[Logo] FantasticX Support - FantasticX Support
  [Search] Search   [Recent Topics] Recent Topics   [Hottest Topics] Hottest Topics   [Groups] Back to home page 
[Register] Register / 
[Login] Login 
Messages posted by: xiaolan
Forum Index » Profile for xiaolan » Messages posted by xiaolan
Author Message
In truth Liverpool secured their place in the Champions League quarter-finals three weeks ago but the formality of victory over Porto does not lessen their achievement. Jürgen Klopp’s team enjoyed the fruits of a ruthless demolition in Portugal and eased into the last eight. “It was time we showed up again,” purred a contented Liverpool manager.

Anfield staged an unusual last-16 second leg: one lacking goals, excitement and the competitive edge the game requires at any level. Liverpool had no complaints. The onus was on the Portuguese league leaders to address their 5-0 first-leg humbling and, courtesy of a professional job by Klopp’s team, they never looked likely to become the first side to overturn a five-goal deficit in the Champions League.
The return leg was enlivened only after Mohamed Salah’s late introduction but, aside from a spectacular save from his fellow substitute Danny Ings, the veteran keeper Iker Casillas was barely troubled. Liverpool will be hanging around for some time yet on current form. This was more a test of their mentality than ability according to Klopp and it was one they passed with ease en route to their first quarter-final appearance since defeat by Chelsea nine years ago.
“It feels really good, to be honest,” said Klopp. “I cannot feel what people feel about waiting so long but I know about it. The last eight is cool. I am a little bit satisfied. It was time we showed up again. There is good development at Liverpool at the moment but, if you don’t show up in a competition like the Champions League, then nobody will realise it. It’s done, it’s good – now let’s Ed Dickson Womens Jersey carry on.”
The strength of Liverpool’s squad enabled Klopp to avoid too many risks with his line-up while still making five changes to the team that beat Newcastle on Saturday. Virgil van Dijk and the 32-goal Salah were left on the bench and Andrew Robertson was absent completely but it was an experienced and recognisable Liverpool side that the manager deployed. At a crucial stage in the campaign maintaining their formidable rhythm was also on Klopp’s agenda.
Porto were more disciplined and united than at Estádio do Dragão and almost capitalised twice with long balls over Liverpool’s central defence. The fit-again Vincent Aboubakar and then Majeed Waris just failed to connect. Professional pride was at stake for the visitors, roared on by an impressive travelling support. Impressive in numbers, at least – the failure of a few individuals in the Porto section to honour a minute’s silence for Davide Astori, the late Fiorentina captain, brought understandable condemnation from the home crowd.
The commitment of both teams to victory was undeniable but so was the sense of a dead rubber. The first half was painfully short on incident, although Mark McGwire Youth jersey twice Sadio Mané almost inflated Liverpool’s aggregate lead.
His first chance arrived from a right-wing cross by Joe Gomez but an acrobatic volley sailed just over Casillas’ crossbar. His second, a snap-shot from the right of the penalty area, beat the World Cup winner only to rebound to safety off the inside of the far post.
Casillas was given a warm ovation by the Kop when he re-emerged for the second half of what could Authentic Mats Naslund Jersey be his final appearance on the Champions League stage. His first came in September 1999 http://www.atlantafalcons.us.com/WOMENS-LEVINE-TOILOLO-JERSEY.html when the former Liverpool striker John Toshack named an 18-year-old Casillas in his side to face Olympiakos in Athens – a statistic to make one feel old.
But it was the Liverpool keeper, Loris Karius, who made the first save http://www.redskinsnflofficialproshop.com/YOUTH+TRESS+WAY+JERSEY of the night when Waris shot low to his right. That was a rare moment of danger for Liverpool and they continued to create the better of the game’s few opportunities. James Milner, part of a midfield trio that allowed Liverpool to dominate possession and retain composure throughout, sliced wide when stretching for Adam Lallana’s cross. Lallana made only his third start of an injury-hit season on the left of the attack but was more prominent when switched to his preferred position on the right. wholesale nfl jerseys from china wholesale jerseys cheap nfl jerseys wholesale nfl jerseys wholesale jerseys
There was a moment in the second half of Manchester City’s win against Chelsea – it was probably with about quarter of an hour to go, but perception in a featureless landscape can become difficult – when Aymeric Laporte passed the ball to Ilkay Gündogan near the halfway line. Gündogan rolled it back. Laporte knocked it back again. Gündogan nudged it to Kevin De Bruyne who turned, looked about for a bit, and gave it back. They exchanged a static one-two and then Gündogan rolled it wide to David Silva who controlled it, looked up, waited, yawned, waited some more and then as Cesc Fàbregas wandered up scratching his chin, played it back inside again. The yawning did not actually happen – not on the outside anyway – but the scratching the chin did.

Ladies and gentlemen, the Premier League. It might not be the best league in the world, but it is the most competitive. The great thing about it is that, on any given day, the team at the bottom can beat the team at the top. Nobody ever http://www.officialmontrealcanadiens.com/Adidas-Andreas-Martinsen-Jersey gives up. Everybody fights to the end, even if they are 3-0 or 4-0 down. Right.
There can be no sugarcoating and no excuses. Chelsea are not bottom of the league; they are fifth and likely to remain so. They were only 1-0 down. And they did not fight. There have been times this season when City have blown teams away. This was not one of them: here, they knocked Chelsea over with a weary sigh.
This was as insipid a performance as Chelsea have produced under Antonio Conte. The gap to Tottenham in fourth is five points, but on form it is light years. Speaking of a run of four defeats in their past five league games, four wins in their past 15 games, does not express just how bad Chelsea were, how uninspired, how limp. Other than N’Golo Kanté, suffering illness, dropping out for Danny Drinkwater, this was the same Chelsea lineup who had faced Barcelona and emerged with a creditable draw just 12 days earlier.
Here again was a 3-4-2-1 with Eden Hazard deployed as a false nine, but the coordinated counter?attacking, the spring forward from 5-4-1 to 3-4-3, that had characterised them in that game was gone. Against Barça, the reasoning seemed to be that the pace and movement offered by a front three of Willian, Pedro and Hazard made it worth the absence of an obvious outlet from the back, somebody to hold the ball up and, apart from a spell in the first half when Chelsea could not get out, it largely worked. Here, it did not.
Perhaps City are just better than Barça. Certainly they never allowed Willian anything like the space Barça did – and if even Willian, so often a perverse barometer of Chelsea’s state of mind in that he seems to play better the worse things are going, has an off day, there really are problems. Conte described City as “unstoppable” and seemed relatively content with a one-goal defeat. “I am not so stupid http://www.officialjetsfootballproshop.com/YOUTH+BRIAN+WINTERS+JERSEY to play against Manchester City open,” he said. But he barely played against them at all.
There were times when City seemed like an experienced matador embarrassed by the state of the bull they were being asked to fight. Long passages of the game were played at walking pace, City left to amuse themselves in the face of such supine opponents with increasingly complex patterns of passing: here a flower, now a boat, and look, Kevin’s done a crane. If their aim Brandon Dubinsky Jersey was to break records they succeeded – a Premier League best of 902 completed passes while Gündogan racked up an individual high of 167 completed passes out of 174 – but the numbers say little about the context.
When Rafa Benítez was criticised for passivity in Newcastle’s 1-0 defeat against City in December, it was at least understandable, a weaker side battening down the hatches Christian Dvorak Authentic Jersey and hoping the storm might pass. This was Chelsea. They are the defending champions. And it was miserable. It was barely football. And if this is the future, the Premier League has a major problem. cheap jerseys cheap jerseys cheap jerseys from china wholesale nfl jerseys
For once, it did not really feel necessary to go through all the well-worn superlatives that have accompanied Manchester City on their procession to the title. That is 14 successive home wins now in the Premier League. No team have ever racked up so many passes – 902 – since the league’s inception and Ilkay Gündogan’s total of 174 was another record for the modern era.

