Photo by Nils Petter Nilsson/Ombrello/Getty Images

Bayern chairman: Updates on Gnabry loan, Costa sale, Sanches

Leave a comment

MUNICH (AP) Bayern Munich forward Serge Gnabry, who just joined the club last month, hopes to leave on loan to gain more playing experience, chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said on Monday.

The 21-year-old Gnabry, who signed a three-year deal after joining from Werder Bremen, informed Bayern personally and through his agent of his desire to leave, Rummenigge said of the Germany forward.

“We’re appraising the situation calmly, and will wait to see what we still do in the transfer market,” said Rummenigge, who spoke on a range of issues affecting the club.

[ MORE: Kovacic to Spurs? ]

Gnabry spent one season at Bremen after joining from Arsenal last summer. He scored 11 goals and set up two more in 27 Bundesliga games for the club, as well as a hat trick on his Germany debut against San Marino last November.

Rummenigge said Brazilian winger Douglas Costa was on the verge of joining Juventus, though negotiations were ongoing.

“There’s an amount, if reached, where we’ll be ready to let him go. But I can’t yet report a deal today,” Rummenigge said.

The Bayern chairman said the club could allow Renato Sanches to leave for a year on loan after what was a disappointing debut season for the 19-year-old Portugal winger.

“We’ll decide when we’ve completed our shopping whether to keep him here or loan him out for a year. He really needs playing minutes after the last half-year, which was unsatisfactory for both sides,” Rummenigge said.

He refused to comment on potential new signings, saying instead the club was keeping “all options open” to the end of the transfer period.

[ MORE: Lennon thanks fans, encourages mental health ]

Leon Goretzka, whose contract with Schalke ends in 2018, is reportedly a target, but Rummenigge said: “The player has to decide if he’s staying at Schalke or wants to switch, and if then, where. Nothing is decided.”

Rummenigge also defended the club’s summer tour to Asia, despite the strain it may put on players, and he said he spoke with Robert Lewandowski’s agent over his unhappiness due to a perceived lack of support from teammates in the last game of the season. Borussia Dortmund’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang pipped the Poland striker to the Bundesliga’s top-scorer award.

“I don’t share this opinion at all,” Rummenigge said. “He got a few good chances from his teammates. They wanted him to be top-scorer but it didn’t work out. So I don’t think it’s a problem.”

2020 National Soccer Hall of Fame candidates announced

Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Candidates for the 2020 National Soccer Hall of Fame have been announced and we’ll certainly tell you about all of the new batch of possible members, we’re also going to ask a huge question of the voters.

How is Steve Cherundolo not already in this thing?

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Last year’s class included a mere two people  — Abby Wambach and Sunil Gulati — and there hasn’t been a class of more than four since 2011.

Cherundolo made 423 career appearances for German side Hannover 96, even captaining the side for four seasons. He earned 86 caps with the United States men’s national team and was a member of three World Cup squads.

He simply has to be in the next group, as few others on the list have more deserving shouts over him (Perhaps Carlos Bocanegra and Jeff Cunningham).

Only one first-time finalist, Hope Solo, could rival Cherundolo’s record, and we wonder if the voters will look past her tumultuous off-field life and outspoken stance against the federation. Robbie Rogers will also certainly collect votes for an outstanding career which saw him become the first openly gay player in MLS.

First-time finalists (Full list of candidates)

Brad Davis
Whitney Engen
Herculez Gomez
Clarence Goodson
Hope Solo
Mike Magee
Carlos Ruiz
Nat Borchers
Conor Casey
Justin Mapp
Jamison Olave
Robbie Rogers
Jen Buczkowski
Kelly Smith

The 2 Robbies podcast: Liverpool, Spurs in UCL; Man City’s response

Photo by Matt McNulty - Manchester City/Manchester City FC via Getty Images
Leave a comment

Robbie Mustoe and Robbie Earle recap the crucial Champions League results this week focusing on Liverpool’s 1-0 loss at Atletico Madrid (0:50), Tottenham falling 1-0 at home to RB Leipzig (11:45) and another impressive performance by Erling Haaland in Dortmund’s win over PSG (24:55).

