Les Herbiers Reaches French Cup Final

Les Herbiers has finally written their own history after making sure they will reach the final stage of the French Cup for the first time in the history. They reached this stage after defeating their opponent Chambly from the third division.

Even the game didn’t run well at the first time, Les Herbiers managed to secure their victory after two excellent goals from Florian David in the first half. Even though they tried their best to score more goals during the first half, it took them more time to get another goal. It was during the second half when Ambroise Gboho gave his team another goal and make them controlling the game. Their performances were so fantastic that fans started to compare them with Paris Saint Germain.

Winning the semifinal eventually makes Les Herbiers as the second team from the third division who reached the France Cup final. Quevilly is the first team from that same division who reached the stage back in 2012. However, they had to admit that they were not meant for winning the title. They lost the game after being defeated 0-1 from Lyon.

If Les Herbiers want to prove that they have become better from their old self, they have to win the game no matter what. It means they should avoid repeating the same mistakes that put the Quevilly lost the game in 2012. From now on, they will have time around 1 month to prepare for the final round.

According to Goalgol.com, the final match will take place at Stade de France, May 8, 2018. That will be the day when they prove who they actually are.

Latest Football Rumours

Antonio Conte’s future at Chelsea is still unclear. If nothing changes, it is possible that he would leave the Blues this season.

German manager, Thomas Tuchel is the next Paris Saint-Germain manager for at least the next 2 years. He will start his role as manager from next season.

Marcus Rashford, Manchester United forward is getting worse at the Red Devils. Without better performance, he might have to leave the club as well as the England national team next season.

Liverpool is no longer interested in getting Marouanne Fellaini into their line. However, Paris Saint-Germain is still interested in getting the Belgium international into their line.

Bayern Munich and Paris Saint Germain are interested in getting Kennedy from Chelsea to join their line. Both clubs have asked Chelsea to inform them immediately when they are ready to release the player.

After Pep Guardiola left Bayern Munich, the club is now looking for a manager who can bring the club back to its glorious days. Among their requirements, it is said that the ideal candidate should be “fluent in German.”

Tax avoidance scheme is getting worse among Premier League stars. Recent rumours said that at least 120 players may have put their wage into cash to avoid tax with £250m bill in total.

Watford has beaten Tottenham and Arsenal after they signed a contract to recruit Ben Wilmot from Stevenage. The player, who is now 18 years old, will also join the England international in this year’s World Cup in Russia.

Javier Hernandez from West Ham confirmed that he is considering to leave this team this summer for any chance of joining first-team football. He believes that this future lies there.

Dayot Upamecano from RB Leipzig said that it is one of his biggest dreams to play for big clubs, such as Manchester United, Barcelona, or Real Madrid. So far, with his talents and skills, he might have a chance to join one of these clubs. If he is serious about this intent, this would be a good time to showcase them.

Aston Villa is monitoring and might be interested in getting Jake Livermore, 28, from West Brom to join their team. Livermore is a talented young player, who might join the England international in the World Cup. However, so far there is no news from Southgate on whether or not he will join his squad.

West Brom should be more careful. With every game they lose, they are closer than ever to lose Salomon Rondon, 28. West Brom should never enter the relegation zone if they want to keep Rondon in their squad.

Ian Wright, former Arsenal striker said that Arsene Wenger’s words is no less than having him on ‘cloud nine.’ Meanwhile, George Graham, former Arsenal boss said that he might consider another job for him, probably ‘running for the toilet.’

Would Zidane Become Juventus Manager in the Future?

Current Real Madrid manager, Zinedine Zidane said that he has no plan of managing his former team, Juventus, in the future.

During his time with Juventus in 1996 – 2001, Zidane helped his team to win 2 Serie A titles. Thanks to his excellent performance, he was often deemed as one of the world’s best player back then. His past as a player is also the one that put him as the current manager of Real Madrid. However, recent rumours said that his future in Madrid is still unclear, even though he is set to sign a new contract later this year.

When the media asked him about whether or not he would receive the offer to manager Juventus, he said, “Manager of Juventus one day? Never say never, but I am happy where I am now.”

