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How Genoa’s Krzysztof Piatek, ‘the new Lewandowski,’ went from unknown to star of Serie A

It’s late May 2018, and Genoa president Enrico Preziosi is sat at a table in an Ibiza restaurant with an agent who is showing him clip after clip of a Polish striker he thinks would do well in Serie A.

Goals had been hard to come by for the Grifone over the last nine months, Gianluca Lapadula took 30 games to score four, and were it not for the team’s defence they would have probably been relegated. Only Verona and Sassuolo scored fewer … So the agent has Preziosi’s attention.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

The guy in the video, Krzysztof Piatek, found the net 21 times last season for KS Cracovia. He’s being hailed as the “new Robert Lewandowski” — words which must have prompted Preziosi to have a flashback or two.8

While Blackburn fans blame the Eyjafjallajokull volcanic eruptions for grounding Lewandowski and stopping him from talking to Sam Allardyce about a move to Ewood Park in 2010, Preziosi only has himself to blame for not buying the striker when he had the chance that same year. The toy-maker came so close to having Lewandowski’s signature that La Repubblica and Sky Italia declared it a done deal.

Genoa’s manager at the time, Gian Piero Gasperini, had watched Lewandowski play for Lech Poznan against Udinese and liked what he saw. The Poland international passed a medical and was the guest of the club at the Derby della Lanterna against Sampdoria. “I shook his hand in the hotel,” Gasperini revealed to Sky Italia in 2016.

But just as everything seemed ready for completion, a now infamous statement appeared on Genoa’s website denying an agreement had been reached. The whole thing collapsed, and the stories as to why continue to conflict.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

Preziosi would later bring up an eye-watering commission demanded by the intermediary brokering the transfer. However, Genoa’s sporting director at the time, Stefano Capozucca had a slightly different version of events. “When the President saw him in the stands [at the derby], he was unimpressed by his physical structure,” he said. “He was a lot less imposing a figure than he is now and didn’t look like a classic centre-forward.”

Wonderkids Okello, Poloto cut from Uganda squad

Uganda head coach Sebastien Desabre has dropped KCCA FC duo Allan Okello and Julius Poloto from the Cranes squad set to face Lesotho in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier later this week.

Okello, one of Uganda’s most promising attacking midfielders, was cut on Monday and will play no part in the upcoming double-header as the Cranes look to boost their hopes of reaching a second consecutive AFCON.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

The Cranes, who lead Group L, will host second-placed Lesotho on October 13 at the Mandela National Stadium, Namboole before the return late in Maseru three days later.

“We have trimmed the team to the final 24 after three days of testing,” Desabre told KweséESPN. “We shall embark on residential training as the professional players also start arriving [on Monday].8

Uncapped Okello, who helped KCCA FC reach the group stage of the CAF Champions League, is not downhearted after his omission.

“Although I have not made it to the final squad, this will encourage me to keep working hard,” Okello told KweséESPN. “Calling me up for the first time has motivated me.”

Milton Karisa, who joined Moroccan Premier League side Mouloudia Club D’Oujda last month, and Tout Puissant Mazembe new boy Benson Joseph Ochaya have been included.

After failing to lead the Uganda Cranes to a win against Tanzania last month in his first match in the AFCON qualifiers as head coach, Desabre is finding himself under increasing pressure to deliver results nfl nike jerseys for cheap

Denis Onyango, Salim Jamal Magoola, Charles Lukwago, Murushid Juuko, Isaac Isinde, Timothy Awanyi, Denis Iguma, Nicholas Wadada, Godfrey Walusimbi, Isaac Muleme, Joseph Ochaya, Hassan Wasswa Mawanda, Saddam Ibrahim Juma, Taddeo Lwanga, Moses Waisswa, Khalid Aucho, Allan Kateregga, Farouk Miya, Emmanuel Okwi, Edris Lubega, Derrick Nsibambi, Milton Karisa, Allan Kyambadde and Patrick Kaddu.

How the ESPN Fantasy Soccer tier system works

Each week, you’ll select a Tier 1 and Tier 2 forward; a Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 3 midfielder; and a Tier 1 and Tier 2 defender, in addition to your goalkeeper. The best players available obviously will be in Tier 1. Tiers 2 and 3 will feature less heralded players, mostly from teams that are not championship contenders, testing your knowledge of the entire league.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

Makes sense, right? But remember, you’ll want to pick a new team of players every week — taking advantage of lopsided-looking matchups, for instance. When Manchester City plays Huddersfield Town, for example, you’ll probably want to stock up on City players.