The chaps also discuss Manchester City’s 2-0 victory against West Ham and share their thoughts on Pep Guardiola‘s first comments about City’s UEFA ban (27:55). The gents wrap up the pod review the Europa League results for Manchester United (42:50), Arsenal (48:00), and Wolves (51:55).

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

To listen to more lively conversations and passionate debate from Robbie Earle and Robbie Mustoe, subscribe to The 2 Robbies Podcast on Apple Podcasts or anywhere you listen to podcasts.

And you can follow them on Twitter @The2RobbiesNBC here.

Click here for The 2 Robbies archive ]

PL Club Power Rankings: Week 26

Leave a comment

We’re nearing the time of the Premier League season where the club power rankings reach a sense of finality, with little movement as relegated sides and contenders latch onto their table footing.

It makes sense, of course, as many sides have now met each other twice, the litmus tests less important than the proof in the pudding.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Green: New season-high ranking
Red: New season-low

[ MORE: PL Club Power Rankings archive ]


20. Norwich City — The moral victories aren’t very rewarding anymore, the little errors causing more significant pain. Credit to Alisson for scooping up a weak pass, but this week’s pain was self-inflicted despite a very decent performance.
Last week: 20
Season high: 10
Season low: 20
Last match: Lost 1-0 v. Liverpool
Up next: 9 a.m. ET Sunday at Wolves

19. West Ham United — David Moyes‘ men are now winless in eight since clobbering Bournemouth, and a trip to Anfield is next. And the Irons don’t even get the bonus of being rested while Liverpool played at midweek.
Last week: 19
Season high: 5
Season low: 20
Last match: Lost 2-0 at Man City
Up next: 3 p.m. ET Monday at Liverpool

18. Watford — Suddenly winless in five with Manchester United and Liverpool next.
Last week: 16
Season high: 13
Season low: 20
Last match: Drew 1-1 at Brighton
Up next: 9 a.m. ET Sunday at Manchester United

17. Brighton and Hove Albion — Three draws and one loss in a four-match run that demanded at least two wins.
Last week: 18
Season high: 6
Season low: 18
Last match: Drew 1-1 v. Watford
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Sheffield United

16. Crystal Palace — The Eagles have one goal through three matches since the 2-2 draw with Man City and will be hoping to break their skid versus plucky Newcastle.
Last week: 14
Season high: 5
Season low: 18
Last match: Lost 3-1 at Everton
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Newcastle United

15. Bournemouth — A trip to Burnley demands a result given Chelsea and Liverpool follow.
Last week: 15
Season high: 6
Season low: 18
Last match: Lost 2-1 at Sheffield United
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Burnley

14. Aston Villa — A tricky trip to St. Mary’s before the League Cup Final; What are the chances Villa clinches Europa League but heads down to the Championship?
Last week: 17
Season high: 6
Season low: 19
Last match: Lost 3-2 v. Spurs
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Saints

13. Newcastle United — The Magpies were very good in the first 45 minutes at Arsenal but fell apart in the second frame. They need to start stacking a couple of wins for comfort, as Steve Bruce‘s men finish with three of five against Spurs, Man City, and Liverpool (two of whom will be looking for revenge).
Last week: 12
Season high: 11
Season low: 20
Last match: Lost 4-0 at Arsenal
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Crystal Palace

12. Southampton — What the heck happened against Burnley?
Last week: 10
Season high: 7
Season low: 20
Last match: Lost 2-1 v. Burnley
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Aston Villa

11. Burnley — The Clarets have taken 10 of 12 points, the only setback a draw with Arsenal, and are firmly in the Europa League discussion despite approaching historically bad numbers in passing.
Last week: 12
Season high: 5
Season low: 17
Last match: Won 2-1 at Southampton
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Bournemouth

10. Manchester United — For one Monday, Harry Maguire was an incredibly lucky man on an incredibly fortunate team. At least Bruno Fernandes looks dynamite.
Last week: 11
Season high: 2
Season low: 16
Last match: Won 2-0 at Chelsea
Up next: 9 a.m. ET Sunday v. Watford

