Barcelona been handed crucial Champions League advantage ahead of Bayern test

As long as Benfica aren’t able to overcome Dynamo Kyiv in the final round of Champions League group games, then Barcelona, despite another traumatic start to the season, will qualify for the knockout stages.

In the unlikely event that that precise scenario does occur, it will prove how lucky a coach Xavi Hernandez is for the Blaugranes.

Though nothing is ever set in stone in football, it’s more likely that the Portuguese giants will overcome their opponents, meaning that Barca will have to go to Bavaria and beat a Bayern Munich side that are in fine form.

MORE: Klopp’s brutality

However, the La Liga side might just have been handed a crucial advantage.

Barcelona must beat Bayern Munich to qualify for the UCL knockout stage

Not only could Bayern, theoretically, rest all of their big stars, given that they are already through, but, according to the Daily Mail, the game … Read the rest

Sergino Dest’s future at Barcelona is on the line

Since his arrival as manager, Xavi Hernandez has had several players out through injury. The manager used his resources finely to grind out two wins in his first three games.

Now, Xavi has some injured players returning to fitness. With the squad returning to full strength slowly but surely, one would expect his plan to get on track.

One player who the former Al Sadd manager could not count so far was Sergino Dest. The USMNT defender was injured right from the manager’s arrival, but is now said to be closer than ever to his return.

In his absence, Xavi gave opportunities to Oscar Mingueza before reverting to a three-man defense against Benfica. In the last game, Barcelona were seen using Eric Garcia as a right-back in the opening period.

One would expect Dest’s return to fill the void instantly upon his return. However, according to reports from MARCA, the … Read the rest

Liverpool fans may be most shocked by 29-year-old’s omission from top 10 Ballon d’Or list in his position

Amidst the outcry against Mo Salah’s finish at the Ballon d’Or awards, some Liverpool fans may have missed out on the omission of Alisson Becker in the ceremony’s ranking of the top ten goalkeepers in world football.

The Brazilian international was beaten to the punch by fellow English top-flight shotstoppers in Edouard Mendy, Ederson and Kasper Schmeichel, as noted in a tweet from @francefootball.

The Reds endured something of a difficult campaign last year, which undoubtedly played a significant role in the voting of Jurgen Klopp’s men.

READ MORE: ‘Plain disrespectful’ – Liverpool fans slam ‘joke’ Ballon d’Or award as Mo Salah snubbed

Whilst we wouldn’t be prepared to argue that Alisson was categorically the leading goalkeeper for the calendar year, we find it utterly inexplicable that he didn’t make the top ten.

By his own … Read the rest

Man Utd are too “scared” to get the best out of Cristiano Ronaldo at the moment, says pundit

Manchester United’s tactics currently make them look like a team that’s too “scared” to give Cristiano Ronaldo much to work with in attack, according to Michael Owen.

The Red Devils have been in poor form recently, leading to the sacking of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, with Ralf Rangnick now coming in as interim manager until the end of the season.

One imagines the German tactician will change Man Utd’s playing style considerably once he’s had time with the squad, but Owen is not happy with what he’s seen from his old club recently.

The former United striker believes the team have not been making use of Ronaldo up front because their fear has led to them playing with too many defensive players.

Instead, the pundit is urging MUFC to use more of their best players and try to play to their strengths, instead of fixating so much on protecting their unconvincing … Read the rest

On a tightrope: Three budget strikers Barcelona can sign in the summer

Xavi Hernandez has come back to Barcelona in a new capacity — as the head coach. And he comes in with some (read several) problems to solve, most of them on the pitch.

To do that, he’s looking to bring in some reinforcements with multiple positions in mind. And it is no new news that the striker position is one that drastically needs some reinforcements.

During Barça’s game against Alaves, Sergio Aguero went down injured with chest pains. Later, it was revealed that he had been diagnosed with a heart condition, which had come to haunt him again, also eventually ruling him out for three months.

This now leaves the club with just Memphis Depay as an option up top, leaving the centre-forward position very shallow.

