Football News: Review Of The Day 27th February 2018


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Review Of The Day 27th February 2018
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Review of the Day

Villa Lose Hutton To Injury

Aston Villa defender Alan Hutton has been ruled out for a 'few weeks' after picking up a hamstring injury in Villa's comeback 4-2 win over Sheffield Wednesday. Villa manager Steve Bruce said: "We went to Sheffield Wednesday with four or five missing already, so to lose Alan was a blow. We're fortunate that when he goes down we've got someone like Neil Taylor to come on. That's not a bad replacement, is it? We don't want anymore injuries, though. It's a hamstring problem and it'll be a while for him. We'll be without him for a few weeks now. It's a shame because he's been fantastic."

Campbell Back For Betis

Real Betis have been boosted by the return to fitness of their on-loan Arsenal forward Joel Campbell. The Costa Rican international has been missing with ankle and hamstring injuries for the last four months. Campbell has so far been restricted to just three appearances since joining Betis in the summer. "I'm fine, it's the decision of the Coach as to whether or not I'm included in the squad," Campbell told Radio Marca Sevilla. "I'm training with all my teammates and at the same level, so if Setien likes what he sees in training then maybe I will be in the squad. I have not played for a long time and I must go step by step, to keep working hard and not to become frustrated. My idea is to stay here for many years but those decisions are not mine, I have been lucky enough to enjoy lots of different clubs and leagues but I like it here. We want to remain as high as possible in the table and aim for a European spot - we are a great club who deserve to be at that level. We must keep working with the Coach's philosophy and aim to keep improving, but I believe we are on the right path."

Dier Defends Alli From Diving Jibes By Saying Others Dived Too

After Tottenham star Dele Alli's latest dive clip went viral amid numerous digs from pundits, team-mate Eric Dier has leapt to his defence, sort of. Rather than denying Alli dived, Dier hit back at the two most vocal critics Alan Shearer and Gary Lineker by suggesting they dived in their careers too. Dier said: "I'm sure they probably both dived in their careers. These things happen. Obviously, because it's Dele, I think it probably gets more attention than it deserves. It's difficult sometimes because, if you take the action in the game against Liverpool where he got booked for diving, I was standing right behind him. When he's running towards the ball, he's taken a touch and it looks like the guy is about to come and take him out. There a sense of 'I need to get out of the way'. If he (the opponent) then goes and stops, it's difficult. That's a difficult situation." So Dier's defence is to say he did dive but so do others. So glad he is not my defence lawyer!

Orta Defends Leeds Role

Leeds United's director of football Victor Orta has come out in defence of his contribution to the club following a barrage of criticism from the fans over his recruitment work in recent months. While Leeds' first team struggled with a lack of depth, Orta has been signing a slew of players for the 'future' and feeder club Cultural Leonesa. "Heckingbottom has all the power to say yes or no in the players we sign," Orta said in a Q&A on the LUFC app. "But it's difficult for a coach to watch thousands of games. This is the idea of a scouting department. The coach only has 20 hours a day."

Brown Retires From International Football - Again

Celtic captain Scott Brown has quit international football for a second time. The 32 year old only returned to playing for Scotland in August 2016, but has decided to once again retire from contention. "I have spoken to Alex McLeish over the weekend. I really wanted to tell Alex first what I was thinking about things," Brown said in a statement posted on Celtic's website. "The football calendar is more and more demanding now, and in terms of looking after my own body and in interests of my family, I felt now is the right time to take this decision."

Jersey International Application Rejected

The Channel Island of Jersey has failed to join the ranks of sovereign nations allowed to compete in international football. After having their initial application denied by UEFA without being able to put forward a case, Jersey went to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), who ruled that UEFA must hear their case. This despite UEFA's decision being that Jersey is not a sovereign country as defined by the UN and CAS also stating that it did not believe Jersey met the ownership criteria for UEFA membership. 49 nations out of 55 voted against Jersey's bid to become UEFA's 56th member nation. "Jersey cannot be considered as an independent state, the Jersey FA does not satisfy the admission criteria," Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin said. "We are ready to modernise and ready to change football, but we are not above our own statutes. This is a big change and big difference. It would not be in line with our statutes for the Jersey FA to be admitted as a member of Uefa."

Warnock Extends Cardiff Contract

In news that is likely to send shudders down the spine of their opponents and ensure the livelihood of many extra medical staff in the game, Neil Warnock has extended his Cardiff City contract until 2020. His tactics are, to put it nicely, rough-house, but they have worked to turn the Bluebirds from a struggling side into a promotion contender and he has been rewarded for that accomplishment.

