Zlatan Ibrahimovic injures hamstring, huge blow for Paris Saint-Germain

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In the 67th minute of Paris Saint-Germain’s 3-1 win over Chelsea on Wednesday, Zlatan Ibrahimovic pulled up abruptly. The home fans inside Parc des Princes held their breath, but their star man was done for the night.

Is he done for the season? We are still waiting on an official update from PSG, but the initial signs do not look good.

One of the major taking points from the game will be the apparent hamstring injury to Ibrahimovic, as PSG’s talisman limped off and now has just six days to recover before the second leg at Stamford Bridge.

After Javier Pastore’s late goal, PSG may not need Zlatan, who was a little below par on Wednesday for most of the match. But with an expected Chelsea onslaught heading their way, it always helps to have Zlatan on board.

It all came about when the 32-year-old striker lofted a long ball forward and then fell to the ground midway through the second half. There was no contact from a Chelsea player and Ibrahimovic writhed in agony, clutching his hamstring after he struggled to accelerate into the opponents half. PSG’s Swedish superstar limped off the field after receiving treatment and was replaced by Lucas Moura, as the Ligue 1 club were dealt a huge blow ahead of the second leg at Stamford Bridge in just six days time.

(MORE: Chelsea on brink of Champions League elimination, are PSG the real deal?)

PSG’s players were dropping likes flies late on as Marco Verratti was caught late and the Italian youngster also limped of, with Laurent Blanc forced into two quick-fire substitutions but Les Parisiens saw the first leg out in style.

With Zlatan likely out of the second leg, and the likes of Pastore, Ezequiel Lavezzi, Edinson Cavani and Lucas Moura around, there’s no need to rush the big man back. Let him rest up and maybe sit on the bench, if he’s ready, instead of risking unnecessary long-term damage.

(MORE: Paris Saint-Germain crush Chelsea in absorbing Champions League clash)

PSG have a real chance of winning the UCL title, as they showed their pedigree by ruthlessly dispatching Chelsea in the French capital. But a fit and fired up Zlatan is worth his weight in gold, and they’ll need him later on in the tournament. If they get there.

If I were you Monsieur Blanc, I’d wrap up Zlatan in cotton wool and don’t risk rushing him back from injury. Judging on the first leg vs. Chelsea, the French champions will be just fine in the second leg next week.

But will Blanc dare to risk Zlatan?

Arsenal lands Ostersunds in Europa League draw

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Arsenal will face a team with an English connection in the UEFA Europa League Round of 32.

The Gunners were paired with Swedish side Ostersunds in the Europa League knockout stage draw Monday, with matches set to be played on February 15 and February 22. Ostersund are managed by Englishman Graham Potter, who played in the Championship and lower in England before starting his managerial career with Ostersunds in 2010 in the fourth tier of Swedish soccer.

[READ: UCL draw+analysis]

Ostersunds surprised many earlier this year winning the Swedish Cup to qualify for the Europa League, and then advanced out of a group that included Hertha Berlin and Athletic Bilbao.

It represents an interesting draw for Arsenal, which will have to balance the squad during a tough February. The weekend prior to the first-leg match is the second leg of the North London derby against Tottenham, and following the second match with Ostersunds is a showdown with Manchester City.

Here’s a look at how the rest of the draw shook out:

Champions League last 16 draw sets up huge clashes

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The Round of 16 draw for the UEFA Champions League did not disappoint.

[ MORE: Champions League schedule

We have some monster clashes with Chelsea facing Barcelona, once again, and the reigning champs Real Madrid paired with the favorites Paris Saint-Germain.

With five Premier League teams remaining, Tottenham have been handed a tough draw against Italian champions Juventus who were also runners up in the UCL last season, while Manchester City, Manchester United and Liverpool will all be rather happy with their draws.

United have been drawn against Spanish side Sevilla, Liverpool will face FC Porto and Man City clash with Basel.

Below is the draw in full, while UEFA has also released the schedule for the games with Man City, Spurs, Liverpool and Man United all playing their second legs at home.


Report: Whitecaps teen sensation Davies could have Man United trial

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The 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup saw a lot of young faces in competition, and one name that really seemed to stick came from Canada’s national team.

[ MORE: Five players LA FC should consider selecting in MLS Expansion Draft ]

Vancouver Whitecaps attacker Alphonso Davies has been doing it for both club and country since making his Major League Soccer debut in 2016, and now the young Canada international could be making a massive leap.

According to CTV Edmonton, the 17-year-old has been contacted by Premier League side Manchester United for a trial in January.

Davies would need clearance from the Whitecaps to join the Red Devils to train, however, with it being MLS’ offseason it’s hard to imagine the Cascadia club not allowing the former Edmonton Strikers player to seize the opportunity.

In 2017, Davies appeared in 26 matches for the Whitecaps and registered one assist for Carl Robinson’s side.

Davies has already become a regular with the Canada national team, after previously receiving call ups from the Under-15, U-18 and U-20 teams.

Five players LA FC should consider selecting in MLS Expansion Draft

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Los Angeles FC will take another big step towards its entry into Major League Soccer next season on Tuesday when the 2017 MLS Expansion Draft commences.

Bob Bradley and his side will have the opportunity to select up to five players during the Expansion Draft, however, the team can only choose one player per club.

[ MORE: Rimando, Pontius among MLS free agents ]

MLS sides had to select their list of 11 protected players by Sunday evening in order to put them off limits from LA FC. Any player not protected by their club is available for selection.

After exploring some of the names of those left unprotected, PST takes a look at five players LA FC should select in Tuesday’s Expansion Draft.

Maxime Chanot — (CB from New York City FC)

He’s 28 years old, and helped build one of the better central defensive partnerships in MLS last season with Alex Callens, prior to his injury. NYCFC could be banking on the fact that his injury will prevent him from getting back to his previous level, but there’s no question Chanot is the sort of player that could anchor the LA FC back line for five-plus seasons.

David Ousted — (GK from Vancouver Whitecaps)

Made 90-plus saves in four of his five seasons with the Whitecaps, and overall one of the top goalkeepers in MLS. The Denmark native has recorded 36 shutouts in his time with the Cascadia side, and helped guide the Whitecaps to the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference in 2017. With Real Salt Lake not picking up Nick Rimando’s contract, the veteran USMNT shot-stopper could also be an option for LA FC, however, Ousted is younger and arguably better at this stage of his career.

Marco Urena — (FWD from San Jose Earthquakes)

The 27-year-old may not be on many people’s radars, but the Costa Rican had five goals and three assists last season for the Quakes. Urena was tied for second on the team in goals, and provides a solid veteran player on a new LA FC side. While Carlos Vela will be the focal point up front for the newcomers, Urena is the sort of player that could player a very important supporting role.

Osvaldo Alonso — (MID from Seattle Sounders)

The Designated Player contract could scare LA FC away because Alonso is 32 years old, but this is the type of guy you want in the center of the park. For nine seasons, Alonso has anchored the Sounders midfield, and he does all the dirty work that could very well help the transition of the expansion side’s back line in 2018.

Chris Tierney — (DEF from New England Revolution

Similar to Alonso, Tierney isn’t going to be the sexiest pick, but he’s had the MLS experience, and he’s likely a player that could move on from a team where he’s spent his entire career. His versatility in the midfield and defensively allows Tierney to be a highly-coveted asset, especially as a player that is capable of delivering a quality cross from down the left flank.