Norwich City 1-0 Southampton: Redmond’s stunner hands Canaries victory (Video)

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Norwich City grabbed their first win of the season after Nathan Redmond’s sublime individual effort in the second half downed the Saints at Carrow Road.

The Canaries battled hard for the 1-0 win in a closely-fought encounter between two teams who had spent big this summer.

Chris Hughton’s side started the game brightly but Southampton had all the play as half time approached, with Adam Lallana smashing the post with a left-footed volley. However that effort was as close to scoring as the Saints came as Redmond struck in the 68th minute after picking the ball up on the left flank, cutting inside and striking a powerful effort past Artur Boruc.

On a blistering day at Carrow Road, it was the home fans who went home happy following a resolute and clinical display.

In the first half, eventual game-winner Redmond went close after just four minutes but his shot flashed just wide of Boruc’s post.

Southampton’s new striker Dani Osvaldo linked up with Rickie Lambert in Saints’ new-look attack and the duo struggled to get their partnership going in the opening half.

In the 15th minute Southampton’s Polish international Boruc pulled off a tremendous point blank save from Leroy Fer after Robert Snodgrass’ inviting cross into the six yard box. But just three minutes later the Saints felt they should have had a penalty when Bradley Johnson raised both his arms to block Lallana’s shot on the edge of the box. The replays showed that it should have been a penalty to Southampton but referee Howard Webb waved their protests away.

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Redmond was the game-winner with a terrific goal

Moments later in the 30th minute Ricky van Wolfswinkel headed down in the box and Saints’ teenage right back Calum Chambers looked to have handled but nothing was given, as the handball shouts evened each other out.

Norwich looked composed and in control for most of the first half but as the interval approached it was the visitors who looked the most likely to break the deadlock. And they come so close to doing that in the 39th minute after James Ward-Prowse’s free kick was half cleared to Lallana 15 yards out and the skipper slammed his left-footed volley onto the post, with John Ruddy stranded in the Norwich goal

After the break Southampton again looked lively as new $22.5 million signing Osvaldo received a ball from Lallana, turned his man before sharply hitting his strike goalwards. However Ruddy parried the ball out as the Saints kept pushing for an opener.

Norwich and Southampton both looked brighter in the second period as the tempo was raised in the bright sunshine in Norfolk, however the two evenly-matched teams were somewhat cancelling each other out.

But in the 68th minute the crucial moment came as Redmond was found on the left with a raking cross-field pass from Dutchman Fer. The England Under-21 international then cut inside Chambers before accelerating past two other defenders and smashing a low shot home to put Norwich 1-0 up.

After going ahead the home side continued to flood forward as Southampton struggled to respond and despite a late rally and Danny Fox’s 86th minute shot being blocked, Norwich comfortably held on for all three points.

The win leaves the Canaries in eighth spot with four points from their first three games, while the Saints are in ninth after tasting defeat for the first time this season.

LINEUPS

Norwich:  Ruddy; Whittaker, Bassong, Turner, Garrido; Snodgrass, Fer, Johnson, Redmond; Elmander (Howson 76); van Wolfswinkel. Subs not used: Bunn (GK), Martin, Tettey, Pilkington, Hoolahan, Becchio.

Southampton:  Boruc, Chambers, Fonte, Lovren, Fox, Wanyama, Schneiderlin (S. Davis 72), Ward-Prowse, Lallana (Ramírez 62), Osvaldo (Rodriguez 78), Lambert. Subs not used: K. Davis (GK), Clyne, Yoshida,Shaw.

Could Iniesta succeed at Manchester City

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It appears more likely with each passing day that Andres Iniesta will leave Barcelona at the end of the season.

The general feeling around Iniesta’s future is that he’ll either follow former teammate Xavi Hernandez to a club in Qatar or the United Arab Emirates, or follow Javier Mascherano to a club in China.

But according to reports in Spain, Iniesta has received a request from a manager who is inextricably linked with his career.

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Per Diario AS, Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has reached out to Iniesta to try and gauge the 33-year old’s interest in coming to England. It’s a surprising move, considering Iniesta has appeared to have lost a step, and while his skill on the ball is still world class, he hasn’t played as big of a role for Barcelona this season as in years past.

But the big question for Iniesta – as hard as it is to believe we’re asking this – is where he’d fit into the side, and who he’d push out.

If Guardiola sees Iniesta as part of his best XI, and Iniesta played his usual position on the left side of a midfield trio or at left wing, that would see either David Silva or Leroy Sane losing their spot in the team. That’s hard to see, considering how big of an impact those players had.

Sane has scored nine goals and dished out 12 assists in the Premier League while Silva has a nearly-identical stat line, with nine goals and 11 assists in league play.

