Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Report: RB Salzburg 3-5 Chelsea FC

Chelsea recorded a comprehensive win in their penultimate pre-season game, as they beat Salzburg 5-3 on Wednesday.

​Chelsea struck first in Austria, as Christian Pulisic scored his first goal in Blue. The American drove forward before firing low into the bottom corner, putting the Blues in front after 20 minutes.

Moments later, Pulisic burst into the box and won a penalty as he was pulled down. Ross Barkley stepped up, and made no mistake from the spot to double their lead. Pulisic added a third five minutes later, coolly chipping Cican Stankovic as Chelsea went into cruise control.
Salzburg pulled one back at the start of the second half, thanks to Jerome Onguene's towering header. However, Chelsea restored their three-goal lead thanks to a delightful goal from Pedro, whose sumptuous backheel volley left Philipp Kohn rooted to the spot.

Salzburg won a penalty with six minutes to go, as Davide Zappacosta was deemed to have handballed. Substitute Takumi Minamino assumed responsibility and confidently converted.

Michy Batshuayi responded soon after, as he thumped home his effort and wrapped up the win. Minamino scored another consolation as the ball luckily deflected off him as he walked it in, but it ended in victory for Chelsea in an excellent display.


Key Talking Point
Enock Mwepu,Mateo Kovacic,Andreas Ulmer
After already beginning their season last Friday, RB Salzburg certainly looked strong and put pressure on their visitors right from the start. The Austrians started well and had a few half-chances early on, but lost their grip of the game after going 3-0 down within eight first-half minutes.

Nevertheless, the Roten Bullen fought on and kept threatening the Chelsea goal, forcing Kepa Arrizabalaga into some decent saves. They got three deserved goals in the end, as Salzburg produced a decent performance but were beaten by the better side.

Their performance against the Europa League winners should give them confidence, as Salzburg prepare to play in this season's ​Champions League.

Player Ratings

Starting XI: Stankovic (5); Ulmer (6), Mwepu (6), Pongracic (5), Kristensen (7); Szoboszlai (6), Camara (6), Samassekou (6), Ashimeru (5), Haaland (6), Hwang (6).

Substitutes: Kohn (6); Mensah (6), Van der Werff (5), Onguene (7), Farkas (6); Okugawa (6), Diarra (6), Bernede (5), Junuzovic (6); Koita (6), Daka (6), Minamino (7*).

STAR MAN - Takumi Minamino scored two of Salzburg's three goals, and while they were mere consolations they were deserved. His late burst was vital in keeping the score down, as he made an impact after coming off the bench.


Key Talking Point
Chelsea showed their strong form in an excellent display, as they recorded a third consecutive pre-season win. After they had settled into the game, the Blues hit their stride and capitalised on their strong attacking football, taking the lead after 20 minutes before doubling it moments later.

The Blues were confident in attack and composed at the back, as they kept their shape well and restricted an attacking Salzburg side. However, the fact that this is the second consecutive game that they have conceded three goals is a concern, yet both games were comprehensively won.

Chelsea look strong going into the new season, and as Frank Lampard continues to experiment with his squad he can be happy with his side's performances, as the Blues get ready to compete once again for the European spots.

Player Ratings

Starting XI: Arrizabalaga (7); Emerson (6), Luiz (6), Zouma (6), Azpilicueta (6); Barkley (7), Jorginho (6), Kovacic (6); Pulisic (9*), Abraham (7), Pedro (7).

Substitutes: Kenedy (6), Mount (6), Batshuayi (7), Tomori (6), Alonso (6), Zappacosta (N/A), Christensen (N/A).

STAR MAN - It was Pulisic's first half display that will earn him the plaudits, as the American got two goals and won a penalty. His attacking play was excellent and his burst of energy was vital in Chelsea's win, as he finally got off the mark for the Blues in a superb display.

