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The Boot Room

By the numbers - City record their biggest win as United's away woes continue

Sun, 22 Sep 2019 08:08:34 GMT

Manchester City roared back to form with their biggest Premier League win in history against a hapless Watford, but Liverpool continued to be the PL pacesetters, records tumbling in their wake in an entertaining 2-1 win away to Chelsea. Elsewhere, Barcelona produced another lacklustre performance, one that even Lionel Messi couldn't salvage after coming off the bench, while in Italy, the Derby della Madonnina saw Antonio Conte's Inter walk away with the bragging rights. Here are some of the best...

Champions League best XI: Haland, Di Maria and Ter Stegen lead the way

Thu, 19 Sep 2019 02:01:34 GMT

The Champions League group stage is back, but who were the stars this week? Here's the best XI from the first games. The Champions League's best performers from this week. Goalkeeper: Marc-Andre ter Stegen (Barcelona) Barcelona were well under par in their 0-0 draw against Borussia Dortmund so it was fortunate they had a goalkeeper in such fine form. Ter Stegen brilliantly saved Marco Reus' second-half penalty, recovering smartly to gather the ball before anyone could gobble up the rebound, and also saved twice more from his countryman at close quarters....

By the numbers - Aguero joins Rooney; Abraham's unique record

Mon, 16 Sep 2019 02:03:36 GMT

It was a bonkers weekend for European football, with the biggest upset caused by Norwich City, who beat Premier League champions Manchester City 3-2 at home, and thus helped Liverpool open up a five-point gap at the top of the table. Manchester United, too, had a welcome return to winning ways, while Tammy Abraham had a slice of history and a dubious distinction to go with it in a thrilling win for Chelsea. Elsewhere, Cristiano Ronaldo failed to lift Juventus in a tough away fixture against Fiorentina,...

One-man wall: Gurpreet's reflexes defy Qatar

Tue, 10 Sep 2019 10:59:19 GMT

India may not have made the brightest start to their World Cup and Asian Cup qualifiers, but it hasn't been due to any lack of effort from the team's No.1, Gurpreet Sandhu.  After pulling off a series of remarkable saves in the opening game against Oman, Gurpreet was it again in Doha, diving left, right and centre to frustrate the Asian champions Qatar.  His reflexes kept India in the game, and ESPN's live blog busy.  Here is how he rose to the occasion once more:  4' - Qatar...

Sound of silence: Real Kashmir brace for emotional homecoming

Wed, 4 Sep 2019 06:46:27 GMT

At some time on Thursday, September 5, a football team beset by anxiety and anguish will land in a city and a state completely transformed. Real Kashmir FC return to Srinagar after a month spent on football duty, cut off from their families and their people, trying to keep their minds on the game but dogged by the uncertainty of what lies ahead. In 2018, RKFC became Indian football's new fairy tale, the first team from the troubled state to qualify for the I-League first division. Today, they are,...

Sahal Abdul Samad, the desert wanderer who dances on grass

Wed, 4 Sep 2019 03:59:45 GMT

Sahal Abdul Samad knows Oman quite well. He has lived practically all his life near its eastern border in Al-Ain, the oasis city in the United Arab Emirates. Oman's football team had not piqued Sahal's interest until the draw for the FIFA World Cup Asian qualifiers. India drew the gulf champions, Asian champions Qatar, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. Now, Sahal could face Oman for the first time in Guwahati on September 5, as India push towards their biggest dream yet. With just one full season of professional...

Numbers: Patrick van Aanholt joins Thierry Henry in rare Fergie Time feat

Mon, 26 Aug 2019 02:50:11 GMT

Another topsy-turvy weekend of European football, and another weekend of scarcely believable numbers. Some results were expected. Some, not so much.  Premier League 1 Crystal Palace have beaten Manchester United in the Premier League for the first time in the competition's history. In fact, before Jordan Ayew and Patrick van Aanholt got their goals, the last time Palace even took the lead against United in league competition at Old Trafford was in 1979, when David Swindlehurst scored in an...