Atalanta Charged With Racist Chanting

Serie A side Atalanta are yet again in trouble over allegations of racial chanting, this time from their Europa League clash with Borussia Dortmund, with on-loan Chelsea striker Michy Batshuayi claiming there were monkey chants from the Atalanta support. They also face charges of setting off fireworks, throwing objects and blocking stairways. Dortmund have also been charged with setting off fireworks and throwing objects in a case which UEFA will deal with on 22nd March.

UEFA Decide Against VAR For Champions League

The Champions League will continue on next season without VAR UEFA have announced, just a few days before the International Football Association meets on Saturday to decide whether to approve the technology permanently following its current trial usage. Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin said: "Fans see the VAR screen all the time but nobody knows how it works." He added: "We will not use it in the Champions League next season. For me, it might be a good project but we shouldn't rush it." IFAB's report on the trials have claimed an accurate success rate of 98.9% in decisions made so far.

Thousands Stay Away In Bundesliga Protest Against Monday Night Football

In direct contrast to the English top flight, German fans are trying to put a stop to TV control over kick off times and dates. With a Monday night fixture added to the calendar for the first time this season, fans have protested against it and now the protests have led to a drop in attendance of 25,000, as fans choose to stay at home in protest at a Borussia Dortmund game being played on a Monday night. This was only the second time a match had been moved to a Monday under the terms of the new broadcast deal. Before kick-off, stadium announcer Norbert Dickel was cheered by the crowd as he said: "We respect the opinion of those who have chosen to stay at home. We are also against a further stretching out of the weekend and will be raising this when the next TV deal is discussed."

PSG's Neymar Fears Realised

Paris Saint-Germain will have to make do without Neymar Jr in the second leg of their Champions League match with Real Madrid after the Brazilian was injured on Sunday. The 26 year old was found to have suffered a broken metatarsal and a sprained ankle, ruling him out of the return leg on 6th March, with PSG trailing 3-1 from the first.

Lukaku Calls For Premier League All-Star Game

Most US sports have an All-Star game, where fans vote for the players to play in a one-off match between two teams. Man Utd striker Romelu Lukaku has suggested that the English Premier League should do the same, with a North XI v a South XI with fans voting for the players. It would certainly be one way of the Prem getting an extra game in that they are so keen on. One they could play on foreign shores the way they desperately want to for the money.

Bayern Winger Has Ankle Surgery

Bundesliga's runaway leaders Bayern Munich will have to make do without Kingsley Coman for an extended period after the 21 year old has needed to have surgery on an ankle problem. The French winger collided with Matthew Leckie during the 0-0 draw with Hertha Berlin on Sunday and could now miss the rest of the season. His World Cup could also be in jeopardy. "French international Kingsley Coman suffered a rupture of the syndesmosis ligament above the left ankle during Saturday's 0-0 draw against Hertha Berlin," Bayern said in a brief statement. "This resulted in a follow-up on the following day. Already this Monday, Coman was in Tubingen, where Dr Ulrich Stockle operated successfully. The 21-year-old will be out for several weeks."

Ex-Footballers Sent To Jail For Fraud

Ex-professional footballers Mark Aizlewood and Paul Sugrue are part of a group of 6 men sentenced to jail after being found guilty of a huge fraud which hit colleges, charities, football clubs and sports associations, as well as defrauding the government out of £5m. The group were claiming to be helping youngsters from deprived backgrounds gain coaching qualifications, but most of the youngsters were found to be invented by the group in order to pocket the money. Mark Aizlewood has also been sacked from his job as manager of Carmathen Town in the Welsh Premier League, along with his 6 year jail sentence. Sugrue received 7 years, despite Aizlewood being identified as the leader of the scam by investigators. Judge Tomlinson, said: "There was a serious detrimental affect on colleges of further education. This was quite simply shameful exploitation."