Looking Ahead

Rasmus Kristensen,Christian Pulisic
RB Salzburg return to domestic action in their second Austrian Bundesliga match, hosting Mattersburg on Sunday afternoon. Die Roten Bullen then play another friendly against European opposition, as ​Real Madrid are the visitors to the Red Bull Arena on August 7.

Chelsea have one more pre-season test, as they travel to neighbouring Germany to face Borussia Mönchengladbach on Saturday. The Blues then kick the competitive season off with a trip to Old Trafford, as they play ​Manchester Unitedin the ​​Premier League on August 11.

Fiorentina Sign Kevin-Prince Boateng from Barcelona

Fiorentina have confirmed the signing of former Barcelona forward Kevin-Prince Boateng on a €1m deal from Sassuolo.

The Ghanaian forward joined the Catalan giants on a loan deal until the end of the campaign in January while the Spanish champions held the €8m clause to sign the player permanently.

However, the club did not take up the option to sign the player - while El Mundo Deportivo outlined on Tuesday that the player was set to join Fiorentina, having rejected the chance to join Eintracht Frankfurt in Germany.

“I’m a but tired but very happy to be here in Florence,” he told Firenze Viola.

“I chose Fiorentina for the project: the club really wanted me and applied so much pressure to sign me.

“For me, that was a very important thing, given my age.”

Boateng featured in just four matches for the Blaugrana and played a total of 303 minutes but failed to make an impact and was largely an unused substitute throughout his stint at the Camp Nou.
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Barcelona's Malcom set for Zenit Move

Zenit St Petersburg are set to announce the signing of Barcelona winger Malcom, after the two clubs agreed a fee believed to be in the region of €40 million (£36.5m/$44.5m), plus €5 million (£4.6m/$5.6m) in add-ons.

The La Liga champions fought off strong competition from Roma to sign the former Bordeaux star for €41 million just over a year ago.

But having made just 24 appearances in all competitions for Ernesto Valverde’s side last season, the Brazilian is already on his way out of Camp Nou.

Malcom will earn around €6.5 million per season in Russia, whilst it is also understood that Barcelona will not have a buyback option on the deal, which is expected to be made official on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Rafinha Alcantara continues to attract interest from sides across Europe and could also be on his way out of Barcelona in the near future.

Ibrahimovic Tells Man Utd to Let Pogba Leave

Zlatan Ibrahimovic believes Manchester United would be well advised to let Paul Pogba leave if he isn’t to prepared to commit to the club.

The France international has been the subject of constant speculation during the summer and the former United striker believes the time could be right for him to move on.

He told the BBC: “I think if he does not want to stay there is no sense to keep him.

“If he wants to be somewhere else then let him go. Use the situation and bring someone in who wants to be there.”

Ibrahimovic believes that the effect the long-running saga has on the dressing room is not the major concern but is something the club has to tackle.

“In the dressing room the players respect each other. They are professional and they understand each other’s situations,” he explained.

N*Korean Fans to Sue After CR7 No Show in Juventus Friendly

Cristiano Ronaldo's failure to get on the field during a recent Juventus friendly has caused football supporters in South Korea to take legal action against the match organisers.

The superstar forward stayed on the bench for the whole 90 minutes during Juve's 3-3 draw with the K-League All Stars team at Seoul World Cup Stadium last week.

Fans who attended the game are said to have suffered "mental anguish" by Ronaldo's non-appearance, after organiser The Fasta Inc alleged the 34-year-old was contractually obligated to play in the match.

Korean lawyer Kim Min-ki, who is spearheading the lawsuit against the match organisers, says he will be pursuing a €53 (£48/$59) match ticket refund and €759 (£697/$847) compensation for each customer's "painful" situation.

"Many purchased tickets to see Ronaldo. The Fasta publicised that the company had a deal with Juventus which stipulated Ronaldo would play for at least 45 minutes and that Ronaldo would hold a fan signing event," Kim told Reuters.

