are in a hurry to finish this season’s title race. Their goal difference – which is more, almost ludicrously, than any other team’s goals-scored column – has the effect of Jacoby Brissett Womens Jersey another point and though it still seems ridiculously early, with snow on the pavements and advent calendars two-thirds unopened, who can possibly see a way back now for Manchester United? Far more likely, the gap will just continue to grow. It would be nice, for the sake of competition, if there might yet be another twist – but that seems unrealistic in the extreme. As far as the title goes, that surely is that.
Anything else would be extraordinary after City’s 14th successive league win and a game was that was so one-sided there were first-half statistics that showed José Authentic Marty Mcsorley Jersey Mourinho’s men had seen just 22% of the ball. The more important detail came in the form of the goals from David Silva and Nicolás Otamendi that won this derby, with Marcus Rashford scoring for United in between, but when was the last time, on their own ground, United had so little possession? That alone must have been galling for their supporters.
The irony is that Mourinho’s players might still have rescued themselves. United’s manager complained afterwards that Ander Herrera should have had a penalty from Otamendi’s challenge, rather than a yellow card for diving, and there was a remarkable moment when Romelu Lukaku smashed a close-range shot into Ederson’s face and the substitute Juan Mata also aimed straight at the goalkeeper with the follow-up effort. Yet the days have passed since Sir Alex Ferguson used to boast no other team scored more late goals. In fact a lot has changed at Old Trafford judging by the narrative of this game and the difference in approach between the two sides.
The crowd here might still like to sing about “football taught by Matt Busby” but, as City’s players worked their elaborate passing patterns, there was a different soundtrack.
The first rendition of “Park the bus, Man United” could be heard from the away end on the 15-minute mark. The next song, expletive removed, queried whether the home team might be “scared”. Soon afterwards there were olés from the away end. OK, possession statistics do not mean bonus points but it was startling, nonetheless, to see how one team took care of the ball and the other did not. By half-time, City had played more than four times the number passes, 334 to 78, than the home side. Overall, City had 65% of possession Jared Goff Womens Jersey against a team who had previously conceded only one league goal at home.
Guardiola finished the match with Silva operating as City’s most advanced player. The league leaders lost their captain, Vincent Kompany, to injury at half-time and had a spell with Fernandinho experimenting as a centre-half. Sergio Agüero, one of the best strikers of the Premier League era, was not required for a single minute. And yet the away side still found a way to outplay, outpass and outscore their opponents. Guardiola summed it up succinctly: “Last season was the same. We won because we were better. We were better in all departments.”
The only possible criticism, if we were nitpicking, was that Gabriel Jesus gave Mourinho the opportunity to refer back to his pre-match assertion that City’s players (not that his ever would, of course) dive too often. Jesus, chosen ahead of Agüero, should also have been booked for one of those tactical fouls that Mourinho had flagged up. Ultimately, however, the truth is that City did not have to resort to underhand tactics to signal their superiority.
They could certainly feel aggrieved that they were only drawing at half-time. Silva’s goal had arrived in the 42nd minute but it was a poor misjudgment from Fabian Delph that allowed Rashford his chance to equalise. Delph was caught out when Otamendi was unable to meet Marcos Rojo’s cross. Rashford was on the loose ball in a flash and fired a diagonal shot past Ederson.
Two minutes into first-half stoppage-time, that goal set up a second half in which United did at least seem to remember they were supposed to be the home side. City had an experimental back four, always slightly vulnerable to crosses from wide areas, but the same could also be said of the home team and the problem, perhaps, when so many attackers are asked to help out in defence, is that mistakes invariably occur. Cheap NFL Jerseys Usa Discount NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys Baseball Jerseys Custom MLB Jerseys Usa Nike NFL Jerseys
Please Read Before Posting / West Ham’s David Moyes spares
« Last post by xiaolan on December 11, 2017, 11:29:50 PM »
David Moyes has admitted that his “compassion” for Joe Hart’s position as England No1 made it difficult to leave the West Ham United loanee out of their 1-0 win against Chelsea on Saturday.

Hart had been ineligible to play against Manchester City, his parent club, six days previously and saw his replacement Adrian – whose only previous appearances this season had been in the League Cup – perform well. The Spaniard kept his place for Chelsea’s visit and was again beyond reproach. It was the latest setback in a chastening 15 months for Hart, who will be at serious risk of losing his World Cup place if his fortunes do not improve.

