Lukaku: “You can’t judge me as the finished article”

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From the outside, there isn’t much to criticize about Romelu Lukaku‘s first season at Manchester United.

Lukaku, 24, has seven goals in 10 Premier League matches this season, adding three in the Champions League and a UEFA SuperCup goal for 11 total for United.

Only Leroy Sane (six goals and five assists) has been directly involved in more goals than Lukaku (7+3), and Harry Kane is the only player with more league goals.

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He had the same amount of league goals through 10 matches for Everton last season, when United talisman Zlatan Ibrahimovic boasted four. The previous season, United’s leading league scorer scored 11 goals total (Anthony Martial) and 2014-15 saw Wayne Rooney (12) and Robin Van Persie (10) barely eclipse that figure as a team leader in PL play.

So while expectations are a bit higher this season, the second for Jose Mourinho at Old Trafford, it’s surprising for many outside the United orbit to see the manager compelled to publicly support Lukaku.

That’s what happened earlier this week, and now the player himself has been quizzed on the matter by Thierry Henry. Here’s what Lukaku said:

“I’m 24. You can’t judge me as the finished article. I’d rather have a year where I improve, improve, improve rather than going straight to the top and then declining.

“I know I have a lot of talent. I can do a lot of stuff, score goals with my left, right and head. But I want to be a creator – I want to have more assists. I want to make sure when my team is having difficulties they can count on me.”

The knock on Lukaku is his relative struggles against top teams, which happens because, well, top teams are generally better at defending than others. While the Belgian was kept off the scoreboard against Liverpool, he assisted Martial’s winner versus Spurs and scored against Real Madrid in the Super Cup.

His hefty price tag plus position as striker on one of the world’s most monitored teams will keep the focus on his play, and rightly so (especially against big teams). Yet from the outside, do any other neutrals — or enemies — find it all a bit odd?

Manchester City vs Inter Milan, live! Champions League Final updates, score

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Manchester City is on the chase for a historic treble and standing in the way is Inter Milan, one of Europe’s precious few clubs to claim such an honor.

[ LIVE: Manchester City vs Inter Milan ]

The Premier League winners three times running have an FA Cup under their belt after beating Manchester United on June 3 and the final jewel in their treble crown awaits with a win in Istanbul on June 10.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]

Pep Guardiola could lead a second club to a treble after he did it with Barcelona in 2008-09, and they would give heated rivals United domestic company on the treble stage right down the road.

Guardiola says it’s now okay to talk about the treble. We agree, and we’ve laid out why the achievement is so special after the jump.

Here’s everything you need to know ahead of Manchester City vs Inter Milan.


Manchester City vs Inter Milan live score: 0-0

2nd minute: Inter allowing City the ball and setting up with a 2-3-3-1 shape.

7th minute: Some hard fouls from Inter on Man City, underlined by Francesco Acerbi’s sliding takedown of Erling Haaland. Understandably just fouls but Inter opening the day daring referee Szymon Marciniak, the World Cup Final boss, to show a yellow.

12th minute: Is that a little rust from Ederson under the press of Lautaro Martinez? Inter continues to show some bite early and Jack Grealish is getting a familiar amount of physical opposition.

18th minute: Terrific discipline from Inter who’s been able to oscillate between keeping their shape and aggressive pressing. There’s width there but no regular spaces. If they can keep this up, it’s on for them.

29th minute: Haaland snaps a left-footed shot from a tight angle and Andre Onana stands firm, dipping his arm to block the shot. It stays in play and City put it out for an Inter goal kick. Kevin De Bruyne then lashes a bounding ball into Onana’s arms, and Grealish scuds a tepid effort to the keeper.

36th minute: INJURY SUB. And it’s a big one. De Bruyne can’t go on and it’ll be Phil Foden stepping into the fold with the score 0-0 and 10+ minutes left in the first half. And it’ll be eerily familiar to City supporters, who saw this in the club’s last UCL Final and will hope for a better outcome.