With him as the manager, Real Madrid is growing stronger than ever. With their strategic play, they are now closer to Barcelona with only 13 points. Even though, they have admitted another loss from Leganes, who eventually kicked them out from Copa del Rey.

Real Madrid under Zidane

Zidane might be one of the best players Juventus ever had. He even now become the manager of one of the world’s best club. However, since their last encounter in Turin in 1962, Real Madrid has never won a game against Juventus. In fact, Juve was the only team who could beat them out of Champions League back in 2015.

With this much confidence and the history backing them, Juventus manager, Massimiliano Allegri is so confident that his players are going to win another game against Real Madrid. However, even after keeping the clean sheet for 56 years, he never wants his players to underestimate their opponent. Real Madrid might have been lost to them for decades, but no one knows for sure when they will rise. For this reason, he always reminds his player to be aware of this risk and give their best while playing.

Team News

Real Madrid might have a chance of beating Juventus after they lose two of their players, Miralem Pjanic and Medhi Benatia. Both of them are under suspension and will not join Juventus for several matches in the future.

At Madrid’s side, one of their key players, Ronaldo is set to join the game after resting since their last match against Las Palmas. Their captain, Sergio Ramos, and Isco from midfield will also join the game. With this combination, there is a high possibility that the 56-year history of Juventus beating Real Madrid will soon come to an end.

Match facts

  • This match will be the 20th encounter between Juventus and Real Madrid in European competitions, including European Cup and Champions League. This number is fewer than Bayern Munich vs Real Madrid, which have played 24 matches until today.So far, Real Madrid has won 9 times, while Juventus only scored 8 victories.
  • Juventus is the only Italian club which ever reached the Champions League semi-finals more than 5. To be precise, they have reached that Champions League semi-finals for 7 times.

Gareth Southgate Should Expect for Problems

England national team is preparing for their upcoming friendly matches with Italy and Netherlands. However, even though those are still friendly matches, Southgate should prepare for it well because World Cup is near and their only chance for preparation is both with Netherlands and Italy.

Southgate may have carefully picked his players, saying that all of them can play almost any position and deal with various challenges. These players can become great assets for the team, but they still need to address serious issues before they deal with Tunisia on their first World Cup match this June, 18.

As World Cup comes near, Italy and Netherlands will not be the only problems Southgate should deal with. Three months from now, England will also face Nigeria and Costa Rica in another friendly match.

 

Deciding the right position for everyone

With most of his players share similar set of skills, Southgate’s first challenge will be placing the right man on the right place.

The manager can begin with Hart to lead his teammates during the next friendly matches. His excellent performance with West Ham United is good enough for the manager to pick him as one of the four goalkeepers the England national team will put in their next 4 friendly matches.

Manchester United vs Sevilla Preview

Manchester United is ready to take another beat on Sevilla on their upcoming second leg. With their amazing stats this season, Manchester United is going to be a serious threat to Sevilla. With 46 goals they have scored so far in this season, the game is not going to be easy. There is only 1 way for Sevilla to win the game and it is going to be a tough one.

The head coach, Vincenzo Montella, should understand the risk of losing another game if he insists on their current form. Their last defeat from Valencia will happen again when they meet with Manchester United if the head coach does realize the threat, but chooses to do nothing. As if he lets the threats to stand before them and does nothing to deal with it.

With the ongoing threat from Romelu Lukaku and Marcus Rashford duo, Sevilla seriously needs a better way to counter their attack. Playing defensive may be an option, but playing too cautious is never good. Liverpool failed to deal with this duo and we are expecting more efforts from Sevilla if they truly want to win the game.

As Miguel Layun is expected to miss the match, Sevilla is most likely to reshuffle their players, especially the defense. Under their circumstances, the manager might choose Nicolas Pareja and Gabriel Mercado to fill the posts. However, even with them at the back, Sevilla needs a serious backup to hold United’s attack.

With 11 points apart from the fourth in La Liga, Sevilla is less likely to enter the Champions League next season via La Liga.

The team has also a lot of work to do with their defensive. Ranked as the seventh-worst team with poor defense in Spanish top flight, Sevilla has been conceding 42 goals so far. The number is equal to 5 goals in a single game.

The miserable record continues with them being beaten in the same league 11 times during this season.

