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Thierry Henry glad to take motivation from experienced Simeone

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Thierry Henry

Juvenile mentor Thierry Henry conceded he could gain so much from Atletico Madrid’s experienced manager Diego Simeone as he wondered about the Argentine’s unlimited zest amid his AS Monaco side’s 2-0 annihilation to the Spaniards on Wednesday.

Goals from Koke and Antoine Griezmann secured Atletico’s place in the last 16 of the Champions League and guaranteed battling Monaco will complete base of Group A, finishing their thin any desires for fitting the bill for the Europa League.

Yet, Arsenal and France incredible Henry, whose group have won just once and lost five of their eight diversions since he took up his first administrative activity after a spell as right hand mentor of Belgium, was most in wonder of Simeone’s touchline jokes.

“I have a lot to learn from Simeone. Look how he always acts. His team were winning 2-0 and he never left his players alone. He kept on shouting at them to stay focused and run back,”Thierry Henry said in a post-match news conference.

“That was why we saw Griezmann stop counterattacks on the right wing and through the middle. That intensity which he brings to the team, which he used to have as a player, is incredible.”

While Thierry Henry now can concentrate on endeavoring to guide battling Monaco, who are second-bottom of Ligue 1, to safety, Simeone is focusing on keeping up Atletico’s push for the La Liga title and plotting a conceivable way to the Champions League final, which will be held at their sparkling Wanda Metropolitano stadium next June.

After seeing Simeone and his eager collaborates closely, Henry trusts Atletico are more than fit for winning Europe’s elite competition, in the wake of losing two finals in horrifying conditions to Real Madrid in 2014 and 2016.

“He is so passionate about football, he seems like he is still a player. For me Simeone is a reference point for all coaches,” Henry said.

“Why couldn’t they win it? They were a second from winning it (in 2014) and they lost another final. With the team and the coach I saw today I say they certainly can. The final is at their place, too. Of course, you have to think about Juventus, Barcelona or Real Madrid. There are many teams that could win the Champions League, and Atletico are one of them,” he added.

Football

Solskjaer-Guardiola Off-field Battle Intensifies Pre Manchester Derby

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Just hours before the match Manchester United’s Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer issued a pre-derby warning to his players. In his statement on Tuesday, Ole said that his team should be ready to be kicked at old Trafford on Wednesday.

“There will be fouls. They will snap at your ankles and heels and kick you,” Ole said generalizing the expectations he has from the opposition.

“Did he say that? With 65% or 70% possession, how do we do that?” said Manchester City’s manager Pep Guardiola in utter disarray. “I don’t like it. My side is not built like that, not at all,” he added condemning Ole’s comments.

Rumored as brutal on the field, Man City has even earlier been accused of committing ‘tactical fouls’ on the field, as per their manager instructions.

However as per the reports, City are bewildered about the fact that United let Ole speak about the issue, even when the stats present a completely different side of the story. According to the numbers issued by Opta, City have conceded 170 free-kicks this seasons, while the city’s red counterpart has conceded 195.

Likewise, City’s players have picked 38 yellow cards and a red card in the league, while United’s player have been shown 64 yellows and four red cards.

“In 10 seasons as a manager, I never prepared for a game thinking about these thing. Never,” said Guardiola. “In football, you sometimes do that [foul] because the actions are so fast. But I never said we should do it to punish an opponent or cancel them. Maybe after the game you can ask him in the press conference,” he added.

However, Solskjaer’s comments still cannot be completely bashed because of what transpired in November 2018, when the teams last met in the Premier League. Guardiola at that time was reportedly given a formal warning by the Football Association for speaking about referee Anthony Taylor.

Presently, the league is evenly poised for both the teams, with United aiming to finish in the top 4 and register a Champions league spot. Meanwhile, City looks to defend their title in neck-to-neck battle with Liverpool.

Also, as referee blows the kick-off whistle in the Old Trafford, the off-field comments and the heated exchange will surely bring some brutality from both sides of Manchester to the game.