LIVE: Champions League group stage draw

Fri, 23 Aug 2019 03:32:51 GMT

The draw for the Champions League group stages will take place on Thursday, Aug. 29 in Monaco and is expected to begin at noon ET / 4 p.m. GMT. Teams will appear below. Please refresh the page to see the latest content. GROUP A: PSG, Real Madrid, Club Brugge, Galatasaray GROUP B: Bayern Munich, Tottenham, Olympiakos, Red Star Belgrade GROUP C: Man City, Shakhtar Donetsk, Dinamo Zagreb, Atalanta GROUP D: Juventus, Atletico Madrid, Bayer Leverkusen, Lokomotiv Moscow GROUP E: Liverpool, Napoli, FC...

By the numbers - Zinchenko unbeaten in 23, Grealish loses 20 straight

Mon, 19 Aug 2019 02:09:03 GMT

What a weekend of football.  In England, Chelsea clung on for a point against a rampant Leicester City, Liverpool battled their way to a tough away win at Southampton, Arsenal beat Burnley and a VAR-aided Tottenham Hotspur held Manchester City. In Spain, Barcelona lost to an incredible Aritz Aduriz goal at Athletic Bilbao, while Real Madrid won handsomely at Celta Vigo. In Germany, Bayern Munich drew at home against Hertha Berlin while Borussia Dortmund dismantled Augsburg in front of the Yellow...

By the numbers - Sterling City, Chelsea blues

Mon, 12 Aug 2019 01:21:46 GMT

The English Premier League is back - and so are we! The EPL -- and Ligue 1 -- kicked-off the 2019-20 season for the top European leagues, and brought with it that familiar concoction of drama, goals, and madness. Last year's pace setters picked up where they left off - Liverpool beat newly promoted Norwich City 4-1 and Manchester City defeated West Ham United 5-0. Arsenal registered a 1-0 win against Newcastle United away, while Manchester United put Chelsea to the sword with a 4-0 win at home....

Nigeria footballers must learn from Chukwueze's Roc Nation deal

Thu, 8 Aug 2019 12:45:35 GMT

Villarreal winger Samuel Chukwueze's deal with music mogul Jay-Z's Roc Nation management company has catapulted the Nigeria player, only recently a bench warmer, into the spotlight. At the recent Africa Cup of Nations, Chukwueze shoved his way into the starting line-up after sitting behind the likes of Moses Simon and Samuel Kalu, going on to star against South Africa in the round of 16, and forming a key part of the Super Eagles' bronze-winning campaign. This, along with efforts for his club in...

Nigeria is distinctly absent from Europe's transfer windows

Thu, 1 Aug 2019 02:24:58 GMT

With Nigeria finishing third in the recent Africa Cup of Nations, not a bad result though also not what Super Eagles fans were after, the lack of transfer interest in their players is glaring. Europe's big leagues appear to have little interest in African football's biggest team, and with the transfer window slowly closing, there's little sign that will change. Leicester midfielder Wilfred Ndidi was a rare player to garner attention from a big club, as reports suggested Manchester United could be...

Will Guardiola vs. Klopp be the next great Premier League rivalry?

Fri, 26 Jul 2019 07:20:18 GMT

When asked directly about his relationship with Jurgen Klopp at the end of last season, Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola spoke of a "beautiful rivalry" between himself and the Liverpool manager. It was forged during their time as rivals in Germany, with Guardiola's Bayern Munich consistently topping Klopp's Borussia Dortmund, and the battle for supremacy is now fully alive again in the Premier League. Last season, Guardiola and City claimed domestic superiority only for Klopp and Liverpool...

The next Mikel or Ighalo isn't going to come from Nigeria's league

Thu, 25 Jul 2019 11:35:40 GMT

While Cup Final weekend is upon Nigeria, as Kano Pillars go up against Niger Tornadoes to determine who wins the 2019 Aiteo Cup on Sunday, the talk is still on the Super Eagles' Afcon campaign. Conversation in Nigeria remains centred on the future of coach Gernot Rohr as the team's failure to reach the continental final continues to enrage, but little has been said about the team itself. Specifically, the loss of key personnel. And therein lies the crux of the matter. The Aiteo final, and the domestic...

