Friday, 21 July 2017

Wimbledon & French Open: Tennis Integrity
Matches at this year's Wimbledon and French Open will be investigated by the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU) for potential match-fixing.
One match at Roland Garros and three at Wimbledon, two of them in the qualifying tournament and one in the main draw, triggered alerts for unusual betting patterns.
The TIU says it received 53 alerts for the period April to June 2017.
Three of those were on the ATP Tour and one on the WTA Tour.
There were 20 each on the lower-level men's ATP Challenger and ITF Futures circuits and five on the ITF women's circuit.
The TIU says an alert on its own is "not evidence of match-fixing" and can be due to a number of other factors, including conditions and player fitness.
There have been 83 alerts in the first six months of 2017, down 38 on the same period in 2016.

India beat Australia to set up final against England
Harmanpreet Kaur's stunning century helped India beat six-time champions Australia by 36 runs in Derby and reach the Women's World Cup final.
Kaur smashed an unbeaten 171 - the highest score by an India player at a World Cup - as they made 281-4 from their rain-reduced 42 overs.
A big-hitting cameo from Alex Blackwell (90) gave Australia hope but they were bowled out for 245 with 11 balls left.
Mithali Raj's side will face England in Sunday's sold-out final at Lord's.
Kaur's powerful hitting, which included 20 boundaries and seven sixes, put the defending champions under pressure as India struck 81 runs from the final six overs.
Australia were nine wickets down and still 113 runs behind when Blackwell began to hit out.
Her aggressive innings, the vice-captain striking 10 boundaries and three sixes, took Australia to within touching distance of reaching their ninth World Cup final.
It is the first time India have reached a World Cup final since 2005 in South Africa, where they lost to Australia by 98 runs.

After a three-hour delay and faced with a miserly Australia bowling attack, Kaur looked stuck until Raj was dismissed by leg-spinner Kristen Beams for 36.
Once Raj fell, Kaur found her feet, targeting the Australian spinners and the off-target pace of Megan Schutt as she moved from 50 to three figures in just 26 deliveries.
Kaur's century was marred by her own over-reaction when, on 98, she called partner Deepti Sharma through for a quick two. Kaur turned quicker than Sharma and both players were briefly stranded mid-pitch, before the throw from mid-wicket hit Sharma's stumps.
A review showed that Sharma was in, but Kaur had already thrown her helmet and bat away in frustration and was yelling at her partner as it was confirmed she had reached three figures.
An embarrassed Kaur apologised to Sharma, who was near tears, and later put all her frustration into consecutive towering sixes off off-spinner Ashleigh Gardner as she plundered 23 runs from one over.
Despite losing Sharma towards the end of the innings, Kaur barely let up, taking 19 runs from one Elyse Villani over despite clearly struggling with cramp.
She raced from 100 to 150 in just 17 deliveries as she made the fifth highest score in women's ODIs and left Australia looking uncertain.

'Best innings I've seen' - analysis

Ex-England captain Charlotte Edwards: "The innings was out of this world. If you put it into context - against Australia, in a semi-final, to play at Lord's - I don't know how she's played with that freedom and power. It was unbelievable hitting.
"That was the best innings I've ever seen and some of the best hitting you are going to see. She picked her gaps with ease, and such power."

Meg Lanning, who has struggled with a shoulder injury throughout the tournament, looked static as she fell for an eight-ball duck and Australia were soon floundering at 21-3.
Elyse Villani has had an underwhelming career - prior to this match she had scored just two half-centuries in 24 innings - and had twice fallen to her first ball in this tournament, but she showed intent from the beginning.
She stood out of her crease to strike both spinners and seamers across the ground and overcame a drop on 10 to bring up her 50 from 41 balls, including 10 boundaries.
However, India dried up her run-scoring options and she chipped spinner Rajeshwari Gayakwad to Smriti Mandhana to spark Australia's downfall.

Ellyse Perry had made four consecutive half-centuries in this World Cup but after opening the bowling she looked tired, and ended her innings sending a simple catch through to the wicketkeeper.
The players watched forlornly from the sides as they lost four wickets for 29 runs, before Blackwell let loose.
She struck Gayakwad for two straight sixes, forcing Raj to turn to her part-time bowlers, but Blackwell was savvy enough to rotate the strike to protect number 11 Beams.
However, there was only so much Blackwell could do, and she was bowled trying to swat Sharma out of the ground to spark raucous celebrations from India.

What the captains said

India captain Mithali Raj: "Harman's innings was exceptional and the bowlers have done very well. Overall, this unit looks compact now, after losing we came back and beating Australia is a huge achievement.
"We have players who of international standard, someone stands up in every game. The top order is scoring when it is needed and response from the bowling unit has been brilliant.
Australia captain Meg Lanning: "The innings from Kaur was incredible, we couldn't stop her and it was a very special effort in a high-pressure game so well done to India. Alex Blackwell was hitting it well at the end and we left her too much to do, but her knock was outstanding.
"I don't think we really nailed a full game at any stage of the tournament, so it was a disappointing end."

