Category Archives: Sports

Declan Rice proves why he offers more than Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s main Man Utd priority

The 22-year-old could be the defensive midfielder that United crave, and Rice would offer more of a creative spark than the likes of Fred and Nemanja Matic.

With Fred, the tempo can be flat at times, while at 33, Matic certainly isn’t getting any younger and won’t be able to complete at this level for much longer.

Rice has proved he has the ability to win the ball back, drive forward, and either pick out a key pass or go it alone – as he did so brilliantly with his goal on Thursday against the Croatian champions.

The England midfielder also possesses the defensive qualities required to succeed at the top, and the 22-year-old could also offer cover at centre-back if necessary, which United certainly wouldn’t say no to.

Published at Sun, 19 Sep 2021 15:06:49 +0000

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Watch VFB Stuttgart vs Bayer 04 Leverkusen LIVE!

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VFB Stuttgart v Bayer 04 Leverkusen | 14:30 KO

Live action from the Bundesliga as VFB Stuttgart face Bayer 04 Leverkusen at the Mercedes-Benz Arena.

Sky Sports has become the new home of the Bundesliga in the UK and Ireland after winning exclusive rights for the next four seasons.

As the home of German top-flight football in the UK and the Republic of Ireland, football fans will be able to tune in to Sky Sports to watch the likes of Erling Haaland, Jude Bellingham and Robert Lewandowski, while 30-time Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich look to hold off their rivals to claim another title.

The premium fixture of each weekend will be shown live every Saturday at 5.30pm on Sky Sports Football, with further matches broadcast via Sky Sports’ linear or digital channels.

Published at Sun, 19 Sep 2021 13:21:15 +0000

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Mikel Arteta singles out unsung ‘terrific’ Arsenal star after Burnley victory

Arteta expressed his delight with how Arsenal battled for the three points and pinpointed his side’s defensive stability at Turf Moor.

“It was a hard-fought victory at a really tough place. You have to be ready for a fight,” Arteta explained.

“In the first half, we had some really good periods when we were really dominant and should have scored more goals. In the second half, we gave the ball away cheaply too many times.

“We have players who are not at their strength playing in this type of game, but they did their best, and we got the win.

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Published at Sun, 19 Sep 2021 10:58:05 +0000

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Man Utd’s Phil Jones furiously hits back at Rio Ferdinand’s stinging criticism of him

He hasn’t played much in the last two years, but Manchester United defender Phil Jones has still been left furious by his former teammate Rio Ferdinand’s recent criticism of him. Jones joined as a youngster from Blackburn in 2011 and started life well at Old Trafford.

But after being ravaged by injuries, poor form and having a whole host of new managers come and go, Jones has failed to make the first team spot his own.

Having mustered just eight appearances in two years, Jones recently spoke about his United hell in the club’s official podcast.

“It’s been tough,” he said.

“I think as a footballer, as a person, as a human being, that’s the lowest I probably ever felt in my life.

But after the comments Rio made, Jones has hit back at the former England international for his lack of respect.

“Listen, the respect I’ve got is enormous,” Jones told The Times.

“I’ve shared a dressing room with Rio — great professional. Loved playing with him. Great lad, good humour. Learnt so much off him.

“But what he said was poor. Really poor. I’m not into disputes, not into arguments, and if he didn’t know, he didn’t know.”

It remains to be seen if Jones can break back into the team at United, but it seems any respect he had for Ferdinand has now disappeared. 

Published at Sun, 19 Sep 2021 09:00:47 +0000

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Man Utd’s Jones opens up on injury hell

Manchester United defender Phil Jones says he has been “through hell and back” due to a long-term knee problem but believes he can the “light at the end of the tunnel now”.

The 29-year-old has not played for the club since an FA Cup tie in January 2020 because of the injury, for which he underwent an operation last summer.

The England international, who has spent an injury-hit decade at the club, recently returned to first-team training as he continues to work towards full recovery.

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“I’ve been through hell and back over the last couple of years,” Jones told Manchester United’s club website.

“I struggled with my knee a little bit and (there) came a point after lockdown where I thought enough was enough.

“I kept myself in great shape over lockdown and came back. But I remember just training out here [at Carrington] and going into the doc and saying ‘enough’s enough’. Unfortunately, there was going to be time off the pitch, which I knew was going to be difficult for me, but it was something that I had to do.

“Thankfully, I see the light at the end of the tunnel now and I’ve been back training, played a few behind-closed-doors games and I’m feeling really good at the minute.”

Jones, who has played more than 200 games in all competitions for United, said his 20-month injury layoff has been challenging.

“I think as a footballer, as a person, as a human being, that’s the lowest I probably ever felt in my life,” he added.

