Pepe Reina

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Serie A: SPAL shock Juve, Milan hold onto fourth place

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Here’s a roundup of all of Saturday’s action in Italy’s top flight…

[READ: Sloppy Man United beat West Ham thanks to Paul Pogba]

SPAL 2-1 Juventus

Juventus will have to wait at least another week to celebrate another Scudetto after a historic SPAL win on Saturday. The club based in the famous region Emilia-Romagna came back to beat Juventus, 2-1. Budding Juventus star Moise Kean scored for the fourth time in five games but two second half goals from Kevin Bonifazi and Sergio Floccari gave SPAL the win.

Juventus, ahead of its second leg match with Ajax in the UEFA Champions League, rested many of its veteran starters including Cristiano Ronaldo and Giorgio Chiellini. 17-year-old Paolo Guzzi made his debut for Juventus with all the changes.

AC Milan 1-0 Lazio

Franck Kessie’s penalty kick goal gave AC Milan its tenth home win of the year and kept the Italian giant in the run for a place in next year’s UEFA Champions League.

Just three points separated Lazio and Milan before the match but despite Lazio reportedly having the advantage, Milan came away with all three points. Ciro Immobile had chances to score for Lazio at either end of the first half, but Pepe Reina came up with big saves to keep the clean sheet. At the other end, Davide Calabria crossed to Krzysztof Piatek but he couldn’t put a strike on target.

In the second half, Riza Durmisi fouled Mateo Musacchio in the box, leading to Kessie scoring to secure the victory.

Elsewhere, Edin Dzeko‘s goal led Roma to a 1-0 victory over Udinese at the Estadio Olimpico.

Robben claims Anfield to be his “worst stadium”

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What goes up must come down.

That’s essentially what Bayern Munich winger Arjen Robben said before the German side heads to Liverpool to take on the Reds in Champions League play this coming week.

“You always have your favourite opponent and there always has to be a negative one,” Robben said to The Guardian. “I think, if you ask [about] the worst stadium for me, it’s probably Liverpool.”

Robben had a pair of Champions League heartbreaks at Anfield, both coming with Chelsea in 2005 and again in 2007. In the latter, Robben had a penalty saved by Pepe Reina in the shootout that sent the Reds to the final against AC Milan.

“At that time [Liverpool] were really capable of being this cup fighter team, also in the FA Cup or [League] Cup,” Robben said of those difficult memories. “In one or two games they could really live up to it and perform; just not the whole season, which was maybe too much. That was their biggest quality: they were there at the moment they needed to be there.”

“Now I think it changed and they developed really well. The manager has done a great job.”

Robben is a doubt to even play in the match due to a thigh injury, and that will probably help Jurgen Klopp sleep at night. The German boss saw Robben score nine goals against Klopp’s Borussia Dortmund across all competitions, including the decisive goal in the 2013 Champions League final in the 89th minute.

Arsenal loans David Ospina to Napoli

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Arsenal’s goalkeeping backlog has finally been solved.

With Bernd Leno signed this offseason, it seemed David Ospina would be surplus to requirements, and that’s exactly the case as the Gunners ship the Colombian international to Serie A side Napoli on loan.

The Serie A season is set to get under way tomorrow, and Napoli’s goalkeeping situation remains in serious flux after the team completely turned over its entire corps of goalkeepers from last season. The Serie A starter Pepe Reina moved to AC Milan upon the expiration of his contract, plus Luigi Sepe went out on loan and Rafael departed for Sampdoria on a free.

Now, another former Premier League goalkeeper will take over in net. Other goalkeepers on the Napoli roster include Greek international Orestis Karnezis on loan from Udinese and 22-year-old Nikita Contini, plus the injured Alex Meret also on loan from Udinese.

Ospina has been with Arsenal since moving from French club Nice in 2014, but has never been able to earn a true starting role. He started 18 Premier League matches towards the end of the 2014/15 season with Wojciech Szczesny‘s Arsenal tenure coming to an end, but since has made no more than five league appearances in any campaign, stuck behind former Chelsea starter Petr Cech.

However, Ospina often served as Arsenal’s Cup competition goalkeeper, making 14 Champions League appearances and 10 Europa League appearances over his tenure at the Emirates.

The 29-year-old Colombian has 90 caps for his country, including starts in all four matches in the 2018 World Cup this summer, where he performed admirably in a defeat on penalties to eventual semifinalists England.

Vlasic, N’Koudou seal loan deals; Ospina gets Napoli medical

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Two Premier League players are departing their clubs for loan stints elsewhere in Europe, and a third is a medical away from leaving London.

Arsenal goalkeeper David Ospina is reportedly undergoing a medical ahead of a move to Serie A powers Napoli.

[ MORE: Premier League Club Power Rankings, Week 1 ]

The Colombian will have a chance to start after a long-term injury to Napoli’s No. 1, Alex Meret, who was bought from Udinese for nearly $40 million this summer. Pepe Reina left Napoli in the offseason.

The club’s goalkeeping corps also includes ex-Waftford player Orestis Karnezis and 22-year-old Nikita Contini.

Everton’s Nikola Vlasic is leaving Goodison Park for a season with CSKA Moscow. Vlasic, 20, played 19 times for the Toffees last season, scoring twice.

Also on the move is Tottenham’s Georges-Kevin N’Koudou. The 23-year-old Frenchman is headed to the Bundesliga with Mainz after going on loan to Burnley last season.

Of the three, only Ospina is probable to leave his parent club after the season, with Napoli holding an option to buy the player.

Spain coach Hierro backs de Gea

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Fernando Hierro has made it clear who he thinks will be starting in goal for La Furia Roja.

The interim Spanish National Team coach shut down rumors and whispers that he was considering a goalkeeper change for the knockout stage of the World Cup, saying in an interview on Spanish station RNE that David De Gea will start the next match against Russia. De Gea has made some uncharacteristic errors during the tournament, including on Cristiano Ronaldo’s second goal in Spain’s wild 3-3 draw with Portugal in the opening match of Group B.

[ MORE: 2018 World Cup Best XI (so far)]

“Yes, he will play,” Hierro said, referring to De Gea.

De Gea also allowed two goals to Morocco, which saw Spain rescue a point in second half stoppage time thanks to Iago Aspas.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

The 27-year-old de Gea has been in sparkling form in the past for both Spain and Manchester United, but there were whispers after his performance in the group stage that he could have been replaced by Kepa Arrizabalaga or Pepe Reina.

Now, it seems that Hierro trusts in de Gea, which could bode well for the future for both Spain and Man United.