Rohr debate misses the point about Nigerian shortcomings

Mon, 22 Jul 2019 01:06:00 GMT

While the African Cup of Nations final may have been tough to watch, Steve Nicol says Algeria's defence deserves a lot of credit for their victory. For a record eighth time in their history, Nigeria came away from an African Nations Cup campaign brandishing bronze medals around their necks. It is not just a record for Nigeria, but also for the tournament. No other country has more third-place finishes in the history of the competition. When in the past this final podium place has been celebrated as a "golden bronze", this time emotions have been more varied. Nations Cup winner Segun Odegbami vehemently refused to celebrate it. There are those,...

Friendly trials done, time for Igor Stimac to prove his worth

Fri, 19 Jul 2019 09:11:00 GMT

Following India's 1-1 draw against Syria in the Intercontinental Cup, a tournament in which the hosts ended bottom, with one point from three games, coach Igor Stimac took a not-so-subtle dig at India's previous management. "I was not brought here to give just few wins and losses and be nowhere. It is easy to play against certain teams below the range [lower ranked opponents] and get the win. I am not here for that." Under their previous coach Stephen Constantine, India had done remarkably well...

Transfer Talk: Neymar turns to Juventus for PSG exit

Wed, 17 Jul 2019 03:00:15 GMT

The European transfer window is open. Click here to review all the latest transfers and keep up to date with the latest gossip below. Top free agents in 2020 | What do Europe's elite need TOP STORY: Neymar turns to Juventus for PSG exit Neymar wants OUT of PSG and he wants it soon. RAI reports that the Brazilian's father is offering him to clubs around Europe in a bid to seal a transfer away from Paris and one team has appeared on the list which comes as a bit of a shock. TRANSFERS Transfer grades: Rating every major signing from Europe Why did Prem teams spend less this window? European transfer review: Successes and failures Neymar Sr. is evidently...

Transfer Talk: Arsenal plot move for new Brazil star Everton

Sun, 14 Jul 2019 04:53:00 GMT

The European transfer window is open. Click here to review all the latest transfers, and keep up to date with the latest gossip below. QUIZ: Which player are you? | What do Europe's elite need? TOP STORY: Arsenal gunning for Everton Brazil international Everton has revealed he has an offer on the table, but the tease hasn't disclosed which club it is that's keen on signing him. TRANSFERS Transfer grades: Rating every major signing from Europe Why did Prem teams spend less this window? European transfer review: Successes and failures Everton was one of the stars of Brazil's successful Copa America campaign and scored in the final in a 3-1 win against...

Transfer Talk: Bayern back with bigger bid for Chelsea's Hudson-Odoi

Sat, 13 Jul 2019 03:28:16 GMT

Julien Laurens says a cash-plus-players deal is the only way Barcelona can bring back Neymar from PSG, so which players could go the other way? The European transfer window is open. Click here to review all the latest transfers, and keep up to date with the latest gossip below. Top free agents in 2020 | What do Europe's elite need Bayern prepare fresh Hudson-Odoi bid Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich are refusing to accept defeat in their pursuit of Chelsea starlet Callum Hudson-Odoi, with the Daily Mail claiming the Germans are set to make a renewed bid for the winger. The new proposal from Bayern is believed to be in the region of...

Transfer Talk: Arsenal to break bank for Koscielny replacement

Fri, 12 Jul 2019 03:00:38 GMT

Paul Pogba reportedly wants to leave Manchester United, but Mark Ogden explains why he might need to wait it out at Old Trafford for one more year. The European transfer window is open. Click here to review all the latest transfers, and keep up to date with the latest gossip below. Top free agents in 2020 | What do Europe's elite need Top Story: Arsenal identify Koscielny replacement With Laurent Koscielny not turning up for Arsenal's preseason tour of the United States, the Gunners suddenly find themselves light in experience when it comes to the heart of defence. And so, to the market the club turns. The Mail reports that the North...

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