Five Reasons Why Neymar Should Commit his Long-Term Future to PSG

Neymar’s future was the subject of constant speculation over the summer, with the Brazilian linked to a move to both Real Madrid and a return to Barcelona.

Neither moves transpired, and Neymar will be at PSG until January at the very earliest.

Intriguingly, Neymar’s odds for a move back to Barcelona apparently shorten by the day, and with the Brazilian clearly far from happy at Parc Des Princes, it seems as though he will be going back from where he came.

His status as a £200m man, despite his lack of a World Cup winner’s medal, has obviously been a psychological burden for a man who knows that time is running out to address both his international and club-level shortcomings.

However, despite lacking the same chemistry with PSG that he enjoyed at Barcelona, there are several standout reasons as to why he should stay in the French capital.

  1. Title Future Safe at PSG

Firstly, and foremostly, PSG offers stability and a guaranteed place in the starting XI, and in becoming such an expensive asset, Neymar is very much a victim of his own success. There are precious few other clubs that could offer Neymar everything he wants, while also restructuring their wage bill just to accommodate him.

Other perennial winners, such as Juventus and Manchester City, have also been mooted as candidates. However, despite being a a popular choice in just about every match they play, those clubs’ respective leagues could well prove too physical for him. In any case, neither City nor Juventus have made an optimal start to their title defences, which should further deter him.

Then there is the possibility of Neymar’s only other realistic suitors going through transitional periods over the next few years – if they aren’t already. Real Madrid, for instance, are still recovering from a dreadful 2018/19 season, having failed spectacularly to build on 2017/18. In response, Real went ballistic in the transfer market, with Eden Hazard (at 100m euros) being the marquee signing of a very busy summer.

With so much new talent in the Real squad, Neymar would be a risking a place in the starting XI every week. In a sign that the ‘Galacticos’ are still gelling as a unit, PSG also thrashed them 3-0 on the opening matchday of the 2019/20 Champions League group stage, perhaps giving Neymar some first-hand food for thought.

  1. Champions League 19/20 Could be PSG’s Best Chance Yet

While already a Champions League winner with Barcelona, his aim is now to join an elite group of players that have won the prestigious trophy with two different clubs in different countries. PSG’s continued lack of a Champions League trophy this century is truly frustrating, given the sheer volume of investment.

A front three of Cavani, Mbappe and Neymar should be reaching the semi-finals of the Champions League every year at least, but with four English clubs locking out the semi-final spots in both European competitions last season, PSG fans are under no illusions. The heavy presence of Spanish clubs in the latter stages is also a major obstacle for PSG, even if they have – as already noted – humiliated a Spanish giant in this season’s edition.

If the Champions League is indeed all that Neymar is holding out for, there must surely be a way he can covertly reserve his energy in Ligue 1 games, which PSG should win consistently – even with a squad that is only operating at about 70-80% its full throttle.

A PSG side reserving its best for the Champions League should have no trouble ploughing through the group stage at least. Having already scorched Real Madrid and avoided conceding an away goal to them, Club Brugge and Galatasaray should prove to be easily-negotiated obstacles – particularly at home.

Significantly, PSG are still unbeaten in Champions League group stage home games this decade, with December 2004 being the last time they suffered such an indignity. The last two seasons have also seen them win all group stage home games against the two lowest-seeded sides in the group, and while victories against such opponents seem insignificant, the foundation must always be there for a strong knockout run thereafter.

   3&4. World Cup Hopes & A Wholesome Legacy

Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/121483302@N02/14721546182

While Ligue 1 is a far less competitive league than La Liga or the Premier League, winning trophies is a habit. So too is dealing with the pressure of playing in a tournament of superlative stature, at both club and international level.

Whether victory is forthcoming or not, experience counts for everything, and with Neymar now being a veteran of two World Cup campaigns, he knows that 2022 will be his time to combine the winning feeling with his now-vast experience of international football.

Given how it will disrupt the conventional European football schedule, Qatar 2022 will be a tough tournament for the usual favourites – assuming Brazil qualify in the first place as expected.

