Goalkeeper crisis at Real Madrid ahead of Sevilla clash

NAVAS

Real Madrid are facing an injury crisis between the sticks as they prepare to host Sevilla tomorrow night, with both of their first choice La Liga net minders potentially sidelined through injury.

Santiago Solari’s side will be desperate to beat Los Rojiblancos, with Pablo Machin’s currently in third, and Real in fourth, separated only by goal difference.

However, the hosts have been hit with a succession of injuries in their squad, and fourth choice goal keeper Luca Zidane could be in line to step in for only his second ever senior appearance.

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Depleted Atletico Madrid look to close the gap on Barcelona

Simeone

Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone will be hopeful that his side can close the gap on La Liga leaders Barcelona, with a win at bottom of the table Huesca this weekend.

With the Catalan side not playing until Sunday night, at home to Leganes, Atletico have a chance to narrow the gap between first and second place from five points to two, in Game Week 20.

The former Argentine international could not have asked for an easier game in theory, with their hosts ten points adrift of safety in the Spanish top flight, and with just one win in their last 18 league games.

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Five Players to sign in January for Fantasy League Success

It’s that time of year again. The Christmas leftovers are all gone, the decorations are back under the stairs for another year and lots of us are feeling our willpower beginning to weaken in the face of Dry January.

So what we need most of all is some kind of distraction to take our minds off the weather and the general gloom that brings in the start of the New Year. So what better to do than start fine tuning our fantasy football squad in preparation for the rest of the season?

It could be that your team’s already riding high in which case you may not need this advice. But if you really want to move up to a higher level then we’ve picked five players who could bring success whether you’re a relative fantasy football novice or a seasoned pro.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

When the captain of the Gabonese team signed for Arsenal just within last January’s transfer window it was for a record-breaking £56 million. Now, a year later, he’s certainly proved to be a good buy as he heads the list of Premier league scorers with a total of 14 goals to his name, many of them snatched from inside the box. With 10 goals scored last season no-one’s betting that he won’t double that total for this one.

Leroy Sané

For a 23 year old the winger and attacking midfielder Leroy Sané shows incredible maturity for his age and he has already gained experience in Germany as well as for Manchester City. His early days for the latter were beset with reported breathing difficulties but he seems to have put all that behind him now. As well as regularly assisting goals he also knows just when to score them with his 72nd winner against league challengers Liverpool being a case in point.

Eden Hazard

With Chelsea enjoying a very good season, secure near the top of the table, much of that has to be down to Hazard. Now in his sixth season at Stamford Bridge he’s part of the furniture, and what a valuable part too. Not only is he well up with the League’s leading goal scorers, he also tops the list of assists too with 10 to his name after 22 matches played.

Richarlison

The Brazilian stated his professional career in 2015 with Fluminense but a series of outstanding performances saw Watford’s Marco Silva snapping him up for £11.2 million.

A year later, Silva brought him into the Everton set-up where he’s continued to thrive, albeit with the occasional lapse of discipline. As an out and out forward, he’s never far from the action and there’s every reason to suppose that he’ll be adding to his 9 goal tally so far the season.

Alisson

No matter how many goals your fantasy league team may be scoring, it can all be undone without a safe pair of hands between the posts. And few are safer than the Brazilian Alisson. When Klopp paid the thick end of £70 million for him there were a few raised eyebrows but the number of clean sheets Liverpool have seen since his arrival is testament to his value. He won’t be cheap for you either, but he’ll almost certainly be worth it.

Of course, you may have your own favourites to add to your squad to see you through the rest o  the season so don’t take our selection as definitive. Just try to create as balanced a squad as possible and remember, past performance is never any guarantee of future performance. So you have been warned!

Tottenham interested in Barcelona’s Malcom

Malcom

Tottenham are eyeing a move for Barcelona forward Malcom, according to media reports in Spain, with the reigning La Liga champions open to offers for the Brazilian.

The 21 year old signed from Bordeaux in the summer for a fee of €40 million, plus add ons, however injuries and the impressive form of French international Ousmane Dembele has restricted his first team opportunities so far in 2018-19.

Ernesto Valverde is now believed to be willing to listen to bids for the speedy attacker, although the club will be determined to see a financial return on their initial investment.

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Valencia hopeful on securing a deal for Javier Hernandez

Hernandez 1

Valencia are on the verge of securing a cut price deal for West Ham striker Javier Hernandez, within the La Liga January transfer window, according to media reports in Spain.

Hernandez, 30, has slipped down the pecking order at the London Stadium, and now the Mexican international looks to be heading for the exit.

However any move for the former Manchester United forward is dependent on the movement of other players, involving both The Hammers and Marcelino’s Valencia.

The La Liga side confirmed that Michy Batshuayi’s loan move at the club has been terminated earlier than anticipated, and they are not hopeful in securing a permanent deal for the Belgian international – with other clubs already negotiating with Chelsea for his signature.

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Barcelona chase experienced attacking trio

giroud

Barcelona have been linked with an eclectic mix of strikers in the January transfer window, as Ernesto Valverde looks to bolster their La Liga challenge.

The Catalan side are in pole position to retain their title, with a five point lead at the top of the table, however they have been linked with moves to add experience to their attack.

La Blaugrana are reportedly interested in a deal for Uruguay international Cristhian Stuani from local rivals Girona, Premier League duo Olivier Giroud and Fernando Llorente.

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Juventus chasing history in the Italian Super Cup

juventus

Defending Serie A champions Juventus kick off 2019 with a double header of cup action, and the chance to write another chapter of history in their recent dominance.

Max Allergi’s side face a trip to Bologna on January 12th, in the first leg of their last 16 tie of the Coppa Italia, and then on January 16th they take on AC Milan in the Italian Super Cup final.

The match has already attracted attention, albeit controversial, as the Italian FA have sanctioned the game to be played in Saudi Arabia, at the King Abdullah Sport City Stadium, in Riyadh.

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Denis Suarez exit from Barcelona long overdue

Denis Suarez

Barcelona midfielder Denis Suarez  looks set to leave the Camp Nou in January with a number of reports linking him with a move to the English Premier League. Arsenal are the club most prominently linked to the 24-year-old, while London rivals Chelsea are among the other sides linked.

The midfielder, formerly of Sevilla and Villarreal, moved to the Camp Nou from Manchester City in 2013 but has seen first-team football at the Blaugrana extremely limited. The 25-year-old has played just 17 minutes of La Liga action this campaign and badly need a move if he is to earn any first-team football. Continue reading

Atletico Madrid could suffer mass summer exodus

Diego Godin

Atletico Madrid could be set for a summer of mass change with defensive trio Juanfran, Filipe Luis and Diego Godin all entering the final six months of their respective contracts. The three experienced defenders are all out of contract at the Wanda Metropolitano in June and there is a serious possibility that all three will depart the club.

It could lead to a serious shortage of defenders at Los Rojiblancos, with Lucas Hernandez also linked with a summer switch to Bayern Munich, who have been reported as attempting to activate his €80m release clause. It could lead to a break-up of what is arguably European football’s best drilled back-line. Continue reading

Santiago Solari already on borrowed time at Real Madrid

Santiago Solari

Real Madrid’s defeat on Sunday at home to Real Sociedad was their first loss against the Basque club in the Spanish capital in 15 years. La Real ran out 4-1 victors back in April 2004 and Santiago Solari was one of the midfielders that day for the beleaguered hosts.

This time round, the Argentine was sitting in the Madrid dugout and, despite being appointed only two months ago, must already feel like he is on borrowed time in the position. It was the latest damaging result under his stewardship and leaves Los Blancos ten points adrift at the top of La Liga. Continue reading