CIES Reveal Top 10 Centre Backs Based On Their Stats

If ever you want proof statistics are not a reliable way to judge footballers on alone then you only have to look at any of these lists to do so. This one from CIES Football Observatory shows that the way to be ranked the best statistically is to play for the best teams, rather than actually being the best defender. The top 10 is:
10. Raul Albiol of Napoli (leading Serie A)
9. Thiago Silva of PSG (leading Ligue 1)
8. Presnel Kimpembe of PSG
7. Dejan Lovren of Liverpool (2nd in Premier League)
6. Gerard Pique of Barcelona (leading La Liga)
5. Antonio Rudiger of Chelsea (5th in Premier League)
4. Joel Matip of Liverpool
3. Mehdi Benatia of Juventus (2nd in Serie A)
2. Kalidou Koulibaly of Napoli
1. Nicolas Otamendi of Manchester City (leading Premier League)

Pope Player Of The Season

Burnley striker Ashley Barnes has hailed Nick Pope as his team's unlikely player of the season. When the Premier League kicked off he was a back up keeper with Tom Heaton the regular starter and looking like a certainty to go to the World Cup in the summer. Then Heaton suffered a dislocated shoulder in a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace on 10th September, being replaced by Pope in goal, who has not looked back since then. Pope has been in some excellent form and could well have done enough to nick the England place too. "Nick Pope has been player of the season, 100 per cent already, player of the season," Barnes said. "Since he came in the amount of games he has saved us has been fantastic. He deserves to be on that next level (with England) but of course that's not our decision to make. You see the things he does. You saw that one save he made (on Saturday). It was unbelievable. He saved us that goal but unfortunately other things happened in the game."

Torres Reveals Rafa's Match Ball Message

Fernando Torres has revealed how Rafael Benitez used to motivate the forward when the pair were at Liverpool together. Torres was in the form of his life, but Benitez never let him forget he could do better as Torres told Marca: "I remember that I was playing phenomenally. I'd just scored a hat-trick and everyone signed the ball. They put 'you're the best' or 'congratulations'. Rafa Benitez put 'today you lost the ball 8 times!' It was his way of motivating you to improve."

Mings Unlikely To Return This Season

Bournemouth defender Tyrone Mings is unlikely to play again this season due to a back injury that has plagued him. Despite the 24 year old receiving treatment at Aspetar, a Doha-based Qatari hospital which is world renowned for its orthopaedic and sports medicine, it looks like Mings will not be able to make his comeback this season. Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe told the Daily Echo: "I don't think we will see Ty this season. It hasn't been totally ruled out but understanding he is going to need time to get everything right, it will probably be pre-season when we see him. We fully anticipate he will be able to do pre-season and train normally, as we stand now. So, hopefully, that will be the case. He is in one of the best places in the world for his injury so he is getting really good care. The facilities are unbelievable and we are really pleased with his progress. I think it's what he needed. He needed specialist treatment because it is a very delicate injury and his rehab is crucial to get everything right to make sure he comes back complete again."

Pickford Believes Everton Should Be Looking Up The Table

Despite the terrible away form and loss at the hands of Watford last time out, Everton are sat in 9th and have closed up to within 3 points of 7th placed Burnley in recent months. Now their keeper Jordan Pickford has said they should be aiming for 7th, not worrying about relegation. Pickford said: "Our away form needs to improve. We're Everton - we are not down the bottom of the league, we should be up there and that's the type of game we need to be getting results from. But we know our home form is really good, and that we need to improve our record away. That's where you really shoot right up the table. That's where we want to be as a team and as a group of lads. We can only get better. We are Everton; we need to go and make the fans proud. We are not far away from seventh at all. We need to go to Turf Moor and try to win. It is always tough to do that there. I have only played there once (for Preston in December 2015) but I won that game 2-0 so hopefully I can keep that record up."

Agent Claims Huge Interest In Lazio Star

Mateja Kezman is nowadays a football agent and numbers amongst his clients the young shining midfield star Sergej Milinkovic-Savic. Kezman has claimed there is 'huge' interest in his clients for a summer move. Kezman told Tuttomercatoweb: "There's huge interest in him from great clubs in Italy, England, Spain and France. I don't want to talk about numbers, but I'm sure Sergei has it in him to be the best player in Europe in the next few years. Still, we'll talk about transfers at the end of the season, Lazio, for now, are playing great football and having an important season. We're all focused on this."

Mansfield Trio Sign New Contracts

With all three set to be out of contract in the summer, Mansfield Town have moved to tie down Krystian Pearce, Mal Benning and Omari Sterling-James to a one year extension with the option for a further year.

Griffiths Turns Up For Speeding Hearing With Parking Fine Attached To Car

Celtic's Scotland international striker Leigh Griffiths has appeared in a Dundee court over allegations he drove at 63mph in a 50mph zone. However he turned up for the court date with a parking ticket already on his windscreen! The case was adjourned until 21st May.

