Vincent Kompany gives Manchester City fitness boost ahead of Champions League opener

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Good news for fans of the Citizens.

Captain Vincent Kompany could be in line to return to the backline for their Champions League Group D opener in the Czech Republic against Viktoria Plzen on Tuesday.

The towering Belgian defender injured his groin during City’s Premier League opener against Newcastle back on August 20, and hasn’t featured since. But boss Manuel Pellegrini will be delighted to see the powerful defender traveling with this squad  following a few inept displays from Man City’s makeshift defense, that has included midfielder Javi Garcia playing in the central defensive role with Matija Nastasic also out injured for the first few games.

Kompany, 27, has been a mainstay at the back for five seasons and his presence in marshaling and leading City’s defensive unit has been sorely missed following an away defeat to Cardiff City and a shaky home win against Hull City already this campaign.

(MORE: Stoke City 0-0 Manchester City; Stalemate at the Britannia)

City shutout Stoke at the Britannia Stadium on Saturday, but they were outplayed and could have easily lost the game after the Potters generated plenty of scoring opportunities. Kompany back at the heart of City’s defense should see things go back to normal.

Last season despite finishing second and 11 points behind United in the race for the PL title, City easily had the best defense in the league after they conceded just 34 times in 38 games. They have three clean sheets from four games this PL season, two of them without Kompany, but they haven’t looked quite as stable as they usually do with the big Belgian at the back.

(MORE: Champions League Preview; Group D)

It remains to be seen whether or not Kompany will start in their Champions League game against Plzen on Tuesday evening, however it would seem like a pretty strange decision to take a recovering player on a flight to Eastern Europe just to make him sit on the bench or watch from the stand. In my eyes, Kompany will make his return.

And after Champions League failure in the last two years, City were knocked out of the group stage on both occasions, Kompany’s ability to spur on his teammates to European success is undervalued. Pellegrini will need his skipper on Tuesday in  the Czech Republic.

As City’s fans know only too well, no game in the Champions League is ever easy… Even though they’re expected to win big.

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.

Tunisian player who collapsed in Spain regains consciousness

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MADRID (AP) Spanish third-division club Toledo says a Tunisian player who collapsed from heart failure during practice 10 days ago has regained consciousness.

The club says doctors removed sedative medication and Lassad Nouioui was responding well to treatment on Monday.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

They will consider removing the 32-year-old Nouioui from the intensive care unit if his condition keeps improving. Nouioui has played for a number of clubs during his 14-year professional career, notably a four-year stay at Deportivo La Coruna and a one-year spell with Celtic.

Nouioui collapsed on April 14.

The game against Real Madrid B the following day was postponed because of the problem with Nouioui.

FIFA force pace on $25B Club World Cup, global league plan

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GENEVA (AP) FIFA is forcing the pace on talks over a $25 billion offer to revamp the Club World Cup and create a global national team competition.

FIFA says President Gianni Infantino hosted a meeting last Friday with invited officials from some top European clubs.

[ MORE: Everton gets past Newcastle behind Walcott strike ]

The European Club Association has strongly opposed FIFA’s hope for a four-yearly club tournament starting in 2021, which could rival the UEFA-organized Champions League.

UEFA has also proposed a Global Nations League. A similar project is tied to the FIFA-controlled $25 billion, 12-year offer from a consortium including investors from Saudi Arabia and China.

FIFA says it’s holding “informal ongoing discussions with different stakeholders on the topic of the future Club World Cups.”

Infantino is set to meet confederation presidents and general secretaries “in the near future,” FIFA says.

Video: De Rossi, Roma make classy visit to Hillsborough memorial

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On many occasions there are instances where teams and individuals exemplify the fact that real-life occurrences are more meaningful than sports.

Ahead of Tuesday’s UEFA Champions League meeting, Italian giants AS Roma visited Anfield –where they will face Liverpool in the competition’s semifinals.

After walking around the venue where the two sides will compete in less than 24 hours, Roma captain Daniele de Rossi and the rest of the Roma squad visited the Hillsborough memorial at Anfield to pay tribute to the 96 victims lost in the 1989 event that rocked the entire country.

De Rossi was seen laying a floral arrangement on the site, along with a note from the club that read, “In memoria delle vittime di Hillsborough AS Rome.”