Former Man Utd ace reveals why Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men will beat Chelsea to top four

Former Manchester United and Chelsea goalkeeper Mark Bosnich has backed the Red Devils to secure fourth spot and Champions League qualification over the Blues come the end of the Premier League season. 

The top-four race will provide a bulk of the drama with Manchester City and Leicester battling it out for second behind Liverpool, but up to six teams could still be in contention for the remaining spot, which is currently occupied by Chelsea, with five points separating fourth and ninth. 

City have recently been sanctioned with a two-year ban from competing in the European competition for breaching Financial Fair Play rules with fifth spot potentially opening the door for Champions League football, although the Sky Blues are set to contest the sanctions imposed by UEFA. 

Former Australian international, Bosnich, who represented both United and Chelsea, told Sky Sports he believes suspensions and injuries could help the Red Devils’ cause. 

READ MORE

  • Chelsea boss Frank Lampard praised for Olivier Giroud decision

He said: “Forget about all the Man City stuff because I think that will be reversed. 

“I’m just going to say that it will be a toss-up for fourth place between Chelsea and Manchester United. I think Manchester United will pip it in the end. 

“It really is congested. Chelsea are obviously in fourth place on 44 points, but all the way down to eight are only four points behind. 

“Obviously things will come into it like suspensions and injuries, as they always do. I’ve just got a feeling that Manchester United might squeeze into that fourth place just above Chelsea. 

“At this moment in time I think it would be silly for anyone to put any serious money on it because it is so congested and the way teams are playing, Sheffield United and teams like the, you never quite know. 

“Chelsea and Manchester United are both involved in European competitors, as are Tottenham as well, but that could change a couple of weeks’ time.”

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men moved up to fifth after beating Watford 3-0 and now sit on 41 points while fourth-placed Chelsea defeated Spurs at Stamford Bridge but are just three points ahead of their closest challengers United. 

United now turn their attention to a pivotal set of fixtures which could make or break their season with the return leg of a Europa League last-32 encounter against Club Brugge followed by an FA Cup fifth-round at Derby county, while also facing Everton, Manchester City, Tottenham and Sheffield United. 

 

Source: Read Full Article

Boxing star Sergey Kovalev arrested for drink driving ahead of assault trial

Former boxing world champion Sergey Kovalev was arrested for drink driving in the early hours of Monday morning, according to reports.

Kovalev, 36, was last in action against Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez back in November, where he was knocked out by the Mexican after 11 rounds.

The Russian received a career-high purse for his clash with boxing’s biggest cash cow, taking home a reported $3m [£2m].

But almost four months on from his mega-fight under the Las Vegas lights, Kovalev now finds himself in a desperate position.

  • Deontay Wilder injury update after devastating Tyson Fury defeat

  • Floyd Mayweather urged to coach Deontay Wilder by fans after Instagram message

According to TMZ Sports, the two-time world light-heavyweight champion was arrested for driving under the influence in Los Angeles early on Monday morning.

He is said to have been pulled over at roughly 2am by the California Highway Patrol, who arrested him for being under the influence of alcohol.

  • Donald Trump offers verdict on Tyson Fury's 'exciting' win over Deontay Wilder

Kovalev was subsequently taken to a nearby police station and got off with a caution.

Records indicate the boxing star was released by cops at around 7:35am.

The incident came at the worst time imaginable for Kovalev, who is currently at the centre of a felony assault case having been accused of brutalising a woman in 2018.

  • Eddie Hearn promises to make Tyson Fury vs Anthony Joshua fight happen

He has been accused of attacking Jamie Frontz, who claims the former 175lbs champion turned violent after rejecting her advances in Big Bear, California.

If convicted for assault, Kovalev faces up to four years in prison.

He has plead not guilty, nevertheless, and will be fighting the case.

Read More

Today's top sport stories on Daily Star

  • Tyson Fury is told to retire by his Dad
  • Trump sends White House invite to Fury
  • Rossi takes aim at MotoGP rival Marquez
  • O'Sullivan lays into Snooker Shootout

Kovalev’s trial date was supposed to be scheduled last month, only for the judge to delay his next pre-trial hearing until April 8 and not set a trial date – according to San Bernardino County online court records.

