Thursday, 26 January 2017

an City coach drops massive hint about Guardiola's future

Four more years? Man City coach drops massive hint about Guardiola's future
It has been suggested that the Catalan will not even see out his three-year contract at the Etihad Stadium but that seems to be far from the case
One of Pep Guardiola’s trusted assistants has provided the biggest hint yet that the Catalan is committed to Manchester City for the long haul.
Orlando City sign ex-Man Utd defender
Goal has learned that Domenec Torrent, a key member of Guardiola’s close-knit group of coaches and analysts, has purchased an exclusive property in the heart of Manchester - and he will not be moving in until 2018.
The Deansgate address, thought to cost in the region of £1.8 million, is currently under renovation and will be kitted out with top-of-the-range fittings and furnishings over the next year.
Guardiola’s deal is set to expire in 2019 but he will be at least half-way through that agreement by the time Torrent is ready to move in, suggesting City will not need to look for a new managerial team any time soon.
It was widely reported at the start of January that Guardiola may not even see out his three-year deal at the Etihad Stadium, given his sometimes terse media interviews and admission that he would not be coaching when he is 60 years old.
But those suggestions are wide of the mark. It is understood Guardiola met with City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak following Saturday’s game against Tottenham and insisted he sees his long-term future in England, and could even stay for five years.
Cavani closing in on Ibra's record
Torrent, Manel Estiarte, Lorenzo Buenaventura and Carles Planchart have been vital to Guardiola’s success at both Barcelona and Bayern Munich and joined him in Manchester last summer.
All of them, as well as CEO Ferran Soriano and sporting director Txiki Begiristain, who recently had his own apartment renovated, live in Manchester city centre.

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

I will come back stronger

Anichebe: I will come back stronger
The forward is unwavering that he will bounce back quickly from his latest injury that will keep him out of football for over three months
Sunderland forward Victor Anichebe has vowed to come back stronger than ever after suffering a knee ligament damage.
The Nigerian was a 66th minute replacement for Adnan Januzaj against West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns – and was injured with scans showing that he ruptured his medial ligament.
Anichebe is consequently set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines, but he remains in positive spirits.
“If I was to say I was gutted would be a complete understatement. This is probably the worst I've felt about getting injured since that horrendous tackle in 2009!,”Anichebe wrote on Instagram.

“I don't usually cry like that but this has been a really hard one to take as I feel so settled here and know I'm important to the team!

“And just as I was getting back to my best and even better...this happens !! I know you guys are very frustrated just as I am but sometimes these things happen, I don't know why.

“I just have to be as positive as I can, pray and do the work needed to be back as quick as possible.
"You may feel like everything is going against us as I'm typing this but I believe and have complete faith that we will improve and pick up the results needed to get us out of the position we find ourselves in.
"Believe me I know it's difficult but stay positive and keep supporting the team we really need all of you to succeed!

"I just want to thank you all for the support that you've given me since I arrived at this wonderful club and I will do everything in my power to be back as quickly as possible! God bless."

We had no luck

Jurgen Klopp: Reflects on Liverpool exit
Jurgen Klopp bemoaned Liverpool’s poor finishing and bad luck as they crashed out of the League Cup with a 2-0 aggregate defeat at Anfield.
The Reds missed the chance to feature in back-to-back finals under the German, who was as animated as ever following the full-time whistle.
“They won both games, they deserved it,” Klopp told Sky Sports.
“We did really well, we cannot create more chances than we did in the second half, we were dominant.
“It is difficult because you have to take risks but too many risks plays to their strengths.
“We had big chances and no luck. A lucky save, a good save but a lucky save. The ref didn’t see the handball of Long and it doesn’t help in a game like this.
“We had seven good chances. You have to score, and we didn’t do so we lost. I’m fine with the performance but not the result.”
Liverpool saw two strong penalty appeals turned down before the Saints put the tie beyond all doubt late on, and Klopp was baffled that at least one spot-kick was not awarded in front of the Kop.
He added: “If we could hear a referee’s whistle it would be nice. I don’t know how many times that has happened this season.
“Against Manchester United we had a clear offside goal [Zlatan Ibrahimovic], nobody says anything. Tonight a penalty, nobody says anything.”

