About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Aaron Cresswell convinced by West Ham potentialby Paul Vegas15 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveAaron Cresswell is convinced West Ham United can achieve something special with the current team.The fullback has extended his deal with the Irons until 2023, which could take the No3 up to nine years in Claret and Blue. He said, “Going back to the last year we had at the Boleyn, we had a good squad. But look at this squad, the depth, the players and the signings we are making. “We’ve got two players for each position so if someone gets injured there is always someone to step up. Certainly, in the time I’ve been here, it’s been the best squad I’ve been involved in.“We want something special to happen. Come the end of the season, whether we have a good cup run or finish as high as possible in the league, that’s what we’re aiming to do. We want to take each game as it is and try to take maximum points and play good football at the same time. “This year we’ve shown some brilliant results and played some brilliant football. Long may that continue.”
About the authorFreddie TaylorShare the loveHave your say Man Utd midfielder McTominay reveals Williams advice: Like you’re in the park with mates!by Freddie Taylor15 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveScott McTominay handed Brandon Williams some valuable advice before the teenager’s Manchester United debut.19-year-old Williams was excellent in the goalless draw with AZ Alkmaar last week.”I thought he did brilliantly,” McTominay told MUTV.”I said to him before the game to just be himself and told him he had nothing to worry about.”I told him to go and play the game like it was a Reserves match or he was playing in the park with his mates… you don’t want to think too much about it, you just need to go out, express yourself, show what you can do and that’s what he did.”A fellow United academy graduate, McTominay exactly what Williams must do from here.He added: “He just needs to concentrate on how he’s performing on the pitch and listen to Ole and the coaches and I’m sure they’ll be pleased with him.”Obviously, we didn’t create as many chances as we hoped [against Alkmaar] but we still got a point away from home and didn’t concede again so they’re positives we can take.”And, of course, Brandon was a big, big plus and I’m very pleased for him. To have a game like that this early in his career is great.”
About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say West Ham boss Pellegrini surprised by Everton strugglesby Paul Vegas7 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveWest Ham United manager Manuel Pellegrini admits he’s surprised by Everton’s early season struggles.The Blues currently find themselves in the relegation zone after eight matches of the campaign despite being handed what looked to be a relatively favourable early fixture list.Pellegrini said, “[Surprised by their position?] Maybe, yes. They have very good players and a team that is very strong every year.”I suppose I expected them to not be in that position in the table.”Because we won that game last season, it is in that moment we played in the way we wanted to. We want the same result again this time as well.”It is difficult to analyse their situation. Last season we beat them there when we were in a position that they are now.”Games are always different though, I am sure we will find an Everton with high pace and looking to get better results than their last games.”
PITTSBURGH, PA – SEPTEMBER 20: Tailback James Conner #24 of the University of Pittsburgh Panthers runs with the ball against the University of Iowa Hawkeyes during a college football game at Heinz Field on September 20, 2014 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Hawkeyes defeated the Pitt Panthers 24-20. (Photo by Matt Kincaid/Getty Images)Pitt running back James Conner has inspired many during his battle with Hodgkin lymphoma. The Panthers star was diagnosed in December, and has participated in off-season workouts and practices while undergoing chemotherapy.Conner, who missed almost all of last season with an MCL injury, is aiming to be back in action when Pitt opens up its 2016 season against Villanova on Sept. 3. This afternoon, Conner’s story will be detailed on The Ellen Show. The full show airs at 4:00 p.m. ET, but you can check out Conner’s segment on YouTube below. Conner is truly an amazing story and someone worth pulling for.