But it’ll also be important to take a close look at the tiers each week, because there will be changes. Players could move up or down a tier, depending on their current form. Fulham midfielder Jean Michael Seri might have been a Tier 3 midfielder at the start of the season, since he plays for a newly promoted side. But Seri already has a goal and an assist, and is sixth in the league in passes completed, so he’s a Tier 2 midfielder this week.5

Players could change positions, too. West Ham’s Marko Arnautovic had generally played as a midfielder prior to last season, but he then was shifted to center forward over the course of the campaign. He’s playing at center forward again this season, so he’s a Tier 2 forward this week, rather than being listed among the midfielders.

As you’ll see, the tiers aren’t exhaustive — there are nine Tier 1 forwards available for selection in the Premier League this week, for instance. There will be more players available in the lower tiers, but not that many more. We want to give you plenty of options, but not overwhelm you.nike nfl jerseys cheap china

And some players will be added or dropped from the game altogether due to injury, form, etc. Man City’s Kevin De Bruyne is expected to be out for at least a couple more months, but once he’s back, you can bet he’ll be a Tier 1 midfielder every week for the rest of the season, as long as he’s healthy.

So, don’t forget to check your team, and the list of players in each tier, before every round of games begins. Because the tiers can be adjusted any given week, and that could really impact your results. Your team from the previous week will roll over automatically, but if one of your players changes tiers or drops out of the game altogether, you’ll be left with a blank spot and earn no points at that position.

Gor Mahia identify Batambuze as Walusimbi replacement

Gor Mahia have identified Uganda’s Shafik Batambuze as a potential replacement for Godfrey Walusimbi, according to the club’s CEO Lordvick Aduda.

Walusimbi left Got for Kaizer Chiefs in August after four years at the club, but the Kenyan champions appear to have identified a replacement.nike nfl jerseys for cheap

“We are in talks [with Batambuze],” Aduda told KweséESPN. “He is a quality player who our technical bench feel can fill that left-back position.”

Gor must wait until December to complete the player’s transfer and registration.6

“The window is currently closed, so there’s little we can do right now,” Aduda added, “but talks are at a very advanced stage.

“The player has also expressed his willingness to join us.”

Batambuze is no stranger in the Kenyan Premier League, having featured for Sofapaka, Western Stima and Tusker FC.cheap nike nfl jerseys china

He left the last of these to sign for his most recent employers, Singida United of Tanzania, in May 2017, having won the Kenyan Premier League and Gotv Shield titles with Tusker in 2016.

Known for his prowess from set-pieces, Batambuze was part of the Uganda squad at the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations.

Alfred Duncan aiming high as Ghana return looms

When Ghana assemble in mid-October for the next instalment of 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, one player may well find himself central to the big decisions that coach Kwesi Appiah has to make.nike nfl jerseys for cheap

Alfred Duncan has not featured for the Black Stars for a year, yet his club career continues to go from strength to strength, and he’s started the Serie A season strongly with Sassuolo.

His consistency, prowess with his left foot, and presence in midfield have won him many admirers in Italy, and will have prompted increased expectations among supporters back home.

“It hurts that I have been ignored, because everyone wants to play international football,” he told KweséESPN.5

“It is a compliment to be considered good enough for your country, and all I can personally do is to make my case by playing well at club level.”

Duncan has certainly started the season strongly; he’s been a regular for fifth-placed Sassuolo in a manner that star man Thomas Partey has not managed at Atletico Madrid.

He’s also eclipsed another Ghanaian in Serie A, Afriyie Acquah, who started the Black Stars’ last match in Kenya

It is a start to the season that has Duncan, the former Inter Milan player, buzzing with a lot of confidence.

“Normally, in the past, I play two good games and then my level drops the next,” he added.new nike nfl jerseys cheap

“This time, the level has been consistent, and everyday I feel better about myself. I get more minutes on the pitch, which works magic for any player.”

Mauricio Pochettino must restore Tottenham’s confidence after Inter collapse

It is strange to think that just three weeks ago Mauricio Pochettino’s biggest concern was overconfidence, after a winning start to the campaign culminated in a 3-0 triumph at Old Trafford.