Messi Sets Another Goal Scoring Record

Lionel Messi's two goals for Barcelona against Girona at the weekend has seen him score against 36 different teams in the league. That breaks the previous record of 35 he jointly held with Real Madrid legend Raul and Athletic Bilbao's veteran Aritz Aduriz.

Buffon To Continue For Italy

Veteran keeper Gianluigi Buffon has dismissed reports linking him with international retirement. The Juventus and Italy legend has confirmed that he is available for selection so long as his country needs him. "I feel a sense of responsibility at this time of transition for our national team," he said to Italia 1. "There will be two important friendly matches. I thought about going on holiday with my family, but if the national team needs me I have to answer that I am ready and I can not desert. I am doing this for loyalty and responsibility, without thinking about what will be my future. The players who have experience at the moment could be useful against Argentina and England."

Calabria Claims Montella Did Not Work Milan Hard Enough

AC Milan defender Davide Calabria has claimed that the team lacked fitness under the management of Vincenzo Montella. "We are going through a positive period and I'm happy for the performance, but the important thing was to win," Calabria told Premium Sport. "From the first day he [Gattuso] arrived he has made us understand what it means to wear the Milan shirt. We work hard and try to secure as many wins as possible. Gattuso has a winning mentality and does not neglect the slightest detail. Before we lacked some physical conditioning and he is giving us the mentality to win."

Sarri Targets 100 Points To Win Scudetto

Napoli manager Mauricio Sarri has said his aim is to reach 100 points in Serie A this season. "Where to improve such a beautiful game?" Sarri said to Premium Sport. "Surely we will find some movement to improve even in a game like this, which seems to be perfect: there is always something to improve. A Juventus fan says we will win the Scudetto because we deserve it? I hope he is right, but let's not forget that the Bianconeri are a very strong team, which has infinite resources. I hope to reach 100 points, but for us it would be unknown terrain: we do not know if we can get there." Napoli would need 10 wins and a draw, at least, from their remaining 12 games to reach 100 points.

Yeboah Signs Professional Contract With Wolfsburg

Highly sought after Germany U-17 international John Yeboah Zamora has signed his first professional deal with VfL Wolfsburg. The 17 year old had been starring for the club's youth teams and has been watched by Ghana, who he is eligible to play for at senior level. "John Yeboah Zamora has signed his first professional contract with VfL Wolfsburg," the club announced via their official website. "Under-19 midfielder John Yeboah Zamora has been bound to VfL Wolfsburg for the long-term. The German youth international has signed a professional contract with the Wolves until June 30th, 2021. The 17-year-old joined VfL in 2015, having previously played for SV Rönneburg and FC Turkiye Wilhelmsburg in Hamburg."

Assou-Ekotto Intensifies His War Of Words With Mbappe

Considering their respective careers, you would think Benoit Assou-Ekotto, the Metz defender who nearly cut Kylian Mbappe in half earlier this season with a challenge that saw him red carded in a Ligue 1 match, would keep his mouth shut. However the journeyman fullback has once again hit back at the PSG star as their war of words goes on. After Assou-Ekotto criticised Mbappe a few days ago, Mbappe replied with a tweet that just changed a few words and was seen by many as a 'mic drop' moment. Assou-Ekotto has refused to let it drop though and the war of words has continued. Last week Assou-Ekotto said: "These European players of African origin, who have Africa in their hearts and want to help African sport, bla bla bla, while choosing to play for a European team," Assou-Ekotto wrote. "You make me laugh! It looks good when you have a good cause, though." Mbappe responded with: "These European players of African origin, who have Africa in their hearts and want to help African sport, bla bla bla, while fighting with an international teammate back in 2014..." replied Mbappe. "You make me laugh... However, these are your values." Now Assou-Ekotto has hit back with: "A lion that copies another lion becomes a monkey..." A line he thought was a mic drop moment of his own, even if it is difficult to understand why!

Payet In The Centre Of A Storm Over Neymar Remarks

It is being alleged by French radio station RMC that Marseille player Dmitri Payet had warned the referee that the Marseille players would 'take care of' Neymar if the referee failed to act over what they felt was the Brazilian's play acting throughout the game. RMC claimed Payet told referee Benoit Bastien: "Tell Neymar to calm down or we are going to take care of him." Worryingly Neymar was later injured in the game in a challenge with a Marseille player.

Written by Tris Burke

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