Jets fire coach Todd Bowles after 4 seasons with no playoffs

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NEW YORK (AP) — Todd Bowles’ tenure with the New York Jets began four years ago with plenty of promise. It ended with too many losses and no playoff appearances.

The team announced the long-expected decision that it moved on from Bowles on Sunday night, a few hours after the Jets wrapped up their season with a 38-3 loss at New England.

“I would like to thank coach Bowles for his dedication to the New York Jets for the last four years,” Jets Chairman and CEO Christopher Johnson said in a statement. “After carefully evaluating the situation, I have concluded that this is the right direction for the organization to take. I would like to wish Todd, Taneka and their family only the best.”

Bowles, 54, was hired in January 2015 after New York fired Rex Ryan. The Jets got off to a solid start under Bowles, who guided them to a 10-6 record. But they fell a win shy of the playoffs in his first season after losing a win-and-in game against Ryan’s Bills. Still, many expected the Jets to take the next step under Bowles.

It never happened.

There was some uncertainty surrounding general manager Mike Maccagnan’s job status, but it appears he will remain in his role and help lead the Jets’ search for a new coach.

New York went 4-12 this year after going 5-11 in each of the last two seasons, and Bowles’ in-game management became a focus of heavy criticism. The stoic coach also never endeared himself to frustrated fans who often mistook Bowles’ lack of public emotion for an absence of passion.

Bowles was on the hot seat last season, but the team stuck together and he and Maccagnan were given two-year extensions last December by Johnson.

The Jets entered this season with their focus on developing rookie quarterback Sam Darnold, the No. 3 overall draft pick in April, and Johnson did not set a playoff mandate for Bowles or Maccagnan. But the former USC star threw a league-leading 14 interceptions before straining his right foot against Miami on Nov. 4 and sitting out three games.

There were glimmers of promise when Darnold returned from the foot injury, with the rookie throwing for 931 yards and six touchdowns with just one interception — and looking very much a quarterback who can lead the team into the future.

Darnold will have to do that with a new coach, though

It appeared Bowles’ fate was sealed when the Jets were blown out by AFC East-rival Buffalo 41-10 on Nov. 11. But Johnson chose to have Bowles finish the season, something New York has traditionally done with its head coaches. The Jets haven’t had an in-season coaching change since 1976, when Lou Holtz resigned with one game remaining and was replaced by Mike Holovak.

Still, Bowles was headed to an inevitable ending with the Jets — but never allowed the outside speculation and rumors affect his day-to-day approach with his players.

Several players praised Bowles for how he handled himself through everything, and often insisted the team’s failing weren’t the coach’s fault. Still, when asked last week of his assessment of his performance, Bowles pointed the finger only at himself.

“The record says it all,” Bowles said.

The Jets’ next coach will likely be working with a revamped roster, with the team expected to have more than $100 million in salary cap space in the offseason. The goal will be to surround Darnold with as much talent as possible while the franchise builds for the future.

Maccagnan has also been heavily criticized for his spotty track record in the draft and lack of overall roster depth at key spots, but will get a chance to continue shaping the team.

“You have to go get players, man,” safety Jamal Adams said after the game. “You have to get big-time players. It’s simple. You look at the Saints. You look at the Rams. You look at the Chicago Bears. You look at all those teams. You have to go get players.”

Maccagnan was hired by the Jets a day before they brought on Bowles, and the two appeared to have a mostly solid working relationship. But the makeup of the roster has left something to be desired — and Maccagnan didn’t have the ultimate say in the hiring of Bowles, something he will likely have this time around.

Recent first-rounders Adams, Leonard Williams and Darron Lee are starters, along with Darnold, but only 12 of the 22 players drafted from 2015-17 under Maccagnan remain on the roster. The bulk of the crop from those draft classes should be major depth pieces now, namely wide receivers Devin Smith (second round, 2015), ArDarius Stewart (third round, 2017) and Chad Hansen (fourth, 2017), and linebacker Lorenzo Mauldin (third round, 2015).

Maccagnan’s biggest draft blunder came in 2016, when he took quarterback Christian Hackenberg in the second round despite most NFL scouts considering the former Penn State star a major project. Hackenberg never developed, was traded to Oakland in May and is now in the Alliance of American Football after stops with two other NFL teams.

As a result of the lackluster drafts, the Jets will need to make a big-time splash in free agency during the offseason.

Bowles came to the Jets as a highly sought candidate after leading Arizona’s aggressive-style defense for two seasons and winning the first AP Assistant Coach of the Year award in 2014. He beat out five other candidates, including current Atlanta coach Dan Quinn and Jacksonville coach Doug Marrone.

It marked a homecoming for Bowles, a native of Elizabeth, New Jersey, who also served as the Jets’ defensive backs coach under Al Groh during the 2000 season. Bowles played eight NFL seasons as a defensive back before working his way through the coaching ranks as an assistant. He went 2-1 as Miami’s interim head coach in 2011.

Bowles was the Jets’ sixth straight defense-focused head coach and fifth since Woody Johnson took over the Jets in 2000, joining Ryan, Eric Mangini, Herm Edwards, Groh and Bill Parcells.

New York could opt to go with an offense-minded coach this time around, especially with Darnold the face of the franchise and the team’s inability in recent years to develop young quarterbacks.

The franchise is also starving for a Super Bowl appearance, something it hasn’t had since 1969.

___

More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

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Ravens win AFC North, Eagles, Colts get wild cards

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By BARRY WILNER

Week 13

The playoff chase went down to the final minutes of the season Sunday, when Baltimore squeezed in as AFC North winner, and defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia got some help to secure an NFC wild card.

Deshaun Watson, J.J. Watt

That left Pittsburgh and Minnesota out.

Kansas City (12-4) grabbed the AFC’s top seed, followed by New England (11-5), Houston (11-5) and Baltimore (10-6). The Chargers (12-4) own the first wild card and will play at the Ravens next Sunday at 1 p.m. EST. The Colts (10-6) romped past the Titans 33-17 at Tennessee and have the other wild card. They travel to Houston on Saturday afternoon.

DeAndre Hopkins, Myles Jack


The Saints (13-3) have the top seed in the NFC, and the Rams (12-4) got the No. 2 spot when they beat San Francisco. Chicago (12-4), whose win at Minnesota knocked out the Vikings and put the Eagles into the postseason, is seeded third and gets Philadelphia (9-7) next Sunday at 4:40 p.m.

Dallas (10-6) is the fourth seed and will play Seattle (10-6) on Saturday night.

C.J. Mosley intercepted a fourth-down pass by Baker Mayfield to preserve the Ravens’ 26-24 win as Baltimore rushed for a season-best 296 yards. A year ago, Baltimore missed the playoffs by losing its finale at home to the Bengals, who rallied with a last-minute touchdown.

“If you want to write a book about this season, probably no one would believe it,” coach John Harbaugh said.

Steelers players remained on the field after they edged Cincinnati 16-13 and watched the drama from Baltimore on the videoboard. But their archrival Browns couldn’t help them against the equally hated Ravens, and Pittsburgh (9-6-1) is out.

“It just sucks,” Steelers guard David DeCastro said. “How hard we work, how much effort we put in. To go from 7-2-1 to where we are now is heartbreaking.”

Nick Foles, who led the Eagles to the Super Bowl title over the Patriots in Minneapolis last February, guided them to a resounding 24-0 victory at Washington. Then the Bears helped out at Minnesota with a 24-10 win even though they had nothing to play for, being set as the NFC’s third seed.

“We’re not sneaking in. We’re here to do some damage,” Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins said.

Earlier, the Texans rallied from losing their first three games to win the AFC South and become the No 3 seed.

