Ayew and Co. charged to relieve Zaha of Crystal Palace goalscoring burden

The Cote d’Ivoire international has got three of the Eagles’ four goals in the league this term and the gaffer wants more from the other attackers

Ahead of Monday night outing against Bournemouth, Roy Hodgson has charged his other attacking options, including summer recruit Jordan Ayew to ease Crystal Palace’s goalscoring burden on Wilfried Zaha.

As regards the Eagles’ output in the final third, the forward has had to shoulder the ‘lion’s share’, scoring three of their four goals in the Premier League.

With the misfiring Christian Benteke out, Ayew – yet to open his account since his deadline day loan move from Swansea City – is set for another start against the Cherries.

Winger Andros Townsend is another player the former England coach will be looking forward to after his midweek heroics against West Bromwich Albion in the League Cup where he grabbed a brace.

And with Palace not lacking in chances created, Hodgson has urged his out-of-sorts attackers to be persistent in their approach.

“Wilf’s got the lion’s share because we haven’t scored many,” Hodgson said.

“But we have created many chances. So it forces one to consistently look back to the misses and the missed opportunities because in the bulk of the games we have played, we had that many chances. It’s harrowing to come off the field at 0-0 when you have seen that many chances.

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“I believe as long as you are creating those chances and you are getting in those positions the goals will come.

“What you do is make certain the players believe in themselves, they keep working at their game, and they share your belief that if you keep doing this then we will score goals.”


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I would tell Messi not to come back to the national team, says Maradona

While the Barcelona star has remained tight-lipped on his future, the Argentinian legend believes the country cannot ask anything more of him

Argentina legend Diego Maradona has advised Lionel Messi to make his retirement from international football permanent as the uncertainty continues over the star’s future with the Albiceleste.

Messi and Argentina suffered a mediocre World Cup campaign, crashing out in the last-16 after a tournament plagued with internal conflicts and sub-standard performances. 

The exit cost coach Jorge Sampaoli his job, while Messi has not been included in the two squads subsequently selected by interim boss Lionel Scaloni. 

And while the Barcelona star has refused to confirm his international future, his former Argentina boss believes he should not return. 

“What would I tell Messi? To not come back any more. To retire,” the current Dorados coach told Clarin on Sunday. 

“The Under-15s lose and it is Messi’s fault, the fixture list in Argentina puts Racing against Boca and Messi is to blame. He is always to blame. Stop breaking my balls. 

“I would tell him: ‘don’t go anymore, man’. Let’s see if they can handle that. Let’s see if they’re really big men.

“I would have liked to see him tell us all to f**k off. Because he is not to blame for us not being world champions. Fine, we all placed our hopes in him, but when you go to the racetrack you hope your horse wins and he comes in eighth. 

“In Formula One Vettel has a great engine and Hamilton beats him. Right now the national team doesn’t do anything for me or for the people. We have lost that. The passion. It cannot play against Nicaragua or Malta, no, brother. We are throwing all the prestige we earned down the toilet.”

Lionel Messi Diego Maradona Argentina South Korea World Cup 2010 06172010

When questioned over who he would like to see succeed Sampaoli, Maradona backed 1978 World Cup winner Cesar Luis Menotti, now 79 years old. 

And he was particularly scathing when asked about Scaloni’s decision to leave the No. 10 jersey vacant while Messi weighs up his future. 

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“[Scaloni] is an idiot. He seems like an idiot. Because if I went and gave the 10 to Messi, Messi should give it to the next 10. It’s ridiculous, it gets me angry,” he fired. 

“Scaloni is a great kid but he can’t even manage traffic. How can we give the national team to Scaloni?! With everyone who has passed through that team, who got their teeth and heads broken, you’re going to put Scaloni in?

“Now Scaloni says ‘I am prepared’. I’ve never even seen you score for Argentina. No offence. As a person, let’s go and share a barbecue. But as a coach and in the national team, no.”

