Should Luke Shaw switch Southampton for Manchester United or Chelsea?

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Picture this.

You’re an 18-year-old professional soccer player playing in the Premier League, you have already got over a season of top-flight experience under your belt and you’ve been earmarked as England’s next great left-back.

It’s pretty good to be in the shoes of Southampton youngster Luke Shaw right now.

But the Englishman seems to have quite a conundrum facing him in the next six months or so, and according to new reports, global giants Manchester United are confident they can sign Shaw ahead of Chelsea. Reports have been rampant over the past year, as every big team in England have been linked with Shaw as the defender seems to have a tricky choice ahead of him. United will be saying goodbye to long-term left back Patrice Evra this summer, and Chelsea could well be doing the same to Ashely Cole. Shaw is deemed to be the perfect successor to both, as the PL giants collide to get their man.

Does he stay with Saints, the club he has been with since his the age of seven? Or will he cast the PL’s surprise package aside in search of silverware and a career full of big games in big stadiums against Europe’s top teams?

Some would argue that that’s not guaranteed if he signed for United… But they should pick up after their disappointing 2013/14 campaign, eventually. With Chelsea, that’s a whole different issue as Shaw was brought up in Kingston-upon-Thames and is a lifelong Chelsea fan. His father is known to be an avid fan of the Blues and even a season ticket holder. So surely if Shaw decides to leave Saints, it will be for the West London club.

(MORE: Report – United go transfer bonkers, bids $37 million for Luke Shaw)

But Saints are adamant they don’t want to sell Shaw, and the teenage sensation has reiterated his desire to stay at St. Mary’s on several occasions. He is the crown jewel in a cluster of finely polished academy products who are dazzling down at Southampton, as Shaw is playing alongside fellow graduates Calum Chambers, James Ward-Prowse, Sam Gallagher and Harrison Reed. They are all teenagers who’ve been blooded into the team by Saints boss Mauricio Pochettino to great effect.

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Shaw’s surging runs from left back has seen the talented teenager burst onto the scene in the PL.

Southampton are eighth in the PL, Shaw is a guaranteed starter every week (not something that would be guaranteed at United or Chelsea) and looks to be enjoying life in the big time. He has played superbly for England’s U-21 side over the winter and England’s national team boss Roy Hodgson has already spoke glowing of Shaw and his fellow English youngsters who have all burst onto the scene at the same time at Southampton. A World Cup spot could beckon this summer for Shaw if he carries on like this.

On his 18th birthday last summer, Shaw signed a long-term deal with Saints. But we all know that if a big club comes calling, no matter what Southampton say, it will be hard to turn down a huge offer for Shaw. Having watched Saints closely over the years, the likes of Gareth Bale, Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain have all rolled off the academy production line. But none have shown this much talent, and maturity, as Shaw has done at the tender age of 18. That’s frightening. England’s future left back has so much talent and he’s only just started.

But will he stay or will he go? What would you do if you were in Shaw’s shoes?

La Liga: Real Madrid win wild one, now just 17 points behind Barca

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A roundup of all of Sunday’s action in Spain’s top flight…

[ MORE: Barcelona ties club-record 31-game unbeaten run ]

Real Betis 3-5 Real Madrid

So long as they manage to hold off Sevilla for fourth place (Champions League qualification), Real Madrid will quickly move on from their disastrous 2017-18 season, spend a half-billion dollars in the summer and pretend like the 12 preceding months never even happened.

For a brief period on Saturday — nearly 30 minutes including the halftime intermission — that plan appeared fatally flawed and at risk. After going 1-0 up away to Real Betis courtesy of Marco Asensio’s 11th-minute opener, Los Blancos found themselves in big trouble after Aissa Mandi leveled things up in the 33rd minute, followed by a Nacho own goal four minutes later.

Five minutes into the second half, Sergio Ramos drew the visitors level, followed by another from Asensio in the 59th minute. Cristiano Ronaldo made it 4-2 six minutes later, at which point Madrid appeared home free.

Sergio Leon pulled Betis to within one in the 85th minute, but Karim Benzema restored the two-goal lead in the 91st, less than two minutes after replacing Ronaldo.

Atletico Madrid 2-0 Athletic Bilbao

With Barcelona still unbeaten on the La Liga season, the title is all but decided with more than three months still to play. That hasn’t stopped Atleti, though, as Diego Simeone’s side, which has lost just once in the league, continues to pursue Lionel Messi and Co. Saturday’s 2-0 victory over Athletic Bilbao moved Los Rojiblancos back to within seven points of Barca with a dozen games, and one head-to-head matchup, still to play.

