Imagine a season without Alisson Becker. It's a season that involves a first Merseyside derby defeat in eight years, a group stage exit of the Champions League and no record Premier League points total. Indeed, a season without Alisson is a season without 97 points and 21 clean sheets. It's a season without a sixth European Cup. And it's a season that very nearly happened. Because, make no mistake, there was a point last summer that Liverpool had all but walked away from a deal for the Brazilian goalkeeper. Now, one year on from Alisson's unveiling as a Liverpool player in a £65m deal, it's easy to forget that the Reds almost started the season with Danny Ward as their number one goalkeeper - but that really is a prospect Jurgen Klopp was facing up to in summer 2018. That Liverpool ended up with Alisson is testament to the patience of Klopp and the mettle of Michael Edwards. The duo held their nerve - and the Reds pulled off a signing that put the finishing touches to a team that … [Read more...] about Roma U-turn and Salah text
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Fabian Delph’s arrival at Manchester City four years ago crept under the radar … unless you were an Aston Villa fan, waving an inflatable snake. The Yorkshire-born midfielder - set to join Everton - arrived at City for a modest £8million due to a clause in his contract, a huge disappointment to supporters at Villa Park, where he had become a shining light in a bleak squad. City fans were busy absorbing the arrival of Raheem Sterling from Liverpool for £44million and getting heartily sick of the Kevin De Bruyne transfer saga, which dragged on all summer. Delph was quickly filed in the box marked “useful but cheap enough if it doesn’t work out” by City fans. He was reviled by Villa fans, who dubbed him a "snake" after he had done a U-tun on his initial decision to stay with the Midlands club. Outside the club, the atmosphere was not forgiving – he was bundled up with Jack Rodwell, Scott Sinclair and Adam Johnson, as young English players … [Read more...] about Fabian Delph’s time at Man City brilliantly analysed
When Mikel Arteta came close to leaving the Etihad to take over at Arsenal last summer you could understand the attraction. The midfielder spent five years at the Emirates Stadium, knew the club inside and out and the challenge of replacing Arsene Wenger and restoring the Gunners to the top four and, perhaps, to title challengers was an attractive one. It seemed Arteta was about to leave City and take the job before Arsenal's 11th hour u-turn, appointing Unai Emery instead. That might have been a disappointment to the Spaniard, but the consolation prize wasn't bad. Another year as Pep Guardiola's assistant, learning the ropes from the best manager in the game, working with an incredible set of players in an environment where his influence was appreciated and growing. Phil Foden and Raheem Sterling are just two of the City players who have praised the impact Arteta has had on their games, staying behind to carry out extra one-on-one work with the coach at the end of training. The former … [Read more...] about Why Arteta should stick with Man City and turn Newcastle down
ISTANBUL The champion of the Tahincioğlu Turkish Basketball League’s 2018-2019 season will be decided on June 21 when Anadolu Efes hosts Fenerbahçe Beko at Sinan Erdem Dome. The best-of-seven finals series is tied at 3-3 after Fenerbahçe beat city rival Efes 85-69 late on June 19. Serbian shooting guard Marko Guduric was man of the match for the winning side, scoring 21 points and posting six rebounds in 24 minutes. Italian Nicolo Melli scored 14 points and grabbed five rebounds, while guard Kostas Sloukas of Greece contributed to the victory with 11 points and eight assists. Bobby Dixon, aka Ali Muhammed, played with 11 points, seven rebounds and two assists. Efes was unable to avoid the away loss, but four of its players scored in double digits. The top scorer of the visiting side was Shane Larkin as the U.S. guard posted 16 points and three assists. Guards Vasilije Micic and Krunoslav Simon scored 12 points each, while forward Bryant Dunston added 11 points and … [Read more...] about Efes, Fenerbahçe clash in Turkish league title decider
The mood among the Paris Saint-Germain players on Sunday as they celebrated their Ligue 1 title was as raucous as would be expected. PSG’s Ligue 1 triumph had been inevitable for weeks – if not months – but it was officially sealed earlier that day, when nearest challengers Lille could only manage a goalless draw at Toulouse. With their sixth title win in the past seven seasons secure, PSG duly marked the occasion by sweeping aside Monaco 3-1 at the Parc des Prince. The champagne flowed, a shirtless Neymar and Kylian Mbappe were filmed embracing, and Dani Alves – ever the entertainer – even took an impromptu swim, splashing around the floor of the dressing room as teammates drenched him in water. After the game, PSG’s chairman Nasser Al-Khelaifi – part of the Qatari investment group which has poured well over $1 billion into the club in recent years – said: “Ligue 1 is the flagship event of a triumphant country at the … [Read more...] about PSG & Man City: Why are Arab petrodollars failing to fuel European success?