Pep Guardiola’s side had won with something to spare and by the time it was all over, with an 18-point gap opening up at the top of the table, it was difficult to remember that it was the players wearing the darker shade of blue who were, in fact, the champions of England.

For City, that http://www.vancouvercanucksofficialonline.com/Adidas-Alex-Burrows-Jersey honour will be theirs in a few weeks – quite possibly when Manchester United visit here on 7 April http://www.49ersshopfootballjersey.com/Trent-Brown-Jersey.html – whereas Chelsea should be embarrassed that those kind of record statistics could happen on their watch. They barely laid a glove on the team that, lest it be forgotten, finished 15 points below them last season and it was startling to see their regression, the ultra-defensive tactics employed by Antonio Conte’s side and, more than anything, the sheer lack of gumption at 1-0 to do anything Eric Kendricks Womens Jersey about it. Chelsea are supposed to be a big club with lofty ambitions, but what does it say for the current team that they were the http://www.authenticsharkshop.com/authentic-62-kevin-labanc-jersey.html patsies on the day one of their rivals produced an unprecedented show of keep-ball?
The only surprise was Guardiola’s men restricted themselves to Bernardo Silva’s goal 33 seconds into the second half and that, for all the intelligent promptings of Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva and the flowering brilliance of Leroy Sané, they did not make it a more emphatic win. The home side played every sort of pass – 508 in the first half alone – but there were not too many of the killer variety. This was actually Womens Trae Waynes Jersey the first time in City’s winning run on their own ground that they have not managed at least two goals, but that seldom felt like an issue when their opponents were so vapid. No team can accumulate the kind of statistics City did here if they were being chased and harried and that, perhaps, was the most alarming aspect for Conte. N’Golo Kanté was missing because of a virus and, without their most combative player, it was startling to see the lack of enthusiasm among Chelsea’s players to make a tackle or raise their voices – anything to show they cared.
Chelsea have now lost four of their past five league games and there was a telling moment late on, just before the amount of stoppage time was announced, when Conte withdrew Eden Hazard to bring on Álvaro Morata, giving the Spaniard all of four minutes to conjure up an equaliser. Hazard walked past his manager without even exchanging a look. Too much can be made of these moments sometimes, but the strained body language was reminiscent of a similar incident involving Hazard and José Mourinho, shortly before the Portuguese was sacked from Stamford Bridge in 2015.
Conte explained afterwards that he had had to be realistic about City’s superior position and adapt his tactics accordingly. He had a point, but could they not have shown a touch more ambition? It was difficult to think of another side that has visited the Etihad Stadium this season and had so little impact, attacking-wise, and Conte’s analysis did not take into account that City, for all their counter-attacking brilliance, can often leave themselves vulnerable because of the sheer nature of Guardiola’s lineup.
City had an attacking midfielder, Oleksandr Zinchenko, at left-back. Kyle Walker is the most forward-thinking right-back in the league and Gündogan, operating as a holding midfielder, is another whose first instincts are Greg Monroe Jersey to go forward. The trick for City’s opponents is getting the balance right between defence and attack. Yet Chelsea rarely ventured to find out why City had kept only two clean sheets in their previous nine home games and, among the blizzard of statistics confirming the home side’s superiority, one in particular jumped Sean Mannion Jersey off the page – Hazard had only 33 touches of the ball, 18 fewer than Thibaut Courtois, the Chelsea goalkeeper.
Chelsea employed the same tactical plan against Barcelona in their Champions League first leg, but it works only if the team defend at their absolute best. Instead, Andreas Christensen’s mistake let in Lionel Messi for Barcelona’s equaliser and, again, the centre-half had to accept a proportion of the blame when City scored the goal that leaves them needing four more wins to confirm the title.

Jürgen Klopp hurtled towards the Kop in celebration of Mohamed Salah’s magnificent 21st league goal of the season. His goalkeeping coach, John Achterberg, performed a forward roll on to the pitch, clipboard still in hand. It was the 91st minute at Anfield and Liverpool had taken a significant step towards Champions League qualification against Tottenham Hotspur. In the 95th, it was taken away.

