Gonzalo Higuaín

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Champions League wrap: Juve, Atleti, PSG in the win column

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The UEFA Champions League had a bit of everything on Tuesday, including results for five visiting teams.

We’ve written plenty about Spurs’ big loss and Man City’s controlling win, but if you missed those recaps — as well as Real Madrid’s poor day versus Club Brugge — see below.

Real Madrid 2-2 Club Brugge — RECAP

Tottenham Hotspur 2-7 Bayern Munich — RECAP | Pochettino reacts

Man City 2-0 Dinamo Zagreb — RECAP | Foden, Sterling react

As for the five other matches on Tuesday’s slate…

Galatasaray 0-1 Paris Saint-Germain

The Türk Telekom Stadı is far from an easy place to visit, and PSG needed every bit of resolve to outlast the Turkish hosts. Pablo Sarabia did a lot of the heavy lifting in setting up Mauro Icardi for the match’s lone goal, which came in the 52nd minute.

Juventus 3-0 Bayer Leverkusen

Gonzalo Higuain gave The Old Lady an early lead, and Cristiano Ronaldo had a goal and set Federico Bernardeschi up for another to keep Juve on level footing with Atletico Madrid in the race for Group D’s seeded spot.

Atalanta 1-2 Shakhtar Donetsk

The Serie A side took a lead through Duvan Zapata and would’ve been happy to get a point on the board after Junior Moraes scored before halftime, but instead saw a home loss when Manor Soloman scored in the fifth minute of stoppage time.

Red Star Belgrade 3-1 Olympiacos

Down 1-0 after 37 minutes on a Ruben Semedo strike, the hosts took off following an early second half red card to Olympiacos’ Yacine Benzia.

Milos Vulic, Nemanja Milunovic, and Richmond Boakye scored for Red Star, who was again backstopped by Canadian star Milan Borjan.

Lokomotiv Moscow 0-2 Atletico Madrid

Scoreless at the break, Joao Felix had a goal and helped set up Thomas Partey for another to make it 2-0 by the hour mark as Diego Simeone’s men climbed to four points for the tournament.

Don’t look now (actually look now, that’s why we’re putting it here. What a silly phrase) but Atleti looks really dangerous again.

Kane scores from midfield to beat Juve

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Harry Kane lobbed Wojciech Szczesny from nearly 50 yards to send Tottenham Hotspur past Juventus early Sunday morning.

Maybe he wanted to embarrass a former North London Derby rival, or perhaps he just wanted to avoid penalties.

The goal was made more remarkable by Kane’s blast radius including two men marking him near the Juve part of the center circle.

[ MORE: Where will Bale go? ]

It was an entertaining International Champions Cup match on Sunday morning, with goalkeepers Hugo Lloris and Gianluigi Buffon plenty busy.

Tanguy Ndombele came off the bench to assist and impress for Spurs and Matthijs de Ligt making his Juve debut as a sub.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Gonzalo Higuain scored for Juve, and the latter probably should’ve won it with a dragged shot in the 83rd minute.

Spurs goals came courtesy of Erik Lamela, who tapped in a rebound of a bullet shot from 17-year-old Ryan Parrott, and Moura.

The Brazilian was fed into the box by a sweet Ndombele pass moments after the new Spurs midfielder subbed into the match.

Here is Ronaldo’s goal.

Transfer Rumor Roundup: Europa League fallout for Arsenal, Chelsea

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With the Europa League final complete and Chelsea reigning supreme, there is plenty of fallout to come with the Blues back in the Champions League and Arsenal failing to seal the deal.

For Arsenal, the blow could be heavy. The club is strapped for cash now headed for its third straight season in the Europa League, and they allowed 28-year-old Aaron Ramsey to depart this summer for free, a financial failure that could have serious consequences.

According to a report by The Mirror, manager Unai Emery is hoping to overhaul the squad this summer, but his job will be difficult given the financial constraints of failing to reach the Champions League. He could be forced to sell assets to generate cash, and while Arsenal fans may be happy to see the likes of Shkodran Mustafi and Mesut Ozil on the list of players who could depart this summer, Henrikh Mkhitaryan could reportedly also be sacrificed in the process. The report states that the wage bill may actually be a bigger obstacle to the club’s acquisition power than transfer funds, yet still there may only be around $50 million for Emery to play with this summer.

Players like Ozil and Mustafi could generate a decent cash flow, but they have underperformed the last few seasons, and Ozil especially has wages that could limit the club’s ability to shop him. The report states that Inter Milan could be a possible destination with possible new manager Antonio Conte hoping to boost the attack.


For Chelsea, their summer is also in question, despite securing Champions League play. The Blues have a potential transfer ban hanging over their heads, and the impending decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport will have an enormous impact on their proceedings over the next few months.

Regardless of the decision, however, it looks as if Eden Hazard has played his final game in Chelsea blue, and the rumors continue to churn of his departure for Real Madrid. English tabloids have stated that Hazard is off to Real Madrid for an enormous $145 million fee, although that seems unlikely as reports consistently stated over the last few weeks that Los Blancos were holding firm to their $125 million ceiling and that Chelsea would likely concede to that amount due to Hazard’s contract situation.

Should Chelsea be able to replace Hazard this summer and the ban is lifted or delayed, the Blues could look to a former Premier League star to take over. Philippe Coutinho has had a horrible first year at Barcelona, and it seems the club is shopping him to various interested parties. Chelsea could be a perfect landing spot for Coutinho and they could secure him far below market value after his disastrous season at the Camp Nou. Spanish publication Mundo Deportivo claims that Chelsea would be in pole position to secure Coutinho should the CAS allow the club to sign players this summer, and while Manchester United is interested, their lack of Champions League play this season sees them at a serious disadvantage.