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Liverpool news: Jurgen Klopp admits Mohamed Salah is not happy with his current form

The Reds boss admits last season’s star man is far from content with his current form, but backed him to return to his best

Jurgen Klopp says Mohamed Salah is not happy with his early season performances after being hauled off in Liverpool’s 1-1 draw with Chelsea.

The Egyptian forward has three goals to his name so far this season, with many fans questioning whether he will be able to replicate the numbers he achieved in his record-breaking debut season with the club.

His latest showing saw him miss a number of chances for the Reds at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, with last season’s PFA Player of the Year visibly frustrated by his form in front of goal.

Salah, 26, was withdrawn in the 66th minute, with Xherdan Shaqiri coming on to replace him.

Klopp has admitted that Salah is not happy with his level of performance at present but is in no doubt that he will soon be back to his best.

“Of course not. How could he be? It’s a normal situation,” Klopp told reporters when asked if the Liverpool forward was happy with his early season form.

“But now that’s what you have a manager for. We will talk about it.

“It’s easy for me because I don’t read what you write, maybe the boys do a bit more but that doesn’t make too much sense at the moment because you will all dissect (the issue) – a big nice cut and you will find pretty much nothing.

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“That’s how it is, no problem whatsoever. It’s all fine. As long as he is working like he works and gets into the situations that he gets in, I’m completely fine and everything will be okay.”

The Reds went on to snatch a late point against Maurizio Sarri’s side, with Daniel Sturridge netting a sublime goal to ensure the game finished all square.

Klopp’s side will now travel to Italy to take on Napoli in their second Champions League tie of the season, before facing Premier League leaders Manchester City in their final game before the latest international break on Sunday.

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Serie A news: AC Milan coach Gennaro Gattuso asks for time

Suso’s double helped his team to a 4-1 win at Sassuolo, prompting the San Siro boss to say his team will click if he remains in charge

Gennaro Gattuso believes AC Milan only need time to turn around a poor start to the Serie A season after a 4-1 victory at Sassuolo boosted his chances of keeping his job.

Milan had drawn their last three league games, piling pressure on Gattuso ahead of Sunday’s trip to the MAPEI Stadium, where Sassuolo had a 100 per cent record this term.

But despite striker Gonzalo Higuain missing out through injury and Gattuso having to name Samu Castillejo as a makeshift centre-forward, Milan eased to victory.

Franck Kessie’s superb 20-yard drive after the midfielder’s powerful run from his own half got the Rossoneri up and running before Suso’s curler doubled their lead.

After Castillejo struck a beauty, Filip Djuricic replied for the hosts before Suso added his second with the last kick of the game to secure a much-needed three points to move Milan into the top half of the table.

And with Gattuso able to celebrate a first away win since April in front of watching sporting director Leonardo – who is reportedly considering bringing in Antonio Conte – the coach felt vindicated, despite his side again failing to keep a clean sheet.

“At the moment, our defensive movements aren’t as good and it’s not just about the defenders, but the protective shield and going too deep. That is our weakness,” Gattuso said to Sky Sport Italia.

“We don’t press the opposition on the edge of the area, we just sit back as a shield and don’t move towards them. We had four or five through balls that caused us a lot of problems, but we know that is something we have to improve. The team does many good things and this result can help us gain confidence in everything we’re working on.

“When you wear the Milan jersey and work at a glorious club like this, which wants to get back to the top, there is pressure. People aren’t so much interested in performances as results and the table, but I knew this team had promise and just needed some time to grow.”

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Suso marked his 100th Serie A appearance with his first goals since February and Gattuso suggested the 24-year-old could take inspiration from Napoli star Lorenzo Insigne by becoming a greater threat in front of goal while also focusing on providing chances for Higuain.

“In order to complete his development, Suso has to get to know Higuain better and provide the kind of service he did last week,” Gattuso added.

“If he cuts inside slightly less, he can be like Lorenzo Insigne at Napoli. Suso can score goals, because he has that in his locker, but above all he can create many goals for others like Higuain.”

