Reading between the lines of Arteta’s press conference

Happy Friday to you.

Mikel Arteta met the press (over Zoom) yesterday, and just over three weeks after we won the FA Cup, we’re back up and running again. As you can imagine there was a lot to get through, with the manager being asked about fitness, Covid-19, fans being allowed back in the stadium, transfers, contracts, the futures of individual players, Black Lives Matter, and more.

The easiest way to do this is by highlighting the most important/interesting bits, so let’s do that, starting with:

Gabriel Magalhaes

When a player is in London on Monday for a medical, there are expectations that he’ll be announced not long after. The thing about transfers is that there are all kinds of little things involved which can prevent the deal being fully completed. There are two clubs involved, the player, his representatives, so there are lots of Is to dot and TsRead the rest

Raonic Makes Masters 1000 Final Return

Milos Raonic advanced to his first ATP Masters 1000 final in four and a half years on Friday with a 7-6(5), 6-3 victory against Stefanos Tsitsipas.

The unseeded Canadian won 90 per cent of first-serve points (35/39) to reach his fourth Masters 1000 championship match (0-3) after one hour and 37 minutes. Raonic is through to his first final at the level since his runner-up finish to Novak Djokovic at the 2016 BNP Paribas Open final in Indian Wells.

“It would be incredible [to win an ATP Masters 1000 title]. Just generally as part of my career, it’s not just the past six months coming back [and] playing. Just with everything else, I want to go to heights I haven’t achieved yet and this is a part of it,” said Raonic. “This is what I’ve worked hard for with very clear, specific goals and I hope that I can get … Read the rest

Serious Sam 4 Gets New Gameplay Footage

Today during the Future Games Show, we saw a new gameplay trailer for the upcoming first person shooter Serious Sam 4.

The new trailer shows off some of the combat in the game through Serious Sam’s mech as he navigates hazards and shooting enemies through Vatican City. The gameplay looks fast-paced with stunning visuals.

According to the developer Croteam, here’s what you can expect from Serious Sam 4:

Humanity is under siege as the full force of Mental’s hordes spread across the world, ravaging what remains of a broken and beaten civilization. The last remaining resistance to the invasion is the Earth Defense Force led by Sam “Serious” Stone and his heavily-armed squad of misfit commandos.

Croteam returns with a high-powered prequel to the Serious Sam series that scales up chaos to unprecedented levels. The classic Serious Sam formula is revamped by putting an unstoppable arsenal up against an unimaginable

Read the rest

Could this be the reason for Nemanja Matic's retirement from international duty?

Manchester United’s Nemanja Matic has announced his retirement from international duty.

The 32-year-old has made 48 appearances for Serbia, scoring two goals.

It is unfortunate timing for his national side, who are due to meet Norway in the Euro 2021 play-off semi-final in October.

The Serbian FA sports director Vladimir Matijasevic told Sky Sports: ‘Other than saying it was time for younger players to take over, Matic did not state any other specific reasons for quitting.

‘We respect his decision. He is 32 years old and he’s had an exerting club season. European club football is demanding and hence we are aware that we’ll have to inject fresh blood into the national team.’

Matic recently signed a new three-year contract at Old Trafford, which raised eyebrows due to his age.

The club’s usual policy for players of a similar age is to renew them on a year-by-year rolling contract.… Read the rest

“There’s a long way to go until October” – Klopp coy over Liverpool transfers

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has refused to rule out potential additional signings, after the Reds nicked Kostas Tsimikas from Olympiacos.

Speaking to the press ahead of the Community Shield showdown with Arsenal this weekend, the boss said there’s loads of time left.

Quoted by The Athletic’s James Pearce, Klopp said: “There’s a long way to go until October,” when asked about transfers. Full quote below:

Call us optimists, but that line from the manager sounds a lot different than if he’d said ‘we’re in for a quiet summer’ – perhaps something is on the horizon?

MORE: ‘It’s not the most likely outcome that he’ll stay’ – German club’s chief speaks out on Read the rest

‘I can only do that with you’ – Messi spells out why Man City move is crucial

The notion that Lionel Messi might stay at Barcelona is getting more and more unlikely, and quotes recently attributed to him might go some way to explaining why he apparently wants a move to Manchester City.

