Vincenzo Montella is working miracles at AC Milan


AC Milan thrilled once again at the weekend as they despatched Empoli 4-1 away from home. The Rossonieri stormed into the top three in Serie A and with Juventus losing at the weekend the league is looking very interesting.

Milan who have been a shadow of themselves since winning the Champions League in 2007 have been in the shadows of Juventus and Inter Milan for nigh on a decade. They have lacked the direction, power, hunger and focus that made the club not only the best team in Italy but the best in the world. They dominated European football in the late 80s and early 90s and are still the last club to win the European Cup back to back. That record is now 26 years old and counting.

The Black and Reds last won the league in 2011, to stop the success of their eternal rivals Inter Milan who had the season previously won the treble which included the Champions League. To be fair Milan were already on the slide and their 2011 triumph was seen as a speed bump surprise. Nevertheless under Massimiliano Allegri the team claimed their first scudetto since 2004.

If the tide of change had not been apparent at the San Siro up until then, then it did rear its ugly head for the past five season where Milan have been a mere footnote in European football. Time and again the 7 times European Cup winners have had poor forgettable seasons, where they haven’t even finished high enough to qualify for Europe’s premier competition.

And the managers have come and gone: Mauro Tassotti replaced Allegri when he was sacked in 2014 as caretaker manager. The club quickly found a permanent manager in Clarence Seedorf who became the first black manager in almost two decades to take charge of a Serie A side. Known as a legend with the club, playing 300 games and winning multiple trophies the Dutchman was shown the door after 22 games. At that point he certainly had his critics but with a 50% win rate Seedorf perhaps needed some more time to find his footing and wasn’t allowed the chance.

Another Milan legend took the hot seat in Filippo Inzaghi he lasted a season after the Rossonieri finished a disappointing 10th place, 35 points from that years champion Juventus. Sinisa Mihajlovic and Cristian Brocchi were the next two coaches hardly lasting a season as Milan still struggled to make a lasting impact.

Vincenzo Montella became the seventh coach this decade in the summer and started to ring the changes. Some 27 players mostly youth and fringe were cleared out, arguably the most controversial was club legend Paolo Maldini’s son Christian who went to Reggiana on a free. Five players were brought in by Montella. The most expensive was Gianluca Lapadula for 9m euros from Pescara.

Montella has used a 4-3-3 as his preferred choice, quite a surprise in Serie A to have three players pushed up in the forward role and Montella has kept this system even in away games. Right now it’s paying dividends as Milan has had their best start for five years. Currently in 3rd position the club has is on a 4 game unbeaten run and lost 3 games this season. At home they are undefeated and they are scoring goals too.

Is Montella then finally the right man for this team? For now the former Roma player appears to be. One thing is for sure Milan haven’t looked this good since the days they were led under Carlo Ancelotti.

From a football fans perspective the current Champions League doesn’t seem completely the same without the famous red and black striped team who Ancelotti once said the competition was in the teams DNA.

Milan are currently in qualification for the competition, but they are also just four points behind leaders Juventus, the ultimate dominant force in Italy this decade. And it is clear to see that the club has every intention to hunt down their 19th title.


Chelsea end Tottenham’s unbeaten record in Premier League


And then it fell after 13 games Tottenham were the last of the teams in the Premier League hanging onto an unbeaten run. But Chelsea the new league leaders ended that with a 2-1 win at Stamford Bridge.

It was after all probably fitting that the record would end at the bridge given that Tottenham have failed to win here in the league since 1990. But the visitors had moments to dream especially when Christian Eriksen had given them the lead after just 11 minutes. That goal was the first one that Antonio Conte’s men had conceded at home since September 16th.

Pedro who has turned his once Chelsea nightmare 360 degrees equalised with a stunning strike and Victor Moses scrambled effort was enough to see out a win which shot Chelsea back to the summit of the league at the expense of Liverpool and Manchester City who also both claimed victories on Saturday.

For Tottenham they may have lost just once this season but they slipped to 5th place and seven points behind the leaders with this defeat.  Perhaps though the writing was on the wall for Spurs because their recent results and form did suggest a stay of execution. They have achieved just 1 win in their last six matches, form wise they would be 12th in the league and with 6 draws that’s almost 50% of their games played so far they have the most draws in the league.