Manchester United caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has taken the blame for his side’s poor showing against Reading on Saturday.The Red Devils beat the Championship side 2-0 at Old Trafford but Reading were arguably the better side and had 60 per cent possession.The Royals also completed nearly 600 passes, compared to United’s 400 and had five more shots than the hosts. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? However, speaking to BBC Sport after the game, the Norwegian blamed United’s lack of cohesion on the number of changes he made to the side.“There were nine changes,” said Solskjaer. “It’s never easy to get the rhythm and the tempo and the relations because they take a touch and then look at each other, they’re not used to playing with together. “Even though we train together it’s different when you’re out there at Old Trafford. So, that was down to me a bit and again I need to see them out there to see how they reaction when we concede a goal. We struggled today but we came through.Solskjaer handed the likes of Sergio Romero, Diogo Dalot, Matteo Darmian, Scott McTominay, Andreas Pereira and Fred rare starts, while also giving attacker Alexis Sanchez and Romelu Luakaku their first starts for a number of weeks as they step up their recovery from respective injuries.Despite voicing his disappointment United’s performance, Solskjaer was at least pleased with the game’s outcome.”It was a tough game, but 2-0 and a clean sheet [is good],” the 45-year-old said in a separate interview with MUTV . “I made it tough for us because when you make nine changes it is never easy for a team that has never played together so delighted that we are in the next round. “We work together every single day, every single game and of course we know we need some fitness work and work on relations but today I put a team together that has never played together and we are through so that is good.”
Great players win games. Sometimes it’s as simple as that.In Lionel Messi, Barcelona have the greatest of all time, and his strike partner Luis Suarez is no slouch either.The duo both produced magic moments to help the team earn a 2-1 win at Jose Bordelas’s impressive Getafe on Sunday to take control of La Liga. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? After Atletico Madrid and Sevilla, second and third respectively, tied in Andalusia earlier on, the win leaves Barcelona five points clear at the top. Ten points clear of arch-rivals Real Madrid.With Cristiano Ronaldo gone, Luka Modric and Marcelo ageing, Gareth Bale injured and nobody else on form, Los Blancos had nobody on the pitch who could produce the same magic as Messi and Suarez.That’s why they’re fifth, languishing in the dust while Santiago Solari waves his hands helplessly on the touchline, falling to a 2-0 defeat by Real Sociedad.Quality told at the Coliseum Alfonso Perez, in a match where Getafe exhibited their strengths during an intense start to the game.They might have had a penalty for a foul by Arturo Vidal on Angel Rodriguez, scored a brilliant goal which was disallowed for a foul on Clement Lenglet, and generally had Barcelona under the cosh in the opening stages.With the second tightest defence in La Liga, Getafe were gearing up to give the champions an extremely tricky evening in the chilly Spanish capital.However Bordelas’s well-drilled troops don’t have to face players of Messi’s calibre every week.The Argentine undid the defence with a quick burst which saw him beat two defenders and the goalkeeper to a ball dropping from the sky, maintaining his balance and composure to knock it through the legs of onrushing stopper David Soria before touching it home from a tight angle. It was a mixture of speed, skill and opportunism and few other players in the world would be able to manage such a goal.The same goes for the second, scored by Suarez. Getafe were ceding few clear chances to Barcelona, so the Uruguayan decided to try something different. Suarez sent a screaming volley into the top corner from outside the area, a brutal goal that left Getafe facing a scoreline they didn’t deserve.The hosts pulled one back before the interval, with Jaime Mata tapping home a few moments after his team struck the post, with their punchy attacks making Barcelona extremely uncomfortable.On another day they might have equalised, with Mata somehow blazing over after rounding Marc-Andre ter Stegen, an open goal beckoning.But Barcelona’s world-class stars were enough to carry the day for the reigning champions and see them tighten their grip on the title.What Madrid were lacking was this same quality, from top to almost bottom – goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois emerged unscathed – but the rest need to improve.Perhaps the exception to Madrid’s struggles against Sociedad was Vinicius Junior, whose running and skill up front was the only bright spot for supporters at the Santiago Bernabeu. However, relying on an unpredictable 18-year-old is not a viable strategy.Speaking of which, there weren’t that many. Swathes of empty seats were visible, fans turned off by recent performances and the dark cloud over the club this season.“We will try to get them back again,” said Solari when asked about the supporters. The ones who did turn up weren’t happy, whistling the players and in some patches chanting for president Florentino Perez to resign.This is what crisis looks like for Madrid, but it is not a dramatic one, because, really, it wasn’t that hard to see coming.Last season they finished a mile behind Barcelona in La Liga and that was when they still had Ronaldo.Even if the Portuguese was never quite the equal of his Argentine counterpart, he was close enough to be spoken of in the same breath, to win the Ballon d’Or the same number of times.Brahim Diaz has arrived, with Madrid announcing his signing in the aftermath of the defeat, but the former Manchester City playmaker has only potential, not the power to instantly transform the club’s title bid, which can now be considered over.