HALFTIME: City was definitely a bit better but the margins are close and Inter will like its chances even more now that De Bruyne has exited the contest. City predictably had 62 percent of the ball and edged the xG battle that half but Inter took four of the game’s seven shots and Onana made the best stop when he got his arm to Haaland’s rip around the half-hour mark. It’s all there for Inter… and City.

50th minute: It’s still City in possession without many obvious openings. Ironically, Onana makes an error to threaten some excitement, but Bernardo Silva is well handled by Inter and Federico Dimarco clears the danger.

56th minute: Enter this storyline –> Former Man United and Chelsea forward Romelu Lukaku has been in scoring form and he’s entering for Edin Dzeko.

68th minute: GOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLL!! It’s RODRI and it’s 1-0 Manchester City! The treble is on, for the moment as Rodri runs onto a loose ball after Akanji slipped Bernardo Silva on goal and the Portuguese’s cross is blocked into space. Wow. A powerful rip and City’s in front.

71st minute: This should be level! Dimarco pops a header off the cross bar and then his follow-up header doesn’t get to the line because it zips off the leg of his teammate Lukaku. He might’ve been offside if VAR had to take a look at it but warning bells for City who almost fell victim to the honeymoon period after scoring a goal.


Rodri goal video: Vicious strike puts Man City in front


How to watch Manchester City vs Inter Milan live, stream link and start time

Dates: 3pm ET June 10, 2023
Online: Live updates via NBCSports.com
How to watch: TUDN, Paramount+


What Premier League clubs have won the treble?

Manchester United won the Premier League, FA Cup, and Champions League in 1998-99.

Sir Alex Ferguson’s Red Devils are the lone Premier League club to win it.

That’s it. For now.


How many times has the treble been won?

Nine times in history has a team won its domestic league, top domestic cup, and the European Cup.

Bayern Munich and Barcelona have each done it twice, with Bayern doing it in 2012-13 and 2019-20 and Barca pulling it off in 2008-09 and 2014-15.

Celtic was the first to win a treble, doing it in 1966-67, while Ajax was the next in 1971-72.

PSV Eindhoven then won it in 1987-88 before Man United made it happen 11 years later. Inter Milan is the only Italian team to pull it off, winning in 2009-10.

(UEFA.com)


Champions League Final odds (Betting odds provided by our partner, BetMGM )

BetMGM is our Official Sports Betting Partner and we may receive compensation if you place a bet on BetMGM for the first time after clicking our links. 

Man City (-250) vs Inter Milan (+625) | Draw over 120 mins (+380)

Over 2.5 goals (-160). Under 2.5 goals (+110)


Champions League Final predictions

Joe Prince-Wright: Man City 2-1 Inter Milan
Andy Edwards: Man City 3-1 Inter Milan
Nick Mendola: Man City 2-0 Inter Milan


Manchester City team news, injuries, lineup options

OUT: None

Inter Milan team news, injuries, lineup options

OUT: Dalbert.

Premier League transfer news live, today! Latest updates on the summer window

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We are all set for a very summer transfer window, as the latest transfer news keeps flooding in and plenty of big names are expected to be on the move.

[ VIDEO: Premier League analysis ]

The 2023 summer transfer window opens on June 14, 2023 for Premier League clubs and it will close at 6pm ET on September 1, 2023.

From superstars like Declan Rice, Harry Kane, and Jude Bellingham in-demand, to speculation around the future of Lionel Messi and plenty of money set to be spent by the likes of Arsenal, Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool, this will be a fun summer.

Plus there are Americans to watch as Tyler Adams, Christian Pulisic, Brenden Aaronson, and Weston McKennie are all high-profile USMNT players who could make a summer move.

[ TRANSFER NEWS: Arsenal | Liverpool | Chelsea | Tottenham | Man City | Man United

Below we roundup the latest transfer news, done deals, reports and rumors and give our analysis on what’s going on as Joe Prince-Wright (JPW), Nicholas Mendola (NM) and Andy Edwards (AE) will guide you through a hectic last few weeks of the window.


