Fans of the Argentine National Team will get an early chance to see what life is like “after Messi” in the Albiceleste’s upcoming friendlies next month.
According to a report out of Argentina, Lionel Messi will be left off Argentina’s upcoming squad for a pair of matches in the U.S., and could stay away from the national team through the end of the year, if not until next summer’s Copa America. Argentina will face Guatemala at the Los Angeles Coliseum on September 7 and Colombia on September 11 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
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Argentina has a major rebuild to undertake with the national team after a disappointing World Cup in Russia. The Argentine FA has yet to hire a new coach, with Lionel Scaloni and Pablo Aimar taking charge in the interim as co-coaches, and 15 of the 23 players at the 2018 World Cup are 30-and over, making it likely most won’t feature for Argentina at the next tournament in Qatar.
Argentine newspaper Diario Ole mused about some of the new names we could see in Argentina’s upcoming squad. Some of the younger members of the World Cup squad could stay, including Christian Pavon, Giovani Lo Celso and Paulo Dybala. But we could also see the introductions of Lautaro Martinez, Gerónimo Rulli and Santiago Ascacíbar in addition to the return of Mauro Icardi, Leandro Paredes and Ramiro Funes Mori.
Argentina will have about 10 months to figure out its identity before the 2019 Copa America in Brazil, whether or not Messi is there. After so many years struggling at the youth level, Argentina is paying for it now with a poor crop of players compared to the national team’s history, and they’ll need to ask hard questions of themselves on how to rebuild.
In a way, it makes sense for Messi to recover and focus on his season at Barcelona before coming back to Argentina in 2019. It does him or the national team no good to have him there over the next nine months, taking the spot of a guy who will need to gain some valuable experience.
Manuel Pellegrini has a knack for motto-worthy quotes every now and again, though we’re not sure that’s what he intended with his comments after West Ham held Chelsea to a 0-0 draw at the London Stadium on Sunday.
“If you can’t win, then draw,” finished the West Ham boss following the result.
[ RECAP: West Ham 0-0 Chelsea ]
The Irons had plenty of chances to score on the counter, as Pellegrini showed a willingness to mix up his tactics.
The visitors had their chances as well, but it was another improved performance after West Ham opened the season 0-4 before beating Everton last week.
[ MORE: Sarri reacts ]
Pellegrini still wanted more of the ball, but acknowledged that it’s a different challenge to do that against Chelsea than West Ham’s previous opponents. From the BBC:
“It was a good point against the leaders and a team that scored 14 goals in the first five games. It was a close game, and we had two clear chances and they had one. I think we played well tactically because we allowed them to have the ball where we wanted but we defended well
“We would prefer to have some more possession but it was a good tactical game and at least we did not lose it.”
Not sure, but “at least we did not lose it” may be just as good as the draw quip.
West Ham is going to be fine, and always was given the level of talent on the squad. The Irons were an Andriy Yarmolenko header away from seizing all the honors in this London Derby, and Pellegrini will certainly be encouraged moving forward.
Maurizio Sarri is frustrated after his Chelsea side couldn’t find a way past West Ham United on Sunday.
[ RECAP: West Ham 0-0 Chelsea ]
It was the Blues first setback of the season, Sarri’s men failing to meet Liverpool’s 6-0 start to the season.
The scoreless draw saw Sarri try a few things, including the second half introduction of Alvaro Morata for Olivier Giroud. Morata proved more of a threat but his luckless run continued in London.
“Giroud is very important to be a point of reference for mates, but in that moment they were handling this kind of pass. So I preferred Morata, a player with movement off the ball.
“Save maybe the last 20-25 minutes of the first half, (West Ham) are really a very good team. Now that they have won away at Everton, there’s confidence.”
Sarri said he was “not happy” with the result, which came after Chelsea had a similar performance but managed a 1-0 win at PAOK in the Europa League.
- Chelsea no longer perfect
- Blues have most of the ball…
- But dangerous chances fairly even
Lukasz Fabianski made some solid saves including a terrific stoppage time stop on Ross Barkley, as West Ham United and Chelsea staged a 0-0 draw that betrayed its scoreline at the London Stadium on Sunday.
The draw is Chelsea’s first setback of the season, and leaves them in second. The Blues are two points behind Liverpool and level with Man City.
West Ham remains 17th with four points.
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Manuel Pellegrini‘s decision to counter led to some wide open chances for West Ham when the Irons managed to collect the ball, even without the injured Marko Arnautovic.
Felipe Anderson and Andriy Yarmolenko found plenty of joy on the wings, and West Ham challenged young Chelsea backstop Kepa Arrizabalaga more than once. Michail Antonio was a change of pace from Arnautovic but certainly up for the role of center forward.
Maurizio Sarri would’ve been frustrated with the lack of danger given his tactical decision to rest Eden Hazard, Mateo Kovacic, and David Luiz at midweek for this very reason. Aside from an N'Golo Kante header, there was little to worry Lukasz Fabianski.
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Alvaro Morata subbed into the game and brought immediate life to the Blues attack, and also raised the question of whether the finish-lacking chance-monger is just snake bit when Fabianski made a terrific 67th minute save with his face.
David Luiz hit a free kick to Fabianski at one end, and Yarmolenko couldn’t get on the end of Robert Snodgrass‘ inviting cross at the other.
Barkley curled a pretty effort toward goal in stoppage time, but Fabianski got low to slap the effort wide of the frame.
Richarlison returns for Everton as the Toffees head to North London for a match against Unai Emery‘s Arsenal (Watch live at 11 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).
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Cenk Tosun is on the bench for Everton at the Emirates Stadium, while Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang both start for Arsenal.
Arsenal: Cech, Bellerin, Sokratis, Mustafi, Monreal, Xhaka, Torreira, Ramsey, Ozil, Lacazette, Aubameyang. Subs: Leno, Elneny, Lichtsteiner, Holding, Iwobi, Guendouzi, Welbeck.
Everton: Pickford, Kenny, Zouma, Keane, Digne, Gana, Davies, Walcott, Sigurdsson, Richarlison, Calvert-Lewin. Subs: Stekelenburg, Holgate, Baines, Tosun, Schneiderlin, Bernard, Lookman.