It is believed the delay is due to Kovalev being represented by a new attorney, Keith Bruno.

Court records suggest he has relieved attorney Dmitry Gorin, who had originally been representing him in the case.

Source: Read Full Article

Tomori reveals Henry, Ronaldinho and Zidane were his idols growing up

Chelsea centre back Fikayo Tomori reveals Thierry Henry, Ronaldinho and Zinedine Zidane were his idols growing up… before claiming he ‘kept getting upset’ when he was played in defence while in the club’s academy

  • Young defender Fikayo Tomori has enjoyed a breakthrough season at Chelsea 
  • Tomori has featured 14 times for Chelsea in the Premier League this campaign
  • But if he had it his way when he was a kid, he may not have become a defender 
  • He has revealed his idols growing up were Thierry Henry, Ronaldinho and Co 

Fikayo Tomori has admitted that he didn’t want to become a defender when he was growing up while revealing Thierry Henry, Ronaldinho and Zinedine Zidane were his idols.

Tomori has enjoyed a brilliant breakthrough season under Frank Lampard at Chelsea, featuring 14 times in the Premier League and making four appearances in the Champions League after a fine loan spell at Derby last term. 

However, things could have turned out very differently for the 22-year-old, who has admitted he used to get ‘upset’ when he was played in defence during his time in Chelsea’s academy.

Fikayo Tomori has enjoyed a fine breakthrough season at Chelsea under Frank Lampard

The Chelsea centre back has revealed Thierry Henry was one of his idols growing up

Like many players, his footballing inspirations were either strikers or midfielders growing up.

‘Thierry Henry, Ronaldinho – and I was playing just at the time when my dad was crazy about [Zinedine] Zidane – so Zidane was one of my players that I grew up hearing about,’ Tomori said when discussing his idols to Goal.

‘There was also David Beckham, Michael Owen and those kinds of players, Wayne Rooney.’

Tomori was hoping he would follow in a very similar path to his idols but he has since revealed that a chat with his father changed everything after he kept getting played at the back.  

Former French star Zinedine Zidane was also a big inspiration to Tomori as a youngster

‘When I first moved to Chelsea at Under-9s, you had three months in defence, three months in midfield and three months in the attack,’ he said. ‘Then from there, they gauge where everyone is. I think it was when I was about 11 [when moved into defence] and before then I played midfielder or as an attacker.

‘Back then, no one wanted to be a defender. I remember the manager kept putting me in defence and I kept getting upset. My dad was like “listen I am going to be honest with you, the way your make up is and the way you play football means you are a defender.” So from there I just became a defender.

‘John Terry became my idol. At that point in time he was the England captain and the Chelsea captain. He was probably the best defender in the world so there was no one better to look up to.

‘Him for sure and [Fabio] Cannavaro was around at the same time when Italy won the World Cup. He won the Ballon d’Or. Then as I have got older I looked at Sergio Ramos, Virgil van Dijk and those are the first current names that pop into my head.’

Former Barcelona star Ronaldinho was also a huge inspiration for the English youngster




Share this article

Source: Read Full Article

Jamie Redknapp identifies true problem VAR has given Premier League

The Premier League's introduction and usage of VAR is causing some viewers to 'switch off' from the game altogether, according to former England star turned Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp.

Chelsea were on the wrong end of three VAR decisions in their 2-0 defeat to Manchester United last week.

While this weekend saw Bournemouth stung twice by video assistant referee Chris Kavanagh during their 3-0 defeat at Turf Moor, with goals from Joshua King and Harry Wilson ruled out for handball.

There was also controversy in games at Sheffield United, Chelsea again and at Leicester across the weekend.

And Redknapp thinks the game faces a decline in viewing numbers if the Premier League cannot swiftly improve the way VAR is implemented during games.

  • Granit Xhaka unsure over ever captaining Arsenal again following fan clash

  • Robin Van Persie sends Edinson Cavani transfer message to Man Utd chiefs

Writing for the Daily Mail, pundit Redknapp said: "I wonder, if we conducted a poll, how many supporters would want to keep VAR in the Premier League and how many would say scrap it? I know which way I'd vote.

