Nathan Ake

Keita powers Liverpool past injury-hit Bournemouth

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Naby Keita and Mohamed Salah each had a goal and an assist as Liverpool blew out Bournemouth 3-0 at the Vitality Stadium on Saturday.

There was some bad news in the mix for both team’s already injury-hit center back corps: Nathan Ake and Dejan Lovren both left the match early.

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Its lead over Leicester City is back up to 11 points before the Foxes play at 9 a.m. ET Sunday, while Man City is 14 behind the Reds before Saturday afternoon’s Manchester Derby.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scored Liverpool’s first goal of the win.


Three things we learned

1. Keita shoots his shot (literally and figuratively): When Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool captured Naby Keita, it felt like the beginning of something special. Instead it’s been fits and starts, with plenty of reports saying struggles with the language and the system might be holding hims back.

Well, if he’s back to his Leipzig-infused best, then look out world, because Keita was simply marvelous in his first PL start of the season. He had his goal and his assist, combining so well with Salah, but also completed 89 of 94 passes, 110 touches, three key passes, five of eight duels won, three tackles, and two interceptions.

2. Ake injury a huge hit: Nathan Ake has been a force for a poor Cherries side this season, and his injury did not look good. With Chelsea now able to buy players and possessing a buyback clause on their former stud, was this the last we saw of the Dutchman in a Bournemouth jersey? It could be the difference between Bournemouth staying comfortably midtable and dipping into the relegation zone.

3. Lovren injury a worry: Whether Lovren misses a long time or just a bit is still a problem for the Reds, who are going to be taxed heavily with Joel Matip already out and matches all over the world in the coming weeks.

Remember that Liverpool isn’t yet through to the Champions League knockout rounds, and that Virgil Van Dijk and Joe Gomez could need to play every minute including Tuesday’s massive trip to dangerous Red Bull Salzburg. The good news, of course, is that Joe Gomez at his best has not been a downgrade from Lovren.

Man of the Match: Keita.


Bournemouth had a moment in the 26th miniute, Dominic Solanke unable to find a deflected cross that worried Adrian.

The Cherries lost their best player to injury, and that seemingly opened the doors at the back. Nathan Ake was felled by a muscle strain.

Moments later, Oxlade-Chamberlain got on the end of a Jordan Henderson long ball and took advantage of a sleeping Aaron Ramsdale to make it 1-0.

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The visitors made a sub soon after the goal, Dejan Lovren exiting for Trent Alexander-Arnold to send Joe Gomez to center back.

That’s when the Reds got their second goal from Keita, via Salah’s lovely pass.

A bad mistake from debutant Jack Simpson allowed Keita to cue up Salah for a return gift, the Egyptian calmly slotting past a struggling Ramsdale.

Chelsea transfer ban reduced after appeal

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Chelsea will be able to sign new players in January after their transfer ban from FIFA was reduced to one transfer window after their appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) was successful.

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The Blues had previously been banned for two transfer windows, summer 2019 and winter 2020, for 150 rule breaches involving 69 academy players over a period of several years, but they will now be able to sign new players from Jan. 1 when the next transfer window opens.

Despite having the ban reduced, Chelsea are far from happy with world soccer’s governing body as they released a scathing statement slamming FIFA’s handling of the situation.

“The approach taken by FIFA to this case has been deeply unsatisfactory, not least as FIFA chose to treat Chelsea entirely differently to Manchester City for reasons that make absolutely no sense to Chelsea. We respect the importance of the work undertaken by FIFA in relation to the protection of minors and has fully cooperated with FIFA throughout its investigation. However, if FIFA continues to impose inconsistent and unequal sanctions on clubs then it will not only undermine the very purpose of the regulations, but it will also bring into doubt the game’s confidence in FIFA being able to appropriately regulate this important area.”

They went on to add a bit more detail about why they were so angry at being banned from signing new players for one window.

“FIFA accused Chelsea of having breached Article 19 of the FIFA regulations in relation to 27 players, covering the period from 2009 onwards. Of those, 16 players were registered by Chelsea in exactly the same way as other Premier League clubs registered players at the time. Furthermore, Chelsea sought clarification from the Premier League in 2009 about whether it needed to apply for permission to register players in this category. The FA subsequently liaised with FIFA and it was confirmed to Chelsea that players in this category were entitled to register and that no special application was required (and in fact no special application process existed). Accordingly, the fact that FIFA brought charges against Chelsea for this category of player was perverse. We are grateful that this appears to have been corrected by the CAS.”

Chelsea manager Frank Lampard was obviously delighted with the outcome, as he can now reinforce his young squad and has plenty of cash in the bank after a no-spend summer (the deal for Christian Pulisic was sealed last January and Mateo Kovacic arrived permanently after his loan move saw a clause triggered which made it a permanent move).

“It’s a positive outcome for us,” Lampard said. “It allows us the potential to look at the market going forward. So I’m pleased from a footballing level. It was never my business to get involved in the reasons why or the legal side of it.”

Which areas should Chelsea strengthen in now they can buy again? And which players will be their top targets?