Chelsea could also secure the permanent signatures of current loanees Mateo Kovacic and Gonzalo Higuain whether the club is banned from transfer acquisitions or not, as they are both already registered with the club. Kovacic, a Real Madrid player out on loan, could likely be secured on a permanent deal separate from the Hazard negotiation. Higuain, meanwhile, may wait to see if Maurizio Sarri is confirmed as the Chelsea manager next season before he commits his future to Stamford Bridge.


According to Mundo Deportivo in a report that corroborates earlier reporting in the English tabloids, Manchester United is seriously considering a massive offer to free agent midfielder Adrien Rabiot. The Red Devils are reportedly set to offer Rabiot an $12.5 million signing bonus and wages of around $220,000 a week or about $11.5 million a season, which would match the demands he’s stuck to in negotiations over the past few months.

The report states that with other top clubs like Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Juventus unwilling to meet his high financial demands, Rabiot could find United’s offer intriguing. Rabiot, a 24-year-old French midfielder, has had major character issues in the past at both the club and country levels, but his play on the field as a top box-to-box midfielder is helping offset the questions about his personality. Should Manchester United bring Rabiot on, he could directly challenge Paul Pogba for a spot in the team, or even serve as a Pogba replacement should he depart this summer as rumors have suggested over the past few months.


24-year-old Lille attacker Nicolas Pepe is a wanted man this summer, and while he has been linked with a move to Manchester United in recent weeks, Liverpool has also entered the fray, according to Sunday Times reporter Duncan Castles on the Team Talk podcast. Castles said that Liverpool “has been in contact” with Lille still waiting on anything official to come through. Castles says that Lille has been quite public about an asking price in the range of $89 million for the Ivory Coast international who just appears to be entering his prime.

Pepe scored 22 Ligue 1 goals this season which put him second on the campaign behind PSG superstar Kylian Mbappe. He helped Lille finish a stunning second in the league table, qualifying the club for Champions League play for the first time since 2012. Manchester United is in desperate need of reinforcements all over the pitch, but could miss out if Champions League play is a priority to Pepe who has never played in the competition. Still, Liverpool may pass on any players that cost such a hefty amount, as their squad is already one of the strongest in Europe and may not require such a massive cost to add missing pieces.

Biggest flops of the Premier League season

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We’ll try not to be too harsh as our review of the Premier League season continues with the most disappointing performances of 2018-19.

[ SEASON REVIEW: Man City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Spurs, Arsenal ]

[ SEASON REVIEW: Man United, Wolves, Everton, Leicester, West Ham ]


— Fulham — You can’t pin it on any single manager, nor a single transfer flop. There was just something around Craven Cottage that didn’t allow the men to mesh on the big stage. Andre Schurrle petered out, Alfie Mawson stumbled when healthy, Jean-Michael Seri wasn’t as advertised, and Claudio Ranieri couldn’t summon any saviors after Slavisa Jokanovic also failed to find the right chemistry.

— Max Meyer, Crystal Palace — The 23-year-old just couldn’t quite adapt after being hailed by many including us as a remarkable free transfer from Schalke.

— Gonzalo Higuain, Chelsea — Part of this blame lives with us: The expectation that came with Maurizio Sarri‘s favored man arriving to make good on the failures of Alvaro Morata was too high; Higuain finished with five goals in 1100 minutes.

— Mohamed Elyounoussi, Southampton — Maybe his Premier League adjustment will come in Season Two, but zero goals and plenty of days outside the Saints’ 18 hardly make for good value.

Fred, Manchester United — Cost the Red Devils about $3.5 million per league appearance. Shoulder shrug emoji, as Pep Guardiola also reportedly viewed the Brazilian as a fix for his midfield.

— David De Gea, Manchester United — While not a new signing, the Red Devils’ perennial savior was not close to his standards in 2018-19. In fact, the Spaniard was basically league average and couldn’t bail out his defenders (which underscores Jose Mourinho’s assertion regarding their quality).

Chelsea misfires in draw with Leicester City on final day (video)

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The Blues had chances throughout, but Gonzalo Higuain and Ross Barkley both had bad misses as Chelsea ends the campaign on a goalless battle with Leicester City. The Foxes were up for the task as well, but also couldn’t put together a winning moment.

Ross Barkley got through in the opening minutes, but his shot clattered straight into the face of Kasper Schmeichel who made himself big in the one-on-one. Chelsea was forced to wait until the 28th minute for its next good chance, but Gonzalo Higuain fired just wide right after finding space at the top of the box.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Leicester City, dangerous throughout, came incredibly close just before the break thanks to a David Luiz slip that allowed the hosts in on a two-on-one, but Jamie Vardy‘s feed for Youri Tielemans was too heavy, and it ruined the opportunity leaving the Belgian extended to the end line.

Somehow, Higuain found a way to miss right in front of net on the stroke of halftime, making a complete mess of a cross on a platter by bundling the ball wide right on the doorstep. It was a horrid miss from the Argentine who failed to sort out his feet with the goal begging two yards away.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Leicester remained threatening all second half, forcing the Blues to defend on numerous occasions. Ben Chillwell made a blistering run with 15 minutes to go, bursting down the left but his cross came too late and was cut out by David Luiz. Eden Hazard looked to have found the breakthrough receiving the ball from Ruben Loftus-Cheek at the penalty area, but he was bundled over by Jonny Evans and somehow the referee did not point to the spot.

The draw, along with Spurs’ shared spoils against Everton, sees Chelsea finish third with 72 points, a solid position given Sarri’s occasional struggles and the dominance of the top two teams. Leiciester City, meanwhile, ends the campaign in ninth on 55 points, the lowest finishing team with a positive goal differential.