Dybala & Pjanic seal Coppa progress early

Juventus 2-1 AC Milan: Dybala & Pjanic seal Coppa progress early
The defending cup holders were not unduly troubled by the Rossoneri - who were reduced to 10 men - after they sealed victory in the first half
Juventus gained revenge on 10-man AC Milan for their Serie A and Supercoppa Italiana defeats, progressing to the last four of the Coppa Italia with a 2-1 victory.
Milan have proved tricky opposition for Juve this season and followed up the 1-0 league win at San Siro in October with a penalty shoot-out triumph in the Supercoppa in December.
But holders Juve burst out of the blocks in Wednesday's contest in Turin, their excellent first-half showing proving enough to set up an enticing semi-final with Napoli despite a spirited showing from a Milan side forced to play the final 36 minutes a man down.
Paulo Dybala gave Juve a 10th-minute lead with a close-range volley before Miralem Pjanic made it 2-0 with a fine free-kick 11 minutes later.
After a dreadful first half, Milan found their stride and pulled one back through Carlos Bacca's stunning 53rd-minute effort.
Miralem Pjanic Luca Antonelli Juventus Milan
Bacca Juventus AC Milan
Manuel Locatelli Juventus Milan
However, Manuel Locatelli was then sent off for a second bookable offence and, though both teams had chances in a hugely entertaining second half, Juve stood firm to keep their bid for a third straight league and cup double alive.
Neither goalkeeper had really been threatened before Dybala struck, Gianluigi Donnarumma helpless to prevent him from firing Juve ahead with his eighth goal of the season.
Kwadwo Asamoah's left-wing delivery was cleverly flicked into Dybala's path and he lashed a fierce volley into the bottom-right corner.
Milan continued to be posed problems by Asamoah and the second goal came as a result of more good work from the Ghanaian.
Asamoah was clipped on the edge of the area by Juraj Kucka and Pjanic took full advantage from the resulting free-kick, curling beyond the outstretched Donnarumma in superb fashion.
Juve looked to have a third when Sami Khedira found the net on the rebound after Gonzalo Higuain had latched onto a wonderful cross-field pass from Asamoah and seen his shot saved by Donnarumma, but the assistant's flag denied the Germany midfielder.
Milan finished the first half on the front foot and halved the deficit eight minutes after the restart.
Khedira robbed Andrea Bertolacci following Kucka's knock down, but his clearance only went as far as Bacca, who met the ball with a magnificent hooked volley that left Neto with no chance.
But Milan's task of completing the comeback was made more difficult moments later when Locatelli was shown a second yellow for a rash sliding challenge on Dybala.
Mario Mandzukic then twice wasted excellent chances to restore Juve's two-goal advantage, heading narrowly wide on both occasions.
Milan still posed a threat despite their numerical disadvantage and Neto had to parry strongly to prevent Kucka from levelling matters with a driven free-kick.
Gerard Deulofeu was brought on for his debut 10 minutes from time and, after Donnarumma had done well to keep out a Pjanic volley, the on-loan Everton man spurned a great chance to level when he got in behind the Juve defence only to produce a tame effort that Neto easily saved.
Milan were unable to threaten any further and, while Juve's domestic domination continues at pace, Vincenzo Montella's men will have to focus fully on their quest to bridge the seven-point gap to third-placed Napoli in Serie A and Champions League qualification.

Can and Sturridge hinder Liverpool

Daniel Sturridge: Failed to impress for Liverpool
As Liverpool crashed out of the League Cup, we rate those who impressed and those who flopped in the semi-final second leg against the Saints.
LORIS KARIUS Comfortable in the Liverpool goal and made a great save to deny Dusan Tadic from point-blank range 7
TRENT ALEXANDER-ARNOLD Looks an exciting talent and caused problems going forward. However, he was left really exposed from a defensive standpoint 6
JOEL MATIP First start in six weeks and was not given an easy ride as Southampton grew into the game and posed a real threat on the break 6
DEJAN LOVREN Given the usual warm (!) reception by the Southampton fans. Relatively solid but did put pressure on his defence with a few stray passes 6
JAMES MILNER Liverpool’s ‘Mr Dependable’ was a little below par at Anfield. A scrappy performance 6
JORDAN HENDERSON Has dropped far too deep to have any major effect on the midfield. Played as third centre-back at times in a game where Liverpool needed goals 5
EMRE CAN Represented quite a negative selection from Klopp. Often played too close to the already deep Henderson and brought nothing to the midfield 5
ADAM LALLANA Got more involved in the second half but he too was lacking that killer final ball 6
PHILIPPE COUTINHO Fresh from signing a five-year contract, Coutinho was Liverpool’s best creative player on the night with his penetrating passes7
ROBERTO FIRMINO Drifted in and out of the game. Not his best night by any stretch 6
DANIEL STURRIDGE Was wasteful in front of goal and showed why he is not a favourite under Jurgen Klopp with quite a lethargic display 5
DIVOCK ORIGI (for Can, 77′): Liverpool fans were calling for his introduction long befor he came on. He should have been awarded a penalty deep into stoppage time 7
GEORGINIO WIJNALDUM(for Coutinho, 86′): Was introduced far too late N/A