Spurs departed with the point their second-half Authentic Linus Ullmark Jersey dominance merited but only because of a contentious penalty, their second of the game, after Virgil van Dijk was adjudged to have kicked Érik Lamela deep into stoppage time. Harry Kane had failed to convert from the spot 10 minutes earlier but made no mistake with his unexpected opportunity to make amends and claimed his 100th Premier League goal. “Big, big balls,” explained his manager, Mauricio Pochettino.
Liverpool were incensed. Jon Moss had initially waved play on but was swayed by the insistence of his assistant, Edward Smart, that Van Dijk kicked Lamela on the back of the knee as one last ball dropped inside the Liverpool area. He did. Klopp claimed Lamela had deliberately backed in, looking for and maximising contact. He did.
Between the 85th and 95th minutes, two disputed penalties sandwiched a fabulous solo goal from Salah. An enthralling contest came to a dramatic and controversial climax and there was no disguising the happier manager on the final whistle. Pochettino punched the air while Liverpool players berated the officials, chants of “Cheat, cheat” rolling from the stands and Klopp raged at what might have been.
A five-point gap in the race for a top-four finish was returned to two with Kane’s spot kick, and controversy overshadowed a stunning contribution from Salah. Victor Wanyama, another Spurs replacement, injected his own touch of quality to cancel out the Egypt international’s early opener. Tottenham remain firmly in the hunt for a Champions League spot.
The game started and ended in a frenzy, of Liverpool’s and Smart’s making respectively. Klopp’s team swarmed forward from the off and did to Spurs what they had done to Manchester United in midweek in making a swift breakthrough. The goal was a personal milestone for Salah and a moment to forget for Eric Dier. In attempting to assist Kieran http://www.officialnetsproshoponline.com/authentic-3-drazen-petrovic-jersey.html Trippier and Davinson Sánchez in clearing up Sadio Mané’s dangerous flick, Dier succeeded only in playing Salah clean through. Quickest to spot the possibility, P. J. Williams Youth jersey Salah burst ahead of Sánchez and convincingly beat Hugo Lloris with a cool strike into the bottom corner.
The finish and the celebration that followed were those of a player who finds the Kop goal as a matter of routine. It was the Egypt international’s 20th Premier League goal of his debut campaign at Liverpool, arriving in his 25th game. No Liverpool player has reached that tally faster in the Premier League era – and they’ve had a few good ones.
Pochettino started with a midfield diamond of Mousa Dembélé at the base, Dier and Dele Alli right and left respectively and Christian Eriksen at the tip. It created and protected little in the first half but their improvement in the second half, when Eriksen shifted left and Alli advanced, was marked.
Liverpool could have established a more comfortable lead by then. The hosts posed the http://www.footballbearsofficialonline.com/William-Perry-Jersey.html greater threat before the break only for a consistently poor final ball to undermine their efforts. At one stage Mané was unable to pick out Roberto Firmino having dispossessed Sánchez on the touchline. In the final seconds of the half Mané repeated the trick, found Salah and burst clear into the area but the return pass from the goalscorer was overhit, to Klopp’s obvious disgust. Firmino also sent a glancing header wide and Lloris saved from the commanding Van Dijk. cheap jerseys cheap nfl jerseys cheap jerseys cheap nfl jerseys
A few years ago, when Jens Lehmann was in between spells as an Arsenal player and coach, he explained a key to the Invincibles team with a teasing question: “What is the fastest thing on a football pitch?” he asked cryptically, looking smug as he waited for the wrong answer. “It’s not the ball,” he added, before the big reveal: “Nobody is faster on the pitch than a thought. And then the ball comes. And then the players come. I can honestly say between 2003 and 2006 we played such fast football. One touch. It was amazing to see.”

Fast football. That is one of the aspects that has declined at Arsenal in recent years as the speedometer has dropped off. The high-velocity style Arsène Wenger encouraged when he arrived in England, the full-throttle bursts Lehmann watched take off in front of him, have become less prominent. When Arsenal struggle and slip into endless sideways probing, becoming exposed to the kind of errors and breaks that got punished so typically at Swansea, that is when they look a world away from the best Wenger teams of old.

Alexis Sánchez got fast football, with his indefatigable darting runs, sudden passes (even if they could be reckless) and the urgency he visibly demanded of others. But while he offered that individually, it is notable that Arsenal have not played with a high-speed team style for a while. That is partly because it is hard to achieve without an entire XI of extremely gifted and intelligent players. It does not help, though, that they have not reliably been built around a sprinter as their centre-forward since Thierry Henry.
In the last couple of seasons Sánchez had the odd stint as a central striker, as did Theo Walcott and occasionally Danny Welbeck. Olivier Giroud’s best asset was never pace. Alexandre Lacazette came in last summer for a record fee but is still finding his way in the team.
Enter Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan. By Arsenal’s normal transfer standards this has been a radical January. Bringing in these two players allows them to attempt to regain a sense of fast football.
It is underestimating Aubameyang to pigeonhole him as a speed merchant alone – his timing to peel into spaces and connections with team-mates in creating as well as running on to chances make him more rounded than that. That said, his pace should have a strong impact in how Arsenal attack. The other obvious contribution on the fast football front is the fact he is coming as part of a proven pair. The bond with Mkhitaryan, given the understanding they shared at Borussia Dortmund, brings instant automatisms to Arsenal in the final third. Mesut Özil will presumably click into that pretty easily as well.
In the last campaign that Aubameyang and Mkhitaryan played together at Dortmund, 2015-16, their combined figures were superb: 59 goals and 31 assists between them, with a lot of the goals reflecting the rapport they had with each Dennis Rodman Authentic Jersey other; one providing and the other finishing.
In the summer of 2016 Wenger went Jacob Larsson Authentic Jersey striker shopping, on the hunt for a quick frontman, but a player of the calibre and expense of Aubameyang seemed miles off the radar. He courted Jamie Vardy to no avail and ended up with a gamble on Lucas Pérez, who returned to Spain on loan after a season in which Wenger was unwilling to offer him many chances to find some rhythm.
Arsenal http://www.authenticoilersshoponline.com/authentic-27-milan-lucic-jersey.html have tended to give the impression they improvise rather than work to some refined strategic masterplan when it comes to transfers. With this in mind, there is a concern the position of Lacazette may become a side dish as Arsenal tuck into the new and exciting main course of Aubameyang and Mkhitaryan.
It is out of character for Arsenal to spend heavily on a new striker in the summer and then six months later spend even more heavily on another one. The question of how Lacazette and Aubameyang link – whether they play together, compete for the same spot or one http://www.49ersfootballjersey.com/marquise-goodwin-womens-youth-jersey is shifted out Latavius Murray Jersey of their favoured position – is an important one. Lacazette will not be thrilled if he feels he is unfairly pushed aside http://www.officialblazershop.com/authentic-32-bill-walton-jersey.html but, if Wenger can keep everyone happy and Martin Jones Youth jersey motivated, he has promising attacking tools at his disposal.

Sporting Gijón’s welcome tweet to greet a new signing on 21 January got the name of the player – Abdullah al-Hamdan – mixed up with the name of the club he arrived from: al-Shabab. Perhaps the Spanish team were just so excited about their new Saudi Arabian import or perhaps they did not really http://www.dolphinsauthenticjerseys.com/Authentic-Kenny-Stills-Jersey have any idea who he was.

Just like the simultaneous arrival of alien spaceships above various global cities – provoking curiosity and confusion – there were similar Dustin McGowan Womens Jersey deals being announced on social media all over Spain, as nine Saudi Arabian players joined clubs in the top three tiers on loan until the end of the season. From having virtually http://www.authenticbruinsproshop.com/authentic-46-david-krejci-jersey.html no players in action overseas, there is now almost an entire starting Saudi XI for fans at home to keep an eye out for.