Another good reason to believe the Red Devil will win the upcoming match is Sevilla’s poor performance during this season in La Liga. They have encountered the league’s top 4 for at least 5 times this season and scored no goal so far. Instead, they have been conceding 20 goals from the top four.

I don’t know how Sevilla is going to deal with Manchester United, but these stats tell me they have a slight chance of doing it. Perhaps, it is now time for the Red Devil to revive from their grave after serious critics to their performance. Unfortunately for Sevilla, it is not yet their time.

So, unless something big happens that prevent Manchester United players from ripping Sevilla’s net apart, our best bet, for now, is Manchester United winning the game.

 

IFAB Approves VAR for Permanent Basis

IFAB Approves VAR for Permanent Basis

In their Saturday’s meeting at FIFA headquarter, the International Football Association Board (IFAB) finally reached a consensus on Video Assistant Referees (VAR). The board agreed to use VAR on a permanent basis on every football competition, after 2 years of trial.

The VAR has been undergoing trials in several Carabao Cup and FA Cup this season. With this decision, the board now allows every competition in the world to use VAR without permission, including the upcoming 2018 World Cup in Russia.

FIFA president, Gianni Infantino said that, following the announcement, the council will meet on March 16 in Bogota, Colombia to decide whether they will use VAR in the upcoming 2018 World Cup in Russia.

As for himself, the president believes that VAR technology is the answer to human mistakes in football. This technology will prevent referees from making mistakes, that might alter the course of the match itself. He believes that after undergoing trial for 2 years in several competitions worldwide, VAR is more than ready to give positive impacts to worldwide football competition.

The FIFA president does recognize that the system is not perfect. There are still issues here and there. However, these issues should never hold the council from making their approval of this new technology. He also said that he was once skeptic on VAR, but after monitoring its progress, he now believes that this technology should be put on the field as soon as possible.

If the council approved the proposal, VAR will assist the referees during the 2018 World Cup. The referees will be ready for the new technology as they have been trained for it for the last 2 years. However, as the VAR final decision is still roughly at 98.8%, we expect the referees not to rely too much on this system.

Here are some key facts we know so far about VAR:

  • It has been undergoing trial in 972 competitive matches in more than 20 different competitions.
  • Less than 5 checks are required per match
  • The system helps referees to correct errors in 18 out of 19 trial matches
  • The system passes 68.8% of its trial without a review
  • Average lost time due to VAR review by the referee is 55 seconds

The last IAFB meeting on Saturday also produced two significant developments. The board has agreed to allow additional substitute during the extra time, after undergoing the 2-year experiment.

The board also agreed to continue their Play Fair initiative trial. The initiative will rule every player, coaches, and officials to respect and behave well during a game. If the initiative passes, the referee will be able to give yellow or red cards to any player, team officials, or even coaches if they behave poorly during a game. We don’t know how useful this initiative can be, but sometimes people can get emotional during a game. Whether it is something to correct or not, we can only leave the subject to the board. Let’s just hope if they pass the initiative, it won’t hold players from expressing their opinion in regards of playing fair.

Espanyol vs Real Madrid: The First Beat in Over A Decade

Espanyol vs Real Madrid: The First Beat in Over A Decade

Gerard Moreno’s goal brought Espanyol to win the game against Real Madrid, the first time ever for the club in over a decade.

 

Real Madrid was looking for the 6th victory in a row when they played against Espanyol. They almost managed to keep the record, but when Zidane decided to pull Ronaldo from the field, everything went south. The world-famous team should admit their loss to Espanyol, a club from nowhere.

As for Espanyol, they never dreamt to win the game, especially when the game was against a club like Real Madrid. When Moreno scored the only goal in the match, everyone was so surprised. No one expected such a goal, especially those from Madrid’s side.

Zidane tried to regain control over the match by placing their defender, Sergio Ramos as an extra striker. However, his plan failed to Espanyol’s player from smashing a goal after receiving the ball from Sergio Garcia’s cross.

As the manager and once a player, Zidane should know the impact of a sudden change in the team. He did realize that there was not much time left for both teams and both of them hadn’t scored a goal yet. We understand how desired he is to win the game. However, if that desire means losing the game, he should reconsider his idea to put Ramos as an extra striker. In our opinion, it would be better to end the match with a draw rather than losing it. Perhaps, Zidane didn’t get this idea and instead of waiting patiently for the game to end, he careless made the decision which ended up with their loss.

