Pep Guardiola on mole leaking Bayern’s tactics ahead of Dortmund clash: “heads will roll”

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The next time Pep Guardiola gives a Bayern Munich team talk, he may have to whisper it or write it down in a cryptic message.

There’s a mole loose in the Bayern locker room and whoever it is, they’re upsetting Pep big time.

Before the massive Bundesliga clash against Munich’s fierce rivals Borussia Dortmund last Saturday, team tactics and news was leaked to the press in Germany. Bayern ended up winning ‘Der Klassiker’ 3-0 with a late flurry of goals but nevertheless, classified information leaking out of the squad has irked their Spanish manager.

“It does not matter who it is, heads will roll,” Guardiola was said to have told his players after the game. “I will throw him out. He will not play under me again.”

Bayern chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge echoed Guardiola’s sentiments and wants the leaking of team tactics and other sensitive information to stop.

“We will obviously not bring in the NSA (National Security Agency) to find out who it is,” Rummenigge said. “But I advise him to stop doing it or he will have a serious problem not only with Pep Guardiola but also the entire club.”

So, are there any candidates for who the person leaking Bayern’s tactics could be? Well, any player with a strong personnel link between Bayern and Dortmund could be the individual Guardiola shines the spotlight on as he ramps up his investigation into how his team talks are being leaked into the public domain.

(MORE: Dortmund 0-3 Bayern Munich: Bayern stay top, pull seven points clear of BVB)

Mario Gotze’s high-profile move from BVB to Bayern over the summer got everyone’s knickers in a twist, and the former Dortmund academy product was given plenty of abuse when he returned to the Westfalenstadion this weekend. He scored Bayern’s opener and helped his new side to easily dispatch his boyhood club in a second half canter to three points. Did Gotze leak Munich’s tactics to his old teammates before the clash?

I highly doubt Gotze has anything to do with it, why would he, or any other player for that matter, completely tear apart the inner sanctity of the the Bayern locker room? No real professional would, but perhaps a coach or one of the other members of Bayern’s support staff is the guilty party…

Wherever the fingers lies, because we could sit here and speculate all day long, Bayern are still top of the table, seven points clear of their rivals Dortmund and have qualified for the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League.

But as long as that mole is lurking, Guardiola will be keeping his cards very close to his chest.

Top Storylines for Premier League Week 6

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After a week of League Cup action domestically, the Premier League returns this weekend with a myriad of interesting matchups and storylines.

Let’s take a look at some of this week’s top story’s to follow:


Can Manchester City continue its torrid form?

Manchester City has finally found its groove under manager Pep Guardiola.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

The club has won five successive games, the last three coming on the road while scoring a combined 19 goals. Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus are a terrific 1-2 punch while David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne have been stars in midfield, with De Bruyne pulling the strings for Man City all season.

There’s every likelihood that Man City will continue its impressive run on Saturday. The club hosts floundering Crystal Palace, which is still adjusting to new manager Roy Hodgson.

(more…)

On This Day: The Battle of Old Trafford

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Fourteen years ago today, Arsenal headed north to Manchester for a famous matchup with Manchester United.

Taking the field at Old Trafford, Arsenal were unbeaten to start the season, having won its first four Premier League matches before drawing a week prior at home against Portsmouth. Manchester United meanwhile had four wins and one loss in that span.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

By way of Arsenal’s FA Cup title and Man United’s Premier League title the year before, the two teams met for the annual Community Shield a month earlier, and the game descended into a physical battle. Five yellow cards were shown, Arsenal substitute Francis Jeffers was shown a red card and defender Sol Campbell was later banned for kicking at an opponent, and Man United – backed by a young Tim Howard in goal – won 4-3 on penalty kicks after the score was tied at 1-1 after extra time.

With numerous physical encounters over the years, the September 21 encounter was shaping up to be another monumental showdown, and in terms of physicality, it didn’t disappoint.

Each team were shown four yellow cards and there was a combined 31 fouls. The match took a turn when Patrick Vieira was shown a second yellow card and subsequent red card for kicking out at Man United’s Ruud Van Nistelrooy after Van Nistelrooy had fouled Vieira going for a header. The decision set off a scrum in the middle of the field.

Despite being down to ten men, Arsenal held on until the final minutes, when Martin Keown was whistled for a foul in the box on Diego Forlan, giving Man United a penalty kick. But whether it was karma or lady luck, Van Nistelrooy’s penalty clanged off the crossbar and away to safety. Arsenal held on for a goalless draw, which helped boost the team’s belief in itself.

The Gunners went on to finish the 2013-2014 season undefeated, the only team to finish a Premier League season without a defeat. Man United wound up taking the FA Cup crown, settling for third place in the Premier League.

Watch some highlights from the match below.

Former Sunderland forward Scocco scores five goals for River Plate

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Veteran forward Ignacio “Nacho” Scocco is quickly endearing himself to the River Plate faithful.

Nearly three months since joining River, Scocco scored an incredible five goals in the second leg of his team’s Copa Libertadores quarterfinal matchup with Bolivian side Jorge Wilstermann. Scocco scored a first half hat-trick and added two more in the second half as River turned around a 3-0 deficit heading into the second leg.

Scocco had a mostly frustrating spell in 2014 ahead of the World Cup with Sunderland, joining the club as they staved off relegation by one point. Scocco failed to score for Sunderland in eight appearances, all off the bench.

However, since then, he returned to his native Argentina and starred for his hometown club Newell’s Old Boys before moving this summer to River as a replacement for Sebastián Driussi, who completed a transfer to Zenit St. Petersburg.

Here’s a look at all of Scocco’s goals Thursday evening.

Tammy Abraham denies switching national teams

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Fans of the England National Team may still have a chance to see Tammy Abraham don the Three Lions crest one day.

Abraham refuted reports from earlier Thursday that he was in the process of switching his national team to Nigeria from England. The 19-year-old Swansea City forward on-loan from Chelsea has played as high as the England Under-21 Men’s National Team but because of his Nigerian father, he’s eligible for the African nation.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Abraham confirmed that he had met with Nigeria Football Federation chief Amaju Pinnick after Swansea’s last game, but denied that he was looking to play for the Super Eagles.

“I have informed The FA that I remain available for selection for England,” Abraham said, via the BBC. “Contrary to reports in the media I would like to clarify that I have not agreed to switch my national team allegiance. I can confirm I met the President of the NFF after our last game against Tottenham at Wembley on Saturday given he is a friend of my father. However, any suggestion that I have made a decision to change my international representation is incorrect and wide of the mark.”

Earlier in the day, reports emerged that Pinnick said the process was underway for Abraham to switch his international allegiance.

Abraham’s apparently decision to remain with the England set-up is good news for his club Swansea City, who will get to keep him closer to Wales on a regular basis, but Abraham may be missing a chance to play senior national team soccer at a young age.