Any victory by a lower tier team over a big-boy club from the tip tier elicits the romance of the FA Cup. It’s what makes these cup competitions so grand and even sometimes beloved.
But Leeds United’s win today over Tottenham in the FA Cup means even more.
Leeds was once a player in the European game, and certainly one in England.
The proud club’s notorious tumble from the game’s ruling class fraternity in England stands as the very embodiment of relegation danger. Once you are down, and there for a while, it becomes so painfully difficult to claw your way back up.
Minus the lucrative TV money of the top tier, teams have a short window to get back into the top tier (the English Premier League in this case) before the financial obstacles are stacked up too high.
This is a good walk back through that checkered history, the unfolding of a tough tale.
The supporters of Elland Road, so many of whom can say exactly which years the three top division trophies were earned, are desperate for a push back into Premier League grace.
For now, at least, they’ll take a grand afternoon in a grand and storied competition.
High-flying left back Benjamin Mendy‘s Manchester City takeoff has been delayed by a thigh injury.
Pep Guardiola revealed Thursday that Mendy is doubtful for City’s Aug. 12 Premier League opener at Brighton and Hove Albion despite passing a medical to push through a $68 million move from Monaco.
Saying Mendy is “a little bit injured,” Guardiola said to expect an absence of two to three weeks.
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The depth chart behind Mendy is incomplete, though City has added two right backs this offseason in Kyle Walker and Danilo.
The latter would be the front-runner to start in Mendy’s place, as he did in a 3-5-2 as Man City beat Real Madrid 4-1 on Wednesday.
Man City follows its opener at Brighton with a visit from Everton and a trip to Bournemouth.
Hard-nosed midfielder Rajda Nainggolan has been linked to Manchester United and Chelsea for some time, but Thursday linked up long-term with his present club.
Nainggolan, 29, signed a new deal with AS Roma through the 2020-21 season, putting the Belgian box-to-box mid at the heart of i Lupi‘s plans to chase down Juventus.
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Nainggolan has been in the last two Serie A Best XIs.
The 29-times capped Belgian has six goals for his national team, and has 255 Serie A appearances between Cagliari and Roma. Nainggolan has 31 goals and 18 assists in those matches, scooping 62 yellows and two send-offs but never being handed straight red.
While it’s a perceived blow for his Premier League suitors, it’s a welcome retention for Roma. He’s arguably the reason Roma was ready to part with Michael Bradley in 2014, and you can see why: He plays right up to the line but knows right where it lies.
ST. VEIT, Austria (AP) Local authorities in southern Austria have called off Sunday’s friendly match between Udinese and Hannover as the estimated number of spectators exceeds the capacity of the stadium.
The city of St. Veit says about 4,000 fans, including 280 potential football hooligans, were expected for the game at the ground of local amateur club FC Alpe Adria, which has a capacity of 2,430.
St. Veit mayor Gerhard Mock says “it’s a shame … but security comes first.”
It’s not immediately clear whether the match between the Italian and German top-flight teams can be moved to a larger venue. Both Udinese and Hannover are having their preseason training camps in the province of Carinthia.
Wayne Rooney will play his first competitive game for Everton in 13 years.
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That storyline will dominate Everton’s return to Europe as they kick off their 2017-18 UEFA Europa League campaign in front of a packed house at Goodison Park on Thursday.
The Toffees welcome Slovakian side MFK Ruzomberok for the first leg of the third qualifying round as they aim to make it back to the group stage for the first time since 2014-15.
Click on the link above to follow not only Everton’s game but all of the Europa League qualifiers going on across Europe this afternoon with the likes of AC Milan, Fenerbache, PSV, Marseille and Athletic Bilbao all in action.
If Ronald Koeman‘s side successfully navigate their way past Ruzomberok then they will be in the play-off round which is the final hurdle before the group stage.