Chelsea are looking like a breath of fresh air after their stagnant last 18 months and if confirmation had not been seen on the pitch it was surely evident at the full time whistle against a rival that has no love lost between the two teams. Chelsea manager Conte ran onto the field at final whistle embracing his team, there is love here within the squad and a respect not seen when Jose Mourinho was here.

For Tottenham it was a case of a terrible week- their Premier League hopes have been dented, the club have not won the title since 1961, and of course it was a week when they crashed out of the Champions League at the group stages. They will now fight in their final match against CSKA to make it to the Europa League. However one has to question if this team have the fight- can they realistically give efforts in two hard competitions? Or should they concentrate on the league and finishing as high as they can?

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Sergio Aguero is the key to success for Manchester City


Yet again there he was the Argentinian arms aloft after having scored a brace against Burnley who turned out to be a very difficult opponent for Manchester City this weekend as the Citizens came from behind to win 2-1.

His name is Sergio Aguero and he was already of course a world class striker before Pep Guardiola came to England. But week in week out Aguero is proving just how good he is especially when in recent weeks City have been under par, drawing too much, thinking too much and being a shadow of the team that started this Premier League campaign with six wins out of six.

Aguero got the equaliser here today at Turf Moor and then secured the win on the hour mark after some neat work by Fernandino. This win at least for a couple of hours propelled City back to the top of the standings. City are now back in the mix and manager Guardiola will be demanding this team have a good run to Christmas and beyond to have any chance of a first title challenge since 2014.

Aguero has gone joint top of the goalscoring charts with 10 alongside Chelsea’s Diego Costa. But the player known as Kun is the real stardust in a side that will need that extra push as evidently seen in what turned out to be a nightmarish October for the side.

He is a player that can always be relied on and needs minimal chances to score goals, in short he is a top 5 world class striker and Guardiola must be relived some to have someone of his calibre in his side. So it is odd that he chose not play Aguero against Barcelona when the two teams met up at the Nou Camp earlier this season, there of course City were crushed 4-0. In the return match Guardiola did not make the same mistake as City ran out 3-1 winners.

The only problem that comes with Aguero is his injuries- unfortunately despite all of his talent the player is made of glass. He has missed an average of 8 games per season since his arrival in the summer of 2011.

But when fit the player is gold, he has scored 110 goals from just 160 league appearances and his total stands at 150 goals from 224 games.

City are up there alongside the likes of Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal and as the league begins to take shape and tells us its own story this season one man could well be the leading light for his team and that man is right now at least Sergio Aguero.


Top Five Fantasy Football Midfielders – La Liga


An exciting weekend of action awaits in La Liga and here, we take a look at five midfielders who are on form and in with the best chance of earning you some Fantasy Football League points. Rafinha, Pione Sisto, Sarabia, Angel Correa and Toni Kroos all come under the spotlight as we look for some points.

Barcelona midfielder Rafinha, who is valued at just 5M, has had a great season so far and has weighed in with a total of 30 points in just six starts for the Spanish giants. They face a tricky tie this weekend against an in-form Real Sociedad side, but with Messi back in action and scoring a double against Celtic midweek in the Champions League, they will be eager to win here and keep the pressure on leaders Real Madrid. And you can see the odds on Rafinha to score this weekend at

Pione Sisto has been pivotal in the centre of the park for Celta de Vigo this season. In just seven starts, the midfielder who is valued at 5M, has scored two, assisted two and kept two clean sheets. His Price/Performance ratio of 3.6 will definitely rise as the season goes on and is certainly one midfielder up for consideration this weekend as Celta face a Granada side who are still without a win this season. See the betting for Celta.

Sevilla are third in La Liga coming into this weekends action and a large part of their form is down to Sarabia in the middle of the park. The midfielder has chipped in with three goals, three assists and two clean sheets in just five starts and as the season progresses he is getting more game time. His value of 2.5M and his return of 20 points gives terrific value for money.

Atletico Marid midfielder Angel Correa has started just four matches but returned a total of 22 points for the season. The super-sub has contributed three goals, three assists and four clean sheets and with his value of just 4M he looks like terrific value. Atletico Madrid face Osasuna at the weekend and with a tough schedule coming up, he may well start this game.