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Drake – From Rapper to a Curse on Footballing World

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Drake

Drake is certainly one of the finest artists that this world has been blessed with. The Canadian rapper made the world dance to his tune when his album “Scorpion” smashed records last year.

Though the rapper is still making the world dance, but his rhythm has completely changed within a span of months. As regulated all around the media, Drake has repeatedly posed for photos with footballers, only for their teams to go on and lose in the near future.

“All Roma players banned from taking photos with Drake until the end of the season,” as Roma jokingly tweeted in response to the curse that has went viral across media.

The recent example of his curse extends to the loss of French side Paris Saint-Germain by 5-1 to Lille, only a day after defender Layvin Kurzawa posed for a picture with the rapper.

The superstar on his “The Assassination Vacation” of Europe cursed a long list of players, who dropped significant points or went out of the competition after losing the match.

Arsenal forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang attended a Drake concert at The O2 in London three days before his side lost its Premier League game against Everton. Manchester United also made the list, losing to Wolves in the FA cup quarter-final only a while after Romelu Lukaku and Paul Pogba posed for pictures with Drake.

However, just like the red side of Manchester cursed, the blue – Manchester City, wasn’t spared. City’s striker Sergio Aguero gifted Drake with one of his shirts when the duo met in March, and the striker missed a penalty in Champions league against Spurs in the first-leg.

Interestingly, the curse continued in second-leg, with Aguero scoring a goal in dying minutes, only to be flagged-offside moments later, as the team’s dream of becoming European champions once again crashed.

Therefore, with the rapper’s curse causing trouble in the footballing world, it would be spellbinding to find out who will gather the courage to host him next.

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Football

Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsey Hopeful of Returning after Injury against Napoli

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Aaron Ramsey

Arsenal’s midfielder Aaron Ramsey suffered a muscular injury during the match against Napoli in the second leg of the Europa league quarter final. The Gunners won the match by 1-0 in Naples, Italy and will now play against Valencia in the semi-final.

Unai Emery, manager of Arsenal, acknowledged that after going through an injury in left hamstring, the match against Napoli could be the last game for Ramsey – if he does not recover within three weeks. Ramsey is expected to join Juventus at the end of this season.

However, the Welsh footballer still believes that he can make a comeback for Arsenal with a quick recovery. Since the normal recovery time for a minor strain is minimum three weeks, Ramsey is in a race against time to make an appearance in the final of Europa league, should the team get past The Oranges.

Speaking of Aaron Ramsey with Sky Sports, Emery said, “His progress this season is amazing. At the beginning (of the season), he was a little confused maybe, because he is in the last year of his contract.”  

“For us, and for me, he is a very important player but his confusion maybe did not help us at some moments in the season – not like his performances now.

“In his last few performances he has been helping us a lot – and in some of the key moments of this season. His injury is bad news and I don’t know how long he will be out of the team, maybe two or three weeks,” Emery added.

Emery is aware of the fact that he now has to make changes in the team against their match with Crystal Palace, as the Gunners now devote their attention to race for the top four.

As the Gunners boss indicates changes in the team, looks like Aaron Ramsey is not the only player to miss out the match with the Crystal Palace on Sunday.

“It’s very important now to do some rotation. Some players are injured and we need different players with a new energy and a different physical condition,” Emery said.

“Sunday will be very important for us. We need the three points and maybe some players cannot play. But we are going to prepare well. The most important thing is to rest, work a little with the players who didn’t play today, and make sure the players are 100 per cent for this match.”

As Arsenal has reached the semi-finals of the Europa League, full back Ainsley Maitland-Niles asserts that the team is not under pressure now. He claims that Gunners will be doing everything required to win the league as they sit fourth in the Premier League, just ahead of Chelsea on goal difference and one point behind bitter rivals Tottenham.  

Till now, Aaron Ramsey has scored 65 goals in 371 games for Arsenal since 2008 – his transfer from Cardiff City. During his time with the club, the Gunners have won three FA Cups and two Community Shield trophies.