FRASER FORSTER Turned a dreadful save from an Emre Can shot into an incredible stop on the goal-line 6
CEDRIC SOARES Was just about able to keep the lid on Adam Lallana 7
JACK STEPHENS Had big boots to fill with Virgil van Dijk out injured but did not look out of place whatsoever. Saying that, he should have been penalised for a clear foul on Origi in his own area 7
MAYA YOSHIDA Also barely put a foot wrong and what looked on paper to be Saints’ biggest weakness, the centre-back partnership was one of their major strengths 7
RYAN BERTRAND Busy night with Alexander-Arnold on the rampage but played his part in what was a rock-solid back four 7
ORIEL ROMEU Extremely disciplined performance from one of the more underrated defensive midfielders in the Premier League 8
STEVEN DAVIS Got into some promising areas in attack and moved the ball on quickly when under immense pressure 7
DUSAN TADIC Dangerous but wasted Southampton’s best chance of the night with a scruffy finish from six yards out 6
JAMES WARD-PROWSE Night ended prematurely because of injury but had many salivating over his set-piece delivery 6
NATHAN REDMOND Came to life when he switched to left flank and was a massive danger on the break 8.5
JAY RODRIGUEZ Did not make much of a contribution and was forced off at half time with an ankle injury 5
SHANE LONG (for Rodriguez, 45′): Put the tie beyond all doubt with an emphatic finish towards the death 7
PIERRE-EMILE HOLBERG (for Ward-Prowse, 57′): Made a difference after coming on 7
JOSH SIMS (for Redmond, 80′): Provided the surge forward and perfect pass for Long to seal a special moment 7

Merengue dumped out of the Copa del Rey with draw

Celta 2-2 Real Madrid (agg. 4-3): Merengue dumped out of the Copa del Rey with drawA blistering free-kick effort from Cristiano Ronaldo was not enough to avoid another damaging defeat for Real Madrid, as Celta held on for a  2-2 draw to dump the Merengue out of the Copa del Rey.

Courtois jibes at Mikel as he insists trophies matter

'I prefer to play in big teams' – Courtois jibes at Mikel as he insists trophies matter
Playing for big teams and winning titles only matter in football, according to the Belgium international and Blues star
Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois aimed a thinly veiled dig at John Obi Mikel following his move to China, insisting nothing matters aside winning titles and playing for big clubs.
The Nigeria international joined Tianjin TEDA after failing to make an impression on the first team under Antonio Conte, who took charge in the summer.
There, the 29-year-old is expected to earn £140,000 per week in the Chinese Super League that boasts of former Brazilian teammate, Oscar.
And Courtois, who played alongside the midfielder at the Stamford Bridge, used his point of view to mock Mikel for his move to Asia rather than battle for a place in the star-studded Roman Army – where he is guaranteed of winning trophies.
When asked by Mirror on why he never took the same path as his former teammates, the 24-year-old said: “Some players are more concentrated on what they will do after their football career and want to make sure their lives are financially settled.
“I prefer to play in big teams, earn a little less money and win trophies.”
Mikel, during his spell in England won two Premier League crowns, four FA Cup successes and one Champions League – scoring six times in 372 appearances.

Saturday, 21 January 2017

Late Coleman strike downs Allardyce's men

Crystal Palace 0-1 Everton: Late Coleman strike downs Allardyce's menThe full-back found the back of the net with three minutes of normal time left to play to maintain the Toffees' fine run of form
Sam Allardyce's search for a first Premier League victory as Crystal Palace manager goes on after Seamus Coleman's late effort secured a dramatic 1-0 victory for Everton at Selhurst Park.
Ronald Koeman's side had the better of Saturday's encounter but, despite a glut of excellent chances, could not replicate the clinical finishing from their 4-0 thumping of Manchester City last time out, with Wayne Hennessey in top form in the Palace goal.
Though he produced a string of quality saves to keep the visitors at bay - a finger-tip stop from Ramiro Funes Mori the highlight - Hennessey could do nothing to prevent Coleman thumping in an 87th-minute winner.
Palace, who slipped into the relegation zone prior to kick-off thanks to Swansea City's shock victory at Liverpool, had started in lively fashion - Christian Benteke hitting the woodwork - and the hosts would have taken a late lead themselves if not for Joel Robles excellent save.
It appeared that Everton would have to settle for a share of the spoils, but Coleman came up with the goods late on, ensuring a fourth win in six league fixtures for Ronald Koeman's men.
The defeat keeps Palace two points adrift of safety, while Everton move within five points of sixth-placed Manchester United, who drew at Stoke City.
Benteke's double ensured FA Cup progression for Palace against Bolton Wanderers, and the Belgian went agonisingly close to putting the hosts ahead early on this time around.
Former Liverpool forward Benteke, who netted in the reverse fixture at Goodison Park in September, expertly headed James McArthur's excellent cross goalwards, leaving Robles flat-footed, only for the ball to bounce away off the crossbar.
HD Gareth Barry Loic Remy
HD Leighton Baines Joel Ward
HD Ashley Williams Christian Benteke
Everton responded well, Hennessey pulling off fine saves to deny Kevin Mirallas and Ross Barkley as the visitors began to assert some authority.
Barkley looked to have put Koeman's side ahead having hammered home on the rebound after Romelu Lukaku - making his 150th Everton appearance - had hit the post, but the England midfielder was rightly flagged offside.
Palace survived another scare soon afterwards, Hennessey reacting superbly to turn Funes Mori's rasping effort over.
Hennessey was beaten shortly after the restart, though, as Barkley's low strike flashed across the face of goal, whistling just wide of the upright.
Barkley went close again moments later, sliding a cross-cum-shot wide before Lukaku headed over from Everton's next attack.
Looking to capitalise on Everton's strong start to the second half, Koeman introduced Morgan Schneiderlin on the hour-mark, while youngster Ademola Lookman also came on.
Scott Dann thought he had claimed a vital win for Palace with 11 minutes remaining, but Robles was on hand to parry the defender's header wide with an instinctive stop.
And Palace were duly made to pay when, at the culmination of a fantastic run, Coleman powered a venomous finish high into the roof of the net.