Kevin Gameiro scored what turned out to be the winner in the 67th minute, followed not long after by Diego Costa‘s second league goal of the season (fourth in all competitions) to make it 2-0.

Elsewhere in La Liga

Real Sociedad 3-0 Levante
Espanyol 1-1 Villarreal

VAR provider apologizes for wrong image of offside Man Utd goal

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Whether or not you’re in favor of the use of video-assistant refereeing the world over — and, more specifically, English soccer — one thing on which we can all agree has become abundantly clear: VAR’s maiden voyage has been a chaotic, poorly conducted mess.

[ MORE: Jose Mourinho demands VAR calls be “perfect” ]

Any change to the game’s century-old rules and practices — especially of VAR’s monumental proportions — must be implemented and executed without a hitch. Any issues that had arisen prior to this weekend were minor in significance and import, but that all changed on Saturday, when Manchester United’s Juan Mata had a goal wiped away by VAR (WATCH HERE).

Mata appeared to have timed his run perfectly and been onside before slotting home to put Man United 2-0 ahead of Huddersfield Town in the FA Cup fifth round. After consulting the off-site video assistant, the goal was taken off the board. While the slightest bit of Mata’s knee appeared to have been in an offside position, the issue lies in the fact that the images provided to television broadcasters, by VAR provider Hawkeye, displayed a clearly crooked line of demarcation.

[ MORE: Man Utd draw Brighton in FA Cup QF; Chelsea get Leicester ]

Hawkeye issued a statement on Sunday, acknowledging and apologizing for the faulty image provided to broadcasters, but insisted that a correct version of the image was seen by the refereed:

“A technical error led to an incorrect graphic being provided by Hawkeye to BT Sport on Saturday. To confirm, the VAR saw the correct image with the correct lines to make the decision. This was a case of the wrong image being provided to the broadcaster and we apologize.”

In the end, by the most stringent interpretation of the law, VAR got the call correct. But that won’t matter one iota in the court of public opinion, as one mistake as simple as a crooked line gives the impression that the entire operation is haphazard and not fit for practice.

Juventus suffers blow with apparent Higuain injury

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The back-and-forth battle at the top of Serie A continued on Sunday as Juventus topped Torino at the Stadio Olimpico Grande Torino, however, the visitors suffered a big injury scare in the process.

[ MORE: Man United draws Brighton, Chelsea gets Leicester in FA Cup ]

Alex Sandro‘s winner came in the 33rd minute, but the focus of the match will leave all eyes on Gonzalo Higuain — who exited after just a quarter of an hour.

The Argentine international was looking to latch onto a through ball from Miralem Pjanic in the fifth minute, before jumping over an oncoming Salvatore Sirigu — goalkeeper for Torino.

Higuain appeared to land awkwardly on his ankle, though, and while he attempted to continue on in the match he was substituted off for Federico Bernardeschi 10 minutes later.

The extent of Higuain’s injury is unknown to this point, however, it comes at a very bad time for Juventus.

The Italian giants are heavily involved in the Serie A title race, holding a two-point lead over Napoli at the top of the table.

Additionally, Juve has important fixtures coming up in both the Coppa Italia and Champions League against Atalanta and Tottenham, respectively. Higuain and Co. are level at 2-2 with Spurs heading into their UCL second leg in early March, and Juve will surely need the striker’s presence to have a shot at advancing to the quarterfinals.

Rochdale 2-2 Tottenham: Davies stuns Spurs late

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A valiant effort from a League One side has rewarded the minnows with a replay set to be played at Wembley Stadium.

Tottenham Hotspur looked on its way towards the FA Cup sixth round on Sunday, but a late finish by Steven Davies gave Rochdale a 2-2 draw with the Premier League club at the Spotland Stadium.

[ MORE: Willian stars as Chelsea routs Hull in FA Cup ]

Harry Kane — who scored his 34th goal on the season in all competitions — converted from the penalty spot in the 88th minute, however, Davies had the final say deep into stoppage time to send the two sides towards a replay.

Ian Henderson’s finish in the 45th minute gave Rochdale a gift at the conclusion of the first stanza, after the hosts capitalized on a Spurs giveaway near midfield.

Meanwhile, Tottenham managed to level the match at 1-1 on the hour mark when Lucas Moura calmly slotted his close-range shot past goalkeeper Josh Lillis after a timely through ball from Moussa Sissoko picked out the former PSG man.

The visitors began pressing on in the second half, with Mauricio Pochettino‘s side having trailed at the halftime break.

The two sides will now meet on either Feb. 27 or 28 in the reverse fixture to decide which team advances. The winner will either meet Sheffield Wednesday or Swansea City in the quarterfinals.