New twist in Cardiff City saga as Malky Mackay misses press conference

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Cardiff City’s owner Vincent Tan is public enemy number one in the Welsh capital right now.

And he’s not exactly getting rave reviews across the rest of the soccer world either….

On Thursday Cardiff’s eccentric billionaire owner demanded that the Bluebirds hugely popular manager Malky Mackay should either “resign or he will be sacked” after Mackay simply said he will talk to the owners about potential targets in the January transfer window and what funds would be available to spend.

Tan, who has already incensed Cardiff’s supporters by switching the club colors from blue to red to help shirt sales in his homeland of Malaysia, has been outspoken against his manager Mackay in the past, has fired the clubs head of recruitment Ian Moody without Mackay’s permission and this could be the last twist in a disturbing tale.

If you want to know how not to run a soccer club, Tan is your man.

Word on the street is that Tan has sent a long-list of complaints to Mackay in an email and off the back of that Cardiff’s manager did not attend the pregame press conference on Friday morning. Instead Mackay’s assistant David Kerslake handled the questions before the away game at Liverpool on Saturday, but the presser lasted just over five minutes as angry journalists demanded to know what was going on. Kerslake only answered questions about the game vs. Liverpool on Saturday and turned down any questions about Mackay’s future and how bad this was making the club look.

(MORE: Report – Cardiff City owner tells manager to quit or be fired)

The local press were banned from blogging or tweeting about the events live as Mackay was said to be at training… yet others had seen him driving away from Cardiff’s Vale of Glamorgan Resort training ground.

According to sources within the club, Mackay is expected to be in charge for the game against Liverpool on Saturday but how can he and his players concentrate on the job in hand when all of this is going on?

Other Premier League managers across the country have stood up in defense of Mackay, after his side have acquitted themselves superbly following the teams first-ever promotion to the Premier League last season. People can’t believe the way he’s been treated.

(MORE: Premier League Standings)

But it seems despite all of Mackay’s sterling work, after a solid start to Cardiff’s first season in the top-flight for decades, isn’t to the liking of some people. Well, one man and that’s Tan. It beggars belief that he thinks another manager could do a better job than Mackay on such a small budget but apparently he does and has already contacted four potential replacements for the talented Scottish manager.

A meeting with the board of directors has been scheduled for Friday afternoon, when everything is said to be coming to a head. We all know the Premier League is mad… but this takes it to a whole new level.

Premier League Preview: Chelsea vs. Watford

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  • Chelsea are without N'Golo Kante, Victor Moses (both hamstring) and Danny Drinkwater (calf) is still absent.
  • Watford remain without Younes Kaboul and Sebastian Prodl (both thigh), plus long-term absentees Craig Cathcart, Nathaniel Chalobah and Isaac Success (all knee).
  • Watford have not won against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge since 1986, but the Hornets have won 10 points of a possible 12 on the road. 
  • Chelsea have lost three of their first eight matches this season. No team has ever lost this many of their opening eight matches and still won the Premier League title.

Watford heads south for another London derby with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Saturday at 7:30 a.m. (Watch live on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

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The Hornets have had an amazing start to the season and currently occupy fourth place on 15 points, two points ahead of fifth-place Chelsea, which has lost two-straight Premier League games. The Blues have struggled without N’Golo Kante and Alvaro Morata and there have been reports of grumbles from the squad about dissatisfaction with Antonio Conte‘s training methods, but the Chelsea coach has brushed those rumors off.

Meanwhile Watford is coming off a confidence-boosting win last weekend against fellow Londoners Arsenal, and the club is looking to take down another big club for a second-straight week.

What they’re saying

Watford manager Marco Silva on his team’s start“I want everybody to be really calm. We did really in the first eight matches but it’s too early. We want to continue to work hard every day. Everything changes fast and you need to keep going and treat the next game as the most important. But of course I feel proud.”

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte on being under pressure: “‘Do I feel the pressure? Every manager feels pressure, but I try to give all of myself into my job, so I’m happy when I go home because I know in every moment I give all of myself for the fans, the players and the club. In football you know anything can happen, but the most important thing is to work.”

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Prediction

Chelsea has its back against the wall but the team’s overall quality should be enough to see them through with all three points against Watford. The Hornets luck runs out in Stamford Bridge as Chelsea hold on for a late win. Chelsea 2-1 Watford

Leicester City record massive earnings from UEFA Champions League

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Leicester City’s UEFA Champions League campaign may have ended without a trophy, but the Premier League side pipped the European champions in the bank account.

UEFA announced on Friday that Leicester City earned $96,167,125 during the Champions League run that ended in the quarterfinals, the farthest of any Premier League club. Real Madrid, the back-to-back champions, earned a slightly less $95,385,679. Much of the difference comes from TV rights deals in England, which pays out more to teams compared to the TV rights deal in Spain.

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Juventus, the Italian giant, earned the most of any club in last year’s Champions League, making a whopping $129,965,357, mostly thanks to the TV rights again.

Mourinho: Ibrahimovic could return in December

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Dare to Zlatan? It could be only a couple of months away.

That’s according to Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho, who said the veteran striker could return from his torn ACL before the end of the calendar year.

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“Zlatan is here, he’s working here and under our control,” Mourinho told reporters. “He’s working as you would expect so, so, so hard. But he’s not to be back in the next week or next couple of weeks. Do I believe he’ll be back in 2017? Yes, I do. But it’s just a feeling.”

The big Swede scored 28 goals for Man United last year in all competitions, proving that he’s still got it at the age of 36, but it’s going to be tough for him to find his old form coming off an ACL injury at such an old age. After suffering the injury last April, it’s been a long road to recovery for Ibrahimovic.

However, with the play of Romelu Lukaku up top, Ibrahimovic would only play from time to time, which could help in his recovery both from the knee injury and just the general recovery between games.

Manchester City quartet called up by Brazil for friendlies

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Brazilian National Team coach Tite has decided on calling up a full-strength squad for November’s upcoming friendly matches in Europe, including four Manchester City players in his 25-man squad.

Gabriel Jesus, Fernandinho, Danilo and Ederson all made the squad as Tite looks to develop more chemistry among his side ahead of the 2018 World Cup, which Brazil breezed into after Tite took over in 2016.

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Luckily for Manchester City and the other European-based players in the squad, Brazil’s friendly matches will be played in Western Europe. The Selecao first faces Japan in Lille, France on November 10 before taking on England at Wembley Stadium on November 14.

The call-ups may be a tough pill for Guardiola to swallow though. As of Friday, Manchester City has 17 games remaining in the calendar year, and surely he would prefer for some of his starters to get a two-week break in November to preserve some energy instead of play in friendly matches.