"Saturday was possibly the system's worst day since its introduction.

"We look at VAR as if it's the oracle but in reality it's one man, sat behind a bank of screens at Stockley Park, offering his opinion.

  • Arsenal legend Ian Wright gives Bernd Leno new nickname after Everton heroics

"It's not matter of fact — it's subjective and occasionally he gets it wrong.

"The game feels in a bad place at the moment. Friends of mine tell me they are switching off and that should set alarm bells ringing in the Premier League headquarters.

"Football is about the fans, first and foremost. We cannot have them forever feeling frustrated or lost or as if they cannot celebrate a goal because a chap in a bunker by Heathrow Airport might chalk it off.

Read More

Today's top football stories on Daily Star

  • Aubameyang Arsenal worry as talks stall
  • Barca stars to undergo coronavirus tests
  • Beckham want to sign Messi AND Ronaldo
  • Gerrard says Henderson nearly quit Reds

"Goal-line technology was arguably the greatest innovation to be introduced to the modern game. The ball is either over the line or it isn't – there is no room for interpretation.

"We all wanted to give VAR a chance but can we now say the Premier League is in a better place with it? Absolutely not. Subjective, incorrect calls are still being made from afar."

Source: Read Full Article

Man Utd boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer drops Bruno Fernandes position hint after Watford win

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has hinted he sees Bruno Fernandes as a No 10. The Portugal international delivered a brilliant display as the Red Devils beat Watford 3-0 on Sunday, boosting their chances of a Premier League top four finish in the process.

Manchester United have deployed Fernandes as a flat central midfielder and No 10 during his time at Old Trafford so far.

The Portugal international has hit the ground running at his new club since his £46million transfer from Sporting Lisbon back in January.

On Sunday, Fernandes was the star as United breezed past Watford.

He opened the scoring early on, finding the net from the penalty spot after winning the spot-kick in the first place.

Fernandes then played a key role in Anthony Martial’s goal and provided the assist for Mason Greenwood’s emphatic finish.

And, speaking after the game, Solskjaer hinted that he may have solved the club’s No 10 problem.

KEY STORY: Man Utd owners the Glazers set asking price and demands for club sale after ‘two meetings’

READ MORE

  • Man Utd may have Jadon Sancho shirt number reserved – but not No 7

Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata and Andreas Pereira have all disappointed when played there this season.

And Solskjaer told the club’s official website: “Now we’ve got the No 10 or attacking midfielder nailed down.

“Hopefully, he’ll keep fit and keep producing performances.

“He’s a box-to-box midfielder and can do everything a midfielder can. He’s similar, as I said, to Veron and Scholes.

“Some games he’ll play in a two, and some games he’ll play attacking midfielder or a 10. He’s played every position in midfield.”

DON’T MISS

Man Utd determined to beat Chelsea to Kalidou Koulibaly

Man Utd sent Bruno Fernandes ‘liability’ warning

What Man Utd owners the Glazers think about potential £200m Old Trafford upgrade

READ MORE

  • What Man Utd hero Ferguson thinks about Pochettino taking job

Solskjaer also said after the game that Fernandes was aware of the fact he’d been signed to become an important player.

“Bruno has come in to be a very important player,” added the Norwegian.

“We’ve needed that type of player. He knows he’s here to play.

“One of the good things about him is he takes risks with the ball, like Veron did.

“I used to love playing with Seba because you’d run and you’d get the ball. If he doesn’t hit you, at least he’s looking for you and that’s what Bruno does.

“That will encourage players to make more runs, I hope, because there aren’t enough of them still.”

Fernandes was voted as United’s man of the match by the club’s fans, who gave him 81 per cent of the votes.

Martial was second on five per cent.

And Greenwood, whose goal was his 11th of an impressive campaign, got four per cent of the votes. 

Source: Read Full Article

FA advises coaches not to train children in heading but denies blanket ban

Changes to the guidelines for coaches of primary school children advising them not to include heading in their training are not intended as a blanket ban, says Les Howie, head of grassroots coaching at the FA.