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Liverpool news: Daniel Sturridge the best second striker in the Premier League, says Danny Murphy

Danny Murphy believes Daniel Sturridge is the best second-choice striker in the Premier League.

The Liverpool forward netted a stunning late equaliser against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Saturday and has four goals to his name already this season.

Sturridge, 29, has endured a difficult few years thwarted by numerous injury issues and was shipped out on loan to West Brom for the second half of last season.

Many expected him to make a permanent exit from Liverpool in the summer, with Reds striker Roberto Firmino continuing to impress as the club’s number one striker.

But Sturridge has impressed Jürgen Klopp upon his return to Anfield and former Reds midfielder Murphy believes the ex-Chelsea and Manchester City forward is currently the best back-up striker in the Premier League.

“The biggest bonus for Klopp is Daniel Sturridge. I said in the summer he could save Liverpool money in the transfer market and he’s shown what an impact he can make if he’s patient,” Murphy wrote in his column for the  Mail On Sunday.

“Roberto Firmino is Liverpool’s first-choice striker but Sturridge must be the best second-choice in the Premier League.”

Sturridge’s Liverpool teammate Mohamed Salah has had a more difficult start to the season and was hauled off by Klopp in the 66th minute at Stamford Bridge.

Salah has three goals to his name so far this season and has struggled to regain the form from his record-breaking debut campaign for the Reds.

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But Murphy believes the Egyptian is edging closer to a return to his clinical best.

“To me, Salah looked sharp (against Chelsea) and I don’t think it’ll be long before he’s back to last season’s form,” he said. “The game can be about fine margins and from what I saw Salah is getting in the right places, doing the right things. 

“That final little bit is missing but if he continues to play as he’s doing, the golden touch will return.”

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Robert Huth claims there are ‘too many voices’ at Man United

Big United issues

Robert Huth has claimed there are too many voices at Man United.

The defender noted that Jose Mourinho is only part of the issue.

Huth thinks that too many voices at United are causing an issue.

The club has seen their results go from bad to worse, and Mourinho’s job is now under threat. 

“What Mourinho had at Chelsea and at his other previous clubs was that the players bought 100 per cent into what he was trying to do,” Huth told Sky Sports.

“There was no ‘I don’t like what we’re doing’. Even if some players didn’t like what the plan was they bought into it and did the job 100 per cent.

“At the moment at United, there are too many voices saying ‘we should be doing this, we should be doing that or I should be playing in this position’.

“That’s when you get a performance like the one at West Ham, it just looked disjointed.”

LONDON, ENGLAND – JANUARY 31: Paul Pogba of Manchester United speaks to Jose Mourinho, Manager of Manchester United during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United at Wembley Stadium on January 31, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Mourinho’s methods failing

Huth also noted that Mourinho’s methods are failing him, and the manager is no longer as close to his players.

Huth pointed out that at Mourinho’s previous clubs, that had not been an issue.

However, now the United boss seems to be struggling.

He added: “He seems to have lost a bit of the swagger, the ‘I don’t care attitude’ he used to have and the connection with the players.

“If you look back years ago at Inter, Real Madrid and Chelsea he used to have an instant connection, a spark with the players.

“They would do everything for him but at the moment it’s not quite there.”

See also: Aaron Ramsey has ‘all the power’ in Arsenal negotiations

Jose Mourinho told to sell Paul Pogba or be sacked

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Gaetan Bong hails Brighton & Hove Albion’s organisation in Manchester City loss

The Seagulls put in a spirited display against the English Premier League champions and did well to prevent the Citizens from running riot

Gaetan Bong has hailed Huddersfield Town’s defensive display against Manchester City in Saturday’s Premier League meeting at the Etihad, despite the obvious gulf in quality within both sides.

Despite creating numerous chances, Pep Guardiola‘s side had to make do with goals from Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero as the Seagulls were quite sturdy in their rearguard.