Afobe strikes late to deny Mazzarri's men

Bournemouth 2-2 Watford: Afobe strikes late to deny Mazzarri's menThe visitors looked set to bring an end to their six game winless streak in the Premier League, but Eddie Howe's men were able to recover late on
Bournemouth twice fought back to draw 2-2 with Watford at the Vitality Stadium on Saturday as both sides' wait for a Premier League win in 2017 goes on.
Eddie Howe's men had thrown away a three-goal lead to draw with Arsenal in their last home game, but here the boot was on the other foot as Benik Afobe secured a hard-earned point with an 82nd-minute strike.
Bournemouth were the better side throughout but found themselves behind to goals from Christian Kabasele and Troy Deeney, both from corners.
Although Josh King levelled the scores at 1-1 shortly after half-time, it looked as though the hosts' poor defending from set-pieces would prove costly.
However, Afobe slipped a low finish under the goalkeeper with eight minutes remaining to equalise once more.
While victory had seemed within Watford's grasp, this result was enough to end a five-game losing run away from home.
Jack Wilshere created the hosts' first opening, delicately lifting a pass onto Ryan Fraser's head, with Heurelho Gomes forced to scramble back and turn over the subsequent attempt.
With Wilshere central to Bournemouth's attacking efforts, Gomes saved again from the England international's stinging 25-yard drive.
However, against the run of play, Watford took the lead after 24 minutes.
A slack Fraser pass allowed Stefano Okaka to win a corner and, from the set-piece, Miguel Britos nodded back across goal for Kabasele to turn a header into the corner.
Tom Cleverley dragged a low strike wide, but Bournemouth ended the first half on the front foot as Gomes dived at full stretch once again to keep out Junior Stanislas' deflected, looping shot.
And within three minutes of the restart, Howe's men were level.
Bournemouth Watford
Bournemouth Watford
Adam Smith took up possession on the right-hand side, touched the ball through Abdoulaye Doucoure's legs and tore away towards the touchline to centre for King, who coolly swept home.
Back came Watford, with Artur Boruc tipping Jose Holebas' powerful blast around the post, before Gomes helped Fraser's curler wide at the other end.
Again, though, the hosts' pressure counted for little as Walter Mazzarri's side regained the lead from another corner with just under half an hour remaining.
Boruc came to meet Cleverley's delivery, but Deeney got there first to flick a header over the goalkeeper and into the net.
Bournemouth renewed their attacking intent once more after the goal, though, and, with their only real chance, equalised again.

Andrew Surman slid Afobe through, with the former Arsenal forward turning a smart finish past Gomes to secure a point.

Fletcher and Brunt help Baggies sink Black Cats

West Brom 2-0 Sunderland: Fletcher and Brunt help Baggies sink Black CatsDavid Moyes' side remain bottom of the Premier League due to the loss at the Hawthorns, which saw the hosts tighten their grip on the top half
Darren Fletcher and Chris Brunt inflicted more misery on rock bottom Sunderland as West Brom got back to winning ways with a 2-0 Premier League victory on Saturday.
Sunderland slipped to the foot of the table after Swansea City's win over Liverpool and they failed to provide any sign of climbing out of the relegation zone at The Hawthorns.
Instead it was Albion who dominated and eventually opened the scoring through captain Darren Fletcher, his fourth for the club - all of which have come at home.
It did not take long for that advantage to be doubled as Brunt profited from some woeful Sunderland defending with a rasping volley that flew into the top corner.
The visitors offered little in attack on an easy afternoon for Ben Foster as they slipped to a 15th league defeat of the campaign, David Moyes' side now three points from safety.
For Albion it was a welcome three points after being outclassed at Tottenham last time out and they remain in eighth position.
Darren Fletcher vs Sunderland
There was little in the way of quality in the final third in the opening 20 minutes as the ball got stuck in midfield far too much but West Brom gradually found their feet.
Nacer Chadli was given plenty of room 20 yards from goal but his well-struck effort was straight at Vito Mannone, and soon after Salomon Rondon's header looked set to drop in only for Matt Phillips to deflect it wide.
Sunderland's fortune did not last long, though, as the Baggies’ pressure finally paid off with Fletcher controlling a cushioned header from Gareth McAuley before volleying past Mannone on the half hour.
And Moyes' misery was doubled six minutes later as Brunt rifled a volley into the top corner after Chadli had hit the bar from six yards, Sunderland withering under Albion pressure
With the words of their manager no doubt ringing in their ears Sunderland made a positive start to the second half, however they failed to convert what little pressure they could muster into a clear chance.
Even when West Brom gifted an opportunity following a foul by Claudio Yacob, Patrick van Aanholt's effort smashed into the wall and the full-back then blazed the rebound well over.
Foster was finally called into action with 71 minutes played as Billy Jones met a right-wing cross from Sebastian Larsson but his header lacked power and the Albion keeper saved with ease.
The introduction of Victor Anichebe failed to spark the visitors into life, while Albion's new signing Jake Livermore was handed a late cameo.
He nearly added a third with eight minutes to play but skewed his volley wide.
It mattered little to the hosts, though, as they eased to a sixth game unbeaten against the Black Cats.