“You try and get a balance between football and family life but it was so difficult going home and trying to look after the kids. You’re there, but you’re not there, you’re not present.

“It’s nice to get that balance back.”

Raphael Varane for feature

Varane: My Man Utd destiny

By Nick Wright

Raphael Varane is casting his mind back to the summer of 2011, when Europe’s biggest clubs were vying for his signature and Sir Alex Ferguson appeared at the door of his mother’s house in Lille to try and persuade him to join Manchester United.

The centre-back, 18 at the time, would end up choosing Real Madrid following a late intervention from Zinedine Zidane. But even as the seasons passed and the silverware stacked up in the Spanish capital, Manchester United remained in his thoughts. Ferguson did not get his man but his trip to Lille was not in vain.

“It was a special moment for me and my family,” Varane tells Sky Sports, speaking over Zoom from the club’s Carrington headquarters a decade on. “It’s amazing to meet a person like him at 18. You know, after that, it’s your destiny. Ten years in Madrid and now I’m here.”

Published at Sun, 19 Sep 2021 07:11:56 +0000

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Chelsea team news: Expected XI vs Tottenham as N’Golo Kante decision made

Chelsea head into their London derby clash against Tottenham with the boost that N’Golo Kante is fit to play against the North Londoners. Boss Thomas Tuchel has revealed that the Frenchman has fully recovered from the ankle injury he suffered against Liverpool last month. 

Kante is likely to go straight into the team for the Spurs game. Express Sport predicts five changes from the Blues’ last Premier League match against Aston Villa.  

Goalkeeper: Edouard Mendy 

Mendy was excellent against Villa and has solidified his place as the club’s No 1 goalkeeper.  

He has played in every match since the beginning of the Premier League campaign, despite Kepa Arrizabalaga’s penalty-saving heroics against Villarreal in the European Super Cup. 

Mendy made an incredible double save to deny Villa in Chelsea’s 3-0 victory last weekend.  

His six saves were the most he has made in a Premier League match at Stamford Bridge. 

READ MORE: Barcelona’s improved XI if Raheem Sterling joins from Man City

Central midfield: N’Golo Kante and Jorginho

Tuchel could completely switch his midfield despite Mateo Kovacic’s excellent performance against Villa. The Croatian bagged a goal and an assist.  

Summer loan signing Saul Niguez could also drop out having struggled last weekend. The Atletico Madrid midfielder was hauled off at half-time and replaced by Jorginho, who might start against Spurs.  

The main team news, though, is that Tuchel has Kante available. The 30-year-old has recovered from the ankle injury he suffered against Liverpool last month.  

Tuchel said: “N’Golo is back, and back in full shape and ready to play.”

Attack: Mason Mount, Kai Havertz, Romelu Lukaku 

The Chelsea boss has a plethora of options to choose from for the two roles behind Lukaku.  

Mount, Havertz, Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech have all featured this season. Christian Pulisic remains injured.  

Tuchel could choose to put Mount back in, having left the 22-year-old on the bench against Villa. The England midfielder was taken off early against Zenit, perhaps in anticipation of a start against Spurs. 

Germany star Havertz has started the season well. He could line up behind Lukaku, whose place in the team is one of the few that are guaranteed.

Published at Sun, 19 Sep 2021 04:44:06 +0000

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Fantasy Injury Updates: Latest news on Michael Pittman Jr., Jonnu Smith, Darnell Mooney, more affecting Week 2 start ’em, sit ’em calls

We’re already seen Odell Beckham Jr. (knee), Will Fuller V (personal), and Tyrell Williams (concussion) declared out for this week, but there aren’t many notable pass-catchers who are even “questionable” for Sunday afternoon’s games. In fact, the majority of game-time decisions might already be on the unhappy side of start ’em, sit ’em decisions. Michael Pittman Jr., Jonnu Smith, and Darnell Mooney are the biggest names for season-long leagues, while guys like Jamison Crowder and Gabriel Davis are probably only relevant in DFS contests. Either way, we pride ourselves in providing injury updates for even semi-relevant players so you have all the information when finalizing your Week 2 fantasy football lineups.

We’ll be here all day Sunday updating this post with the latest news. For an injury update on Marquise Brown ahead of SNF, click here; for an update on D’Andre Swift ahead of MNF, go here; for the Week 2 weather reportclick here. For all the latest fantasy news, follow us on Twitter @SN_Fantasy.

Quarterback | Running Back | Wide Receiver | Tight End | D/ST | Kicker

Is Michael Pittman Jr. playing Week 2?

