Walcott brings up 100 goals for Arsenal

20 February 2017 22:24

Theo Walcott became the 18th player to score 100 goals for Arsenal in Monday’s 2-0 FA Cup fifth round clash with Sutton United.

England forward Walcott hit a hat-trick against former club Southampton in the fourth round of the FA Cup to move to 99 and brought up his century with a composed finish from close range to make it 2-0 early in the second half against non-league Sutton.

It was the 27-year-old’s 15th goal of the season, with 2016-17 already his second most prolific campaign for the Gunners – shy only of his 21-goal haul in 2012-13.

Walcott has 63 Premier League goals for Arsenal, with 11 in the FA Cup and nine in the League Cup. He has hat-tricks in all of English football’s major competitions and is the only Arsenal player to have scored in both the League Cup and FA Cup final.

His remaining strikes are from Champions League action, while only Robin van Persie (64) has more goals than his 50 at Emirates Stadium.

Taking 373 games to reach 100 makes Walcott the slowest of Arsenal’s centurions. Ted Drake was the quickest, in a rapid 108 outings, with Ian Wright’s 143 games marking the next most efficient return.

Article source: http://www.soccerway.com/news/2017/February/20/walcott-brings-up-100-goals-for-arsenal

Ancelotti asked to explain middle finger gesture

20 February 2017 15:46

Carlo Ancelotti has been asked to explain himself by the German Football Association (DFB) after making an offensive gesture to a home supporter at Saturday’s 1-1 draw against Hertha Berlin.

The Bayern Munich head coach appeared to raise his middle finger as he left the pitch after the match and told ARD immediately afterwards he had done so “because I was spat on”.

Having initially reviewed the incident, the DFB has now asked for a detailed explanation from Ancelotti on the sequence of events.

Bayern released a statement on Monday, which read: “The supervisory committee of the DFB has on Monday called upon Carlo Ancelotti to submit a statement on the events that transpired after Bayern’s match at Hertha Berlin on Saturday. 

“The Bayern head coach will of course comply with this request.”

A fiery game ended in a 1-1 draw, with Robert Lewandowski scoring a controversial stoppage-time equaliser after the initially allocated five minutes of added time had been played.

 

Article source: http://www.soccerway.com/news/2017/February/20/ancelotti-asked-to-explain-middle-finger-gesture

Mandorlini replaces Juric at Genoa

20 February 2017 08:51

Genoa have appointed Andrea Mandorlini after sacking Ivan Juric in the wake of a 5-0 thrashing at the hands of Serie A’s bottom team Pescara.

The Rossoblu have not won since beating Fiorentina 1-0 on December 15, losing seven and drawing two of their subsequent nine league games, as well as bowing out of the Coppa Italia.

That poor run of form has seen them slip to 16th in the table. While they remain 11 points clear of the relegation zone, a disastrous performance away to Pescara – a team whose only previous victory this season was awarded to them on a technicality – sealed the fate of former Genoa player Juric, who had replaced Gian Piero Gasperini in June last year.

“Genoa Cricket and Football Club announces that it has entrusted the technical management of the first team to coach Andrea Mandorlini,” the club said in a statement on Sunday.

“The new coach has signed a contract expiring in June 2018.”

Former Inter defender Mandorlini coached Atalanta to Serie A promotion and led Romanian club Cluj to a league and cup double. He later steered Verona into the top flight during a five-year spell in charge from 2010 to 2015.

Article source: http://www.soccerway.com/news/2017/February/20/mandorlini-replaces-juric-at-genoa

Iniesta: Barcelona haven´t lost faith in Luis Enrique

20 February 2017 03:44

Barcelona captain Andres Iniesta insisted his team-mates have not lost confidence in under-fire head coach Luis Enrique.

All eyes were on Luis Enrique as Barcelona battled to an unconvincing 2-1 win at home to lowly Leganes in LaLiga on Sunday.

Luis Enrique was jeered by Barca fans in the wake of Tuesday’s embarrassing 4-0 loss to Paris Saint-Germain in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie.

But Iniesta denied there are problems with Luis Enrique, confident the Spanish champions will bounce back.

“We’ve not lost confidence in ourselves or in the manager,” said Iniesta, who came off the bench with 10 minutes remaining.

“I think it’s a one-off situation we’re going through. I’m sure we’ll recover those sensations which have seemed lost and our winning mentality for the upcoming challenges.