“We know we’re good on the counter-attack, and we wanted to stay in the game and slowly open up,” Bong said.

“We did that, and although we didn’t get the result we wanted, some teams have come and lost by more and we just have focus on the next game now.

“This is a tough place to go for all Premier League teams, even the top ones. We knew it would be hard to take points here, but we’re here to play our football and to learn from our defeats. We have to keep going.

“We started well, we were in the game and caused them a few problems, but they have quality players.

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“We lost the ball on the counter-attack for the first goal and we had to stay focused to stay in the game.

“It was always going to be tough, but we kept our shape and tried to stay compact on the counter-attack. It’s never going to be easy to anything here, and we have to learn from this loss.”


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Man United News: Luke Shaw slates colleagues and defends Jose Mourinho after ‘horrendous’ West Ham reverse

While Jose Mourinho is believed to be close to the door at Old Trafford after an awful start to the season, Shaw believes blame lies with the players

Manchester United defender Luke Shaw pulled no punches in rating his side’s 3-1 defeat at the hands of West Ham, describing the performance as “horrendous” while shifting the blame from Jose Mourinho. 

Manager Mourinho has seen the Red Devils lose three games in seven so far in the Premier League, their worst start for nearly 30 years. 

That rotten run of form, as well as a highly public ‘feud’ with Paul Pogba, threatens to end the Portuguese’s tenure at Old Trafford just months into his third season. 

But Shaw insists that it is the players, not the boss, who should bear the brunt of criticism. 

“We have to look at ourselves as players. We’re the ones who go on the pitch. The manager isn’t on the pitch is he?” he said to reporters.

“If you want the truth I think it was honestly horrendous. We didn’t look like a team that was going to beat West Ham. I think individually and as a team we were awful.

“That’s not good enough. It’s hard to take and we’re sorry to the fans for what they saw.”

Shaw also admitted that United received a furious team talk from Mourinho at half time, which failed to turn the course of the game. 

Luke Shaw Jose Mourinho Man United West Ham

“Obviously at half time there were a few words and I think it was needed,” he said. 

“It was wake up and words that he’s said before: we need to be moving, we need to concentrate more, we need to want the ball, we need to be playing.

“That didn’t happen. It’s disappointing and a very, very bad day for us.

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“From the first minute you could see we weren’t winning the second balls and our duels. It’s hard to take. It just wasn’t good enough from us.

“That shouldn’t be happening. Games like this we should be dominating, creating chances, showing people why we deserve to play for Man United and that didn’t happen. It was very poor from us. Very, very poor.”

Currently adrift in 10th, nine points behind joint Premier League leaders Manchester City and Liverpool, United will hope to banish their domestic blues at least temporarily on Tuesday when they welcome Valencia in the Champions League.

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Aaron Ramsey has ‘all the power’ in Arsenal negotiations

All the power

Aaron Ramsey has all the power at Arsenal.

That’s according to Dominic Fifield, who spoke to Sky Sports on the Sunday Supplement. 

He noted that Ramsey only has a short amount of time left on his deal.

That means the ball is in the player’s court, and he could leave – and get a far higher wage from his next club.

Fifield also added that there is a huge amount of talent in Ramsey’s locker, and he won’t be short of suitors.

He said“Yes he is, because if he resists being sold in January then he’ll command a higher wage at his next club. That’s the reality of it.

“I guess he might find his opportunities at Arsenal to play in the second half of the season. If he’s still there, more limited than he would like. But he’s still a player whose pedigree and quality is very obvious.

“He is a consistent performer in a team. Where people like Mesut Ozil aren’t consistent. So whoever brings him in knows what they are getting from him.

“Like any player that’s run down his contract. That does put him in a position of power to negotiate what happens next.”

LONDON, ENGLAND – AUGUST 12: Unai Emery, Manager of Arsenal speaks with Mesut Ozil of Arsenal during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Manchester City at Emirates Stadium on August 12, 2018 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Ozil at Arsenal

It’s been suggested that Ozil’s huge contract is partly the reason Arsenal cannot offer higher wages for players.