Record-breaking Rooney rescues Mourinho's men

Stoke 1-1 Manchester United: Record-breaking Rooney rescues Mourinho's menThe skipper made history by scoring his 250th goal for the Red Devils in the 94th minute of stoppage time as the visitors extended their unbeaten run
Wayne Rooney finally became Manchester United's all-time top scorer with a late goal to rescue a point against Stoke City in a 1-1 draw at the Britannia Stadium.
The captain's emphatic free-kick in the fourth minute of injury time took him to 250 goals for the club, one clear of previous record scorer Sir Bobby Charlton, and salvaged a point to extend United's unbeaten run to 17 games in all competitions.
A first-half own goal from Juan Mata had looked enough to give Mark Hughes' side a third win in their last four league encounters at home to United and inflict a damaging blow on the visitors' top-four chances.
Mata missed a golden chance to equalise in the first half, while Paul Pogba also came close, but an organised defensive performance from Stoke kept them at arm's length for much of the contest.
United rescued a late draw against Liverpool at Old Trafford last Sunday but they looked insipid in attack before Rooney, on as a substitute, curled in from 20 yards out moments before the final whistle.
The result lifts Stoke onto 28 points while United move on to 41, three behind fourth-place Arsenal, having played a game more.
Stoke, who showed off new signing Saido Berahino to the bet365 Stadium crowd before kick-off, started brightly but Lee Grant was fortunate to escape a nervy moment as he fumbled a cross from Daley Blind, only for the home side to clear their lines under pressure.
Erik Pieters Premier League Stoke v Man Utd 210117Zlatan Ibrahimovic Premier League Stoke v Man Utd 210117
Wayne Rooney Premier League Stoke v Man Utd
Chances were limited in the early stages but it was Stoke who benefited from a stroke of luck to take the lead in the 19th minute. Marko Arnautovic picked out Erik Pieters' run inside the penalty area, and his low cross clipped the foot of Mata and the leg of David de Gea before nestling in the net.
United at last mustered an effort on target after 27 minutes but Marouane Fellaini's header was comfortably dealt with by Grant, before Mata ballooned the ball over the crossbar with the goal gaping after Zlatan Ibrahimovic picked him out at the far post.
Ibrahimovic himself should have done more when played through by Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Chris Smalling nodded over from close range as United began to build some sustained pressure.
Grant was twice called into action to preserve the half-time advantage, tipping Fellaini's scuffed volley over the bar before beating away Pogba's first-time strike from a corner, and United's dominance showed little let-up after the break.
Referee Mark Clattenburg dismissed penalty appeals from Mata after the ball struck the arm of the sliding Pieters but the visitors' efforts continued to yield little by way of chances as the Stoke rearguard stood firm.
Substitute Marcus Rashford curled a good effort narrowly wide of the top corner and Pogba blasted beyond Grant's right-hand post, but there remained a stark lack of attacking inspiration and the Stoke goalkeeper remained largely untroubled.
Rooney headed a half-chance over and Jesse Lingard crashed a shot off the top of the crossbar, but Stoke's resistance was finally ended when Rooney whipped a stunning effort into Grant's top-left corner from a tight angle to earn a dramatic point and a slice of United history.