That is the reasoning both in Riyadh and in Spain, where there is a desperation to get Saudis watching Spanish football. With the World Cup looming, the Saudi Arabian Football Federation (SAFF) and the country’s General Sports Authority (GSA) were acutely aware that none of the squad play outside the kingdom, making a group containing Russia, Egypt and Uruguay that little bit harder. While friendlies against good opposition is a start, playing in La Liga would be the perfect build-up, if selected.
Not all the nine will be in Russia. Levante’s Fahad al-Muwallad, full of pace and flair and whose goal secured qualification, will be there, as will Villarreal’s Salem al-Dawsari. Yahya al-Shehri, now with Leganés, will get the call, too.
Those that do not can still benefit and perhaps inspire others. “There are some good players here and it will be a great experience for them,” Mike Newell, now director of football at al-Shabab, told the Observer. The former Everton and Blackburn striker admits it will not be easy. “It will be a big shock for them in many ways as Saudi players don’t usually go overseas but, if just one of them is a success, then it will be massive for Saudi football.”
It is a big if, almost as big as the jump from the Saudi Premier League to La Liga. The man behind the move is the GSA head, Turki al-Alshaikh, who wants his players “to learn what it is to be real professionals, gain experience and represent Saudi Arabia Craig Hartsburg Womens Jersey abroad. http://www.hockeyjetsofficialauthenticshop.com/Logan_Stanley_Jersey_Adidas I have infinite faith in the ability of our players. It is our role, all of us, to back them in this experience, which will be the beginning of many more transfers to Europe.”
Alshaikh has called on the clubs to understand the needs of the national team. Yet benefits for Saudi Arabia, even theoretical ones, are more apparent than they are at the Spanish end. As well as sponsorship, http://www.footballjaguarsofficial.com/Authentic-Cam-Robinson-Jersey clubs are getting a free player for half a season as the salaries will be paid from Saudi Arabia but, Rick Porcello Jersey with coaches free to select them or not, many think it will be the latter. One leading Saudi official was scathing: “They are not going to play at all and that is going to be a problem at some point. Everyone knows Saudi players need to start going overseas but this is not the way.” Nor is it the time. “This is the middle of the season and clubs are losing some of their best players.”
There is the matter of standards, too. Many Spanish scouts attending a Saudi training camp in October in Portugal were just not interested.
La Liga is also keen to expand its appeal in the Middle East. Too much so, according to the Spanish players’ union. “This new business model,” it said in a statement, “prioritises the economic aspect over the sporting one, sacrificing the essence of this sport and favouring business over the promotion and development of Womens Artturi Lehkonen Jersey our footballers.” cheap jerseys elite cheap jerseys paypal nfl jerseys nike nike nfl jerseys supply mlb jerseys usa cheap nfl jerseys usa nfl jerseys paypal nike nfl jerseys china
So, Hope Solo is running for president of the US Soccer Federation. It turns out the record-breaking goalkeeper is also trying to solve a mystery. When she is asked why the federation’s relationship with Soccer United Marketing (SUM) – a for-profit company owned by Major League Soccer that includes MLS commissioner Don Garber as its CEO and Solo’s rival candidate Kathy Carter as its president – is the subject of debate within football circles the World Cup winner is quick to pounce.

“We have to get to the bottom of it,” Solo tells the Guardian in a rare interview from her home in North Carolina. “I have my own opinions about it ... I http://www.officialphiladelphiaflyers.com/Adidas-Dale-Weise-Jersey think it has to do with money.”

So here we are. While the soccer chatterati in at least 32 other countries is discussing the upcoming World Cup, the talk in the US is about a vote this Saturday to elect a new president of US soccer’s governing body. Normally, most people couldn’t care less. But the US men’s failure to qualify for Russia triggered a blame game http://www.footballbengalsofficialshop.com/Nike-Randy-Bullock-Jersey.html and an election campaign that outgoing president Sunil Gulati has described on more than one occasion as “disgusting”.
Last October’s defeat against Trinidad and Tobago is no longer about an Omar Gonzalez own goal. It’s about youth development, the Latino community, top-down governance, the possible demise of MLS side Columbus Crew, and the role of SUM.
SUM is a marketing, media, and sponsorship Womens Travis Benjamin Jersey company created by the owners of MLS in 2002. As crazy http://www.49ersofficialauthenticshop.com/57-eli-harold-super-bowl-jersey.html as it sounds Dave Keon Authentic Jersey now, back then no US media company was interested in acquiring broadcast rights to that year’s World Cup (or for the 2006 tournament). SUM stepped up and years later is a major commercial partner of US Soccer, among others. Garber says the company will have injected $300m into the USSF, between 2002 and 2022, when its current agreement expires.
SUM is a cash cow for soccer in the US. Here’s where it gets tricky. The company’s board members are MLS owners. Its offices are within MLS offices. Its online presence is one page on the MLS website with email addresses on how Ondrej Pavelec Jersey to advertise or partner with “passionate sports fans” and “the #1 soccer network in North America”.
Solo knows all that. She knows a lot about money in US Soccer. She is an advocate for payment parity between the men’s and women’s national teams and is among a group http://www.shopcanadahockeyjersey.com/authentic+duncan+keith+jersey.html of players that filed a wage discrimination complaint against the federation. She says her interest in SUM was piqued over the use of her image in a sponsored promotional video for which she didn’t receive payment.
“I didn’t see a dime of it,” Solo claims. “I started to ask questions and told them I didn’t approve the video to go public before the [2016] Olympics. I started to get emails back that were complete attorney jargon basically saying ‘Hope, this is above your pay grade’. Basically, shut your mouth and play soccer. That is when I knew I was barking up a tree they didn’t want me to bark up. Pretty soon after that is when [USSF] Eric Kendricks Womens Jersey fired me for – quote unquote – saying the word ‘coward’.”
Solo is one of eight candidates vying for the USSF top job, an unpaid position. The new president will be elected by stakeholders that include a mish-mash of state federations, representatives of professional and amateur players, and even fans. In a process so complicated, some candidates say they aren’t yet sure who all the voting delegates actually are.
Gulati, unopposed for 12 years, declined to run in 2018. In a heated campaign, the field is roughly divided into two camps: those representing a status quo and those calling for change. Any type of change. Wait. Where have we heard this story before?
After Manchester City, Liverpool and Tottenham could only manage draws at the weekend, there is a new form team in the Premier League. It’s not Manchester United – who recorded a fourth win in five – but Bournemouth, who have now picked up more points over their last six matches (14) than any other side in the division.