Even in winter, acclimatising to the desert climate will be difficult, and this is something that is open to exploitation from someone who knows how to win, and still has the legs to cash the goods the brain is demanding. Neymar, by 2022, will still be firmly in that category, but his ability to persist through all adversities can only be nurtured in this now-testing spell with PSG.

By that point, his vast experience and mental resilience – even if not tangibly rewarded – could still be put to good use at Parc Des Princes. With mass investment comes some fearsome youth talent, and despite having the ability to sulk like few others, Neymar’s natural competitive streak will provide a good example to emerging talents over the next few years.

  1. Warm Welcome Not Guaranteed at Nou Camp

Barcelona are his likeliest suitors, and while it is a move that makes a lot of sense, there is the potential for a myriad of problems. Naturally, from a playing perspective, he would be a welcome inclusion in a squad full of now-aging serial winners, but there is still the question of how he could reintegrate amongst the Blaugranes’ XI.

Lionel Messi has already spoken with dismay at Barcelona’s failed recapture of Neymar. Although Messi himself may well find himself joining the expected exodus to the MLS in the early 2020s, Neymar’s presence may be more resented than welcomed amongst those who value Messi as much as the club itself.

That would especially be the case if Neymar’s reacquaintance with the Blaugranes in any way hastened Messi’s departure, or forced others – like Luis Suarez and Arturo Vidal – into seeing that as a signal to move on. Too many leavers at once will only disrupt Barcelona’s indomitable spirit, and that is not the legacy Neymar ultimately wants.

 

Williams has the chance to equal incredible record after reaching US Open final

Women’s tennis star Serena Williams has the chance to win a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam singles title, when she takes to the court in the US Open final on Saturday.

Williams reached the final with relative ease, after a 6-3 6-1 win over Ukrainian fifth seed Elina Svitolin in the semi final.

The American – who already has six US Open titles to her name – faces 19-year-old Candian Bianca Andreescu, and is aiming to win her first Grand Slam since giving birth to her daughter in September 2017.

Serena’s opponent advanced to the final after defeating Swiss Belinda Bencic 7-6 (7-3) 7-5.

This year’s US Open is only Andreescu’s fourth Grand Slam appearance – and she was incredibly born nine months after Williams won her first title at Flushing Meadows in 1999.

The match can be streamed live on Amazon Prime video.

 

Can St Helens Bounce Back From Wembley Disappointment?

St Helens head coach Justin Holbrook has the job of lifting his players from the disappointment of losing to Warrington Wolves in the final of the 2019 Challenge Cup at Wembley as they bid to end the season on a high.

Saints went into the final as the heavy favourites. However, they were unable to transfer their high scoring form from the Super League into the showdown for the trophy, while Warrington raised their game to hold their rivals to just four points in a 18-4 scoreline success to make up for their own heartbreak 12 months earlier.

It had been 11 years since St Helens had reached a Challenge Cup final and the last chance for Holbrook to get his hands on that particular piece of silverware before he leaves the Merseyside club at the end of the year to take up the coaching job at Gold Coast Titans in the NFL.

When Theo Fages crossed the line in the second half for Saints, they looked set to begin a comeback against Wolves. Yet, Lachlan Coote’s missed conversion soon ended any hope of the favourites getting back into the contest.

Holbrook will be desperate his players recover quickly and change their focus on the Super League, where they have the chance to still finish 2019 on a high and prove they have been the best team in the country this year.

St Helens are 16 points clear at the top of the Super League table after what has been a superb campaign for them in the regular season so far. Their latest success came against Castleford Tigers where they won 4-0 in a low scoring game at the Totally Wicked Stadium.

There are two rounds of fixtures left in the season before the play-offs. Saints have to face Huddersfield Giants at home, while they then travel to the KCOM Stadium to take on Hull FC in the final game of the regular season.

The league leaders have rugby league odds of 8/11 to come out on top at Old Trafford in Manchester in October. Given they now have first place secured and the League Leaders’ Shield in the bag, they will head straight into the semi-final where they will face one of the quarter-final winners.