The football associations of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland on Monday announced they were implementing the changes to reduce health risks.

They come as a result of a FIELD study, joint-funded by the English FA and the PFA, which was published in October.

The study found professional footballers were three-and-a-half times more likely to die of neurodegenerative disease than age-matched members of the population.

It did not identify the cause of the increased risk, but repeated heading of the ball was found to be a likely factor.

Speaking to Sky Sports News, Howie explained: “I think there’s lots of myths out there. This is not a ban on heading. This is about guidance to support our volunteer coaches, who do a fantastic job introducing children to the game.

“When you look at mini soccer, you will see on average one, two, three headers a game. So why spend a lot of time in training practising a skill we rarely see?”

Under the new guidelines, while heading in training for children at U11 level and below will be discouraged, it will still be permitted in matches due to the low amount of headers that occur in those games.

The FAs implemented the changes after consultation with UEFA, which is expected to offer Europe-wide guidance on the issue later this year.

Howie said: “I think what we’ve demonstrated on this is real leadership in giving the game some guidance on what is the best way to introduce heading.

“There will be some people out there who I absolutely get will think we’ve been over cautious, we’ve went too far, it’s ‘PC gone mad’; it’s not.

“This is a balanced, measured response for what the modern game looks like.

“I’d love to be here in three years’ time, when the next lot of research is out, and say, ‘you know what, we were over cautious’.

“But I’d rather be apologising for being over cautious than apologising that we’ve not gone far enough.”

Dawn Astle said she was “really pleased” with the changes. Her father Jeff Astle, who played for England and West Brom, died in 2002, with the coroner ruling it was as a result of repeated heading of footballs.

“We’re all really pleased – it’s sensible following the results of the FIELD study,” she told the PA news agency. “We must take early steps to avoid exposing children’s brains to risk of trauma and by saying there’s no heading in training for primary school children is a really sensible way to make the game we all love safer for all those involved.”

‘A logical step, but more research needed’

Professor Willie Stewart, the lead academic on the FIELD study, welcomed the move but believes ultimately the game’s governing bodies must go further.

He said: “I’m encouraged to see these changes being made in FA, SFA and NIFA youth football.

“A lot more research is needed to understand the factors contributing to increased risk of neurodegenerative disease in footballers. Meanwhile it is sensible to act to reduce exposure to the only recognised risk factor so far.

“As such, measures to reduce exposure to unnecessary head impacts and risk of head injury in sport are a logical step.

“I would, however, like to see these proposals introduced as mandatory, rather than voluntary at present, and a similar approach to reduce heading burden adopted in the wider game of football, not just in youth football.”

‘Should it be limited to children?’

The new guidelines were welcomed by Headway, the brain injury association, but it questioned why the ban should be limited to children.

“In light of the robust research conducted by the University of Glasgow linking football to degenerative neurological conditions, it seems entirely sensible to limit the number of times children are allowed to head footballs,” said Peter McCabe, Headway chief executive.

“The question is, is this enough? Should it be limited to children?

“We cannot allow for key questions to remain unanswered, such as at what age is it safe to head a modern football – if at all? Neither can we afford to wait 30 years for the results of a longitudinal study to reveal the answers or hesitate to introduce other common sense measures that protect players – such as concussion substitutes.

Source: Read Full Article

Gary Neville questions why Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp did not sign Arsenal star

Gary Neville has questioned why Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp did not sign Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang before Arsenal snapped up the striker for £56million in January 2018. Aubameyang became the joint-top goalscorer in the Premier League on Sunday after bagging a brace against Everton in their 3-2 home win.

The Gabon international has now scored 49 Premier League goals in 74 appearances for the Gunners in his 25 months at the club.

And Neville was full of praise for the frontman on The Gary Neville Podcast, which was recorded after the frontman’s double on Sunday.

“Including me, we have stopped short of announcing Aubameyang as world-class,” Neville said.

“We’re happy to go with [Sergio] Aguero, we’re happy to go with [Sadio] Mane and [Mohamed] Salah, [Roberto] Firmino, [Harry] Kane… all these players who have graced the Premier League in the last two or three seasons.

