A pair of Italian full-backs are dominating the Saturday morning transfer headlines, and they could have a direct effect on each other’s futures.
Roma is reportedly interested in Manchester United right-back Matteo Darmian, and according to a number of reports from Italy, are challenging Inter for his signature. The Milan club has been linked with Darmian for some time, but Roma’s name next to his is a new one.
The 27-year-old has struggled for playing time, often serving as second-fiddle to Antonio Valencia who Jose Mourinho seemed to prefer. Darmian was often moved to left-back to fit into the United squad, but even then saw competition from Daley Blind and Luke Shaw.
24-year-old Mattia de Sciglio could also be on the move, with his AC Milan contract running out next summer. Like Gianluigi Donnarumma, he seems intent on a move elsewhere rather than a new deal at the San Siro, and both Napoli and Juventus seem the most likely destinations.
According to Italian newspaper Il Mattino, de Sciglio could be on his way to Napoli on a four-year contract, but he has also long been linked with Juventus, especially with the potential departure of Dani Alves and heavy interest in Alex Sandro. Manchester City is also known to be in the market for a full-back, but they have yet to be specifically linked to de Sciglio.
Speaking of Alex Sandro, Juventus confirmed they have rejected a bid from Chelsea for the Brazilian full-back. Sandro dazzled Europe during Juventus’s run through the Champions League, and has earned himself links to other big clubs throughout Europe.
Juventus executive Guiseppe Marotta told reporters early Saturday, “We said no to a very good offer from Chelsea for Alex Sandro. But we know that we are competing with clubs that are in a position to offer wages that are not rational for us and players are always their own boss.”
Reports all over England tabbed the “very good offer” at a whopping $70 million, which would potentially be a Chelsea transfer record, with the 2011 capture of Fernando Torres currently at the top of the chart.
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has been looking to strengthen his defensive line with a season of Champions League play to come. Sandro would likely end up fitting into Conte’s three-at-the-back formation on the wing, giving competition to Marcos Alonso down the left.
As the Kylian Mbappe saga continues to drone on, Arsenal remains a hot destination for the French youngster to land. However, Arsenal is not often known to drop the amount of money possibly required to land the Monaco teenager. Therefore, the possibility of a player moving in the opposite direction remains high.
With Arsenal in a massive battle with Real Madrid for the 18-year-old, a report in the Sun has suggested that Olivier Giroud could be sent to Monaco in addition to a world record fee. This would be an attempt by Arsenal to counter the $150 million Madrid bid reported by L’Equipe a few days ago.
Giroud has repeatedly stated his desire to stay at Arsenal and help them return to Champions League play, and would have to agree to a move away from the Emirates in order for the deal to work.
As expected under Marsch, Leeds have taken a high-volume approach to their tactics — lots of pressing and challenges, lots of counter-attacking and lots of scoring chances created. Their 1.57 expected goals (per 90 minutes) ranks 7th in the Premier League. Leeds haven’t played a game (in any competition) since Sept. 3, one day shy of a month come Sunday, due to the death of Queen Elizabeth II and the ensuing fixture postponements. Leading goal-scorer Rodrigo remains out with a shoulder injury, but the Spaniard could be back in the next week or two.
Goal-scoring has been a major issue thus far for Aston Villa, who have scored multiple goals in a game just once this season. Six different players have scored a goal, but no one has scored two. Unsurprisingly, Steven Gerrard’s side sits 19th in the PL for xG (0.76 per 90).
Erling Haaland and Phil Foden both recorded hat tricks as Manchester City built a five-goal lead before settling for a 6-3 blowout derby win over Manchester United on Sunday at the Etihad Stadium.
Haaland finished with three goals and two assists, while Kevin De Bruyne set up two of the big Norwegian’s goals. Haaland now has 14 goals through eight Premier League games, 18 off the league record for a 38-game season set by Mohamed Salah in 2017-18.
What we learned from Manchester City vs Manchester United
Erling Haaland’s goal record chase is real: Thirteen goals through eight games? Really?!? Erling Haaland is on fire, and every single Premier League defense should be terrified. We spent an entire season wondering what last season’s Man City would look like with a finisher at center forward and now we’ve found out that it is flat out ridiculous.
Erik ten Hag handcuffs his team: Look, hindsight is always going to be 20:20. We get that, but expecting to go toe-to-toe with City away by deploying Christian Eriksen and Scott McTominay at the heart of your midfield while leaving Fred and Casemiro on the bench was almost absurd. Eriksen’s defensive skills weren’t up for the task and left McTominay running around like a maniac. The ball barely found its way to the front four, which was United’s only hope of hanging with the hosts. Antony’s incredible goal is a cruel hint of what might’ve been for ETH’s young team.
Phil Foden, Kevin De Bruyne unfair: That’s the lesson. Unfair.
Can 2022-23 Manchester City supplant 2008-09 Barcelona as Pep’s masterpiece? It’s difficult to Imagine a season better than Barcelona’s league and Champions League double. Barcelona was stunned on Opening Day but did not lose again until February 21. It did not lose a meaningful European match nor trail after a leg of the knockout rounds. Of its five league losses, four came after building a 13-point table lead in mid-February. Even throwing in 105-goal, plus-70 goal differential La Liga figures somehow doesn’t change the thought that this City could better most of those marks. City is currently on pace for 133 goals and a nearly triple-digit goal diffrential, though it’s yet to have played Liverpool, Spurs, Chelsea, or Arsenal. It’s also in second place (laughing emoji).