“I always have compassion for the players, and I have to think of their situation as well,” Moyes said when asked whether Hart’s situation with the national team had entered his reasoning. “That’s why it wasn’t an easy decision – it wasn’t easy because of that. But ultimately it’s West Ham I have to think about getting a result for. I need to win as well.”
Moyes looks certain to stick with Adrian for Arsenal’s visit to the London Stadium on Wednesday. “[He kept a] clean sheet, didn’t make any mistakes today, so I’d have to say on that I would think so,” he said, adding standard caveats about the couple of days’ training that lie in between. He said Hart “will play a lot of games this season, I’ve got no doubt about that” and emphasised that his importance to the squad extends to his wider role in the dressing room.
That will be cold comfort to Hart, who turns 31 in April and saw a season‑long move to West Ham as a chance to re‑establish himself in the Premier League after being jettisoned by Pep Guardiola at City. Things have not gone to plan and Hart, whose form for a struggling side has been patchy, faces the kind of battle he could not have expected four months ago.
“I thought he was very good,” Moyes said of Hart’s reaction to not being picked. “He wasn’t happy, you know – I told him the reason why and that’s it. But that happens all round the country. Part of a manager’s job is relaying messages to your players on how you think they’re performing. I said to them when I came in: ‘I’m going to tell you what I think, I’m not kidding anyone on, if I think you’re doing fine I’ll Patrick Ewing Jersey tell you and if you’re not I’ll tell you as well’.”
Perhaps Hart can take solace from the tough love Moyes has already dished out to Marko Arnautovic, another underperforming summer arrival who was restored to the starting lineup against Chelsea and responded with an all-action performance that was capped with a fine winning goal.
“I think his all-round work has been really good,” was Moyes’s verdict on his appetite to track back and chase lost causes. “I’ve just said to them: ‘If you Authentic Josh Kline Jersey don’t do it, I won’t select you because at the moment we need it’. Football isn’t all about running but I think what the people here want to see is that the players are putting in effort and energy. I think the energy that Marko’s shown has given the crowd a lift – and I think they’re reacting to seeing that if Marko Arnautovic can do it then, well, they all can do it.”
It was a level of vigour that Moyes’s opposite number, Antonio Conte, would have welcomed from his own players. Chelsea looked leggy – “a bit tired”, Conte agreed – against opponents for whom fitness had Joe Hawley Jersey been a major Authentic Luke Kuechly Jersey concern before Moyes arrived in November. He bemoaned the fact he will essentially have “20 minutes” to prepare them for the assignment at Huddersfield on Tuesday; the implication is that reinforcements are needed but whether everyone in the corridors of power is singing from the same hymn sheet remains to be seen.
“I think it is right to keep it secret if we have a conversation with the club,” he said of any discussions with Roman Abramovich about the January transfer window. “Now, it is very important for us to be focused on the league, to go game by game and try to find the right energy to play every three days.” Nike NFL Jerseys Supply Wholesale Jerseys Usa Basketball Jerseys Cheap Discount Jerseys Wholesale NFL Jerseys Nike Baseball Jerseys Cheap Baseball Jerseys For Sale Nike NFL Jerseys Supply
Please Read Before Posting / admits title race is
« Last post by xiaolan on December 11, 2017, 07:22:39 PM »
José Mourinho all but admitted defeat in the Premier League title race after watching Manchester United fall 11 points behind a Manchester City team he described as being “protected by the luck” and helped on their way to the championship because “the gods of football are behind them”.

Mourinho’s backhanded compliments came after a Womens Taywan Taylor Jersey 2-1 victory for Pep Guardiola’s side at Old Trafford that left the United manager complaining at length that Ander Herrera should have been awarded a penalty in the second-half incident that led to the midfielder being booked for diving.

“I think they are a very good team, they are lucky, they have decisions in their favour,” Mourinho said. “My first reaction is that I feel sorry for Michael Oliver. The referee is a human being and he tried his best. He was very committed to have a good match, which I think he had, but made one mistake, which was a crucial mistake.”
Asked whether the title race was now over, Mourinho said: “Probably, yes. Manchester City are a very good team and they are protected by the luck, and the gods of football are behind them.”