Holbrook’s men will get a second chance to qualify for the Grand Final if they lose their opening semi-final tie as they will take on the winners of the second semi-final at home. If he reaches the championship-deciding game, it will be the Australian’s first experience of the match at Old Trafford as he has yet to guide his side there in his three-year stint at St Helens.

The last time Saints were in the Grand Final was in 2014 when they beat Wigan 14-6. The five-time winners have just Leeds ahead of them in the standings on who has won the trophy the most since the Super League was launched in 1998.

The pain of the defeat to Warrington is likely to be hurting the camp but they can soon get over that disappointment with Grand Final success on October 12.

Aussie star man Smith ruled out of Ashes third test

England were handed a boost ahead of their third Ashes test at Headingley on Thursday after the announcement that Steve Smith would be missing for Australia.

Smith misses out after suffering concussion during the first innings of the second test at Lords, when the 30-year-old was hit in the neck by a 92mph bouncer from Jofra Archer.

Despite the blow to the neck, Smith was allowed to conclude his first innings after passing a concussion test.

Australia coach Justine Langer confirmed the influential player would be absent during the third test after sitting out training on Tuesday.

Smith has scored 142, 144 and 92 in the three innings he has faced so far in the series.

Questions have arisen as to how Smith was allowed to return to the crease after the blow to his neck, with Brain injury charity Headway saying it was “incredibly dangerous” for Smith to resume his innings.

“You need to take an ‘if in doubt’ approach,” said Headway deputy chief executive Luke Griggs.

“With concussion, the vision can be blurred and the brain can be slow at processing information. That leads to delayed reaction times and is just incredibly dangerous.”

What will Frank Lampard the Manager Bring to Chelsea?

A couple of months ago, Frank Lampard was labelled hot favourite to be named next Chelsea manager as soon as the rumours about Maurizio Sarri’s possible exit after just one year at Stamford Bridge started to surface.

The bookies confidence in Lampard being installed as the new man at the helm was justified, with Lampard taking the reins at Stamford Bridge ahead of the 2019/20 season.

There will be some who feel his appointment as Chelsea manager came just a little too soon and that it wouldn’t have been a bad idea for both club and player to have waited at least one more season before taking what would still have been, a pretty big gamble.

This is after all a club legend, Chelsea’s all-time leading scorer no less, returning to the club as manager under huge pressure to deliver almost straight away.

But maybe one season of management is enough after all. Yes, they were different times but back in 1993 Glenn Hoddle joined Chelsea as player-manager having had just one year of management experience at Swindon. When Hoddle left to become England manager in 1996, Ruud Gullit took over in the same player-manager capacity despite having no experience of being a manager at all. Both were relatively successful.

Lampard will have learnt a lot from his season at Derby. The routine of training sessions, press conferences, travelling, match day preparations and the games themselves over a nine-month cycle.

The highs and lows, the systems that work and the ones that don’t, the sort of players he wants on board and those he doesn’t, the type of opposition teams he finds hard to beat… and those he finds easier.

He will also have learnt plenty about all the pressure and fatigue that comes with the job.

The Championship is a good league in terms of cutting your teeth as a manager but Lampard may just find that Premier League management, where he has more technically gifted players to work with, suits him even better.

Will Lampard Strengthen Legendary Status with Successful Spell as Manager?

Lampard will have nothing if not good will on his side, at least to start with. Not only was he a huge part of the most successful era in Chelsea’s history but he was also always an extremely popular player with managers, other players, the fans and the Chelsea hierarchy during his playing days at Stamford Bridge.

Contrast that with Maurizo Sarri last year, for example. How suspicious everyone was of the chain-smoking Italian who had won absolutely nothing after a relatively long career, had a Plan A but no Plan B and seemed obsessed with asking midfielder Jorginho to run the show, whether that brought success or lack of it.

Lampard knows the ground, the training facilities, the fans, the Board members and to use that tired cliche, the tea ladies. Familiarity can go a long way in football and that’s without even mentioning the players.

Of those who were at the club in his last season at Chelsea back in 2013-14, only Willian and Cesar Azpilicueta are left but as senior figures in the dressing room, that could be an important link between his days as a player and his time as Chelsea boss.