However, if Guardiola, who played a very small squad this season, wants to have a world-class player to bring off the bench some games or spot start in the UEFA Champions League, he couldn’t do much better than signing Iniesta.

After being given time to adjust to the physicality of the Premier League, there’s no reason why, even at his advanced age, Iniesta can’t make a big impact in 25-30 games for Man City in the future. You can imagine the Spanish maestro setting up 10 to 15 goals and scoring a few himself as he plays for another title-winning side.

Of course, Iniesta likely won’t earn as much money with Man City as he would in the Arab world or in China, so he has a big decision to make coming up.

Iniesta won three La Liga titles, two Copas Del Rey, two UEFA Champions League and two FIFA Club World Cup titles under Guardiola as Barcelona shined as the best club in the world during that era. Iniesta also made UEFA’s Team of the Year all four years.

Perhaps reuniting with Guardiola can bring the best out of Iniesta once again.

Report: Man United to target Rose, other full backs this summer

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Jose Mourinho has identified perhaps the most underrated position on the pitch as a place he needs to upgrade his squad this summer.

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According to a report from The Guardian, the Manchester United manager is looking to sign Tottenham wing back Danny Rose and potentially another full back in the summer transfer window. With Luke Shaw likely to leave the club, Mourinho is left with incumbents left back Ashley Young and right back Antonio Valencia, both on the wrong side of 30-years old and both converted wingers playing out-of-position.

Mourinho last December decried crosstown rivals Man City for spending more than $140 million to sign wing backs Benjamin Mendy and Kyle Walker last summer. Though Mendy missed most of the season with a torn ACL, Walker and fellow outside back Danilo helped give Man City’s attack another dimension out wide, as the wing backs in the 3-4-3 or Man City’s 4-1-4-1 with Fernandinho dropping back into the centerback pairing become ever more important.

Rose has had a contentious last 18-months or so at Tottenham and could be looking to leave this summer. But it will likely take a bid north of $75 million, around what it cost Man City to sign Walker last summer, to buy Rose out of his Tottenham contract.

Matteo Darmian meanwhile, another potential outside back for Man United, could also be departing the club this summer, as Man United looks to replenish its side.

Errors down, penalty kicks up after introduction of VAR in Italy

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The implementation of Video Assistant Referee (VAR) in Italy has been controversial, but according to a look at the statistics, it has for the most part done its job to fix clear and obvious errors.

Italian sports paper Gazzetta Dello Sport compiled all the times VAR has been used through 346 matches, 330 in Serie A and 16 in the Coppa Italia. There were 1,736 checks (916 goals, 464 penalties and 356 red cards) with 105 corrections and just 17 errors where the referee and assistant made the wrong decision. Eight of those errors did affect the result, which is an issue that will surely be addressed by the Italian officiating organization.

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But overall, Gazzetta found that in the VAR era, referee errors only amounted to 0.98 percent during a match, as opposed to 6.03 percent in the past. In addition, fouls are down 8.8 percent, red cards are down 6.4 percent, and yellow cards are down 14.7 percent. On the flip side, penalty kicks are called 4.3 more percent of the time.

The Premier League voted recently not to add VAR to its league matches next season, while top leagues in Germany, Italy and in Major League Soccer and the United Soccer League continue to use it.

Report: New Arsenal manager will have small budget to re-shape squad

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Whoever takes the helm as Arsenal’s next manager will have to do some math gymnastics this summer to stretch every penny available.

According to a report from The Telegraph, Arsenal is giving Arsene Wenger‘s successor a little less than $70 million to work with in this summer’s transfer market, citing back-to-back transfer windows with club-record signings (Alexandre Lacazette last summer and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in January) and three raises given to players. Arsenal paid around $78 million alone to sign Aubameyang and around $65 million for Lacazette.

[READ: UCL Preview: Liverpool vs. Roma]

That means whoever comes in next to lead Arsenal will likely have to sell one or two players this summer to raise additional money for world-class signings.

For the last decade, Arsenal has been crying out for a new pair of centerbacks and a holding midfielder in the mould of Patrick Vieira. In addition, with Petr Cech getting older, the prospect of needing a new goalkeeper is also on the horizon.

Luckily for Arsenal, they seem to be just fine up front. From Aubameyang and Lacazette to Mesut Ozil, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Aaron Ramsey, the club has the talent to challenge for a title next season in that department.

A dozen different names have been bandied about as to who will be Arsenal’s next manager, with out-of-contract and former Barcelona manager Luis Enrique reportedly on the shortlist. Vieira, former Arsenal midfielder Mikel Arteta, Germany National Team coach Joachim Low, Juventus boss Max Allegri and Hoffenheim’s Julian Nagelsman have all also been linked with the job.