Sunday, November 30, 2014

Ander Herrera: 'I want to establish myself at Manchester United'

Manchester United midfielder Ander Herrera has admitted that he wants to establish himself at Old Trafford, despite speculation linking him to a move away from England.

Reports emerged last week that Bayern Munich manager Pep Guardiola wanted to bring the Spaniard to Germany, with Switzerland international Xherdan Shaqiri going the other way.

However, Herrera told MUTV: "Of course I want to play as does every player, but I am at Manchester United where there are a lot of good players.

"I am a lucky guy to be here and I have to see these moments as a challenge for me."

Herrera joined the Red Devils from Athletic Bilbao last summer for a fee of around £28.5m.
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Arsenal interested in Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane

Arsenal have entered the race to sign Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane in the next transfer window, according to reports.

The French defender is reportedly on Chelsea and Manchester United's radar after struggling to displace Pepe and Sergio Ramos at the heart of Real's defence.

According to the Daily Star, Arsene Wenger is eager to strengthen his defence in January and has earmarked his 21-year-old compatriot as a possible option.

Varane admitted earlier this week that he is not happy with the amount of game time he is being given at the Bernabeu.
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Albert Riera refutes Udinese poker sacking allegations

Former Liverpool winger Albert Riera has claimed that his departure from Udinese was a mutual arrangement, rather than being linked to off-the-pitch reasons.

The 32-year-old signed for the Serie A outfit from Galatasaray in March but has now left the club, with reports claiming that he missed Udinese's game against Chievo Verona on November 23 to play poker in Slovenia.

However, Riera hit back at the allegations, tweeting: "To clarify, the termination of the contract [is] by mutual agreement, not due to reasons outside the football."

Former Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez brought Riera to Anfield from Espanyol in the summer of 2008 for a fee of around £8m.
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Atletico Madrid 2-0 Deportivo La Coruna : Atleti cruise past Deportivo

Goals either side of half time from Saul and Arda Turan were enough for Atletico Madrid to beat Deportivo La Coruna and go second in La Liga.

The hosts were close to taking the lead inside the opening 10 minutes when Mario Mandzukic met a cross from Koke and headed against the post.

Saul almost put them ahead in the 20th minute before eventually breaking the deadlock shortly before the break.

Once again Mandzukic met a cross from Koke and this time Saul arrived to turn home at the back post.

The lead was doubled 10 minutes after half time when Turan's shot from the edge of the box found the net after a big deflection off Modibo Diakite.

Substitute Cristian Rodriguez almost added further gloss to the result, but his late effort whizzed just wide.

Atleti go second for the time being, but will be overtaken by Barcelona if they beat Valencia later tonight. Depor, who have now gone six games without scoring against Atleti, are on a five-game winless run and remain in the bottom three.
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Louis van Gaal: 'I have improved Wayne Rooney'

Louis van Gaal has claimed that Wayne Rooney has improved since he took charge at Manchester United this summer.

The striker has been appointed as the club's captain and England skipper since the Dutchman was named as the new manager at Old Trafford, and has scored 11 goals in 16 appearances for club and country this season.

Van Gaal told reporters: "Before I came here, of course, I had heard of his reputation. But, from the first day, he was not the Wayne Rooney that people had talked about.

"He was, in my eyes, a great example in training and, of course, he has achieved a certain level. I think he shall always play with me, although, when he is in a bad moment, maybe I can be convinced to change him. But he is my captain now. He is the men who sets the example for the other players. So I'm very pleased.

"I have the impression that he lives for football and that he likes being the captain of Manchester United. Of course, being captain of England helps him to be a better captain of United. He has more experience. But I have to remind everyone that I put him first as captain. Roy Hodgson followed my advice. I can make every player better. I'm sorry. That's arrogant, but I can."

Rooney was among the goals again during United's 3-0 win over Hull City in the Premier League on Saturday.
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Liverpool's Glen Johnson to consider Roma free transfer

Serie A outfit Roma are eager to agree a deal for Liverpool right-back Glen Johnson to move to Italy in the summer, according to reports.

The 30-year-old defender, whose contract is due to expire at the end of the season, is free to speak to foreign clubs in January.

According to the Telegraph, Roma want Johnson to join up with former Chelsea left-back Ashley Cole on a free transfer at the end of the season.

Liverpool signed Johnson for £18m in 2009 from Portsmouth.
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Sebastian Giovinco wanted by Torino

Torino have reportedly expressed an interest in signing Juventus forward Sebastian Giovinco.

The 27-year-old has struggled for playing time under Massimo Allegri and has made just two starts this season.

He is out of contract at the end of the campaign and according to Tuttosport, he could be set to move to Torino in the January transfer window.

It is also claimed that further negotiations could take place between the teams when they meet in Sunday evening's match.

Giovinco came through the youth ranks at Juventus and has had two spells on loan at Empoli and Parma.
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Gerard Pique: Cristiano Ronaldo the "perfect machine"

Barcelona defender Gerard Pique has described Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo as the "perfect machine" and praised the Portugal international for his desire to continually improve.

Ronaldo is favourite to win his second consecutive Ballon d'Or when the prestigious award is handed out in the New Year, and Pique talked up the talents of the Portugal international.

He told Voetbal Magazine: "Cristiano is a perfect machine, a hard worker who always wants to improve. He is very demanding of himself, something that he showed at United.

"The most surprising thing is that Messi won four Ballons d'Or in a row and he kept going on there, with the strength to beat him.

"Many times conclusions are drawn based on specific actions without actually getting to know him. He has changed in recent years, I know him from United and he took to me well. He helped me a lot in Manchester."

Ronaldo moved to Real Madrid from Manchester United for around £80m in 2009.
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Nissan: 'No Africa Cup of Nations concerns'

Nissan's global director Andreas Sigl has told Sports Mole that the motor company has no concerns regarding their sponsorship of next year's Africa Cup of Nations.

The tournament was initially scheduled to have been hosted by Morocco, but the country's Football Federation relinquished that responsibility earlier this month as a result of the Ebola virus epidemic in West Africa.

That decision sparked rumours that the 30th installment of the competition could be cancelled, while South Africa and even 2022 World Cup hosts Qatar were mooted as alternative options.

It was eventually announced that Equatorial Guinea would take up the role, with matches set to get underway on January 17.

However, despite all the uncertainty and upheaval, Sigl has insisted that AFCON's partner Nissan never had any intention of withdrawing their support.

"Of course, we are committed to the market. We look at Africa all over and it's a market that we care about. We've been there for a while and we want to continue. At the same time, we have the knowledge of the Ebola situation and it's something that we are taking seriously," he said.

"We trust that the authorities have made the right call and that people will be safe. From our point of view, we want to stick with the tournament and support it."

Nissan's contract with the tournament is due to end following the conclusion of the upcoming edition and Sigl also confirmed that the agreement would be reviewed early in 2015.
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Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard: 'No fallout with Brendan Rodgers'

Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard has rubbished reports of a fallout between him and Reds manager Brendan Rodgers.

Recent reports suggested that Gerrard was angry with Rodgers for not starting him on his 16th Liverpool anniversary yesterday, but the former has posted on his Instagram account to clarity the situation.

"Just to set the record straight media talk of a fall out between us 2 is NONSENSE ..have a nice Sunday 👍#together#solid#ynwa," Gerrard wrote as a caption on the below photo.


Rodgers admitted after yesterday's 1-0 win over Stoke City that he had no idea it was the anniversary of Gerrard's debut and said that he felt bad for not starting him.
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Manchester City 'will not be bullied into Sergio Aguero sale'

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini has warned potential suitors that the club have no intention of selling star striker Sergio Aguero.

The Argentine forward has scored 93 goals in 140 games since joining from Atletico Madrid to establish himself as one of the best forwards in the world.

However, despite Liverpool losing Luis Suarez to Barcelona and Manchester United losing Cristiano Ronaldo to Real Madrid in recent years, Pellegrini has insisted that big clubs will not be able to bully the English champions into selling their prized asset.

The Chilean is quoted by The Mirror as saying: "City is not a club that sells its players. It is a club that wants to buy good players as we want to improve every year."

