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Tammy Abraham, Christian Pulisic score as Chelsea hold off Watford

Striker Tammy Abraham scored one goal and Christian Pulisic added another as Chelsea beat Watford 2-1 at Vicarage Road in the Premier League on Saturday, with Ben Foster putting on a superb display between the posts for the home side despite the defeat.

Abraham latched on to a brilliant defence-splitting pass by Jorginho and lifted the ball past Foster in the fifth minute to join Leicester’s Jamie Vardy and Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero as top scorers with nine goals each so far this season.new nike nfl jerseys cheap

Foster bounced back from the concession of that early goal to pull off a string of superb first-half saves from Abraham, Pulisic and Mason Mount to keep his side in the game.6

He made another great stop from Mount early in the second half, but there was little he could do in the 55th minute when Abraham pulled the ball back across the box for Pulisic to slam home from close range to double Chelsea’s advantage.

“I want to make an impact for the team and I am enjoying it a lot. I want to prove every week that I deserve to be in the starting line-up,” Pulisic said after the game.cheap nfl nike jerseys china

Watford nearly snatched an unlikely point as Gerard Deulofeu scored a late penalty and Foster almost headed home a late free kick as the Hornets threw everybody forward, but his opposite number Kepa clawed the ball away as the final whistle went.

“That’s the closest I have ever come to scoring. I can’t believe he saved it but that’s why they spend so much money on a goalkeeper like Kepa,” the 36-year-old Foster told Sky Sports, adding that he thought his side had deserved a draw.

Chelsea’s fifth consecutive league win lifts them to third place in the table on 23 points, eight behind leaders Liverpool and two behind second-placed Manchester City, while winless Watford remain bottom on five points after 11 games.

Liverpool’s confidence and persistence yields another dramatic win but title race has far to go

When Trent Alexander-Arnold readied to take a corner as the clock ticked down at Villa Park, with seconds left in his 100th appearance for Liverpool, there was apprehension among the home supporters and expectation in the away end.

It was the 95th minute, seven after Andy Robertson cancelled out Trezeguet’s first-half opener for Aston Villa and there were just 60 seconds remaining for the league leaders to rescue three points. Liverpool were several levels below their best, without rhythm or surety in their play, all afternoon and the fixture was ready to be filed under “just one of those days.”cheap nike nfl jersey

“We made it difficult for ourselves,” Jurgen Klopp admitted post-match. “We started playing football good but not exactly like we should have done. Aston Villa were ready today for a proper fight, a proper battle, defend with all they have, try to find spaces for counter-attacks and be there and have good set pieces.4

“We played good football, but didn’t finish the situations and then we conceded a goal, then it is not so easy to change these wrong decisions, this wrong path, immediately. We needed a bit of time.”

Liverpool’s poor decision-making aligned with marginal calls — Villa’s goal was ruled just onside by VAR, but Roberto Firmino’s armpit (yes, you read that correctly) was deemed to be offside when he had the ball in the back of the net — compounded the sense that it may not quite be their afternoon. But in those dying moments, the emotions of both fan bases were understandable. Dean Smith’s men have ceded 11 points in games in which they have gone ahead this season, more than any other Premier League side. Liverpool, by contrast, are the champions of division in winning points from losing positions.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

It turns out that Villa supporters were justified for feeling the way they did: Sadio Mane’s deft header from Alexander-Arnold’s corner dissected Conor Hourihane and Jonathan Kodjia before nestling into the far corner to make it 2-1 to the league leaders.

Prior to that moment, Liverpool did not need to dig that deep or look too far to believe they could conjure another rescue act. They were decisive at the death during a ridiculous 5-5 draw with Arsenal in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday night, in which they triumphed on penalties. Their winner against Leicester City at Anfield last month arrived after 95 minutes. Their equaliser against Manchester United at Old Trafford in the next fixture materialised in the 85th minute. The “Fergie Time” concept, coined when Sir Alex Ferguson’s sides had a habit of producing late goals, has been replaced by “Klopp o’clock.”