Carroll double sinks Karanka's Boro

Middlesbrough 1-3 West Ham: Carroll double sinks Karanka's BoroThe Hammers crept into the top half of the Premier League table on Saturday thanks to a double from their returning front man
Andy Carroll was once again West Ham's inspiration in the absence of Dimitri Payet, scoring twice to secure a 3-1 win at Middlesbrough.
Carroll lit up last weekend's Premier League action with a stunning bicycle kick in the 3-0 win over Crystal Palace and he was equally impressive at the Riverside on Saturday.
The England striker's goals were the product of brawn and brain, thundering in a header from a corner before neat movement helped him convert a spilled shot from distance.
Carroll has now scored in consecutive league games for the first time since April last year, but typical concerns clouded his performance - an apparent groin injury ending his match early, after a week spent recovering from whiplash sustained scoring his stunner a week ago.
Christhian Stuani had equalised Carroll's first strike and the Uruguay striker hit the bar in the second half, but Boro's fightback was stifled and Aitor Karanka's unwillingness to divert from Plan A - a growing concern on Teesside - perhaps cost them here.
Jonathan Calleri's deflected effort in stoppage time wrapped up a victory for West Ham that lifts them into the top 10 and will also ease the pressure on Slaven Bilic as the Hammers boss plots what to do with the disgruntled Payet amid reports of a fresh bid from Marseille for the want-away winger.
There was no discontent for Bilic on the pitch though.
Middlesbrough vs West Ham
Michail Antonio glanced wide from six yards as the visitors started on the front foot and they took a deserved lead in the ninth minute.
Bernardo completely lost Carroll, allowing the striker to power unchallenged into the six-yard box and plant a header beyond Victor Valdes.
Boro's initial attempts at a response were sloppy, with aimless passing routinely letting them down until they equalised in superb fashion.
One-touch play between Marten de Roon and Alvaro Negredo freed Adama Traore on the right and he released Calum Chambers, whose low cross was perfect for Stuani to steal in at the back post and finish.
Boro's advances fell short as they looked to get ahead and West Ham retook the lead prior to the break, Carroll smartly bending his run to finish on the rebound after Valdes spilled Antonio's shot.
Antonio headed over and Manuel Lanzini finished weakly when one-on-one as Bilic's side once again flew out of the traps in the second period, but De Roon brought a fine sprawling save out of Darren Randolph after Traore found space down the left.
More fine work from Traore opened up a gap for Negredo to cross and it almost paid dividends as Aaron Cresswell's clearance ricocheted off Stuani and hit the bar.
But the game was in the 80th minute when Karanka made his first change - Patrick Bamford making his second Boro debut in place of Stuani.
Fellow substitute Rudy Gestede was another late throw of the dice for Boro and he hit an acrobatic shot wide, but Boro's late charge for a goal cost them as Antonio led a four-on-two counter and Calleri's first Hammers goal wrapped up a deserved win.

Manchester City 2-2 Tottenham: Alli & Son rescue Spurs after Lloris gifts

Manchester City 2-2 Tottenham: Alli & Son rescue Spurs after Lloris giftsPep Guardiola's side took the lead through Leroy Sane and Kevin De Bruyne but were forced to settle for a draw after a comeback from the visitors
Tottenham bailed out captain Hugo Lloris, storming back after a pair of uncharacteristic errors from the goalkeeper to snatch a 2-2 draw at Manchester City.
Within the space of five second-half minutes, Lloris mistakes had gifted goals to Leroy Sane and Kevin De Bruyne, the Belgium international scoring his first City goal in 14 games in the simplest manner.
City really had deserved to be ahead after a searing first-half performance, in which they had laid siege to Lloris's goal but somehow not taken the lead.
But, after Dele Alli nodded Spurs back into the contest, Pep Guardiola was apoplectic as Raheem Sterling was denied a clear penalty and Son Heung-min equalised within a minute.
A pulsating game swung back and forth and there was no end to the drama as debutant Gabriel Jesus was denied a first City goal by the offside flag, forcing City to settle for a draw that ought to have been much more.
A point apiece does little for either side's Premier League ambitions, but completes a fantastic day for leaders Chelsea who also saw Liverpool and Manchester United shell points and could be as many as nine points clear if they beat Hull City at home on Sunday.
Guardiola said pre-match that he may not be good enough to lead City's players but his clear attacking intentions resulted in a fantastic show from the off, with Yaya Toure deployed in a holding role behind Sterling, De Bruyne, David Silva and Sane.
As City succeeded in putting Spurs swiftly on the back foot, Guardiola will have lamented the best of City's chances falling to Pablo Zabaleta, who intercepted a one-two between Sergio Aguero and De Bruyne and scuffed wide.
From the resulting goal kick, Aguero was off-target after Zabaleta tenaciously won the ball back and the right-back was again in the thick of the action as he drove narrowly wide left-footed.
Leroy Sane Premier League Manchester City v Tottenham 210117
Kevin De Bruyne Premier League Manchester City v Tottenham 210117
Dele Alli Premier League Manchester City v Tottenham 210117
Eric Dier and Kevin Wimmer were booked by the 13th minute as Spurs struggled to cope and Lloris tipping a shot wide from Silva prompted Mauricio Pochettino to alter his formation, with Dier pushed forward from defence in an attempt to stem the flow of midfield runners.
But the City onslaught was ceaseless.
A stooping Sane aimed wide and a diving Lloris plucked Aguero's header before denying the striker one-on-one and punching a sharp Sterling shot as Spurs clung on to reach the interval level - perhaps through more luck than judgement.
But Lloris's judgement abandoned him to hand City control of the game.
The Spurs captain first rushed out to meet a long ball, but succeeded only in heading the ball into Sane, who gleefully rolled into an unguarded net before De Bruyne was afforded similar luxury to tuck home after Lloris had inexplicably spilled Sterling's cross.
But the visitors' first piece of attacking incision halved the deficit, Kyle Walker latching onto a loose ball and whipping a stunning cross that allowed Alli the simple task of nodding home from inside the six-yard box - Claudio Bravo conceding the first shot at him for the fifth time in eight games.
Danny Rose hooked the ball away from Sterling as he bore down on goal, amid calls for a penalty, but referee Andre Marriner baffled the home crowd when the England attacker was one-on-one with Lloris, only to have his shooting stride interrupted by a clear shove in the back from Walker.
Lloris subsequently launched a counter-attack and Kane - just offside - touched Christian Eriksen's pass into Son and the South Korean finished with unerring cool.
Jesus was afforded a huge reception as he replaced Sterling and his first touch almost put the winner on a plate for Sane before his own moment of glory was cut short to compound the feeling of deep frustration at the Etihad Stadium.