England's band of sisters ready for final
Tammy Beaumont has lots of spare keys for her house because Alex Hartley managed to lose three sets on three separate nights out.
When Katherine Brunt was in Australia, unable to sleep and in tears because of a back injury, it was Nat Sciver who walked her around a Melbourne park at 5am.
Fran Wilson has a reputation for leaving things in hotel rooms, while Laura Marsh is called upon to fix anything that breaks, or assemble flat-pack furniture.
Taken in isolation, these things aren't particularly remarkable. Collectively they help paint a picture of an England women's side that is less of a cricket team and more a group of friends that just happen to be playing in a World Cup final on Sunday.
Some of them would take it further than that. Fast bowler Brunt says the squad is a family. Loughborough, where most of them live, is like a cricketing community.
Brunt is well placed to comment. At 32, she is not only the oldest member of the England squad, but also the owner of a house that is home to four other England internationals (and Bailey the dog, who has his own Twitter account).
Some of your information will be collected when you use this feature.
Inside 'Alan' (the name given to the house because of the street it is on), Wilson is the chef, with Beth Langston as her assistant. Sciver is the last one to be ready, while Amy Jones spends the longest in the bathroom. Brunt, the mother of the house, admits she has been known as "matron".
"I don't want to be seen as the bossy mum, but I like to live in a clean space," said Brunt. "They feel like they are still at university.
"We have lots of fun, we live and train together, all of us get on so well. I sometimes think: 'Katherine, when are you going to grow up?'.
"It's quite harmonious, we never argue."
All of that harmony, companionship and sisterhood was needed when Jones, a 24-year-old wicketkeeper, was the only member of 'Alan' left out of the World Cup squad.
"There were tears," said Brunt. "At first, you're chuffed because you have made it into the squad, but five seconds later you are feeling awful for your best mate.
"We've tried to give her perspective, to make her realise that her time will come. She also loves food, so we fed her with her favourite meals to keep her mind off it for as long as we could."
Anyone who saw the heart-stopping semi-final victory over South Africa on Tuesday will know England are an emotional team.
Soon after taking the job as coach, Mark Robinson was required to give each player an appraisal. Tears became so regular he got tissues for his desk.
Brunt cried when she presented fellow pace bowler Langston with her first one-day international cap in Sri Lanka last year. She wept once more when her father was on hand to make a presentation to mark her 100th appearance earlier in the World Cup.
"It's a strength and a weakness," said Robinson, who made the move from coaching Sussex in the men's game at the end of 2015.
"The girls are very together in a genuine, supportive way. They will share the pain of a team-mate and that can be a burden, but you wouldn't swap it. We have a motto of 'never leaving a sister behind'."
Some of your information will be collected when you use this feature.
Robinson has not only had to adjust his own methods, but also guide England into the world of professionalism.
Full-time contracts arrived in 2014, but so too did greater demands on time, fitness, attitude and results.
"This group of players are the first group of professionals we have had and they are learning on their feet about the good and the bad of it," he said.
"They are all going through highs and lows - more training, more expectation, more press. It's bonded them together to share those experiences."
There is a balance to be struck, though. Professionalism can be all-consuming, especially when on tour, so Robinson has attempted to make sure the players see more than the nets and their hotel rooms.
Film nights (themed on the country they happen to be in), table tennis tournaments and quizzes (hosted by spinner Danni Hazell) are arranged, while time spent with family is encouraged both abroad and at home.
"One of my first games, in South Africa, the parents of two of the players were there," said Robinson.
"I asked them if they had gone to speak to them yet and they said 'no, are we allowed?' I had to explain that of course they were, their parents had travelled all that way to see them.
"We want all the team to have a connection to the things that keep you grounded and give you a sense of perspective."
Danni Wyatt's West Indies tour diary
Family time is harder for batter Beaumont, whose parents live in the United States.
They travelled to the World Cup in India in 2013, but didn't see her play a game. Now, after 18 months during which Beaumont has established herself in the England side, the opener's excitement is obvious when she explains her mum has been at every match in this tournament.
When her parents aren't in the country, Beaumont can rely on that close-knit England squad of players and staff.
"Within Loughborough it is like a second family for me," she said. "The coaches are like uncles. I had to ring Ali Maiden, the assistant coach, when I had a problem with my car. I had a puncture and I didn't know what to do."
Beaumont forms an impressive opening partnership with Lauren Winfield, a friend since their days at university. On tour they can be found on adjacent sunloungers; at home they can be found on the golf course.
Even that, though, cannot prevent the rivalry among elite sportswomen. Both have separately complained to Robinson about the other hogging the strike when they bat together.
And that, perhaps, is the England women in microcosm. Team-mates, housemates, professional athletes, competitors and family. Come Sunday, they could be World Cup winners, too.
"They have great values and morals," said Robinson. "They aren't spoiled by money or ego and they are very genuine.
"I find them very humbling, because they are lovely.

British Grand Prix: Sebastian Vettel does not like 'shield'
Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel said he did not like the new 'shield' head protection system when he tried it in practice at the British Grand Prix.
The four-time world champion ran just one lap with the device fitted to his car before abandoning it.
"I got a bit dizzy. The forward vision is not very good. I think it is because of the curvature," Vettel said.
"You get distortion plus a bit of downwash on the back of the helmet on the straights pushing my head forward."
He added: "We had a run planned with it, but I didn't like it so I took it off."
Governing body the FIA has developed the device after the teams said they preferred the idea of a clear screen over the controversial halo device tested last year, which is a wishbone-shape over the cockpit, including a bar in front of the driver's head.
Kimi Raikkonen tested the 'halo' at the final pre-season test in Barcelona in March 2016
A full first test is scheduled for the Italian Grand Prix in September. The FIA ran the device at Silverstone "in an effort to get initial feedback from drivers at the earliest possible stage of development".
The FIA is committed to introducing additional cockpit head protection in 2018 but so far the only device that has proved to satisfy all the requirements is the halo.
However, there is a reluctance in some quarters to use the halo, largely on aesthetic grounds but also because of concerns it potentially undermines F1's ethos as an open-cockpit formula.