Aguero will make his 100th Premier League appearance when City face second-placed Southampton on Sunday.
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Tim Krul to miss "four or five games"

Alan Pardew has revealed that Newcastle United will be without Tim Krul for "four or five games" after the goalkeeper picked up an ankle injury.

The Netherlands international sustained ligament damage during training ahead of the team's game against West Ham United in the Premier League yesterday.

The Magpies manager told BBC Sport: "Rob Elliot will be in goal for the next four or five games.

"It's been blow after blow this year, but we've rode them and that's been the key to our success. We've put younger players in and those in the group. We lose Tim but Rob's produced a super performance."

Newcastle's 1-0 loss to the Hammers at Upton Park ended their run of six straight wins in all competitions.
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Arsenal to launch £15m bid for Newcastle United's Moussa Sissoko

Arsenal are looking to make a £15m bid for Newcastle United midfielder Moussa Sissoko in January, according to reports.

Arsene Wenger is facing a crisis in the middle of the park, with Mikel Arteta and Jack Wilshere ruled out for around two and three months respectively.

According to the Daily Star, the Gunners are looking to address this shortcoming in midfield by making a bid for the 25-year-old Frenchman in the next transfer window.

Sissoko signed for Newcastle in January 2013 from French outfit Toulouse.
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Jose Mourinho unconcerned by Diego Costa absence for Tottenham Hotspur visit

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has played down the significance of losing talisman Diego Costa to suspension for Wednesday's visit of Tottenham Hotspur.

The 11-goal striker picked up his fifth booking of the season in tonight's 0-0 draw at Sunderland and will subsequently miss the midweek clash at Stamford Bridge.

However, Loic Remy and Didier Drogba have struck six goals between them this season, and Mourinho says that one of them will fill the void.

"We don't cry about injured or suspended players. If he is suspended, he is suspended. We have Drogba and Remy," the Portuguese told reporters.

"We are top of the league and we have another match on Wednesday."

The Blues sit top of the Premier League table, seven points clear of second-placed Southampton and nine ahead of champions Manchester City in third.
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Sunderland plan Christian Atsu bid

Sunderland have reportedly identified Christian Atsu as a transfer target for January's window, despite the striker currently being on loan at Everton.

The Chelsea forward has started just three games for the Toffees this season, which is believed to have angered the Stamford Bridge side and led to speculation that he could be recalled.

According to The Mirror, Sunderland would be keen to sign the Ghana international if he returns to his parent club.

Atsu spent last season on loan with Dutch side Vitesse, scoring five goals in 28 appearances.
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Arsenal to launch £15m bid for Newcastle United's Moussa Sissoko

Arsenal are looking to make a £15m bid for Newcastle United midfielder Moussa Sissoko in January, according to reports.

Arsene Wenger is facing a crisis in the middle of the park, with Mikel Arteta and Jack Wilshere ruled out for around two and three months respectively.

According to the Daily Star, the Gunners are looking to address this shortcoming in midfield by making a bid for the 25-year-old Frenchman in the next transfer window.

Sissoko signed for Newcastle in January 2013 from French outfit Toulouse.
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Glenn Hoddle: 'Yaya Toure form is affecting Manchester City'

Glenn Hoddle believes that Manchester City are playing well below par this season due to the form of Yaya Toure.

Manuel Pellegrini's side struggled against the 10 men of Bayern Munich in midweek without the suspended midfielder as they needed a hat-trick from Sergio Aguero to keep their Champions League hopes alive.

Hoddle feels that, even with the Ivorian in midfield this season, City have looked far from convincing and believes this displays how important Toure's form is to the club.

The former England manager told the Daily Mail: "At the start of the season two teams dominated most predictions for the Premier League. Yet one of them has probably surpassed expectations and is shaping up to be one of the great Premier League sides, the other is well below par.

"I am, of course, referring to Chelsea and Manchester City. When you analyse where it is going wrong for City, there are some obvious areas. Yaya Toure clearly isn't the player he was last season, for whatever reason. We can't know for sure but it might have been the loss of his brother, who tragically died in the summer.

"It certainly seems to have gone downhill ever since there was that silly row about his birthday after the summer trip to Abu Dhabi. Only now are some people realising quite how important he was to the whole team."

City face Southampton at St Mary's Stadium in the Premier League on Saturday, nine points adrift of leaders Chelsea.
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Manchester City 'make £17m move for Layvin Kurzawa'

Manchester City have launched a surprise £17m bid for Monaco left back Layvin Kurzama, according to reports.

The Daily Star claims that the 22-year-old flew to Manchester last Tuesday to speak with representatives of the club about a possible move.

Kurzawa did not attend the Champions League victory over Bayern Munich in person as City were looking to keep any transfer a secret from potential rivals for his signature.

However, the Premier League champions could face competition from Manchester United and Chelsea for the defender.

Meanwhile, City may let go of incumbent left back Aleksandar Kolarov, who has emerged as a possible target for former boss Roberto Mancini at Inter Milan.
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Manchester United 'give Radamel Falcao April deadline'

Manchester United have reportedly given striker Radamel Falcao until April to his worth in the Premier League before deciding whether to make his move permanent.

The Colombian frontman joined the Red Devils on a season-long loan from Monaco, but has been hampered by a knee injury that ruined his World Cup hopes in the summer.

According to the Daily Mail, United are satisfied that his knee ligament problem has healed, and the 28-year-old saw his first action in six weeks when coming off the bench in the 3-0 victory over Hull City.

Is it thought that club's hierarchy are willing to be patient with Falcao and are believed to view the former Porto player as a rare world-class forward.

Falcao moved to Old Trafford for an initial loan fee of around £6m and any permanent switch could cost the Premier League club up to £50m.
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Ander Herrera backs David de Gea to become 'world's best goalkeeper'

Ander Herrera has claimed that his Manchester United teammate David de Gea has every chance of becoming "the best goalkeeper in the world".

The Spanish stopper has risen to prominence as the Red Devils number one following his arrival at Old Trafford in 2011, and Herrera believes that his fellow countryman can take his game on to yet another level.

"He has been fantastic and is one of the best players in the world at 24 years old," Herrera told the club's official website.

"He wants to help the team get to the top of the league, like me, like everyone.

"We feel he can become one of the best if not the best goalkeeper in the world."

De Gea has started all 13 of United's Premier League games so far this season.
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Brendan Rodgers: 'Incredible Simon Mignolet answered critics'

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has hailed under-fire goalkeeper Simon Mignolet for his performance in this afternoon's 1-0 win over Stoke City at Anfield.

The Belgian pulled off a series of crucial stops - including an injury-time save to deny Bojan - as Glen Johnson's 85th-minute winner proved enough for the hosts.

Former Reds keeper Bruce Grobbelaar launched a scathing assessment of the 26-year-old earlier this week, but Rodgers says that the "absolutely incredible" Mignolet answered his critics today.

"Simon Mignolet, who has taken a lot of criticism, was absolutely incredible today. He didn't have a great deal to do but the three saves he had to make were very important," he told BBC Sport.

"The last seven minutes of injury time become a bit of a war and my group stood up to that and really showed their character."

The Merseysiders, who sit 11th in the Premier League table, travel to Leicester City on Tuesday night.
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Paul Lambert: "We should have won it"

Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert believes that his side should have taken all three points from their Premier League clash against Burnley.

Villa took the lead in the 39th minute through Joe Cole, but were forced to settle for a 1-1 draw as Danny Ings netted a late penalty for Sean Dyche's men.

Lambert is adamant that his side had enough chances to kill off the game before Ings found the net, and feels that his team dropped two valuable points at Turf Moor.

He told the club's official website: "We should have won it. We should have been out of the sight in the first half to be honest. With the chances in the first half, we should have put the game to bed.

"The way we played for long spells of that game was really good. We should have killed the game off. We had chances to do it. Burnley came into it to their credit when they got the penalty and it puts you on the back foot.

"We lost two points. We could have lost three towards the end when Burnley hit the post. Burnley came at us really strongly in that little burst of play. When you pick up points away from home, it's good in this league. But this was one we should have won. This is a game that got away from us."

Villa are winless in eight games and are 16th in the Premier League, with 13 points from their 13 matches.
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David Beckham's Miami 'want Everton's Tim Howard'

Everton keeper Tim Howard is reportedly set to be David Beckham's first signing for his MLS franchise in Miami.