Pittman (ankle) was a Friday add to the injury report, but considering he got in a limited practice, he still stands a good chance of suiting up on Sunday against the Rams. He’s officially “questionable” (as is fellow wide receiver Parris Campbell, who has an abdomen injury).

Pittman likely won’t be in many fantasy lineups this week even if he plays, as he could see a lot of Jalen Ramsey. His injury, even if minor, makes him an even easier “sit” call. If either Pittman or Campbell is out, Zach Pascal and Indy’s TEs will likely see bumps in targets, but Pascal might then get the Ramsey treatment, which would ultimately lower his value. Rookie Mike Strachan would likely also see more targets if Pittman and Campbell are out, but he also can’t be trusted. Obviously, this would also lower QB Carson Wentz’s value, but Jonathan Taylor and Nyheim Hines would see more touches and both be worth using in standard and PPR leagues.

Quarterback | Running Back | Wide Receiver | Tight End | D/ST | Kicker

Is Jonnu Smith playing Week 2?

Smith (hip) managed limited practices on Thursday and Friday, so despite his official “questionable” designation, it seems likely he will play against the Jets on Sunday. The Patriots are notorious for listing more players than necessary as “questionable,” and it’s possible this is another example of that.

If Smith is active, consider both him and Hunter Henry low-end TE1 considerations. If Smith is out, then Henry becomes a virtual must-start. 

WEEK 2 DFS LINEUPS: DraftKings | FanDuel | Yahoo

Is Darnell Mooney playing Week 2?

Despite playing through a “questionable” designation last week and getting in full practices all week, Mooney (back) once again has the “Q” tag ahead of Chicago’s Week 2 game against the Bengals. 

Mooney wound up catching five-of-seven targets for just 26 yards last week. However, the targets were just as important as the actual (lack of) production. It seems Mooney will once again be in a high-volume role, and that should continue in a much more favorable matchup this week. He’s a potential flex in PPR leagues, but if he’s out, Marquise Goodwin would get a bump in value (though he’s also questionable due to an ankle injury). If one or both are out, TE Cole Kmet, WR Damiere Byrd, and Chicago’s running backs will all see more targets, with Kmet suddenly becoming a potential TE1. 

MORE WEEK 2 DFS: Best values | Best values | Lineup Builder

Is Gabriel Davis playing Week 2?

Davis caught just two-of-five targets for 40 yards last week, but he did get into the end zone and showed why he’ll be a boom-or-bust WR3 candidate most games. He’s “questionable” for Sunday’s game against the Dolphins despite getting in two limited practices to close the week. 

It’s tough to recommend playing Davis against a solid defense, but, again, he scored against the Steelers, so matchup might be irrelevant for a big-play guy like him. Still, if he’s not 100 percent, give him another week on your bench. If he is inactive, Cole Beasley and Emmanuel Sanders are both in play as WR3s, as they should continue to see steady targets behind Stefon Diggs.

WEEK 2 FANTASY: Sleepers | Busts | Start ’em, sit ’em

Is Jamison Crowder playing Week 2?

Crowder missed last week’s game because of COVID protocols, and this week he’s “questionable” because of a groin injury. He did get in limited practices on Thursday and Friday, so it seems likely he makes his debut against the Patriots.

Given the matchup and the possibility Crowder is less than 100 percent, it’s best to keep him on your bench (or waiver wire) until we see him in action. The Jets have a lot of similar receivers, and it was clear last week that Corey Davis is the alpha in the WR room now. If Crowder is out, then either Denzel Mims or Elijah Moore will see more targets, but they’re not legit fantasy options either.

Published at Sun, 19 Sep 2021 02:44:58 +0000

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Clock malfunction in Alabama vs. Florida causes confusion in last minutes of game

Saturday’s game between No. 1 Alabama and No. 11 Florida — a 31-29 win by the top-ranked Tide — had it all: offensive fireworks, a near come-from-behind victory for Dan Mullen’s Gators and, to Alabama’s confusion, a malfunctioning game clock in the final minutes.

Alabama was, in a sense, operating blind in its final offensive possession: The clock started malfunctioning on Florida’s previous offensive possession, when the clock continued to run after a Gators touchdown through their 2-point possession.

MORE: Alabama holds off Florida rally

When the Tide ran their first play of the series — a 3-yard run by Brian Robinson to the Alabama 28 — the clock remained fixed on 3:10 (despite the fact that Florida scored with 3:08 left on the clock). The clock remained inoperable for a good portion of the Tide’s final drive, and it clearly affected first-year starting quarterback Bryce Young; he gestured at the clock after it remained on 3:10, and was forced to rely on the play clock to manage the Tide’s final drive. The officials kept the official time on the field, and presumably communicated to the coaches and teams the time remaining.