“Nothing is lost and we have to be convinced that we’ll get back to doing things the right way.

“We can’t keep looking back. We have to look forward and fight for everything – I don’t have any doubts in this team.”

Lionel Messi scored twice at Camp Nou after converting a 90th-minute penalty as Barca closed to within a point of bitter rivals and leaders Real Madrid, who have two games in hand.

Iniesta added: “Many knew that this would be a difficult match after the Champions League match.

“Now we have a long week to recharge our batteries and disconnect a little from Paris.

“We have a lot of work still to do, but we have to keep believing and trusting in what we do.”

Article source: http://www.soccerway.com/news/2017/February/20/iniesta-barcelona-havent-lost-faith-in-luis-enrique

Attitude got Man United through

19 February 2017 20:09

Jose Mourinho said Manchester United’s strength of character prevented them from becoming the latest Premier League club to be embarrassed by lower-league opposition in the FA Cup as they came from behind to earn a 2-1 win over Blackburn Rovers.

Backed by a raucous home crowd at Ewood Park, the Championship outfit took the lead via a fine finish from Danny Graham after 17 minutes.

Marcus Rashford swiftly levelled matters, though, and it was left to Zlatan Ibrahimovic to play the familiar role of match-winner as he collected Paul Pogba’s pass before coolly slotting home to send United into the sixth round.

“I think the attitude of every player was really good,” Mourinho told BT Sport. “With a different attitude, we wouldn’t win. They gave us a really hard match and I am really happy with the players, of course.”

Mourinho went on to acknowledge the impact made by Ibrahimovic and Pogba, who were introduced just past the hour mark.

“I have important players on the bench and I can try to make them have an impact, but that doesn’t always work,” he said. “I spoke with Paul and Zlatan and they came with the right attitude.”

He also admitted to being relieved that his charges would not face a replay given their ongoing league and European commitments and even offered a rare word of praise for the match officials.

“We deserved to win, but Blackburn also deserve to go to Old Trafford,” he said. “But they can now focus on a very difficult Championship. A second match at Old Trafford would have been a disaster.

“I think the referees had everything under control and were really calm and even the ball boy to my right was really good.”

The quarter-final draw was not especially kind to United, however, handing them an away tie at runaway Premier League leaders Chelsea.

Mourinho’s men were thrashed 4-0 at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League in October.

Article source: http://www.soccerway.com/news/2017/February/19/attitude-got-man-united-through---mourinho

Gabigol and Inter ready to feast on success after late winner

19 February 2017 15:49

Dinner is on Gabriel Barbosa after the Brazil youngster finally opened his Inter account with a late winner at Bologna.

The 20-year-old, known as “Gabigol”, had featured sporadically and failed to find the net over the course of six forgettable months in Italy since moving to San Siro from Santos.

But the Rio 2016 goal medallist came off the bench to tap home from close range in the 81st minute on Sunday, sealing a 1-0 win for Stefano Pioli’s side at Stadio Renato Dall’Ara, moving them up to fourth in the Serie A table.

High-flying Roma are on the agenda next for Inter, while Gabriel has to make good on a culinary promise he made to his team-mates.

“In the locker room they said Gabigol would offer a Brazilian-style dinner to everyone when he got his first goal,” Pioli told Mediaset Premium.

“I am happy for him. It was hard for him at the beginning but now he can begin to take satisfaction.”

Inter looked set for a frustrating stalemate at a ground where Napoli won 7-1 earlier this month, but Pioli was pleased by his team’s fighting spirit, as they made it nine wins from their past 10 Serie A outings.

“I have a team that believes until the end,” he said. “The right opportunity arrived and we were ready to take it.

“We struggled with an opponent that closed down very well. We had no rhythm and were slow, especially in central areas and did not play as well as we know we can.

“The only feeling at the moment is satisfaction at work well done, in seeing what my players give. We must continue, as we’ve achieved nothing yet.

“It’s true nine wins in 10 games is impressive, but the others are pushing hard too and we need to keep up with them.”

Article source: http://www.soccerway.com/news/2017/February/19/gabigol-and-inter-ready-to-feast-on-success-after-late-winner

Gabigol and Inter ready to feast on success after late winner

19 February 2017 15:49

Dinner is on Gabriel Barbosa after the Brazil youngster finally opened his Inter account with a late winner at Bologna.