The former England captain, who played in North America with the Los Angeles Galaxy for six years, has been charged with setting up a new team in the Sunshine State.

According to The People, Beckham has earmarked USA international Howard as someone who can lead the new team during its early stages.

Everton are said to be bracing themselves for a bid for their number one, who joined the Toffees from Manchester United in 2007.

The Blues are currently ninth in the Premier League ahead of their trip to Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.
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Real Sociedad manager David Moyes 'targets deal for Charlie Adam'

New Real Sociedad manager David Moyes could attempt to lure Stoke City's Charlie Adam away from the Premier League in Janaury, according to reports.

The Daily Star claims that Moyes's assistant manager Billy McKinlay was dispatched to watch Adam play for the Potters in their 2-1 home defeat to Burnley last weekend.

Burnley's matchwinner in that game, Danny Ings, has also emerged as an apparent target for the former Manchester United boss as he looks to rebuild his Sociedad squad.

However, Stoke are another team looking at the England Under-21 striker and may be willing to sell Adam to fund such a move.

The midfielder, who is represented by Moyes's brother, Kenny, was rumoured to have been a target for Everton during the Scot's tenure at Goodison Park.
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Jose Mourinho unconcerned by Diego Costa absence for Tottenham Hotspur visit

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has played down the significance of losing talisman Diego Costa to suspension for Wednesday's visit of Tottenham Hotspur.

The 11-goal striker picked up his fifth booking of the season in tonight's 0-0 draw at Sunderland and will subsequently miss the midweek clash at Stamford Bridge.

However, Loic Remy and Didier Drogba have struck six goals between them this season, and Mourinho says that one of them will fill the void.

"We don't cry about injured or suspended players. If he is suspended, he is suspended. We have Drogba and Remy," the Portuguese told reporters.

"We are top of the league and we have another match on Wednesday."

The Blues sit top of the Premier League table, seven points clear of second-placed Southampton and nine ahead of champions Manchester City in third.
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Manchester City to make January move for Wilfried Bony

Manchester City are reportedly interested in signing Swansea City's Wilfried Bony when the transfer window reopens in the New Year.

The 25-year-old found the net in his side's 1-1 draw against Crystal Palace earlier today to bag his 18th goal of 2014 - the highest tally of any player in the Premier League

Despite having only recent signed an extension to his current deal at the Liberty Stadium, a report in the Daily Star claims that the striker will be the subject of a bid from the Citizens in the region of £20m in January.

Bony, who is due to join up with the Ivory Coast national team in early stages of next year, was repeatedly linked with a move to Liverpool during the summer, although he this week described any talk of a move to Merseyside as being merely speculation.

It is also suggested that Swansea boss Garry Monk is keen to bring another forward to the club in the transfer window, with summer arrival Bafetimbi Gomis another target for fellow top-flight clubs.
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Albert Riera sacked by Udinese after playing poker

Former Liverpool winger Albert Riera has been sacked by Serie A side Udinese after going AWOL to play a game of poker.

The 32-year-old, who moved to Udine from Galatasaray earlier this year, was given his marching orders by the Italian club when he opted to miss his team's match with Chievo in order to take part in a poker tournament in Slovenia.

Riera, a former Spanish international, won £3,000 for a second-placed finish in that tournament and has also taken to Twitter to brand Udinese "the worst club I've ever played for".

This prompted the Zebrette took the decision to cancel Riera's contract.

Former Reds manager Rafael Benitez brought Riera to Anfield from Espanyol in the summer of 2008 for a fee of around £8m.
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Wigan Athletic line up Ryan Giggs to replace Malky Mackay

Wigan Athletic have reportedly added Ryan Giggs to their shortlist of candidates to replace Malky Mackay if the current manager is charged by the FA.

The Scot was appointed by the Championship side earlier this month after Uwe Rosler was fired, but is the subject of an ongoing investigation for allegedly sending homophobic, racist and sexist messages during his time at Cardiff City.

According to the Sunday People, Wigan chairman Dave Whelan is already making preparations if he is forced to part company with Mackay when the FA delivers its verdict, and has identified Manchester United's assistant manager as a potential replacement, with former teammate Nicky Butt as his number two.

Giggs retired from playing at the end of last season after a brief spell as caretaker manager at Old Trafford, but was kept on the coaching staff by new manager Louis van Gaal.
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Leicester City line up Tony Pulis to replace Nigel Pearson

Leicester City are reportedly lining up Tony Pulis as a replacement for Nigel Pearson as the board grow increasingly frustrated with the club's poor form.

The Foxes have lost five of their last six leagues games as they have plummeted to the bottom of the table.

Yesterday's 3-2 loss at fellow Premier League newcomers QPR has prompted the club's owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha to look to Pulis as a potential alternative to Pearson, according to the Mirror.

Pulis, who left Crystal Palace at the beginning of the season, has never been relegated in his 22-year managerial career.
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Manuel Pellegrini: 'We will make Frank Lampard decision in December'

Manuel Pellegrini has revealed that Frank Lampard's Manchester City future will be decided in the next month.

The 36-year-old midfielder is currently on loan from City's sister side New York City FC and is expected to return to America in time for the start of their inaugural MLS season, but Pellegrini has hinted that Lampard could stay with the Premier League champions for a little longer.

"We are going to talk to all the parties and make a decision in December," the Chilean told the Guardian.

"If all parties agree then maybe we can keep him, but it could be that we want to keep him and Frank wants to go.

"I speak to Frank every day and I have the impression that he is playing better every day. I am certainly very happy with the loan so far."

Lampard has netted four goals in 10 appearances for City so far this season.
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Louis van Gaal: 'Robin van Persie can play better'

Louis van Gaal has admitted that he was "pleased" to see Robin van Persie end his goal drought in Manchester United's 3-0 victory over Hull City.

However, Van Gaal has said that there is still room for improvement in Van Persie's game and has urged his Dutch compatriot to "play better"

"Every striker needs a goal. When you don't score for the last two or three matches, you need a goal," Van Gaal told reporters.

"So I'm very pleased and happy for him that he scored his goal but I'm sure that he can play better than today."

Van Perise has netted four times in 12 appearances for the Red Devils this term.
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Ruud Gullit: 'Chelsea should be disappointed with Sunderland display'

Ruud Gullit feels that Chelsea should be disappointed with their level of performance in their 0-0 draw against Sunderland.

The Blues dropped two points in their quest for the Premier League title as they were stifled by a stubborn Black Cats display at the Stadium of Light.

Gullit believes that his former club were predictable by playing right into Sunderland's hands, and feels that their recent exploits in the top flight and the Champions League may have caught up with them.

He told Sky Sports News: "They have to be disappointed with their own performance, especially tactically. Everybody was inside all game and it was exactly what Sunderland wanted, it was easy for them.

"Of course they had to make an effort and be disciplined but you can't say to Sunderland, 'you have to play attacking football', because they are not as good as Chelsea.

"Chelsea were slow-paced, with no width at all and only six attempts on target. Perhaps because they played three times in a week they could have been a bit tired."

The Blues lead the top flight standings by seven points from second-place Southampton.
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Aaron Ramsey: 'We have regained our momentum'

Aaron Ramsey feels that Arsenal have regained their momentum in their season following back-to-back wins this week.

The Gunners fell to a 2-1 defeat to Manchester United in the Premier League last Saturday, but responded with a victory over Borussia Dortmund to secure their place in the knockout stages of the Champions League.

Arsene Wenger's men followed that up with a 1-0 win over West Bromwich Albion at The Hawthorns as a strike from Danny Welbeck eased the mounting pressure on the Frenchman.

Ramsey told the club's official website: "Even though there was pressure, we played well against Man United and just built on that. We won in midweek against Dortmund and carried on and got back to winning ways in the league, so hopefully we can continue this run now.

"It was important to build on midweek and keep this run going and it is nice to win again. It was never going to be easy with the quick turnaround but we did well, we dug in and got the three points."

Arsenal are sixth in the Premier League table, 13 points behind leaders Chelsea, following their win over the Baggies.
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Ander Herrera: 'Manchester United are lucky to have Radamel Falcao'

Ander Herrera believes that Manchester United are extremely lucky to have a player of Radamel Falcao's ability at their disposal this season.