The clock ended up working again around the final half-minute of play, at which point Alabama faced fourth down with Florida already burning its remaining two timeouts. Alabama eventually punted the ball, giving the ball to Florida on its 24-yard line with 4 seconds left. Unfortunately for the Gators, quarterback Emory Jones — who completed 18 of 28 passes for 195 yards and rushed for 77 yards — was sacked on the final play of the game by linebacker Jaylen Moody.

MORE: College football schedule today: TV channels, start times for every Week 3 top 25 game

Alabama’s final offensive drive wasn’t the only time the unit struggled in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. The Swamp was absolutely raucous on Saturday, with the crowd making it exceptionally difficult for the Tide in their first true road game of the year. The Tide committed three procedural penalties — two false starts and a delay of game — as Florida fans drowned the field in sound. It also created some issues with Alabama, snapping the ball on time.

MORE: Nebraska’s Scott Frost reportedly angry at officials after Oklahoma pregame skirmish

Regardless, Alabama managed to overcome Florida, The Swamp, the game clock and its own mistakes in the narrow victory, the second such against the Gators in as many years. Regardless of the outcome, one thing is certain: Nick Saban is going to get on his team.

It’s only a matter of time.

Published at Sun, 19 Sep 2021 00:14:20 +0000

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Marcus Mariota injury update: Raiders place backup quarterback on injured reserve after one play

It took just one play, but the Raiders depth chart at quarterback is already being shuffled.

Backup quarterback Marcus Mariota came in for one play — a 31-yard run — in the team’s 33-27 overtime victory in Week 1, but aggravated his quad in the process.

IYER: Week 2 picks against the spread

Now, Mariota will miss multiple weeks after being placed on injured reserve.

The Oregon grad signed a two-year, $17.6 million deal with the Raiders ahead of the 2020 season, but has appeared in just two games for the silver and black and hasn’t appeared in double digit games in a season since 2018 when he was with the Titans.

Las Vegas travels to Pittsburgh for its Week 2 matchup against the Steelers, who also won on some late game heroics in Week 1 against Buffalo thanks to impressive defensive performances from T.J. Watt and Cam Heyward.

MORE: Week 2 NFL predictions

The Raiders will also be without star running back Josh Jacobs and two of the team’s anchors on the defensive line — Yannick Ngakoue and Carl Nassib — are listed as questionable heading into Heinz Field.

Pittsburgh could also miss two impact defensive players — Devin Bush and Joe Haden.

With Mariota’s injury, Nathan Peterman will step into the backup role, though he likely won’t see much time as Derek Carr has played in and started all 111 games of his career, whereas Peterman has played just one game for the Raiders since joining in 2018.

Published at Sat, 18 Sep 2021 22:29:17 +0000

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Chelsea ‘preferred Harry Kane over Lukaku’ as Tottenham role in record-transfer explained

Chelsea would have made Harry Kane their club-record signing over Romelu Lukaku had it not been for Tottenham, according to former Blues midfielder Craig Burley. There has been plenty of talk about the England captain in the build up to Sunday’s crunch London derby given that Chelsea are understood to have explored a move for the 28-year-old earlier this summer when he looked set to leave Spurs.

Daniel Levy was not prepared to fulfil Kane’s wish, however, telling interested parties where to go.

Yet Manchester City are the only club believed to have been firmly in the running to sign Kane despite Thomas Tuchel confirming himself that Chelsea would be interested in a potential deal.

Chelsea instead turned attentions to former player Lukaku after also failing to entice Borussia Dortmund into the sale of Erling Haaland.

The Belgian secured a blockbuster return to Stamford Bridge worth a staggering £97.5million but in the view of Burley, the deal would not have happened should Kane have truly been on the market.

DON’T MISS: Liverpool forward Diogo Jota in ‘miss of season’ with four-yard Crystal Palace sitter

Chelsea boss Tuchel has now admitted that he thought Kane was heading to Manchester City to play under Pep Guardiola.

“I thought that this is going to happen,” the German said.

“I was not scared, but if it would have happened I would have been very interested in how maybe it would have changed Manchester City’s style of playing.

“We are not afraid of anyone. We accept any team and Manchester City, Man United and Liverpool, they are the teams strong like no other in this league and they have strong squads.

“These are the guys with whom we want to compete and it’s normal that they fight for the best players.”

Although it wasn’t to the script, Tuchel did praise the idea of Kane staying at Tottenham as one-club men in football are a dying breed.

“It is also nice that it exists in football that players play for one club only,” he added.

“When I think about Tottenham in the last decade you think about Harry Kane and this is very nice.”

Published at Sat, 18 Sep 2021 20:51:15 +0000

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