Monaco princes primed to snatch PSG’s crown

< !DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> Paris (AFP) – Monaco have a real chance to end two years of complete domestic dominance by Paris Saint Germain when they face the title holders in Saturday’s French League Cup final. Owned by billionaire Russian businessman Dmitry Rybolovlev, Monaco have banked on recruiting the cream of French youth whilst their Portuguese coach Leonardo Jardim has unleashed Europe’s highest scorers on the pitch. They have also earned a fortune selling on the likes of James Rodriguez, Anthony Martial and others to balance the books at a visibly burgeoning club. The latest starlet to emerge at Monaco is 18-year-old striker Kylian Mbappe, who will be firmly in the spotlight at Lyon’s Stade Olympique this weekend. Chelsea are among Europe’s big guns reportedly chasing him and their star striker Diego Costa last week called Mbappe “a phenomenon”. Underlining his fast-growing reputation, Barcelona’s Gerard Pique picked out the youngster at half time of Continue reading "Monaco princes primed to snatch PSG’s crown"

Mkhitaryan reaps rewards of United’s patience

< !DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Henrikh Mkhitaryan insists he was never concerned about his Manchester United career despite making a slow start to life at Old Trafford. The United playmaker made just one substitute appearance in two and a half months earlier this season as he struggled for fitness and form following his arrival from Borussia Dortmund. But, as the Armenian prepared for United’s home game with West Bromwich Albion on Saturday, the 28-year-old claimed he was never concerned about his place in Jose Mourinho’s plans. “Our life is worthless without difficulties,” Mkhitaryan said. “Every person must be able to handle difficulties and the same concerns me. “But it was not difficult for me to overcome these difficulties as I knew that sooner or later I would get my chance and I would use that. “Yes, there are cases when a person faces much tougher problems, but he or she Continue reading "Mkhitaryan reaps rewards of United’s patience"

Revived Leicester face make or break month

< !DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> Leicester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Leicester’s clash with Stoke on Saturday marks the beginning of another potentially historic month for the champions as they target domestic survival and shock European glory. Eight games are ahead in a busy period for Craig Shakespeare’s rejuvenated side, who continue to combine their fight against Premier League relegation with a quest for further surprises in the Champions League. Stoke’s visit to the King Power Stadium is followed by another key home game against Sunderland on Tuesday, with the Champions League quarter-final against Atletico Madrid also looming. And Leicester winger Marc Albrighton believes his team, six points above the relegation zone, will enter the momentous period in good shape after the international break. “The lads were ready for a break and we know we’ve got a lot of games this coming month that are going to be massively important to how our season shapes up,” Continue reading "Revived Leicester face make or break month"

Hazard and Chelsea look to switch focus back to title race

< !DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> London (AFP) – Chelsea will aim to resume their steady march towards the Premier League title after an international break in which the focus was on the future of Eden Hazard. The 26-year-old Belgian star sat out Chelsea’s last game at Stoke City as well as Belgium’s fixtures during the recess with a calf problem but should return for the visit of Crystal Palace to Stamford Bridge. The forward, though, has still found himself the centre of attention following reports this week he is a target for Real Madrid. Hazard has been one of the main factors in Chelsea’s dominance of the Premier League table this season -– Antonio Conte’s side face Palace sitting ten points clear, with ten games remaining –- after rediscovering the form he showed in the 2015 title triumph. Chelsea are determined to hold on to the player but the interest from Spain has provided an Continue reading "Hazard and Chelsea look to switch focus back to title race"

Lallana blow gives Klopp derby headache

< !DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> Liverpool (AFP) – Adam Lallana’s thigh injury is a significant setback for Jurgen Klopp as he seeks to strengthen Liverpool’s Champions League qualification chances with victory over Everton in Saturday’s Merseyside derby. Lallana is expected to be out for a month, having suffered the injury during the closing stages of England’s 2-0 victory over Lithuania at Wembley last Sunday. The former Southampton midfielder been one of the most reliable performers this season in a Liverpool side who have lacked consistency, and his absence will be felt keenly as Reds boss Klopp attempts to secure a top-four Premier League finish. They sit fourth going into the weekend’s fixtures, with a four-point advantage over Manchester United in fifth. United do have two games in hand, but that is no guarantee that they will make up the gap, as they have matches at Manchester City, Arsenal and Tottenham before the end of the Continue reading "Lallana blow gives Klopp derby headache"

Drugs ban came from spiked drink: Berahino

< !DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> London (AFP) – Stoke City striker Saido Berahino says he was an innocent party and did not take drugs claiming to the BBC someone spiked his drink which led to an eight week ban earlier this season. The 23-year-old — who moved to Stoke from Premier League rivals West Brom in the January transfer window for £12million ($15 million, 13.9 million euros) — claimed his drink was spiked at a night club. “To be banned for something you really haven’t done is hard to take,” the former England Under-21 international told the BBC adding the level of the drug in his body was so low it proved he hadn’t intentionally taken it. “You go on a night out, you don’t know who you are around and there are people who are out to get you. “Of course, I was in a nightclub, so I hold my hand up for Continue reading "Drugs ban came from spiked drink: Berahino"

Soccer TV: Seattle Sounders vs Atlanta United

seattle-sounders-atlanta-united-mls-soccer-team-logosWeek 5 in MLS starts on the Friday soccer TV schedule with two games on Fox Sports 1. There's also La Liga, the Championship and the Bundesliga with the European leagues resuming after the international break. Seattle Sounders vs Atlanta United on Fox Sports 1 at 10pm. We already know that Clint Dempsey is all the way back for country and club, benefitting the defending MLS champions. Atlanta makes the journey to the Pacific Northwest already convinced that they can play in this league. Seattle beat the New York Red Bulls 3-1 in their last game. Atlanta shutout Chicago 4-0 at home, once again drawing a lot of fans. "Word is spreading around the league that something special is going on here and it’s because of the fans," Atlanta's Michael Parkhurst said. "If we go out there and we win 4-0 but there’s only 4,000 fans there, it’s different vs Continue reading "Soccer TV: Seattle Sounders vs Atlanta United"