Formula 1 to introduce controversial cockpit head-protection system in 2018
The controversial 'halo' cockpit head-protection system will be introduced into Formula 1 in 2018, governing body the FIA has confirmed.
It said the halo "presents the best overall safety performance" after the evaluation of "a large number of devices over the past five years".
The move comes less than a week after a transparent cockpit 'shield' proved unusable at the British Grand Prix.
Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel said the device made him dizzy after one lap.
The 'shield' had been prioritised by F1's bosses because of mixed reactions to the 'halo' after extensive testing last year.
The 'halo' was found to be the only device that both successfully passed the test of deflecting a wheel fired at it at 150mph and provided a largely unobstructed view.
Some drivers have expressed concerns about the 'halo', a wishbone-shaped device that sits on top of the cockpit and meets in a point in front of the driver, both on aesthetic and philosophical grounds.
But, as a collective body, they are in favour of additional head protection.
Alexander Wurz, chairman of the Grand Prix Drivers' Association, said: "We drivers respect the FIA's stand on safety and support its ongoing quest to make racing safer.
"Over recent decades, we have seen increasing speeds and every faster lap times and this ultimate racing quest is solely possible due to increasing safety.
"Equally, over the same period of time, we have seen an increase in popularity of our sport.
"F1 is a role model for ever-increasing safety without jeopardising performance. While the halo solution might not be the most aesthetically pleasing for everyone, we drivers will nevertheless race and push as hard as we can on track, which is the key for F1 to continue its growth and popularity."
A statement from the FIA said: "With the support of the teams, certain features of [halo's] design will be further enhanced."
The strategy group of leading teams, commercial rights holders and the FIA committed in July 2016 to the introduction of additional frontal protection to F1 in 2018, a decision which delayed by a year its originally intended debut.
Last April, the sport's bosses decided to prioritise the 'shield' with the idea of introducing it for 2018.
But the test at Silverstone proved the device needed a lot more work.
With time running out and teams needing to start work on finalising their 2018 car designs, the rule-making strategy group on Wednesday decided to push forward with the only device that does work.
The strategy group also agreed to set up a working group to examine the problem of cost control in F1, its aim to "come up with innovative solutions aimed at ensuring the sport remains sustainable".
A statement said the group debated "a number of sporting measures aimed at improving the show". It did not reveal what they were but said "specific studies will be carried out to assess" them.'s Adam Peaty in action at the Rio 2016 Olympic GamesAdam Peaty is not a man - he is a lion.
He is not just part of the pride; he is the leader. He does not defend titles; he attacks them.
That is the philosophy - Peaty's driving force - and now he has a giant tattoo of a lion on his left bicep to indelibly demonstrate it.
You can forgive the self-confidence as Peaty is a very special talent.
In a two-year spell from 2014 to 2016 he won 100m breaststroke gold at every major swimming event, culminating in a remarkable world record of 57.13 seconds at the Rio Olympics.
Such was the scale of the achievement, swimming's greatest of all time, Michael Phelps, admitted he would be no match for the British lion.
"It's one of the grossest swims I've ever seen," said the 23-time Olympic champion. "I'm just glad I don't have to race him!"
Peaty says it is "humbling" to hear such comments, but the 22-year-old wants more.
More has a name - 'Project 56' - and a clear goal: being the first swimmer to break the 57-second mark in his event.
"I've achieved my lifetime dream, but I want more. I'm not happy with just Olympic gold," he tells BBC Sport.
"I want to leave a legacy and leave a world record that no-one will ever get."
Peaty opened the doors to show the inner workings of Project 56, giving BBC Sport wide-ranging access to his training camps in Thailand and Tokyo. This is his story.

'Relief' overwhelming after Rio gold

Peaty won Britain's first medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics with gold in the men's 100m breaststroke
Such has been Peaty's dominance since a breakthrough title for England at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, he was billed as a near guaranteed gold medal for Team GB at Rio 2016.
Preparation is key and most athletes have regimented pre-competition rituals and routines, so having some of his kit stolen at the beginning of his time in Rio, then missing two buses from the athletes' village to the Olympic venue just hours before the final, could have been disastrous.
But not for Peaty, who had been prepared for this moment since he was 14 by Mel Marshall, the three-time Olympian who coaches him.
"Some people could have freaked out, but Mel had prepared me for anything," says Peaty.
"You're nervous before every race and before the final I was aware of the tens of thousands of people in the arena and millions watching around the world - but I was calm.
"I always remember what Mike Tyson once said when he was boxing: 'I'm nervous, I'm nervous, but every step and inch I get closer to that ring I'm ready and no-one can beat me.'"
Marshall had developed this attitude meticulously since she and Peaty paired up in 2009.
"I had just come out of elite sport when we met and he was like a sponge soaking up all of the information I had to give him," she says.
"We had to cement his character, though, and prepare him for anything, so for three or four years before the Games I was taking him out of his comfort zone."
Marshall is a former British 200m freestyle record holder
That would include a trip to Zambia - a country Marshall visits frequently to raise funds for charities.
"I'd been in an Olympic arena myself so I knew what he would need and things like making him eat without a fork, or having dinner arrive a few hours late was all about preparing him to adapt," she says.
On 8 August 2016 in Rio, Marshall would discover whether all her planning and preparation had been enough.
"It was like I had 57 seconds for a promotion to a job that I wanted for the rest of my life," Peaty says with a smile.
"I knew I was ahead at 50m, but I never like to think 'I'm winning' because for me that's your body giving in. I like to think someone's catching me."
No-one was. Peaty won the race by an astonishing 1.56 seconds from defending champion Cameron van der Burgh of South Africa.
"I was like, 'what have I done?'" Peaty says.
"It was definitely a relief, though, after all of the years of early mornings, late finishes and the people who had put so much effort into helping me get there."