9. Wolves — Still wouldn’t want to see them on the schedule, but Wolves hopes for the Champions League are based in the UEL.
Last week: 6
Season high: 3
Season low: 17
Last match: Drew 0-0 v. Leicester City
Up next: 9 a.m. ET Sunday v. Norwich City

8. Arsenal — The defense appears solid under Mikel Arteta, though his old pals Everton will present the stiffest test in some time.
Last week: 9
Season high: 4
Season low: 13
Last match: Won 4-0 v. Newcastle
Up next: 11:30 a.m. ET Sunday v. Everton

7. Chelsea — Holds a 1-2-2 record in league play since Christian Pulisic was injured.
Last week: 7
Season high: 2
Season low: 12
Last match: Lost 2-0 v. Manchester United
Up next: 7:30 a.m. ET Saturday v. Spurs

6. Sheffield United — The Premier League’s Papillon.
Last week: 5
Season high: 5
Season low: 17
Last match: Won 2-1 v. Bournemouth
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Brighton

5. Everton — Carlo Ancelotti has the Toffees humming toward Europa League… and possibly better.
Last week: 8
Season high: 5
Season low: 19
Last match: Won 3-1 v. Crystal Palace
Up next: 7:30 a.m. ET Saturday at Chelsea

4. Leicester City — Still on track for the top four, but haven’t looked UCL caliber in weeks.
Last week: 4
Season high: 2
Season low: 10
Last match: Drew 0-0 v. Wolves
Up next: 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday v. Man City

3. Spurs — Losing Kane and Son will probably cost them in their chase to rejoin the UCL, but we wouldn’t rule out Jose Mourinho. Still: Chelsea, Wolves, and Manchester United are three of the next four PL opponents.
Last week: 3
Season high: 2
Season low: 16
Last match: Won 3-2 at Aston Villa
Up next: 7:30 a.m. ET Saturday at Chelsea

2. Manchester City — Ban or not, they are finishing second… unless Leicester finds its very best against a UCL-obsessed City on Saturday.
Last week: 2
Season high: 1
Season low: 6
Last match: Won 2-0 v. West Ham
Up next: 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday at Leicester City

1. Liverpool — Poor, poor West Ham.
Last week: 1
Season high: 1
Season low: 3
Last match: Won 1-0 at Norwich City
Up next: 3 p.m. ET Monday v. West Ham

Mikel Arteta reacts after Arsenal extends shutout streak

Mikel Arteta
Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Arsenal’s last three opponents have hardly recalled Barcelona in its prime, but there’s no doubt Mikel Arteta will be happy to see the Gunners’ clean sheet streak hit three.

Mikel Arteta’s latest triumph is a 1-0 win over stingy Olympiacos in Greece, and Arsenal did not concede a single big chance on the day according to Sofascore.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Arsenal entered the day having blanked Burnley at Turf Moor and Newcastle United in London to run its shutout streak to 270 minutes.

Given that the Gunners allowed 28 goals in a 14-match run without a clean sheet that stretched from Oct. 21 to Dec. 21, that’s good stuff.

Here’s Arteta, via Football.London:

“I told them they have to enjoy defending. If you give the ball away you better run back. The team instead of splitting are coming together and the wide players are doing different things than before. It’s a big effort.”

Arteta seems to have a perfect storm going for him. He’s one manager removed from Arsene Wenger, somewhat clear of the looming legend but also connected to him by his status as a former player.

He’s also, of course, linked to Pep Guardiola, and there’s more than a hint of the Man City boss in Arteta’s press conferences.

Take his words on the match in Pireaus on Thursday.

“It’s tough to come to a stadium like this and come away with a win. There are some great things for our development as a team. The first 10 minutes we suffered and were completely poor.”

Soon he’s going to be saying they were “so, so good” and perhaps even rocking a bulky sweater. We doubt he’ll be shaving that jet black mane of hair any time soon, though.