Liverpool 2-3 Swansea City: Sigurdsson sinks Reds in Anfield thriller

Liverpool 2-3 Swansea City: Sigurdsson sinks Reds in Anfield thrillerFernando Llorente and Roberto Firmino both bagged braces before the Swans' Icelandic forward wrapped up the points in an enthralling second half
Swansea City clambered off the foot of the Premier League table with a thrilling 3-2 victory over title hopefuls Liverpool at Anfield.
A first half of few opportunities offered little indication as to what was to follow, with Fernando Llorente netting twice inside seven minutes of the re-start – poking home from a corner before powerfully turning in a header.
The hosts hit back through a brace from Roberto Firmino, with the Brazilian’s second seeing him control the ball expertly on his chest before crashing a half-volley into the back of the net.
It was, however, to be the Swans that had the final say, with Gylfi Sigurdsson slotting past Simon Mignolet in the 74th minute to snatch all three points.

Monday, 16 January 2017

Ramos turns Liga race on its head as Madrid lose control and unbeaten record

Ramos turns Liga race on its head as Madrid lose control and unbeaten record
The centre-back was targeted by fans at the Sanchez Pizjuan and it was his own goal that allowed the home side back in as the title race reopened

Real Madrid were looking comfortable. Zinedine Zidane's side had the better off the first half at Sevilla and took the lead through a Cristiano Ronaldo penalty. There appeared little danger, but one moment changed everything.
Late Sevilla comeback ends Madrid run
Sergio Ramos had been in the headlines after the sides' Copa del Rey clash on Thursday night, when he had been the subject of abuse from fans of his former club and caused controversy first with a Panenka penalty and also afterwards as he gestured to the supporters that had been baiting him.
The Madrid captain, who started his career at Sevilla, claimed he was entitled to defend himself after the supporters had been "remembering my mother since the first minute" and Real also backed their skipper.
But obviously there was more abuse aimed at the 30-year-old in this match, even though some Sevilla supporters were uncomfortable with that treatment to one of their former players.

Ramos started in the middle of a three-man back line, with Raphael Varane on the right and Nacho on the left. It was a surprising tactical tweak by Zidane, but it worked well for much of the evening.
Ramos' Panenka not disrespectful - Sampaoli
This match was much less intense than Thursday's Copa clash. Sevilla were taking fewer risks, while there was more at stake for Real. Three at the back meant Madrid often had a spare man further forward as well and Los Blancos more than held their own.
In the second half, they started strongest and were pushing for the opening goal when Sergio Rico clattered into Dani Carvajal in the area and Cristiano Ronaldo (who had looked short of match fitness after his recent rest and gave the ball away a number of times) fired them in front from the spot.
On the sidelines, Sampaoli held his head in frustration. Once again it looked like Madrid would win an important away fixture. But just like on Thursday, when Real came back from 3-1 down to claim a 3-3 draw, two late goals altered the perspective and also the outcome of this match.

First Ramos headed into his own net. So often the man for the big occasion, a player who is renowned for providing late levellers and heroic goals for Madrid, he had done it at the wrong end this time and could barely believe it.
Madrid back Ramos in Sevilla celebration row
Suddenly, from their position of power, Madrid were on the rack as the Sanchez Pizjuan urged Sevilla to find a winner. Real instantly lost their calm, their dominance in midfield and now they looked vulnerable - with even the immense Casemiro now making mistakes.
Karim Benzema lost the ball in added time and January signing Stevan Jovetic (who scored within nine minutes after making his debut on Thursday) took advantage to beat a poorly positioned Keylor Navas in a frenetic finale as the Sanchez Pizjuan erupted.
Madrid will wonder how they lost it, but their 40-match unbeaten run is now gone and La Liga is wide open again (with Sevilla a point behind and Barca one further back - albeit both having played one more game than Real). And unfortunate as it may have been, it all started with Sergio Ramos.

