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Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil could be answer to Man United’s No. 10 woes

Arsene Wenger has no fears that rumours linking Mesut Ozil to Man United will have any impact on the German’s performances. That Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho likes Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil is not in dispute. He has said as much: calling his former playmaker at Real Madrid “the best No. 10 in the world” in 2013. But Mourinho’s admiration is likely to be growing with each passing day he stands on the sidelines at Manchester United’s Carrington training base. He already has two natural No. 10s in his squad, yet Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s form has been so dismal that he has not even made the bench in seven of United’s last eight games and Juan Mata is, more often than not, used on the right. Mkhitaryan was the designated No. 10 all the way th...

Gareth Bale’s CWC rescue act the first step to Real Madrid rehabilitation

Gareth Bale’s winner sent Real Madrid on their way to the Club World Cup final. Gareth Bale’s winner sent Real Madrid on their way to the Club World Cup final. Gareth Bale’s winner sent Real Madrid on their way to the Club World Cup final. Gareth Bale found himself in the new position of much needed saviour on Wednesday night, after the often criticised Galactico saved Real Madrid from humiliation in their Club World Cup semifinal against Al Jazira. A more entertaining than expected game at Abu Dhabi’s Zayed Sports City Stadium saw Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema miss chance after chance, before the locals took a shock lead through Brazilian forward Romarinho just before half-time. Even after Ronaldo made it 1-1 after the break, Benzema twice hit the post from c...

Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City or Arsenal’s ‘Invincibles’ of 2003-04?

The FC panel discuss the positive impact Pep Guardiola has had on English football and whether or not his City side can finish the season unbeaten. ESPN FC’s Mark Ogden and Man City correspondent Jonathan Smith assess City’s chances of finishing the Premier League season unbeaten. Manchester City have broken Arsenal’s 14-game record for consecutive Premier League victories (held since 2002) with a rousing 4-0 win over a severely outclassed Swansea team and can now set their sights on equalling the Gunners’ achievement of going a whole season unbeaten. It was Man City’s fifth win of the season by four or more goals and means Pep Guardiola now holds the record for longest managerial win streaks in the Premier League (15), La Liga (16) and Bundesliga (19), with h...

Bayern stand-in Tom Starke gets 8/10 with late-game heroics vs. Cologne

Jupp Heynckes says Bayern Munich aren’t ready to celebrate anything despite their comfortable position at the top of the Bundesliga. Robert Lewandowski scored for an eighth consecutive Bundesliga home game as Bayern Munich edged to a scrappy 1-0 victory against bottom-of-the-table Cologne. Positives A sixth consecutive Bundesliga title looks to be a mere formality as Bayern moved nine points clear of nearest challengers Schalke with another win and clean sheet. Negatives On paper, this should have been the easiest game of the season, but Bayern were again indebted to 36-year-old academy coach Tom Starke, called out of retirement in the autumn, to preserve a nervy three points against winless, relegation-bound Cologne. Manager rating out of 10 7 — Making four changes to the team...

Son calms Wembley nerves, while Erik Lamela looked sharp in Spurs return

Tottenham are back in 4th after a comfortable 2-0 victory over Brighton & Hove Albion. Following Tottenham’s 2-0 win over Brighton, Mauricio Pochettino looks ahead to his side’s next fixture against leaders Man City. A goal late in each half gave Spurs the 2-0 victory Wednesday over Brighton & Hove Albion that takes them back up to fourth place in the Premier League. Tottenham started brightly but soon got bogged down against a Brighton side that had come to Wembley to defend. The deadlock was only broken in the 40th minute when an attempted cross from Serge Aurier surprised the keeper and landed in the far corner. The second half followed a similar pattern, and the home fans began to get jittery that Brighton might somehow steal a point. But Son Heung-Min settled the n...

Liga MX season-in-a-sentence reviews for every team

It was another great season for Tigres, who have won the Apertura three seasons in a row. Thanks to a competition format that schedules two tournaments per year, Liga MX seasons can at times feel like a whirlwind. With two playoff runs and two ensuing champions in less than 12 months, the scheduling might seem chaotic, but it’s what truly makes the Mexican first division so thrilling to follow. In the spirit of that brevity, we’ve decided to provide a one-sentence season review for each Liga MX team. If you didn’t get a chance to keep up with the rapid pace of the league, here’s what you might have missed. Tigres — Champions There’s no doubt about it: manager Ricardo “Tuca” Ferretti has built a Liga MX dynasty with Tigres after winning the 20...

