Man Utd Line Up New Contracts for 3 Key Stars Following Lindelof & De Gea Deals

​Manchester United are looking to tie Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard and Mason Greenwood down to new contracts following the deals signed by Victor Lindelof and David de Gea in recent days.

The Spanish goalkeeper ended months of speculation by putting pen to paper on fresh terms at Old Trafford – news that came as welcome boost to Red Devils fans – before the Swedish centre half followed suit by signing a deal until 2024.


Despite failing to secure key targets during the summer – ​United only brought in Harry Maguire, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Daniel James – months of negotiations have continued behind the scenes at the club. The ​Evening Standard report that the aforementioned trio are next in line for new deals with the ​Premier League side.

Lingard has struggled for form over the past few seasons, but it appears that hasn’t worried Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who sees his future at Old Trafford despite his struggles in front of goal. He currently sits near the halfway point of a four-year deal.

For 17-year-old Greenwood, his rapid rise through the youth ranks looks set to be rewarded with a lucrative new deal that will seek to fend off potential suitors from across Europe. It is added that the duo are expected to come to an agreement with the club without any issues.

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That leaves ​Pogba. While United would be overjoyed to retain the services of the World Cup winner, the report states ‘concerns remain’ over whether this will come to fruition, as the Frenchman publicly talked up a new challenge over the summer with ​Real Madrid pushing to sign the midfielder.

Ideally, the club are looking to avoid a similar situation for the coming summer by securing his long-term future. However, with just under two years left on his present deal – albeit with an optional third in the contract – there is no immediate rush on United’s part. 

Yet the Standard add that, somewhat obviously, that it would be an unfortunate scenario to have the player entering the final year of his deal and running the risk of him becoming a free agent.


Pogba’s head has been turned by Madrid’s summer pursuit, but United hope to convince the player to commit his future – like De Gea has – and form part of a more experienced leadership group to bring young players on. It has previously been suggested Pogba could even become the club’s long-term captain.

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Sead Kolasinac Opens Up on Knife Attack Ordeal With Arsenal Teammate Mesut Ozil

​For the first time since the incident occurred in July, Sead Kolasinac has publicly discussed the attempted knife attack he and teammate Mesut Ozil endured in London, explaining the aftermath was ‘mentally tough’.

While out with their respective partners, the Arsenal duo were ambushed by the gang on mopeds, wielding knives. Incredibly, as seen in footage that went viral, the would-be attackers were chased away by the unarmed but fearless Kolasinac.


The heroics of the Bosnia & Herzegovina defender garnered widespread acclaim, after CCTV footage of the terrifying ​attack appeared online. Both the ​Arsenal pair and their partners, escaped unharmed, with the duo given permission to miss the Gunners’ opening ​Premier League game of the season. 

Ahead of the club’s Europa League clash with Eintracht Frankfurt, Kolasinac spoke to the media to discuss the incident for the first time publicly since it took place.

“Well, of course I’m happy to be back. Of course mentally this was hard, missing also training for a couple of days,” he said, via the ​Mirror. “I made up for it. I’m back and happy to be back with the team and able to perform with them on the pitch with the team.”

Even after chasing off the thugs and getting to safety, the dreadful ordeal wasn’t over, as further threats were made to the pair, leaving them under 24-hour watch. Extra security concerns arose as it is believed the situation has ​escalated into a gangland feud, with a rival Eastern European gang standing guard for the duo and warning the assailants that the Arsenal stars were ‘off-limits’.

Nevertheless, with the situation tranquil once more, the left back insists him and ​Ozil still don’t speak much of the ordeal, instead honourably placing their focus on winning football matches for the Premier League side.

“About what happened I don’t want to talk about it in details. It’s happened and it’s something that belongs to the past. The same with Mesut,” he added. “We are back and we focus on our job and team. We have a very important match ahead here in Frankfurt.”

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Zinedine Zidane Reveals Most ‘Annoying’ Aspect of Real Madrid’s Crushing Defeat to PSG

​Zinedine ZIdane has bemoaned his side’s lack of intensity after seeing Real Madrid kick off their Champions League campaign by getting thumped 3-0 at Paris Saint-Germain.

During his first spell in charge of the club, the Frenchman guided Los Blancos to an unprecedented three consecutive titles in Europe’s elite competition, before opting to leave the side shortly after they scooped their third crown.