Now, after suffering three straight defeats for the first time in his Tottenham tenure, the Argentine finds himself trying to repair damaged morale and inject some belief.

“At 46 years old, loving this game, I understand that some tough periods can arrive,” he said after Tuesday’s 2-1 loss against Inter Milan. “Of course, I am so disappointed because I told you after Manchester United, ‘be careful, be careful,’ and the tough period arrived after beating Manchester United at Old Trafford.

“It is my responsibility to try and change that dynamic, but when the dynamic is not good the most important thing is to work harder than before and be strong.”cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

After 2-1 defeats against Watford and Liverpool — the latter a scoreline that flattered Spurs, masking the gulf between the sides — it seemed the North Londoners had encountered a vulnerable Inter Milan side at the ideal time. While the Italians have great European pedigree, they are a shadow of their former selves and have lost two of their opening four Serie A fixtures, winning just once. They were placed in Pot 4 for the Champions League draw for a reason.

Tottenham, seemingly scarred by their chastening experience against Liverpool, looked anxious in possession for most of the opening 45 minutes but got away with it. Jan Vertonghen, Davinson Sanchez and Eric Dier all gave the ball away dangerously deep in their own half. Ben Davies, skittish throughout, lost the ball under his feet and over the touchline. Serge Aurier sent a backwards header out for a corner rather than to Michel Vorm.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

Anthony Martial must build on his fine display vs. Young Boys

Martial has an unusual relationship with fans, who hear little from him. He rarely talks to the media yet remains popular — especially with younger supporters — and has achieved almost cult-like status among some who call themselves “Martial FC.”

Those he stood before on Wednesday were generally longer in the tooth but his acknowledgment of their praise following a good performance will have done him no harm in the eyes of match goers; Mourinho himself has found that out in recent weeks.

Martial still being on the pitch at full-time was a rarity. He has had few chances to thank fans properly at the end of a game, having failed to go 90 minutes in last season’s Champions League and managing it just six times in the Premier League. That he got stronger as this latest game went on showed he is not going to tire easily.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

A photo I tweeted of Martial applauding quickly went viral, accompanied by many positive messages. An hour later, I showed him my phone in the post-game mixed zone after he left the dressing room. “Nice!” he said. “I like it.”

He has not always been content at Old Trafford and, earlier this year, his agent let it be known he wanted to leave. Martial wanted to play more and to be happier than he was, yet United had no intention of selling a player with the potential to be one of the best attackers in the game.

One game will not make everything perfect. Before Wednesday, he had started only once this campaign, lasting an hour in the capitulation to Brighton. He was poor that day and has shown signs that he lacks interest, to the ire of his manager. However, Martial remains a fine sight when running at and trying to go past opponents. His first touch, even when controlling a ball hit at speed, is usually faultless.

Young Boys Bern are not Juventus or Valencia, United’s other Group H opponents, but Martial looked like he had a point to prove and did enough to keep his place against Wolves side on Saturday. But will he or will Alexis Sanchez, the team’s top earner, be recalled instead? Despite a couple of promising pointers in preseason, the Chilean forward is yet to spark this term and will get more chances to come good.nike nfl jerseys cheap china

The good news is that, with games coming thick and fast either side of the next international break in mid-October, both should get opportunities and possibly in the same line-up; it is not like they cannot play in the same team, given each man can operate on the left, centrally and the right.

How the ESPN Fantasy Soccer tier system works

Each week, you’ll select a Tier 1 and Tier 2 forward; a Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 3 midfielder; and a Tier 1 and Tier 2 defender, in addition to your goalkeeper. The best players available obviously will be in Tier 1. Tiers 2 and 3 will feature less heralded players, mostly from teams that are not championship contenders, testing your knowledge of the entire league.china nike nfl jerseys cheap

Makes sense, right? But remember, you’ll want to pick a new team of players every week — taking advantage of lopsided-looking matchups, for instance. When Manchester City plays Huddersfield Town, for example, you’ll probably want to stock up on City players.

But it’ll also be important to take a close look at the tiers each week, because there will be changes. Players could move up or down a tier, depending on their current form. Fulham midfielder Jean Michael Seri might have been a Tier 3 midfielder at the start of the season, since he plays for a newly promoted side. But Seri already has a goal and an assist, and is sixth in the league in passes completed, so he’s a Tier 2 midfielder this week.6

Players could change positions, too. West Ham’s Marko Arnautovic had generally played as a midfielder prior to last season, but he then was shifted to center forward over the course of the campaign. He’s playing at center forward again this season, so he’s a Tier 2 forward this week, rather than being listed among the midfielders.