JUST IN: VAR referee’s reason for Tottenham’s Giovani Lo Celso not being sent off vs Chelsea

“I feel that Aubameyang doesn’t get that same credit and maybe it’s something that comes from when he first entered into English football.”

The former Manchester United captain then went on to question why Klopp, who managed the 30-year-old for two years at Borussia Dortmund, did not try to sign him for the Reds.

“It was a case of: ‘Why didn’t any of the top clubs want him?’” Neville asked.

“‘How did Arsenal get him? Is there something wrong with him? Why didn’t Klopp take him to Anfield? All these questions were being asked. I asked them myself.

DON’T MISS
Tyson Fury urged to retire by father John and snub Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder
Man Utd signed a star in Fernandes, Arteta papering over the cracks at Arsenal, VAR mess
England rugby coach Eddie Jones trolls Ireland after big Six Nations victory

READ MORE

  • Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp calls on ‘greatest asset’ to inspire win

“But now we’re talking about a really high level of performance over a couple of years and today, I thought it was a brilliant performance from him.

“Not just his goals, which he took really well, but also the shift that he put in.”

Aubameyang has been used most often on the left-wing this season, making way for Alexandre Lacazette and, of late, Eddie Nketiah.

Neville also hailed the player’s adaptation to the left-wing, saying: “I didn’t know how he would adapt to being told to go and play on the left-hand side.

READ MORE

  • Man Utd chief Woodward open to Pogba swap, Arsenal transfer decision

“The idea of doing a shift there when you think you’re the top man and you’re the goalscorer… but he seems to have really bought into it.

“He doesn’t look like he has been a moment’s bother since he’s come to Arsenal, so all the suggestions that he could have issues off the pitch have not materialised.

“I think it’s getting to the point now where you could argue that he is the top goalscorer in the Premier League over the last couple of seasons.

“He’s one of the best players we’ve got in the Premier League, but for some reason he doesn’t quite get the credit and the plaudits that others get.

“I don’t know why that is, but I think now’s the time for us all to start recognising the quality and the brilliance of this player.

“He fights for the team, he’s always there, and for me, he’s everything you would want in a football player.”

Source: Read Full Article

Bayern Munich provide Coutinho transfer update as they consider permanent deal

Philippe Coutinho must do more to prove himself if he wants to seal a permanent switch to Bayern Munich, according to the club's CEO.

The Brazilian playmaker is on loan in Germany from Barcelona until the end of the season, with the deal giving Bayern an option to buy.

Coutinho has been a regular in the side this season, scoring seven times and providing eight assists in 28 appearances.

But Bayern chief Karl-Heinze Rummenigge feels Coutinho is yet to do enough to ensure he will still be at the Allianz Arena next season.

"Why is it [the transfer] not decisive? This is a difficult question," Rummenigge told Sport Bild. "I think he played well in some games while in others he gave the impression of being a little inhibited.

"I don't know why. The fact is that we all believe he is an exceptional footballer, we see him in training and sometimes during competitions.

"Everyone tries to help him, the coach, his teammates. Now we have to hope that in the crucial weeks starting now, he will become an important factor in helping us win titles."

Rummenigge's comments will come as a blow to Coutinho, who was hopeful of securing a permanent contract.

He said back in November: "I feel good here. If everything goes well, I really would like to stay."

Source: Read Full Article

Jean-Gabriel Pageau trade grades: Senators stockpile draft picks by sending center to Islanders

The 2020 NHL trade deadline saw the Ottawa Senators ship yet another veteran out of town. Last year it was Mark Stone to Vegas — just days after trading Matt Duchene and Ryan Dzingel.

On Monday, they sent Jean-Gabriel Pageau to the New York Islanders for a bunch of draft picks. It was a move long-expected, but there was chatter recently that Pageau may remain a Senator. Now, he’s heading to an Islanders team shaping up for a deep playoff run.

Here’s how teams did.

Senators received from New York:

2020 conditional first-round pick, 2020 second-round pick and 2022 conditional third-round pick.