Life since the Games

While Peaty attained public recognition for his world, European and Commonwealth successes prior to Rio 2016, Olympic gold catapulted his profile to that of celebrity status in the UK.
For Peaty, who maintains he is still just "a lad from Uttoxeter", this was a massive change - with positives and negatives.
"The bad side is the lack of control. Sometimes you just want to sit down and be with your family but people stop you and want photos," he says.
"Managing my time is hard, because you have to try and control everything and then do all the training that I was doing before all of this started.
"Don't get me wrong - it's more positive than negative. I love the life I lead and wouldn't change it for anything."

The man with the lion tattoo

"I do feel like a leader," says Peaty
Another major change is to Peaty's body, specifically his left arm, which sports two tattoos.
The Olympic rings are a standard addition for nearly all Olympians, but the British lion - which runs from shoulder to elbow - is a little less common.
"It's a British lion because I'm very patriotic and the lion has characteristics I can relate to - like being proud and strong," he says.
"It reminds me what it took to get that gold and the world record."
Peaty also has the word 'equilibrium' beneath the Olympic rings.
"I wouldn't say I'm spiritual, but you need a lot of balance in life otherwise your life goes completely upside down," he says. "The key for me is keeping things relaxed."
That is in part why he was unfazed about modelling in only his trunks, in a variety of poses, for magazine Attitude.
Another media stunt for sponsor Arena saw him walk around Trafalgar Square during the middle of the day in just his swimwear.
"I like to keep things a bit fun," he laughs.
It is this combination of being relaxed outside of the pool but supremely focused in it which has impressed those around the Great Britain squad.
"He is a shining example of the attitude and behaviours that we want," says British Swimming head coach Bill Furniss.
"We had it before with Becky Adlington and now there's Adam Peaty that everyone who trains around him sees the dedication and just what it takes to win."
With multiple Olympians like Francesca Halsall and Robbie Renwick retiring after Rio 2016, Peaty is enjoying his new status in the team.
"I do feel like a leader, 100%," he says.
"When you go to the Olympics and win, people start to look at you more and I want to pass on the motivation I have to others so they push on more too.
"I've only been part of the GB team for three years, but it's never been this strong. There's so much cohesion and support for one another."

'He needs to hunt'

What does the man who has won every major swimming title by the age of 21 do next? Quit at the top or carry on in the hope he can maintain that success?
For Peaty, there was no question that he was going to fight on, but with no obvious rivals or up-and-coming challengers to provide motivation, he needed a new challenge.
"I'd achieved everything I ever wanted to and there was a moment when I was getting back into training after the Olympics and thinking, 'well, what now?'" says Peaty.
He admits to having "disagreements" with Marshall during this time, but his coach knew exactly what to do.
"He's a lion. You have to put the meat out in front of him so he can hunt," she says.
"Of course you drop in a 56 as soon as he's gone 57 seconds - you plant the seeds and then he thinks he came up with the idea.
"To be honest, I don't think we've seen the best of him yet. Adam still has more to give."
That is an ominous sign for any breaststroke swimmers hoping to hunt down the reigning Olympic, world, European and Commonwealth champion.
"I know it's possible," says Peaty. "I literally just have to go 0.14 seconds quicker.
"It's such a great motivator, though, and it means I'm pushing harder than ever, sweating more, bleeding more and often in tears of pain.
British Swimming physical performance lead Scott Pollock has been left stunned by Peaty's efforts in the gym.
"He is probably the hardest-working athlete I have ever worked with," he tells BBC Sport.
"If I told him to run through a brick wall, he'd probably do it then get up and go again, he's an incredible specimen."
Weights are amongst Peaty's favourite workouts, whilst he has his own 'jump clap' and 'chin-up clap' routines, which emphasise his colossal upper-body strength and have gone viral on social media in recent months.
Some of your information will be collected when you use this feature.
"Swimming 10,000m a day following a black line can make it hard to keep motivated," says Peaty, who can bench-press 132kg.
"I love the gym. It just adds another element to training and I'm hitting it harder than ever to get stronger and hopefully faster."
'Project 56' could be achieved in the coming few days at the World Aquatics Championships in Hungary, where he will race in the 100m breaststroke on Sunday before one would assume he returns for the final on Monday.
"It could happen, but I think realistically it'll be more like in the next 18 months or at the next World Championships, if not Tokyo," says Peaty, who will also race in the 50m breaststroke and two relay competitions in Budapest.
His preparations for the 2020 Olympic Games are well under way, having joined the rest of the British team on a training camp in Tokyo in June.
"I learnt that breakfast is pretty small so I've been getting plates and plates of that," says Peaty, who consumes more than 5,500 calories per day.
"It was great to see the city - busy but very calm - and it gives you a sense of what it will be like in a few years.
"Rio will always be special as it was my first Olympics, but Tokyo will be even better.
"Being here has reminded me of what Mel and I are trying to do - win everything year on year, be dominant and leave a good legacy for the kids back home.
"I want to push on the boundaries and be written down in the record books forever."