Bournemouth were in the relegation zone at Christmas – with just 15 points from their first 19 games – but they are now up to ninth in the league after a seven-game unbeaten run, their longest since they were promoted in 2015. They are two points closer to seventh place – which could give them European football for the first time in their history – than 18th, where they sat on Christmas Day.
It has been a remarkable turnaround. Their victories over Arsenal and Chelsea in recent weeks have rightly been highlighted, but their newfound ability to avoid defeat against clubs lower down the table has been equally impressive. They have not been beaten by a team currently in the bottom half of the table since they lost to Watford in August. With five of their next seven league games against sides battling the drop, there is a real chance their march up the table could continue.
Eddie Howe seems to have added some street smarts to his passing principles this season. Bournemouth’s averages for possession (48%), pass accuracy (77.1%) and shots per game (11.7) all rank among the top 10 in the league but those numbers are all lower than they were in their first two campaigns in the Premier League. Their improvement this season has come from being better when out of possession. They are more organised and reserved in their defensive play. They are in less of a hurry to win the ball back and are making better decisions as a result. Their average of 13.2 tackles per game is way down on their debut season in the league (18.6) and also the lowest of all 20 teams in the league this season.
Bournemouth conceded 67 goals in each of their first two http://www.officialavalancheauthentic.com/Erik_Johnson_Jersey seasons in the Premier League (1.76 per game), but have cut that down to 37 so far this time around – just 1.42 per match. Bringing in Asmir Begovic and Nathan Ake has helped, but the entire team has a better structure when they don’t have the ball.
Howe has been touted as a future England manager and he has stuck to homegrown players in the transfer window. Ten of his 13 most used players this season were born in England and the three outliers – Begovic, Ake and Josh King – have all played in the country since they were teenagers. Their rise up the table has been inspired by the performances of two young Englishmen, Lewis Cook and Jordon Ibe, who are both excelling this season after frustrating debut campaigns on the south coast.
Ibe struggled to live up to his £15m price tag – a club record fee at the time – when he arrived from Liverpool at the start of last season but he is just 22 and is now starting to have a real influence on the team. Bournemouth had lost their first four games of the season when he turned in a match-winning performance from the bench Authentic La'el Collins Jersey against Chris Hogan Authentic Jersey Brighton in September, setting up two goals. His intervention handed Bournemouth their first points of the campaign, gave him some confidence and proved to Howe that he has an important role to play. The winger now has six assists for the season, which is not just the most in the squad this season but the highest produced by a Bournemouth player in their three seasons in the Premier League.
Cook, who celebrated his 21st birthday on Saturday with a victory over Stoke City, was considered something of a coup for the club when he arrived from Leeds in the summer of 2016. Fans have wanted to see more of him – especially after he captained England to glory at the Under-20 World Cup last summer – and he has been given a run in the team this season. The youngster has added bite and energy to the midfield, leading the team for tackles this season (2.1) but also pushing the team forwards, with 1.6 dribbles per game – a figure only King can better.
Bournemouth have won 1.5 points per game when he has started and just 0.8 per game when he has been left out. Only three of their 11 defeats in the league have come in the 14 matches Cook has started. Ibe has had an even bigger impact on results; the team has earned almost a point http://www.officialcanadahockey.com/5-DAN-HAMHUIS-OLYMPIC-JERSEY.html per game more with him in the team (1.56) and scored almost a goal per game more too (1.5 up from 0.6). cheap nhl jerseys cheap nfl jerseys china hockey jerseys nba jerseys wholesale
Antonio Conte has admitted serious concerns over when Álvaro Morata will be fit to return from a troublesome back injury and cast doubt over the Spaniard’s involvement in Chelsea’s Champions League ties against Barcelona.

The club record signing, who cost an initial £58m from Real Madrid last summer and has scored 10 goals in 20 Premier League appearances, first complained of discomfort more than three weeks ago and has not featured since being sent off in extra time in the FA Cup third-round replay against Norwich in mid-January. Chelsea’s medical staff continue to explore different ways to treat the pain but Morata has failed to respond to the treatment.

Conte is likely to give Olivier Giroud a first start since an £18m move from Arsenal in Monday’s game against West Bromwich Albion, when Chelsea hope to recover some poise after successive three-goal defeats by Bournemouth and Watford.
“We have been talking a lot about bad results but sometimes we forget we are facing a serious situation,” said the head coach. “Players like Morata, for us, are very important and have been missing for a long period of time. I don’t know how long he will be out.
“We are struggling a lot to find a solution to solve the pain in his back. If you ask me whether he needs a day, a month or the rest of the season, I don’t know. For this reason, I’m a bit worried. You know very well the importance of the player.”
Chelsea host Barça at Stamford Bridge on 20 February and are due to travel to Manchester City and Manchester United before the return at the Camp Nou in mid-March. They are in effect preparing for life without the 25-year-old in those fixtures.
Conte, who has overseen two wins in 10 matches this year, has http://www.authenticpredatorstore.com/-92-ryan-johansen-jersey_c-459.html reaffirmed his commitment to Chelsea as he seeks to inspire a revival, with the club just as reluctant to instigate a change in the dugout mid-season. “I’m not thinking for one moment about the possibility of going away from this Kris Dunn Youth jersey club,” he said. “I repeat: my commitment, like the commitment of my players, is totally for this club.
“But, as you know very well because we are talking about football, a lot of times – and I don’t agree with this – [the future of] the manager and the coach depends on the results. In this case, we are having poor results. For this reason, we have to pay great attention.”
The Italian granted his squad three days off in the wake of Monday’s humiliating 4-1 http://www.vikingsauthenticofficialshop.com/WOMENS-BRIAN-ROBISON-JERSEY.html defeat at Watford but welcomed the players back on Friday with a warning that the time had come “to be men, not http://www.officialwashingtoncapitals.com/Adidas-Evgeny-Kuznetsov-Jersey kids”. Andreas Christensen, who suffered a hamstring strain against Authentic Luke Schenn Jersey Bournemouth while the game Womens Zaza Pachulia Jersey was goalless, should be fit to return for David Luiz on Monday; Pedro and Marcos Alonso will require late checks. hockey jerseys cheap nfl jerseys usa wholesale nfl jerseys nike cheap mlb jerseys mlb jerseys china nike nfl jerseys wholesale
There were times over the past three years when Matty Fryatt felt “like a car on the driveway, rusting away”. He talks about being “lost and forgotten” at Nottingham Forest, where he battled to overcome an achilles injury that led to three operations and plenty of soul?searching as he kept asking himself when he would ever get the chance to return to the pitch. The answer, Fryatt decided this week, is never.