The 28-year-old moved to the Red Devils on a season-long loan deal from Monaco on transfer deadline day, but has struggled to find his feet in the Premier League due to injury and has notched just one goal for the club in six appearances.

However, Herrera feels that the Colombia international will hit form in the top flight before long after experiencing his quality first hand while playing against him in La Liga when Athletic Bilbao faced Atletico Madrid.

"The fans love Falcao because he fights for every ball like it is the last ball of his life," Herrera told the club's official website.

"That is one of his best characteristics. We are lucky that Falcao is here and I'm sure he's going to be a very important player and I think the Manchester United fans know that.

"When a player gets injured it's a bad moment for them. I know Falcao well. I knew him in Spain, he was fantastic. Atletico Madrid won the Spanish Cup against Real Madrid and he was the most valuable player in the final and we want to see Falcao as soon as possible on the pitch here."

United will reportedly decide on Falcao's long-term future with the club in April.
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Manuel Pellegrini not worried by nine-point Chelsea deficit

Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini has admitted that he is not concerned by his side's nine-point deficit to Chelsea in the race for the Premier League title.

The Citizens can close the gap to six points with victory over Southampton in their Premier League clash on Sunday, which comes after a confidence-building win over Bayern Munich in the Champions League in midweek.

Pellegrini believes that City are not worried about the title race because of their experience last season, as they came through the pack to claim their second Premier League crown following a slow start to the campaign.

"Every time you beat an important team like Bayern, the confidence and trust of the squad rises," Pellegrini told reporters.

"At this moment last year, we were six points behind Arsenal and no one was talking about us. We were fourth or fifth and everyone was saying Arsenal were the team who were going to win the league - and at the end they were fourth."

City are currently third in the Premier League, with 24 points from their 12 matches this season.
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Arsenal in £8m January swoop for Tyrone Mings

Arsenal are reportedly ready to turn to Ipswich Town defender Tyrone Mings if they fail in their bid to land Borussia Dortmund's Mats Hummels.

The Gunners are one of a number of European sides being linked with the services of £32m-rated Germany international Hummels.

However, with the fee thought to be excessive and more likely to be matched by Manchester United, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger appears to have unearthed a viable alternative in the Championship.

According to the Daily Mail the Londoners are considering paying up to £8m for 21-year-old Ipswich star Mings.

Wenger may also be attracted by his versatility, with Mings, who came through the youth ranks at Southampton before spells at Yate Town and Chippenham Town, able to play at left back and in the centre of defence.
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Mauricio Pochettino: 'I have confidence in Roberto Soldado'

Tottenham Hotspur boss Mauricio Pochettino has insisted that he has faith in striker Roberto Soldado.

The 29-year-old has struggled for form since his £26m move from Valencia to Spurs last season, netting just six goals in the Premier League, none of which have come in the current campaign.

However, Pochettino believes that the Spaniard showed signs of improvement against Partizan Belgrade as he hit the post in Tottenham's Europa League win, and his manager is convinced that his hard work will soon pay dividends on the scoresheet.

Pochettino told reporters: "We need to give him the chances to play again and keep him calm. A striker always wants to score but against Partizan he created chances pretty well and was unlucky in front of goal. Maybe next time he will score.

"We work very hard at training and create the exercises for him to improve his finishing in front of goal, but he created many chances and was unlucky not to score [against Partizan].

"In football it's always mental and emotions, performances, physical condition, all these things affect your performance, but his performance was very good. For me, he was unlucky with his finishing."

Tottenham face Everton in the Premier League on Sunday, level on points with them in the table.
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Saturday, November 29, 2014

Jose Mourinho lifts Chelsea's Christmas ban

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has lifted the club's Christmas party ban after being impressed with his team's recent performances.

The Portuguese manager will allow his players to get in the festive mood after originally setting a ban on all parties last year.

Mourinho trusts his players to maintain their fitness during the busy Christmas period.

"I think it's more important what they do when they are not with us than what they do with us," the 51-year-old said, according to Goal.com.

"With us, the percentage of the day is so small that what they can do here they can destroy in one click. And they have 20 hours to do that. It's their responsibility.

"When they come here better today than yesterday and the recovery process is fluid, it's because they're doing that very well.

"Probably, because of that, the club is preparing a little Christmas party for them and their families. This is a squad with lots of young guys with kids a couple of weeks to 10-years-old. I think it's good for them."

Mourinho will be looking to extend his gap at the top of the Premier League with a win over Sunderland on Saturday.
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Wilfried Bony: 'Liverpool didn't want me'

Swansea City hitman Wilfried Bony has hinted that his proposed move to Liverpool was nothing more than speculation.

The Ivory Coast international was heavily linked with a switch to Anfield during the summer after marking his first season in England with 21 Premier League goals.

The 25-year-old has since signed a new deal at the Liberty Stadium and claims that the Reds never bid for his services.

"If you score 20 to 25 goals, then people talk about that, for sure, but there was not a real proposition," he told The Guardian.

"I one time [tried to orchestrate a move away] when I was at Vitesse, it caused a lot of problems at the club, so I don't think I will do it again.

"Something can happen, football is crazy. But now I just think about my team and how happy I am here at Swansea, which you can see."

Bony has struck five times in 12 Premier League outings so far this season.
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Thierry Henry hints at Arsenal return

Arsenal legend Thierry Henry has hinted that he would jump at the chance to return to the club in a coaching capacity.

The 37-year-old is reportedly considering calling time on his illustrious career, with his New York Red Bulls contract poised to expire in January.

The Frenchman says that he has not yet made a decision over his playing days, but did hint that he would "sure like to help" the Gunners at some point in the future.

"Nothing is clear," he told L'Equipe. "I have not taken any decision or speculated, it's not my thing.

"One thing is certain - I will stay in football, to coach, to be a consultant... we'll see. The second certainty is that I would like to see Arsenal win the Champions League.

"Whether from near or far, it does not depend on me, but I'd sure like to help. Because this is my club and, as a player, I have not been able to give them the Champions League."

Henry, Arsenal's all-time record goalscorer, left the club in 2007 to join Barcelona after winning two Premier League titles and three FA Cups in his eight-year stint in North London.
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Louis van Gaal: 'Robin van Persie must improve'

Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal wants Robin van Persie to have more influence on games if he is to keep his place in the Dutchman's starting eleven.

Van Gaal admitted that his compatriot had a poor game against Arsenal last week, with the 31-year-old only touching the ball 13 times.

"I do think 13 is few for a striker," Van Gaal is quoted as saying by the Belfast Telegraph. "I want to improve that. You can count his touches on the ball but more important is how he is playing.

"It was a very bad game for him. That is why I changed him. When I change a player, it is not because he is the best player on the pitch. You are doing something wrong. I believe in the players. When I change them, normally, it is because they are doing something not good in their performance.

"When you pick up this match it is easy to put a question about 13 touches. Okay. But strikers do not touch the ball often. That is their profession."

Van Persie has managed eight goals in 21 Premier League games in 2014
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Adam Johnson confident ahead of Chelsea clash

Sunderland winger Adam Johnson feels that his side can use the belief given to them by their performances against the top teams in the Premier League last season into their clash with Chelsea.

The Black Cats defeated the Blues 2-1 in their clash in the last campaign to end Jose Mourinho's 77-match unbeaten run at Stamford Bridge, while they also beat Manchester City and Manchester United.

Johnson has admitted that those displays have given him and his teammates plenty of confidence they can take a positive result from their clash with Chelsea at the Stadium of Light.

The 27-year-old told the club's official website: "Evening winter matches in the Barclays Premier League are always special. There is always a little extra in them and it is great to play at night at the Stadium of Light, especially against the teams at the top of the league.

"It's going to be a difficult game against Chelsea but we've been strong and we have always done well against the big teams, so hopefully that will continue.

"We got massive wins against the top teams last season when we needed them, so if we can carry that momentum and pick up points it would be great for us."

