AP Photo/Francois Mori

UEFA Nations League wrap: Germany facing relegation; Gibraltar red hot

1 Comment

Germany’s slump continued Tuesday in Saint-Denis, as Joachim Loew’s men guaranteed they’d finish 2018 with a losing record in a 2-1 loss to France.

[ MORE: Brazil wins at the death ]

The Germans led through a 14th minute Toni Kroos penalty, but fell victim a second half brace from Antoine Griezmann.

The Atletico Madrid superstar continued his claims for the Ballon d’Or with a headed finish of a Lucas Hernandez cross before converting a Blaise Matuidi-won penalty.The Atletico Madrid superstar continued his claims for the Ballon d’Or with a headed finish of a Lucas Hernandez cross before converting a Blaise Matuidi-won penalty.

Germany is now poised for relegation to League B, as its lone point is two behind Netherlands. The Germans need to hope the Netherlands loses to France on Nov. 16, or that the Dutch draw France. Both scenarios will require Germany beating the Dutch in Gelsenkirchen on Nov. 19.

Gibraltar 2-1 Liechtenstein

Gibraltar’s on fire, your defense is terrified.

Three days after Gibraltar stunned Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Armenia to record its first competitive win in national team history, it beat Liechtenstein at Victoria Stadium to make it 2-0.

Joseph Chipolina scored for the second-straight match, as Gibraltar sits second in League D’s Group 4.

American fun fact: Chipolina once played in the United States’ fourth-tier PDL for the Real Colorado Foxes (as opposed to those deplorable non-regal foxes).

Armenia 4-0 Macedonia
Kazakhstan 4-0 Andorra
Republic of Ireland 0-1 Wales
Ukraine 1-0 Czech Republic
Latvia 0-3 Georgia
Slovenia 1-1 Cyprus
Norway 1-0 Bulgaria

Hazard: Mourinho the one manager I want to play for again

Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images
1 Comment

Eden Hazard is taking Chelsea supporters on a rollercoaster ride this international break.

[ MORE: Monaco hires Henry ]

What began with the latest in a long line of public flirtations with Real Madrid led to a bit of relief when the Belgian admitted he wouldn’t be leaving Chelsea in January.

So how does the Premier League’s leading scorer follow it up? By praising Chelsea’s two-time former manager and saying he’d like to play for him again.

Hazard says he apologized to Jose Mourinho for a string of poor performances that helped get the Portuguese boss fired from his post at Stamford Bridge.

Before we go any further, this is not part of a hit piece where Hazard bashes Maurizio Sarri for only being unbeaten and not perfect at Chelsea.

From Sky Sports:

“I don’t regret many things in my career, but that I have not been able to work with Mourinho at Chelsea anymore is one of them. We had a team that could win more trophies. We just ended up in a negative cycle.

“I sent him a message to say I was sorry he had gone and that I was sorry. We’d enjoyed all that success together, but this time we hadn’t. I felt a little bit guilty because I’d been player of the year. I’d been one of the most decisive players, and then I performed less.”

Hazard later said Mourinho isn’t as “extremely defensive” of a manager as his critics describe, while quipping that he isn’t “as adventurous as Pep Guardiola.”

That, my friends, is understated.

He’s not heading to Manchester United, we think, though a Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial for Hazard and David Luiz swap would be hysterical (and tell the Alexis Sanchez for Henrikh Mkhitaryan swap it’s so last season).

Perhaps it’s more likely Mourinho and Florentino Perez reignite their love-hate relationship at Real Madrid, and the club makes Hazard its next Galactico.

It is interesting that some stars, most recently Hazard and his Belgian teammate Romelu Lukaku, have Mourinho’s back, and that Zlatan Ibrahimovic is being linked with another stint at Manchester United.

Maybe big personalities simply have more sympathy for other big personalities or maybe being outside the blender makes the smoothie look more fun.

Or perhaps there’s more appreciation for Mourinho as the pool of experience grows for these players. Either way, Hazard sure knows how to keep his name in the news (and we’re neither accusing him of being disingenuous nor dishonest).

Classy Arsenal dance past Fulham

Leave a comment
  • Lacazette, Schurrle trade first half goals (WATCH)
  • Bellerin big part of second half rush
  • Ramsey, Aubameyang with beauties

Arsenal is humming under Unai Emery, winners of six-straight league matches and nine in all competitions after a 4-1 blowout of Fulham at Craven Cottage on Sunday.

Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang each scored twice, and Aaron Ramsey also netted for the Gunners.

Arsenal moves third with 18 points, while Fulham has five points and sits in 17th.

The Gunners lost their first two matches of the season, to Man City and Chelsea, but have not since tasted defeat (or even a draw).

[ STREAM: Watch every PL match live ]

Following Lucas Vietto’s missed chance in the opening moments of the match, it was all Arsenal for the wealth of the opening half. Alexandre Lacazette moved USMNT defender Tim Ream to create a yard of space and belt past Fulham goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli.

Andre Schurrle struck on the counter attack to cancel out Lacazette’s close range opener, as Fulham and Arsenal are locked at 1 thanks to magic from the London clubs’ respective German and French stars.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Bettinelli made an outstanding save when Hector Bellerin hammered a knuckling shot toward the far post to open the second half.

Lacazette made Bellerin’s offer a bonafide warning sign, shooting off a bounce that may’ve took the slightest of touches off Ream’s foot outstretched before bounding past a diving Bettinelli.

And then Ramsey.

Bellerin’s cute flick helped the ball move from the right wing to the left wing, where Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang clipped a cross to the top of the box. Ramsey swept his back leg behind him to spin the ball inside the far post.

The riot continued with ease, Aubameyang making the most of interplay between Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Bellerin to settle the ball with class before ripping a shot beyond Bettinelli.

Report: Alexis Sanchez wants to leave Man United


This isn’t surprising given recent events, but Alexis Sanchez is apparently ready to quit Manchester United just 10 months after arriving from Arsenal.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

The highest-paid player in United’s history, Sanchez signed a four-and-a-half year deal worth over $650,000 per week in January after arriving in a swap deal with Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

Sanchez, 29, was left out of United’s squad for the defeat at West Ham last weekend (despite traveling with the team to London) and per several reports in the UK he has called his agent Fernando Felicevich and is “weighing up his options” ahead of the January transfer window.

Per the Sun, Sanchez is frustrated with the role he has in the team under Jose Mourinho and is said to want to play in his preferred role on the left wing, rather than being on the right. He has yet to score in six outings this season for United and after a full preseason and a rest with no World Cup duty, this was supposed to be the season Sanchez took United’s offense by the scruff of the neck.

Yeah, that hasn’t happened.

Sanchez has scored just three goals in 24 appearances for United in all competitions since he arrived in January, and was hooked off in the second half of their dull 0-0 draw at home against Valencia in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday.

If United did decide to sell Sanchez in January, how much would he be worth? No club would pay more than $50 million for him right now, and considering his wages of over $650,000 per week, who on earth is going to pay him anywhere near that amount? Nobody. That is the answer.

United are stuck with Sanchez and Sanchez is stuck with United. The best case scenario for the Chilean star is that Mourinho is fired in the coming months and he gets a fresh start at Old Trafford. With Paul Pogba and others said to be against Mourinho’s tactics and general man-management, hearing that Sanchez is ready to look elsewhere is not surprising.

Right now he isn’t firing on all cylinders and seems to be playing with no freedom and poise in the final third. Maybe that is down to what is being asked of him, but maybe his body language of being fed up means he isn’t listening and can’t really be bothered to play for Mourinho at United.

Europa League LIVE: Arsenal in Azerbaijan, Chelsea at home

Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Arsenal is in Azerbaijan without Henrikh Mkhitaryan, while Chelsea hosts Hungarian opposition as the 2018-19 Europa League group stage moves into its second match day.

One match began earlier, with Astana and Stade Rennes matching wits in Kazakhstan.

[ FOLLOW LIVE: Europa League scoreboard ]

Unai Emery is keeping several big names out of the fire, or at least the Starting XI, at Qarabag for a 12:55 p.m. ET ahead of the Sunday’s Premier League match at Fulham.

In addition to Mkhitaryan staying home for political reasons, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (rest) and Aaron Ramsey (wife giving birth) are back in London, while Alexandre Lacazette and Mesut Ozil are on the bench.

Youngsters Emile Smith Rowe and Matteo Guendouzi start for the Gunners, while Sead Kolasinac returns to the side.

Chelsea hosts MOL Vidi at 3 p.m. ET