Having been reinstated in the second half of last season, hopes were that Zidane could reinvigorate a stuttering ​Madrid. Such hopes have dissipated quickly, however, with the pressure mounting on his shoulders after Angel di Maria’s double and Thomas Meunier’s added-time third gave PSG a deserved victory on Wednesday night.

“They were better than us in every department,” Zidane said, as quoted by the ​Express.

“In the play, in midfield, and the thing that annoys me most is the intensity. It’s difficult if you don’t start strongly. They are good at creating chances, that’s not what worries me, it’s seeing my team without the necessary intensity at the high level of this competition.”

With a star-studded forward line that boasted Karim Benzema alongside new signing ​Eden Hazard and ​Gareth Bale – the former and latter of whom both had goals chalked off by VAR – Madrid failed to get going, looking second best in every department at the Parc des Princes.


While not singling out any one star, it was the general effort exerted by his side that dissapointed Zidane, who has also seen their ​La Liga campaign get off to a stuttering start with two wins and two draws thus far.

“We knew they’d pressure us but we didn’t really get properly into the game at any stage.

“Intensity is the most important thing on the pitch,” he added. “You can have your worst game, but if you play with intensity, put your foot in, win challenges, you can win the game – but we didn’t. When we win, we all win. When we lose, we all lose.”

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Atletico Madrid 2-2 Juventus: Report, Ratings & Reaction as European Giants Share the Spoils

​After last season’s enthralling round of 16 encounters, saying that ‘Juventus vs Atletico Madrid will 100% definitely be the best game of matchday one’, was, well, pretty fair enough. 

So thankfully – dire first half aside – the game didn’t disappoint. 

The most ‘must-watch’ game of matchday one was (shock horror) must-watch. 

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It was a game that had everything. Wonder goals, comebacks, a Diego Costa booking for dissent. Everything. 

And here’s 90min’s breakdown of it. 


Atletico Madrid 

Key Talking Point 

Kieran Trippier

Pretty obvious one: the comeback. 

It was the sort of never-say-die performance that we’ve come to expect from Diego Simeone and the teams he has managed over the years, but it was perhaps even more impressive than usual. As, after a fairly busy summer in which Los Rojiblancos bought and sold (roughly) a billion players – five of which featured tonight – these sorts of performances weren’t yet expected. Rather, a feeling-out period between the basically complete new squad and their incredibly angry manager was expected. 

That’s not what we got. 

Instead, we were treated to a vintage Atletico Madrid performance, put on by a group of new players that have instantaneously understood what Simeone wants from them.

Even Kieran Trippier, a serious candidate for ‘most detrimentally terrible footballer of the 2018/19 season’ (along with Shokdran Mustafi – who won the award), has worked it out. He learned how to defend. Who thought that was possible? 


Star Man

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Another pretty obvious one: Joao Felix. 

It’s hard to put into words just how good this kid is, but I’m going to give it a go.

Are you ready for some hyperbole? 

Yeah.’

Great, here it comes: 

Joao Felix is the chosen one. Sent by God himself to fulfil prophecies, stop humans from destroying the world, save the pandas, cure every incurable disease, single-handedly save rock and roll, oh, and become the greatest footballer ever.  

Tonight, Felix was shockingly good. And he will be next week…and the week after that…and the week after that…and the week after that. 


Juventus

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Key Talking Point

Like their tactical approach, their best XI, the Paulo Dybala situation etc. Juventus’ key talking point is rather murky and indefinable. 

Will people talk about Juan Cuadrado’s goal? An incredible counter-attacking goal which harked back to the halycon Jupp Heynckes days at Bayern, or the incredible Real Madrid team of 2017. 

Will people talk about Danilo’s injury? An injury which leaves Juventus without an actual right back. 

Will people talk about the late game collapse? Dropping two points despite leading the game with 20 minutes to go is very un-Juve.

It’ll probably be the collapse which grabs the headlines, as there is the most meat on those bones. 

Leonardo Bonucci,Joao Felix

The fact that Juventus nine of the last 12 UCL goals Juventus have conceded were from set-pieces. The fact that it’s hard to trust Juve’s backline without the injured Giorgio Chiellini. The fact that the midfield offers basically nothing ever. 

See: meat on those bones. 

Expect that meat to fill the Italian newspapers for the next few days. 


Star Man

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Alex Sandro was probably Juventus’ star man, as he roamed forward with authority and conviction; particularly during the second half when he assisted Juve’s second goal of the game. 

Aside from Sandro, Leonardo Bonucci had his moments, and Juan Cuadrado had a single moment (useless throughout the rest of the game mind you), but the rest of the team were rather, well, meh…except for the midfield three, who might as well have not bothered travelling to Madrid at all. 