Bayern Munich vs AC Milan: match preview
Carlo Ancelotti comes up against his former club in the friendly tournament as he continues to prepare his side for the 2017-18 season
Bayern Munich and AC Milan will look to bounce back from defeats in their opening International Champions Cup games when they face off at Shenzen Universiade Sports Centre on Saturday.
Bayern Munich 5/1 to win the Champions League
Carlo Ancelotti's Bayern fell on penalties after being held to a 1-1 draw against Arsenal in Shanghai, while Milan suffered a 3-1 loss against Borussia Dortmund in Guangzou.
Games against Chelsea, Inter and Liverpool follow for the Germans ahead of their competitive season kick-off.
The Italian side, meanwhile, turn their attention to Europa League qualifying, with a third qualifying round clash against Romanian side CSU Craiova to come next week, before a friendly against Real Betis.
Game Bayern Munich vs AC Milan
Date Saturday, July 22
Time 17:35 (local) / 10:35 (BST)


Franck Ribery Bayern Munich
In the United Kingdom, the match will be available to watch live on television on Premier Sports and by stream online via the Premier Player.
UK TV channel Online stream
Premier Sports Premier Player
Fans in the United States can watch the game on ESPN 3 or stream live on the WatchESPN service. Additionally, ESPN Deportes is providing Spanish language coverage.
US TV channel Online stream
ESPN 3 / ESPN Deportes WatchESPN


The game against Bayern could be the first time Milan fans get to see Leonardo Bonucci in the famous red and black after the Italy international's transfer from Juventus was officially finalised.
Bonucci trained with his new team-mates in Guangzhou on Thursday and could line up against the Bundesliga giants alongside fellow new signings Andre Silva, Lucas Biglia and Andrea Conti, who have also been with the squad in China.
New additions Franck Kessie, Fabio Borini and Ricardo Rodriguez played the bulk of the game against Dortmund, while Hakan Calhanoglu and Mateo Musacchio were introduced from the bench, so could see more time on the field in Shenzen. 
Vincenzo Montella left Gianluigi Donnarumma on the bench for entire game against BVB, preferring Marco Storari in goal, but the goalkeeper, who has committed his future to Milan, should play a part against Bayern.
All the latest transfer rumours
Bayern will be without the services of Thiago Alcantara for the game against Milan and indeed the remainder of their Asia tour after the Bundesliga outfit confirmed that the midfielder has left the training camp in China in order to continue his recovery from injury at the club headquarters in Munich.
Arjen Robben and Jerome Boateng are not with the squad in China, but the pair are training in Germany and are expected to be available for the Audi Cup in August. Manuel Neuer, meanwhile, is also working towards a return from injury, but the goalkeeper may be forced to miss the entirety of pre-season.
In Neuer's absence, veteran shotstopper Tom Starke and youth-team player Christian Fruchtl deputised against Arsenal. Ahead of them, David Alaba lined up alongside Mats Hummels in the heart of defence, which is a partnership that is likely to be reprised with Boateng in Germany.


Franck Kessie Milan
Bayern Munich are 1/2 favourites to win, according to dabblebet, while AC Milan are rated 5/1 to beat the Bundesliga champions. A draw is available at 10/3.


Carlo Ancelotti Bayern Munich 2017
The penalty defeat to Arsenal won't have shaken Bayern's confidence too much, but Carlo Ancelotti will definitely be keen for his players to put in an improved performance against Milan.
The German champions dominated much of the game against the Gunners, but struggled to take their chances and a lapse late in the match allowed their opponents to ultimately steal victory.
With the retirement of Philipp Lahm and Xabi Alonso, there are places up for grabs, so these friendly games are increasingly important as Ancelotti figures out how best to adapt.
All you need to know about the ICC 2017
James Rodriguez has shown positive signs since his arrival from Real Madrid, but a number of players have been underwhelming, with Renato Sanches among those who will need to step up.
For Milan, the game against Bayern will be a warm-up for their first competitive game of the season, with Europa League qualifying games against CSU Craiova to come.
Montella is likey to use the occasion to give some playing time to the likes of Bonucci, Silva and Conti, as well as further bedding in Kessie, Rodriguez and Borini to his style of play.
Given their transfer activity this summer, the Rossoneri have ambitious plans for this season, but it will probably take some time for the new assortment of players to bond together, so Montella will have to make the most of what experimental opportunities he receives.

La Liga reveal dates for Clasico fixtures
The two sides are scheduled to come face to face in December before the return fixture will begin the final month of the campaign
The dates for the two 'El Clasico' fixtures between Real Madrid and Barcelona in La Liga next season have been revealed.
dabblebet: La Liga title odds
The two giants of Spanish football are first scheduled to face off on the weekend of December 20 at Santiago Bernabeu, though that is likely to be rearranged with Madrid competing in the Club World Cup at the same time.
And they will not come face-to-face again in the league until the 36th week of the 38-round campaign when the champions visit Camp Nou on the weekend of May 6.
Zinedine Zidane's Madrid side may have won out in the title race last season, but they did not get their own way when facing their biggest rivals.
Madrid & Barca fixtures announced
They needed a stoppage-time equaliser from Sergio Ramos to secure a draw at Camp Nou, while there was more late drama in the return fixture.
Lionel Messi grabbed a last-minute winner for Barca in the Spanish capital before his now iconic celebration of holding his shirt up to the furious Bernabeu crowd.
The two teams will kick-off their campaigns on the weekend of August 18, with Barca hosting Real Betis and Madrid travelling to Deportivo.

