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Juventus still licking their wounds heading into derby showdown with Torino

Massimiliano Allegri got angry at his team’s critics after the 2-2 draw with Tottenham in the Champions League. The FC crew pinpoint how Tottenham were able to turn around an early 2-0 deficit at Juventus and gain the advantage in their Champions League tie ahead of the second leg. Perspective is a funny thing. Manchester City have the most expensive squad in Europe, yet their fans would be happy to just be competing in the final stages of the Champions League. Juventus sell a star every summer and yet nothing short of another final and a win this year would silence the critics. The Bianconeri drew with Tottenham Hotspur, 2-2, in their last match. It’s a pity after having gone 2-0 up within 10 minutes. Is it disappointing? Absolutely. But is it disastrous? No. The fact Juventus...

Tite’s Brazil World Cup squad taking shape but still places left to play for

Brazil’s Tite has decisions to make as he rounds out his 23-man roster for the World Cup. In a recent interview with the local press, Brazil coach Tite confirmed 15 of the 23 players he will be taking to the World Cup. They were (and this is the way he referred to them) his 11 normal starters, plus four. The team base, then, is goalkeeper Alisson (Roma), full-backs (right and left respectively) Daniel Alves (PSG) and Marcelo (Real Madrid), centre-backs Marquinhos (PSG) and Miranda (Inter Milan; holding midfielder Casemiro (Real Madrid), midfielders Paulinho (Barcelona) and Renato Augusto (Beijing Guoan); attacking midfielders Phillippe Coutinho (Barcelona) and Neymar (PSG); and centre-forward Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City). Tite also added centre-back Thiago Silva (PSG), midfielder ...

Ethan Ampadu rampant, Willian exquisite in Chelsea defeat of Hull

Olivier Giroud extended Chelsea’s lead over Hull City in the FA Cup to 4-0 with his first goal for the club since his move from Arsenal. Chelsea booked their place in the quarter finals of the FA Cup with a 4-0 stroll over Hull City at Stamford Bridge. The Blues flew out of the blocks with Willian scoring inside two minutes with a wonderful left foot shot having won the ball high up the pitch. Pedro Rodriguez was next on the scoresheet following a delicious first time pass from Fabregas. Olivier Giroud’s strength and finesse thn set up Willian for another sublime finish off the inside of the post. Giroud scored his first for the club after good work from Emerson Palmieri to make it 4-0 at the break. With the game won and Barcelona on the horizon, Chelsea eased off markedly in t...

When will Jose Mourinho build properly around star Paul Pogba?

The ESPN FC panel welcome in French correspondent Julien Laurens to sort out the latest report alleging Paul Pogba regrets his return to Manchester United. ESPN FC’s Shaka Hislop breaks down the latest transfer rumours surrounding the likes of Paul Pogba, Willian, Dele Alli and more in Transfer Rater. Following a few poor performances from Paul Pogba recently, it’s no surprise that the player has now been linked with a move away from Manchester United, with speculation suggesting the midfielder isn’t happy at the club. Pogba is a star player and the supporters would like to see Jose Mourinho build his team around the midfielder. Given the weaknesses of the squad elsewhere, Pogba has largely been sacrificed and forced out of position to accommodate the manager’s pref...

Gonzalez in battle for Monterrey spot; Pachuca can pile on Chivas

Jonathan Gonzalez is battling Monterrey teammate Arturo Gonzalez for his starting spot. ESPN FC’s Liga MX writers pick out what you need to watch for in another exciting weekend of action. Mexican midfielders fighting for Monterrey starts Monterrey midfielder Arturo “Ponchito” Gonzalez may just go on to have the brightest career of all the winner from Mexico’s 2011 Under-17 World Cup team. And while Juan Carlos Osorio’s squad appears to be largely decided for the World Cup this summer, the form of the 23-year-old, former Atlas player will surely be catching the national team manager’s eye. Aside from Andres Guardado, there aren’t many left-footed midfielders with real quality in Mexico’s depth pool and Gonzalez may be able to put himself in a...

Big-name moves, Columbus, LAFC among MLS offseason storylines

With several MLS stars set to line up for new clubs in 2018, check out some of the most notable trades of the offseason. Say this for the MLS offseason: It hasn’t been dull, despite the fact that considerable oxygen has been taken up by the U.S. Soccer Federation presidential election as well as the continued angst over the future of the men’s national team. There have been notable moves on the player front, even if that has been coupled with a slow free-agent market. Meanwhile, there has been progress on the expansion front, while a new team in LAFC is racing to be ready for its debut season. Let’s dive into the biggest storylines… Nagbe, Meram, Kljestan among big names on the move When MLS announced that it was adding $2.8 million in targeted allocation money R...