Guardiola’s view was that it was still too early for him to say the same but City have now won 14 league fixtures in a row and the victorious manager, praising his team for taking on the Barcelona approach of football, dismissed Mourinho’s complaints about the penalty incident. It was, according to the City manager, just more of the usual from Mourinho and something to which he was wholly accustomed from their time as rival managers in Spain.
“We won because we were better in every department,” Guardiola said. “Last season it was the same – we won here and it [for Mourinho] was the referee. Today as well. Yesterday he spoke about the referee. We are an honest team. When a team has the courage to have 65 to 70 or 75% ball-possession it is because it wants to try to play and that is what we have done. We are clear, we are open and we want to attack.
“People said we could not play this way in England. They said we couldn’t play the way we did in Barcelona but it is possible and we did it. Always I believed we could do it. That’s why football is so beautiful.
“I’m happy to go to Stamford Bridge and now Old Trafford and to beat them in this way. But we are still in December. If we have 11 points [as a lead] when we play the second derby in April then maybe I will tell you that we have the title.
“This win means a lot in the way we played for our confidence but in three days we go to Swansea in the winter time. We are going to face a lot of difficulties. In December it’s impossible to be champions but it is good for us.”
Guardiola, Markus Golden Jersey the former Barcelona Authentic Matt Slauson Jersey head coach, also responded to Mourinho’s pre-match remarks that City players can be guilty of diving – “It’s not true that my players go down easily, that is not an argument I believe” – and promised to keep wearing his yellow ribbon in support of the two Catalan politicians who were jailed during the region’s fight for independence last month.
The only downside for City was another injury to Vincent Kompany. “Vinnie is always like this,” Guardiola said. “Unfortunately we can’t count on him for a long time.”
Please Read Before Posting / swiftly on transfer
« Last post by xiaolan on December 11, 2017, 12:37:44 AM »
Mauricio Pochettino has suggested that Tottenham Hotspur have paid a price for the late completion of their summer transfer business and has made it plain that the club will have to be quicker and smarter next time.

The manager will be restricted in the January window as his Champions League squad already contains the maximum of 17 foreign players – and that number does not include the fit-again Érik Lamela, whom he is keen to reintegrate for the knockout stage.
Pochettino said he would focus next month on trying to “take Drew Bledsoe Womens Jersey advantage of the English market and add an English player”, together with the drive to promote English youngsters from the academy. But he wants to use January, primarily, as a means to prepare the summer business; to steal a march on rivals, after he felt the club failed to do so last summer.
Pochettino signed Davinson Sánchez, Paulo Gazzaniga, Juan Foyth, Serge Aurier and Fernando Llorente in the final two weeks of August. Foyth, Aurier and Llorente came in the last 48 hours – the latest example of the chairman Daniel Levy’s penchant for taking deals down to the wire. Pochettino was quick to spell out the downside of that approach.
“This summer was a very good example because we signed good players but it was so late and with no pre-season [for them], you pay,” Pochettino said. “You then need six or seven months for the player to be fit, adapt himself in everything and that is always against us.
“The most important thing that we have been talking about is to identify our targets and, on 3 July, when we start our pre-season, they are here. If we don’t, it’s so difficult for them to help the team and then, during the season, you are going to pay. It’s so important today to identify your targets for the summer. If not and we wait until May and, before we sign, we sell, it’s so difficult to bring in players that can help.”
Pochettino betrayed an element of frustration at Tottenham’s summer business when he was asked whether he needed to qualify once more for the Champions League to attract the best players. “But you have the very good example of last season,” he said. “How did we finish? In second place. And we attract? We attract?”
The questioner tried to be positive and highlighted how Sánchez had been signed. “We attract a 21-year-old,” Pochettino said, pointedly. “Yes or no?”
Pochettino is painfully aware that the summer market will be particularly difficult because of the World Cup and the fact that the window will close for incoming signings on the Thursday before the Premier League season begins.
It has made him more determined to act swiftly – possibly tying up some business for the summer in January, in the same way that Dele Alli was signed from MK Dons in Authentic Patrick Willis Jersey the winter window of 2015 with an agreement for a five-month loan-back. Pochettino would like to put something similar in place for Fulham’s Ryan Sessegnon.
