Alexis Sanchez has spoken for the first time since being benched by Arsene Wenger.
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The Chilean forward started Saturday’s 2-1 defeat to Liverpool on the bench and came on at half time, with Arsenal trailing 2-0, to make a huge difference as he teed up Danny Welbeck‘s goal and almost equalized late on.
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Ahead of Arsenal’s UEFA Champions League Round of 16 second leg against Bayern Munich on Tuesday — the PL side trail 5-1 from the first leg — Wenger had to answer plenty of questions about Sanchez on Monday and said reports about the former Barcelona striker having a fallout with teammates last week are “completely false” and said he has a normal relationship with the Gunners’ leading scorer.
Sanchez, 28, quoted the famous writer GK Chesterton in a rather cryptic Instagram post on Monday.
“The true warrior fights not because he hates the ones in front of him, but because he loves those behind him. Let’s go Gunners. The only failure is not trying,” Sanchez said.
That seems to suggest Sanchez has no problems with his teammates and everything is fine behind-the-scenes at the Emirates.
Still, fans of Arsenal and perhaps Wenger himself may not be satisfied with Sanchez until he signs a new contract with the north London club as he has just 15 months remaining on his current deal.
There’s no doubting Sanchez’s importance to Arsenal. We saw that on Saturday against Liverpool.
He has been involved in more goals than any other player in the Premier League this season but until he commits his future to Arsenal question marks will continue to swirl. That, plus Wenger’s bizarre “tactical” decision to bench his best player by a country mile, add further fuel to the fire that Sanchez’s future could lie elsewhere.
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.
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.
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.
On a night when UEFA unveiled a new campaign for respect, there wasn’t enough of it shown both on and off the field.
Everton has followed up on UEFA opening up disciplinary proceedings against them by banning a fan from Everton matches after the fan was seen to punch at an Olympique Lyon player in the second half of Lyon’s 2-1 win at Goodison Park.
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“Club Officials have reviewed the footage of an incident that occurred in the 64th minute of the game against Olympique Lyonnais where supporters towards the front of the lower Gwladys Street End became involved in a confrontation between players,” Everton said in a statement. “We have identified one individual whom action will now be taken against. This will include a ban from attending future Everton fixtures and the Club registering a formal complaint with Merseyside Police.”
The video below shows a fan – amazingly, holding onto a small boy in one arm – throwing some punches at Lyon players after a fracas on the field.
The punch and ban is yet another dark moment for Everton, which has just one point from its first three Europa League matches and sits in 16th place in the Premier League with eight points from eight games.