As you’ll see, the tiers aren’t exhaustive — there are nine Tier 1 forwards available for selection in the Premier League this week, for instance. There will be more players available in the lower tiers, but not that many more. We want to give you plenty of options, but not overwhelm you.

And some players will be added or dropped from the game altogether due to injury, form, etc. Man City’s Kevin De Bruyne is expected to be out for at least a couple more months, but once he’s back, you can bet he’ll be a Tier 1 midfielder every week for the rest of the season, as long as he’s healthy.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

So, don’t forget to check your team, and the list of players in each tier, before every round of games begins. Because the tiers can be adjusted any given week, and that could really impact your results. Your team from the previous week will roll over automatically, but if one of your players changes tiers or drops out of the game altogether, you’ll be left with a blank spot and earn no points at that position.

Why goals and assists aren’t everything in ESPN Fantasy Soccer

The first weekend of fixtures since ESPN Fantasy Soccer launched is quickly approaching! Since our game allows you to pick new players each week, strategy is going to be very important. You can’t just study up for a draft at the start of the season, like with fantasy NFL, and ride that team all year long. You’ll probably get left in the dust.

We’ll all be learning about this game together, as the season unfolds. But certain lessons can be learned from studying the numbers from last season, nike nfl jerseys cheap china as if ESPN Fantasy Soccer had launched one year ago. And one of those lessons is, don’t just focus on goals and assists!5

It sounds simple, I know. But there will be a temptation to concentrate on those two categories when making your selections each week. And that’s natural. They offer the biggest rewards — 10 and 5 points, respectively — and they’re the easiest to spot, too.

But they’re also pretty hard to come by. Only nine Premier League players scored more than 12 goals last year, in a 38-game season. Think about that. Every other player in the league, at best, averaged less than a goal every three games.

And that number was only slightly higher in Spain. Thirteen La Liga players scored more than 12 goals last year, also in a 38-game season. And two of those players finished with exactly 13.

Assists are even less common than goals. Only nine Premier League players finished in double-digits in assists last season, and seven of those nine finished with 10 or 11. Kevin De Bruyne was the league leader with 16, and that’s just half the number of goals scored by Mohamed Salah.china nike nfl jerseys cheap

Only four La Liga players finished in double-digits in assists. Lionel Messi was tied for the league lead with 12, which is nearly a third of the number of goals he scored, 34.

Knee won’t limit what Aaron Rodgers does best: throw it quick

Then consider that Rodgers is the NFL’s master improviser, the quarterback who has thrown more touchdowns from outside the pocket than anyone else since 2009. And it’s not even close. He has 62 in 127 regular-season games, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. Coming into this season, Matt Ryan, who sits No. 2 on the list, had 35 in 16 more games.

That Rodgers might not have the kind of mobility needed to make big plays out of the pocket for a while — assuming he doesn’t miss any games because of the left knee injury he suffered in Sunday night’s season-opening win over the Chicago Bears — could seem problematic. It’s also a misnomer.4

“I’ve always thought he was at his best in the pocket and getting the ball out of his hands quickly,” a longtime NFL scout said Monday.

That’s exactly what Rodgers did in his post-injury return Sunday against the Bears. His only two passes from outside the pocket came before his second-quarter injury. Both fell incomplete.

His other 28 passes came from inside the pocket, according to ESPN Stats & Information data. He completed 28 of them for 286 yards and three touchdowns.

“Obviously being more of a statue back there, had to deal the ball on time and make sure we had guys getting open,” Rodgers said after the game. “I thought the protection was really good, and guys made plays.”

“They were doing nothing offensively the first couple of series because he was doing that old stuff — run around, try to extend plays,” the scout said. “I’ve seen it over the years when he was banged up and couldn’t run, he’d just carve people up in the pocket. When he’s just using his arm and getting the ball out quickly, I’m telling you the guy’s unique. He’s a much better quarterback when he’s getting the ball out quickly.”

To be sure, some of what makes Rodgers special is his ability to extend plays and improvise. It’s what he did in the 2016 playoff game against the Dallas Cowboys on the roll-out pass to Jared Cook in the final minute, for just one example.