You may have noticed the absence of David Luiz from that list of two. That’s because Lampard decided that the quirky Brazilian was becoming a disruptive influence in the Chelsea dressing room and was someone he didn’t want around. Apparently, Luiz was quite vocal in his support of Sarri, the job the Italian did and his conquering of the Europa League; unsurprisingly, that didn’t sit well with Lampard. Which is why, he sold him to Arsenal for a reported £8m deal.

As it happens, it seems the former PSG defender was keen on the move anyway but what it does also show is Lampard’s ruthless side. He’s not there to treat old team-mates differently or provide jobs for the boys and is confident enough in his management style and personality to do things his way, even if that means upsetting some people along the way. But what is his management style?

What’s Lampard’s Style?

Last year in the ‘regular season’, Derby scored just 69 goals, less than anyone else in the Top Six and a full 24 goals less than champions Norwich City. However, at the other end of the pitch, they conceded just 54 goals, which was less than three of the five sides who finished above Derby, including Norwich.

It suggests Lampard favours a balanced approach. No Gung-ho all-out attack style that you may have expected from a former attacking midfielder but on the on other hand, you’re unlikely to see performances that resemble some of those under Jose Mourinho at his worst: teams set up to play for 0-0 from the off and animated celebrations when the game actually ended up goalless.

The former England midfielder tended to prefer playing a 4-4-2 system and liked to use a blend of youth and experience. Proof of that is that 36-year old Ashley Cole came in to do a job in their promotion push and that at the other end of the age spectrum was Mason Mount. Still a teenager at the start of the season, the Chelsea-owned player featured 35 times in the league. It would be no surprise if Mount ends up getting some game time under Lampard again, this time at Chelsea.

Similarly, his top scorer in the league, Harry Wilson, was just 22 while two of his more trusted midfielders in Tom Huddlestone and Bradley Johnson, were both 32.

So as we said already, he enjoys having a good mix of young and older players.

The Plan for Chelsea

It will be interesting to see if Lampard sticks with his favoured 4-4-2. On the one hand, no-one really seems to use that formation in the Premier League anymore and he could be criticised early on for using a somewhat out-dated system. On the other hand, he has players suited to playing it. A front two made up of two from Olivier Giroud, Tammy Abraham and Michy Batshuayi would provide power, aerial presence and goals and it might just be the one that he starts the season with.

The more likely scenario however would be playing just one of those as a target man, supported by a trio of attack-minded players in support: new man Christian Pulisic and two from Willian, Pedro and Ross Barkley. He’ll have a lot more options once Callum Hudson-Odoi and Ruben Loftus-Cheek return from injuries.

That three would then play in front of the brilliant N’Golo Kante with either the prolific passer that is Jorginho alongside him, or the more mobile Mateo Kovacic.

The four-man defence pretty much picks itself now that Luiz has left and Antonio Rudiger is injured. Kurt Zouma and Andreas Christensen will be looking to impress and make sure that they stay in the XI once the German international returns.

Finally, and no sniggering at the back, Lampard is famed for his absurdly high IQ. Football management is of course rarely about deciding which two shapes from a selection of six are the same (but have just been rotated), or other such exercises typical of an IQ test.

But alongside his outstanding playing career, decent start to his life as a manager at Derby and calm, likeable demeanour…that analytical mind and ability to work things out quickly may just be the missing part in the jigsaw on his way to being a top manager.

 

Finding the Right Soccer Data API Provider

If you’re starting a soccer website, soccer app, sports betting website, or anything that requires high-quality soccer data feeds, whether livescores, in-game odds, or any other live stats, finding the right soccer data provider can be painstaking process. With so many options out there, how do you identify the right one?

Once you get into the process of searching for one, it can lead to more confusion than it’s
worth. Knowing what to look for and what to avoid, will help find a provider to help drive your business.

Many providers make promises that seem perfect for your needs. However, are they
trustworthy? Do they deliver the instantly fast data as they claim?