Lukaku leaves first lasting impression as Man Utd down City
The £75m front man was the star of the 2-0 win over rivals City in Houston, with Marcus Rashford also playing a key roll

Romelu Lukaku will take part in far more important fixtures during his Manchester United career but his first ever taste of Manchester derby action will take some forgetting. A spectacular opening goal crowned a wonderful personal display which will have United’s fans salivating at the thought of what he could deliver in the years to come.
The 2-0 win over Manchester City in Houston came with an obvious string of caveats. The International Champions Cup clash had been played down as a competitive training session by Jose Mourinho in the lead-up, while City were always going to be behind the eight-ball given that they only recently arrived Stateside and were taking to the field for the first time.
Match report: Man Utd 2-0 Man City
But none of those factors will stop Lukaku gaining a whole load of confidence out of his performance, and for United there are excellent signs of what the £75 million man offers his new side. This was their first game against Premier League opposition even if it was played slightly below Premier League pace, and Lukaku seemed a perfect fit for a newly-vibrant United outfit.
Even before finding the net he had played a key part in some of United’s best moments. Fitter and sharper than City, the Reds dominated the early proceedings and Lukaku’s movement helped to create quality openings in the final third.
Ederson Romelu Lukaku Manchester City Manchester United ICC
He led the line well, but also dropped in when necessary to occupy City’s centre-halves away from the wandering runs of Jesse Lingard, Marcus Rashford and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, and on another day Lingard and Mkhitaryan might have scored from just such attacks.
Get Man Utd 1/3 vs. West Ham
It was fitting, though, that Lukaku should open the scoring. Paul Pogba played a slide-rule pass over the top of the defence which enticed City’s new £35m goalkeeper Ederson to leave his line. The young Brazilian has gained a reputation for being quick to rush out of his area, but on this occasion Lukaku did superbly to nod the ball beyond him and then fire home left-footed first time from the narrowest of angles. It was a finish reminiscent of Mark Hughes' memorable goal in the 1991 European Cup Winners' Cup final win over Barcelona, only with less reward at the end of it.
Within two minutes the game was practically over as a contest, with Mkhitaryan’s wonderful run through the centre opening up space before the Armenian played in Rashford on the right. The England man’s composed finish doubled the lead and City never looked likely to come back. There was still time for Lukaku to thunder a shot off the angle of post and bar in the second half, but United had already done enough.
Marcus Rashford Kyle Walker Manchester United Manchester City ICC
While Rashford had initially found Kyle Walker a tough adversary down the left, it was notable that he had played his part after his switch to the opposite flank. With Lukaku’s influence growing, Mourinho was asked pre-match whether he would have to play Rashford just behind the former Everton man to get him regular game time this season.
“I don’t think Marcus is a number 10,” replied the United manager. “I think he’s an attacking player who can play in a two or one, he can play besides, can play everywhere, he has a good working way too if you demand a little bit more defensively, he can play together with Lukaku.
Reds reject Barca's £72m Coutinho bid 
“If he can play with Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the same team, he can play with Lukaku no problem.”
Judging by the initial evidence of the two together Mourinho is on to something, just as Lukaku’s performance full of power, poise and panache suggests United knew what they were doing in calling time on the pursuit of Alvaro Morata to bring him to Old Trafford.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Conte has shown the most faith in me. says Mortata
The striker worked was brought to Juventus by the coach and will work with him in London after Chelsea agreed a £70 million deal with Real Madrid
Alvaro Morata is delighted to link up with Antonio Conte at Chelsea, saying the Italian is the coach who has shown most faith in him throughout his career.
Bet on Chelsea's Tour of Champions
Real Madrid and Chelsea  agreed terms over a transfer for the Spain international on Wednesday , believed to be in the region of £70 million.
Morata has previously spoken of being "indebted" to Conte, who brought the youngster to Juventus, but never coached him due to taking the Italy job.
Having scored 15 La Liga goals in just 14 starts for Madrid last term, Morata believes finally playing under Conte will help him improve further.
Morata told Spanish media: "I'm going to the team managed by the coach who has placed the most faith in me, and that's great for me."
Though he struggled to break into Zinedine Zidane's plans last term, Morata holds no grudge over his former boss and no regrets over returning to Madrid - though he has conceded that a third spell at the Santiago Bernabeu is unlikely.
He added of Zidane: "I have thanked him for everything, and wished him luck for this year.
"I've won four titles, among them my second Champions League with Madrid. I leave happy because the last time I pulled on the Madrid shirt was in Cibeles [square in the Spanish capital]."
How will Chelsea line up with Alvaro Morata? Pedro, Cesar Azpilicueta and Cesc Fabregas are international colleagues who await at Stamford Bridge, a factor that enthuses Morata.
"I have spoken with Azpilicueta," Morata said. "And also with Fernando Torres, who has told me he'll give me a hand with whatever I need."

How will Chelsea line up with Alvaro Morata?
Antonio Conte could use the Spain international at the pinnacle of a few formations after his £70 million signing from Real Madrid

Alvaro Morata is set to join up with his new Chelsea team-mates in Asia as he comes in to replace Diego Costa after they agreed a reported £70 million deal with Real Madrid for the striker.
Morata's move is subject to personal terms and a medical but it appears to be a just a formality. Conte brought Morata to Juventus before departing to join the Italy national team but he will have a far more experienced striker at his disposal when the Spaniard arrives this time. 
Schalke want to re-sign Baba Rahman
The 24-year-old has won four league titles, four domestic cup competitions and two Champions League trophies in his time at Real Madrid and Juventus. Morata is quick, strong, clinical and techincally gifted but filling Diego Costa's shoes will be a tough ask.


GFX Info Chelsea starting XI Morata 3-4-3
Chelsea's Premier League title winning formation will likely be used again next season and Morata would come in as a like-for-like replacement for Diego Costa.
Morata is more mobile than Costa but with less physical presence which might mean that he will look to play more one-twos with the likes of Eden Hazard and Pedro. Chelsea could also look to defend deeper with three quick attackers on the pitch.
Bet on Chelsea's Tour of Champions
The Blues would still need Morata to be patient and provide an aerial threat against teams like West Brom - who will likely travel to Stamford Bridge to defend deep.