England Women’s team manager Phil Neville has not backed away from his criticism of the behaviour of Cameroon’s players and staff during their controversial defeat to Neville’s team in the Women’s World Cup second round game on Sunday.The Cameroon players reacted poorly to two VAR decisions – one awarded to England after initially being disallowed at the end of the first-half, while Cameroon had a goal chalked off after it had been given just after the restart. Each was the result of a marginal offside call.The African side protested both decisions, and after the England goal was awarded they delayed the subsequent kick-off to have an impromptu team huddle in the centre-circle. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Neville was clear that he would not accept similar actions from his charges, and laid the blame at the feet of Alain Djeufmadid in the opposition dugout.“When I started in management, I think Arsene Wenger told me the team mirror the manager,” Neville told a press conference after the game.“And their team mirrored the manager. If that was any of my players, and it wouldn’t ever be any of my players, they would never play for England again with that sort of behaviour.”The former Manchester United man sought to praise the referee, Qin Liang of China, for the way she handled the protests, and even her failure to award what he thought should have been a penalty to England as the game wore down.“I feel sorry for the referee,” he continued.“The decisions were correct, and I think at the end the referee was probably trying to protect football by not giving the penalty, not giving the sending off.“She was trying to protect football and I admire her unbelievably for that.”Neville also urged Cameroon to back away from criticisms of the officials after the game, saying they should consider their own behaviour.“I think what we’ve seen today is we’ve seen people fighting in the VIP area, we’ve seen Cameroon people fighting at our hotel and we’ve seen that behaviour on the field.“So I would say get your ship in order before you start throwing stones.“I’m just proud of my players, I’m proud of the organisation I work for, because we’ve handled ourselves with class.”
Argentina’s Copa America adventure may have ended with their heads held high, but once again it was shown that the Albiceleste fall short when it comes to challenging for major honours.With a host of new faces in the squad and captain Lionel Messi in far from optimal form, the team coached by Lionel Scaloni stumbled through to the knock-out phases in Brazil. A single win against Qatar along with a stalemate played out with Paraguay and defeat to Colombia in Group B was not exactly impressive, yet it was just enough to seal a quarter-final place. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Ox-rated! Dream night in Genk for Liverpool ace after injury nightmare There, they finally gave fans something to cheer, dispatching dogged Venezuela 2-0 to book a mouth-watering Superclasico in the last four. But while hosts Brazil were given a few scares along the way, goals from Gabriel Jesus and Roberto Firmino meant that, unlike in 2015 and 2016, there would be no final appearance for Argentina. While the third-place play-off still remains for Messi and Co., thoughts have already turned towards what will come after the Copa. A significant part of this inexperienced side should still have a role to play when World Cup qualifying kicks off in 2020 – others, however, may have played their last match for the Albiceleste. GOALKEEPERSThe No.1 shirt seems to have settled on the back of one player over the last 12 months. Franco Armani is yet to excel between the posts for Argentina, but the River Plate star has proved dependable enough and will hope to retain his place beyond the Copa. Armani’s place is by no means secure, though. Behind him America star Agustin Marchesin and young Udinese talent Juan Musso were his deputies in Brazil, and will hope to put pressure on the shot-stopper in the short and medium-to-long term, respectively. Musso, 25, is considered one of the best bets for the future in the Argentina ranks and is likely to add to his single cap as the nation uses the rest of 2019 to prepare for qualifying. There could also be room for Esteban Andrada of Boca Juniors, who was forced to miss the Copa through illness. Behind that quartet the options are scarce. Geronimo Rulli has never quite managed to follow through on his early promise, while Tottenham reserve Paulo Gazzaniga has also been considered under Scaloni. Could there be a way back for Sergio Romero ? The Manchester United man has been entirely overlooked by Scaloni but, at 32, is younger than Armani and could come back into contention if there is a change of coach post-Copa. His lack of first-team action, though, will continue to be used