Since the start of last season, no other Premier League team has scored more goals in the division during the last 10 minutes than Liverpool’s 23. In September 2017, after his side had conceded 13 goals from seven matches, Klopp admitted that lapses in defence had become “a self-fulfilling prophecy” for them as players got sucked into the narrative around them. That has since been positively replaced by Liverpool’s powers of recovery: since the German labelled his squad “f—ing mentality monsters” in April after Mohamed Salah and Jordan Henderson scored late goals in a 3-1 victory at Southampton, they have continually found ways to win even with time running out.

Villarreal in talks to play La Liga game vs. Atletico Madrid in Miami

La Liga has formally requested permission from the Spanish FA for the Dec. 8 clash between Atletico Madrid and Villarreal to be played in Miami, Florida.

Both clubs are in agreement with the league and Villarreal released a statement on Thursday, stating they will compensate home fans if the location change to the Hard Rock stadium — home of NFL franchise the Miami Dolphins — is approved.

Luis Rubiales, president of the Spanish FA, hinted the organisation will again oppose a league game staged overseas, however, as they have before.

“We could go back in time and give the same comments we gave a year ago,” Rubiales said.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

“There is a FIFA executive committee stance that when a local competition game is played, it is at the stadium of the local team, whereas when it’s regarding a competition in a neutral venue, it can be played away from their stadium.

“We continue to be part of FIFA and UEFA and we continue to have that opinion.”6

Plans to have a league game overseas are part of La Liga’s 15-year marketing agreement with Relevent Sports to promote the game in North America and expand its brand.

Last season, La Liga attempted to stage Girona’s home game against Barcelona in the United States, but even with the support of the two clubs, the plan was rejected by the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), who in turn had FIFA’s backing.

La Liga need the support of the RFEF, as well as Spain’s Sports Council, UEFA, CONCACAF and U.S. Soccer in order to move the game away from Villarreal’s La Ceramica stadium.

“We have to continue to take steps and I would like there to be a general consensus,” Roig said. “I would like for this to happen, but with everyone on board. It’s not good to go against the current.

“There is no impediment by Atletico Madrid, nor by us. [Atletico] are in agreement. We are working so that we reach a good conclusion.”

Sources have told ESPN FC that Atletico coach Diego Simeone is not happy with the situation, but that he understands the club will receive a useful financial boost from it after last summer’s investments on transfers.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

According to Thursday’s statement, Villarreal fans will be compensated for missing out on a home game if the location change is confirmed.

Sources: Manchester United’s Alexis Sanchez out until 2020 after ankle surgery

Inter Milan forward Alexis Sanchez has undergone surgery on his left ankle and sources have told ESPN FC he is expected to miss the remainder of the calendar year.

The on-loan Manchester United man suffered an ankle injury during a clash with Juan Cuadrado in Chile’s friendly with Colombia.

“Alexis Sanchez, this morning, saw professor Ramon Cugat in Barcelona for a consultation,” a statement read. “The visit confirmed the diagnosis of Inter’s of Inter’s medical staff and it was decided to proceed with surgical intervention of the left ankle.5

“The surgery of the peroneus longus tendon was then performed in the afternoon and was carried out to perfection.”cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

Inter forward Sebastiano Esposito, 17, has been left out of the Italy squad for the upcoming Under-17 World Cup which begins on Oct. 26 as Sanchez’s injury has meant he may be needed as cover for the first team.

Sanchez joined Inter on a season-long loan in the summer and made late substitute appearances in the 1-0 wins over Udinese and Lazio.

The 30-year-old’s first start came away at Sampdoria where he scored before a sending off for two bookable offences saw him suspended for the top-of-the-table clash with Juventus, which Inter lost 2-1.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

Sanchez also started the 2-1 defeat to Barcelona in the Champions League.

Edwin van der Sar: Strong characters have ‘disappeared’ at Manchester United

Legendary goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar has attributed Manchester United’s struggles to the disappearance of strong characters in the dressing room, and said the situation at Old Trafford is “a long way” from the club he left eight years ago.