Sunderland are 14th in the Premier League going into their match against Mourinho's men.
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West Brom VS Arsenal Preview

Arsenal arrive at the Hawthorns off the back of a fine 2-0 victory against Borussia Dortmund in midweek and will hope to pick up where they left off. Olivier Giroud also makes his first start since August and the prospect of the Frenchman and Alexis Sánchez linking up must be daunting for West Brom. Alan Irvine will no doubt be hoping Arsenal show their usual defensive frailties. Graham Searles

Kick-off Saturday 12.45pm

Venue The Hawthorns

Last season West Brom 1 Arsenal 1

Referee C Foy

This season G8, Y24, R3, 3.75 cards per game

Odds H 15-4 A 10-11 D 14-5

West Bromwich Albion v Arsenal: probable starters in bold, contenders in light
West Bromwich Albion

Subs from Myhill, Pocognoli, McAuley, Davidson, Baird, O’Neil, Mulumbu, Blanco, Sessègnon, Samaras, Ideye

Doubtful Pocognoli (hamstring)

Injured Olsson (calf, Jan), Varela (groin, unknown)

Suspended Yacob (first of three)

Form LDDWLL

Discipline Y19 R1

Leading scorer Berahino 7

Arsenal

Subs from Szczesny, Huddart, Bellerín, Koscielny, Rosicky, Podolski, Campbell, Akpom, Sanogo, Welbeck

Doubtful Szczesny (hip), Sanogo (hamstring), Welbeck (knee)

Injured Arteta (calf, 6 Dec), Walcott (groin, 6 Dec), Debuchy (ankle, 13 Dec), Ospina (thigh, 13 Dec), Özil (knee, Jan), Wilshere (ankle, Mar)

Suspended None

Form LDWWLL

Discipline Y31 R0

Leading scorer Sánchez 8
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Alan Pardew rules out Yohan Cabaye return

Newcastle United boss Alan Pardew has admitted that he would like to re-sign Yohan Cabaye, but does not believe that the move will materialise.

The Paris Saint-Germain playmaker has struggled to nail down a regular starting spot at Parc de Princes since quitting the Magpies last January.

Speculation is rife that the 28-year-old will leave the club in the winter, but Pardew expects him to resolve his situation in the French capital.

"No, I don't think so," he is quoted as saying by the Sunderland Echo.

"I would like to have him back – [he is] a fantastic footballer – and it is a shame he is not playing, but I think they will resolve that."

Arsenal, Manchester United and Liverpool are all reportedly interested in luring Cabaye - whose contract expires in 2017 - to their respective clubs in the upcoming transfer window.

He enjoyed a three-year spell at St James' Park following a switch from Lille in 2011.
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Joleon Lescott: 'Sergio Aguero as good as any striker'

West Bromwich Albion defender Joleon Lescott has praised former teammate Sergio Aguero, having said that he is 'as good as any striker'.

The England defender believes that there are currently none better than the Argentine at the moment.

Aguero grabbed a hat-trick in Manchester City's Champions League win over Bayern Munich on Tuesday.

"At the moment I wouldn't say there is a better centre-forward," Lescott told BBC Sport.

"There's a calmness about him. When he's through, you know it's a goal. Guys like him separate themselves from good players to become great.

"The goals he scored the other night - he's having to run from the halfway line, get penalties, take the penalty.

"Then the other one where he is having to run from the halfway line, take it on his left foot. Goals in other leagues are due to possession.

"For me, as a centre forward there are not many better."

Aguero took his tally to five goals in five Champions League appearances, scoring 17 in all competitions so far this season.
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Malaga vs. Real Madrid Preview

Real Madrid travel to take on Malaga this weekend looking to put some points between themselves and the chasing pack in La Liga.

Los Blancos' incredible form shows no sign of stopping anytime soon, having won their last 15 games both domestically and in Europe to become one of the most feared sides around right now.

With closest rivals Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and Valencia all playing the following day, Carlo Ancelotti's charges can create some breathing space as the games tick down until the winter break.

What makes the task even more daunting for hosts Malaga is the fact that they have won just one of their last 25 meetings with the current league leaders.

However, Los Boquerones have hardly been pushovers this season, sitting as they do in the top six, just three points off a Champions League berth.

In fact, Malaga themselves went on a lengthy winning run recently, recording five league victories on the bounce to climb up to the higher echelons of the division, before losing at current champions Atletico Madrid last time out.

Roque Santa Cruz has proved a particular thorn in Madrid's side in recent times, scoring three of Malaga's last four goals against the Whites, and he will be looking to add to that record at La Rosaleda on Saturday evening.

For the visitors, Gareth Bale is now back to full fitness following his recent injury layoff, while 26-goal forward Cristiano Ronaldo will no doubt be hoping to extend his run of five strikes against Javi Garcia's men.

Elsewhere, Iker Casillas is likely to be recalled having sat out the midweek Champions League triumph over Basel, with Isco replacing the injured Luka Modric.

Malaga:

Current form: WWWWWL

Possible starting lineup: Kameni, Torres, Sanchez, Welington, Antunes, Darder, Camacho, Castillejo, Juanmi, Samu, Santa Cruz

Real Madrid:

Form in La Liga: WWWWWW
Form in all competitions: WWWWWW

Possible starting lineup: Casillas; Marcelo, Ramos, Pepe, Carvajal; Kroos, Isco, James; Bale, Benzema, Ronaldo

Kick Off Time - 20:00HRS
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Hertha Berlin vs. Bayern Munich Preview

Bayern Munich take on Hertha Berlin in the Bundesliga this weekend looking to return to winning ways following a disappointing defeat last time out.

The Bavarian giants travel to the German capital on the back of a 3-2 reverse at Manchester City in the Champions League in midweek - a defeat which Pep Guardiola admitted had taught his near-faultless side a "big lesson".

Having played 70 minutes of that game with 10 men following defender Mehdi Benatia's dismissal, Hertha will be hoping to capitalise on any signs of fatigue that may have setted in.

Despite losing at the Etihad Stadium, Bayern's progress to the knockout stages of Europe's showpiece competition had already been confirmed, while domestically speaking things are also looking rosy.

Top of the Bundesliga table with a seven-point lead over second-placed Wolfsburg, Die Rotten are well on course to retaining their league crown, with a potential treble still on the cards.

Guardiola's men have yet to lose a game in the German top-flight this season, and if Hertha are to change that then they will need to halt their poor run of form, which has seen them lose their last six games while conceding 24 goals in the process.

The Old Lady can hold claim to having the fourth-worst defence in the division, which does not bode well with visitors Bayern having scored 31 goals in their last 12 league outings.

Three of Berlin's four victories this season have come in front of their home supporters, meanwhile, with Roy Beerens likely to start up top at the Olympic Stadium following his strike against FC Koln last weekend.

In terms of the visitors, Thomas Muller and Mario Gotze were unused substitutes in the aforementioned defeat against Man City, meaning that they are both likely to start from the off on Saturday.

The game may come too soon for Bastian Schweinsteiger to start, though, with the midfielder featuring from the bench in his side's last two matches.

Hertha Berlin:

Form in Bundesliga: WLWLLW
Form in all competitions: LWLLLW

Possible starting lineup: Kraft, Schulz, Brooks, Ndjeng, Hosogai, Hegeler, Skjelbred, Ben-Hatira, Stocker, Beerens, Schieber

Bayern Munich:

Form in Bundesliga: WWDWWW
Form in all competitions: WWWWWL

Possible starting lineup: Neuer, Rafinha, Benatia, Boateng, Bernat, Alonso, Ribery, Gotze, Muller, Robben, Lewandowski

Kick Off Time - 15:30HRS
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Rennes vs.AS Monaco Preview

Just two points separate Rennes and Monaco in the Ligue 1 table as they prepare to go head to head on Saturday.

This weekend's hosts reside in seventh place, five points behind the top three places, while Monaco sit just one spot below in eighth.

Philippe Montanier's side are on a strong run in the league, having remained unbeaten in their last six domestic fixtures - their latest resulting in a slender 1-0 triumph over Guingamp.

Monaco have also had a six-match unbeaten run in the league, but have not grabbed a victory in their last three having secured draws in each one.

The frustration of failing to snatch maximum points was eased by Leonardo Jardim's side in the Champions League this week when they snatched a 1-0 victory over Bayer Leverkusen in Germany.

Monaco have come out on top in the last two meetings between the sides, but they are facing a Rennes side in strong form, especially at home as they have suffered just one defeat in five.

Paul-Georges Ntep is likely to lead the line following his winning goal last week, while Monaco could field Dimitar Berbatov up front as they aim to get back to winning ways in the league.

