Tag Archives: Key

Key defender facing battle to face Sevilla this month: report

Eric Bailly is facing a race against time to recover full fitness in time for Manchester United’s trip to Sevilla in the Champions League on February 21, according to reports.

The defender has been absent from the squad since the November international break and underwent ankle surgery in December after conservative treatment failed to solve his problem.

Reports last month suggested that Bailly was ahead of schedule and in contention to recover in time for the last 16 clash at the Estadio Sanchez Pizjuan.

But according to ESPN‘s Mark Ogden, the meeting with Sevilla could come a week too soon for the defender, who continues to work on his fitness at Carrington away from the first team squad.

Jose Mourinho confirmed last week that Bailly, unlike Zlatan Ibrahimovic, hadn’t returned to training with the first team squad just yet, and with the clash coming in just a week’s time you would be surprised to see the Ivorian in the starting XI.

That said, his return is edging closer and supporters will be extremely glad to see him take the place of Chris Smalling, who bore the brunt of criticism from supporters following the 1-0 defeat to Newcastle following a truly reckless defensive display.

'Low Key Very Upset': Bachelor Nation Is Torn After Arie Luyendyk Jr. Sends Bekah M. Home

Arie Luyendyk Jr. may have felt “confident” in his decision to send Bekah Martinez home — but Bachelor Nation is torn.

On Monday evening’s episode of the ABC reality series, Luyendyk Jr., 36, said goodbye to the 22-year-old contestant — she went viral earlier this month after being removed from a missing persons list in California when someone recognized her from the show — during a two-on-one dinner date that also included Tia, who had previously shared her reservations about Bekah’s seriousness with the Bachelor earlier in the episode.

Although Bekah thought she’d be progressing to hometown dates — “I am so excited about the prospect of him meeting my family. I think he likes me a lot,” she exclaimed with crossed fingers earlier in the day. “I hope so!” — and said she was “absolutely ready for marriage,” Luyendyk Jr. extended the last rose of the night to Tia.

“I am confident in this decision and Tia, will you accept this rose?” Luyendyk Jr. said at the table.

Of his decision to send Bekah home, Luyendyk Jr. — who was visibly emotional — admitted that he’s “been talking myself out of being with Bekah for a long time. It’s hard because I don’t see our lives fitting together, but I really, really liked her.”

After the ABC leading man said goodbye, Bekah broke down in the car: “It’s hard for me to accept that this is over — that this journey is over for me.”

Like Bekah, some were sad.

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WATCH: The Bachelor’s Arie Luyendyk Jr. Says He Was Heartbroken when Bachelorette Emily Maynard Dumped Him

While some were happy.

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What did you think about Luyendyk Jr.’s decision to send Bekah home?

The Bachelor airs Mondays (8 p.m. ET) on ABC.

Tottenham boost: Numerous key players left out of Juventus’ Champions League squad

Juventus have not named a number of key players in their Champions League squad to face Tottenham Hotspur at the Allianz Stadium on Tuesday in Turin.

Paulo Dybala, Juan Cuadrado, Blaise Matuidi, Stephan Lichtsteiner and Andrea Barzagli are absent from the two-time competition winners’ squad.

Spurs face a few troubles of their own also, with Toby Alderweirled and Harry Winks both missing the trip to Turin.

Juventus’ squad

Key players out

Dybala, Cuadrado, Matuidi, Lichtsteiner and Barzagli deal the Old Lady a huge blow ahead of the visit of Tottenham in the Champions League.

These absentees leave Juve light in squad options, particularly in defence with no Lichtsteiner and Barzagli.

Dybala is no doubt a massive blow for Juventus, but such is the quality of their squad the other four are players not usually in the starting eleven.

Tottenham’s Toby troubles

Alderweirled was a notable absentee from Tottenham’s North London derby squad that beat Arsenal 1-0 on Saturday.

Having completed 90 minutes against Newport during the week, it seemed likely he would return against the Gunners.

The 29-year-old has been dealt yet another setback, being left at Hotspur Way to work on fitness, having met with manager Mauricio Pochettino and his assistant Jesus Perez after Liverpool.

Juventus vs Tottenham preview

For Juve, it has been a spell of utter dominance, winning all 11 of their last fixtures in Serie A, including a 2-0 victory at Fiorentina last time out.

Despite so many impressive displays, the Old Lady still find themselves sat second, behind leaders Napoli, in what has been quite an enthralling race for the title in Italy this season.

