Paolo Di Canio fired by Sunderland: Favorites, and whither Jozy Altidore

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Paolo Di Canio was only in charge of Sunderland for six months, two-and-a-half of which featured no competitive action. That may lead some to hint he wasn’t given enough time, a conclusion precludes the possibility of somebody quickly showing he wasn’t right for the job.

While Di Canio kept Sunderland in the Premier League last year, he only took eight points from seven games. After his offseason changes and slow start to this year’s Premier League, there was no evidence beyond hope that he would be a success with Sunderland.

Whether Ellis Short and Margaret Byrne made the right move, however, will be dictated by Di Canio’s successor. There is no point getting rid of a head coach if his replacement doesn’t improve the club, so if Sunderland were to go out and sign, say, Richard Farley, the Di Canio departure all of a sudden looks rash.

Thankfully for Short and Byrne, there appears to be a wealth of candidates to be wooed. From The Guardian:

Ellis Short, Sunderland’s American owner, is expected to move swiftly with Robert Di Matteo, the former Chelsea and West Bromwich Albion manager, and Gus Poyet, until recently in charge of Brighton, among the favourites. Roberto Mancini, out of work after leaving Manchester City, has previously expressed interest in the job but would probably be beyond Sunderland’s budget. Meanwhile Steve McClaren, currently helping Harry Redknapp coach QPR, is probably an outsider.

All of those men would be an improvement on Di Canio, but the question is whether Short can lure any of them north. That’s part of the reason the timing of this move was so crucial. If Sunderland  continued dropping points, it would have been more difficult to convince a quality boss to board a sinking ship. Five matches into the season, there’s still time to turn things around.

Whomever Short tabs will be responsible for answering the question on many American soccer fans’ minds: What does this mean for Jozy Altidore? The U.S.’s first choice number nine was relegated to the bench on Saturday, with Di Canio electing to start Steven Fletcher and Fabio Borini. With Fletcher separating his shoulder at The Hawthorns, Altidore looked set to resume a first-choice spot, but if the new boss goes to a one-front, Fletcher, Altidore, and Borini will be fighting for one spot. Those wouldn’t be good odds for a man who started this weekend on the bench, and even if the new coach persists with a two-forward set, does Altidore beat-out one of the other two? You’d think so, but every man sees their players differently.

Ten months out from the World Cup, Altidore and the U.S. will be particularly interested in whom Short tab to succeed Di Canio. Given the options, however, Sunderland almost certainly made the right move.

Report: Chelsea line up Tuchel to replace Conte

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Reports in Germany claim Chelsea have met with Thomas Tuchel about replacing Antonio Conte as their manager.

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With relations said to be strained between Conte and Chelsea’s board following a summer of unrest regarding a lack of transfers, the Diego Costa situation and more for the reigning Premier League champions, losing to Arsenal in the Community Shield and then their Premier League opening to Burnley was far from an ideal start.

Still, Conte led Chelsea to the PL title last season, his first in England, with a record 30 wins from 38 games. How is he the bookies favorite to be the next PL manager to leave his job?

Tuchel, 43, has been out of work since leaving Borussia Dortmund at the end of last season and Sport Bild is reporting that Chelsea’s director Marina Granovskaia has approached Tuchel about replacing Conte, while it is also stated that former Barca boss Luis Enrique is a contender.

Could Tuchel succeed at Chelsea and in the Premier League? Of course he could.

At Borussia Dortmund he developed one of the finest attacking teams in Europe with talented youngsters playing in a fluid system. Tuchel didn’t leave Dortmund on good terms and although he was linked with plenty of vacant jobs across Europe, including the Arsenal job if Arsene Wenger stepped down, he remains without a club.

Tuchel is a very good coach but what Conte has done at Chelsea over the past 12 months is a borderline miracle.

The situation regarding Conte and Chelsea does appear to have been blown out of proportion, particularly with the Nemanja Matic situation as Conte was reportedly unwilling to lose his Serbian midfielder but the deal was sanctioned by those above him. Given the fact that Conte signed a new contract this summer but only for improved terms and not for an extended period of time past 2019 also raised alarm bells.

Chelsea fans have, understandably, not reacted too kindly to reports that a successor is being lined up for Conte. The Italian coach is adored by the Blues faithful after leading a rapid rebuild of their squad in his famed 3-4-3 formation last season. His passion on the sidelines is now a hallmark of Chelsea matchdays and if he does leave anytime soon due to issues behind-the-scenes, expect a mutiny from the fans.

Yes, managers have come and gone and frequently and success has remained under Roman Abramovich but hooking Conte may even be a step too far for the notoriously expectant owner.

Barcelona’s Twitter hacked to claim Di Maria signing

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FC Barcelona had eyeballs popping across the Twitterverse for a solid 90 seconds there.

La Liga’s giants Tweeted out a welcome to Angel Di Maria, the current PSG and former Real Madrid star, with the hashtag #DiMariaFCB.

[ MORE: EFL Cup Tues. wrap ]

It was an odd Tweet for 4 a.m. local time, as humourously pointed out by our Andy Edwards, and the hackers were quick to claim credit before any Tweets could be deleted.

So if someone tells you Angel Di Maria is the latest member of Barcelona, be sure to stop the spread of fake news.

On a day where Barca’s reportedly ready to up their bid for Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho, something tells us someone at the Camp Nou is turning over their keys to the club’s social media.

Rescheduled Yankees game moves NYCFC-Houston to Connecticut

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A rescheduled New York Yankees game is moving New York City FC to Connecticut.

Relax, it’s only for a day.

NYCFC will entertain the Houston Dynamo at Rentschler Field at 3 p.m. on Sept. 23 instead of their regular home of Yankee Stadium.

[ MORE: EFL Cup Tues. wrap ]

The club will offer tickets to another match to current ticket holders, and will also discount tickets to the game in East Hartford for fans who hold tickets to the Yankee Stadium game and want to travel for the Dynamo match (More info here, if you are in either of those camps).

This is the third of three scheduled seasons NYCFC will play at Yankee Stadium, and it doesn’t look like it’ll find a new home any time soon.

Given the everyday nature of Major League Baseball, it’s surprising there have not been more conflicts for NYCFC. We just remain hopeful for the day we can watch NYC’s star-studded roster play on a bigger home field.

“Injustice.” “Incomprehensible.” Ronaldo again protests suspension

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The five-game suspension Cristiano Ronaldo received for making contact with an official is not sitting well with the forward.

Better put: it’s still not sitting well.

Six days ago, Ronaldo took to Instagram to say he was being persecuted after his red card in the Spanish Super Cup.

[ MORE: EFL Cup Tues. wrap ]

Tuesday afternoon, he kept up the strong words by saying the suspension is “incomprehensible” and “an injustice.”

Roughly translated, Ronaldo posted, “One more incomprehensible decision. From injustice to injustive, they will never overcome me. And as always I will come back stronger. Thank you to all who have supported me.”

We’ll say this: He’s a really good soccer player.