Transfer news live today! Latest from the summer window, so far…

June 10 – Youri Tielemans staying in the Premier League

A near-perfect signing for Aston Villa, who has announced the capture of Belgian international Youri Tielemans.

A surprise signing by Leicester City when he made his Premier League debut, the move is a big win for Unai Emery’s Villans.

The metronome with flair to spare will join a buzzworthy attack that feature Ollie Watkins, Emi Buendia, and Jacob Ramsey.


June 10 – Arsenal, Newcastle linked with Juventus playmaker

Federico Chiesa wants to matter more to his team’s success than he does at Juventus, and two Premier League clubs are looking to give him that chance.

Both Arsenal and Newcastle are being linked with the 25-year-old winger/attacking midfielder, and a report in Italy says the Gunners have already made contact with Juve about the player’s availability.

Chiesa could cost as much as $70 million, quite a fee for a player coming off a part-time campaign that netted two goals and five assists.

The 40-times capped Italy star hasn’t hit the goals and assists heights of his final season in Fiorentina and debut campaign with Juve, but the advanced stats still note a supremely-gifted player.

That is quite a fee, though, considering he cost under $50 million when he made the switch from La Viola to The Old Lady. (NM)


June 8 – Declan Rice “99 percent” likely to leave West Ham this summer

In perhaps the least surprising bit of news ahead of the transfer window, West Ham chairman David Sullivan revealed on Thursday he is “99 percent” sure that captain Declan Rice will leave the club this summer. Rice has been heavily linked with a move to Premier League runners-up Arsenal, as well as boyhood club Chelsea.

“We gave the promise last summer that if he gave us his all, we would let him leave the club,” Sullivan said. “It’s a fair and proper thing to do.”

In what will likely be his final act as a West Ham player, Rice lifted the Europa Conference League trophy after the Hammers’ final triumph over Fiorentina on Wednesday, ending a 43-year major trophy drought in dramatic fashion.


June 6 – Christian Pulisic views Chelsea return but ‘a lot of things can happen’

Christian Pulisic has been linked with Juventus and AC Milan as things have not gone according to plan at Chelsea over the past season-plus.

But that doesn’t mean he’s absolutely skipping town this summer, Pulisic told reporters in California this week.

“Obviously, it’s been an interesting journey at club level for me. I thought it was a great couple years and the last couple years just haven’t gone at all how I’ve planned them to be,” Pulisic said. “And right now my focus is obviously here with the national team. I’m just excited to get back playing and just enjoy myself and do what I love to do out on the field. And from there, this summer, we’re obviously going to have to see what happens. It’s obviously very early. As of right now I’m a Chelsea player and I plan to go back. But a lot of things can happen. A lot of things can change.” (NM)


June 5 – Real Madrid contact Tottenham over Harry Kane

Harry Kane scoring goals in a white shirt is very familiar, but might the England and Tottenham striker do so next year in another country?

Marca report says Real Madrid is ready to pay over $100 million to Tottenham for the veteran forward, who scored 30 goals this Premier League season.

Kane as it stands now is in heavy pursuit of the Premier League record for goals but he’s also getting deeper into his career without a trophy and Real certainly has a reputation for collecting trophies.

Throw in the fact that Spurs are not going to be competing outside of England this year, and that Daniel Levy is thought to be leery of selling to another Premier League rival, and might Madrid make sense for Harry? (NM)


June 4 – Chelsea, Liverpool closing in on marquee targets

Reports from Fabrizio Romano say that breakthroughs are near for Chelsea and Liverpool when it comes to marquee midfield additions.

Chelsea is nearing a deal to acquire standout Sporting Lisbon midfielder Manuel Ugarte for around $65 million, with Romano saying there are “key hours ahead” in the race to fend off Paris Saint-Germain.

