Didier Drogba

Sergio Aguero breaks Premier League hat trick record
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Unprecedented! Aguero ‘so happy’ to set Premier League hat trick record

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Manchester City superstar Sergio Aguero set two Premier League records in Sunday’s 6-1 demolition of Aston Villa at Villa Park.

First, Aguero’s second goal of the day made him the highest-scoring non-Englishman in league history.

He then added his 177th Premier League goal to push him past legendary striker Alan Shearer for the league’s most hat tricks.

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It was a star show from Aguero, who also registered an assist.

“I’m so happy for the record. I thank my teammates because they helped me these nine years,” Aguero said when asked about the record, adding that he’s not ruling out the 74 more goals needed to catch Alan Shearer’s all-time PL record.

“I will try. He has too many goals so I don’t know, but maybe I will try.”

David Silva set up Aguero’s second, the 21st time he’s assisted the Argentine. That breaks a three-way tie with two pairs to seat Silva and Aguero behind just Frank Lampard‘s 24 assists to Didier Drogba in Premier League history.

Here are the goals that set the new standards.

Report: MLS discussing significant change to Designated Player Rule

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Major League Soccer is toying with a change to its roster structure aimed at spreading the wealth, according to The Athletic’s Sam Stejskal.

That’s both a literal and figurative turn of phrase.

Currently, the league allows teams three Designated Players. Put too simply: a Designated Player is a player that is considered outside the team’s salary cap.

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Some of the biggest names in league history have come via the DP rule, and they’ve brought immense cred to the league: Wayne Rooney, Cuauhtémoc Blanco, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Sebastian Giovinco, David Beckham, and Didier Drogba are a handful of players who fit the bill.

Well now the league is aiming at making sure at least one of the three DPs is under the age of 23, which would eliminate DP triumvirates like Toronto FC’s uniting of Giovinco, Michael Bradley, and Jozy Altidore.

The idea is that players under the age of 23 bring a lot more money to the table when they are sold than the the older guys.

The new plan would break down something like this, via The Athletic:

Sources said that the league and its influential product strategy committee are considering a new set of DP rules designed to more strongly encourage the signing of younger players. Under these new rules, if none of a team’s three DPs are under 23 years old, the annual spend for one of those players would be capped at a sum of $1 million plus that season’s maximum budget charge. In 2019, that total would’ve been $1.53 million, or the upper limit for a player who could be bought down using targeted allocation money. If teams have at least one U-23 DP, they would be able to spend any amount on all three of their DPs.

Stejskal cites sources as saying it’s not just about making money for its coffers, but that it could help close the gap between those spending boatloads and those not quite willing to do that.

My opinion? I don’t like it, unless the league is going to let all of the sale money stay with the individual clubs.

There has to be another to encourage teams to sign young bucks without taking away from the people bringing neutral fans to the table. And if a team feels it’ll get more acclaim from three David Villas than three Matias Pelegrinis well, which name did the average fan need to look up?

Take your average U-23 hot shot who’s yet to reach his peak. He may score some bangers and capture the league’s imagination a la Miguel Almiron. And that’s great, especially Atlanta, Portland, Seattle, and other markets which have really embraced their clubs regardless of the stars’ identities.

Some of that is myopic, and the league’s progress has rocketed because of players from all over the planet. Scientifically speaking, MLS is 100 times better than it was even 10 years ago. To put age restrictions on DPs in order to fuel transfer fees not just for clubs, but for the league itself? Nah.

Finally, I have to beg a little bit of ignorance to the incredibly complicated world which is the MLS rulebook. If I’m missing something, well, I’m sure I’m not the only one.

How should Tottenham line up under Mourinho?

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Jose Mourinho takes charge of his first game as Tottenham’s new manager on Saturday away at bitter rivals West Ham (Watch live, 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

But who will start? What formation will he use? Which players will he favor?

There are plenty of questions around Mourinho’s team selection, as he’s already hinted that he will keep things very similar to Mauricio Pochettino in terms of personnel and tactics.

Here’s a look at who we think Mourinho will select if he has his strongest possible XI to choose from.


Jose Mourinho’s preferred XI at Tottenham?