Houston easily handled Jacksonville 20-3 Sunday as Deshaun Watson threw for 234 yards and ran for a touchdown, and DeAndre Hopkins had 147 yards receiving.

The Texans finished last in the division in 2017. They and the Bears have done the worst-to-first turnaround this season, making it 15 of the past 16 seasons that has occurred in the league.

“It’s do or die now, so you’ve got to put everything on the line now,” Watson said. “Prepare harder than you did before and anything can happen at this point. The tournament is wide open and it’s my first playoff, so I’m just excited to get in and see how things go.”

New England, meanwhile, will get a week off in early January for the 13th time since 2001, most in the NFL during that span. The Patriots routed the Jets 38-3, and because they defeated Houston during the season, they get the bye.

“Eleven and five is nothing to be sad about,” Tom Brady said. “We fought pretty hard and put ourselves in good position.”

___

More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/tag/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

Eagles leapfrog Vikings into NFL playoffs with help from Bears

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Defending Super Bowl champions the Philadelphia Eagles progressed to the NFL playoffs as the Minnesota Vikings bowed out. It was win or go home for the Eagles and the Vikings in week 17 on Sunday and Philadelphia came out on top at the expense of Minnesota.

Both teams had a chance to secure the NFC’s final playoff spot and the Eagles – who have won five of their last six games – captured it by blanking the Washington Redskins 24-0, while the Vikings lost 24-10 to the Chicago Bears.

Kartje: In wide open Super Bowl race, Rams and Chargers are serious contenders

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LOS ANGELES – Two Januarys ago, after a disastrous debut season for the NFL in Los Angeles, there were no delusions of Super Bowl grandeur to be found in the Southland. The Rams were an unwatchable mess, still feeling the prolonged hangover of the Jeff Fisher era. The Chargers were an unwanted enigma, with nine wins in their last two seasons.

Both had just fired their coaches. After more than two decades without the NFL, a single season had made Los Angeles a league-wide punchline.

Sign up ( https://www.dailybulletin.com/newsletter )  for Home Turf and get exclusive stories every SoCal sports fan must read, sent daily. Subscribe here ( https://www.dailybulletin.com/newsletter ) .No one is laughing now. As the NFL postseason begin next weekend, the Rams and Chargers are now indisputably two of the league’s most dangerous playoff teams, each with designs on hoisting the Lombardi Trophy.

For the Chargers, that pursuit begins next week in Baltimore. For the Rams, a week off awaits before a divisional round matchup at home against either the Bears, Seahawks or Cowboys.

For either, a Super Bowl victory would forever shift the city’s sports paradigm. And if they happen to both make it that far, well … there’s no telling what might happen here.

Of course, it’s a long road for both until that point. But at their best, both have certainly looked the part of serious Super Bowl contenders. The Rams didn’t lose a single contest until November, while the Chargers have won close game after close game, in every possible fashion, exorcising demons that once haunted them whenever the spotlight beckoned. Only once this season did either team lose consecutive games.

Neither, though, has looked all that convincing down the season’s final stretch. Over the past month, a Rams offense that once paced the league stalled at the worst possible time, before running over two inferior opponents to close out the season. The Chargers squandered their chances at home-field advantage with an ill-timed sequence of miscues against the Ravens and Broncos, as they briefly reverted back to their mistake-prone ways.

Both L.A. teams are potentially as vulnerable as they are vicious. Which, in these particular playoffs, means they should fit right in.

The road to this Super Bowl is as wide open as its been in recent memory. There are no overwhelming favorites and no obvious write-offs. The Chiefs and Saints will be the betting favorites, and it’s hard to argue with either. But there’s a compelling case to be made that just about anyone can win it all. In the same way, there’s just as much reason to believe any of the team’s in this year’s field could fall apart.

The Chiefs have an historic offense – and a quarterback that threw 50 touchdowns in his first season a starter – but they also boast one of the worst defenses to make the playoffs in years. The Bears have the league’s stingiest defense, but an offense that often forgets how to score without its defense’s help. And then, there’s the Eagles, whose Super Bowl hangover nearly lasted through December, before lifting just in time for them to round into postseason form and slip into the last wild card spot.

Recent history tells us that circumstance is as crucial as anything this time of year. Home-field advantage makes a gargantuan difference. Not since 2013 has a Super Bowl participant had to win a playoff game on the road before the Big Game. It’s why the Patriots, who won the AFC East for the 10th straight season in spite of their obvious mediocrity, can’t be ruled out.

The odds are stacked even further against wild card teams, who have only made the Super Bowl 10 times since the system was implemented nearly 50 years ago. Over the past decade, only one wild card (the 2010 Packers) has managed to run the table.

But this season, that history may not apply. These are no ordinary wild cards. The Colts won nine of 10 to finish out the season. The Eagles won five of six and have the hottest quarterback in the NFL – and last year’s Super Bowl MVP – at the helm. The Seahawks have Russell Wilson, a grinding run game and the league’s best turnover margin. And the Chargers were one defensive stop of the Broncos away from securing the No. 1 seed in the AFC.

https://i2.wp.com/scng-dash.digitalfirstmedia.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/CHARGERS_BRONCOS_FOOTBALL_28094095.jpg?fit=620%2C9999px&ssl=1 Chargers rookie safety Derwin James and his teammates will be looking to redeem themselves in next week’s rematch with the Baltimore Ravens, the team that handed the Chargers a humbling loss on Dec. 22. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)Any of those four could jump-start a run next weekend, but the most difficult road may belong to the Chargers, who just a week ago were shut down by Ravens’ stalwart defense. Even with a victory on the road in Baltimore, assuming the Texans defeated the Colts, the Chargers would then have to travel back to Kansas City, where they staged a thrilling comeback victory ( https://www.ocregister.com/2018/12/13/chargers-stun-kansas-city-chiefs-on-late-two-point-conversion-clinch-playoff-berth/ )  this month. Before that Thursday night, they hadn’t beat the Chiefs since Dec. 2013.

The Rams may also find themselves matched up with an opponent that recently took them to the woodshed. If the Bears can beat the Eagles next Sunday, they’ll again face the Rams, who they held to just six points earlier this month ( https://www.ocregister.com/2018/12/09/rams-melt-down-in-frigid-chicago-miss-chance-to-clinch-first-round-playoff-bye/ ) . This time, at least, that game would be played at home, and a victory, barring an upset, would likely send them to New Orleans, with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line.

Two years ago, those aspirations were no more than a pipe dream. But now, with a wide-open postseason ahead, L.A.’s pair of NFL teams find themselves in the thick of a Super Bowl race, with one, simple directive.

“Just find a way to win,” Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers. “Nobody cares how. Just find a way to advance.”

A first look at the playoff matchups:

Indianapolis Colts (10-6) at Houston Texans (11-5)

When: 1:35 p.m., Saturday

Where: NRG Stadium, Houston, TX

The Colts win if … Indy’s offensive line can give Andrew Luck enough time to make plays downfield. Luck went five games without taking a sack earlier this season.

The Texans win if … Houston can force turnovers on defense and eliminate them on offense. The Texans are tied for 2nd in the NFL in turnover differential; the Colts were 15th.

Seattle Seahawks (10-6) at Dallas Cowboys (10-6)

When: 5:15 p.m., Saturday

Where: AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX

The Seahawks win if … They can stay on schedule and establish the run game. Seattle is built to wear teams down with long drives, but the challenge with the Cowboys is how similarly they’re built.

The Cowboys win if … Dak Prescott can continue to be an efficient passer. Since Week 10, Prescott is completing over 73 percent of his passes. The Cowboys are 6-1 during that stretch.