And the father/agent for Brighton star Alexis Mac Allister is expected to arrive in Liverpool to hammer out final personal terms between the Reds and the World Cup winner. Then it’ll go to Brighton and Liverpool, with a fee not thought to be an issue. (NM)


June 3 – In-demand $40M back name checks Liverpool

Wolfsburg defender Micky van de Ven has had a dream to play at Anfield since attending a game there as a youngster. An excellent ball progressor, Van de Ven is viewed as a $40 million target and reports have said Jurgen Klopp is an admirer. So it’s a mutual appreciation society.

“I once went to the Liverpool stadium with my dad,” he told AZ WAZ. “That was over Christmas on Boxing Day. Liverpool vs Arsenal. That was madness. Then when ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ comes [on] – that’s a goose bump moment, that was very cool. It’s a dream to play there.”

The 6-foot-4 Van de ven turned 22 in April and has served as the captain of the Dutch U-21 national team. He moved from Volendam to Wolfsburg in the summer of 2021 and became a full-time starter in his second season, occasionally swinging to left back. (NM)


June 2 – Man United in ‘detailed talks’ for young forwards

According to The Athletic, Manchester United have been in ‘detailed talks’ over the signing of Randal Kolo Muani and Rasmus Hojlund. The young forward duo are both being chased by the Red Devils as Erik ten Hag wants to add one of them and a more experienced striker. Per the report, John Murtaugh has spoken to both Eintracht Frankfurt and Atalanta multiple times about Kolo Muani and Hojlund respectively and United are hoping to move on with chasing summer targets despite uncertainty surrounding their ownership status as the Glazer Family continue to explore the option of a full or partial sale of the Premier League giants. Kolo Muani and Hojlund both fit the mould for the type of player Erik ten Hag wants and if United can land one of them and somehow pull off an unlikely move for Harry Kane (unlikely due to Daniel Levy’s unwillingness to do business) then it will be a heck of a summer for the Red Devils. (JPW)


June 2 – Gvardiol wanted by Manchester City

According to a report from The Times, Josko Gvardiol is at the top of Pep Guardiola’s wish-list this summer. The Croatian defender, 21, is thought to be valued at $108 million by RB Leipzig and although the German giants don’t want to sell, it is believed Gvardiol is keen on a move to City. The report says that City plan on moving on at least one of their center backs and all of John Stones, Ruben Dias, Manuel Akanji and Nathan Ake seem certain to stay with Aymeric Laporte perhaps the most likely to move on. Gvardiol has long been linked with a Premier League move and his power in the air as well as his pace and ability on the ball is a perfect fit for the Premier League and City. Josko Gvardiol also got a good look at City this season as Leipzig were hammered by Erling Haaland and Co. in the UEFA Champions League. We’ve seen this season how Guardiola’s side dominated the final months of the season not only due to their incredible goalscoring exploits but largely thanks to a solid defensive unit. Having mobile center backs who can slot in at full back and step into midfield is key to the way they play. Gvardiol can do that. (JPW)


June 1 – Manchester United move to front of queue for Mason Mount

A report from ESPN says that Manchester United have moved to the front of the queue when it comes to signing Mason Mount this summer. Mount, 24, has just one year left on his contract at Chelsea and is expected to move on this summer. Mount has been linked with moves to United and Liverpool but the report says that Mount is keen on heading to United although the Red Devils have some reservations over the $75 million transfer fee Chelsea are asking for. Per the report, clubs are waiting for later in the summer to try and buy Mount as they known Chelsea will have to move players on due to the enormous squad Mauricio Pochettino has inherited and will have to trim. Does Mount to United make sense? It does. He can slot in anywhere in Erik ten Hag’s midfield and is the perfect kind of player to add depth to their squad and be a great 12th man or step in when key midfielders are injured or need a rest. His time at Chelsea is clearly coming to an end and even though Mount has struggled this season at Chelsea, his quality is proven in the Premier League in recent years and on the international stage with England. (JPW)