'Money is not everything' - Conte issues warning amid China speculation

'Money is not everything' - Conte issues warning amid China speculation
The Spain international was left out of the Blues squad, and his manager insists that high wages in the CSL should not turn players' heads
Chelsea boss Antonio Conte has told his players "money is not everything" as speculation linking Diego Costa with a move to the Chinese Super League continues.
Costa was not included in Chelsea's squad for the 3-0 Premier League win at Leicester City on Saturday amid reports he has been offered £30million a year to move to Tianjin Quanjian.
Reports claimed the club's top goalscorer had an argument with Conte and a fitness coach in training having become unsettled by the approach, while his agent Jorge Mendes fuelled speculation by holding a meeting with the Chinese club.
RUMOURS: Costa set for summer Chelsea exit
But Conte, who insisted Costa had only missed the match because of a back injury, issued a warning to his players about the temptation of China and compared it to the prestige of playing for Chelsea.
The Italian's words come as Willian is also linked as a target for teams in the CSL after Chelsea already sold Oscar and John Obi Mikel to teams in the competition.
"The money is not everything," Conte told reporters.
"When you play for a great team like Chelsea, you must be pleased.
"I think we are a great club and it is a great honour to play for Chelsea. For this reason I don't see [China] as a threat for my players.
"I have to look at the past. Oscar played with us, had a good offer from China and he went.
"But this league is really competitive and every player wants to come and play in this league.
"This league is the first in the world because of a lot of positive things, so I don't think these offers from China are a threat for our league."
Chelsea are seven points clear of Tottenham and Liverpool at the top of the Premier League.

Mikel scores first goal for Tianjin TEDA

Mikel scores first goal for Tianjin TEDA
The Nigerian was on target for the Tianjin Tigers, though they crumbled to the Buccaneers of the League in a friendly encounter
John Obi Mikel opened his Tianjin TEDA account as they crumbled 6-2 to St. Pauli FC on Saturday.
The signing of Mikel, coupled with other arrivals in Jaime Pacheco’s squad were meant to strengthen the squad after a poor outing last season, but they bowed to 2-1 to Borussia Mönchengladbach in their pre-season outing.
Against the German second division outfit, they continued their losing streak but the 29-year-old gave a glimpse of his stellar quality when he headed in a free kick to reduce the deficit for his team who were three goals down.
Despite the heavy defeat, Mikel will be heavily tipped to enjoy a fine season with the Chinese Super League, having impressed for Chelsea last term before the arrival of manager Antonio Conte.

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Dundalk interested in former Chelsea youth Clifford

RUMOURS: Dundalk interested in former Chelsea youth Clifford
The former Blues and Leicester midfielder is a target for the League of Ireland champions, according to reports

Dundalk are in talks with former Chelsea youth team captain Conor Clifford, according to the Irish Independent.
Clifford began his professional career at Chelsea and led the Blues to their first FA Youth Cup triumph since 1961 in 2010, scoring the winning goal against Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge.
However, he left the club in 2013, joining Leicester City for a brief period, before moving on to Southend United and he was most recently plying his trade for Boreham Wood in the fifth tier of English football.
Now 25, the former Republic of Ireland Under-21 international could be set to join League of Ireland champions Dundalk, who are keen to progress after a historic season, which saw them compete in the Europa League group stage.
Stephen Kenny's side have also been linked with a move for Celtic forward Michael Duffy as the club looks to find a replacement for Daryl Horgan, who left the club for Preston North End.

Who did winner Cristiano Ronaldo vote for?

Cristiano Ronaldo holding his trophy after being crowned the world's best player
Cristiano Ronaldo scored 42 goals in 44 games in 2016, and contributed 14 assists
Cristiano Ronaldo was named the world's best player at the inaugural Best Fifa Football Awards, beating old rival Lionel Messi to the title.
It caps another amazing 12 months for the Real Madrid and Portugal player, a Champions League,European Championship and Ballon d'Or winner in 2016.
But who did he vote for?
The voting data throws up some interesting - and sometimes surprising - results.
Take our quiz to see how well you can guess the voting patterns of the world football community. Premier League winner made Wayne Rooney's list, alongside Cristiano Ronaldo and Luis Suarez? manager Gareth Southgate went for Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and one of Leicester's heroes. But which one? Zealand's Anthony Hudson and the captain of which other country were the only men to vote Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino as their top coach? the 11 players named in the Fifa team of the year, only one had not played for a Spanish club in 2016. Who was it? Pogba, the world's most expensive player, received just one nomination for the number one spot, from which country's media representative? cross-town rival, Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero, received just one nomination for top spot. But from the journalist of which country? coach Didier Deschamps selected Antoine Griezmann as his top choice, but which of his compatriots did he leave out? and runner-up Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi tend not to vote for each other. Which of Ronaldo's Real Madrid team-mates did he put in first place? similarly voted for three of his domestic team-mates, but who did he pick as number one? winner has been crowned, but who was nominated the fewest times from the shortlisted candidates?