Dybala Wants Sarri Talks Before Deciding on Man Utd Move

Paulo Dybala intends to hold talks with Maurizio Sarri after he returns to training at Juventus on Thursday before deciding whether to join Manchester United.

The Argentina international is wanted by United, who are offering Romelu Lukaku in a swap deal. Lukaku would be happy to join Juventus but it is not certain Dybala will accept a move to England.

Dybala, who told Juventus after last season that he intended to stay, wants to understand Sarri’s plans before making a final decision. Sarri has taken over from Massimiliano Dybala Wants Sarri Talks Before Deciding on Man Utd Move

Paulo Dybala intends to hold talks with Maurizio Sarri after he returns to training at Juventus on Thursday before deciding whether to join Manchester United.

The Argentina international is wanted by United, who are offering Romelu Lukaku in a swap deal. Lukaku would be happy to join Juventus but it is not certain Dybala will accept a move to England.

Dybala, who told Juventus after last season that he intended to stay, wants to understand Sarri’s plans before making a final decision. Sarri has taken over from Massimiliano Allegri as head coach but has not yet worked with Dybala, who was given time off after the Copa América.

If Sarri informs Dybala that he does not see a regular first-team place for him, the player will give serious consideration to joining United. Even then, though, the 25-year-old, who can play across a variety of attacking positions, will demand wages in line with the top earners at Old Trafford before agreeing to come. His agent was in England on Tuesday for talks with United.

In the meantime Lukaku remains in limbo. The terms on offer at Juventus are not a problem for the striker, who could expect to earn €8m (£7.3m) a season on a five-year contract. But a move there appears to hinge on Dybala going the other way.

Best FIFA Football Awards 2019: Complete List of Nominees

Liverpool trio Virgil van Dijk, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah and Tottenham's Harry Kane are in the running for the men's prize in the Best Fifa Football Awards.

Former Chelsea midfielder Eden Hazard is also on the 10-strong list that includes Juventus' Cristiano Ronaldo and Barcelona's Lionel Messi.

England's Lucy Bronze and Ellen White are contenders in the women's category.

The winners will be revealed on 23 September, following a public vote.

Lionesses manager Phil Neville and US head coach Jill Ellis have been nominated as best women's coach.

Premier League managers Jurgen Klopp, Pep Guardiola and Mauricio Pochettino have been nominated for the best men's coach award.

 *Full men's player shortlist*

Virgil van Dijk, Netherlands

Sadio Mane, Senegal

Mohamed Salah, Egypt

Harry Kane, England

Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal

Lionel Messi, Argentina

Matthijs de Ligt, Netherlands

Frenkie de Jong, Netherlands

Kylian Mbappe, France

Eden Hazard, Belgium

 *Full women's player shortlist*

Lucy Bronze, England

Julie Ertz, United States

Caroline Graham Hansen, Norway

Ada Hegerberg, Norway

Amandine Henry, France

Sam Kerr, Australia

Rose Lavelle, United States

Vivianne Miedema, Netherlands

Alex Morgan, United States

Megan Rapinoe, United States

Wendie Renard, France

Ellen White, England

 *Full women's coaches shortlist*

Phil Neville, England

Jill Ellis, United States

Milena Bertolini, Italy

Peter Gerhardsson, Sweden

Futoshi Ikeda, Japan

Antonia Is, Spain

Joe Montemurro, Arsenal

Reynald Pedros, Lyon

Paul Riley, North Carolina Courage

Sarina Wiegman, Netherlands

*Full men's coaches shortlist*

Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool

Pep Guardiola, Manchester City

Mauricio Pochettino, Tottenham

Djamel Belmadi, Algeria

Didier Deschamps, France

Marcelo Gallardo, River Plate

Ricardo Gareca, Peru

Fernando Santos, Portugal

Erik Ten Hag, Ajax

Tite, Brazil

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Danny Drinkwater set to stay at Chelsea this season