Van der Sar spent the final six seasons of his decorated career with the Red Devils, winning four Premier League titles and playing in three Champions League finals with Sir Alex Ferguson’s side. However, United have fallen on hard times since Ferguson’s departure in 2013 and are in the midst of their worst-ever start to a Premier League campaign.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

When asked to comment on the difficult times Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team is facing, the former Netherlands international, who was a teammate of Solskjaer’s at United, told ESPN FC in an exclusive interview: “Of course it’s difficult. I left there eight years ago and it was a tremendous last six years of my career, winning four Premier League titles and playing in three Champions League finals.6

“So it’s a long way from the position where they are in now,” van der Sar said. “And of course they have changed managers a couple times now and the real progress is not seen yet, only the thing that they bought in the summer. They bought younger, inexperienced players with a certain desire and hunger, and not like the big names they bought the last six, seven years.”

Upon joining United from Fulham in the summer of 2005, the former Ajax and Juventus star walked into a dressing room full of established veteran leadership — a makeup, he says, that is much unlike today’s team.

“I think for ourselves, when I came in the dressing room we had Ryan Giggs, you had [Paul] Scholes, you had [Rio] Ferdinand, [Gary] Neville and even Roy Keane at that time. So I think there’s always been strong characters. And I think for the last couple of years the strong characters have disappeared and [are] not making a difference anymore,” van der Sar said.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

Though despite the recent rocky times, van der Sar said he believes that United still have the power to attract top players capable of leading them back to glory.

“Of course, the name is there. And of course the following they have all over the world,” he said.

“But for a player […] you want to play at a certain level, you also want to have an idea that you can win trophies and they must take that opportunity also to improve the squad and make the world-class players they have, or the players that they’re going to sign, that they feel welcome and that there’s a good path to where they’re going to go to.”

England’s limited midfield will keep them from winning Euro 2020

England are becoming accustomed to reality checks, but they don’t seem to be learning from them.

Friday’s 2-1 away defeat against the Czech Republic, after FC Dallas striker Zdenek Ondrasek netted an 85th-minute winner for the home side, left England still needing at least one more victory in Group A to be certain of qualification for Euro 2020.

“We didn’t use the ball well enough,” Southgate said. “And in terms of a wake-up call, I think we’ve had a lot of plaudits, but we’ve always maintained that there’s a lot of work to be done to be a really top team. I think tonight was clear evidence of that. We have to respond in the right way.”

In many ways, it was the same story when England lost 2-1 to Croatia in the World Cup semifinal in Moscow in 2018 and again this summer, when the Netherlands secured a 3-1 win in the Nations League semifinal in Guimaraes to deny England a place in the inaugural final of UEFA’s new tournament. On each occasion, and against the Czechs, England’s inability to control the game from midfield proved their downfall.cheap nfl nike jerseys china

But in Prague, where England have never beaten the Czechs since their first meeting against the old Czechoslovakia in 1934, there were even more alarm bells ringing.5

Both full-backs — Danny Rose and Kieran Trippier — were poor defensively and in possession, prompting questions over their selection for this game ahead of the more in-form Ben Chilwell and Trent Alexander-Arnold. Kyle Walker, the treble-winning right-back at Manchester City last season, failed to even make the squad. And in the heart of England’s defence, Everton’s Michael Keane simply looked well short of international class against Harry Maguire, the world’s most expensive defender.

England’s strengths — their attacking options — were largely nullified by the Czechs because the home side were able to control a midfield that was far too cautious and limited in the shape of Jordan Henderson and Declan Rice.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

Ranked 44th in the FIFA World Ranking, the Czech Republic are a competent team, but they are not the force of old, when they produced top-class players such as Pavel Nedved, Karel Poborsky and Patrik Berger. England have traditionally made easy work of teams ranked some distance below them, only failing when they come up against the established powers, but they were outsmarted and outplayed in every department by Jaroslav Silhavy’s side, who lost 5-0 at Wembley earlier this year.

It is the midfield area that is the biggest concern, however. Defensively, Southgate has options such as Joe Gomez, John Stones and perhaps even Axel Tuanzebe, but in midfield, the cupboard is bare.