May 31 – Liverpool eye Bundesliga midfielder

Bild says that the Reds are turning to the Bundesliga to address their midfield. Jurgen Klopp will turn to Borussia Monchengladbach’s Kouadio “Manu” Kone this summer, as Liverpool has reportedly told the player that it will be approaching Gladbach. Kone, 22, has been linked with several big clubs including a late March report regarding Manchester United interest. A ball progressor who reads the game very well, Kone is said to carry a price tag of more than $40 million. (NM)


May 30 – Chelsea all-in on Ugarte

Chelsea are in talks to sign Manuel Ugarte, according to Fabrizio Romano. The Uruguayan and Sporting Lisbon holding midfielder is admired by new Chelsea boss Mauricio Pochettino. Romano says PSG are in the race for Ugarte too. Ugarte, 22, is exactly the kind of player Pochettino loves as he will dig in, win the ball and get it to others to create. Alongside Enzo Fernandez, Ugarte will add extra defensive stability to Chelsea’s midfield and improve the balance of their squad. Our partners in the UK at Sky Sports says that Ugarte has a $65 million release clause in his contract. (JPW)


May 30 – Declan Rice linked with Bayern Munich

Our partners at Sky Germany say that Bayern Munich are very interested in signing Declan Rice from West Ham. Bayern, who won their 11-straight Bundesliga title on the final day of the season, have made Rice, 24, their top target as Thomas Tuchel is a huge fan of the England international.

Here is more from Sky Germany reporter Uli Kohler: “Tuchel had a phone call with Rice. I don’t know what they were talking about – maybe money, maybe about what he can expect here [in Munich]. Bayern is keen on him. They need a strong defensive midfielder but everybody knows there are a lot of other clubs interested in him. Bayern could afford it. They would like to keep it below €100m [£86.4m]. They have to look at their accounts very closely but I think they can afford it.”

Rice has long been linked with a move to Arsenal or Manchester United but it is believed that West Ham’s asking price for their captain and central midfielder (who is out of contract next summer) is putting up Premier League clubs. Bayern appear to be ready to pay close to the $120 million West Ham want for Rice. Is he worth it? He is. There is perhaps no better two-way central midfielder under the age of 25 in Europe and Rice’s ceiling is extremely high. (JPW)


May 25 – Harry Kane, Declan Rice, Mason Mount are summer targets for Man United

A report from our partners in the UK at Sky Sports says that Manchester United are trying to sign a trio of England internationals: Harry Kane, Mason Mount and Declan Rice.

“Manchester United will try to sign Harry Kane, Declan Rice and Mason Mount this summer. Their No. 1 target is Kane. He is the player Erik ten Hag wants most. It is unlikely they will sign all three players and everything depends on what happens with the takeover. Kane, Rice and Mount are exactly the kind of characters Ten Hag wants in his dressing room.”

It is clear Kane will be the top target for United as Erik ten Hag has spoken about signing a new striker and that is their main transfer need. It is tough to see Tottenham selling Kane to a direct top four rival in Manchester United for anything less than $130 million, even with Kane’s contract winding down. That said, do you take that money this summer and use it to rebuild? Or let him go for free in the summer of 2024?

Next up, Declan Rice will surely be their next main target, as all three of these players have just one year left on their contract. Rice, 24, is just the type of player United need alongside Casemiro in central midfield and the England international has become one of the best two-way central midfielders in Europe under the age of 25. Rice’s close friend is Mason Mount and the latter clearly doesn’t want to sign a new contract at Chelsea, so he could be the cheaper option of the three. All of this hinges on Manchester United’s takeover but if, as expected, they qualify for the Champions League, then signing two of these three players would be a huge upgrade on their current options and gives them quality, depth and experience in midfield and attack. First choice would be Kane and Rice but Kane and Mount would still be pretty decent. (JPW)


UEFA Champions League Final: Key battles for Inter Milan vs Manchester City

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Manchester City’s quest for the treble hits its final obstacle when Inter Milan goes toe-to-toe with the Premier League and FA Cup champions in Istanbul at Saturday’s UEFA Champions League Final.

