Tottenham manager: Gareth Bale injury may not be serious

1 Comment

The pictures were hardly comforting to Spurs fans, Gareth Bale being stretchered off the White Hart Lane field, plastic splint wrapped around his lower right leg, head in hands in apparent emotional and / or physical distress.

Were Spurs fans watching their team’s chances of retaining top four EPL positioning dwindling before their very north London eyes?

Bale rolled his right ankle near the end of Tottenham’s 2-2 Europa League draw Thursday with Basel. Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas told the BBC there was “a lot of pain, but hopefully not as bad as it could have been.”

Even a short-absence could be damaging. A peek at the schedule shows why it’s a particularly tough time for Tottenham to go without their top man. Bale would seem unlikely to be ready for Sunday’s match at home with Everton, one of the pursuers for Spurs’ current hold on the Champions League berth.

Following next week’s trip into Switzerland for the back half of the Europa League quarterfinal series, Bale and his boys travel across London to meet Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, then have a week to get ready for Manchester City’s visit.

So Tottenham’s next three league matches are against teams sitting 6th, 4th and 2nd in the Premier League.

By the way, as far as “Bale as England Player of the Year,” he already has a pretty swanky endorsement. This is what none other than Zinedine Zidane said earlier this week about his personal choice (Bale):

He’s unique. He makes things look easy, his pace is frightening, his acceleration is unbelievable because of his ability to go through the gears in very little space. Plus, he’s very good technically which is also important. We mustn’t forget that he plays football very well!

“And he’s really impressed me. I’ve seen him two or three times live, including recently at Lyon, which wasn’t necessarily his best game, but where every time he got the ball he can surprise you.”

CCL: Lodeiro from 45; Royer’s diving header — SEA, RBNY lead (video)

AP Photo/Jeffrey McWhorter
Leave a comment

After 45 minutes of their respective CONCACAF Champions League knockout-round quests, things are going unnervingly well for the Seattle Sounders and New York Red Bulls.

[ MORE: FC Dallas disappoint in CCL; Club America flying ]

If you’ve watched Major League Soccer teams try, try and try again — only to eventually fail in spectacular fashion — in CCL over the years, you might say things are going a little too well.

There’s still another 45 minutes to be played on Thursday — plus the return legs next week — but both the Sounders and Red Bulls hold 1-0 halftime leads, and the vitally important away goals which come with it. Nicolas Lodeiro’s 45-yard, first-time lob of the Santa Tecla (El Salvador) goalkeeper in the 15th minute has already been eternally etched into the memories of Sounders fans.

Just 15 minutes later, Daniel Royer perfectly executed the diving header and got on the end of Bradley Wright-Phillips’ curling ball into the box to Jesse Marsch’s side ahead of Honduran side CD Olimpia.

Villarreal DF Semedo charged with attempted murder

AP Photo/Alberto Saiz
1 Comment

MADRID (AP) A Spanish judge has charged Villarreal defender Ruben Semedo with attempted murder and ordered him to be temporarily detained without bail.

Court officials in Lliria say on Thursday the Portuguese player is also charged with assault, robbery, illegal detention, and illegal possession of firearms.

Semedo testified before a judge on Thursday, and left the court in handcuffs.

The 23-year-old Semedo was detained early Tuesday, accused of tying up, assaulting and threatening another man last week. Authorities say he and two other men allegedly held the victim captive while they robbed his apartment.

Semedo’s agents told Spanish media the player denies any wrongdoing.

Villarreal on Tuesday said it was investigating Semedo and would take appropriate disciplinary action.

Villarreal signed Semedo from Sporting Lisbon last summer for a reported fee of $17 million.

Wenger: Arsenal “complacent, had no ideas” in Ostersunds loss

Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Perhaps Sunday’s League Cup final had already reached the forefront of their minds, but Arsene Wenger admonished his players, whom he said were “complacent, not focused” and “had no ideas” for much of Thursday’s Europa League defeat, at home, to Swedish side Ostersunds.

[ MORE: Premier League TV schedule | Man United vs. Chelsea ]

The Gunners advanced to the round of 16 on the back of their 3-0 first-leg victory last week, but Wenger was understandably displeased by the effort he saw and expressed such feelings in no uncertain terms, before quickly easing up and praising the fact they were able to pull back a goal against the current fifth-place team from Sweden — quotes from the BBC:

“We were not at the races in the first half,” said Wenger, who saw his side booed off at half-time and full-time. I think in the second half it was much better and we should have scored a few goals.

“In the first half, we were in trouble and in danger because we were complacent, not focused and were open every time we lost the ball. We had no ideas with the ball and that’s why we were in trouble.

“We responded very well because we did the job to qualify, but that’s what we have to take from the night and that’s all.”

With Arsenal now trailing fourth-place Chelsea by eight points (and seven back of fifth-place Tottenham Hotspur), winning the Europa League might just be the Gunners’ last chance at qualifying for next season’s Champions League.

Batshuayi racially abused by Atalanta fans

AP Photo/Martin Meissner
Leave a comment

Borussia Dortmund striker Michy Batshuayi says he was subject to racist chants from Atalanta fans during a Europa League game in Italy.

The Belgium international, on loan from Chelsea, tweeted:

Dortmund advanced to the round of 16 by drawing 1-1 to beat Atalanta 4-3 on aggregate on Thursday.

The game was played at Mapei Stadium in Reggio Emilia because Atalanta’s home stadium is unsuitable for UEFA games.

There have been several incidents of racism at Serie A matches this season.