Danny Drinkwater looks set to stay at Chelsea this season with the midfielder yet to receive any concrete offers to go elsewhere.
It was reported at the weekend that coach Frank Lampard has already decided to get rid of the England international, although it is understood no conversations of that nature have taken place yet.
Drinkwater joined Chelsea from Leicester for £35m in 2017, but has struggled to make an impact. He made just one appearance as a substitute last season and that was in the Community Shield.
However, the 29-year-old has been more involved during the pre-season friendlies under Lampard this summer, playing in four of the five matches so far.
While Drinkwater won’t be first choice under Lampard, he will be able to provide back-up to Jorginho, Mateo Kovacic and N’Golo Kante
The fact he counts as a ‘homegrown player’ for the Premier League and ‘Association trained player’ for the Champions League will help the club satisfy rules over the make-up of their squad.
There is still a possibility that an English side might make an offer before the window closes on August 8 or from a team abroad for the rest of the month, however his salary in excess of £100,000-a-week might prove to be a deterrent.
Drinkwater is expected to be on the bench for the friendly at Austrian side Red Bull Salzburg tonight, while Kante could also make his first appearance under Lampard having returned from a knee injury.
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Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Kovac Forced to Apologise for Sane Comments

Niko Kovac says he has apologised to Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola after publicly stating he was confident Bayern Munich would buy Leroy Sane.

The Bundesliga champions have made no secret of their desire to bring the 23-year-old to the Allianz Arena after he appeared to fall out of favour at the Etihad Stadium towards the end of last season.

Although City's reported £90 million ($109m) asking price is said to have initially put Bayern off, Kovac recently suggested an agreement could soon be reached, saying: "I am very confident. I assume we can get it [done]."

Bayern chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, however, revealed his frustration at Kovac's comments ahead of the Bavarian giants' thumping 6-1 Audi Cup win over Fenerbahce on Tuesday, telling ZDF : "I did not like what he said."

The message has clearly got through to Kovac, who revealed after the game at the Allianz Arena that he had spoken to Guardiola and apologised for speaking publicly about his player.

He told ZDF: "We [Bayern and him] talked about it. Maybe I was too offensive in that interview. I talked to Pep and apologised because of it."

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Eric Bailly Ruled Out for 4-5 Months

Manchester United defender Eric Bailly will be out for four to five months after he was injured against Tottenham in a pre-season game.

United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said after the 1-0 friendly win over Kristiansund on Tuesday that Bailly had undergone knee surgery following the injury he sustained against Spurs in the International Champions Cup.

"Eric has had an operation and will be out for four to five months," Solskjaer said. "Hopefully we'll have him back around Christmas time.

"It was positive news from the surgeon, he had the operation this morning. He was positive it was all repaired and that he'll be fine."

Bailly was brought on at half-time in Thursday's ICC match, but pulled up with the knee problem just nine minutes after coming on as he tried to prevent Heung-Min Son from scoring.

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Bale Left Out of Real Madrid Tour on Doctor's Orders : Zidane

Gareth Bale did not travel for Real Madrid's participation in the Audi Cup on doctor's advice, according to head coach Zinedine Zidane.

Madrid suffered their third defeat in four winless pre-season outings at the Allianz Arena on Tuesday, with Harry Kane giving Tottenham a 1-0 triumph that would have been far more comfortable but for the heroics of goalkeeper Keylor Navas.

Bale is not part of the squad taking part in the exhibition tournament but looks increasingly likely to remain under Zidane's charge after a prospective move to Chinese Super League side Jiangsu Suning collapsed over the weekend.

"Bale did not travel as he was not feeling good," the Madrid head coach told reporters afterwards.

"Speaking with the doctors it was better to stay in Madrid and train there. That's it. It's a decision taken together, speaking with him. That's it."

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Tottenham Beat Real Madrid in Munich

Real Madrid's poor pre-season continued with a lacklustre 1-0 defeat to Tottenham in the Audi Cup on Tuesday.

