Following his injury in Paris Saint-Germain’s first leg victory over Chelsea in their UEFA Champions League clash, Zlatan Ibrahimovic is out for the foreseeable future.
Ibrahimovic, 32, pulled up in the second half of PSG’s 3-1 victory over Chelsea and clutched his upper leg after knocking a ball forward and then failing to run after it.
Speaking in his Friday press conference, PSG’s manager Laurent Blanc gave an update on Zlatan’s injury and revealed that Les Parisiens’ forward is suffering from a thigh problem and will miss next week’s game in West London.
“It’s a bad blow for us,” Blanc said. “He will be unavailable for the weeks ahead without a determined duration. He is a player who scores a lot of goals and brings lots to the team.”
That news will boost Chelsea, as Jose Mourinho’s men need to overturn a two-goal deficit in order to reach the semifinals of the UCL.
However Zlatan struggled to cause Chelsea any real problems in the first leg, but his presence on the field for PSG is crucial as they aim to break into the group of Europe’s elite teams. His experience, confidence and leadership has been vital for the French club since he joined from AC Milan in 2012.
(MORE: Zlatan injures thigh, huge blow for Paris Saint-Germain)
With Edinson Cavani, Ezequiel Lavezzi and Javier Pastore still on board to give Chelsea’s defense a torrid time, the French champions should be okay without Zlatan and see off Chelsea’s charge. But good news for PSG’s fans is that Zlatan should be fit again before the end of the season to help the capital club surge towards their second-straight French title.
But, psychologically, will PSG miss their talisman in the second leg at Stamford Bridge? Only time will tell as Zlatan will be watching on with the rest of us, when his side face their date with Champions League destiny next Tuesday.
Goals and controversial penalty decisions are a big part of Saturday morning’s quartet of Premier League matches, all of which are at the break.
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Arsenal 1-1 Stoke City
Joe Allen took an elbow from Granit Xhaka inside the 18, and Lee Mason awarded a PK that Charlie Adam converted to give the visitors an early lead. But Theo Walcott scored his 100th goal as a Gunner off a classy Hector Bellerin cross to make it 1-1 before the break.
Burnley 2-1 Bournemouth
The Cherries will have to dig out of another hole this week, and it all began with Jeff Hendrick‘s phenomenal opener. Fellow Irishman Steven Ward scored an economical to goal to double the lead.
But Ryan Fraser continued his fine December with an assist on Benik Afobe‘s goal before halftime.
Hull City 1-0 Crystal Palace
Robert Snodgrass drew a penalty with a pretty easy grass grab, and the Tigers have a
Swansea City 0-0 Sunderland
Not much cooking at the Liberty Stadium.
One win in 10 for Ronald Koeman‘s Everton has the Dutchman on the hot seat.
Koeman seems to be clawing for air after the Toffees’ latest setback, a 3-2 loss at Watford.
The loss puts the Hornets ahead of Everton on the PL table, and — while unlikely — it’s a mathematical possibility that the Toffees could be a bottom half team by the end of the weekend.
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That’s a brutal development for a club expected to challenge for a European place this season.
“I see a lot of similar problems in the team. The team is too much reactive. Of course it’s maybe a lack of confidence, but if you start the game well, 1-0 up, you need a bigger belief in the team and not going back and defending, and nervous, and not enough ball possession. In my opinion that’s a problem.”
A big problem with that? It can be put down to the manager. Is Koeman in trouble already?
Jeff Hendrick, take a bow.
Burnley’s Republic of Ireland international midfielder pulled off a stunning piece of skill on Saturday to put the Clarets ahead against Bournemouth.
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A long ball forward was flicked on to Hendrick and he took a stunning first touch to tee himself and then settled himself before spanking a volley into the top corner.
Sensational goal from Burnley’s club-record signing.
Click play on the video above to watch it.
There’s a danger in observing Lionel Messi on a week-by-week basis, and it has a lot to do with how he makes greatness look routine.
So while it’s easy to dismiss yet another mazy dribble through a defense, one of those “Frogger” style with calm-but-vicious cutbacks, try to consider everything that goes into Messi’s second goal against Osasuna early Saturday.
[ MORE: Watford 3-2 Everton ]
On first look, you might count 9 touches for Messi starting with his right-footed collection of the ball. But move to the slow motion replays, and recognize the truth: Often Messi is letting the ball do the work for him, essentially moving the duo closer to goal while he used his preferred left foot as a must-respect threat.
That he does it in such traffic and at full speed is incredible. It’s literally one of those goals in which a linguistic luminary like Ray Hudson would have trouble over-emphasizing the greatness.
Messi now has 11 La Liga goals in 12 matches, and 22 in 19 overall.