Phil Foden reaction
“It’s a dream come true, playing a derby as a City fan as well. Erling and I have built a connection, just finding each other.”
Erling Haaland reaction
“Not bad,” Haaland said on USA Network. “We scored six goals. What can you say? It’s amazing. To win at home and score six goals here, it’s nice.
“You can feel it all the time. You see the passes we give each other. We always want to go forward, to attack. In the end it’s amazing, there’s nothing more to say.”
Rodri’s absence for Man City threatened an opening for United but the midfield duo of Scott McTominay and Christian Eriksen were left without a rudder by Erik ten Hag (See what we learned, above). That left City a lot of freedom if it stayed calm with the ball, which it characteristically did, and Raphael Varane’s exit meant the visitors were going to be in a whole lot of trouble.
Stars of the show
Kevin De Bruyne
Anthony Martial: Ask Erik ten Hag how happy he is that second-half sub Martial didn’t go through the motions and instead delivered a pair of goals to make the score line a little more palatable.
Antony: The two ‘Ants’ carried well more than their weight despite their team’s struggles.
Man City hosts Copenhagen on Wednesday in the Champions League before Southampton visits on Saturday.
Man United has a long trip to Cyprus for a scrap with Omonia in the Europa League on Thursday, then visits Everton on Sunday.
Phil Foden goal video: City strikes first with splendid team goal
City are off to a hot start in the Manchester Derby! 🔥 #MCFC
Despite a pair of disappointing draws (Newcastle and Aston Villa), it’s been an unbeaten start to the 2022-23 season for Man City, who still lead the PL in possession (66.4 percent per game) while also becoming an unstoppable offensive force from last season (14 goals in their first seven games) to this season (23). That’s not to say it’s been easy as Manchester City go through a tactical shift of their own to better appeal to the big Norwegian’s poaching abilities. Though they have been forced to grind out results a few times already this season, it’s highlighted a newfound spontaneity for a side that’s been as regimented as any in the world. Will that freedom be what ultimately lands Pep Guardiola his first Champions League trophy since 2011, and perhaps a third straight PL title (and a fifth in six years) to boot?
As for Manchester United, the Ten Hag era has been a wild roller-coaster ride already, short as it’s been. The back-to-back defeats were one thing, but the abject performances were the real cause for discontent. While picking up the four straight victories, the Dutchman has also settled on a midfield setup with Scott McTominay and Christian Eriksen operating in (effectively) a double pivot with Bruno Fernandes the most advanced of the three. It has brought defensive stability, of course, but more importantly the change has revealed a deadly counter-attacking side. Each of Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rashford and Fernandes have scored twice during the winning run, with new boy Antony also getting in on the fun on his debut. With space in behind (and the proper service from deep), Ten Hag might just have his first winning formula (albeit quite unlike him).
Manchester City team news, injuries, lineup options
OUT: Kalvin Phillips (shoulder), John Stones (hamstring), Benjamin Mendy (suspension – MORE)
🔵 Your City line-up for the derby! 🔵
XI | Ederson, Walker, Akanji, Ake, Cancelo, Gundogan (C), De Bruyne, Bernardo, Foden, Haaland, Grealish
Over 100 people are dead following a riot at a Liga1 match between Arema and Persebaya Surabaya in Indonesia.
Home side Arema lost 3-2 to Persebaya, its first home derby loss in over two decades. The intensity of the rivalry had already led to away fans being banned from attending the derby in Malang, East Java.
The death toll was initially reported as high as 174 but has been revised to 125.
Reports say the majority of the fans were trampled to death after police fired tear gas as some fans fired bottles and other items at players and officials.
Hooliganism is rife in football-obsessed Indonesia where fanaticism often ends in violence, highlighted by the 2018 death of a Persija Jakarta supporter who was killed by a mob of hardcore fans from rival club Persib Bandung.
More on this story as it develops.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino on a “dark day” for football with more than 170 killed in Indonesia stadium rioting.
Lionel Messi got the better of Kasper Schmeichel with an outstanding free kick as Paris Saint-Germain outlasted Nice 2-1 on Saturday at the Parc des Princes.
The world’s greatest scorer was fouled to set up a free kick just inside the arc. Nice, of course, got into a wall and former Leicester City keeper Kasper Schmeichel arranged it to his liking.
As he does so many times, however, Messi spun a free kick just over the wall. The ball, which came so close to taking a slight turn off a leaping wall member (actually, did it?), tumbled down and right into the side netting to give PSG a 1-0 lead before the match was a half-hour old.
Gaetan Laborde tied the match before halftime, and Nice’s revamped roster looked set to hold tight for a point (The club’s signed familiar Premier League names Schmeichel, Ross Barkley, Aaron Ramsey, and Mario Lemina).
Even that wouldn’t be enough, though, as Kylian Mbappe came off the bench to replace young Hugo Ekitike to finish a Nordi Mukiele assist for a 2-1 win.
PSG has eight wins and a draw this season, good for a two-point lead on second-place Marseille. Messi has five goals and a joint-league-best seven assists, tied with Neymar. Mbappe and Neymar are tied for the league goals lead with eight.
Lionel Messi free kick goal video
LIONEL MESSI IS OUT OF THIS WORLD! What a freekick from the GOAT! 🤩🎯