—– Lloris —–

— Aurier — Sanchez — Alderweireld — Davies —

—- Dier —- Ndombele —-

—- Sissoko —- Dele —- Son —- 

—– Kane —–


Analysis

Mourinho loves players who are strong, powerful and know how to defend. This is why I’ve picked this XI above. Hugo Lloris is the obvious starting goalkeeper when he returns from injury, while Serge Aurier will get the nod at right back and Ben Davies at left back. Jan Vertonghen has shown signs of struggling this season, as Davinson Sanchez and Toby Alderweireld would be a preferred partnership for Mourinho. Although he did the try and sign both Eric Dier and Alderweireld while he was in charge of United, so perhaps that will be his go-to partnership if Dier isn’t deployed in midfield. Dier in central midfield would make Spurs more solid defensively as he could slot in for one of the back four if they push forward.

In midfield the duo of Dier and Tanguy Ndombele could play together, but don’t be surprised if Mourinho brings in Victor Wanyama alongside Dier to bring some extra stability. He could also place Moussa Sissoko back out on the wing to use his incredible engine in wide positions, as he loves wingers who can get up and down the pitch. Having Sissoko and Heung-Min Son flying up in support of target man Harry Kane (who will be asked to channel his inner Didier Drogba) would be Mourinho’s ideal scenario. When it comes to a key playmaker, Mourinho loves Dele Alli and he will hand him the keys to Spurs’ attack given his recent upturn in performances. Christian Eriksen, Vertonghen and Danny Rose all seem to be on the outside looking in as Mourinho’s arrival could spark their early departures in January.

There are clear winners and losers from Mourinho’s arrival with Dier, Dele Alli and Harry Kane delighted, while the likes of Eriksen, Vertonghen and Winks know it could well be the end of the road for them at Spurs, and even Giovani Lo Celso too, as his loan spell from Real Betis can end without a permanent deal in the summer.

Report: Chelsea, Juventus agree to compensation for Sarri

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Maurizio Sarri‘s first season in the Premier League will be his last — for now, at least — as Chelsea and Juventus have agreed a compensation package for the 60-year-old manager’s services, according to multiple reports out of the UK.

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Sarri guided the Blues to a third-place finish in the PL and a Europa League title, and was the first name linked with the eight-time reigning Serie A champions’ vacant managerial position after it was announced that Massimiliano Allegri wouldn’t return for a sixth season.

According to the Guardian, the fee paid to Chelsea could reach nearly $6.5 million. Part of the fee will be contingent upon Juve winning a straight straight scudetto, and/or the Champions League.

[ MORE: Women’s World Cup: Australia’s comeback, China back on track ]

As for who will replace Sarri at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea legend Didier Drogba has some thoughts about the managerial chops of Frank Lampard, who was, of course, one of his longest standing teammates.

“I think it is a very good option for the club. He has done well with Derby, taking the team to the playoff final.

Interestingly enough, Allegri is also said to be one of a few names in the running for the job despite saying he’ll take a season off to rest and recharge before returning elsewhere in 2020-21.

As for Lampard’s lack of managerial experience after just one season as Derby County boss, Drogba doesn’t sound too concerned and seems to think that greater opportunities need to be shown to young managers.

“So, he is never going to be ready, then? Does he have to wait until he is 50 to be ready? I think it depends on your experience and depends on your desire to succeed and do it. If he feels ready, I don’t think it is too early.”

VIDEO: Liverpool opens Champions League final with Salah penalty after 20 seconds

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For Liverpool, it was a dream start. For Tottenham, it spelled complete disaster.

The Reds opened the scoring in the Champions League final with a Mohamed Salah penalty, deposited following Moussa Sissoko‘s handball in the box after just 20 seconds of play.

Off the opening kickoff, Sadio Mane received the ball and pulled back play on the top-left corner of the penalty area. With Sissoko defending Mane, Sissoko began pointing instructions to teammates and was caught off guard by Mane’s chipped cross. It clipped Sissoko’s shoulder and rebounded onto his outstretched arm, an incredibly unlucky break for the Spurs midfielder.

After a few minutes of protest, Salah stepped up and blasted the penalty home past Hugo Lloris, with the effort quite central but with plenty of power, ripped past the Frenchman who had little chance to make a reflex save despite guessing correctly with his dive.

Anytime a second-minute opener arrives in such a big match, it can set the stage for 90 minutes of mayhem, but for neutrals it actually fell a bit flat. While the hot start no doubt gives the match even more of an edge, it felt slightly undeserved, unlucky on Spurs rather than well worked for Liverpool. Still, the Reds will take it and now Spurs must work to calmly respond.

The goal is also a milestone moment for Salah, who has now scored in every single Champions League round for Liverpool in just two seasons at the club. He also becomes the fifth African player to score in the Champions League final after Rabah Madjer, Samuel Eto'o, Didier Drogba and Sadio Mane.