A poor-quality livescore provider can damage to your business

Choosing the wrong provider is not only a waste of time and money, it can lead to losing customers and cause irrevocable damage to your business.

It’s not the road to go down considering the time and monetary investment put into your business. For this alone, it’s extremely important to utilise a reputable vendor that delivers accurate and timely data.

Be careful of the free soccer API’s. In most industries, especially in this one, you get what you pay for. And if you are running a serious business or project, you don’t want to rely on a free data source. It will end up costing more in the long run with customers lost, and time and resources necessary to get your business back on track.

Depending on the size of your business, the bigger providers who come with a great reputation of reliability and accuracy may not be the best fit as many come way overpriced. These providers position their services at such a premium that they price themselves out of reach for medium-sized or start up organisations.

Essential characteristics to look for soccer livescore API provider

Brandishing the right soccer livescore API is critical for businesses driven by live soccer data. Data accuracy and livescore speed are at the top of the list of important characteristics in a provider.

We can’t stress enough the importance of both especially if livescores are at the centre of your business. Both can cause major harm to consumer trust and credibility in your product if the data is unreliable. Even a small delay in livescore updates can have major negative implications.

Coverage is another important factor to consider. Does the provide cover the leagues you need or will need in the future?

How about the backend? API flexibility is a key component when it comes to setup. Wasting huge amounts of time in internal resources with API setup due to complex or inefficient coding is an inefficient way to allocate your resources. Then there’s the support system. How responsive is the provider? How fast are problems resolved? All are important elements to assess when selecting the best live score soccer provider.

The right soccer live score provider solution

Enter Goalserve, a leading sports data provider with 15+ years of experience in this space, dedicated to delivering high quality live sports data with a unique value proposition and competitive rates.

Goal Serve soccer livescore data API feeds feature:
– Live score and statistics updates
– In-play odds
– Goal scorers, assists, and saves
– Yellow cards / red cards
– Live lineups and substitutions
– + much more

Competitive advantages of using Goalserve feeds for live soccer data include:
– Lightning-fast livescore data delivered in over 20+ languages.
– Coverage of over 400+ soccer leagues worldwide.
– Fully customisable and flexible API via a no-nonsense approach.
– Compatible data delivery formats (XML/JSON) integrates with any system (.NET, PHP,
Perl, Cold Fusion, + many more).
– Commitment to client’s needs with 24/7 customer support.

Who are the NRL 2019 Contenders?

The Sydney Roosters narrowly finished atop the table in the 2018 NRL season, creeping ahead of the Storm in the final round and finishing just a solitary game ahead of the Warriors in eighth in what was an incredibly close season.

Throughout the finals series, however, they showed that they were every bit the best team in it, dismissing all challengers they came across with aplomb. This season, they are tipped to be the team to beat again, but nipping at their heels is a long list of talented teams. Let’s take a look at the top contenders heading into 2019.

Sydney Roosters

The Roosters, fresh off their fourth victory in the World Club Challenge in mid-February, will head into the 2019 season full of confidence and eager to become the first team since the league went national to win back-to-back Premierships. Despite their triumph last season, the Roosters will most likely be an even better side this year. Angus Crichton is a huge addition, the 23-year-old back rower set to make an immediate mark in a forward pack that is already one of the best in the league. Englishman Ryan Hall could be an important addition once he recovers from a knee injury, while all three of James Tedesco, Joseph Manu and Latrell Mitchell have the capacity to take their games to yet another level. The Roosters roster is a scary prospect for any side, and they are deserved favourites as we enter another season.

Brisbane Broncos

The Broncos are an enigma. In 2018, they finished sixth after an up-and-down season, and were promptly belted by the Dragons in the first week of the finals. A disappointing end to the year no doubt, but heading into 2019 there is plenty of reason for fans to be optimistic. The Broncos have a young but extremely talented forward pack, while Anthony Milford and Kodi Nikorima have the potential to be a dangerous halves combination. They will also receive a boost from the returns of Matt Gillett and Jack Bird, each of whom missed a large portion of the 2018 season due to injuries. Brisbane had a difficult off-season with Anthony Seibold taking over the coaching reigns from Wayne Bennett in controversial fashion, but the talent they have on the field is undeniable, and if they can put it all together they may just be one of the best chances to challenge the Roosters.

