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The 2 Robbies: Chelsea top Man City; Liverpool go top

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Robbie Earle and Robbie Mustoe discuss what was perhaps a title-defining weekend which saw Chelsea hand Manchester City their first defeat of the season with a 2-0 victory at Stamford Bridge (4:30) and Liverpool beat up on Bournemouth with a 4-0 win at Vitality Stadium to go top of the Premier League table (22:15). Plus, thoughts on wins for Tottenham Hotspur (31:50), Manchester United (39:25) and Arsenal (47:55) before the midweek Champions League fixtures.

Join Earle & Mustoe on The 2 Robbies Football Show, Saturdays at 5pm ET. Listen on the NBCSports Radio App and call 855-323-4622 in the U.S. for lively passionate debate.

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Dembele hurts leg in Barcelona victory

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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Ousmane Dembele injured his left leg during the second half of Barcelona’s 3-1 win over Leganes in the Spanish league on Sunday.

The 21-year-old France forward slipped while trying to dribble past an opponent, causing him to fall back on his own leg.

After being attended to by team doctors he limped off and was substituted.

Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde says it seemed his player had “slightly twisted” his ankle, but more tests are planned on Monday.

Dembele scored Barcelona’s opening goal, taking his tally to 13 goals in all competitions this season as he excels as a strike partner to Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.

Longtime Mourinho assistant Faria earns first managerial job

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Rui Faria, best known for his 17 years as a Jose Mourinho assistant, has earned his first managerial job, taking charge of Qatari side Al Duhail.

The 43-year-old Faria has followed Mourinho since 2001 at Uniao Leiria, where he linked up with the fellow Portuguese coach and followed him to Porto, Chelsea, Inter, Real Madrid, Chelsea again, and then Manchester United. The two parted ways last year, with Faria leaving Manchester United last May.

Without a job since leaving Old Trafford and Mourinho recently fired at Manchester United last month, Faria has chosen to finally venture out on his own.

Faria has been linked with a number of jobs in Europe over the years, with teams always looking for a coach with the experience and pedigree Faria has built despite not ever holding a head coaching job. In the past, he has been linked with clubs like Arsenal and Aston Villa. Mourinho said amid links to Arsenal last summer that “if my friend one day has the possibility of a big job, I would help him to pack and carry the bags and to wish him luck.”

Al Duhail won the Qatari Stars League champions last season under manager Nabil Maaloul, who left his post at Tunisia to take charge of the team last July. The two parties went their separate ways 15 days ago. The Doha club claimed Faria chose this job over “great European offers.”

Transfer Rumor Roundup: Higuain nearing Chelsea move, City looking for Fernandinho cover

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Gonzalo Higuain has been linked with a move to Chelsea almost all winter, and all signs point to a move away from the San Siro any day now. The 31-year-old striker was left out of the AC Milan squad to take on Genoa on Monday, the most recent sign of his imminent departure.

In his pre-match press conference, Milan manager Gennaro Gattuso spoke about the likely move, saying angrily, “I spoke in my office with Higuain and it is right to leave him out. We are still waiting on the move and there’s nothing completed but I want to see people who are mentally ready and available and if I don’t get that, I’ll go into battle with those who are more prepared.”

Chelsea has had trouble finding a productive striker of late, with Alvaro Morata benched for poor performance. With Olivier Giroud injured and inconsistent, Maurizio Sarri has utilized Eden Hazard as a false nine, and the result has been just five goals over the last six matches across all competitions.


Manchester City is reportedly looking to find a player to back up defensive midfielder Fernandinho, and the name mentioned is Schalke’s Sebastian Rudy.

The 28-year-old German arrived at Schalke from Bayern Munich this past summer, but has logged just 644 league minutes. While Rudy likely wouldn’t find the starting lineup more often at the Etihad, Pep Guardiola is known for his effective player rotation at Man City, and the club could tempt him with a title race.

Fernandinho has been one of the world’s best defensive midfielders over the past few years, but with the Brazilian on the sideline for two matches earlier this season, Manchester City dropped both games and slipped behind Liverpool in the title race. Center-back John Stones was utilized in the defensive midfield role in Fernandinho’s absence, but Crystal Palace and Leicester City scored a combined five goals.

