Moussa Dembele wants out of White Hart Lane

Leave a comment

With just two goals in 61 appearances for Tottenham Hotspur for Moussa Dembele, it would appear his time at White Hart Lane is coming to a close.

The Belgian midfielder is using the same play as many others this January to try and secure as much playing time as possible – he wants to secure his World Cup spot.

Unfortunately for Dembele, he seems to have recently lost his place at White Hart Lane, with Andre Villas-Boas telling Dembele he prefers the more defensive Paulinho, and Sandro in the midfield.

“I can not be satisfied with it, of course, I just want to play as many games,” said Dembele. “The coach explained that he makes a tactical choice, he wants more defensive players in midfield.”

For the 26-year-old, it’s not just Tottenham’s crowded midfield he has to be worried about.

Belgium, an up-and-coming powerhouse that looks poised for a possible World Cup breakout, is packed in the midfield.  Dembele must contend with the likes of Axel Witsel, Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard, and Marouane Fellaini for a spot in the starting squad.

The goal tally for Dembele has never been there since even his Fulham days, but since his August 2012 move to White Hart Lane his talent on the ball and ability to make runs at defenders have been vital.

Unfortunately for the Belgian, he was pegged further and further back by AVB’s tactics, with the Portugese manager preferring not to utilize Dembele’s on-ball skills and instead sit two midfielders back as distributors rather than dynamic chance-creators.

That role is much more suited for the Brazilian duo of midfielders, and they’ve both excelled, sending Dembele to the bench.

Fulham manager Martin Jol has often lamented the absence of the Belgian since his transfer, but it remains to be seen what his loss would be worth monetarily to Villas-Boas.

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
Leave a 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.