Julen Lopetegui and Hector Herrera have a history, and that may lead Real Madrid to a coup on another Mexican national team star in the tradition of Hugo Sanchez and Javier Hernandez.
Herrera, 28, will be a free agent after the season and has been linked with Tottenham Hotspur, Roma, Inter Milan, and Fulham.
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Yet reports say Real Madrid is in pole position thanks to the relationship between its manager and Porto’s center midfielder, and that the two met in Portugal during the international break (Herrera was one of several key players absent from Mexico and the USMNT for Tuesday’s match in Nashville).
Lopetegui managed Herrera at Porto, where the Mexican remains a fixture in the lineup for Sergio Conceicao. Herrera was signed from Pachuca in 2013, and Lopetegui managed the El Tri star for a year-and-a-half after taking over in 2014.
Herrera is capped 75 times by Mexico and is a complete force in the middle of the park, possibly the most effective club player from a CONCACAF side.
Herrera could help replace Luka Modric and/or Mateo Kovacic, should either player leave Real next summer. Modric was linked with Inter Milan in August, while Kovacic is on loan at Chelsea.
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.
Bradley Wright-Phillips would like referees to consider his adulthood.
The New York Red Bulls’ super striker is going to miss a massive MLS clash with Atlanta United last weekend due to yellow card accumulation. RBNY is four points behind Atlanta in the race for the Supporters’ Shield with four matches each to play.
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BWP was given a yellow for swearing at a linesman during RBNY’s 2-0 win over Toronto FC on Saturday.
Though we don’t know what he said and certainly don’t condone swearing at officials, the player didn’t make a show of it (something that earned Jozy Altidore a second yellow in a USMNT shirt a few years ago).
A fine is coming Wright-Phillips’ way for this one:
“It’s ridiculous man, it’s too big. We’re men. If you can’t take a swear word and what really happened then we’re in the wrong sport man, it’s ridiculous,” he said. “If someone said that to me, I wouldn’t even be like…I’d be like ‘Sorry, I missed.’ It’s a yellow card. The guy was having a nightmare all game. Nightmare.”
One thing that BWP is missing: It’s not the AR’s duty to know you’ll miss a game with a yellow. Still, this is a huge disadvantage for the Red Bulls on Sept. 30 at home.