According to multiple reports in England, a short-term loan would be effective in giving Fernandinho cover for the rest of the season as City looks to catch up with Liverpool and hold of Tottenham, Chelsea, and Arenal.


Arsenal fans were put on alert with Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti in attendance at the Emirates for Arsenal’s win over Chelsea. The French defender is currently injured, and with Barcelona playing on Sunday, Umtiti was able to make his way to England and watch his countrymates Laurent Koscielny and Alexandre Lacazette.

It would be highly unlikely for Umtiti to move this winter, as he is vitally important to the Barcelona squad and is out injured for another few weeks due to a long-term knee problem. It’s plausible Arsenal could make a play over the summer, but given how Barcelona’s defense has sagged in his absence, it’s unlikely the La Liga leaders would be willing to let him go. Umtiti’s contract with Barcelona runs through the summer of 2023, so he is under clear club control for the time being.


Rumblings in England have suggested that Tottenham defender and American international Cameron Carter-Vickers could leave Spurs this winter after the club has decided the 21-year-old will not break into the first team. According to a report by TeamTalk.com, Wigan Athletic could be in play for a permanent move for Carter-Vickers, who is currently on loan at Swansea City, but has struggled for playing time with the Championship club.

The American was also linked with Ipswich Town earlier this January, although that was mentioned as another loan. Either way, it sounds increasingly likely that Spurs could recall Carter-Vickers and look for a new club to deploy him at this winter.

Serie A: Napoli builds cushion, Zapada scores four in Atalanta win

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Napoli afforded itself even more space at second place in the Serie A table with a big 2-1 win over Lazio.

Jose Callejon scored just past the half-hour mark on the break, slotting inside the right post on the low feed from Dries Mertens. Just three minutes later, Arkadiusz Milik buried a free-kick into the top-right corner from just outside the box, doubling Napoli’s lead.

After Callejon hit the post with a header past the hour mark, Ciro Immobile brought Lazio one goal back as he worked Raul Albiol one-on-one. However, the visitors would fall a man down as Francesco Acerbi received a second yellow card and Lazio was unable to draw back level with the disadvantage. The sending off is significant for the record books, as Acerbi had played a full 90 minutes in 148 straight matches, but his suspension next week against Juventus means he will fall just 13 matches short of Javier Zanetti’s Serie A consecutive appearance record.

Elsewhere, Atalanta went to Stadio Benito Stirpe and obliterated Frosinone 5-0 behind four goals from Duvan Zapata. Gianluca Mancini opened the scoring in the 11th minute, but the second half was the Zapata show. He scored his first just a minute before the break on a towering header powered past Marco Sportiello. After halftime, it took just three minutes for Zapata to grab his second, finishing off great individual work by Berat Djimsiti who twisted through defenders.

His third came as he beat Luka Krajnc and took a header from Hans Hateboer to strike home, and for his fourth he got position on Edoardo Goldaniga and headed in a Matteo Pessina cross. The win pushed Atalanta up to seventh on 31 points, just two back of Roma in fourth.

Fiorentina earned an exciting 3-3 draw at home against Sampdoria, falling a man down in the 39th minute but sticking with it during a roller coaster final 10 minutes plus. Holding a 2-1 lead thanks to a brace from debutant Luis Muriel, Fiorentina suddenly found itself trailing 3-2 thanks to 81st and 85th minute goals by Fabio Quagliarella including one from the penalty spot. Thankfully for the home side, German Pezzella was on hand to grab the equalizer in the 93rd minute, powerfully holding up the ball one-on-two in the penalty area and turning to slot home the late effort.

Cagliari also worked a late draw at home thanks to Diego Farias who struck a 91st minute equalizer to finish 2-2 with Empoli. Three of the four goals in that game were scored in the second half with Cagliari up 1-0 at the break.

Finally, Rodrigo Palacio and Jasmin Kurtic cancelled out as Bologna drew 1-1 with SPAL in Ferrara. The match was even on just about all accounts, with the shots 16-14, the possession 53-47 in the home side’s favor, and the teams separated by just two points in the table. The visitors came out the most disappointed with the result, still in the relegation zone on 14 points.