“The Dele signing is a very good example of the Jake Gardiner Womens Jersey need to anticipate,” Pochettino said. “We cannot be reactive because if we are, we are going to lose. If we are going to compete in the same period with City, United, Liverpool or Chelsea, then we are going to struggle to bring in the players we want. Maybe we need to sign the player in January and they can join in the summer. Wholesale NFL Jerseys Cheap Cheap Hockey Jerseys Baseball Jerseys For Sale Cheap Basketball Jerseys Cheap Jerseys Wholesale
Please Read Before Posting / Manchester derby
« Last post by xiaolan on December 10, 2017, 08:22:00 PM »
José Mourinho has accused Manchester City of diving, with Manchester United’s manager claiming “a little bit of wind and they fall”.

United face Pep Guardiola’s team at Old Trafford in Sunday’s derby and although Mourinho praised City he also claimed they try to gain advantage by going to ground easily. “One thing that I don’t like a lot is that they lose their balance very easily,” he said.

Mourinho’s comments echo those he made about Arsenal after last weekend’s 3-1 win there. “I leave for you the Arsenal players on the grass,” he said. “The grass is absolutely beautiful – I think there is a desire to go on to the grass.”
Paul Pogba’s red card at the Emirates Stadium means he is suspended and Mourinho refused to reveal how United will approach the City game in the midfielder’s absence. “You all want to know how we are going to play,” he said. “Everyone connected with football professionally or as a fan is questioning: ‘Who is going to play? How are we going to try to play?’ I’m not going to tell.
“Even the players do not know who is going to play. We are working on principles of play. I want every player to be connected with it and ready for it. With the problems we have with absences it is important that other players are ready to play or be on the bench and come on, and to have different roles than they are used to.
“So the work is much more global than the 11 players who are going to start. The players who are fit? Zlatan Ibrahimovic is available, Phil Jones is available, Marouane Fellaini I have Forrest Lamp Womens Jersey to wait [until Saturday]; Michael Carrick is not available, Eric Bailly is not available. Nemanja Matic is injured but he plays.”
United are eight points behind City so know a defeat Joc Pederson Youth jersey would allow their visitors to open up a formidable lead. Mourinho said: “I don’t want us to feel any kind of pressure. I want us to feel it as a match like we are going to have another one two days later against Bournemouth. We want to win, we want to play well, we are going to try and let’s Carlos Gomez Jersey see the direction of the game.”
Mourinho has previously encouraged fans to make the atmosphere at home more vibrant, criticising them for being too quiet. But he refused to go down that track before City’s visit.
“I stop with that,” he said. “I’m not going to write any more words about it, I’m not going to say any more words about it. We are paid to work and to work hard and to give the best we can, not to criticise fans and I’m not going to say any words. It is the reality of things. I’m not paid to come here and make any comments or to ask for something from the fans. I am paid Brian Elliott Jersey to give them happiness, which is what I try to do every day.”
Of the challenge facing City, Mourinho said: “They are a good team. They defend well, they react well to the moment they lose the ball. They have a good dynamic in attack, they have creative movement, they have amazing players, they have a fantastic coach, they have lots of good things.
“Football is unpredictable – me as a manager I can try to define a gameplan, to work in a direction, but we don’t know what can happen. There are so many things that are out of control that can totally transform the direction of the game, I wouldn’t risk saying what game we are going to have.” Wholesale NFL Jerseys Nike Cheap NFL Jerseys Baseball Jerseys Cheap Cheap NHL Jerseys Jerseys China Wholesale NBA Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys NFL
Please Read Before Posting / Jonathan Wilson
« Last post by xiaolan on December 10, 2017, 06:14:29 PM »
This, it feels, is it. It may be only the second weekend of December but if Manchester United lose at home to Manchester City on Sunday the gap at the top of the table will be 11 points and the title race – and José Mourinho’s record of always winning the league in his second season at a club – will be as good as over.

Events have a habit of getting in the way of even the most sophisticated projections but if City were to win a 14th Premier League game in a row – a record for one season – it could have profound consequences well beyond the end of this campaign. With the Pep Guardiola model established, his squad packed with technically gifted and tactically aware devotees, City’s level is set. Given Mourinho’s habitual third-season problems, the likelihood of further upheaval at Chelsea in the summer and perhaps mounting dissatisfaction among Tottenham’s young players as they see their peers earning far more elsewhere, City may find themselves without a serious challenger in the short-to-medium term.