Ramos is not the only fatal mistake Real Madrid did. The first mistake was when Zidane pulled Ronaldo from the field. It is never a good idea to pull him back because it means you underestimate your opponent. If only he played like Manchester City who never underestimated their opponent, they should have won the game.

If you look at the match stats, you can clearly see how the game went. Real Madrid roughly dominated the game. They only won in ball possession (62% – 38%), and corner kicks (8 – 3). Their opponent, Espanyol, was unexpectedly won in shots fired (16 – 12) and shots on target (7 – 5). Espanyol might be smaller than Real. Perhaps, they might be the smallest or even weakest team Real Madrid have ever fought. However, in their recent match against Zinedine Zidane and his players, they proved one important point. Even a small team can beat you if you underestimate them. It may take the team more than 10 years to beat Real Madrid, but their patience has been paid. Real Madrid finally should admit their loss to Espanyol, something they never expected to do. Even their star, Cristiano Ronaldo, admitted that it was a painful loss they should take.

Manchester City vs Arsenal: Who Has Better Defense?

Manchester City vs Arsenal: Who Has Better Defense?

Both teams will finally meet again on this Sunday’s match, February 25th. So far, both Arsenal and City have collected plenty of goals, thanks to their excellent strikers. However, it is not their strikers we are going to discuss in this article. We are more interested in their defense. They might have some of the best strikers in Europe, but do they have strong enough defense to hold the attacks? Who has better defense? Arsenal or Manchester City?

Would Arsenal Rise Again?

Before the upcoming match against City, Arsenal has played in several matches before. However, we do believe that we have not seen their best performance yet. Their last encounter against Chelsea, for example, ended with a draw. For us, it means one thing. Arsenal has not changed for good.

Jamie Carragher, a retired Liverpool footballer also believes this. Arsenal has a serious problem with their defense. It is so basic and poor. They might have tried to strengthen their defense by adding Jonny Evans to the team, but it doesn’t work so far.

Arsenal might be good with their classic 4 back defense. However, we also know that as good as that strategy might look, the Gunners are still not used to it. They once used this trick against Tottenham, but it only lasted for the first half. They were lucky not lose the game by 2 points or more when Spurs blasted their defense in the second half. During this season in Premier League, they have conceded 36 goals and only kept 9 clean sheets.

The positives

Arsenal is not completely out of luck, especially when they come to Wembley. That’s the good news. The stadium seems to be quite friendly to them. It is one among so few places where they can beat their opponent with ease. They once brought down Chelsea by 2-1 last May in FA Cup final. They even won a match against Manchester City in a semi-final.

If we count it right, Arsenal has won 9 games at Wembley. That’s such an extraordinary number amidst their series of defeat.

What about City?

When those two meet this Sunday, Arsenal should be ready for the worst. Unlike the Gunners, City’s defense has improved significantly. Their defense has grown stronger thanks to Nicolas Otamendi, John Stones, and few other players they have brought in. The power of money, perhaps?

Thanks to their defense, City has only conceded 4 goals on 6 occasions they have this season. Their goals are even far beyond. Their excellent attacks have made 20 goals so far in Premier League only.

Interestingly, most of those goals are scored without Vincent Kompany, who many people believe would be City’s key to win this season. His comeback to Carabao Cup is set to change everything.

Is City’s defense flawless?

Not actually. There are still some weaknesses and chinks, according to Shay Given, a former City goalkeeper. He believes that everything will be revealed once we watch the game this Sunday.

As for the center of defense, he believes Guardiola would place Otamendi with Aymeric Laporte or Stones these.

If there is any chance for Arsenal to beat City, they should learn it first from City’s last match against Liverpool. Liverpool’s agressive pressing successfully provoked City’s players to make so many mistakes throughout the game, including 33 misplaced passes.

Who Owns Premier League TV Rights?

Who Owns Premier League TV Rights?