Philadelphia Eagles (9-7) at Chicago Bears (11-5)

When: 1:40 p.m., Sunday

Where: Soldier Field, Chicago, IL

The Eagles win if … They can force the Bears offense into long third-down situations. Mitch Trubisky is one of the worst downfield passers in the NFL this season.

The Bears win if … Nick Foles is consistently pressured inside the pocket. Foles has been impressive recently, but pressure has always been his Achilles heel.

Culled from: https://www.dailybulletin.com/2018/12/30/kartje-in-wide-open-super-bowl-race-rams-and-chargers-are-serious-contenders/
December 30, 2018 at 9:28 pm
Author     : gqlshare

NBA Roundup

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Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (Piston) scored 26 to key a 121-114 win over the Sacramento Kings on Sunday night. The Lakers ended the game on an 18-4 run after trailing late, with Brandon Ingram (21 points and nine assists) making big shots down the stretch.

Josh Hart also added 22 points, allowing the Lakers (21-16) to avenge their one-point loss to the Kings three days earlier.


Josh Hart

James missed his third straight game with a groin strain ( https://ak-static.cms.nba.com/referee/injury/Injury-Report_2018-12-29_05PM.pdf ) , but it was the first time in 14 games dating back to 2016 that his team won without him, per Micah Adams ( https://twitter.com/MicahAdams13/status/1078894505489850368 )  of NBA ( http://bleacherreport.com/nba ) .com.

The Kings fell to 19-17 on the season despite 26 points from De’Aaron Fox.

De’Aaron Fox Deserves Spot on All-Star Roster

The Western Conference is loaded with the best basketball players in the world, but Fox deserves a spot among those players in the All-Star Game based on the way he has played to this point.

No one expected the Kings to be in the playoff hunt this late into the season after going 12 straight years without a winning record, but they have kept pace heading into 2019 thanks mostly to the play of their point guard.

Even while seemingly dealing with shoulder problems and foul trouble, Fox still had a good night with 26 points, seven assists, four rebounds and three steals. The Kings were even while he was on the court despite the seven-point loss.

He once again showed a knack for producing highlight plays in many phases of the game:

> Sacramento Kings @SacramentoKingsSwipaVision™️ https://t.co/67X8RFEGNv
>

> Sacramento Kings @SacramentoKings🦊

💥

> Sacramento Kings @SacramentoKingsA 🦊 always stays ready… https://t.co/iGnQiD8qHb
>

Perhaps just as important for him, he outdueled Lonzo Ball, a personal rival since they were both top recruits in high school.

Fox has been playing at this level all year long, entering the day averaging 18.0 points, 7.7 assists and 1.7 steals per game. The only players to match these numbers so far this season are James Harden ( https://twitter.com/SacramentoKings/status/1079581321196752896 ) , Russell Westbrook ( http://bleacherreport.com/russell-westbrook )  and Jrue Holiday, per Basketball Reference ( https://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/psl_finder.cgi?request=1&match=single&type=per_game&per_minute_base=36&per_poss_base=100&season_start=1&season_end=-1&lg_id=NBA&age_min=0&age_max=99&is_playoffs=N&height_min=0&height_max=99&year_min=2019&year_max=2019&birth_country_is=Y&as_comp=gt&as_val=0&pos_is_g=Y&pos_is_gf=Y&pos_is_f=Y&pos_is_fg=Y&pos_is_fc=Y&pos_is_c=Y&pos_is_cf=Y&c1stat=pts_per_g&c1comp=gt&c1val=18&c2stat=ast_per_g&c2comp=gt&c2val=7.7&c3stat=stl_per_g&c3comp=gt&c3val=1.6&order_by=ws ) .

He has also taken his game to another level as of late. Taking away his six-minute game against the Timberwolves earlier this month, he averaged 21.3 points, 8.9 rebounds and 2.5 steals over his last 11 games.

The 21-year-old remains a threat every night as someone who can carry the offense with his scoring or keep the offense flowing with his passing while also playing shutdown defense on the perimeter.

> Jason  Jones @mr_jasonjonesDe’Aaron Fox’s speed shows up in so many ways on both ends. How he snuck in for that last steal and score was ridiculous
>

While Buddy Hield has played well this season and just about everyone on the roster has exceeded expectations, Fox is the most valuable player on this team and one of the best on the floor every night.

DeMarcus Cousins ( https://twitter.com/mr_jasonjones/status/1079580106647990274 )  has been the only Kings All-Star in the last 10 years, and that was because he put up numbers no one could ignore. While Fox doesn’t have this type of production on paper, he has helped his team win and is playing at an All-Star level.

If he can keep this up, he should be in Charlotte next February.

What’s Next?

The Lakers will continue their homestand Wednesday with a matchup against the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Kings will play on New Year’s Day while hosting the Portland Trail Blazers.

This article will be updated to provide more information soon.

NBA News
via Bleacher Report – NBA http://bit.ly/2gMI6gF

Liverpool boss Klopp offers update on Mo Salah and Sadio Mane

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Liverpool boss Klopp offers update on Mo Salah and Sadio Mane

https://ift.tt/2JldUYd

Pre-season

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has spoken about his players ahead of pre-season, and noted that Sadio Mane and Mo Salah will work their way into the season.

He noted that the Liverpool players who have been at the World Cup have of course got holidays and time off before they’re expected to come back to the club, ready for next season, after recharging their batteries and becoming ready for the fight ahead next season.

“That’s the start for them,” Klopp told Liverpoolfc.com.

“They had their holiday and then they’ll come with us to the USA. They only had three weeks’ holiday so it means they didn’t lose too much.

“We have to see how they present and then we’ll see if they can play in the games. They will be there.

“And then the last group [of World Cup players] comes much later.”

KIEV, UKRAINE – MAY 26: Sergio Ramos of Real Madrid and Sadio Mane of Liverpool console Mohamed Salah of Liverpool as he leaves the pitch injured during the UEFA Champions League Final between Real Madrid and Liverpool at NSC Olimpiyskiy Stadium on May 26, 2018 in Kiev, Ukraine. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

New objectives

Ahead of the new season, Liverpool will certainly have high objectives, with the Champions League final loss something they want to build on this season and go one step further, along with targeting the Premier League as well.

Mo Salah himself had a stunning season last time out, and will want to personally build on his achievements, with his goal tally something everyone is curious to see if it can be repeated and may happen again – something Liverpool fans will be hoping for and certainly something the player expects.

See also: Barcelona eye move for Eden Hazard amid Chelsea chaos

Danny Ward tipped to be Liverpool’s #1 as Simon Mignolet considers Reds u-turn

Soccer News

via 101 Great Goals https://ift.tt/1wnyP0o

July 13, 2018 at 06:45AM

https://wp.me/p8ZPmC-VAX

Mikel Arteta considering Santi Cazorla as assistant after fresh talks with Arsenal — Metro

News, sports

He’s the favourite to replace Arsene Wenger.

Mikel Arteta held productive talks with Arsenal on Tuesday about succeeding Arsene Wenger and floated appointing Santi Cazorla as his assistant, according to reports.

The north London club are pushing ahead with their search for a replacement for Wenger, who has ended his 22-year association with the club, and want a new manager in place before the start of the World Cup.

Although experienced coaches likes Juventus boss Max Allegri and former Barcelona manager Luis Enrique have been linked with the post, Arteta is now emerging as the favourite.

Arteta and Cazorla played alongside each other for three seasons (Picture: Getty)

Arsenal’s hierarchy are believed to be leaning towards a ‘rookie’ coach and Arteta has a growing reputation thanks to two years learning under Pep Guardiola at Manchester City.

And now The Independent report that Arteta’s chances of replacing Wenger have progressed after fresh talks with the club, while he is already thinking about his backroom team.