The 20-year-old, known as “Gabigol”, had featured sporadically and failed to find the net over the course of six forgettable months in Italy since moving to San Siro from Santos.

But the Rio 2016 goal medallist came off the bench to tap home from close range in the 81st minute on Sunday, sealing a 1-0 win for Stefano Pioli’s side at Stadio Renato Dall’Ara, moving them up to fourth in the Serie A table.

High-flying Roma are on the agenda next for Inter, while Gabriel has to make good on a culinary promise he made to his team-mates.

“In the locker room they said Gabigol would offer a Brazilian-style dinner to everyone when he got his first goal,” Pioli told Mediaset Premium.

“I am happy for him. It was hard for him at the beginning but now he can begin to take satisfaction.”

Inter looked set for a frustrating stalemate at a ground where Napoli won 7-1 earlier this month, but Pioli was pleased by his team’s fighting spirit, as they made it nine wins from their past 10 Serie A outings.

“I have a team that believes until the end,” he said. “The right opportunity arrived and we were ready to take it.

“We struggled with an opponent that closed down very well. We had no rhythm and were slow, especially in central areas and did not play as well as we know we can.

“The only feeling at the moment is satisfaction at work well done, in seeing what my players give. We must continue, as we’ve achieved nothing yet.

“It’s true nine wins in 10 games is impressive, but the others are pushing hard too and we need to keep up with them.”

Article source: http://www.soccerway.com/news/2017/February/19/gabigol-and-inter-ready-to-feast-on-success-after-late-winner

Stones missing Kompany influence at Manchester City

19 February 2017 10:15

Former England and Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand believes Vincent Kompany’s injury woes have made life difficult for John Stones at Manchester City.

Stones became the world’s second most expensive defender when he joined City for an initial £47.5million from Everton last August.

Impressive early season showings gave way to some error-stained displays alongside Nicolas Otamendi and converted left-back Aleksandar Kolarov at the heart of defence.

Club captain Kompany has been restricted to five senior starts this term as he attempts to put a succession of persistent fitness problems behind him and was ruled out of Saturday’s 0-0 draw at Huddersfield Town in the fifth round of the FA Cup.

Stones played 90 minutes as Pep Guardiola’s improving defence kept a fourth clean sheet in five matches but Ferdinand feels the 22-year-old has suffered without Kompany’s steadying presence.

“Stones has clearly been asked to go out there and take risks, and I admire that,” Ferdinand said, as quoted by ESPN. “I’d like to have played under Guardiola because I would have enjoyed going out there and taking the ball.

“But it’s about balance and getting that right. What the manager is asking particular players to do is the difference and that’s why Stones needs a Vincent Kompany next to him because the centre-halves he is playing with are not experienced enough in this country.

“He hasn’t set the world alight, nor has Nicolas Otamendi, but if Kompany had been fit enough to play alongside him, it would have helped him and guided him because he is still a young player coming into a new team.”

Parallels have been drawn between Ferdinand and Stones – both gifted, ball-playing defenders who attracted early career criticism for playing their way into tricky situations.

Ferdinand smoothed out the rough edges of his game at United to become one of the world’s premier centre-backs but he wonders whether Guardiola’s expansive style at City will allow Stones to make similar adjustments.

“When you go to a big club for big money, it isn’t easy,” he said, having become the most expensive footballer in Britain when he moved from Leeds United to Old Trafford in 2002.

“At United, I went into a team where everyone knew their roles, but it was still a challenge for me. The problem is that I went there thinking about how many skills I could do on a pitch rather than clean sheets.

“I think Stones is still having more concerns about the football side of the game rather than defensively. They have more of the ball than teams they play against too, so there is a lot of information to take in if you are a Pep Guardiola centre-half – things like splitting to get the ball and then, ‘What is the next phase after that?’

“At United, I toned my game down rather than being on the front foot. It was more about my first thought being ‘clean sheet, where are we defensively, concentration, etc.,’ then the football stuff came naturally.

“But I think Pep asks more of his centre-halves on the ball than in the teams I played in, so it is a big ask and it is harder because of that. My position when I didn’t have the ball was to be in a position to stop the counterattack, whereas it seems Pep Guardiola says and wants differently.”

Article source: http://www.soccerway.com/news/2017/February/19/stones-missing-kompany-influence-at-manchester-city---ferdinand

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