So how does Mourinho go about stopping City and checking the relentless march of the Pep-bots? City’s last three games, against West Ham, Southampton and Huddersfield, were all won 2-1 with a late goal and have all followed a similar pattern. Sit deep against City, limit the space Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sané have to accelerate into and, even with passers as gifted as David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne, they can be restricted. As yet, nobody since Everton has been able to restrict them enough in the Premier League to achieve anything other than narrow late defeat but there have at least been signs they are not entirely unstoppable.
Happily for Mourinho, sitting deep, packing the midfield and allowing the opposition possession sits exactly into his protocol for away games against top sides, as revealed by Diego Torres in his biography of the former Real Madrid coach, and as practised with stultifying efficiency against Liverpool this season. Less happily, this is at home, and while the Old Trafford crowd will probably accept a radically reactive approach if it is successful, it’s not hard to imagine unease being provoked if it is not. Less happily still, the main thrust of that 10-point plan is that “he who has the ball has fear”. City, with a pass completion rate of 88.8% this season, do not look like a team with much fear of the ball.
Mourinho has tended to deploy a back three this season only against other sides playing a back three – CSKA Moscow, Arsenal, Watford, Chelsea, Tottenham – but, Authentic Markus Granlund Jersey if only for reasons of personnel, he seems likely to use a back three on Sunday. If Marouane Fellaini is fit, there is a chance he will play alongside Nemanja Matic at the back of midfield with Ander Herrera breaking forward in a 4-3-3/4-2-3-1 hybrid but it is hard to imagine United would be bold enough to use a 4-2-3-1 with four creative players. Having an additional spare man at the back should anyway make it easier to pack that key area just outside the Womens Todd Frazier Jersey penalty area where City cannot be allowed space.
If United are able to stifle City, there is plenty of evidence they can score against them. The nature of Guardiola’s philosophy means his side will always be vulnerable if you can get through the initial press. Most sides cannot, or are so overwhelmed by the challenge of coping with City’s movement they are too befuddled to take advantage when they do generate openings – or, rather, openings to generate openings – which is why City have the second-best defensive record in the league but they have conceded in each of their last three games.
Angelo Ogbonna’s goal for West Ham at the Etihad on Sunday was the first City had conceded in the league this season to a header but they are not a tall side and if United have Romelu Lukaku Adrian Amos Authentic Jersey and, potentially, Fellaini attacking corners, set plays will be an obvious threat.
Against Watford and Arsenal, the link-up between Paul Pogba and Jesse Lingard was exceptional and the suspended French midfielder will be missed, at least in that regard. Questions persist about whether he really controls the midfield as a player of his stature and ability should but Pogba is a master at leading a break and linking the back of the team to the front. In his absence, United may have to go more direct, using Lukaku’s aerial ability to win knockdowns for Anthony Martial and Lingard.
That brought the winner in the home game against Tottenham, when United sat deep and were largely content to frustrate, and, while it is unlikely City would succumb to quite such a simple goal as Spurs did, Martial and Lingard running from deep would be a huge test of Fernandinho’s defensive capacities specifically and City’s defensive organisation in general.
But the sense is that this isn’t really about City stopping United from scoring. The game will be decided on how well United are able to resist City’s endless waves of attack. And on that might rest the next three to four years of English football.
Please Read Before Posting / It’s been a long time coming
« Last post by xiaolan on December 08, 2017, 11:43:47 PM »
It feels somewhat perverse to praise Fifa’s acumen during a week in which its handling of Russia has re-alerted the football community to its ethical compromises, but the world governing body’s intervention into Australian affairs appears astute.

The decision to lead a working group to address Australian football’s inability to expand its governing congress should, thankfully, herald the final act in the long-running saga. Moreover, by opting for a body consensual in nature but under Fifa/AFC direction, resolution should occur with the minimum of collateral damage.

This is not a normalisation committee, the most decisive option at Fifa’s disposal, nor is it more futile mediation. This is a strategic intervention T.J. Lang Womens Jersey that brings the end within sight while minimising the risk of a World Cup suspension and maximising the likelihood the head of Australia’s delegation in Russia will have been elected, not imposed.
What Fifa has managed to achieve Authentic Matt Niskanen USA Jersey is the prioritisation of the ends – the adoption of a more inclusive and representative membership model – by an appropriation of the means, the congress review working group.
For much of this process the case for democratisation has been held hostage by acrimony. The debate should always have been about the betterment of Australian football and the ideal governance arrangement for the game’s prosperity. This has not been the case and the longer the imbroglio has continued the more it has descended into an unseemly squabble over voting thresholds anchored by an unsatisfying status quo.