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Football

Unai Emery Asks Arsenal to Ignore External Factors Ahead of Game with Napoli

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Unai Emery

As the Gunners prepare to take on Partenopei tonight, Unai Emery is confident that the away crowd will not affect his team’s game. Arsenal will be playing against Napoli at San Paolo Stadium in Naples, Italy.

With a lead of 2-0 from the previous match against Napoli, Arsenal’s main objective will be to win the match and enter the semi-final of Europa League for the second time in two years.

An expected crowd of 60,000 will be gathered in the stadium to support their home team Napoli and hope for its comeback in the game.

But, Unai Emery trusts that the team can play the game without the support of the crowd. He said, “We know it’s going to be a different match. We are waiting for their best performance here with their supporters, the stadium, the atmosphere, the skills and the capacity tactically. We know 90 minutes here can be long. But I think we are ready.”

Arsenal’s centre-half Sokratis Papastathopoulos admitted that not letting the crowd affect their game play is as important as what happens in the game. 

“The atmosphere will be very good. I already played a lot of times here but I don’t think that changes anything for us. We have a very good team and we trust ourselves. We have players who have played here before. We have to play like the game is 0-0,” Sokratis said.

Unai Emery agrees with the line of thought of Sokratis that they have to play with the mindset of score being equal to both the sides.

However, Arsenal manager asserts that their prime objective will be to not play defensive and score one goal, which would put Napoli on the back foot and to win the game they would have to score a minimum of four goals.

“Our first target is to win. When you score in matches like this, we can take a good advantage with this goal. We are starting the game by attacking when we have the ball and have the space to run but defend when we need as well.

“We want to play thinking to win, thinking to score, thinking to push. We know it will be difficult but our mentality is to play the match thinking to win. They have players with experience, they have a big history. And also, they have a great coach,” Unai Emery said.

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Football

Arsenal def. Watford 1-0; Courtesy Ben Foster Howler

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arsenal

Last updated on April 17th, 2019

Arsenal are back in the top 4 of the Premier League; courtesy a Ben Foster howler in the 10th minute and a red card to Troy Deeney the very next minute, gifting Gunners a 1-0 triumph over the Hornets.

Arsenal were presented an opening goal after Foster made a mess of the back pass in the 10th minute, allowing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to close him down and easily net one past him.

The victory made Arsenal manager, Unai Emery, believe a Champion’s League spot is in his team’s hands. Yet he agreed to the fact that his team should have controlled the match better against 10-man Watford.

“We were working to push the goalkeeper when he wanted to play like he was playing. It’s a very good action from Auba,” Emery said. “I think we can control the match better, and I think it was very important in this position with one player more, to break their lines and to attack the last third better,” he added.

Arsenal had only managed winning two of their away games in 2019 before this match, both of which came against the low ranked sides – Huddersfield and Blackpool in the FA cup draw. The team has stuck together as a good unit all throughout the season, but losing some crucial points, especially in the away games has made their ride topsy-turvy.

The only advantage that Arsenal has with the business end of the season well underway, is that they do not play any of Premier League’s big-six before the season ends. However, it still won’t be a walk in the park for them, as the battle for the Champions League spot continues to invite pressure.

Besides, Watford manager Javi Gracia, speaking to BBC Sport said: “I am very proud of my players. I am not interested in the result, we had our chances, hit the woodwork and created chances with 10 players.”

“I respect the referee’s decision. In my opinion, it is clear, maybe a yellow card but never a red card. I do not agree with the decision,” he added.

Undoubtedly, Watford were the better team that night, but things just didn’t go their way, specifically in the last 20 minutes as they pressed for an equalizer.

Nonetheless, with Arsenal now at 4th, Watford still remains at 10th. Further, as Arsenal plays at the Crystal Palace on Sunday, Hornets would travel to Huddersfield on Saturday for their next encounter.

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