Olympique Marseille suffered a massive blow in its chase for a Champions League place, losing at Bordeaux by a 2-0 score thanks to goals by Francois Kamano and Nicolas de Preville.
Bordeaux has been a house of horrors for Marseille, and Friday’s result did nothing to change that sentiment. Marseille, having not won at Bordeaux in 42 years, suffered a blow to its Champions League hopes with the defeat as the visitors remained a point back of fourth-placed St. Etienne who now has two games in hand.
A hand-ball by Nemanja Radonjic in the 27th minute put Bordeaux at the penalty spot, and Kamano converted the spot-kick with a stutter step that sent Steve Mandanda the wrong way, easily burying the ball after the goalkeeper found the turf. The second came with 20 minutes to go as de Preville took a Marseille turnover just past midfield and burst forward all by himself, splitting two defenders in the box before slotting home.
Bordeaux defender Pablo was sent off with eight minutes to go for barging into Mario Balotelli off the ball, but Marseille had no response. Ultimately, while Marseille finished with 65% possession and 20 total shots, they put just five of those efforts on target. Meanwhile, Bordeaux miraculously put all seven of its shots on target, sealing the win.
The defeat secures Marseille’s embarrassing and lightning-quick collapse. The club rose from seventh to fourth in just a month, finding themselves in a Champions League place by mid-march thanks to a five-match unbeaten run that included four wins, highlighted by a defeat of St. Etienne. They immediately slumped, winless in the next three matches with two defeats in that span, falling out of the Champions League race as quickly as they’d risen into it.
Bordeaux’s streak of dominance at home over Marseille is something to behold. In those 42 years, they’ve gone 34 matches unbeaten, with 21 wins and 13 draws. It is the longest such streak in French top flight history. In addition, Bordeaux’s opener was the ninth penalty goal conceded by Marseille this league season, the most by any Top 5 team in Europe this season.
Instead, Smalling’s numbers are close to that of record-signing Harry Maguire in a Serie A league with slightly more scoring. Smalling ranks in Italy’s top ten for interceptions (2.2), clearances (4.5) and blocks (1.2).
Roma boss Paulo Fonseca wants the player to stay, as i Lupi are fifth in Serie A and Smalling when has played nearly every minute when healthy. Smalling told our friends Sky Sports that he has “an interesting decision to make.”
“Some of the other players said if you really hit the ground running, the love that you can have in this city is unbelievable. That’s really what I’ve felt and so have my family. Long may it continue.”
His age makes it tricky, but the advanced stats show that Smalling has been a very effective Premier League center back for four of his last six seasons.
Smalling may want to leave if Solskjaer isn’t prepared to hand him regular football, which would be a given in Rome. Now what’s the price tag?
Liverpool v West Ham takes center stage at Anfield on Monday (Watch live, 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) as the Reds aim to reclaim their 22-point lead at the top of the Premier League table.
Jurgen Klopp‘s side remain unbeaten this season and with five more wins needed to guarantee the Premier League title, the finishing line is in sight. They are aiming for an 18th consecutive Premier League win which would equal Man City’s record for the most victories on the trot in top-flight history.
As for David Moyes and the Hammers, they are scrapping for their lives at the other end of the table and their daunting run of fixtures makes them one of the favorites for relegation.
Last season the Hammers did draw at home against Liverpool in the PL which was a key factor in the Reds not winning the title last time out but West Ham look extremely far from the team they were last season.
Liverpool v West Ham is first against 18th and all signs point to a big win for the home side as their unbeaten season continues with 25 victories from 26 games so far.
LONDON (AP) Children up to the age of 12 will be banned from heading a soccer ball in practice sessions in England, Northern Ireland and Scotland as authorities look to address the potential long-term impact on health of head injuries.
The governing bodies of the three regions announced the new heading guidelines on Monday, months after a Scottish study found former professional players there were less likely to die of common causes such as heart disease and cancer compared with the general population but more likely to die with dementia.
The guidelines say there will be a “graduated approach” to heading in practice for kids from 12-15, while the heading will be restricted to one practice session per week for kids 16 and 17.
There will be no change in terms of heading in matches, taking into consideration the extremely limited number of headers which actually occur in youth matches.
The Scottish study did not state that heading a ball was the cause of the increased prevalence of neurodegenerative conditions among soccer players, but the decision to update the guidelines was taken to “mitigate against any potential risks”, the English Football Association said in a statement.
“This guidance is a responsible development to our grassroots coaching,” FA chief executive Mark Bullingham said, “without impacting the enjoyment that children of all ages take from playing the game.”
The associations said the guidance had been produced in parallel with the UEFA medical committee, which is seeking to produce Europe-wide guidance later this year.
Man City and Chelsea face Real Madrid and Bayern Munich respectively and both know they face tough tasks to advance to the Champions League quarterfinals as they do battle with two European heavyweights.
The Premier League sides are up against it but both teams are extremely capable of scoring goals for fun but it is at the other end of the pitch where they struggle as both Real Madrid and Bayern Munich will be hoping their star attackers shine on the big stage once again.