GFX Info Chelsea starting XI Morata 3-5-2
Chelsea switched to this formation a lot last season to bring Cesc Fabregas into play from the bench in the Premier League. Fabregas remains Chelsea's most creative player and has been used to devastating effect off the bench by Conte.
Morata would get to feed off Fabregas in this formation as he sits between the lines. Diego Costa seemed to benefit from the extra service from Fabregas who joined up with the front two on regular occasions, while also providing assists from deeper areas.

Chelsea line up with Morata
Conte isn't wedded to a back three and is happy to send teams out with a defensive line of four. He favoured the formation that he used at both Bari and Juventus at the start of the season for his Chelsea side as he aimed to line up Michy Batshuayi alongside Costa.
Although that plan was abandoned just a month into the season, Conte may look to implement it again as more suitable players come in. The formation was used on a few occasions in 2017, most notably as Batshuayi came off the bench to secure the Premier League title in a 1-0 win away to West Brom.
It may not have worked with Costa, but Morata and Batshuayi may make a suitable partnership.

Monday, 10 July 2017

Diego Costa misses Chelsea training to secure Atletico move

Diego Costa misses Chelsea training to secure Atletico move
The Blues striker looks closer to the exit after it was agreed that he would stay away from Cobham Training Centre as pre-season training begins
Diego Costa has not joined up with the rest of the Chelsea team for pre-season training after being granted leave to secure a move to Atletico Madrid.
Ancelotti warns Conte: Buy lots and buy well
Atletico remain the only option for Costa, who was told he is no longer needed at Stamford Bridge by Antonio Conte in a text message last month. The arrangement has secured Costa an extra week away from Chelsea but this could be extended.
Chelsea and Atletico have opened talks but have not agreed a fee and Costa is clear that he is willing to accept the terms at his old club, despite their transfer ban preventing them from fielding the Spain international until January 2018.
Meanwhile, Manchester United have beaten Chelsea to their first choice target to replace Costa as they are set to sign Everton's Romelu Lukaku for £75 million.
Diego Costa HD
A rekindling of the relationship between Conte and Costa that helped them on their way to the Premier League title last season seems impossible as Chelsea join up ahead of a pre-season tour of Asia.
Lewis Baker and Andreas Christensen are just two players from the group that spent last season on loan to be watched by Antonio Conte in a training session on Monday. Baker will likely leave on a two-year loan deal to a Premier League club, but Christensen could be used next season.
Antonio Rudiger will be given a holiday after signing for the club in a £34m deal from Roma due to his participation in the later stages of the Confederations Cup.

PSG face further transfer failure as they pursue Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho

PSG face further transfer failure if they pursue Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho
The Reds' highest-paid player signed a new five-year deal without a release clause in January and has no desire to depart Anfield this summer
Liverpool have fielded no enquiries from Paris Saint-Germain over Philippe Coutinho and have reiterated none would be welcomed nor entertained over the Brazil international.
Suarez on dream LFC move
The Ligue 1 side made advances to the 25-year-old’s camp last summer and he has again featured on the club’s list of elite targets  - a move understood to be driven by Olivier Letang, their former sporting director who now works alongside the player's agent Kia Joorabchian.
HD Phil Coutinho
Coutinho, who will report back to Merseyside for pre-season training on Tuesday after an extended break given his international exertions, is perhaps more unattainable than Kylian Mbappe - PSG’s priority objective in the window.
The teenage sensation is considering an exit from Monaco, which would set a new world-record fee, with Real Madrid in prime position to sign him whether that happens this year or next.
Latest LFC transfer rumours
Liverpool’s highest-paid player, meanwhile, affirmed his commitment to the club by signing a new five-year deal without a release clause in January.
Coutinho is not for sale and has no desire to depart Anfield this summer with Barcelona already having to shelve their long-term drive for him.
Coutinho, Liverpool
If the French club continue to covet the Brazilian and make a play for him ahead of 2017-18, their recruitment frustrations will only be enhanced.
PSG’s first-choice target had been Alexis Sanchez, as was the case last year, but the Chile international wants to reunite with Pep Guardiola at Manchester City.
Latest from the PSG camp
They had then focused their efforts on Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, but new sporting director Antero Henrique pulled the plug on a deal he felt was excessive for the 28-year-old.
Mbappe is now the main order of business, but the club are aware they are not likely to add him as an incomer, with only left-back Yuri Berchiche signed thus far.
Kylian Mbappe Monaco
Chasing Coutinho would thus only serve as a further waste of time and energy, but it is understood that James Rodriguez could finally provide PSG with some joy in the window.
The club opened talks with Madrid at the start of July over the Colombian, with a move to the Parc des Princes currently looking favourable.
Unai Emery is hoping to make three more purchases in addition to Berchiche before the season kicks off.
Coutinho will certainly not be one of those.