England captain Harry Kane scored the only goal at the Allianz Arena, where last season's Champions League finalists were comfortably the better side for long periods.

Zinedine Zidane will be hoping for an upturn on the field soon as the Gareth Bale saga rumbles on.

Madrid, who begin their LaLiga campaign at Celta Vigo on August 17, lost to Bayern Munich and drew with Arsenal before their recent trip to the United States concluded with a chastening 7-3 reverse against rivals Atletico Madrid.

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Mata Penalty Hands Late Win for Man Utd

Juan Mata's stoppage-time penalty gave a profligate Manchester United a controversial 1-0 friendly win over Norwegian outfit Kristiansund in Oslo on Tuesday.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side lacked sharpness in their penultimate pre-season friendly and wasted a host of chances - Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford the prime culprits.

Scott McTominay hit the post in the first half, too, and a draw seemed on the cards until Mata went down in the penalty area in stoppage time.

The Spaniard stepped up to take the spot-kick and coolly converted, sparing Solskjaer's blushes against a Kristiansund side who sit seventh in the ongoing Eliteserien.

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Pepe Appears in Arsenal Shirt in Leaked Video

A leaked video of Nicolas Pepe in an Arsenal shirt has emerged on social media ahead of any official announcement that his move from Lille has been completed.

The Ivorian winger has seemed on the brink of joining the Gunners in what is expected to be a club-record €80 million (£73m/$89m) deal and reportedly underwent a medical on Tuesday.

However, before the club could officially announce their latest capture, leaked images of the forward in an Arsenal shirt, standing in front of a green screen and patting the Gunners badge, found their way online.

Arsenal were hopeful of wrapping up the deal by the end of this week, and now an official announcement appears to be imminent.

Pepe, who scored 22 goals and registered 11 assists in Ligue 1 last season - the most goal contributions in the league from a player not named Kylian Mbappe - will become Unai Emery's fourth summer signing, following the three confirmed arrivals so far.
Written By: Uthman Adebayo
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Man Utd One Step from Bruno Fernandes

Manchester United are very active in the last stretch of transfer window in Premier League. After reaching an agreement for Maguire yesterday, the Red Devils are one step away from closing the deal for Bruno Fernandes, the negotiation with Sporting CP is in the final stages, claims Italian transfer expert Gianluca Di Marzio.

Bruno Fernandes is coming off a great season, he scored 31 goals to goal with 17 assists in 50 matches, this deal will also impact Sampdoria who was due 10% of his future resale when they sold him to Sporting back in 2017 for €8.5 million.
Written By: Uthman Adebayo
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Reports📰: Man Utd & Juve Agree Lukaku-Dybala Swap in Principle

Manchester United and Juventus have agreed a swap deal in principle involving Paulo Dybala and Romelu Lukaku, according to reports in Italy.

The deal now needs an agreement between United and Dybala for the swap to go ahead. The agent of Dybala is reportedly already in the UK to negotiate with United.

Speaking after Tuesday's pre-season win over Kristiansund, United manager OIe Gunnar Solskjaer would not be drawn on a potential deal for Dybala but confirmed new arrivals could be in the offing.

Dybala's future has been the subject of plenty of recent speculation - with United keen to recruit the versatile Argentina international.

Dybala, who has scored 78 goals in 182 Juventus appearances since joining the club from Palermo in 2015, is expected to return to training on Thursday following his Copa America exploits with Argentina over the summer.

Written By: Uthman Adebayo
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Maguire returns to Leicester Training

Leicester City and Manchester United remain apart in their valuation of England defender Harry Maguire.

United made a £70m bid earlier in July but it is understood the Foxes want about £90m, a sum the Old Trafford club believe is unrealistic.

Maguire, 26, missed training on Monday because of illness, leading to rumours a deal was close.

However, the centre-back, who played in Leicester's friendly at Stoke City on Saturday, trained as normal on Tuesday.