After travelling all over Europe in search of a cure, undergoing Womens Ryan White Jersey surgery that he regrets, fighting back tears on the training ground and feeling embarrassed that he was simply unable to run, Fryatt has come to the conclusion that enough is enough and used this interview to announce his retirement from professional football at the age of 31.
“It’s closure really,” the former Walsall, Leicester, Hull and Forest striker says. “There’s been a cloud over me. And that feeling of: ‘Will I ever get back?’ The longer it has gone on, being a realist, it’s probably like, you’re not going to be back to where you should be, to go to a club and say: ‘Yeah, I’m here, I can offer you this.’ I would be going into a club and faking it as such. And after what I’ve been through, I wouldn’t want to do that to anyone. I’m too honest to do that.”
Fryatt has not played since March 2015, when the pain in his achilles was so unbearable he was “just like a statue” – and that passage of time means he has had long enough to come to terms with the fact he will never experience the adrenaline rush of scoring in front of tens of thousands of people again.
Yet the frustration – and that is the word Fryatt uses over and again – is no one ever got to the bottom of what was wrong with his achilles and how something that seemed so minor, when he felt a “niggle” during a Championship game against Birmingham City in November 2014, ended up bringing a premature end to a career in which he scored 135 goals across the four divisions and appeared in an FA Cup final.
“From scans they would say I had a blow to the area. But I cannot remember anything [like that],” Fryatt says. “From the March period to May in that [2014-15] season I rested and did nothing, and then went to run again and it was Dante Fowler Jr Youth jersey worse. I was coming in off the training pitch nearly crying, hobbling around in absolute agony. I could not run. It was embarrassing. I then went from operation to operation. The first procedure I had was minor. The next was major, so it was taking away the achilles, going underneath it, smashing a whole load of bone Ryan Kesler Jersey out to ease that area, then reattaching the achilles – and I don’t even know if that was the answer.
“I’ve seen http://www.officialbengalsfootballproshop.com/WOMENS_YOUTH_CARLOS_DUNLAP_JERSEY.html the stuff on [Santi] Cazorla at the minute – his achilles is like mine without the skin graft. I don’t know the guy but he’s had X amount of operations in an area where there is the least blood flow, so the healing process is terrible. I wish him well but I’m looking at that thinking it’s not good for him because of the area. With me, in hindsight, I wouldn’t have done any of the operations.”
Fryatt joined Forest in June 2014, a month after playing for Hull in their 3-2 FA Cup final defeat by Arsenal, but started only 17 matches in three years and describes his time at the club as “a complete disaster”. It is a measure of how long he was out injured, and how chaotic life at the City Ground was at the time, that one manager, Philippe Montanier, arrived and departed without Fryatt meeting him. Although that was partly because Fryatt was spending so much time doing rehabilitation work at St George’s Park, he still finds it curious there was “no one above [the manager] or in other departments saying: ‘Where’s this guy?’”
Fryatt says: “They paid my wages and for most of the operations apart from a procedure at the end, which I sorted myself separately, so I can’t grumble at that. But nobody was accountable for things. If I was at another club, people would have been wondering what was going on with http://www.officialnflstoreco.com/denzel-perryman-jersey-c-1_1015_1913.html me. At Forest it was like I was a car on the driveway, rusting away and they thought: ‘Just leave it, we’ll get a new car.’ I’d get further down the line and nobody would ask: ‘What’s happening with this rusting car? Are we going to get him in to service and back on the road?’ I just got lost and forgotten a bit.” cheap jerseys elite new nike nfl jerseys cheap jerseys from china wholesale jerseys cheap baseball jerseys cheap
Roy Hodgson has admitted his relationship with Sam Allardyce has been wrecked after his successor as England manager was filmed mocking him, making remarks he found insulting and for which he has not had a personal apology.

Allardyce, whose Everton welcome Hodgson’s Crystal Palace to Goodison Park on Saturday, was caught on camera in September 2016 calling his predecessor “Woy” during conversations with undercover reporters, and suggesting he would be no use as a public speaker Courtney Upshaw Authentic Jersey because “he’d send http://www.authenticmetshop.com/authentic-curtis-granderson-jersey.html them all to sleep, he hasn’t got the personality”. He went on to suggest that Hodgson had been “too indecisive” as England succumbed to defeat against Iceland at Euro 2016.

The newspaper sting cost Allardyce his job as national coach after one game, prompting him to issue an apology for his conduct in a statement relayed through the Football Association after his mutually agreed departure. It contained a reference to Allardyce regretting “my comments with regard to other individuals”, but there was no mention of Hodgson by name.
Although Hodgson could accept the footballing criticisms of events in Nice, it is understood he took particular offence to the personal nature Kelvin Benjamin Youth jersey of Allardyce’s comments about his speech. Asked if he had received a private apology, Hodgson merely offered “No”. When pushed as to whether the remarks had disappointed him, he added: “Do you like being insulted? No, not particularly. Did it bother me? I didn’t lose any sleep over it. My relationship with him before I always thought was good. Now I would expect it to be less good.”
Allardyce, who went on to enjoy a successful six-month stint in charge of Palace last season before resigning in May Authentic Russ Grimm Jersey after retaining the club’s top-flight status, is apparently intent upon addressing the issue on Saturday. “I’ll hopefully speak to him at the game,” he said. “A lot of time has passed since that unfortunate situation. I did [try to call Hodgson] once, but didn’t http://www.officialbluejaystore.com/authentic-18-darwin-barney-jersey.html get through.
“I never apologised personally because I never got hold of him, but when it came out I did publicly. More than once. If you are going to do something like that I prefer it to be private, but I’ve never had the opportunity privately to talk about it which would be better than a conversation on the phone. Hopefully he is fine with it.”
Yet any belated attempt by Allardyce to apologise will fall on deaf ears. “No, it’s far too late,” Hodgson said. Draymond Green Authentic Jersey “It has gone. It belongs to the distant past. In jobs like I am doing at the moment, when you are the manager of a Premier League club, you live very much in the ultimate present and the future. I’m not interested.”
Palace will travel to Merseyside three points clear of the relegation zone and denied nine senior players through injury, with Wilfried Zaha facing a month out after straining knee ligaments. The winger consulted a specialist this week and, although the problem does not require surgery, will miss at least four top-flight games. They have not won a league game without Zaha since September 2016. “But the good news is he’s a very quick healer,” said Hodgson. “He’s not out for the rest of the season. He’ll be back.”
There is no interest in securing the former Arsenal and Manchester City http://www.officialmavericksproshop.com/authentic-34-devin-harris-jersey.html midfielder Samir Nasri, who left the Turkish club Antalyaspor on transfer deadline day. But, with Julián Speroni on crutches and set to consult a specialist over his own ligament damage in four weeks’ time, Palace may enter the market for a goalkeeper. nike nfl jerseys cheap jerseys for cheap baseball jerseys cheap discount jerseys cheap jerseys usa jerseys from china mlb jerseys wholesale
Alexis Sánchez’s agent has confirmed the Manchester United striker has accepted a prison sentence for tax fraud, but has described the agreement as “entirely unjust” and attacked the Spanish authorities for effectively forcing him and other players into signing the deal. He says other players have been obliged to do much the same.