Man Utd's £150m Lukaku deal sums up summer of lavish spending

Man Utd's £150m Lukaku deal sums up summer of lavish spending
The Belgian is poised to join the Red Devils in an astronomical deal, the latest sign that the Premier League's extravagance will not end soon

Romelu Lukaku is moving to Manchester United from Everton, in an astronomical deal that could be worth north of £150 million once wages are factored in.
Lukaku says farewell to Everton
Lukaku, 24, fills a gap for United, and leaves a hole at the Toffees, but there is only one clear winner in this deal.
Everton have already gone about spending the money they expected to receive for Lukaku, and they have done so smartly, investing in the electric Sandro Ramirez, the solid Michael Keane and the potentially brilliant Jordan Pickford.
They have played United. Lukaku is a superb striker. He scored 87 goals in 166 games for Everton after a £28m move from Chelsea, but the Toffees stand to make a massive profit on the Belgium international. They have expertly extracted a mammoth transfer fee for a player that has been widely touted as a flat-track bully, and who has a number of flaws, namely his ability to control the ball effectively when his side is on the break.
There is even a suggestion that United increased their offer, both to the player and his club, after being made aware of the Blues’ desperate desire to re-sign the Belgian.
This is the transfer window of 2017 in a microcosm. Players are moving for simply insane fees, merely because their clubs have no desire, or need, to sell.
Nathan Ake, though not on the same level as Lukaku, is another fine example. Bournemouth have paid £20m for a player who has played 41 Premier League games, only seven of which came at his parent club, Chelsea.
PS Lukaku Nathan Ake Bournemouth
That is not to say that the deal is a bad one. Bournemouth have signed a player who excelled on loan at Dean Court, and the Blues have offloaded a player for whom they had no plans.
Yet the nub of the transfer comes in Bournemouth’s need to recruit Ake. In his 12 games for the club, the Cherries lost just four times, hence their willingness to recruit him as their club-record signing.
This would not happen elsewhere. While Real Madrid and Barcelona are both able to spend record fees for players out of reach for many clubs, one could not imagine Alaves — who finished ninth in La Liga, the same position as Bournemouth in the Premier League — paying £20m for a single player.
Chelsea sign £34m Rudiger
Phil Hutchinson, a solicitor within the sports team at Mills & Reeve, explains that these transfer fees come about as a result of the largesse evidenced in the Premier League’s £5bn broadcasting deal.
“The number of clubs in the Premier League with seemingly bottomless pockets to fund transfers are largely contributory, but it is the multi-billion pound TV rights deal that is the biggest factor,”
“The bigger the pot of money, the more expensive the player.
“I do not think it will be long before we see the first £100m player transfer… However, despite the astronomical amount of money in football as a whole, there are still only a handful of clubs who would be able to break this £100m barrier, when wages, bonuses, agent fees, etc., on top of the transfer fee are factored in.”
Kylian Mbappe is another good example of this. Monaco have no desire whatsoever to sell arguably the finest teenage talent to emerge in world football since Ronaldo Nazario in the 1990s. Thus they reportedly have rejected a bid worth £114m from Real Madrid, who have made clear their desire to acquire an attacker. Mbappe is 18. He has played just one season in the top-flight.
Such is their desperation to sign him, Real are reportedly ready to offload James Rodriguez — a player who has starred at World Cup tournaments — and, or, Alvaro Morata, who appeared set for United before their bid for Lukaku.
Lukaku PS
English clubs face no such dilemma. Arsenal are also in the running and have reportedly tabled their own massive bid of £124m. They want to keep their best players, though Alexis Sanchez may still force through a move to Manchester City.
All the latest transfer rumours
Transfers, thus, are impossible to predict, and judge. Fees are set, largely, by selling clubs; if a player is good enough to be wanted by an elite club, then there will surely be another suitor waiting if one does not meet the asking price.
But there is a fundamental disconnect now. Clubs can pay massive fees for world-class players but fans are unlikely to feel the same attachment to the player being paid £250,000-per-week to the local lad done good. Those days have come and gone.
As Hutchinson explains, however, these days of repeated transfer liberality are here to stay.
“The introduction of the Financial Fair Play Rules in 2011 was designed to avoid exactly that — clubs had been spending beyond their means for far too long, and gambling on either gaining promotion to the top flight, or consolidating their top flight position following promotion,” he said, when asked if a crash is coming.
“Under the FFP Regs, clubs' losses are limited in order to avoid unsustainable debt and there are significant sanctions for non-compliance.
“However, the ship appears to have sailed on transfer and salary caps as there are in other sports such as the NBA and NHL. The time to introduce this would have been when Sky began its rise to dominance several years ago and it would be nigh on impossible to attempt to harmonise and cap transfer fees and wages across the board.”

Monday, 3 July 2017

Vidal reveals what was said in heated exchange

'Talk less, play more' - Vidal reveals what was said in heated exchange with Bayern team-mate Kimmich
Two club colleagues almost came to blows during the Confederations Cup final, although both have been quick to play down the severity of the incident

Arturo Vidal insists he is “still friends” with Joshua Kimmich after tangling with his Bayern Munich colleague at the Confederations Cup.
Two club team-mates almost came to blows on Sunday as tempers flared during a keenly-contested final clash between Chile and Germany.
Just before the hour mark, with the Germans leading at the time, Vidal and Kimmich squared up to one another as emotions threatened to boil over.
Bayern boss Ancelotti: I like Alexis
Both men were booked for their part in an unsightly skirmish, with Vidal revealing afterwards what had been said during a heated exchange before attempting to play down the incident.
He told Bild: "This was a decent fight. Things were heated. We had something to clarify. We have not seen each other after the game, but we'll see each other in 20 days.
“I only told him to talk less and play more. But it's okay, we were hot. We're still friends.”
Germany Confederations Cup
Kimmich also brushed the coming together aside after being pressed on possible hostilities when Bayern return to pre-season training.
He said: "It will not be an issue at the first Bayern training.
Kimmich wants regular Bayern spot
"We have come together a bit. I did not say anything, he said a few things. But I do not care, these things happen on the field."
Germany eventually won the game 1-0 to add the Confederations Cup to the World Cup crown they will be hoping to defend back on Russian soil in 12 months time.

Lars Stindl netted the only goal of the game, with the likes of Vidal and Alexis Sanchez unable to inspire Copa America champions Chile into staging a comeback.