against him despite the keeper’s enviable track record at major competitions for his country.IN: Andrada, Romero.OUT: Marchesin.DEFENCEOnce more, Argentina’s backline proved the side’s Achilles heel when it most counted. Brazil benefited from two huge defensive mistakes to score in Belo Horizonte and much work will have to be done in that sector to restore the Albiceleste to international football’s top table. Of the current squad, Renzo Saravia and Nicolas Otamendi fared worse than most. Saravia was erratic at right-back and ended up losing his spot to Tottenham rookie Juan Foyth , while Otamendi showed an alarming lack of speed during a calamitous campaign, while his distribution was often atrocious.With Ramiro Funes Mori also likely to face the chop after failing to play a single minute in Brazil, Argentina are not exactly blessed with alternatives in the back four. Gabriel Mercado could benefit from Saravia’s woes to regain his place on the right, while young centre-back pairing Emanuel Mammana and Lisandro Martinez are perhaps best-placed to enter the fray. IN: Mercado, Mammana, Martinez.OUT: Saravia, Otamendi, Funes Mori.MIDFIELDOf all the Argentina players who failed to shine at the Copa, the case of Angel Di Maria was perhaps the most telling. Brought back from the international wilderness after a year out just before the tournament, the PSG winger was immensely frustrating and consistently among Argentina’s worst performers. At 31, and with memories of his finest displays for the Albiceleste rapidly fading, it may be time to once and for all close the door on Fideo. The rest of the midfield was sharply divided between those who took advantage of the Copa to advance their Argentina cause, and those who fell flat. Leandro Paredes , the side’s new midfield marshal, Rodrigo De Paul and, to a lesser extent, Giovani Lo Celso, fall in that first group and look set to remain in the Albiceleste’s plans for years to come.The jury is still out, though, on Guido Pizarro , who received just 23 minutes in the entire Copa, while Marcos Acuna never stopped working to give the team balance and defensive cover, even if his individual contributions were limited.On the other side, the likes of Guido Rodriguez and Roberto Pereyra failed to shine and will most likely be ditched as Argentina explore other options in the middle of the pitch. Among those may be Manuel Lanzini , Santiago Ascacibar and young Superliga pair Exequiel Palacios and Matias Zaracho , who both fell victim to injury and were unable to make the plane to Brazil.IN: Lanzini, Ascacibar, Palacios, Zaracho.OUT: Di Maria, Rodriguez, Pereyra.ATTACKBarring injuries or other misfortune, Argentina’s attack should pick itself for the forseeable future.Lautaro Martinez and Sergio Aguero formed a promising partnership over the last three games of the Copa America, scoring three of the nation’s last four goals to take them into the semi-finals. Behind them remains Lionel Messi , who if Tuesday’s fiery criticisms of the refereeing against Brazil are anything to go by, will not be repeating his retirement announcement of three years ago after defeat to Chile. While that first-choice trio seems set, there should be plenty of competition behind them. Matias Suarez was the fourth striker in Brazil, a curious choice who barely featured and, we trust, will not be repeated.Mauro Icardi should come back into contention once his interminable soap opera with the Inter board is resolved, while Angel Correa and Gio Simeone are two young faces hoping to play themselves back in contention after being overlooked for Brazil.IN: Icardi, Correa, Simeone.OUT: Suarez.COACHDespite battling through to the semi-finals, Lionel Scaloni’s future at the Argentina is far from certain once the team makes its way back from Brazil. A complete coaching novice at senior level, the former Deportivo and Lazio defender looked way out of his depth at the start of the Copa. And while results improved, some of his decisions betrayed his inexperience, particularly up against an old warhorse like Tite with almost 30 years of tweaking tactics under his belt. The substitutions against Brazil for one did nothing to aid Argentina’s fightback and unbalanced the Albiceleste at a crucial time.The decision on Scaloni’s future will be made by AFA president Claudio Tapia and Argentina manager Cesar Luis Menotti shortly after he returns to Buenos Aires. Early indications suggest he may well stay in the job, for lack of other options rather than any great confidence in his work so far at the helm. If Scaloni is removed , Gabriel Heinze , currently impressing with Velez Sarsfield, is a popular choice to succeed him; while Marcelo Gallardo is also coveted following his two Copa Libertadores titles with River, but would be tough to acquire, given his commitment to the Millonarios.