Massimiliano Allegri’s side reached this stage of the competition after finishing runners-up to Barcelona in Group D.

For Tottenham Hotspur, this game concludes what has been a tough run of fixtures; but also a period in which they have really flourished.

Taking seven points from their last three league games, coming up against Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal, they travel to Italy at just the right moment in time.

Mauricio Pochettino’s side made it to the last-16 of the competition having taken a joint-English record tally of 16 points to top a group containing both Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund.

Read 101 Great Goals’ full preview line-ups & football betting tips for Juventus vs Tottenham here.

 

Blow for Man United: Key player injured after Newcastle loss

Injured

Manchester United could well be handed a double blow on the same day they lost to Newcastle United, and now it seems that they could well be facing time without Paul Pogba.

There were injury concerns for the midfielder before the game after he pulled up in the warm up and it seemed he could miss the match, but after playing and then looking poor and out of sorts, then being taken off by Jose Mourinho everyone wondered what was going on.

Then, reports came out that the player was limping through the mixed zone – yet stopped to speak with the waiting kids regardless, showing some class from the under fire Frenchman.

Champions League

United fans know that there are some key games coming up for them – with Chelsea to face in a battle that is not only a showdown between Mourinho and Conte but also one that will see the winner take three points from a rival for a spot in the top four – something both sides will be desperate to do.

The fight for a Champions League place is tighter than ever, and four teams are trying to squeeze into three spots after Manchester City in first place – meaning they know every win is vital – and after the revival from Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool and a fall off from Chelsea and inconsistency from Man United, the question of who will miss out is still a key one no one can answer.

Not only that, but the Champions League itself returns soon, with the knockout stages coming up and United will want Paul Pogba fit and ready to play in that, even if he is struggling in the new role Mourinho is expecting him to play in.

Huge boost for Chelsea as key man looks set to return from injury

Injury

Chelsea star Alvaro Morata has handed the club a major boost in terms of his fitness if the latest post on his Twitter account is to be believed, with the player claiming he’s back and ready to train with the club once more after being out for some time.

 

It could well be the case that Morata is building up his fitness again after being out for so long, and according to manager Conte, he doesn’t know when the player will be back and ready to take part again – though Chelsea will almost certainly be hoping the player is ready for their second leg against Barcelona, if not their first.

It seems there’s no set date for him to return from injury, with Conte cryptic at best when speaking about a set timeline.

On Friday Conte had said: “We are talking a lot about bad results, but sometimes we forget we are facing a serious situation. Players like Morata, for us, are very important and have been missing for a long period of time.

“I don’t know how long he will be out. We are struggling a lot to find a solution to solve the pain in his back. If you ask me whether he needs a day, a month or the rest of the season, I don’t know. I don’t know.

For this reason, I’m a bit worried. You know very well the importance of the player.”

Real Madrid

One thing Morata has been talking about is his former club Real Madrid, who have been linked with Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois in recent months, and it seems that while the forward was happy to put his thanks to Chelsea on record, the main point of his comments was to make it clear that Madrid will always be his home and a key club for him – another thing that Chelsea fans may worry about.

 

1 key pass, 2 through-balls, 4 dribbles: Striker impresses despite Newcastle defeat

Romelu Lukaku delivered a superbly composed performance on the ball during Manchester United’s 1-0 defeat to Newcastle United at St James’ Park.

The Belgian held up the ball brilliantly in the first half and provided a reliable attacking axis to give Man United a strong foothold in the game.

And he should have had an assist to his name in the second half when his perfectly weighted through ball found Alexis Sanchez, who some how failed to find the net after rounding keeper Martin Dubravka.

Lukaku’s numbers from the game show clearly that he didn’t deserve to be on the losing side.

Much has been made of Mourinho’s inability to mould a consistently successful attacking dynamic with the current attacking options – deemed sufficient by the man himself last week – at his disposal.

And while the likes of Lukaku, Anthony Martial and Sanchez will need more time to properly click, some better finishing from the latter pair would have seen United’s attacking performance hailed as comprehensive, the Belgian serving as a powerful focal point from which others could benefit going forward.

As it was, Lukaku’s precise hold-up play didn’t receive the end product it deserved, but for all of United’s shortcomings against Newcastle supporters can take confidence from the number of chances their side can create with the striker in such ebullient mood.