Dutch fitness expert blasts Wenger and Moyes coaching techniques

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Raymond Verheijen, author of The Complete Handbook of Conditioning for Soccer and former assistant manager of Wales, is on a tirade.

The Dutch fitness expert (pictured, right) is known for being openly critical of English managerial techniques on and off the pitch, and he’s at it again.

Yesterday, Verheijen described Arsenal’s handling of Theo Walcott as “Russian Roulette” and told Goal.com that his injury was a disaster waiting to happen.

Walcott, who tore his ACL on January 4th, had returned from a two-month injury layoff in the end of November thanks to an abdomen issue.  He returned during a time of serious fixture congestion for the Gunners, playing the full 90 in five straight matches over an 18-day span.  This, Verheijen believes, is what led to Walcott’s knee injury.

“Walcott’s injury is not bad luck, it is the logical consequence of the approach at Arsenal,” said VerheijenThey made a big gamble. It is Russian roulette with a player’s career.

“Walcott went from nothing to everything. If you haven’t played for a while you are not totally fit. Then, when you play a game when you are not top fit you will need more recovery time than normal. A top-fit player recovers from the game after 48 hours. But a player who is not top fit takes 72 hours to recover. So a less fit player is more susceptible to injury. So, in December when you are playing all these games while needing more recovery time than the average player it is common sense that you are accumulating fatigue.”

According to Verheijen, because of the fatigue that the 24-year-old built up during this conjested, his knee’s normal response to trauma was slow to react, thus late with its usual protection of the fragile ligaments.

However, the coach failed to mention that after Walcott’s abdomen injury, he made five substitute appearances for the Gunners before actually playing a full 90 minutes, accumulating just 73 minutes over the course of those five appearances.

The Dutchman went on to single out Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger for his lack of adaptation to the uptick in tempo that has swept across the sport.  “What Arsene Wenger did 15 years ago was revolutionary for the UK,” Verheijen said. “But he kept doing what he was doing for 15 years so, basically, he stood still.”

In order to avoid reinjury after returning to the pitch, Verheijen says Walcott must not just concentrate on his knee during rehabilitation. “Theo Walcott has to rehabilitate his career, not only his ACL.”

It isn’t just Arsenal the 42-year-old Dutchman is concerned about though.  In a scathing Twitter rant yesterday, Verheijen blasted David Moyes and his young Manchester United career.

He called David Moyes a “nobody,” called his backroom staff “clueless,” labeled his training techniques as “prehistoric,” and tabbed his tactical knowledge as “superficial.” The 42-year-old said no matter who United sign, “these new players will either get injured or play in the wrong position with this manager.”

It’s not the first time Verheijen has said such negative things about Moyes.  When Robin van Persie first began to struggle with fitness at the end of last calendar year, the Dutchman called Moyes “prehistoric” and was highly critical of the way Moyes handled the Dutch striker’s training.

This man may know his stuff, but he sure didn’t hold back when talking about some very big names in the world of soccer.

It’s also not the first time Verheijen has ruffled feathers above him. During his time at Wales, after the death of manager Gary Speed in December 2011, the Dutchman threw his name in the hat for the open job, tweeting that he would like to “lead the team to Brazil.”  It didn’t go down well with some current and former players.

He resigned from his position at Wales just weeks later in February of 2012, less than a week before Speed’s honorary match with Costa Rica.

Report: Villarreal defender Semedo arrested on charges of alleged assault, kidnapping

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For the third time in the past four months, Ruben Semedo has found himself in trouble with the law.

According to a report from Spain, the Villarreal centerback was arrested Tuesday morning at his home on charges of assault, kidnapping and robbery. A complaint filed to the police by a victim alleges that Semedo and two others tied the victim up and locked the victim in a room in Semedo’s home.

Semedo and the others then allegedly took the victim’s keys and went to the victim’s house, where they allegedly stole money and/or other valuable items.

[READ: Wigan shock Man City in FA Cup]

Villarreal has yet to respond to the latest incident off the field, which has marred Semedo’s season and the club’s reputation. Semedo has only played four times this year as he’s currently recovering from a right leg injury, and he’s been sidelined with a variety of injuries since joining from Sporting Lisbon for around $17.3 million last summer.