‘Seeing me play vs. Spurs can inspire people with cancer’ – Joe Thompson

With the return of the FA Cup this weekend, Paul Mariner and Mark Donaldson predict who’ll move on to the quarterfinals. ROCHDALE, England — Joe Thompson knows he really should not be preparing to face Tottenham Hotspur in Sunday’s FA Cup fifth round tie for League One minnows Rochdale at Spotland. Just 14 months ago, the 28-year-old was diagnosed with cancer for the second time in three years. Having beaten the disease once, he has since gone on to beat it again, but the personal victory was one thing, overcoming all the obstacles in his way to win back his career is another mountain that the midfielder must climb and that journey is still in its early stages. “I played my first game, after completing my treatment, in late-December,” Thompson tells ESPN FC. &...

Jose Mourinho and Man United season on knife edge ahead of FA Cup

The ESPN FC crew look at reports Paul Pogba regrets leaving Manchester United. W2W4 previews the key storylines to look out for ahead of the weekend action. It’s a big period for Manchester United, while all eyes will be on the Rochdale pitch this Sunday … Will history be repeated at Huddersfield? Manchester United may have cruised to a 2-0 victory over Huddersfield at Old Trafford earlier this month, but Saturday’s FA Cup tie brings them back to the scene of the crime — the day Manchester City began to run away with the Premier League title. A 2-1 defeat at the John Smith’s Stadium in October ended United’s unbeaten start to the season and opened up a five-point gap at the top of the table. Jose Mourinho’s side had kept seven clean sheets in eight...

Unsung Nacho Monreal, Mohamed Elneny earn top marks for Arsenal at Ostersunds

Arsenal took advantage of some woeful defensive errors to brush aside Ostersunds and put one foot into the Europa League round of 16. Arsene Wenger credits Arsenal for taking the game to a ‘nervous’ Ostersunds side and navigating the weather conditions in their comprehensive victory. Arsenal’s Europa League campaign this season might best be described as functional. There’s been little out of the ordinary, and despite a 3-0 win in Sweden on Thursday night — their first away from home in 2018 — ordinary seems a good way to sum up the performance. These looked like players going through the motions, and although some might point to the conditions, it was a bit cold; and the pitch, it was a bit artificial, they rarely got out of first gear. So much so that ...

Batshuayi the hero earns 10/10 as Dortmund grab late win vs. Atalanta

Michy Batshuayi now has five goals in his last three matches as Dortmund’s winless streak in Europe ends at eight matches following their 3-2 win over Atalanta. DORTMUND, Germany — Whether Borussia Dortmund would take the Europa League seriously was answered on Thursday night against Atalanta with a resounding “yes.” After all, the Black and Yellows were as gritty and energetic as one has to be on a European night. After a solid first half, Dortmund’s 1-0 halftime lead was quickly abolished as Josip Ilicic grabbed a brace by scoring in the 51st and 56th minute. It would end up being the individual quality up front that would bail the hosts out of a pickle as a pair of goals from Chelsea loanee Michy Batshuayi saved Dortmund a close 3-2 win, which leaves them w...

Real Madrid’s win over PSG can be a turning point in a so-far disappointing season

Cristiano Ronaldo became the first player to score 100 Champions League goals with one team as Real Madrid came from behind to defeat PSG at the Santiago Bernabeu. Cristiano Ronaldo tested the PSG defense all night with 10 shots (4 on target) and found his way to the record books yet again with his 100th UCL goal for Real Madrid. How did Real Madrid beat one of the hottest sides in Europe? The FC panel dissect all the ins and outs of their emphatic win. Real Madrid’s Zinedine Zidane feels his side can replicate their 3-1 first leg win in Paris and that it will give them confidence to correct their form in La Liga. Real Madrid fans at the Bernabeu on Wednesday fell just short of singing “can we play you every week?” during the raucous celebrations that greeted their team&#...

Liverpool counter-attack perfectly suited for Champions League football

Following their sound victory over Porto, the ESPN FC panel praise Liverpool and also discuss the state of Portuguese football. Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp hailed hat-trick hero Sadio Mane after Liverpool thrashed Porto 5-0 in the Champions League and said the winger is finally back to his best. Champions League football clearly agrees with Liverpool. Jurgen Klopp’s side completely dismantled FC Porto on Wednesday night and, although the Reds’ boss is far too professional to declare the tie over, not even the most wildly optimistic Porto fan would give their side any hope of overcoming a 5-0 deficit at Anfield in three weeks’ time. Liverpool are now the top scorers in the competition, having overtaken PSG: in seven games they have plundered 28 goals. They score plenty ...