The financial situation is another problem that lingers on. Reportedly, Barcelona only has about €10 million to spend in the January window, so if the … Read the rest

(Video) Watch as the Everton supporters boo their players off the pitch ahead of the Merseyside Derby

Next up is the Merseyside Derby and it’s fair to say that the mood amongst the Everton supporters is not as good as that of the Liverpool fans.

Following a 1-0 defeat to Brentford, Rafa Benitez’s side are without a win in seven games and the pressure is piling on our former boss.

The Goodison game is the first in 124 years where a manager who has been in charge of both clubs will be in the dugout as the Spaniard is set to replicate the feat set by William Edward Barclay.

READ MORE: Everything you need to know as Mo Salah’s hunt for this year’s Ballon d’Or concludes this evening

Both sides are in vastly different form and so Jurgen Klopp’s men will be favourties for the match but the old adage of form going out of the window for a derby game, means that it is sure to … Read the rest

FURIOUS Cristiano Ronaldo stormed off the pitch without shaking hands with Chelsea players

A furious Cristiano Ronaldo was seen storming off the pitch at the end of Manchester United’s 1-1 draw away to Chelsea yesterday.

Jadon Sancho opened the scoring for Man Utd at Stamford Bridge, before Jorginho’s penalty earned the home side a point.

Ronaldo didn’t start the game and clearly didn’t seem happy with the decision of caretaker manager Michael Carrick as he quickly left the pitch at the end of the game without shaking hands with Chelsea players.

The Portugal international seemed to be shaking his head and muttering to himself, which we also saw from him after another game earlier this season.

Barcelona defender might leave the club after eight seasons with the first team

While the Ousmane Dembele contract saga continues to dominate the headlines, the situation of versatile Barcelona defender Sergi Roberto has gone a bit under the radar.

The 29-year-old, who was named the fourth club captain for this season after Lionel Messi’s departure, is also in the final year of his contract and talks over a new deal have not progressed, reports Mundo Deportivo.

A product of the La Masia youth setup, he made his senior debut in 2010 but became a full-fledged member of the first team from the 2013/14 season. Having started out as a midfielder, the Spaniard morphed himself into a right-back in recent years and has been a handy utility player for the club.

To date, he has amassed 316 appearances for Barca, bagging 12 goals and 37 assists. However, his importance within the team has been receding with each passing season, while injuries have also hampered … Read the rest

(Video) “We’ve got to keep the momentum going” – Jordan Henderson on current form and looking ahead to the derby

Jordan Henderson was pivotal in Liverpool’s 4-0 victory over Southampton and spoke with the media after the game.

Our captain was full of praise for what has been a tremendous Anfield week with 10 goals scored and 0 conceded, across three big wins.

Of course, the key now is to keep this form up and ensure that we attack the festive period with everything we have.

READ MORE: (Video) ‘We are really happy’ – Thiago on a week of fantastic Anfield results with 10 goals scored and 0 conceded

He said: “The performance level has been really high over the last few games, defending as a team properly, a threat going forward, some good football at times and so overall we’re in a good moment and we need to continue that.

“I know how quickly football can change so we’ve got to keep the momentum going and keep the consistency Read the rest

Worrying-looking stats could actually give Man United cause for optimism about life under Ralf Rangnick

Manchester United are not a very Ralf Rangnick-like team at the moment, the stats suggest.

An intriguing report from The Athletic shows just how big a job Rangnick would have on his hands upon taking over at Old Trafford, with the current crop of players seemingly not at all used to the kind of demanding style of the highly-regarded German tactician.

See below for The Athletic’s graphic, which illustrates just how far behind Man Utd are at the moment in terms of doing the things Rangnick tends to expect from his teams, though could there also be a hint of optimism in the data?

Right up there in the top three slots are Liverpool and Chelsea, managed by Rangnick-influenced Jurgen Klopp and Thomas Tuchel, respectively.

Both these teams have been among the best in Europe in recent times, and are battling it out for the Premier League title this season.… Read the rest