The Spaniard is considering compatriot Cazorla – who he played alongside at Arsenal – as an assistant, and the playmaker could be offered a player-coaching role.

Arteta will also weigh up including Wenger’s assistant Steve Bould in his staff, though the former centre-back is undecided about remaining at the club.

Arteta snubbed the chance to coach at Arsenal under Wenger and instead joined Guardiola (Getty)

The Gunners have already axed a number of Wenger’s old support staff, such as right-hand man Boro Primorac, and Arteta wants to bring in at least three of his own appointments.

Although Arteta is now Ivan Gazidis’ preferred choice, Arsenal’s hierarchy are still expected to meet with other candidates and want to complete a thorough search before finally settling on Wenger’s successor.

via Mikel Arteta considering Santi Cazorla as assistant after fresh talks with Arsenal — Metro

Fabregas Weds ‘Woman Of His Dreams’

News, relationship, sports

By  Emmanuel Egobiambu

Fabregas Weds 'Woman Of His Dreams'
Daniella Semaan weds fabregas/Instagram

Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas has wedded his longtime girlfriend and mother of his three children Daniella Semaan.

Fabregas posted pictures of the wedding on his Instagram page with the former Arsenal man wearing a black tuxedo and guiding his bride through an arch of white flowers at Cliveden House in Berkshire.

Semaan – the new Mrs Fabregas – looks stunning in a shoulder-less white wedding gown with silver jewellery in her hair and around her neck.

“Just married to this handsome man that I adore,” Semaan wrote after marrying the man she has been in a relationship with since 2011.

See more photos of the wedding below:

Source/Instagram
Source/Instagram
Source/Instagram

This Week in Chicago Sports — Soup of the Week

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White Sox

At the time of writing, the White Sox are in a rain delay of the second game of this weekend’s Crosstown series with the Cubs. After the Cubs’ 11-2 win yesterday in which Carson Fulmer lasted just 1 ⅔ innings in which he gave up five earned runs, and two Sox errors led to four unearned runs I’m not upset that today’s game may not happen. You can’t lose if you don’t play.

Looking back over the course of the week, I don’t have any more good news to share. The White Sox lost every game they played, losing their last two to the Twins before being swept at home by the Pirates, a game of which I, and maybe a few hundred others, attended:sox vs pirates

At 9-26 the Sox are off to their worst 35 game start in franchise history, not exactly what I was hoping for when I thought they would win 75 games this season. At this pace the Sox would only win 42 games this season, a winning percentage of 25.7%. The Sox worst ever season was in 1932 when they won just 32.5% of their games. In the history of baseball, five teams have finished with a winning percentage equal to or worse where the Sox are right now, the most recent being the Mets in 1962. That is not a group the Sox will want to join.

It’s important to keep perspective that 1) this is a rebuild still in its early stages and 2) we have a lot of injury issues right now. Yoan Moncada and Avi Garcia will be back, the team will get (a little) better; this is going to take some time.

The worst injury news this week concerns prospect Jake Burger, who re-tore the achilles he originally tore in spring training. He had surgery again to repair the tear and will have to start his rehab over. This likely means he will miss spring training next season.

It’s easy to say the White Sox quantity of prospects is their best asset, but it’s unforseen stuff like this that can cause problems. I certainly wish Jake all the best and a full recovery.

The one piece of good news with the Sox this week, as usual, concerns a successful prospect.

At the time of writing, Eloy Jimenez is now on a 15 game hitting streak and has 7 homers, 24 RBIs, a .333 average and an OPS over 1.0 through 24 games played for AA Birmingham. Get that man to AAA now (and then to the Sox as soon as possible, they need the help).

Standings: Do I really need to fill this in? We’re in last.

This Week: Finish the series with the Cubs (2 games), at Pittsburgh for 2 games, then a four game series at home against Texas

 

Cubs

By Logan Springgate

The Cubs spent last weekend getting swept out of Busch Stadium in a 3 game series with the Cardinals. I brought up some of the Cubs’ offensive struggles last week and they continued in St. Louis last weekend. By the end of that series, the Cubs had scored 3 runs or less in 10 out of 11 games. I was actually at the Friday night game at Busch Stadium (I hate the Cardinals, but it’s a really beautiful stadium. See the end for a picture.). I love baseball. I love a pitcher’s duel. I love a slugfest. Last Friday was none of those things. Mikolas dominated the Cubs hitters who barely got the ball out of the infield and Quintana struggled again. The rest of the weekend was much of the same as the Cardinals walked off in extras on back-to-back nights Saturday and Sunday. I was dreading writing this week as it looked like the Cubs were back to their up-and-down, .500 ways, but now…

…it sure seems like home cooking and bad pitching is just what the doctor ordered because the Cubbies came home and their offense exploded. I was also at Wrigley for the Cubs four homer, 14 run dismantling of the Miami Marlins on Monday night. Hendricks was absolutely dealing and he went 8 full innings on just 98 pitches with no walks. Hendricks has been easily the best and most consistent Cubs starter this year and I’m really happy to see Joe giving him a longer leash than he used to. On the other side of the ball, the Cubs bats got to Jarlin Garcia who had been leading the NL in ERA coming into the game. Ian Happ became the first Cubs switch hitter to hit home runs from both sides of the plate since Dioner Navarro in 2013.

With Yu Darvish on the DL, Jen-Ho Tseng was exactly what the Cubs needed him to be: not disastrous. Tseng really hasn’t been very good (read: he’s been terrible) at Iowa (AAA) this season (0-4, 8.04 ERA), but between his 2 innings and Hendricks giving the bullpen the night off on Monday, the Wrigley Field Dance Crew™ (aka the relievers) held off Miami’s Quad-A team and the Cubs bats worked past Tseng’s 3 earned runs on Tuesday. There’s not a whole lot to say about this game except that during a benches-clearing incident, Kris Bryant decided to tickle former Cub Starlin Castro. No really, there’s video on Twitter or ESPN or wherever you like to get your baseball video.

On Wednesday, Quintana actually looked pretty good. He pitched six innings, walked two, and gave up no home runs. It was by far his best start this season against a team not named Milwaukee. Meanwhile, the Cubs scored early and often, hanging 9 runs on Wei-Yin Chen in the first 3 innings before they chased him out of the game. Bryant hit his 100th career home run on the three-year anniversary of his first major-league homer. It also broke Ernie Banks’s record (500 gms) as the fastest Cubs to 100 homers at just 487 games. Bryant is hot right now which is great, but I’m more excited about the other half of Bryzzo. Anthony Rizzo went 3-5 with a home run in the game and finally dragged his batting average above the Mendoza line. Intellectually, I knew that Rizzo would come along eventually, but it’s nice to actually see it.

Random Notes:

–        The Cubs crushed the White Sox on Friday afternoon and Willson Contreras hit for 12 total bases, tying a Cubs catcher record. I could go on for a while about this game, so I think I’m just going to save it for after the series is over.

–        Bryant’s power has come back in a big way. On top of hitting five home runs in the last 8 games, he’s also slashed .333/.436/.909 during the same period. I was worried about him getting too focused on plate discipline before the year started and it looked like my concerns were validated until the last week and a half.

–        Cubs hitting coach Chili Davis hit home runs from both sides of the plate in a single game 11 times during his playing career. Ian Happ has his work cut out for him if he hopes to even approach that.

P.S. due to lack of enthusiasm, The Happening has been postponed. Return date TBD.

