Getty Images

Man United sign Nemanja Matic from Chelsea

Leave a comment

Serbian destroyer Nemanja Matic is ready to be Jose Mourinho’s hatchet man once again.

[ MORE: Christian Pulisic to Liverpool? ] 

For the second time in his career Matic has signed for Mourinho, putting pen to paper on a three-year deal with the Red Devils reportedly paying over $52.3 million to Chelsea.

Matic, 28, is of course much more than a thug in the engine room as the lanky Serbian international has won two Premier League titles in the past three seasons with Chelsea.

His elegance on the ball, timing in tackles, supreme positional sense and aerial ability has seen him develop into one of the finest holding midfielders in Europe and in Chelsea’s most recent title winning seasons he was pivotal in protecting the back four but also chipping in with telling moments in attack.

Mourinho is certainly delighted to have Matic at Old Trafford.

“Nemanja is a Manchester United player and a Jose Mourinho player. He represents everything we want in a footballer; loyalty, consistency, ambition, team player,” Mourinho said. “I would like to thank him for his desire to join us because without that, it would be impossible to have him here. I am sure our players and supporters will love him. A big welcome to our new number 31.”

So, there you have it. Once Mourinho finds players he trusts he often moves them from club to club. Paulo Ferreira, Ricardo Carvalho, Samuel Eto'o and Zlatan Ibrahimovic are just a few of the examples of Mourinho having unbridled faith in familiar faces.

That said, Matic has not had a preseason with Chelsea leaving him off their tour of the Far East with this deal in the works and his insistence to leave Chelsea for Man United was clear all summer, especially with holding midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko arriving from AS Monaco. It may take him a little way to get back up to speed and there is a lingering sense that Chelsea delayed this transfer after United won the race for Romelu Lukaku earlier this summer. Surely they wouldn’t be so petty with their former manager involved…

Matic said to work with Mourinho again “was an opportunity I couldn’t turn down” as well as thanking Chelsea for this time at the club.

With N'Golo Kante the main man in Chelsea’s engine room last season, Matic’s fine form was often overlooked. He kept Cesc Fabregas out of the starting lineup for most of the campaign and he will now line up alongside Ander Herrera to create a formidable, snappy-tackling shield for United’s defense.

Quite why Chelsea have allowed Matic to leave to a direct PL rival is beyond most people, but United have now strengthened in all the areas they needed to this summer and have a new, powerful spine in Victor Lindelof, Matic and Lukaku. In central midfield Matic and Herrera will be first choice with Paul Pogba ahead of them, while Michael Carrick and Maraoune Fellaini will also challenge for the two deeper central spots.

Mourinho wanted a new striker, center back, central midfielder and a winger in the summer window and he’s spent $190 million to get three out of the four.

This is now very much a Mourinho team and Matic is very much a quintessential Mourinho player.

;

MLS Snapshot: New York City FC 2-1 New England Revolution (video)

Twitter/@NYCFC
Leave a comment

The game in 100 words (or less): For nearly 75 minutes, NYCFC couldn’t muster up any chances in the attacking third, but thankfully their captain did what he does best. David Villa scored his 19th goal of the season on Sunday night to pull out a 2-1 win against the New England Revolution, but it was rookie Jonathan Lewis that notched the winner. The visitors took the lead 20 minutes prior after Sean Johnson spilled a shot in front of his own goal, allowing Teal Bunbury to pounce on the rebound. NYCFC now moves to within four points of Eastern Conference leaders Toronto FC with nine matches remaining in the regular season.

Three four moments that mattered

16′ — Harrison breaks ankles, but Villa can’t finish — This might be the only time all see you’ll see David Villa miss a chance like this…

38′ — Johnson gets a finger tip to Rowe’s blast — Sean Johnson had no work to do in the first half, at least until Kelyn Rowe decided to rip a shot from distance just before halftime.

57′ — Johnson’s error grants Bunbury, Revs the lead — Look away, NYCFC fans.

77′ — Villa find the back of the net — When you need a goal, who you gonna call? That’s right. David Villa. The NYCFC captain is now up to 19 this season.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: David Villa

Goalscorers: Teal Bunbury (57′), David Villa (77′), Jonathan Lewis (90+4′)

Honoring victims of attacks, Barcelona wins league opener

Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images
Leave a comment

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Wearing shirts honoring victims of the recent attacks in Spain, Barcelona opened its Spanish league season with a comfortable 2-0 win over Real Betis on Sunday.

[ MORE: Neymar double helps PSG cruise past Toulouse ]

Players had the word “Barcelona” instead of their names on the back of their shirts, and the Catalan hashtag “TOTSSOMBARCELONA” (We are all Barcelona) was on display around the Camp Nou stadium. The message was also shown on the stadium’s large screens, as well as on many banners carried by fans.

An emotional minute’s silence was held before the game as the music of Catalan cellist Pau Casals played in the background.

Before the minute was up, the more than 55,000 fans at the stadium broke into a round of applause and began chanting “No tinc por” (I’m not afraid), a chant which has become a symbol of people’s reactions to the attacks that killed 14 people and injured more than 120 in Barcelona and the nearby seaside resort of Cambrils.

Extra security was implemented in and around Camp Nou.

There was a minute’s silence before every Spanish league match this weekend.

Without Neymar and the injured Luis Suarez, Barcelona got off to a winning start in the league after consecutive losses to rival Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup final.

It scored two goals three minutes apart near the end of the first half – an own-goal by Betis defender Alin Tosca and a close-range shot by Sergi Roberto. Both goals came after plays started by Gerard Deulofeu, one of the players expected to try to replace Neymar after his world record transfer to Paris Saint-Germain.

“We lost depth with Neymar’s departure and we have to find a way to overcome that,” Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde said.

Lionel Messi looked lively but wasn’t able to score his 350th goal in La Liga. He came close, though, being denied by the woodwork three different times.

AP Sports Writer Tales Azzoni contributed to this report.

More AP Spanish soccer coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/LaLiga

Brighton breaks club record with signing of winger Jose Izquierdo

Richard Heathcote/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Brighton hasn’t gotten off to the ideal start in its debut season in the Premier League, but a key reinforcement is on the way.

[ MORE: Chelsea tops Spurs at Wembley behind Alonso’s brace ]

After starting the 2017/18 campaign with back-to-back defeats, the Seagulls announced on Sunday the signing of Colombian winger Jose Izquierdo from Club Brugge in Belgium for a record fee.

The 25-year-old spent three seasons in Belgium’s top flight and totaled 38 goals across all competitions for Brugge, prior to making the move to England.

Additionally, Izquierdo has worked his way into the Colombia squad as of late, and scored his first international goal for his country in June 2017 in a friendly against Cameroon.

MLS Follow Live — NYCFC hosts Revs, Minnesota meets Sounders

Twitter/@fanly_nycfc
Leave a comment

Only two matches will feature on the MLS docket Sunday evening, but luckily two of the league’s most exciting teams will take to the pitch.

[ MORE: Toronto tops Fire as East leaders reach 50 points on season ]

First, New York City FC will attempt to continue its ascent up the Eastern Conference ladder when they host Kei Kamara and the New England Revolution.

In the night cap, the Seattle Sounders look to extend their unbeaten streak to nine matches when they welcome newcomers Minnesota United to CenturyLink Field.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]

Here’s the schedule and kick-off times for Sunday’s two MLS fixtures.

New York City FC vs. New England Revolution — 6 p.m. ET
Seattle Sounders vs. Minnesota United — 10 p.m. ET