Rennes:

Form in Ligue 1: WDWDWW
Form in all competitions: DWWDWW

Possible starting lineup: Costil; Mexer, M'Bengue, Moreira, Armand; Doucoure, Danze, Pajot, Fernandes; Ntep, Toivonen

Monaco:

Form in Ligue 1: DWWDDD
Form in all competitions: WDLDDW

Possible starting lineup: Subasic; Elderson, Abdennour, Carvalho, Raggi; Bakayoko, Toulalan, Moutinho; Ferreira Carrasco, Berbatov, Dirar

Kick Off Time - 20:00HRS
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Paris Saint-Germain vs. Nice Preview

A victory over Nice this weekend will keep Paris Saint-Germain hot on the heels of Ligue 1 leaders Marseille.

Laurent Blanc's men reside just one point above their rivals, and despite moving to the top of the standings with a 3-2 triumph over Metz last Friday, PSG have been pushed back.

Marseille's win over Bordeaux secured their place back in the number one spot, but PSG will hope that they can slip up against Nantes tomorrow.

Blanc's side, who won the league title last season, are unbeaten so far in the current campaign and head into this weekend's encounter on the back of a 3-1 victory over Ajax in the Champions League group phase.

For the visitors, Nice are 11th in the league standings after winning just five matches in 14 and have not grabbed a victory at all this month.

PSG are leading the head-to-heads between the two sides in comfortable fashion, having scooped 13 triumphs over Nice's nine in their history.

Last season, en route to winning the title, PSG grabbed 3-1 and 1-0 wins over Nice to earn a convincing double in Ligue 1 over Claude Puel's side.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who recently spent a spell on the sidelines with a heel injury, has struggled to find form in front of goal in the league since August.

However, the Sweden international was on target against Ajax and could continue his run at the weekend, while Dario Civitanich is likely to lead the line for Nice.

Paris Saint-Germain:

Form in Ligue 1: DWWWWW
Form in all competitions: WWWWWW

Possible starting lineup: Sirigu; Marquinhos, Maxwell, Van der Wiel, Luiz; Matuidi, Rabiot, Pastore; Cavani, Ibrahimovic, Lavezzi

Nice:

Form in Ligue 1: DLWLLD
Form in all competitions: LWLLLD

Possible starting lineup: Hassen; Gomis, Amavi, Mendy, Genevois; Eysseric, Hult, Plea, Bosetti; Puel, Cvitanich

Kick Off Time - 17:00HRS
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Arsene Wenger defends "committed" Nacho Monreal

Arsenal manger Arsene Wenger has defended Nacho Monreal, claiming that the Spanish defender does not get enough credit.

Monreal has been forced to fill in at centre-back this season, and Wenger believes that the 28-year-old has been a stand-out performer for the Gunners.

"He is playing very well," Wenger is quoted as saying by London24. "He doesn't get enough credit because against Manchester United, against Dortmund, he was in the top three for me with the quality of his performance.

"Monreal is committed. He has an excellent mentality, excellent attitude, top class, I must say every day he is focused, doesn't talk too much and does his job.

"He wants to do well for the team. I think he enjoys it more and more and you could see against Dortmund that now he is starting to get into it."

Arseanl have made their worst start to a Premier League season under Arsene Wenger.
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Jose Mourinho reveals Andre Schurrle illness

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has revealed that German winger Andre Schurrle has been struggling with an illness in recent weeks.

Schurrle commanded a regular spot in the Chelsea side last season, though has struggled to find that form for the Blues this term.

"He was very ill," the Chelsea boss is quoted as saying by London 24. "He was back here and he took a good two weeks, because it was a bad one.

"I think that affected him a lot from a physical point of view. When he started training again he had a fragile body and, as a consequence, a fragile brain.

"But now he's coming step by step. He was on the bench against West Brom, and played 15 minutes in the last match."

Schurrle has started only one Premier League game this season.
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Alan Pardew: 'December will be a crucial month'

Newcastle United boss Alan Pardew believes that December will be the defining month in the season for his side and the other 19 teams in the Premier League.

The Magpies have fired themselves up the top-flight table with a run of five straight victories after their poor form earlier in the campaign had left the 53-year-old under immense pressure.

Newcastle face trips to Arsenal and Manchester United in December and also host Chelsea and bitter rivals Sunderland, which Pardew believes will be a major test of his side.

"I think December will change everyone's season, as you can get a good clutch of points," he told the club's official website.

"We've actually got a tough run in terms of games. We go to Burnley on Tuesday which is huge, and they are off the back of two wins so probably the worst time to go there.

"But it's great it's exciting and I can't wait for the next game."

Newcastle face West Ham United in their Premier League clash later today.
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Wilfried Bony: 'Liverpool didn't want me'

Swansea City hitman Wilfried Bony has hinted that his proposed move to Liverpool was nothing more than speculation.

The Ivory Coast international was heavily linked with a switch to Anfield during the summer after marking his first season in England with 21 Premier League goals.

The 25-year-old has since signed a new deal at the Liberty Stadium and claims that the Reds never bid for his services.

"If you score 20 to 25 goals, then people talk about that, for sure, but there was not a real proposition," he told The Guardian.

"I one time [tried to orchestrate a move away] when I was at Vitesse, it caused a lot of problems at the club, so I don't think I will do it again.

"Something can happen, football is crazy. But now I just think about my team and how happy I am here at Swansea, which you can see."

Bony has struck five times in 12 Premier League outings so far this season.
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Arsene Wenger won't rush into transfer market

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has insisted that he will not be rushed into bringing new players into the club in January, despite several key players sustaining injuries.

Jack Wilshere has been ruled out for three months due to ankle surgery, while Mikel Arteta is also expected to miss time with a calf injury.

However, Wenger is adamant that he won't be forced into making quick decisions in the transfer market to reinforce his squad, unless the player is of the appropriate quality.

He told reporters: "You have to give us time. We do our job as always. This season we bought five players who are all top quality so I think we have done really well on the transfer market and we try to repeat that in January.

"I would like to remind you that, to buy football players, is not to go into a supermarket and just say: 'I want to buy a right back or a centre back.' It's to find the right quality.

"If you go out tomorrow you will see that everybody looks for the same positions everywhere. It's not as simple as it looks. In January it makes it even more difficult because players are even less available than in June or July. But we will try to be creative and have one or two good ideas."

Arsenal face West Bromwich Albion in their Premier League clash later today.
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Marseille 2-0 Nantes : Leaders Marseille pass Nantes test with 2-0 victory

Marseille extended their lead at the top of Ligue 1 to four points with a 2-0 victory over Nantes tonight.

First-half goals from Florian Thauvin and Rod Fanni earned the hosts a seventh straight win at Stade Velodrome and left their opponents 10 points adrift.

Marcelo Bielsa's side had seen their title credentials questioned following two defeats in four games, and were expected to be well tested by a Nantes who were fourth in the table and unbeaten in nine games.

It was the visitors who started the brighter as Remi Gomis went close with an early long-range shot and Oswaldo Vizcarrondo missed with a 10-yard header from Jordan Veretout's cross.

However, Marseille went ahead on 24 minutes when Dimitri Payet delivered into the six-yard box from the right wing for highly-rated playmaker Thauvin to convert for his fourth goal of the season.

The Nantes response was strong as Gomis glanced wide from Serge Gakpe's free kick, and the same player supplied Georges-Kevin Nkoudou Mbida with a golden chance which was well saved by Steve Mandanda.

Again though the hosts scored against the run of play as Fanni headed in his first goal since February 2013, with Thauvin again showing why he has Premier League admirers with a fine set-piece delivery.

The second sucker punch took a lot out of Nantes and Marseille were barely troubled for the remainder of the game as they bossed possession and wasted several opportunities to increase their lead.

Thauvin, Giannelli Imbula and Andre-Pierre Gignac all came close to a third, but two was enough for Marseille to keep reigning champions Paris Saint-Germain out of striking distance in second place.
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Real Sociedad 3-0 Elche : Carlos Vela hat-trick sinks Elche

Real Sociedad have won their first home match under new manager David Moyes after Carlos Vela scored a hat-trick in their 3-0 win over Elche this evening.

The striker put the hosts ahead inside the opening three minutes, sending a powerful header past Przemyslaw Tyton after Carlos Martinez had chipped the ball forward.