Standing: 20-15, 4th in NL Central, 1.5 GB of St. Louis

This week: vs. White Sox (2 gms), vs. Atlanta (makeup game), @ Atlanta (3 gms)

 

****BASEBALL NOTE******

We’re going to probably be doing a Slack chat (or something similar) sometime early this next week reviewing the White Sox vs Cubs series. Stay tuned to the relevant social media profiles (@soupweek_blog @alex_s_campbell @loganspringgate) for more info about that over the next couple days)

*******************************

 

Fire

The Fire won a nail-biter Thursday night at Toyota Park against the Montreal Impact, as they got an 89th minute winning goal from an unexpected source: defender Kevin Ellis (who was aided by a significant deflection off an Impact defender) to win the game 1-0.Highlights here.

The win leaves the Fire three points out of the playoff places. They take on the Crew in Columbus later today (Saturday).

There’s been plenty of news off the field for the Fire this week. The rumors about the Fire attempting to sign former Spain, Liverpool and Chelsea and current Atletico Madrid striker Fernando Torres took a turn for the worse. First, he reportedly wanted a salary of $4 million (via Sports Illustrated’s @GrantWahl) which is both a lot for an MLS contract and difficult for the Fire to accomodate given they already have three players making seven-figures: Bastian Schweinsteiger ($6.1 million), Nemanja Nikolic ($1.7 million) and Aleksandar Katai ($1.14 million).

There were then rumors that Torres would instead be going to the Montreal Impact, but those were squished Thursday by this statement from Impact manager Remi Garde:

So who knows what’s happening. There’s also the ridiculous idea out there that Steven Gerrard, who has just been named manager of Rangers in Scotland, is going to try to get the late 2000s Liverpool band back together by signing the likes of Torres, Xabi Alonso, Javier Mascherano, and Martin Skrtel. Torres won’t be playing for Atletico next season, that’s literally all anyone knows at this point.

The other big off the field news this week was the announcement that Cubs owner Tom Ricketts has purchase a United Soccer League (USL) expansion franchise (really he’s purchasing the opportunity to have a team, it doesn’t actually exist yet) and insteads to build a new soccer stadium in the Lincoln Yards development on the northwest side of Chicago.

While this would be an ideal place for a downtown soccer stadium, the idea of a USL team moving in there would be bad news for the Fire. One idea that I really like is you have the Fire play in the new stadium and the USL team play at Toyota Park. However, if Ricketts is just buying a USL team that wouldn’t make sense because whichever team were to play in Bridgeview would struggle. One solution to this is that Ricketts could buy the Fire, which there’s been no indication that he’s going to do. I’ve said before that in principle I’m all in favor of more soccer in Chicago, but it will be interesting to see how these plans develop and what it means for the Fire.

via This Week in Chicago Sports — Soup of the Week

Severe Weather Forces Phillies Game To Be Postponed — CBS Philly

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Phillies game against the New York Mets has been postponed Saturday night due to severe weather.

The game will be made up on Thursday August 16 as part of a single-admission doubleheader, beginning at 4:05 p.m. All gates will open at 3:05 p.m.

Conforto’s 9th-Inning HR Lifts Mets Over Neris, Phils 3-1

All fans holding tickets to Saturday night’s game will be able to exchange them for tickets to the August 16 doubleheader, or any remaining Phillies home game in 2018.

via Severe Weather Forces Phillies Game To Be Postponed — CBS Philly

EDDIE HOWE would be the perfect man to replace Arsene Wenger at Arsenal.

sports
express.co.uk
Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe
Eddie Howe has seen his stock rise at Bournemouth

Those are the thoughts of former Everton and Sunderland star-turned-pundit Don Hutchinson.

Wenger will stand down as Arsenalmanager after Sunday’s game away to Huddersfield after almost 22 years at the helm.

A number of candidates have been bandied about to replace the French tactician, including Carlo Ancelotti and Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri.

At present, there is a dearth of English managers in charge of Premier League clubs.

But Hutchison thinks Howe would be ideal for the Gunners if given the chance.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger
Arsene Wenger will stand down as Arsenal boss after their final league game

“I think he’s the perfect candidate,” Hutchison said on BBC Radio 5 Live’s Football Daily when asked about Howe’s credentials.

“There’s bigger names out there, but what I see in Howe is that he’s quite flawless in terms of his temperament.

“When you see Bournemouth over the last three or four years, you see a team that goes through a patch.

“Right ‘what have you got’? You might have to do something different.

https://players.brightcove.net/2540076170001/BkxGoSlDuG_default/index.html?videoId=5782882631001

“They keep playing football – it’s the Arsenal way, it’s the Bournemouth way.

“They keep playing and keep playing, because they’re good enough.

“The only game Bournemouth changed was against Liverpool, but Howe never changes and never panicks.”

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Andrés Iniesta & Xavi of Nigeria. Meet the 14 year old Lawal Suleiman Ayomide

News, sports

The way he sees the game is different from everyone on the field, he doesn’t need to faint, dribble or out-muscle anyone. He just needs to touch the ball and the ball would run his errands gracefully. The beauty of having an intelligent player on your team is that, you have an edge. Just pray for your strikers to be at the right place at the right time and be willing to convert their chances

DcxgUL4XkAIkx0iI saw the 14-year-old Sule playing against people in their 30s and above in the Lagos State FA Cup yesterday, believe me or not – NO NIGERIA FOOTALLER, home or abroad has more football brain than this lad. The thing this boy did with the ball, Only Iniesta does it.

Sule featured for G12 academy (real academy) only 3 out of their team is likely to be above 20. The rest are in under 18. His team one 1- 0 and they are in round 32 of the Lagos FA Cup. Sule’s touches, pocket passes, ball control vision is out of here

 

Barcelona icon Andres Iniesta reveals ex-Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal was his most important manager — The Scottish Sun

News, sports

ANDRES INIESTA has revealed his most important manager during his time at Barcelona — and the answer will surprise many.

The midfield legend is leaving the club in the summer, more than two decades after graduating from the famous La Masia academy.

Andres Iniesta has described Louis van Gaal as his 'most important manager'
Andres Iniesta has described Louis van Gaal as his ‘most important manager’
Marca Media
Andres Iniesta will leave Barcelona over 20 years since playing in La Masia
Andres Iniesta will leave Barcelona over 20 years since playing in La Masia
Offside Sports

Ahead of his departure, Iniesta, 34, was asked by Mundo Deportivo to describe various former team-mates and coaches in a sentence.

And “my most important manager” were words he used about former Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal.

The answer is surprising given he established himself as one of the world’s greatest midfielders, and enjoyed the most success, while working under Pep Guardiola.

However, it was Van Gaal who gave him his professional debut back in 2002, and that is clearly something he remembers fondly.

Andres Iniesta takes in the applause after last-ever Copa del Rey final
Andres Iniesta takes in the applause after last-ever Copa del Rey final
EPA
Andres Iniesta has described Barcelona legend Lionel Messi as 'unique'
Andres Iniesta has described Barcelona legend Lionel Messi as ‘unique’
AP:Associated Press

Asked for his thoughts on Guardiola, Iniesta replied: “A master for me.”

He insisted Frank Rijkaard, under whom he won his first Champions League title, was “the ideal coach for that period of my life.” While he described Tito Vilanova as an “exceptional manager and person.”


ARD TIME Barcelona loanee Arda Turan slapped with record 16-game ban for shoving linesman


Iniesta also labelled Luis Enrique “a friend” and Ernesto Valverde “wise”.

He was also asked about his Spain bosses, insisting Luis Aragones was a “professor” and Vicente Del Bosque is “exemplary.”

via Barcelona icon Andres Iniesta reveals ex-Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal was his most important manager — The Scottish Sun

Spain coach Lopetegui keeps preliminary 35-man World Cup list secret — Social News XYZ

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asp.jpg

Madrid, May 11 (IANS) Spain coach Julien Lopetegui will send a preliminary list of 35 players for the World Cup to FIFA on Monday, before reducing that to the definitive list of 23 after the end of the football season.