It is clear that left back is an area where Lampard will want to add a new starter as both Marcos Alonso and Emerson Palmeri are fine as back ups neither have made the position their own this season. Up top is another key location where Lampard will look to strengthen as Olivier Giroud seems to be on his way out of Stamford Bridge and that would leave just Tammy Abraham and Michy Batshuayi as the options at center forward.

Elsewhere, Chelsea look pretty set, although a new center back could be handy but isn’t necessary given the fact that Kurt Zouma and Fikayo Tomori have both been superb for most of this season and Andreas Christensen is also around with Cesar Azpilicueta also able to slot in at center back with Reece James developing well at right back.

After 12 months without spending and having transfer fees from the sale of Eden Hazard, David Luiz and Tomas Kalas and many other fringe players which brought in an incredible $180 million, Lampard will have money to spend.

Chelsea have been linked with moves for Jadon Sancho, Wilfried Zaha, Nathan Ake and Ben Chilwell, among many others, as plenty of star players will fancy a move to Stamford Bridge given Lampard’s promising start to life as their manager.

The big question now is: Given Chelsea’s great start to the season as they sit in the top four with their young team progressing together as a group, do they risk bringing in new additions to potential upset the team spirit? Is it better to wait until the summer when the likes of Pedro and Giroud, and maybe Willian, could all leave Stamford Bridge?

Wolves see off 10-man Bournemouth

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Wolverhampton Wanderers beat 10-man Bournemouth 2-1 at the Vitality Stadium on Saturday, as Nuno Espirito Santo‘s side rode two early strikes to victory.

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Joao Moutinho and Raul Jimenez made it 2-0 early on and Simon Francis was then sent off to make matters worst for Bournemouth. The Cherries did valiantly fight back as Steve Cook scored in the second half and they went close to making it 2-2, but Wolves held on for a big win in a big week with their crucial Europa League game on Thursday.

With the win Wolves are up to fifth place on 19 points, while Bournemouth are in 11th on 16 points.


3 things we learned

1. Sloppy defending bites Bournemouth again: Eddie Howe‘s side have shored things up this season, but two sloppy defensive errors cost them for the second week running in the Premier League. Moutinho made the most of the first and Jimenez the second, while Francis was sent off. Bournemouth were their own worst enemies at the back.

2. Wolves grinding out wins: Nuno Espirito Santo’s men have now secured two-straight wins in the Premier League and they are unbeaten in their last eight games. They are on a roll and after a slow start to the season they are back in the top six. They had to suffer in the second half at Bournemouth but they got the job done, just as they did for much of last season. Wolves are tough to play against and were clinical.

3. Moutinho’s moments of magic: He flies under the radar a little with Jimenez, Neves and Traore capable of magic moments, but Moutinho keeps things ticking over very nicely for Wolves and is so consistent. His experience is key in Europe and the PL and his free kick for his goal and his clever quick free kick for Wolves’ second summed up his quality.

Man of the Match: Steve Cook – Even though he was on the losing team, Steve Cook stood tall. He pulled one back for Bournemouth and came close to scoring another and it looked like Bournemouth were the team with a one-man advantage instead of Wolves.


Wolves took the lead in stunning fashion as Moutinho stepped up on the far left hand side of the box and whipped home a delightful free kick into the far top corner after Francis has fouled Jota.

They then doubled their lead as Moutinho’s quick free kick found Adama Traore who crossed for Jimenez to slot home. Bournemouth’s defense had been totally caught out and Wolves were having fun in the rain on the south coast.

Things then went from bad to worse for Bournemouth as Francis was sent off.

In his first game back in 11 months, Francis was booked for the second time of the game for fouling Jota and was shown a red card.

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At the start of the second half Wolves had a goal disallowed via VAR for an offside, and then Bournemouth were back in the game.

The 10 men of Bournemouth battled back and made it 2-1 as a corner came in and Steve Cook flew in at the near post and the ball flicked off Wolves’ Traore and in.

Game on.

Cook and Nathan Ake went close as Bournemouth took the game to Wolves but the visitors held on to beat the 10-men and continue their fine run.

Bournemouth stun Man United

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BOURNEMOUTH — The Cherries stunned the Red Devils in the swirling rain on England’s South Coast on Saturday.

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Bournemouth beat Manchester United 1-0 at the Vitality Stadium, as Josh King‘s goal right on the stroke of half time was enough to seal a famous win for Eddie Howe‘s side.

With the win Bournemouth rise to sixth place in the Premier League table on 16 points, jumping above Man United who have 13 points as their run of wins away from home ended. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was once again an unhappy man.


3 things we learned

1. United almost at full strength, no more excuses: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was only missing Luke Shaw and Paul Pogba from what would be his strongest possible starting lineup. United can’t keep blaming injuries for their poor start to the season. United have now lost to Bournemouth, Newcastle West Ham and Crystal Palace this season, so maybe this is their new normal. With players returning to full fitness, things could improve, but right now Solskjaer is under pressure as United could be as much as 10 points off the top four by the end of this weekend. That isn’t good enough.