Melbourne Storm

The perennially successful Melbourne Storm deserved plenty of credit for making it through to the Grand Final last year despite the loss of Test halfback Cooper Cronk – who would ultimately play a vital role in the Roosters’ victory over his old side on Grand Final day – but that would have been of little solace after they failed to defend their 2017 Premiership. This year, they will again have a huge hole to fill after the retirement of Billy Slater, and how either Jahrome Hughes, or Scott Drinkwater fares as his likely replacement will have a major impact on how deep into the finals they are able to go. With Cameron Smith still hanging around, and plenty of capable support in the form of Josh Addo-Carr, Jesse Bromwich and Will Chambers to name a few, the Storm should find themselves there or thereabouts at the pointy end of the season.

South Sydney Rabbitohs

The South Sydney Rabbitohs won’t have to wait long for their chance at revenge against a Roosters side that knocked them out of the finals in 2018, with the Round 1 match-up between the two sides sure to be quite the spectacle. You can check out the full Round 1 fixture and odds here: https://www.odds.com.au/sport/rugby-league/nrl/.

The Rabbitohs were a good team last year, finishing the season in third place, and this year they will probably be even better – though not necessarily due to changes in on-field personnel. The most successful coach in Australia Rugby League history, Wayne Bennett, will attempt to lead the Rabbitohs to a 22nd Premiership in 2019 after moving across from the Broncos, and with a squad as talented as the one he has at South Sydney, it would be of little surprise if he managed to do exactly that.

Who looks the strongest team in the NRL?

There’s no doubt that the Sydney Roosters head into the 2019 NRL season as the team to beat – they were the best side last year and have made some valuable additions to their squad in 2019. As 2018 highlighted, however, the league is as close as it’s ever been, and there are plenty of teams more than capable of challenging the reigning Premiers. The Broncos are capable of beating anyone on their day, the Storm have a culture of success and the experience to go deep, and the Rabbitohs have added the game’s best coach to a great roster. Add to that the probable improvement of the likes of the Panthers, the Dragons and the Sharks, and it wouldn’t surprise to see yet another bottleneck at the top of the table come the end of the season. Bring it on.

 

Jamie Vardy is no longer having a party

The 2018/2019 season is proving to be one of the more trying ones for Jamie Vardy at Leicester as the striker battles to adapt to Claude Puel’s tactics.

The Leicester boss insists his players keep the ball given he favours a more possession-based style. But that doesn’t always get the best out of Vardy, who is more of an old-fashioned striker that thrives on collecting through balls and finding the back of the net.  

Vardy has now admitted that Puel’s style doesn’t suit him – but that won’t stop him from trying. In fact, the 31-year-old has suggested that it is up to him to find a way to make it work under Puel and rather pointed towards working harder in training as a way of it all coming together. Despite Vardy’s pragmatic tone, his comments will be slightly worrying for Leicester City fans and for the more cynical among them. The timing may be quite curious as well with the January transfer market just around the corner.

After all, this is a striker who played a massive part in their title-winning season as he broke the record for scoring in the most consecutive games in Premier League history. If Vardy is happy in a certain system, he will always score goals and now that he is retired from international football he should be able to keep playing at a very high level in the Premier League.

His recent comments may well prompt one of the top six to splash some cash and bring Vardy on board.

Still, you’d have to think that any move to a club in a better position than Leicester would mean Vardy would play second fiddle to someone.

That doesn’t mean an offer won’t arrive for the former Fleetwood Town man. The Foxes may well see the sense in letting him go should Puel also agree that Vardy isn’t a natural fit for his style of football.

It’s not unheard of to think that Vardy may well feel he can win the Golden Boot in the Premier League, but it certainly won’t be this season with his odds at William Hill of being top goalscorer at 50/1 suggesting his race is run already.

That will be frustrating for Vardy, and what he does next will be very interesting – especially if he chooses to grumble a bit more in public.