However, Lopetegui told Spanish sports paper Diario AS on Thursday that he would not make his first list public, reports Xinhua news agency.

“We are not going to make it public, because there are 12 players who are then not going to be in the final list. That is obviously going to be a hard moment for everyone: for the players and also for me and I would prefer that moment to be private,” explained Lopetegui.

Although he didn’t want to give any names, the Spain coach did give a couple of hints.

“It will be hard for someone who has not played in the qualification games for us to make the final squad, but there could be some players in the list of 35 players who were not in the qualifying stage.”

“We will decide on the final list close to the deadline, it is more or less defined, but there are still some doubts to clear up,” Lopetegui admitted.

Lopetegui takes Spain to Russia after they crashed out of the first stage in Brazil four years ago and following an underwhelming last-16 exit against Italy in the 2016 European Championship.

Following an impressive World Cup qualifying stage, Spain will be among the favourites this summer.

The post Spain coach Lopetegui keeps preliminary 35-man World Cup list secretappeared first on Social News XYZ.

via Spain coach Lopetegui keeps preliminary 35-man World Cup list secret — Social News XYZ

Man United clinch 2nd place in PL with 0-0 draw at West Ham – AP

News, sports

pdj136-ap.jpgLONDON — Manchester United clinched second place in the Premier League with a 0-0 draw at West Ham on Thursday.

In a dull game with few quality chances, United defender Luke Shaw came closest to scoring when he had a shot turned onto the post in the first half.

The point means United are ensured of finishing second behind runaway champion Manchester City, while David Moyes’ West Ham remained in 15th place — but just two points from 10th with one game remaining.

United manager Jose Mourinho reacted to Friday’s 1-0 loss at Brighton by making eight changes, introducing a back three and utilizing fit-again Alexis Sanchez as his main striker.

West Ham’s Marko Arnautovic hit an early strike straight at David De Gea before the Austria international could only head over from six yards after Chris Smalling made a mess of clearing Aaron Cresswell’s cross.

Jesse Lingard forced West Ham goalkeeper Adrian into his first save as the visitors started to take control of the contest, with Sanchez drawing another stop before the Spanish keeper turned Shaw’s follow-up strike onto the post.

It was the closest either side came to scoring, although the match flared up toward the end Paul Pogba’s foul on West Ham skipper Mark Noble led to a fracas.

Both players grabbed hold of one another but it was Noble who was arguably the luckier of the pair to only be booked following his angry reaction.

The away supporters in attendance paid near-constant tributes to former manager Alex Ferguson, the 76-year-old now out of intensive care having had an operation on a brain haemorrhage over the weekend.

 

Pirates Developing Reputation As Comeback Kids — CBS Pittsburgh

News, sports

Follow KDKA-TV: Facebook | Twitter PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The Pirates fell behind the White Sox, 4-0, in the first inning Monday night at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago. But that deficit quickly disappeared when they answered with four of their own in the second to tie the game and start anew. But when Jose Abreu…

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The Pirates fell behind the White Sox, 4-0, in the first inning Monday night at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago. But that deficit quickly disappeared when they answered with four of their own in the second to tie the game and start anew.

But when Jose Abreu doubled home a run in the home half of the second to regain the lead for the White Sox, it looked like it could be a long night for the Pirates and their pitching staff. But they didn’t falter. Instead, they responded with six straight runs en route to a 10-6 victory.

starling marte 952255232 Pirates Developing Reputation As Comeback Kids

Such has become life for the Pirates that a deficit is not seen as a crisis; it’s seen as an opportunity, as evidenced by their nine comeback victories this season.

The Pirates racked up 16 hits in Tuesday’s win, marking the 17th time they’ve out-hit their opponent. They are 15-2 in those games, as opposed to 4-13 when the opposing team out-hits them. Even more surprising given the score, none of those 16 hits was a home run. Only four went for extra bases: Corey Dickerson, Gregory Polanco and Colin Moran each hit a double, and Josh Bell’s triple in the sixth inning drove in Polanco to extend their lead to 8-5. Each Pirates starter reached base at least once, and five collected multiple hits.

The win raised the Pirates’ interleague record to 7-2 on the season. They’ll try to complete the sweep of the two-game series Wednesday with Trevor Williams on the mound. Reynaldo Lopez will start for the White Sox.

The Pirates’ starting lineup:
1. Adam Frazier, Left Field
2. Gregory Polanco, Right Field
3. Starling Marte, Center Field
4. Josh Bell, 1st Base
5. Corey Dickerson, Designated Hitter
6. Elias Diaz, Catcher
7. Colin Moran, 3rd Base
8. Sean Rodriguez, 2nd Base
9. Jordy Mercer, Shortstop

via Pirates Developing Reputation As Comeback Kids — CBS Pittsburgh

Tottenham set to turn to Atalanta youngster Musa Barrow to provide back-up to Harry Kane… but who is the Serie A star? – Sun

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TOTTENHAM’S attempts to recruit an able deputy for Harry Kane in recent seasons have been underwhelming to say the least.

Last season, Spurs brought in Vincent Janssen from PSV to act as back-up to the England superstar, but the Dutchman managed just two Premier League goals.

kila.jpg
Musa Barrow has emerged as a summer target for Tottenham
AP:Associated Press

And Fernando Llorente, signed from Swansea on the last day of the 2017 summer transfer window, only has one top-flight strike to his name this term.

So it appears Mauricio Pochettino will once again be in the market for a new striker this summer, with Atalanta teenager Musa Barrow  the latest player linked.

Our friends at Football Whispers have profiled the Serie A hotshot and Spurs transfer target.

Who is Musa Barrow?

kil.jpg
Musa Barrow is one of the hottest prospects in Serie A in 2018
AP:Associated Press

Still only 19, Atalanta plucked Barrow from obscurity in the summer of 2016, bringing the youngster to Italy from his native Gambia to join La Dea’s youth ranks.

Barrow impressed immediately, bagging a brace from midfield in his first outing in the Bergamo club’s colours.

He would go on to net an incredible 19 goals in just 14 appearances for Atalanta’s youth team.

Comfortable on the left wing, Barrow is most at home as a central striker from where he can put his lethal combination of pace, power, skill and finishing to use to score consistently.

A first-team debut came in a 1-0 Coppa Italia loss to champions Juventus in January this year, and he has since become a firm favourite at the Stadio Atleti Azzurri d’Italia.

Wearing the No99 shirt, the striker made his first Serie A appearance as a substitute in a 1-1 draw with Crotone on February 10.

His first start for the first time soon followed, in a 0-0 draw with Inter Milan, in April.

Barrow’s first goal of the season came just three days later, in 3-0 win over lowly Benevento.

He has been directly involved in an Atalanta goal in every appearance since, registering an assist against Torino before back-to-back strikes against Genoa and Champions League-chasing Lazio.

With three goals and two assists to his name in just 356 minutes of Serie A action this term, Barrow has been involved in a goal every 71.2 minutes on average.

How much would Musa Barrow cost?

It is hard to estimate the transfer value of a player still so inexperienced, having only broken into Atalanta’s first team in recent weeks.

Due to his age, any price tag slapped on Barrow will have to take into account the possibility of future growth, with the Gambian youngster showing signs of top-class potential in his early outings in the Italian top flight.

Atalanta president Antonio Percassi is reportedly keen to hold onto Barrow for at least one more season.

The hope is that further impressive displays over the course of the 2018/19 campaign will see the club able to command around £30m for the teenage striker.

What is Musa Barrow’s most likely destination?

Although Tottenham are the latest major club linked with a move for Barrow, they are not the only side keeping tabs of the gifted African attacker.