Real Madrid face Sporting Gijon and it’s unlikely they will slip up this weekend. Pulling the strings in midfield will be Toni Kroos and he can be signed for your team for 8.5M. He has weighed in with a total of one goal, six assists and three clean sheets. A clean sheet here should be the least of the points he gains this weekend.


Top Five Fantasy Football Midfielders – Serie A


Assists and goals are precious for a midfielder in Fantasty Football League and here we will take a look at the top five midfielders from Serie A that should be in your team. We feature Suso, Ivan Perisic, Mohamed Salah, Gregoire Defrel and Merek Hamsik. All contenders for a decent return this weekend.

Milan midfielder Suso is having a terrific season and on the back of two goals last weekend against rivals Inter, he is a player on form and should be a massive danger to Empoli. Incredibly, he is valued at just 2.5M and has been the second best performing midfielder in Serie A this season. His Price/Performance ration of 16.4 has to be one of the highest in the league and with sixteen points gained in his last three matches he should be one of the first names down on the team-sheet.

Mohamed Salah leads the way for midfielders in Serie A this season with a massive return of 48 points. He doesn’t come cheap at 9.5M, but the goalscoring midfielder is on fire this season with eight goals, four assists and two clean sheets. As Roma face up to third bottom Pescara at the weekend, this is a chance for him to build on his total for the season so far and you can see Salah in action at the Stadio Olimpico with tickets on sale now at

Slovakian star, Marek Hamsik has been a steady performer for Napoli and although they are not quite hitting the heights of last season yet, one would expect them to be a lot closer at the end of the season. The midfielder has chipped in with three goals, two assists and four clean sheets and as they are at home to Sassuolo this weekend, they should have enough to win this match, keeping a clean sheet in the process.

Ivan Perisic, Inter’s Midfielder had a decent match against Milan last time out. He scored one and assisted one, following on from his previous match where he scored and kept a clean sheet. This has boosted his points total to 21 for the season and with a crucial, winnable match against Fiorentina, he is certainly worth consideration.

Jasmin Kurtic has been outstanding in the middle fo the park in a season where Atalanta have impressed. He has accumulated a total of 23 points in his twelve starts and with a match against Bologna, they have a great chance of winning. He is valued at just 3.5M and it may be worth taking a chance on him producing the goods.

Victoria con Víctor

Victor Sanchez

Aún es muy pronto para estimar el porvenir del Betis en esta temporada, pero lo que parece evidente tras el primer partido de Víctor Sánchez es que el equipo verdiblanco ha recuperado la ilusión y ha dado el primer paso que le lleva por el buen camino. Tras una racha negativa que asomaba al Betis al infierno de Segunda y que propició la destitución de Poyet, el nuevo entrenador ha hecho su primera prueba con resultados satisfactorios en la victoria frente a Las Palmas. Víctor Sánchez aún tantea la clave, pero el encuentro del Villamarín ha dejado algunos destellos del nuevo Betis, sobre todo en lo que se refiere al protagonismo de varios futbolistas.

Rubén Castro

A muchos sorprendió que Poyet dejara en el banquillo al máximo goleador verdiblanco. Es cierto que con su edad quizá haya que rotarle en los minutos finales, pero Castro debe ser la referencia ofensiva del equipo.


Muy alabado por Víctor, quién ya ha dicho públicamente que será uno de los estandartes del nuevo Betis. Como prueba, se marcó un partidazo en el Villamarín.


¿Por qué quedó relegado con Poyet? A la perla de la cantera bética le han tentado grandes equipos de la talla del Real Madrid, pero el jugador decidió quedarse en el Betis. En el primer encuentro, Ceballos mostró un dominio claro en el centro del campo y apunta a tardes de gloria.


Este fue otro de los jugadores que contaron poco para Poyet, pero el defensa bético mostró una gran solidez en su puesto frente al equipo canario. Y no solo eso, sino que además anotó el primer gol de su equipo.

Ryan Donk

El holandés que llegó en el mercado de verano, creó muchas expectativas. Sin embargo, apenas había jugado 2 partidos en toda la Liga, los cuales ni siquiera terminó ninguno porque le sustituyeron en ambos. Pero con Víctor fue titular y disputó los 90 minutos. Y tras el partido, se ha reivindicado en su deseo de jugar más.