The Argentinian looked completely drained at the end of Barca’s horrific 8-2 defeat against Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals.

Though the Catalans had lost disappointingly in European football’s premier competition against both Roma and Liverpool, Messi’s body language against Bayern was different and suggested he’d had enough.

With the team around him unable to muster up decent performances on a weekly basis, and deals being done such as the Arthur Melo/Miralem Pjanic swap which made no sense other then financial, the chances of silverware both on a personal and club level were getting slimmer.

“The call (to Guardiola) happened, and Messi said to Pep: ‘I want to win the next two Ballon … Read the rest

L’Equipe: Juventus interested in Lionel Messi

Juventus are among the teams interested in Barcelona star Lionel Messi, according to French newspaper L’Equipe.

The Argentine superstar has reportedly told Barca that he wishes to exercise a clause in his contract that will allow him to leave for free this summer, following a disappointing season, highlighted by an 8-2 hammering by Bayern Munich.

Despite the clause reportedly have an end date of June 2020, Messi’s team are arguing that the lockdown caused by the Coronavirus pandemic was an extenuating circumstance that should allow the date to be extended to the end of the revised football season.

Reports from Spain suggest that the Blaugrana are non-cooperative and club President Josep Maria Bartomeu has refused to meet with Messi to discuss the situation futhre,

By all accounts, Manchester City are the Argentine’s preferred destination where he would be reunited with former coach Pep Guardiola.

L’Equipe claim that while City are … Read the rest

‘Everything comes to an end at some point, I will try to enjoy the last few races’ – Sebastian Vettel

Scuderia Ferrari German driver Sebastian Vettel comments from the press conference ahead of the 2020 Belgian Grand Prix at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps:

“I have complete confidence in the guys in my garage and I see it as a sign of respect to give everything I can. We had difficult but also successful moments together. Everything comes to an end at some point. I will try to enjoy the last few races with Ferrari. Seventh place is not what we want to be fighting for, it was a damage control result. In the midfield there is always an exciting battle. I will keep doing my job, I am always optimistic and I see first of all the opportunities, then the problems. – Sebastian explained – ” Everybody likes this track but it’s a bit different this year. What happened last year is still in everyone’s heads… The moment you arrive … Read the rest

The kids are….a fiscal necessity

Player 2019-20 Premier League minutes
Gabriel Martinelli 475
Joe Willock 696
Ainsley Maitland-Niles 1269
Reiss Nelson 614
Eddie Nketiah 636
Emile Smith Rowe 97
Bukayo Saka 1743
Total 4910

This season, Arsenal gave more than 4,000 minutes to academy graduates [and Gabriel Martinelli] aged 22 or under for the first time in over a decade. They also finished 8th in the Premier League table. This is not to assign blame to the academy players for Arsenal’s poor league season but the two facts are not entirely mutually exclusive.

It’s well established that there is a trade-off between points and development. As Arsene Wenger once said, “You pay for the education of young players with points. At some stage, I must say, as a manager you feel lonely to stand up and say, ‘No, I want this boy to play because he deserves it.’ You learn your job at 23-years of … Read the rest

Guga On No. 1: 'Highlight Of My Career By Far'

In the latest profile on the 26 players to rise to No. 1 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, ATPTour.com looks back on the career of Gustavo Kuerten. View Full List.

First week at No. 1: 4 December 2000
Total weeks at No. 1: 43
Year-End No. 1: 2000

At World No. 1
By lifting his fifth trophy of 2000 at the Tennis Masters Cup [now named the Nitto ATP Finals] in Lisbon, Gustavo Kuerten overtook Marat Safin to become World No. 1 in the FedEx ATP Rankings for the first time on 4 December. The Brazilian, who almost retired from the event with severe thigh spasms and back pain, recorded back-to-back wins against Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi to lift the trophy and secure the year-end World No. 1 position. Across three stints between December 2000 and November 2001, Kuerten held the top position for a total of 43 … Read the rest