Fernando Felicevich has accused the state of changing its interpretation of the law http://www.officialbravestore.com/Deion_Sanders_Jersey and pursuing professional footballers, particularly foreigners, exercising pressure through “obscene” leaks to the media and the threat of long legal processes and prison sentences.
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are just two of “infinite” numbers of players who have been charged, and Felicevich has insisted there will be more.
Reports appeared on Wednesday morning revealed Sánchez had agreed a deal with the state attorney, accepting the charges against him for allegedly defrauding the Spanish treasury of €1m while he was at Barcelona in 2012-13.
The state said he had used a company based in Malta to receive image rights paid by the Catalan club and Sánchez accepted the charges, agreeing to a 16-month prison sentence. He will repay the amount in full, plus interest. Because the sentence is less than two years, he will not serve any time in Womens Erik Johnson Jersey jail.
But far from admitting the agreement is a demonstration of Sánchez’s guilt, his agent said publicly what some tax specialists and lawyers have said privately, attacking the state and inland revenue for pursuing players with “unfair” charges Braxton Miller Youth jersey they have little choice but to accept as a means of avoiding worse problems.
Those are charges, he alleges, which are founded upon a reinterpretation of the law and are forced through via underhand means.
“Once again, there has been a leak from the Spanish Authentic Albert Pujols Jersey tax office, [this time] outlining an agreement between our client Alexis Sánchez and public prosecutors,” Felicevich said in a statement. “Despite having demonstrated that Alexis has committed no crime, we have been obliged, following the recommendations of our [legal] advisers, to accept the unjustified pact offered in order to palliate the emotional, personal and economic cost of long, tedious, trials where the media are used to publicly expose and judge private matters.”
Felicevich accused the state and the tax office of http://www.titansfootballofficialproshop.com/Authentic-Demarco-Murray-Jersey applying the same means of pressure against players across Spain. Lionel Messi was handed an initial 21-month sentence for fraud, while a number of other figures, including Javier Mascherano and José Mourinho, reached agreement with inland revenue and the state prosecutors’ office. Cristiano Ronaldo continues to fight charges against him, protesting his innocence, and his case is ongoing.
“Prosecutors and the tax office have put more than 30 players in the same situation, accusing them of the same crimes and threatening them with effective prison sentences,” Felicevich said. “Almost the entire squad at Real Madrid and FC Barcelona have been put in this situation, as the clubs have used a means of paying tax that was accepted by the tax office in the past.

In fairness to Frank Lampard, he called it ages ago. A little over seven years, in fact, and during an interview with BBC Radio 5 Live in November 2010. Asked A.Q. Shipley Jersey about Wayne Rooney, then still a Manchester United forward, Lampard, then still a Chelsea midfielder, said: “People who call him thick – it’s a lazy thing to say. They look at him, the fact he is a footballer and looks tough, and make a judgment without trying to find out what he is really like. How can you call someone thick who you have never met?”

It was a valid question and one Rooney well and truly answered with his appearance on Monday Night Football this week. Eyebrows were raised when http://www.panthershopnflonline.com/SUPER-BOWL-FOZZY-WHITTAKER-JERSEY it was announced he would be alongside Jamie Carragher and David Jones for Sky Sports’ coverage of Watford against Chelsea, partly because Rooney is still an active footballer and partly because, as Lampard outlined, he is viewed as someone who can barely string a sentence together, let alone speak fluently and analytically on live television for the best part of four hours. Well, like with that volley against Newcastle United in April 2005, Rooney smashed it.
The 32-year-old was articulate, intelligent, insightful and honest, and after an understandably nervous start got into such a stride that you half expected him to pull up a bar stool, sip from a glass of whiskey and tell a joke about retirement and clocks.
Wayne Rooney: captain, leader, legend … raconteur. Who would have thought it? Most probably those who know the Everton forward, but for most people who tuned in on Monday night – myself included – it came as a surprise. Because there is no denying that a broad, widely-accepted perception of Rooney’s character has developed during his career. Partly this has been because of the decisions he has made in his private life and partly because, as Lampard expressed, he fits a stereotype of your average footballer.
Often it is those who know the least about footballers that push this view of footballers – commentators espousing their views from the comfort of their kitchen nook, people as likely to fart on the moon as they are to chant at their local ground. But mud sticks and, Gabriel Landeskog Authentic Jersey if we’re being honest, it’s not just the detached who are guilty of flinging it. Football fans can be just as bad and for a generation, certainly on these shores, Rooney has become a prime target.
The great shame here is that rather than being held up as a figure of ridicule and example of how not to live your Jaroslav Halak Youth jersey life, Rooney should be seen as a perfect example of the inspirational story football is so great at telling – a working-class boy from Croxteth who through a combination of talent, hard work and ambition realised his dream of playing for his boyhood club (twice) as well as becoming not only the all-time record goalscorer for the biggest club in the country but the country itself.
It’s a remarkable set of achievements somewhat overlooked through a combination of snobbery and resentment that often attaches itself to working-class-boys-done-good. Yes Rooney is an excellent, successful athlete but, as we keep insisting – partly to make ourselves feel better about our own lives – he’s not the brightest bulb in the box.
Rooney is almost certainly aware of that perception, making his performance on Sky Sports all the more noteworthy. There was light and shade as he looked back on his breakthrough at Everton – “I knew when I got into the first team at 16 years old, I was the best player” – recollected the prank he played on Roy Keane shortly after joining Manchester United and confessed that he should not have travelled to the 2006 World Cup given the injury he had suffered beforehand. ‘Wazza’ was gripping, funny and – shock horror – well-spoken.
Rooney is not the only one who has confounded perceptions having stepped away from the pitch and into a TV studio. Carragher and, before him, Gary Neville have established themselves as highly respected, intelligent voices on football having joined Sky Sports post-retirement, while on BT Sport, Rio Ferdinand and Steven Gerrard have surprised with their articulate, forthright opinions. Lampard is another to admire, as is Jermaine Jenas, and what is becoming clear at a time when more and more footballers are turning up http://www.jaguarsfootballofficialonline.com/WOMENS_YOUTH_MALIK_JACKSON_JERSEY.html on TV after hanging up their boots is that the stereotype around them is often just that – a stereotype. wholesale jerseys usa nfl jerseys wholesale jerseys for cheap cheap jerseys online cheap jerseys from china
David Wagner is looking for success in the FA Cup to offer a fillip in the Premier League even if José Mourinho’s Manchester United may hardly be quaking in their boots at the prospect of facing Huddersfield, having beaten them 2-0 at Old Trafford on Saturday.