Islanders received from Ottawa:

Jean-Gabriel Pageau (C)

Senators grade: A

Ottawa isn’t going anywhere this year and general manager Pierre Dorion is well aware of that. A young team that has a solid core with the likes of defenseman Thomas Chabot and forward Anthony Duclair, they now have stockpiled draft picks for the next few years. 

The 2020 draft is shaping up to be one of the best seen in quite a while and the Senators now have seven picks in the first two rounds — three in the first round alone. Next year they have four, with three of those being in the third round. Obviously the big fish in 2020 is Alexis Lafreniere and the Senators are definitely in the mix to acquire the next NHL superstar, but the draft also could have the next big-game defenseman in Jamie Drysdale or goalie in Yaroslav Askarov.

Islanders grade: A-

This is a rental move for New York, but a much-needed one. The team recently lost Casey Cizikas to injury and have a hole to fill up front. Pageau is having a career-year with 40 points (24 goals, 16 assists) in 60 games and in the last five he has six points (three goals, three assists). A solid two-way center, who has averaged over 50 percent on faceoffs in each of the last five seasons, he also has three shorthanded goals and six shorthanded points and should be a nice addition to a team that ranks 16th in penalty kill (80.6 percent).

The Islanders currently sit in the first wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference but are one of the lowest-scoring teams (23rd) with just 173 goals on the season. Pageau should give a nice offensive boost to a team that desperately needs one. Over the course of eight seasons with Ottawa, he’s had182 points (87 goals and 95 assists) in 428 games. 

Source: Read Full Article

Deontay Wilder sends defiant message to Anthony Joshua, Tyson Fury after devastating loss

Deontay Wilder has vowed to bounce back from his defeat to Tyson Fury, insisting his story is far from over. The American’s five-year reign as WBC heavyweight champion came to an end in the early hours of last Sunday at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

Wilder suffered a seventh-round TKO defeat in his multi-million-pound rematch with ‘The Gypsy King’, which came to an end at the 1:39 mark when his corner mercifully threw the towel in.

The Olympic bronze medalist was furious with the decision of Mark Brelan to throw in the towel, immediately shouting: “Why did you do that?”

Wilder wanted to ‘go out on his shield’ but was sensibly stopped from sustaining any more unnecessary punishment.

And the 34-year-old was in a bullish mood when he briefly reflected on the fight in an interview with ESPN.

JUST IN: Tyson Fury shares intimate moment with wife Paris after Wilder victory

We come back stronger

Deontay Wilder

“I’m a warrior and that’s what I do,” said Wilder, who suffered lacerations to his ear and bottom lip. “No excuses. We come back stronger.”

True to his word, Fury went for the kill from the outset – immediately taking the centre of the ring and pressuring the former champion from the outset.

The lineal heavyweight champion’s constant feinting – which he used to great effect in his first encounter with the Alabama native – bamboozled Wilder and repeatedly allowed him to set up his overhand right.

Wilder was quick to give his successor at the summit of the WBC heavyweight rankings his just dues but also revealed he was compromised going into his ill-fated 11th title defence.

DON’T MISS

Eddie Hearn demands Tyson Fury fights Anthony Joshua

Tyson Fury earns redemption with brutal stoppage win over Wilder

Tyson Fury LICKS Deontay Wilder in bizarre moment

“Things like this happen,” a dejected Wilder said. “The best man won tonight.

”I prepared to head out on my guard. I had a great deal of points taking place, entering into this battle.

“My leg was currently weak can be found in, due to various other little points.

” I make no justifications. I simply want that my edge would certainly have allow me head out on my guard.

Fury’s emphatic victory over Wilder has sparked talk of a mega-money unification bout with his unified counterpart Anthony Joshua.

Joshua briefly gave his thoughts on the fight on Sunday afternoon via his Instagram story, in which he hailed both men as gladiators.

Fury is open to facing his fellow Brit but is expects a trilogy fight with Wilder to be his next outing as Wilder has a rubber match clause in his contract he can exercise.

Tyson Fury vs Deontay Wilder 2 recap: Latest updates as Tyson Fury stops Deontay Wilder to claim WBC heavyweight title

Source: Read Full Article