Fifa’s overdue entry to the scene has the potential to reframe this process for the better. It can now orchestrate a wide-ranging conversation, one that could unlock the untapped ambition and optimism of large sections of a football community fatigued or marginalised by business as usual. This is in contrast to the prolonged behind-closed-doors courting of a minority of stakeholders. It is a welcome opportunity to reboot.
Fifa’s action places FFA in a curious situation. By avoiding a normalisation committee it could be argued the decision is a win for Steven Lowy and his agenda. But there is not much else on offer to provide succour.
Fifa’s communique makes clear it will “define the terms of reference of the congress review working group, which include its objective, composition, mandate and timeline,” in other words benching FFA from its existing role in stewarding the democratisation process. Moreover, Fifa will do so having met with “the stakeholders (member federations, A-League Braylon Edwards Jersey clubs, PFA) and any other relevant interlocutors, such as the Association of Australian Football Clubs (AAFC), that have been established in the meantime”. This is consistent with all Fifa communication on this matter, avoiding direct reference to FFA and its leadership as a stakeholder.
The letter, signed by Zvonimir Boban, the former Croatian international, now Fifa deputy secretary general, is businesslike in tone but an undercurrent of irritation is detectable. Recent failings in the democratisation process are detailed in the second paragraph before the third opens with the following carefully chosen words: “In light of the above the committee eventually decided...”. That eventually is pregnant with meaning. Fifa is also keen to point out the need for “a timely conclusion”, which is understandable given it has already allowed FFA a nine-month extension on its original deadline to reach this point.
FFA’s public response drew plenty of ire. The opening line of its press release indicates it will establish the working group with “direct support” from Fifa, in contrast to the terms outlined in Fifa’s letter. When the A-League clubs issued their response later in the day they made Brian Quick Jersey sure to point out the “misleading nature” of FFA’s communication. Consequently, much of the immediate analysis of the situation on Thursday focused on FFA’s spin.
Please Read Before Posting / Fifa removed investigator
« Last post by xiaolan on December 08, 2017, 07:42:58 PM »
Cornel Borbély, Fifa’s ethics committee chairman, was investigating the alleged role of Russia’s deputy prime minister for sport, tourism and youth policy, Vitaly Mutko, in state-sponsored doping when world football’s ruling body abruptly removed the Swiss from his job in May.

Mutko was banned this week from all future Olympic Games by the International Olympic Committee, which accepted evidence that he was centrally involved in systematic doping of athletes, but Fifa has taken no action. Formerly a Russian minister of sport, Mutko was alleged to have overseen the vast doping programmes before the 2012 London Olympics and 2014 Sochi Olympics. He is still president of the Russian football association and the organising committee for the World Cup next year.
Borbély, a Zurich lawyer who chaired the investigatory arm of Fifa’s ethics committee, was examining the voluminous evidence on Russia and Mutko’s activities when Fifa decided at its congress in Bahrain not to renew his tenure. Mutko would be barred from football if the ethics committee agreed with the World Anti‑Doping Agency, its investigator Richard McLaren and now the IOC, that Mutko was directly involved in state‑sponsored doping.
Gianni Infantino, the Fifa president, sought in March to prevent its independent governance committee barring Mutko from the Fifa council, arguing it would damage the Glen Rice Youth jersey prospects of a successful World Cup in Russia.
Miguel Maduro, the Portuguese law professor who chaired that committee and maintained its decision because Fifa’s rules require politically neutral council members, was also fired at the Bahrain congress. Maduro told the UK parliament’s select committee for digital, culture, media and sport in September that he had J.R. Smith Jersey been urged by Fatma Samoura, Fifa’s secretary-general, to change his decision and declare Mutko eligible. “She said the World Cup would be a disaster and that as a consequence the continued presidency [of Infantino] would be in question,” Maduro said.
Fifa has taken no action against Mutko or Russia in nearly 18 months since Wada asked its ethics committee to investigate the findings made by McLaren in his first report, in July 2016, of Russian state doping and a systematic cover‑up. Borbély is understood to have contacted Wada and McLaren for the evidence but was not supplied with much material, because McLaren was conducting further investigations.
In December last year, Wada published McLaren’s second report, which found “an institutional conspiracy across [more than 1,000] summer and winter sports athletes, who participated with Russian officials within the ministry of sport and its infrastructure”.