ANN ARBOR, MI – APRIL 04: Head coach Jim Harbaugh of the Michigan Wolverines listens in on an offensive huddle during the Michigan Football Spring Game on April 4, 2015 at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)Michigan is 0-1 after an opening weekend loss to Notre Dame. The criticism of Jim Harbaugh in the media has mounted.Harbaugh is in his fourth year at his alma mater. He hasn’t won the Big Ten yet, and will face increased pressure if his team goes 8-4 again this season.However, he is not on the hot seat, according to university president Dr. Mark Schlissel.Speaking during a meeting of the Detroit Economic Club, Schlissel commented on Harbaugh’s job status..@DrMarkSchlissel on @CoachJim4UM: “He’s not on the hot seat. He’s under contract for four more years.” #econclub— Detroit EconomicClub (@deteconomicclub) September 5, 2018Harbaugh is still a much better bet to be successful at Michigan than many other head coaches. He might not have hit every benchmark just yet but it makes sense for the school to be dedicated to him for the long haul.Of course, could Harbaugh leave on his own accord and go back to the NFL? That could happen, but don’t expect him to be forced out.Michigan looks to get in the win column this weekend when they host Western Michigan. Kickoff is set for noon ET at the Big House.FS1 will broadcast the game.
COLLEGE PARK, MD – NOVEMBER 03: A general view of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and Maryland Terrapins game at Byrd Stadium on November 3, 2012 in College Park, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)Earlier today, Maryland announced the news that head football coach D.J. Durkin was returning to the team for the remainder of the season. Durkin has been on paid leave since August 11 in the wake of the death of Maryland offensive lineman Jordan McNair.Reports at the time claimed Durkin had allowed a “toxic culture” to form at Maryland. It looked like the school would eventually have to part ways with him, but now, he’s coming back.As you might imagine, Maryland has taken plenty of heat for this decision from the media and general public. Some Terps players are also unhappy, and multiple players reportedly walked out of a meeting with Durkin today.One of those players was McNair’s close friend, high school teammate and fellow offensive lineman Ellis McKennie.Confirmed that three players walked out of #Terps practice today. One of them, lineman Ellis McKennie, returned. McKennie was a close friend and high school teammate of Jordan McNair and has been a key figure in the team’s memorials. So, not surprising.https://t.co/PxKNGdCG9U— Jeff Ermann (@Jeff_Ermann) October 30, 2018McKennie wasn’t done expressing his feelings. He took to Twitter tonight to offer his thoughts on the situation.“Every Saturday my teammates and I have to kneel before the memorial of our fallen teammate,” McKennie wrote. “Yet a group of people do not have the courage to hold anyone accountable for his death. If only they could have the courage that Jordan had. It’s never the wrong time to do what’s right.”Every Saturday my teammates and I have to kneel before the memorial of our fallen teammate. Yet a group of people do not have the courage to hold anyone accountable for his death. If only they could have the courage that Jordan had. It’s never the wrong time to do what’s right. pic.twitter.com/AaZVmLGTtS— Ellis McKennie (@emck_cubed97) October 30, 2018Very likely, McKennie isn’t the only Terp who feels this way. It is hard to blame him either, given the circumstances.Going forward, it will be interesting to see the fallout from Durkin’s reinstatement.