Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis and Carlo Ancelotti have already been active this summer with the signings of Simone Verdi, Alex Meret and Fabian Ruiz, but are very much exploring opportunity on the market to bolster their roster in an attempt to battle for domestic honors in 2018-19 once again. Continue reading
Argentina’s disappointing display against Iceland saw them fail to break down a side that, on paper, should have been easily dispatched.
A lot of criticism fell on the shoulders of their talismanic striker Lionel Messi, whose performance failed to live up to the high standards that he has set for himself - his dismal afternoon culminating in a poor penalty that would have secured his country an important three points.
Having scored 34 goals for Barcelona in 2017/18 during a campaign saw him bag 161 points – the second highest tally in Europe behind Continue reading
Check out our picks ahead of the weekends Ligue 1 action!
Alphonse Areola, PSG – 93 point
The academy product has grown into a key member of the PSG squad, having spend time on loan at the likes of Villarreal.
With 15 clean sheets already registered, could he be an outsider for the World Cup?
Kamil Glik, Monaco – 52 points
Glik has secured an impressive 11 clean sheets this season for a Monaco side that have hit a rich vein of form and face Guingamp on the weekend.
The Polish centre back has been a stalwart of the Monaco team since his arrival at the club and will be a pivotal player in their upcoming tie.
Joris Gnagnon, Rennes – 39 points
Gnagnon has kept nine clean sheets this campaign, as well as bagging a couple in the process.
His fifth placed side face Nantes this weekend as they pursue European football.
Presnel Kimpembe, PSG – 48 points
The Paris Saint-Germain academy player has continued to grow in stature for his side over 2017/18, becoming a regular performer for the super club.
Having secured 12 clean sheets for the champions-elect, the French centre back will be keen to add to that tally as his side travel to Saint-Etienne for some Friday football.
With his side traveling to Bordeaux, he will be hoping to add another as his side close in on the title.
Angel Di Maria, PSG – 83 points
The Argentine midfielder will be hoping for a big end of the season as the World Cup approaches and will be hoping to make an impact against a Bordeaux team that have won their last two matches.
With 11 goals and seven assists, the weekend’s game won’t be guaranteed but he’ll be a favourite to make a difference.
Florian Thauvin, Marseille – 108 points
The Frenchman’s exceptional campaign continues, with him now the highest scoring player in Ligue 1 – a formidable accomplishment.
With Marseille travelling to Lille, he will likely be confident of claiming a few more this weekend.
Nabil Fekir, Lyon – 80 points
Fekir has been the star of the campaign and will be hoping he can build upon his 16 goals in 2017/18.
He will likely look back at 2017/18 as a season that couldn’t have gone much better in a personal capacity in spite of his side’s shortcomings.
Marcos Lopes, Monaco – 83 points
Up against Guingamp, Lopes will be hoping to deliver the form that has seen him deliver 13 goals this season.
With a successful campaign under his belt, Lopes is finally showing he can fulfil the promise he showed at Manchester City.
Radamel Falcao, Monaco – 77 points
Falcao’s excellent season shows remains in the top bracket of world strikers.
With 18 goals this season, the iconic Columbian will be hoping to add to his tally.
Valere Germain, Marseille – 34 points
The former Monaco man’s side ace a struggling Lille and the 28-year-old will be keen to add to his eleven goals and five assists.
With Thauvin alongside him, the striker will be rightfully confident of achieving this.
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Some tough Ligue 1 fixtures greet us this weekend, with fixtures that could influence both the battles for relegation and the Champions League spots.
With that in mind, we take a look at the players that are likely to shine across some of these big fixtures – with stars from PSG, Monaco and Nice filling a number of the berths.
Ángel Di María regresa al estadio Santiago Bernabéu en un importante duelo de Champions League. Y el morbo está servido ante la duda de cómo recibirán los aficionados al argentino. El «Fideo» fue capaz de lo mejor y de lo peor durante sus cuatro años en el conjunto blanco y, finalmente, salió por la puerta de atrás.
Este martes será la primera vez que vuelva a pisar el césped de Chamartín tras su marcha, y no será precisamente en un partido sin nada en juego. Tanto el Real Madrid como el Paris Sant-Germain son dos aspirantes a levantar la orejona en mayo, así que sacarán sus garras más afiladas. En esta fase de grupos, ambos equipos tienen el paso encarrilado para la siguiente fase, pero tras el empate a cero de la ida, la ambiciosa primera plaza aún está en el aire. Por tanto, el encuentro puede tornarse tenso.
Di María llegó al Real Madrid en 2010, siendo apenas un desconocido que despuntaba en la liga portuguesa y presentándose como una gran apuesta blanca. Los ojeadores no se equivocaron, el argentino demostró su velocidad, acierto en el pase y potencia como guinda de sus goles. Además, ha sabido responder en momentos clave; como evidencias están su gol la final de Copa en 2014 o su premio al hombre del partido tras ganar la Décima.