Cutrone impresses as Milan cruise past Verona in Coppa Italia

Patrick Cutrone impressed, scoring in AC Milan’s 3-0 Coppa Italia win over Verona on Wednesday. AC Milan booked a showdown with rivals Inter in the next round of the Coppa Italia after their comfortable 3-0 win over Verona on Wednesday. Goals from Suso, Alessio Romagnoli and Patrick Cutrone handed Gennaro Gattuso another win as the Rossoneri look to build some momentum. Positives It was another solid performance and result that will only build confidence within the group. Milan controlled the game well and applied sustained pressure, exactly what was expected of them while limiting dangerous situations defensively. Negatives The reaction Gianluigi Donnarumma received from the supporters at the San Siro was disappointing amid more transfer speculation over his future. There were banne...

Another day, another mess for Milan as Donnarumma nears the exit again

This latest drama could play out many ways but most likely is that Donnarumma leaves Milan for a small fee. Bad news for the club. Milan needed this like they needed a hole in the head. The club are currently seventh in Serie A, albeit 11 points (14, if Roma win their game in hand) away from the Champions League spots. UEFA have yet to rule on whether the club will be granted a “voluntary agreement” enabling them to play in European competition next year without sanction and if they don’t get it — the prospects aren’t good — they will be hit with a settlement agreement, limiting further spending and possibly incurring a fine and other restrictions as well. Then there’s the ownership situation, with the club actively seeking to both find new investo...

Sokratis Papastathopoulos strike seals debut Dortmund win for Peter Stoger

ESPN FC’s Gab Marcotti shares his thinking on why Dortmund hired former Cologne manager Peter Stoger to replace Peter Bosz. Peter Stoger admits he was extremely surprised to be named as Borussia Dortmund manager after they sacked Peter Bosz. Under newly appointed head coach Peter Stoger, Borussia Dortmund found their first Bundesliga win since Sept. 30, beating a very poor Mainz side 2-0 away from home on Tuesday night. The Black and Yellows picked up their first clean sheet since matchday five. It was a hard-fought victory for BVB, who found it hard to create scoring opportunities from open play against Mainz’ defensive setup. Centre-back Sokratis Papastathopoulos volleyed in a rebound following a set piece in the 55th minute to break the deadlock. It took the visitors until t...

Samantha Kerr, Matildas aiming to gain No. 1 ranking, respect from world

Matildas and Sky Blue FC forward Sam Kerr expresses her excitement for being awarded AFC Women’s Player of the Year. Sky Blues’ Sam Kerr has continued her amazing goal streak, kicking her 16th goal of the season, equaling the single-season record set by Kim Little in 2014. Australia’s national women’s soccer team has enjoyed quite the year, climbing from eighth to sixth on the FIFA World Rankings, with the expectation of cracking the top five once again when the new list is released in mid-December. The Matildas posted a historic win over the U.S. as they claimed the Tournament of Nations title in July, and they put an exclamation mark on their year with a comprehensive 5-1 win over China in November that extended their winning run to seven matches. Despite that tri...

PSG must avoid pitfalls of trip to Strasbourg in Coupe de la Ligue

With Real Madrid and PSG set for an intriguing last 16 clash in the UCL, Craig Burley examines what both sides need to do to advance. With Real Madrid and PSG set for an intriguing last 16 clash in the UCL, Craig Burley examines what both sides need to do to advance. PSG visited Disneyland Paris to travel the park, see the attractions and even pose for a few pictures with Mickey and Minnie Mouse. Paris Saint-Germain return to Stade de la Meinau on Wednesday night to open the defence of their four consecutive Coupe de la Ligue titles but they’ll want to avoid a similar outcome to their most recent visit to Grand Est. Thierry Laurey’s Racing side beat the French capital outfit 2-1 in Ligue 1 at the start of this month and Unai Emery’s men followed that up with a 3-1 defeat ...

Liga MX Apertura 2017 end-of-season takeaways and awards

Monterrey was a sea of blue and yellow Monday morning as Tigres celebrated their Toreno Apertura title after beating Rayados. It’s been a story-filled Liga MX 2017 Apertura. The earthquake on Sept. 19 brought the Liga MX community together and led to an outpouring of solidarity that highlighted the positive impact of sport. Then there was the news Mexico and Atlas captain Rafa Marquez had been sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department for alleged links to a drug trafficking organization back in August. There was also humor and farce in early September, as the match between Atlas and Tigres in Estadio Jalisco was postponed shortly before it was set to get underway due to the new circular big screen hovering just a few meters above the playing surface. To cap off the season, Liga MX a...