Five out of seven Premier League streaming rights have been sold to Sky Sports and BT Sport. After paying £3.579 billion, Sky Sports are now eligible to stream 128 Premier League games, while BT Sport only has rights to 32 games.

Even though there are still 2 tranches left to be sold, this year’s Premier League’s deal is expected to much expensive than last year’s £5.14 billion deal.

Upon purchasing the rights, Sky executive chairman, Richard Scudamore said, “To have achieved this investment with two packages remaining to sell is a testament to the excellent football competition delivered by the clubs.”

After paying £3.579 billion, Sky Sports audiences will now have the chance to enjoy every weekend match as well as Saturday night fixtures.

What does this deal mean?

This time, the bidding process comprised 200 live Premier League matches a season. All of them are spread into 7 different fixtures, which broadcasters have to bid. Five fixtures contain 32 matches per season, while the other two only have 20 matches.

However, there are also some changes made to this year’s bidding process. They include 8 live individual games available only in an exclusive Saturday night slot, 3 rounds of live 10-midweek matches, and 1 set of the usual bank holiday games.

What about the remaining 2 packages?

Most likely, the bidding process will continue to find the owner of the last 2 tranches. BT Sports is reported to be on a discussion about getting their hands on the deal. However, the broadcasting company may have to compete with Netflix, Facebook, Amazon, and even Twitter to finally win the right.

Many people believe that one of these US tech giants would enter the bidding process. Amazon, for example, has shown great interest in purchasing sports streaming rights. They are on the way purchasing other TV rights after winning UK rights for ATP Tour tennis rights and US Open tennis rights.

Facebook, at the other hand, will not back easily. The company is reported to have interest in ICC’s Champions Tropcy cricket matches in June. They are also in discussion with UEFA to stream the Champions League games in the future.

We still do not have information from Netflix or Twitter about this issue. However, learning the fact that both Amazon and Facebook are on their way, at least Netflix will not stand idle. With millions of loyal customers, Netflix can easily make money once they have purchased the rights to these Premier League streaming rights. The only question is, how far would the company willing to take? Will take they both tranches or just one of them?

 

Giorgio Chiellini Has Agreed to Extend His Contract with Juventus

Giorgio Chiellini currently revealed that he has no plan to move to another club in the future as he is preparing to extend his contract with Juventus.

His contract will eventually end this summer, and until today, people were speculating about his transfer to Chelsea. It was not entirely baseless because he once fought with the Blues and he knows Antonio Conte very well. However, upon delivering this news, we know that he will stay in Juventus.

During an interview with Sky Sport Italia, Chiellini told the media that they are in the process of renewing his contract. According to their current plan, they should be able to sign the contract in February or March 2018. The transfer market still leaves the management with homework, so they agreed to complete it by the next month.

This month is also crucial for another Juventus player, Gianluigi Buffon. Like Chiellini, Buffon’s contract will end in summer. However, we still have no information about him extending the contract. It is most likely because Buffon still has doubts about his retirement plan.

When some media tried to reach Chiellini for his comments, he believed Buffon should be free to decide his future. Whatever decision the 40-year-old player make, everyone should respect it.

From his point of view, Chiellini believes that Buffon has the power to stop time. After spending some years playing alongside this legend, he explicitly said that almost nothing has changed in him. Buffon is still the same person with the same or even better skills from the man we had in 5 – 6 years ago. He always has the power to convince people that he will not retire just because he is in his 40.

His excellence performance on the field should be able to grant him a prosperous career. Chiellini said that Gigi should only be honest with himself and find the right path for his life. It is the best way to resolve his cause. He even believed that if in the future, Buffon finally decided to retire, it will be long after his retirement.

Both Gianluigi Buffon and Giorgio Chiellini are precious assets for Juventus. They are the aces who keep the club at its top performances. Juve surely still needs them to grant victory from the upcoming matches, including their future encounter with Napoli.

All Juventus players and management have been waiting for this match. It is not something anyone can predict. No one can tell who will win because it will be a fierce battle. Players from both sides are ready and waiting for it. Both teams need to use their best strategies and players to win the game. It is because this game is mostly about honor. The future of Juventus will not end after their encounter with Napoli. It will lie far beyond that point and every player, as Chiellini said, will fight with their best to make sure they will stand as the winner.