Ramsey is thought to be asking for less than the money Ozil is on – yet far more than he is on at the minute.

However, the fact Arsenal have been out of the Champions League for the last few seasons is also an issue for the club.

That’s revenue gone – and money they will want to get  back this season under Unai Emery.

See also: Jose Mourinho told to sell Paul Pogba or be sacked

Arsenal now have a ‘winning mentality’ under Unai Emery

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Maurizio Sarri: I like David Luiz as a player and a man, he is becoming a Chelsea protagonist again

The Blues defender was considering leaving Stamford Bridge over the summer but he is now back in a prominent role after the club changed managers

Maurizio Sarri says he likes David Luiz’s direct style of communciation and that he is picking up the new style of football quicker than anyone, as he brings him back into the fold at Stamford Bridge.

The 31-year-old made only 17 appearances under Antonio Conte last season after falling out with the former head coach, leading him to not making an appearance for the club from February onwards.

Luiz had offers from clubs to leave London over the summer and is open about the fact that he would have left had Conte stayed the manager at the club.

Sarri quickly brought him back into the fold and he has started him in every Premier League game so far this season.

“Yes, I have to say he is a lot better than a thought,” Sarri told reporters at Stamford Bridge after Chelsea‘s 1-1 draw with Liverpool on Saturday. “A lot better, both as a player and as a man. I don’t know what happened before I arrived, but when I arrived here, immediately I had the feeling that he is a very good player for my way of football because he is a very technical centre back.

“Then I appreciated his qualities as a man. He is direct, if he has to say something to the manager, to talk to me. Then he goes directly to me. I don’t know [if Conte didn’t like it] but I like very much the direct people. I like this [communication] very much.

“He was a little confused because two seasons ago he was a protagonist then he had six months without playing, he was a little confused. I think he is very able to play my football with his characteristics. He is very able to start the actions from the defensive line. So I think he is very suitable for me.”

The Brazil international is highly regarded at Stamford Bridge having helped the club win their first ever Champions League in his first spell at the club and having played over 200 times in the blue shirt.

It is clear that Sarri and Luiz have established a good relationship and the centre back returned the compliments to his manager, who has surprised people by keeping Chelsea up near the top of the table after a disappointing fifth-place finish in the league last season.

“Sarri is giving us a lot of happiness to play football. We are trying to enjoy,” Luiz told Chelsea TV. “He gives us a lot of confidence. He shows us what he wants. He gives us the details about the game.

Willian David Luiz Chelsea

“He works hard in every situation. And also as a human he’s a fantastic person. Every single day he says to us ‘you have the best job in the world, so you have to enjoy’. You have to try to do this with a big smile. Many people in the world don’t have this privilege.”

Alongside Antonio Rudiger, Luiz has established himself as the first choice centre back and he made a remarkable clearance against Liverpool from Roberto Firmino as his club tried to get a huge win over a key rival. However, ex-Blue Daniel Sturridge scored a stunning long range strike late on to dash those hopes.

Nevertheless, Sarri was happy with the defensive efforts of his team and he thinks that Eden Hazard is underrated for the work his does in stoppping the opposition.

“I am really very happy with him today,” added Sarri about Hazard. “Especially for the defensive phase, especially for the defensive phase in the second half when the team needed some help from him. I am really very happy. For us, this attitude is important.

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“We are trying to defend looking at the ball and if we are defending looking at the ball then we need every player to participate in the defensive phase, otherwise it is impossible. So I am really happy with the defensive phase of Eden today.

Eden Hazard

“I think that we have played very well. We have had five or six chances. I also think Liverpool have had five or six opportunities. We have played against a top level team, so I am disappointed about the result but only because they have scored in the last 10 minutes of the match. I think that the draw was the right result for a wonderful match.”

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