This is Semedo’s third time in trouble with the law. Last October, after a long night of partying, Semedo allegedly smashed a bottle over someone’s head. In November, in the early hours of the morning following an all-night session at a night club, Semedo pointed a gun at a member of the night club’s security staff after an argument earlier in the evening forced Semedo to leave.

For the latter crime, the local prosecutor is pushing for two years in prison. If the current allegations can be proven true, Semedo could face even more time behind bars.

As of right now, it seems incredibly unlikely that Semedo could feature for Portugal in the World Cup, as he’ll have more important matters to deal with.

Russian authorities fine hotels for World Cup price-gouging

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MOSCOW (AP) Russian authorities in two cities say they have issued hundreds of fines after finding many hotels were illegally hiking prices for the World Cup.

The Rospotrebnadzor consumer regulator says one Moscow hotel raised prices up to 570 percent above what is allowed by a government decree designed to prevent excessive profiteering during the tournament.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

The regulator’s Moscow branch says it issued fines totaling 5.95 million rubles ($105,000) to 198 legal entities and 181 people.

In the Ural mountain city of Yekaterinburg, where Mexico and France will each play a group game, the regulator said it fined seven hotels, some of which were charging almost three times the allowed rate for rooms.

Russian authorities have taken a hands-on approach to regulating hotel and travel costs during the tournament to prevent the negative publicity of visiting fans being charged large sums.

Spanish police dismantle match-fixing scheme in 3rd, 4th tiers

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MADRID (AP) Spanish police have dismantled a match-fixing scheme involving players and clubs in the country’s lower divisions.

Authorities said more than 20 people have been detained as part of the police operation launched on Monday, including players, although no names were immediately disclosed.

The matches under suspicion were in the third and fourth divisions this season and last season.

The match-fixing scheme reportedly involved Chinese betting sites.

The Spanish league said the operation was based on information collected by its analysts about suspicious activities.

UCL preview: Chelsea host Barcelona; Bayern vs. Besiktas

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  • Chelsea vs. Barcelona, at Stamford Bridge
  • Bayern Munich vs. Besiktas, at Allianz Arena
  • Champions League round of 16 resumes on Tuesday

[ UCL: Spurs fight back to draw Juventus | Liverpool thrash Porto in leg 1 ]

Chelsea, mired in some of their worst form since the disastrous 2015-16 season, welcome a Barcelona side enjoying one of the best six-month runs of results in the famed club’s entire history. The Blues have won just four of their last 12 games across all competitions, while the Blaugrana have lost once in 38 games.

On the plus side, Chelsea enter Tuesday’s colossal clash as winners of their last two games — back-to-back wins for the first time in 2018 — having outscored the likes of West Bromwich Albion and Hull City by a combined 7-0. Star striker Alvaro Morata returned to action against Hull after five weeks out with a back injury, thus Antonio Conte has something of a selection dilemma on his hands with the Spaniard perhaps only partially fit, and Olivier Giroud racking up a goal and three assists in the last two games, his first starts for the club.

Barcelona, meanwhile, have conceded just two goals in their last nine games (all competitions) and even managed to overturn their lone defeat, to Espanyol, and advance to the Copa del Rey semifinals (and eventually final). Despite losing Neymar in the summer, Barca mostly cruised through their Champions League group, only dropping points in draws away to Juventus and Olympiacos. Lionel Messi has, strangely, never scored a goal in his eight career appearances against Chelsea, a record which has been spoken about at length in the build-up to Tuesday — similarly to the goal-less record which plagued him against Juve goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, whom he finally bested back in September.

[ MORE: Man City win big away to Basel | Real Madrid 3-1 PSG ]

In the other round-of-16 first-leg matchup on Tuesday, five-time (soon-to-be six) defending Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich host surprise winners of Group G, Besiktas, ahead of the likes of Monaco, RB Leipzig and Porto.

Since taking over on an interim basis (through the end of the season), Bayern boss Jupp Heynckes has won 21 of 22 games of which he’s been in charge, including four of six games during the group stage en route to finish second behind Paris Saint-Germain, while also racing out to a 19-point lead back home in Germany.