Pep Guardiola’s weren’t at their very best against Manchester United in the FA Cup Final and still walked away with its second trophy of the season.

But City’s final two Premier League matches saw dropped points. The stakes were non-existent and the team quite changed by Guardiola, who’s known to fancy a tactical wrinkle. How will things change this weekend?

[ MORE: Man City vs Inter Milan preview, watch info ]

It would be stunning if Inter boss Simone Inzaghi came out in anything but a 3-5-2, which has been his go-to formation for Inter Milan this season regardless of opponent.

But might Inzaghi have something up his sleeve?

Inter’s only losses in the Champions League came in the group stage versus Bayern Munich. Add in their setbacks in Serie A and there’s still been no standard recipe for beating Inter. There isn’t one for Man City, either, of course.

Kevin De Bruyne vs Marcelo Brozovic

If there’s a single player capable of messing with Pep Guardiola’s plan to control the game and get the ball to his creators in dangerous spots, it’s Croatian veteran Marcelo Brozovic. The 30-year-old is a force who can both be the club’s metronome and break up the opposition’s best attacks. There are few players in the world like De Bruyne, but he needs to be found in space and City needs the ball to do that. Brozovic can be a big part of limiting both of those things.

Erling Haaland vs Francesco Acerbi

Maybe the two names need to be switched in order, because Acerbi is going to have his hands full with Haaland. The question is whether the 35-year-old Acerbi, still very good but no longer in his prime, can use his nous and vast experience to limit Haaland’s chances to do the exceptional. Haaland, meanwhile, just has to be himself. Ask yourself who’s being asked more.

Andre Onana vs Man City’s attack

Picking one player, even Haaland or De Bruyne, for this battle is unfair to the exercise because let’s be real. There is no chance that Inter Milan wins this game without a supreme moment or two from its goalkeeper. Andre Onana has played every Champions League match for Inter and has had his fair share of outstanding performances. He’s outperformed expected goals on target by 6.7 goals over the course of the tournament.

UEFA Champions League odds, predictions for Inter Milan vs Manchester City

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Erling Haaland to score a goal at -165? Man City to win at -200?

Yep, Manchester City are the clear favorites to win the 2023 UEFA Champions League Final in Istanbul on Saturday, and the oddsmakers are daring prognosticators to select Inter Milan as treble-ruining upstarts.

In fact, Haaland’s odds to bag a brace, at +350, are better than most players’ odds of scoring at all, with the Norwegian forward’s running mates all around him.

[ MORE UCL FINAL: How to watch | Key battles ]

The only Inter Milan player inside the top ten best odds to score on Saturday is Lautaro Martinez, with “no goal scorer” appearing before the next Inter player’s name arrives on the list (Romelu Lukaku).

How about a correct score? The most likely outcomes are, in order according to BetMGM, 1-0 Man City, 2-0 Man City, and 1-1 after 120 minutes.

And if Inter wins, the odds suggest that 1-0 is the likeliest finish (although 0-0 has better odds).


Champions League Final odds

(One of our betting partners is BetMGMBetMGM is one of our Official Sports Betting Partners and we may receive compensation if you place a bet on BetMGM for the first time after clicking our links.

Inter Milan (+500) vs Man City (-200) | Draw (+333)

Over/under: Over 3.5 goals (+200). Under 3.5 goals (-275)

Man City to lift the trophy (-450)

Inter to lift the trophy (+275)

Both teams to score (-110)


Champions League Final predictions

Inter Milan is going to surprise many with its quality of play and may even get on the board, but it’s difficult to predict anything but a Manchester City win, isn’t it? Let’s call it a fitting three goals for the treble winners, with Inter nabbing one to keep it interesting in Istanbul.