Chelsea, Inter Milan, Juventus and Borussia Dortmund all reportedly interested.

With such a wealth of options, it seems Barrow is destined to represent one of Europe’s biggest clubs.

For now the most likely outcome is he continues his development with Atalanta before making a big-money switch elsewhere.

Manchester United star Romelu Lukaku handed nickname ‘Rocky’ by team-mates due to incredible training ethic — The Scottish Sun

Entertainment, News, sports

 

ROMELU LUKAKU has been given the nickname ‘Rocky’ by his Manchester United team-mates because of his incredible training ethic.

The Belgian striker is battling to be fit for the rest of the season at present after picking up an ankle injury.

The 24-year-old was forced off late on in the last-gasp 2-1 win over Arsenal last Sunday afternoon.

But his Red Devils pals are cheering him up having handed the ex-Chelsea ace the affectionate name after bulking up in training.

An Old Trafford source said: “He has been absolutely smashing training and wants to be peak for the World Cup and Belgium.

“He’s one of the first in for the warm-up on the bikes and is then hitting the gym for an hour after normal training has finished.

“They say he is more ripped than normal at present and knows he isn’t going to have a full pre-season this summer.

“He is trying to kill two birds with one stone. Jose is obviously loving it, as it is setting a firm message out to the others.

“He is is full on ‘Rocky’ training mode and seems to be preparing more for 12 rounds of boxing than a game of football.”

via Manchester United star Romelu Lukaku handed nickname ‘Rocky’ by team-mates due to incredible training ethic — The Scottish Sun

Breaking: Juventus prepare to replace Arsenal target Massimiliano Allegri

Entertainment, News, sports

Is Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri heading to Arsenal?

The rush to replace Arsene Wenger as Arsenal manager continues with it effectively becoming a two-horse race on Monday.

A number of reliable sources (including the BBC’s David Ornstein) have revealed that Arsenal are now preparing to appoint either ex-Barcelona coach Luis Enrique, or Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri.

It is a big week for Allegri, with Juventus playing in the Coppa Italia final against AC Milan on Wednesday night. The Old Lady also need just one more point to retain the Scudetto.

Allegri is now the favourite for the Arsenal role, with the Italian reportedly keen on a move to England with just one year left on his deal at Juventus.

Massimiliano Allegri & Carlo Ancelotti

Massimiliano Allegri & Carlo Ancelotti during the UEFA Champions League Semi Final, second leg match between Real Madrid and Juventus at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on May 13, 2015 in Madrid, Spain.

Who will replace Allegri at Juventus?

As a result of all the speculation, Turin-based newspaper Tuttosport are now speculating as to who will take over from Allegri at The Old Lady.

So far, Juventus have publicly said Allegri will stay and that there are no plans to look for a successor.

However, Tuttosport believe this to be untrue and list a number of candidates.

These include current Lazio coach Simone Inzaghi, who has impressed in the Italian capital.

Didier Deschamps or Zinedine Zidane to return to Juventus?

Also mentioned are Diego Simeone and Didier Deschamps, both of whom have experience in Serie A, the latter played for Juventus.

Juventus’ dream scenario is Zinedine Zidane, but even if Real Madrid lose the Champions League final it seems likely Zizou will keep his job at the Bernabeu.

Other names mentioned by Tuttosport are Paulo Sousa, Mauricio Pochettino, Jurgen Klopp and current FC Porto manager Sergio Conceicao.

It looks like being a very busy summer in Turin!

Related: Thierry Henry blasted for disrespecting departing Arsenal boss Wenger.

Juventus CEO speaks out over future of Arsenal target Allegri.

Soccer News

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via Juventus prepare to replace Arsenal target Massimiliano Allegri — High Velocity Sport

Odubel Herrera, Phillies slug their way to shutout in return home — iPhillySports

News, sports

Updated: Tuesday, 12:39 a.m.

It was only a matter of time before Seranthony Dominguez would arrive in Philadelphia this season. That much became pretty clear back in February when Gabe Kapler got his first look at the 23-year-old right-hander during spring training. The Phillies manager gushed about Dominguez’s power fastball/slider mix and said he pitched with “the bravado of a seasoned veteran.”

Two weeks ago, Kapler got another look at Dominguez during a perfect inning of work at Double A Reading (see story). A few days later, Dominguez was in Triple A and on Monday he arrived in Philadelphia when the Phillies placed reliever Adam Morgan on the disabled list with a back strain.

Dominguez got the word he was headed for Philadelphia just before 1 p.m. in Lehigh Valley. He was at Citizens Bank Park a few hours later and made his big-league debut with a perfect eighth inning, a 97-mph fastball and a strikeout of Evan Longoria in the Phillies’ 11-0 win over the San Francisco Giants (see first take).

“It’s a moment I will never forget,” Dominguez said after the game.

He said he was not nervous. Excited, yes. But not nervous.

“That’s my personality,” he said. “It’s a moment I have been waiting for. It’s something I have been getting ready for, mentally and physically. I just took it as, ‘Well, this is my time. Now I have to show them that I am ready.’”

Dominguez reached triple digits with his fastball in the minors last season. The Phillies converted him to a relief role this spring. He pitched 16 2/3 innings at Double A and Triple A and allowed just eight hits and three earned runs while striking out 21 and walking three.

Clearly, Dominguez has the makings of a future closer. For now, all Kapler would commit to was that Dominguez “would take down meaningful innings” for the team.

Pitching in a blowout was a perfect setting for Dominguez to get his feet wet in the majors.

“There’s a lot of reasons to like Seranthony,” Kapler said. “The first reason is he’s got a really big fastball and the slider and changeup play well, also. But the thing that I find most impressive about him is his composure and his maturity and his mental readiness. Those are the things that stood out in spring training and continue to stand out as we watch video, as we look at numbers, as we remember back at spring training.”

The Phillies signed Dominguez in October 2011 for $25,000 out of his native Dominican Republic. The pitcher visited Philadelphia this winter and was asked about his unique first name. He said it was something his parents heard on television.

Morgan has been one of the Phillies’ most consistent relievers since August of last season. He has a 2.45 ERA in 17 games this season. The Phillies did not place Morgan on the disabled list until about 90 minutes before first pitch Monday night, so there was no immediate word on the severity of his condition. He faced two batters in Washington on Sunday and allowed one hit and recorded one out.

With Morgan on the DL, the Phillies have just one lefty, Zac Curtis, in their bullpen.

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via Odubel Herrera, Phillies slug their way to shutout in return home — iPhillySports

Armed with improved fastball, Zach Eflin might be ready to stick around for a while — iPhillySports

News, sports

Updated: Tuesday, 12:39 a.m.

It was only a matter of time before Seranthony Dominguez would arrive in Philadelphia this season. That much became pretty clear back in February when Gabe Kapler got his first look at the 23-year-old right-hander during spring training. The Phillies manager gushed about Dominguez’s power fastball/slider mix and said he pitched with “the bravado of a seasoned veteran.”

Two weeks ago, Kapler got another look at Dominguez during a perfect inning of work at Double A Reading (see story). A few days later, Dominguez was in Triple A and on Monday he arrived in Philadelphia when the Phillies placed reliever Adam Morgan on the disabled list with a back strain.

Dominguez got the word he was headed for Philadelphia just before 1 p.m. in Lehigh Valley. He was at Citizens Bank Park a few hours later and made his big-league debut with a perfect eighth inning, a 97-mph fastball and a strikeout of Evan Longoria in the Phillies’ 11-0 win over the San Francisco Giants (see first take).

“It’s a moment I will never forget,” Dominguez said after the game.

He said he was not nervous. Excited, yes. But not nervous.