Looking Forward

This coming weekend Atletico Madrid welcome Celta Vigo to the Wanda Metropolitano, while Juventus face off against Hellas Verona. 


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Bayern Munich 3-0 Red Star Belgrade: Report, Ratings & Reaction to a Routine Win for FC Hollywood

Bayern Munich ran out comfortable 3-0 winners over Red Star Belgrade, on a night when the home side never truly got out of second gear at the Allianz Arena. 

There was less than a minute between Manuel Neuer charging out of his area for a trademark clearance and Kingsley Coman’s header that gave ​Bayern their first-half lead. In between came Ivan Perisic’s smooth stepover and inch-perfect cross from the left. 

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Bayern failed to make their dominance count until the 80th minute, when Robert Lewandowski turned two of the Red Star defenders into the Chuckle Brothers – it was to me, to you as it ricocheted into the Poland striker’s path to slot home. It could have been a different story had Red Star’s Marko Marin curled his strike the right side of the post just minutes earlier however.

There was a late deluge on the Red Star goal as the Serbian side tired. Milunovic turned a cross onto his own bar and a Lewandowski shot was cleared off the line before Thomas Muller added a third.

Here’s 90min’s breakdown of the game below.


Bayern Munich

Key Talking Point


​How exactly
do you replace Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben? It’s a tough question and one of Niko Kovac’s least enviable challenges in his time as Bayern boss. It’s been more than a decade since a Bayern manager was unable to call on the pair!

There was a fresh look and feel throughout this Bayern side, but nowhere more so than the wings – where Ivan Perisic and Kingsley Coman were charged with picking up the iconic duo’s baton. Kovac’s ability has been questioned at times, but when the pair linked up for the opening goal it was certainly a tick in the ‘perhaps he does not what he’s doing’ column.

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​​In defence it was out with the old (Mats Hummels, Jerome Boateng and David Alaba) and in 

with the new as Benjamin Pavard and Luca Hernandez made their Champions League debuts for the club alongside fellow under 25s Niklas Sule and Joshua Kimmich.

With Red Star picking their moments to counter, Kimmich and Hernandez had licence to roam and, in honesty, were more reminiscent of Robben and Ribery as they stretched play and whipped crosses in with purpose.

Niko Kovac

However, following their tame exit against Liverpool last year, Bayern fans would have been hoping for a little more intensity. There was a nagging doubt they could have stepped it up a gear or two and really put Red Star to the sword. It wasn’t until the final ten minutes that Kovac’s side made their dominance count.

There’s clearly still room for improvement and we’ll have a better idea of how good this Bayern side is when they head to ​Tottenham in a fortnight.


Player Ratings

Starting XI: Neuer (7); Kimmich (8), Pavard (6), Süle (6), Hernández (7); Tolisso (7), Thiago Alcántara (7), Perisic (7), Coutinho (8*), Coman (8); Lewandowski (7)

Substitutes: Martinez (6), Gnabry (6), Muller (7)


STAR MAN: 

On a night where Red Star played with impressive defensive shape and put bodies on the line, Philippe Coutinho‘s trickery was key to Bayern’s creativity. In first-half commentary on BT Sport he was described as a ‘man who owns the ball’ and they weren’t wrong as he brought the cliche of lending the ball to his teammates to life.

​He was always an option, spreading play, flicking the ball behind the Red Star defence and pulling off a cheeky back heel.

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The only fly in the ointment was the sheer number of pot shots and long-range strikes the Brazilian took. Maybe he was eager to impress on his Champions League debut for Bayern, perhaps he’s still building an understanding with his teammates or more likely greed got the better of him. 


Red Star Belgrade

Player Ratings​

Starting XI: Borjan (7); Gobeljic (6), Milunovic (5), Degenek (7), Jander (6); Cañas (6), Jovancic (6), García (6), Marin (7), van La Parra (6); Pavkov (6)

Substitutes: Vulic (5), Boakye (5), Vukanovic (5)

Looking Ahead

​Bayern’s toughest Group B test awaits them on the next ​Champions League matchday when they travel to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Before that, it’s back to ​Bundesliga action, where the German champions will be expecting maximum points from fixtures against Cologne and Paderborn.

Red Star drew with Napoli and beat Liverpool in Belgrade in last year’s Champions League campaign, so will be hopeful of a positive result when Olympiacos visit in just under two weeks.   

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