2. Bournemouth’s newfound defensive solidity promises plenty: Howe’s side have been much-improved defensively in recent weeks and although they’ve struggled to score goals, they created chances against United and looked solid enough at the back. Their two midfielder destroyers were excellent and Cook and Ake have formed a solid partnership. They sat in, soaked up pressure and Bournemouth have a newfound defensive solidity. They’ve never had that since they arrived in the Premier League in 2015.

3. Midfield balance off for United: The Red Devils are missing Pogba’s ability to get them on the front foot, as McTominay, Fred and Pereira played so many sideways and safe passes in central midfield. The balance was off and United had plenty of the ball but did little with it. They had no personality and no driving influence, especially in the second half. They started well but faded badly and there was a surprising lack of creativity in the final third as Rashford, Martial and James made decent runs but weren’t found often enough.

Man of the Match: Philip Billing – Won the ball back time and time again for Bournemouth. A dominant force in midfield who won the battle against Andreas Pereira and Fred on his own. Yet another gem polished by Eddie Howe. Billing and Lerma shielded the back four expertly and Nathan Ake was superb at center back. But Billing held everything together.


Early on United were lively down their right as James raced clear but Andreas Pereira slipped as he looked to apply the finishing touch.

The movement of United’s front three caused Bournemouth so many problems early on, as James linked up with Martial to cross for Fred but he got his effort all wrong as he stretched for it.

Bournemouth’s first big chance of the game arrived via Harry Wilson as his deflected effort flew wide after some clever passes. Moments later David De Gea saved Ryan Fraser‘s cross and the Scottish winger went down in the box but no penalty kick was given despite calls of “VAR! VAR!” from the home fans.

James drilled a shot inches wide after a free kick was only half cleared as United looked dangerous every time they attacked. Fraser hit a shot straight at De Gea on the counter as the home side improved after a slow start. Martial then went down under a challenge from Jefferson Lerma which sparked a huge melee inside the box but no penalty kick was given after VAR was used.

Right on half time Bournemouth took the lead as Adam Smith’s cross was controlled brilliantly from King and he then flicked the ball over Aaron Wan-Bissaka and finished to put the Cherries ahead. It was a sublime solo goal but United should have defended better.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

The game opened up after the opening goal as Bournemouth almost grabbed a second but Fraser’s shot was right at De Gea after a lovely move down the right.

De Gea then denied King after a Bournemouth counter caught United out and Harry Wilson went down in the box but nothing was given.

The Liverpool loanee was then denied by De Gea as Bournemouth continued to have chances on the break and although United had plenty of the ball, they struggled to break down the Cherries stubborn defense.

Late on substitute Mason Greenwood hit the post as United chucked everything at Bournemouth with McTominay having a shot saved and Maguire coming close, but the Cherries held on for a famous win.

Report: Sergino Dest leaning towards Netherlands if they want him

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According to a report by Roger Gonzalez of CBS Sports, a person close to 18-year-old dual national full-back Sergino Dest says that he is leaning towards committing to the Netherlands over the United States and will choose to represent the Dutch national team if he feels there is room for him in the depth chart.

Dest has not officially announced a decision but Gonzalez reported a few days ago that he is nearing a decision, and reports from the Netherlands indicate that decision could come as soon as today.

Gonzalez’s latest report states that Dest will only choose to represent the United States at the senior level if he does not feel there is a chance he would be called up regularly to the Oranje.

While the Dutch side is absolutely stacked in central defense with the likes of Virgil Van Dijk, Matthijs de Ligt, Stefan de Vrij, Nathan Ake, and more, they are far more thin at the full-back position. The country’s most recent competitive match – a Euro 2020 qualifier against Belarus – featured a pair of Dest’s Ajax teammates starting with Daley Blind on the left and Joel Veltman on the right, while Crystal Palace full-back Patrick Van Aanholt and PSV breakout star Denzel Dumfries were available on the bench.

Both Veltman and Blind are extremely versatile players who could easily slide elsewhere to make room for Dest. Blind in particular can play center-back and central midfield in addition to his aptitude out wide –  in fact he hasn’t played full-back at the club level once this campaign, mostly deployed in central defense with a few appearances further up the pitch. The two have often partnered in central defense for Ajax this season.

Outside of those four first-choice full-backs, the Netherlands has just Atalanta’s Hans Hateboer and Lyon’s Kenny Tate waiting in the wings at that position. Otherwise, the slots are wide open.

Dest has proficiency on either side, but prefers the right where he has seen action in nine of Ajax’s 11 Eredivisie matches this season and has logged full 90-minute performances in all three of their Champions League group stage matches.

The teen was born in the Netherlands to an American father, leaving him with a choice to make at the national team level. Dest represented the United States at the youth level and made two appearances for the senior squad, but as both matches were friendlies, he was not cap-tied to the nation. Dest recently refused call-ups to both the United States and Netherlands in the last international break, avoiding a competitive appearance for either side wanting more time to make his decision.