There’s still every reason to believe Vardy is happy at the King Power and it was only in August that he signed a new and improved deal to keep him at the club until 2022.

One shouldn’t forget though that the last few months at the club would have been a mixture of sadness and agony for Vardy after Leicester owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha was tragically killed in a helicopter crash outside the ground in late October. Both Vardy and Srivaddhanaprabha were very close.

In some ways, it would be more than understandable if the striker was feeling a bit too close to all of it at the moment.

Jamie Vardy’s latest utterances certainly weren’t a “come and get me to another club”, and it’s highly unlikely he would go as far as to say that at any stage given his respect for Leicester City. There is, though, reason to believe he may not be as happy as he was once was and that as well all know in football, invariably leads to a change.  

 

Man Utd unveil club legend Solskjaer as caretaker manager

Manchester United have announced that club legend Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will take over as caretaker manager for the remainder of the season.

Jose Mourinho’s two-and-a-half year stint at the club came to an end on Tuesday, two days after the Red Devils were beaten 3-1 by bitter rivals Liverpool at Anfield.

The club’s start to the season has been a disaster, and Toals Coupon Code who offer free bets tips have noticed a huge drop in punters backing the team this season, and it’s easy to see how, with United as high as 1000/1 with many bookies to claim the Premier League title.

The move may, however, revive their chances of success in Europe, and England’s other domestic trophies. Having said that, United’s odds of winning the Champions League this season are 50/1 – and with PSG up next for the Red Devils, and taking into account their form – it’s easy to see why.

United revealed that the interim appointment would be made before bringing in a full-time replacement in the summer.

After deciding to axe Mourinho, the club moved quickly to secure the services of Molde boss Solskjaer, with the deal finalised within 24hrs of Jose’s departure.

Mike Phelan – who was Sir Alex Ferguson’s right-hand man whilst he was with the club – will join as first-team coach at United, working closely with Michael Carrick and Kieran McKenna.

Solskjaer is fondly remembered for his 126 goals in 366 appearances whilst at Old Trafford in his playing career, but captured the hearts of many United fans none more so than when he was a key part of the Champions League final triumph in 1999, which confirmed the treble.

Speaking after his appointment, Solskjaer said:

“Manchester United is in my heart and it’s brilliant to be coming back in this role,” Solskjaer said upon being appointed.

“I’m really looking forward to working with the very talented squad we have, the staff and everyone at the club.”

United’s chiefs were keen to bring someone in for the interim who understands the club, and executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward was delighted to announce his return:

“Ole is a club legend with huge experience, both on the pitch and in coaching roles,” Woodward said.

“His history at Manchester United means he lives and breathes the culture here and everyone at the club is delighted to have him and Mike Phelan back.

“We are confident they will unite the players and the fans as we head into the second half of the season.”

 

Sarri cannot wait to add Hazard to free-scoring Chelsea attack

Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri took major positives from Chelsea’s free-scoring form without their star man Eden Hazard – but claims the talent will be back into the first team once he’s fit.

Hazard missed his second consecutive match with a back problem as Sarri’s side hammered Burnley 4-0 at Turf Moor.

The talented winger is already a doubt for Wednesday’s Carabao Cup fourth-round clash with Derby, it has been revealed.

There were plenty of Blues players getting in on the goalscoring act at Burnley, as Alvaro Morata, Ross Barkley, Willian and Ruben Loftus-Cheek were all on the score-sheet.

Speaking after the game, Sarri said: “I want Hazard in every match if it’s possible because we have a lot of very good players but Hazard I think is something different.

“I am very happy because the team was able to score seven goals in two matches without Hazard. It’s a very good sign. I want Eden as soon as possible. I don’t know for Wednesday but I hope for Sunday.”

Barkley has been in fine form, and added two more assists in addition to his goal on Sunday.

Discussing the England players form, Sarri said: “Barkley is doing very well in this period.

“He improved in the defensive phase, improved very much. He improved his physical condition because the last season for him was really very difficult.

“He’s a very good player from the technical point of view. Now I think Ross is complete.”