Aún es pronto para saber si el Betis mantendrá esta línea positiva en los próximos encuentros o, si por el contrario, solo ha sido un espejismo. Pero de momento parecen haberse reconciliado la plantilla y la afición, y eso es clave para la remontada bética.

Sin Bale no Vale

Gareth Bale and Vincent Kompany

Bale se ha lesionado de gravedad, se tiene que someter a una operación de tobillo que le mantendrá alejado de los terrenos de juego durante dos meses. Se trata de uno más de los lesionados que hay en la enfermería blanca, uniéndose así a los actuales Morata, Kroos o Casemiro, y a otros que ya se han recuperado como Modric, Benzema o Ramos; sin ser éstos los únicos.

Por tanto, otro quebradero de cabeza más para Zizou, ¿qué hará el Madrid durante su baja? Los próximos partidos apuntan a que el beneficiado será Lucas Vázquez y no está tan claro el protagonismo que pueda adquirir James. Sin embargo, e independientemente de que el jugador que le supla pueda cumplir o no, el conjunto merengue va a perder en otros aspectos futbolísticos. Especialmente en el juego aéreo, la velocidad y la amplitud.

Juego aéreo

Bale mide 1,83 metros, pero salta a gran altura y remata muy bien de cabeza. Sin ir más lejos, el año pasado la mitad de los tantos ligeros que marcó los consiguió gracias a un testarazo.


Bale sabe abrir espacios y, lo más importante, jugarlos. Eso permite que el equipo se despliegue en ataque, pruebe fortuna por las bandas y ocasione peligro. La amplitud es otra de las características que define al galés.


Pero si hubiera que definir a Gareth en una sola palabra, esa sería «velocidad». Aún resuena en el Bernabéu aquel gol en la final de Copa, pero desde luego que no ha sido el único. El galés es muy rápido con y sin el balón, algo muy importante en una ofensiva y prácticamente letal en un contraataque.

Aún es pronto para determinar plazos más concretos de su lesión, pero el objetivo es que llegue con algo de rodaje a los octavos de la Champions. Mientras tanto, el Madrid tendrá que lidiar con el campeonato liguero, la Copa del Rey y el Mundialito de clubes. Demasiados compromisos en los que se echará de falta a Bale.

RB Leipzig’s rise to the top of European football is stunning


Here’s a pub quiz question which may well come up next summer. Which German team won the Bundesliga but were not formed until 2009? The answer could be RB Leipzig and it is fair to say that if you hadn’t heard of them before you most probably have now, because currently they are sitting in first place in the Bundesliga.

RB Leipzig have been in one word incredible. In a league that features one of the greatest clubs in the world in Bayern Munich, RB Leipzig are not only in first place but after 11 games are still undefeated. The current record reads won 8 and drawn 3. One of those wins include victory over the impressive Borussia Dortmund who have been excellent in the Champions League this season and currently lie in 3rd place a cool six points adrift of the leaders.

Even the mighty Bayern have had to yield to the club as they have seen a 3 point gap appear. So what gives, how come RB Leipzig have seemingly come from nowhere to be everywhere?

Last season the club known affectionately as Die Bullen- translated in English – the bulls were playing in Bundesliga 2. This is a league which they eventually won and thus promotion was guaranteed. But nobody expected this sort of start.

The club are led by coach Ralph Hasenhuttl who is from Austria and started his playing career as a forward at Grazer before moving to Austria Wien. He played for six seasons in Germany but never made it big and played out his twilight years at Bayern Munich II.

For Austria he was capped just 8 times and last played for his country in 1994. His management career started in 2007 with some minor clubs before he headed back to Germany and took charge of Inglostadt. He helped the team clinch promotion to the Bundesliga and the team have been solid since. In the summer his impressive work was rewarded to take newly promoted RB Leipzing further and he has impressed with a win rate of 66%.

There a lot of ingredients that have made Leipzig look so good. Hasenhuttl has deployed a mean defence, the team have conceded just 9 goals this season and he has taken the model he developed at Inglostadt to start from the back. One believes Hasenhuttl would be a popular figure in Serie A.

The team is led at the back by 31-year-old Marvin Compper a natural leader and the club can rely on Swedish sensation Emil Forsberg who already has five goals this season.