Liverpool captain Henderson has his qualities. He is a motivator and offers endless energy, but at this level, his passing range is painfully short of what is required. Those shortcomings would not be such a problem if he were deployed alongside a midfielder with the ability to dictate the tempo with his passing and ability to carry the ball forward, but his partner against the Czechs was Rice, who pretty much does the same job as Henderson.

Brighton fail to ignite in goalless draw at Newcastle

Brighton & Hove Albion did everything right except score a goal in a 0-0 Premier League draw at Newcastle United on Saturday that heaped the pressure on both teams.

In a game of few clear chances at St. James’ Park, Newcastle defended for large parts of the match against the visiting side who dominated possession and passing statistics but lacked the cutting edge up front.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

Brighton substitute Aaron Connolly nearly stole a winner as he lifted the ball over Newcastle goalkeeper Martin Dubravka in the 75th minute but Fabian Schar acrobatically cleared it off the line to ensure the match ended goalless.8

The result left Steve Bruce’s side with one victory in six matches while, for all of Brighton’s new style of possession play under Graham Potter, the south-coast club have not won since beating Watford 3-0 on the opening day of the season.

“We found it very difficult. We knew Brighton would come and want to take the football and basically we couldn’t get after it well enough,” Bruce told the BBC.nike nfl jerseys cheap china

“The Achilles heel is that we have to take big chances when we get them. We couldn’t wait to get them in at halftime. We didn’t deal with Brighton who kept the ball well and they made it a difficult evening for us. We got away with one (point).”

Newcastle brought on Andy Carroll for his first game since rejoining the club on transfer deadline day but the striker, fit again after an ankle injury, failed to spark them.

“It’s a missed opportunity. We dominated the whole game. They stuck Andy Carroll on late on but we defended well,” Brighton defender Lewis Dunk told Sky Sports.

“It was frustrating today. We’re passing the ball well and dominating games but we need to finish teams off… hopefully we’ll be in a more comfortable position at the end of the season. If we play like that, we’ll get there in the end.”

Brighton travel to Chelsea next Saturday while Newcastle face another potentially tough test at Leicester City the following day.

Is Christian Pulisic’s lack of playing time at Chelsea cause for alarm?

When Christian Pulisic’s $73 million move to Chelsea was announced in January, there were equal parts excitement and trepidation.

The anticipation came from having the American heading to one of the world’s biggest clubs for a fee more than three times the previous record for a U.S. international. If Pulisic could break through with the Blues, there was a chance that he could live up to the predictions — or hopes — that he would become the first transcendent American star.cheap nfl nike jerseys china

But the enthusiasm was tempered by concern over how much he would actually play, especially coming off a season with Borussia Dortmund in which his time decreased due to a combination of injury and the emergence of Jadon Sancho. When Maurizio Sarri — Chelsea’s manager when Pulisic’s transfer was agreed upon — returned to his native Italy and Frank Lampard came in to replace him, the American’s position looked even more vulnerable.3

Just six weeks into the season, Pulisic has shown flashes of ability, like when he set up Olivier Giroud’s goal against Liverpool in the UEFA Super Cup, but has found minutes harder to come by recently. When he has featured, he struggled to make much of an impact, often opting to play it safe.buy nike nfl jerseys cheap

“OK” is the word that keeps coming up from those assessing the American’s performances. That hasn’t been enough to keep Pulisic in Chelsea’s starting lineup, even as he returned from international duty early. In fact, heading into Wednesday’s Carabao Cup match against Grimsby Town (ESPN+, 2:45 p.m. ET), he has been an unused substitute three games in a row.

The lack of minutes has, in some cases, been circumstantial. During last weekend’s 2-1 defeat to Liverpool, Lampard was forced to burn two substitutes in the first half when defenders Emerson Palmieri and Andreas Christensen were injured.

But other signs are more disheartening. When Mason Mount was injured early in Chelsea’s 1-0 Champions League defeat to Valencia, Pedro was summoned, not Pulisic. The return of Willian, hurt at the start the season, has also made minutes tougher to come by. With Callum Hudson-Odoi also on the mend, the competition is set to get more intense.