Three extra-time goals allowed Huddersfield their second win in 11 Wes Schweitzer Youth jersey games as their seemingly inexorable plummet down the elite table has been accompanied by the consolation, and the opportunity, of a place in the last 16 of the Cup. Their passage would have been secured much sooner had it not been for the agility and bravery of the Birmingham goalkeeper David Stockdale who made several excellent saves as Huddersfield came on strong as the clock ticked towards 90 minutes.

Huddersfield beat United at home in October but the harsh realities of the Premier League have since bitten hard. Wagner saw Tuesday night’s victory – any victory – as a platform “to build momentum for the Premier League”, with Bournemouth due at the John Smith’s Stadium on Sunday, and having at least one more fixture to play as no headache. “No, it’s something we have worked hard for,” he said. “To play Manchester United at home in the fifth round of the Cup is never a distraction. The whole city will get behind us.”
Huddersfield were criticised for their aggressive treatment of Alexis Sánchez at Old Trafford but Wagner said http://www.officialvancouvercanucks.com/Adidas-Markus-Naslund-Jersey they would not hold back in the reunion a week on Saturday. “If he’s on the grass then we will Scott Hartnell Jersey try and defend,” he said. “If it means he’s sometimes too quick then you have to foul him. It’s the last thing we want to do but it happens.”
Steve Cotterill, with his improving Birmingham team having gained 16 points from their last seven Championship games, made seven changes from the side that beat Sheffield Wednesday to move four points above the relegation zone and the prospect of Sunday’s trip to Villa Park will soon resharpen their focus.
“We didn’t need that, going into extra time,” Cotterill said. “But I couldn’t http://www.officialchicagoblackhawks.com/Adidas-Martin-Havlat-Jersey be prouder of them. I’m confident in our team because we’ve been playing well. It doesn’t matter who’s favourites [for the approaching derby].” After Marc Roberts’ own goal had cancelled out Che Adams’ opener, the decisive goals came in the first period of extra time as Huddersfield’s increasing dominance belatedly reaped dividends.
Firstly Steve Mounié, Huddersfield’s scorer in the initial tie, headed in at the far post from Scott Malone’s excellent left-wing centre. It was the Benin striker’s sixth goal since signing from Nimes for £11.5m last summer.
Then Rajiv van La Parra passed the ball into an empty net as it rebounded from Stockdale after Tom Ince had been bundled to the ground when running in on goal. It was http://www.falconsfootballofficialonline.com/Mohamed-Sanu-Jersey.html Ince who fired home in the first minute of the second half of added time leaving everyone with the feeling that so cold was it, the referee, Paul Tierney, should be allowed to blow the final whistle very early.
Huddersfield are so desperate to avoid returning to the Championship, and Birmingham so desperate to stay in it, their managers changed more than Authentic Michael Lorenzen Jersey half their players for challenges more important than the battle to land a home tie with United.
The number of changes in personnel contributed to a stop-stop opening first half. Birmingham broke through when Lukas Jutkiewicz headed down a long ball to his strike partner. Adams took a touch to http://www.chargersshopfootball.com/Authentic-Travis-Benjamin-Jersey control the Bashaud Breeland Jersey ball before turning and firing in his sixth goal of the season from the edge of the penalty area. nfl jerseys china jerseys china wholesale jerseys from china cheap nba jerseys cheap nfl jerseys baseball jerseys for sale cheap jerseys online baseball jerseys wholesale
At this rate, Luciano Spalletti might want to contemplate learning the piano, http://www.officialwinnipegjetsstore.com/authentic-27-nikolaj-ehlers-jersey.html helping a homeless man and declaring his love for Andie MacDowell. Milan is a long way from Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, but http://www.chiefsnflofficialprostore.com/REGGIE-RAGLAND-JERSEY-CHEAP.html on the weekend that Americans celebrated Groundhog Day, the Inter manager appeared to be trapped in a time loop akin to the one that Bill Murray found himself in during http://www.officialastroshop.com/Jose_Cruz_Jr_Jersey the 1993 movie by that name.

The Nerazzurri just keep on drawing. They have done so five times in a row, and Denzelle Good Jersey the last four of those by the exact same 1-1 scoreline. Even the order of the goals is becoming familiar. Against Fiorentina, Spal and now Crotone, Inter have taken the lead only to concede an equaliser in the second half.
In fairness, that is a slight improvement on the run of three losses they Kawann Short Youth jersey endured at the end of 2017. In total, Inter have gone 10 games without a victory over 90 minutes. Their sole triumph of the last two months came on penalties in the Coppa Italia, against second-tier Pordenone.
How does this happen to a side who had been soaring? Inter were top and touted as title contenders when they thrashed Chievo 5-0 at the start of December. They have not scored more than once in any fixture since. Rarely, indeed, have they threatened to.
Saturday was indicative. Inter scored with their first attempt on target against Crotone, Éder’s header deflecting up off Davide Faraoni and over Alex Cordaz. But rather than put their 17th-placed opponents to the sword, Spalletti’s team settled into a slow rhythm, and were punished when Andrea Barberis equalised on the hour.
Crotone, whose performances have been improving under Walter Zenga, deserve credit. This was their first-ever point at San Siro, earned with a starting XI featuring 10 Italians, and only one of those – the goalkeeper – over 27. A midfield trio of Barberis (24), Rolando Mandragora (20) and Womens Pavel Zacha Jersey Ahmed Benali (25) more than held their own against Matías Vecino, Borja Valero and Marcelo Brozovic.
It was a conflicting experience for Inter fans, who retain deep affection for Zenga. There were banners in the Curva Nord hailing him as “one of us” and he bounced along with supporters briefly during a rendition of “Chi non salta Rossonero è” (Anyone not jumping is a Milan fan”).
“An act of exuberance that does not offend anyone,” reflected Zenga when asked about it. “I was a kid who sat in the Curva, too … I had already come here with Catania and Palermo, and the fans always greet me as though I stopped playing a year ago even though it’s actually much longer. I’m convinced that supporters appreciate people who work hard and give everything for the shirt.”
Those words were not intended as a dig at this current Inter team, but there is a feeling among supporters that some of the current squad could do more. It would be hard to argue that Inter lack the talent to perform better when they had already done so through the first 15 games.
Spalletti refused to throw anyone under the bus, insisting: “There are no players who don’t care, if the level is not what it ought to be then that is my fault.” It is true this team can appear to lack a tactical solution beyond whipping yet more crosses towards a lone striker.

Forum Index » Profile for xiaolan » Messages posted by xiaolan
Go to:   
Powered by JForum 2.1.9 © JForum Team