Hasenhuttl is also very animated on the touchline and is quite a character and it’s obvious to see that he is the man of the moment right now. There is a hunger and a desire to do well and it will be very interesting to see how far he can take his team after such an impressive start to the campaign.

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Champions League round up: 12 goal thriller in Dortmund as Tottenham crash out!


The Champions League returned on Tuesday and what a night it was as we witnessed 28 goals.

But it will be the match in Dortmund that will be talked about for some time as Borussia Dortmund beat Legia by a massive 8-4 score line to stay in charge of their group ahead of Spanish giants Real Madrid. The group winner will be decided in the final game where Real will play Dortmund at the Santiago Bernabeu. A draw would mean Dortmund would win the group.

But back to a match that enthralled from the first minute. There was an incredible 7 goals in the first 32 minutes in Germany and oddly enough it was Legia the rank outsiders who took the lead. The first half ended 5-2 to Dortmund. Manuel Reus would end up with a hat-trick as the Germans who claimed a superb 1-0 victory over Bayern Munich at the weekend ran scored another three goals in the second half. To their credit Legia fought for everything, and it’s not often you score 4 goals away from home and still lose.

Legia bow out of the Champions League after conceding 24 goals in just five games however if they beat Sporting in their final match they would qualify for the Europa League.

Tottenham might be unbeaten in the Premier League this season but it’s an all new ball game in the Champions League where they have been knocked out of the competition. A 2-1 loss away to Monaco meant that the team had lost 3 games from five and now they will have to beat CSKA at Wembley Stadium to qualify for the Europa League in what has been a disastrous European campaign for Spurs.

Karim Benzema kept Real Madrid’s chances of topping their group alive with a last minute winner over Sporting as the champions ran out 2-1 winners in Portugal. If Real had drawn the game Dortmund would have won the group with a game to spare and now when the two meet up their will be excitement given that the match is not a dead rubber as expected.

Leicester City are having an indifferent league campaign but in Europe look unstoppable and continued their fine form with another win, this time at home to Club Brugge 2-1. The win was huge as it means that the Foxes have qualified in first place and should in theory avoid one of the bigger teams in the knock out round.

Juventus look favourites to win their group after an impressive 3-1 win away to Sevilla. The Italian giants are top and if they beat Dinamo Zagreb at home they will ease through. Sevilla will play Lyon in what will effectively be a knock out game to see who joins Juve in the last 16.

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Klinsmann sacked as USA coach; Bruce Arena waiting in the wings


Jurgen Klinsmann has been sacked as coach of the USA after losing back to back matches in the World Cup qualifiers.

German Klinsmann has had a rather successful time in charge of the United States since being appointed in 2011 which saw the national side beat Mexico for the first time in Mexico. The nation also qualified from their World Cup group stage in 2014 and there had been a good feeling under Klinsmann’s reign.

But while US Soccer’s chiefs were quick to praise the German they thought it best at this stage to move on and look for another coach. Sunil Gulati the head of US soccer said: “Today we made the difficult decision of parting ways with Jurgen Klinsmann, our head coach of the US men’s national team and technical director we want to thank Jurgen for his hard work and commitment during these last five years. He took pride in having the responsibility of steering the program, and there were considerable achievements along the way.

“Many are aware of the historic victories, including leading us out of the Group of Death to the Round of 16 in the 2014 Fifa World Cup, but there were also lesser publicized efforts behind the scenes. He challenged everyone in the US Soccer community to think about things in new ways, and thanks to his efforts we have grown as an organization and expect there will be benefits from his work for years to come.

“While we remain confident that we have quality players to help us advance to Russia 2018, the form and growth of the team up to this point left us convinced that we need to go in a different direction. With the next qualifying match in late March, we have several months to refocus the group and determine the best way forward to ensure a successful journey to qualify for our eighth consecutive World Cup.”

Klinsmann’s record for the US was impressive with a win rate of 61% for competitive matches and 53% for friendlies. Altogether Klinsmann coached 98 games for the States winning 55 of those.

So who will step into his shoes? The favourite with the US media is Bruce Arena current coach at LA Galaxy and the coach of course for the US for 8 years between 1998-2006. Arena seems the perfect fit for the hot seat and is seen as something akin to a legend in American soccer.

This week there are 16 matches in the UEFA Champions League as the group games commence, why not click on this link to create YOUR own team.

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