“It’s so early,” said former U.S. international Landon Donovan, who enjoyed two loan spells in England with Everton. “You don’t want to get carried away, but the signs don’t look great so far for Pulisic, especially when you have Pedro, Ross Barkley and Michy Batshuayi also not starting in [the Liverpool] match. You would think he’s moving down the pecking order.”

Sanchez: I have no regrets over Man Utd move

Alexis Sanchez has said he has no regrets over his decision to join Manchester United last year.

The Chile international signed for Inter Milan on a season-long loan after 18 months at Old Trafford where he managed only five goals in 45 appearances.
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The forward has joined up with Romelu Lukaku at Inter after the Belgium international also joined the Nerazzurri this summer.

“I’m very happy I went to Manchester United,” he told BBC Sport. “It’s the club that’s won the most in England.

“When I went to Arsenal it was fantastic — I was happy there — but United were growing at the time, they were buying players to win something.7

“I wanted to join them and win everything. I don’t regret going there.”

United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has said Sanchez could feature for the club after his loan spell in Serie A but the forward said he needs regular minutes on the pitch to feel happy.

“I think that I’m happy when I play for my national team,” he added. “I was happy at Manchester United too, but I’ve always said to my friends I want to play.cheap nfl nike jerseys china

“If they would let me play I’ll do my best. Sometimes I’d play 60 minutes then I wouldn’t play the next game — and I didn’t know why.”

Meanwhile, Inter have confirmed Sanchez will wear the No. 7 shirt at the club this season.

Awkward… Is Liverpool’s African brotherhood on the rocks?

There was friction within African football’s most beloved double act this weekend, as Sadio Mane’s frustrations with Mohamed Salah boiled over, although there’s been plenty of success for the continent’s stars in Europe’s major leagues this past week.

Mane’s displeasure with his teammate came within the context of another resounding Liverpool victory, with the Senegal forward netting the Reds’ second in a 3-0 win at Burnley.

Mane played a key role in another fine Reds performance, as they maintained their 100 percent start to the new campaign and secured a club-record 13th successive league win in the process.

The 27-year-old’s second goal of the season came via a Roberto Firmino assist, as the Brazilian exposed space in the Burnley half, dribbled to the edge of the box and played in Mane, who snapped his shot beyond Nick Pope.nfl nike jersey cheap

Earlier, the attacker had played in Salah for a fine chance, only for the Egyptian to strike the woodwork, although the latter didn’t return the favour late on when he opted to go for goal himself, rather than tee up Mane.

The West African reacted emotively after being replaced, gesticulating furiously to teammates and not hiding his anguish at perceived selfish play on the part of Salah.5

In another context, this act would be perceived as a gross display of dissent, but in this Liverpool machine, it’s being read as a testament to the side’s hunger and single-mindedness under Jurgen Klopp.

Certainly, the coach opted to play down Mane’s frustrations post-match.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

“I could describe five or six situations where everyone thought, ‘pass it, pass it, pass it’,” Klopp told journalists, as per the Metro. “That is the freedom of the player.

“The boys have to make these decisions: pass the ball, don’t pass the ball,” he added. “We can make this mistakes. You can lose the ball and mis-kick the ball, or sometimes you cannot see your teammate.

“It is not that you ignore him. Sometimes to us it looks like you must see him but you don’t. It’s not a big challenge, but of course with a striker always you can have this.

“What you do depends on the situation,” the German coach concluded. “We will leave it 100 percent because we won 3-0, and everyone goes away in different directions. In one week, I don’t think I will talk about it again.”

Credit must also go to Joel Matip, one of the unsung heroes of this Liverpool side, who cleared an Ashley Barnes effort off the line with the scores level, ensuring the contest didn’t turn against the visitors.

Also in the Premier League, Alex Iwobi scored his second goal in a week for Everton as they defeated Wolverhampton Wanderers 3-2, with new Ivory Coast call-up Willy Boly seeing red in stoppage time.