“That’s my personality,” he said. “It’s a moment I have been waiting for. It’s something I have been getting ready for, mentally and physically. I just took it as, ‘Well, this is my time. Now I have to show them that I am ready.’”

Dominguez reached triple digits with his fastball in the minors last season. The Phillies converted him to a relief role this spring. He pitched 16 2/3 innings at Double A and Triple A and allowed just eight hits and three earned runs while striking out 21 and walking three.

Clearly, Dominguez has the makings of a future closer. For now, all Kapler would commit to was that Dominguez “would take down meaningful innings” for the team.

Pitching in a blowout was a perfect setting for Dominguez to get his feet wet in the majors.

“There’s a lot of reasons to like Seranthony,” Kapler said. “The first reason is he’s got a really big fastball and the slider and changeup play well, also. But the thing that I find most impressive about him is his composure and his maturity and his mental readiness. Those are the things that stood out in spring training and continue to stand out as we watch video, as we look at numbers, as we remember back at spring training.”

The Phillies signed Dominguez in October 2011 for $25,000 out of his native Dominican Republic. The pitcher visited Philadelphia this winter and was asked about his unique first name. He said it was something his parents heard on television.

Morgan has been one of the Phillies’ most consistent relievers since August of last season. He has a 2.45 ERA in 17 games this season. The Phillies did not place Morgan on the disabled list until about 90 minutes before first pitch Monday night, so there was no immediate word on the severity of his condition. He faced two batters in Washington on Sunday and allowed one hit and recorded one out.

With Morgan on the DL, the Phillies have just one lefty, Zac Curtis, in their bullpen.

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via Armed with improved fastball, Zach Eflin might be ready to stick around for a while — iPhillySports

Klopp need to Fix Salah before Champions League Final

News, sports

Former Tottenham midfielder and current Match of the Day pundit Jermain Jenas last night revealed his opinion that Liverpool need Mohamed Salah to rediscover his form quickly, following the Egyptian’s disappointing showing versus Chelsea yesterday evening.

Matchup

The two sides went head to head at Stamford Bridge, in a crucial fixture in the race for a spot in next season’s Champions League.

Tottenham’s shock loss to West Brom on Saturday afternoon meant that Chelsea would close the gap on their London rivals to just 2 points with a win, while such a result would also leave Liverpool just a solitary point clear of Spurs.

1-0

The early exchanges in London yesterday saw Liverpool well on top, with Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino both going close for the Reds over the course of the opening half-hour.

However, it was Chelsea who opened the scoring, through January signing Olivier Giroud, after the Frenchman did brilliantly to nod home a dinked cross from Victor Moses with 32 minutes on the clock.

LONDON, ENGLAND – MAY 06: Olivier Giroud of Chlesea celebrates scoring with David Luiz during the Premier League match between Chelsea and Liverpool at Stamford Bridge on May 6, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Result

And that was all she wrote in terms of goalscoring at the Bridge, with an uncharacteristically quiet second 45 from Liverpool’s attacking stars having eventually seen Chelsea emerge with a deserved, and potentially crucial 1-0 win.

Concerning

Of the Reds’ attacking trio, Sadio Mane looked the most lively throughout proceedings at Stamford Bridge, with Mohamed Salah having looked some way short of his best once again.

The African wide-man, who has of course enjoyed a historic season to this point, has struggled to make any real impact in Liverpool’s last 3 fixtures, with large sections of the club’s fans having expressed their concerns with the form and fitness of their side’s star man following yesterday’s defeat.

And Jermain Jenas echoed these concerns when analysing the performance of Salah versus Chelsea on Match of the Day last night, with the former English international having explained:

‘When they did get into good positions around the box, Salah had one of the worst games I think he has had in a Liverpool shirt.’

‘He is entitled to have a bad game given the season he has had, but Liverpool need to fix this quickly because they have got two of the most important games of their whole season coming up.’

Sadio Mane is clearly a big fan of Liverpool target Nabil FekirCristiano Ronaldo’s Liverpool injury update after Barcelona

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May 7, 2018 at 09:04AM

Juventus defender set to join Borussia Dortmund

News, sports

 

juve.jpgAccording to German outlet Bild, Juventus full-back Stephan Lichtsteiner will join Bundesliga outfit Borussia Dortmund this summer.

Consummate professional

Lichtsteiner, a 34-year-old Swiss right-back, has been on the books of Juve since the summer of 2011, when he joined the club from fellow Serie A outfit Lazio.

And the ‘Swiss Express’ has since gone on to establish himself as an absolute icon in Turin, with his lung-busting, never-say-die performances up and down the right flank for the Bianconeri having proven absolutely crucial to both the domestic and European successes of the Italian outfit over the last 7 seasons.

All in all, Lichtsteiner has gone on to rack up over 250 appearances over the course of his stint at the Juventus Stadium, collecting 6 Serie A titles (with another on the way), 3 Coppa Italias (with the final of this year’s competition still to play), as well as reaching a pair of Champions League finals.

On the move

Despite his hero status in Turin, though, Lichtsteiner’s powers have begun to wane over recent seasons, with the 93-time capped Swiss international no longer considered as first-choice in Max Allegri’s squad.

As such, it had long been expected that the veteran stopper would depart the club this summer, with Lichtsteiner having confirmed exactly that over the weekend, following Juve’s 3-1 victory over Bologna.

Bundesliga bound

And, as per the aforementioned report from German outlet Bild today, Lichtsteiner’s next club have already struck a deal with the full-back, with Borussia Dortmund set to bring him to Signal Iduna Park on a free transfer at the end of the season.

Though Lichtsteiner did not reveal his next destination after confirming his plans to depart Juve on Saturday, the Swiss star did make clear that he would not play for another club in Italy, with Dortmund no doubt an appealing destination as the Bianconeri favourite’s career winds down.

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Report: Allegri wants ‘misaligned’ Juve players out if he stays — INKLING LEAGUE

Entertainment, News, sports

07 May Massimiliano Allegri wants Juventus to sanction the sale of “misaligned” players “who have less feeling” towards the manager or those who are not good enough for the Old Lady, if he has to continue with the Turin club. The former AC Milan manager’s future at the Allianz Stadium has still not be resolved […]

Massimiliano Allegri wants Juventus to sanction the sale of “misaligned” players “who have less feeling” towards the manager or those who are not good enough for the Old Lady, if he has to continue with the Turin club.

The former AC Milan manager’s future at the Allianz Stadium has still not be resolved as he is linked with a move to Arsenal. Arsene Wenger has already announced his decision to leave the Gunners after the end of this season and Allegri is one of the candidates linked with the Emirates Stadium job.

Ciro Venerato tells Rai Sport that Allegri will have a meeting with Juventus management and will express his desire, if he has to continue as the Serie A leaders’ manager.

“Max Allegri  has to clean the squad a bit and he wants a meeting with the Juventus management,” Venerato explained.

“In the sense, some misaligned players who have no feeling towards Allegri or Allegri think they are no longer part of his project will have to be sold. I believe board are likely to agree with his decision.”

via Report: Allegri wants ‘misaligned’ Juve players out if he stays — INKLING LEAGUE

Jurgen Klopp invites Naby Keita to Liverpool’s Champions League final against Real Madrid

News, sports

keita.jpgJurgen Klopp has revealed that Naby Keita is invited to attend Liverpool’s Champions League final against Real Madrid later this month.

Liverpool will face the reigning European champions in Kiev on May 26.

Keita, meanwhile, has spent the season at RB Leipzig and will official complete his move to Anfield this summer in a deal which will cost in excess of £50 million.

But the midfielder could have the chance to meet his new teammates ahead of pre-season as Klopp wants his new signing to see Liverpool in action.