No obstante, y como ya hemos dicho antes, no todo ha sido de color de rosa. El duro carácter de Di María propició algunos encontronazos con los aficionados, quizá el más sonado fue cuando se llevó las manos a los genitales dirigiéndose al público tras un cambio en el Bernabéu. Las declaraciones de Ángel no ayudaron y las exigencias económicas de su renovación solo le sirvieron para tildarle de pesetero. Por tanto, el club consideró que lo mejor era venderle para no contagiar el malestar en el vestuario. El verano pasado fichó por el Manchester United, abandonando Chamartín por la puerta de atrás.
Durante su paso por los Red Devils, que recordemos que no jugaron en Europa la pasada campaña, no alzó ningún título y terminó hace unos meses con un traspaso a golpe de talonario por parte del jeque del PSG. Di María ha mejorado su nómina, pero parece que no su palmarés. No obstante, ya ha concedido varias entrevistas hablando de su pasado en Madrid, siempre alabando al club. ¿Acaso se trata de artimañita para dejar la puerta entreabierta ante una posible vuelta o es que realmente supuso una época irrepetible para el futbolista? Serán los aficionados quien le juzguen. ¿Le aplaudirán como mérito tras su flamante paso por el Bernabéu o le pitarán por su aptitud maleducada y egoísta? La respuesta: este martes en horario Champions.
For those not keeping track of the goings on in English football, former champions Man Utd crashed out of the League Cup during the week when they suffered a shock 4-0 defeat at the hands of MK Dons, who play in League Two – the third tier of English football. The result means their only chance of any silverware this season rests on the Premier League or FA Cup, and continues the difficult start to the competitive campaign under new boss Louis van Gaal, who is yet to see his new club win a game since his arrival. The pre-season had looked encouraging, with United managing to beat just about anyone who came up against them, but the competitive side of things has taken a real turn for the worse, and that is where the real money lies.
While there is little doubting van Gaal’s ability and credentials – he is the man the Red Devils fans have been clamouring for, after all – things have not gone the way that many would have thought ahead of the season. Of course, things will surely get better for the Old Trafford faithful, and van Gaal will hopefully be able to install the kind of footballing system in the north west that saw his Netherlands side reach the semi-finals of this summer’s World Cup in Brazil, culminating in a third place finish. The man was praised for his managerial nouse, and welcomed to the Theatre of Dreams with open arms.
The thing is, the aforementioned defeat to MK Dons came just hours after the club confirmed the British record signing of Real Madrid winger Angel Di Maria for a fee reportedly worth around £60m. As far as our fantasy football game goes, of course, he is a snip at a mere €12.50m, though as he is yet to make a competitive appearance this season he has no points on the board just yet. This deal will likely see United possess more of an attacking threat down the left hand side than they have done recently, with Di Maria taking up the position held by the legendary Ryan Giggs for years. His supply quality is proven – he racked up a great 370 points last season playing for the Galacticos with 17 assists, as well as contributing four goals to the cause. This all came from 34 appearances overall, with 27 starts and seven appearances as a sub.
Six yellow cards through the course of the campaign did mean he lost a few points on that front, but if he is able to keep himself out of the ref’s book a little more consistently there is no reason why he won’t be able to at least repeat that tally, if not improve on it. Sure, he may not be guaranteed a start every single game, but at a shade under £60m United aren’t too likely to want him warming the bench up week after week either – he will usually be on the teamsheet’s starting 11, and his presence can bring an extra dimension to the side moving forward – specifically his pace.
He has quick feet, and as mentioned before his great assist record last season means that the likes of Wayne Rooney, Javier Hernandez and Danny Welbeck (should he stay at the club) will have a constant flow of opportunities being supplied their way, opening up the potential for more goals, and a more consistent threat in front of their opponent’s goals than they have managed so far. While it is of course far too early in the season to be comparing fantasy points’ totals to last year, Rooney notched 17 goals last term, with Welbeck contributing nine and Hernandez four. Those figures will be minimum benchmarks of ambition this season, and van Gaal will almost certainly give these guys the opportunity to improve on those totals – and hopefully surpass them. That is, arguably, one of the primary reasons for importing the 26-year-old Argentina international.
Of course there is also the young Belgian, Adnan Januzaj to think about as well – his pace coupled with Di Maria’s will mean opposing defenders will have to think quickly on their feet at the best of times, and if Rooney is able to really hit his stride and make maximum use of his footballing brain times could be torrid for visitors to Old Trafford going forward.
Basically, give some serious thought to including any combination of Man Utd forward players going forward – while Di Maria will surely find it tough to completely rejuvenate the underachieving squad on his own, he will bring with him a fresh presence, enthusiasm and pace to the first time – and that looks like a good bet to bode well for van Gaal’s team by the time the season really gets going.