Sergio Canales could have doubled their lead a few minutes later, but his delivery was easily held by the Elche stopper.

Moyes's side did extend their advantage before the break though as Xabi Prieto sent in a low ball for Vela, who rounded a couple of defenders before slotting it into the bottom corner.

Elche had a chance to pull one back at the start of the second half, but Adrian Gonzalez's header was high of the crossbar.

Sociedad were soon back in control of the match, with Alberto de la Bella attempting to put Tyson under pressure, but he diverted the strike with a diving save.

Vela completed his hat-trick before the hour-mark, with Martinez setting him up again for a drive in off the left post.

Coro showed off his footwork skills in a bid to give the visitors some hope of a fightback, but he fired just wide after beating a number of defenders.

Esteban Granero and Ruben Pardo both had chances to add to the score for the home side late on, but the first missed the post while the latter's effort was well saved.

The win moves Sociedad up to 13th in the table, while Elche remain in the relegation zone.
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Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal wants "at least fourth" at end of season

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has claimed that finishing fourth in the Premier League table is the minimum requirement this season.

The Red Devils moved into the final Champions League spot last weekend following a 2-1 victory over Arsenal at the Emirates.

However, the North-West outfit, who are in no European competitions this season, reside 13 points behind leaders Chelsea.

"We have to improve our playing style and beat opponents more easily," Van Gaal told reporters. "We are still fourth so I am happy, but we have to be at least fourth at the end of the season, not now."

Van Gaal has also told Robin van Persie that he needs to fight for his place as Radamel Falcao closes in on a return to fitness.
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Gus Poyet: Chelsea "by far the best" in Premier League

Gus Poyet has described Chelsea as "by far the best" side in the Premier League this season ahead of their visit to the Stadium of Light this weekend.

Sunderland will host the unbeaten league leaders tomorrow evening, having beaten Jose Mourinho's side in their last meeting at Stamford Bridge in April.

The manager told the club's website: "There are many reasons for this because for one everyone knows that Jose Mourinho hadn't lost a game at home with Chelsea in the league, and so many other things also that happened in that day.

"I think now it will be totally different because we're playing against a totally different Chelsea team, and I think they are by far the best in the Barclays Premier League

"That said it is a game of football and other teams have done well against them to get a draw, so it is another challenge and it is a challenge to be the first team beat them in the league which is massive for any player."

Sunderland have won just twice so far this season, leaving them 14th in the league.
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Jermaine Jenas joins BBC Sport on full-time contract

Former England midfielder Jermaine Jenas has signed a two-year contract to become a full-time football pundit with the BBC.

The 31-year-old has recently appeared on Match of the Day and Football Focus and will now be a more regular feature on television, radio and online platforms.

"I am delighted to be joining the BBC football team on a long-term basis and to appear on programmes I have grown up watching as a boy," Jenas said in a statement.

Mark Cole, the BBC's lead executive for football, added: "Jermaine has really impressed in his recent studio appearances and we're delighted to have him as part of the BBC football team, across all our platforms.

"We have placed an extra emphasis on involving studio guests who are close to the game and we hope Jermaine will continue to offer his fresh insight, analysis and expertise across our output."

Jenas has been without a club since leaving Queens Park Rangers in the summer. He began his career at Nottingham Forest and had his most successful spells at Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur.

He earned 21 caps for England after debuting in 2003, but saw a once-fledgling career hampered by injury.
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Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers: 'Sack rumours part and parcel of football'

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has brushed off rumours concerning his future at Anfield after bookmakers tipped him to be the next Premier League boss to lose his job.

The Northern Irishman, who guided the Reds to second in the league last season, has struggled to replicate that form, having overseen his team win just four games out of 12 in the league so far.

Borussia Dortmund boss Jurgen Klopp was recently touted as a possible replacement, but Rodgers has insisted that he does not feel affected by the rumours.

"Everything has been hunky-dory for 18 months, but we've been dealt a different deck of cards this year, a different hand," Rodgers said in this afternoon's press conference. "What has happened before has gone but that's been the making of us. In sport, you get the chance to go again.

"We got a result the other night against Ludogorets, it was a good performance, we were competitive and we take this forward.

"The bookmakers expect me to lose my job - it's football. A few months ago, I was manager of the year, now I'm favourite to get the sack. It's part of working in football. All you can do is focus on the immediate job and focus on what you can control."

Liverpool will host Stoke City at Anfield tomorrow as they attempt to end a three-game losing run.
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Radamel Falcao, Marcos Rojo in line for Manchester United return

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has revealed that striker Radamel Falcao is in contention to return from injury against Hull City.

Falcao, who is on loan from Monaco, has not featured since United's 2-2 draw away at West Bromwich Albion on October 20, but he could make an appearance when his side host the Tigers on Saturday.

Van Gaal has also announced that defender Marcos Rojo could take a place in the squad after recovering from a dislocated shoulder.

The Argentine was expected to be sidelined for a minimum of six weeks after suffering the injury at Manchester City earlier this month, but after returning to training this week, he could make the bench.

Falcao has netted once in five games this campaign, while Rojo has featured seven times since joining from Benfica.
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Ex-Barcelona keeper Victor Valdes 'stops training with Manchester United'

A move to Manchester United appears to be in doubt for Former Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes as he has reportedly stopped training with the club.

The 32-year-old, who left Camp Nou when his contract expired in the summer, has spent a number of weeks with the Red Devils as he recovers from a serious knee injury.

Widespread reports claimed that manager Louis van Gaal may offer the shot-stopper a contract, but Valdes opted to leave the club today, according to Eurosport.

The Spaniard, whose move to Monaco fell through after he failed a medical, has been heavily linked to Liverpool in the last few months.
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Antonio Valencia happy to play various positions

Antonio Valencia has said that he is happy to play in a variety of positions while Manchester United are short of players through injury.

Louis van Gaal has struggled to name a regular back four since taking charge at Old Trafford with the likes of Chris Smalling, Jonny Evans and Luke Shaw among those missing time.

The Ecuadorian told the club's website: "The manager has decided to play me in a number of positions, sometimes right-back, sometimes wide midfield, other times in central midfield. These are decisions he takes and what I do is take them on board and put them into practice.

"You have to really concentrate for the entire 90 minutes [at right-back]. You can't afford to make any kind of mistake because, if you do, the forwards you are up against are then in on your goal.

"We are having a run of bad luck at the moment with injuries, where we always seem to have a few players out, but we're hoping that before we reach the halfway point in the season we'll have everyone back and we can go on to pick up enough points to get us firmly in the top three or four."

Valencia will make his 200th appearance for the club if he plays against Hull City this weekend.
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Everton boss Roberto Martinez: 'James McCarthy's hamstring woes are serious'

Everton manager Roberto Martinez has insisted that James McCarthy's recurring hamstring issue is a "serious problem".

The midfielder returned to action from an injury last weekend, but was substituted just half an hour into last night's Europa League 2-0 win over Wolfsburg in Germany.

"We're going to get him checked today," Martinez told reporters. "The reaction was good from last night but we'll find out exactly what the extent is.

"It's the hamstring that he had a bit of trouble with beforehand and we need to assess it with a lot of intention. It's a serious problem because it's a problem he's had before and we need to make sure we find the root of the problem."

McCarthy is unlikely to feature in this weekend's Premier League match against Tottenham Hotspur.
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Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli not fit for Stoke City visit

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has confirmed that Mario Balotelli remains out of contention for tomorrow's match against Stoke City at Anfield due to injury.

The controversial forward has missed the Reds' last two games after picking up a groin problem while on international duty with Italy.

When asked in this afternoon's press conference if Balotelli is available, Rodgers said: "Not yet, no. We'll have the same squad as the other night."

Rickie Lambert has come into the fold due to Balotelli's absence and has scored on both of his outings.
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Five players return to Tottenham Hotspur training

Younes Kaboul, Danny Rose, Nacer Chadli, Etienne Capoue and Emmanuel Adebayor all returned to Tottenham Hotspur training on Friday following injuries.

None of the quintet featured in the wins over Hull City and Partizan Belgrade during the past week.

Mauricio Pochettino has several selection decisions to make ahead of the visit of Everton on Sunday, with Kaboul, Rose, Capoue and Chadli having played every Premier League game this season when fit.