Wada said this Lars Eller Jersey had been concluded from forensic testing, “based on immutable facts”, not only on the evidence of the whistleblower Grigory Rodchenkov, the former head of the Moscow anti‑doping laboratory. Authoritative sources said that after that second report, Borbély contacted Wada again and this time McLaren did send him a substantial volume of evidence. Borbély is understood to have been examining the material, to form a view about whether he considered that action should be taken against Mutko, when his tenure was not renewed.
Borbély and Hans-Joachim Eckert, the chair of the ethics committee’s adjudicatory branch, were given no notice of the decision to terminate their tenures. The FA and its representative David Gill, who is paid $300,000 a year to be a member of the Fifa council, supported the decisions to replace the ethics committee chairmen and Maduro.
Borbély and Eckert warned that their removal would set back their investigations into hundreds of cases and “incapacitate” the fight against corruption. Borbély was replaced by a Colombian judge, María Claudia Rojas, and he is understood to have given her the material from McLaren.
Please Read Before Posting / Fernando Llorente off
« Last post by xiaolan on December 08, 2017, 12:57:55 AM »
It has taken a while – 17 appearances to be precise – but Fernando Llorente is up and running as a Tottenham Hotspur goalscorer. The summer signing from Swansea City has been used mainly as a substitute by Mauricio Pochettino but, given a starting opportunity in what was a dead Champions League rubber, he responded with a decent all-round performance and he crowned it with his first goal in the club’s colours.

Given Spurs’ recent stutters – they have won only once in five Premier League matches – it was an opportunity for them to find a bit of momentum and Llorente did so, on a personal level. Son Heung-min did likewise. The winger added Tottenham’s second goal with a curling shot from the edge of the area and he vied with Llorente for the man-of-the-match honours.
Llorente was not the only player to open his account for the club. Pochettino had made wholesale changes to his lineup, with first place in Group H assured, and it was an important night for the winger George-Kévin Nkoudou.
It was Nkoudou’s full Champions League debut and his 22nd appearance for Tottenham. Like Llorente, the vast majority have come as a substitute. He tried to be positive from the first whistle and, if his moves did not always come off, he got his reward towards the end. He jinked away from the Apoel captain, Nuno Morais, cut inside and, when he shot, the ball deflected and flew into the net.
Llorente has shown flashes of his quality, most notably in the 1-1 draw with Real Madrid at the Bernabéu, but everybody knew he needed a goal. Pochettino admitted the Spaniard had been “very nervous” about his drought. He showed only dead-eyed instincts when his big chance came.
Llorente still had plenty to do when Serge Aurier drove over a hard, low cross in the 20th minute, following Harry Winks’s crossfield pass, but he killed the ball with a lovely right-footed touch and, in the same movement, spun to set up a sweeping left-foot finish. Having done the hard part, he was never going to miss.
Llorente might have opened the scoring earlier, following a Winks free-kick. He rose unmarked to extend Nauzet Pérez in the Apoel goal and that was not the end of the Tottenham threat. Davinson Sánchez had a stab at the loose ball before it broke for Nkoudou. He guided it goalwards only to see Jesús Rueda clear from on the line with an instinctive header. When Llorente recycled the move, Sánchez nodded wide.
Spurs dominated the first half, with Son a menace in a roaming role off the flank. There was control to their passing and the second goal felt like a matter of time. Son got it after he played a give-and-go with Llorente. His first-time shot into the far corner was marked by precision technique.
The crowd of 42,679 Authentic Bryan Witzmann Jersey saw a more proactive performance from Apoel in the second half, after they switched to 3-4-3, and Praxitelis Vouros fizzed a deflected shot past the far post. There were theatrical moments from the visitors and the tie also took in flashes of needle.
Aurier stamped in on Stathis Aloneftis and Authentic Mitch Unrein Jersey was booked, while Danny Rose clashed with the substitute, Roland Sallai. Both were cautioned and Rose needed stitches in what Pochettino described as a “massive cut” above his eye. Rose was forced off. He would later re-emerge to watch Doug Gilmour Womens Jersey the closing stages from the bench.
Llorente had air-kicked when gloriously placed on 58 minutes and Aurier worked Perez on the follow-up but it was Nkoudou who gave the scoreline its gloss. “We are going to try to go as far as we can in this competition,” Pochettino said. “In football, you can always dream.”
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