Captain Kaboul is likely to come back into the team, while Federico Fazio's return from suspension gives Spurs several defensive options. Six-goal midfielder Chadli is also in line for a recall.

Rose and Capoue may find that Ben Davies and Mousa Dembele have done enough to retain their places at left-back and central midfield respectively, while Harry Kane should keep Adebayor out of the team.
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Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers: 'Sack rumours part and parcel of football'

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has brushed off rumours concerning his future at Anfield after bookmakers tipped him to be the next Premier League boss to lose his job.

The Northern Irishman, who guided the Reds to second in the league last season, has struggled to replicate that form, having overseen his team win just four games out of 12 in the league so far.

Borussia Dortmund boss Jurgen Klopp was recently touted as a possible replacement, but Rodgers has insisted that he does not feel affected by the rumours.

"Everything has been hunky-dory for 18 months, but we've been dealt a different deck of cards this year, a different hand," Rodgers said in this afternoon's press conference. "What has happened before has gone but that's been the making of us. In sport, you get the chance to go again.

"We got a result the other night against Ludogorets, it was a good performance, we were competitive and we take this forward.

"The bookmakers expect me to lose my job - it's football. A few months ago, I was manager of the year, now I'm favourite to get the sack. It's part of working in football. All you can do is focus on the immediate job and focus on what you can control."

Liverpool will host Stoke City at Anfield tomorrow as they attempt to end a three-game losing run.
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Manchester United's Louis van Gaal tells Robin van Persie to fight for his place

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has warned Robin van Persie that he is not immune from being dropped.

The former Arsenal star has struggled to find form this season, and could have his position taken away by loan striker Radamel Falcao in the coming weeks.

The Colombian, who is on loan at Old Trafford for the season from Monaco, has been missing with injury, but Van Gaal confirmed today that he could return to the squad against Hull City tomorrow.

When asked in this afternoon's press conference if Falcao's return will put pressure on Van Persie, Van Gaal said: "Every player in my selection has to fight for his position and I shall always take the best of the players, and it must also be suitable for the mix of players. So, it is also an obligation of a player that he does that."

Van Persie was substituted against former club Arsenal during United's 2-1 victory at the Emirates last weekend after having just 13 touches on the ball.
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Jose Mourinho: 'No truth in Lionel Messi rumours'

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has laughed off reports linking Lionel Messi with a move to Stamford Bridge.

The Barcelona maestro has been tipped for a switch to the Premier League in recent weeks, but Mourinho has insisted that the rumours surrounding the striker are "obviously not true".

The 51-year-old told reporters: "Your world has changed so much that our world has changed. It's so easy to have untruths circulating.

"Some people put news without confirming. Speak about rumours like they are true. It's obviously not true."

Chelsea are currently top of the Premier League table by six points.
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David Silva, Edin Dzeko remain absent for Manchester City

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini has insisted that there have been "no complications" regarding David Silva's recovery from a knee problem.

The Spaniard was expected to be nearing a return from the injury that he suffered against Newcastle United on October 29, but along with Edin Dzeko, Pellegrini has revealed that neither will return against Southampton on Sunday afternoon.

The 61-year-old told reporters: "I suppose Edin Dzeko will be fit next week. There are no complications with David Silva, it was a ligament injury and he is recovering."

Manchester City will move into second position in the Premier League table if they can secure three points at St Mary's.
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Alan Pardew "surprised" by Newcastle United form

Alan Pardew has admitted that he is "surprised" by Newcastle United's turnaround in form in the Premier League in recent weeks.

After struggling for points at the start of the season, the Magpies have gone on a five-match winning streak in the Premier League, as well as knocking defending champions Manchester City out of the Capital One Cup.

The manager told The Mirror: "It has surprised me, and some of the football we have played has been very consistent. But we look strong defensively and are a threat at almost any moment in the game.

"We want this to continue, but Upton Park is a tough place to go. There will be a tremendous atmosphere. They are only a point below us and on a great run themselves.

"They probably brought in the best transfers of any team in the summer, and those signings have taken the team forward."

If Newcastle beat West Ham United this weekend, the team will be on their longest winning run since Pardew took charge of the side.
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Fifteen midfielders shortlisted for FIFA FIFPro World XI 2014

FIFPro, the worldwide players’ union, and FIFA today announced the 15 midfielders shortlisted for the FIFA FIFPro World XI 2014 (see list below) as part of the final 55-player shortlist to be revealed at 17.00 (CET) on 1 December 2014.

After the unveiling of the five goalkeepers and 20 defenders who made the shortlist, the 15 midfielders to be added to it are now also known. The shortlist will be completed by the 15 forwards to be announced and published on FIFA.com on 1 December. 

The FIFA FIFPro World XI is decided by the players, for the players. It involves votes from tens of thousands professional footballers worldwide. They select one goalkeeper, four defenders, three midfielders and three forwards.

FIFPro and its national affiliates are responsible for gathering votes from professional footballers worldwide. It is the only global award that truly represents the views of those who play the beautiful game. For more information on the voting procedure can be found on the FIFPro website.

The midfielder shortlist is: (home country / club)

Xabi Alonso (Spain / FC Bayern München); Angel Di Maria (Argentina / Manchester United FC); Cesc Fabregas (Spain / Chelsea FC); Eden Hazard (Belgium / Chelsea FC); Xavi Hernandez (Spain / FC Barcelona); Andres Iniesta (Spain / FC Barcelona); Toni Kroos (Germany / Real Madrid CF); Luka Modric (Croatia / Real Madrid CF); Mesut Oezil (Germany / Arsenal FC); Andrea Pirlo (Italy / Juventus FC); Paul Pogba (France / Juventus FC); James Rodriguez (Colombia / Real Madrid CF); Bastian Schweinsteiger (Germany / FC Bayern München); Yaya Toure (Côte d’Ivoire / Manchester City FC); Arturo Vidal (Chile / Juventus FC).

The nominees for the following awards will be announced live on www.FIFA.com, www.francefootball.fr and YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/fifatv) on 1 December (17.00, CET): FIFA Ballon d’Or, FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year, FIFA World Coaches of the Year for Men’s and Women’s Football, FIFA FIFPro World XI, and FIFA Puskás Award. Be online when the nominees are unveiled – you will be able to comment on all the action and lists!

The final FIFA FIFPro World XI will then be announced at the FIFA Ballon d’Or award ceremony at the Kongresshaus in Zurich on 12 January 2015. During the televised ceremony, the winner of the FIFA Ballon d’Or for the best player of 2014 and the winner of the FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year 2014 award will also be revealed, while the FIFA World Coach of the Year awards for men’s and women’s football will be presented for the fifth time. The FIFA Puskás Award for the best goal of the year, the FIFA Presidential Award, and the FIFA Fair Play Award will also be presented during the award ceremony.
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Friday, November 28, 2014

Paris Saint-Germain 'to accept loss on Yohan Cabaye'

Paris Saint-Germain are reportedly willing to accept a loss by selling Yohan Cabaye, 10 months after buying the midfielder from Newcastle United.

The French international joined Les Parisiens for a fee of £22m in the January transfer window, but Astral Football claims that the 28-year-old is looking to return to the Premier League.

Liverpool and Manchester United are among those linked with a move for the midfielder while Arsenal may rekindle their interest in Cabaye, having missed out on a deal for the player in the New Year.

Earlier this month, Cabaye rejected reports that he was looking to leave the French champions in favour of a return to England.
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Arsenal's Jack Wilshere "very down" after suffering three-month injury blow

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has revealed that Jack Wilshere is "very down" after undergoing surgery on his ankle, which is expected to keep him out for three months.

The England international suffered the problem following a tackle by Paddy McNair during Arsenal's 2-1 defeat to Manchester United last weekend.

"He is very down," Wenger told reporters. "Jack is a football man who loves the game, but on the other hand, he is a very strong character as well and he has learnt to deal with adversity at a very young age.

"I think he will be back at the end of February, beginning of March, and he will focus on coming back to rehab, having a strong rehab, and then I am sure he will help us to do well until the end of the season."

Wilshere has suffered a number of problems with his ankle, most notably back in 2011 when he was given a 17-month layoff with a stress fracture.
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