Besiktas following Everton’s Tosun

He went to Premier League but it has not worked out for him and now he could be going back to his native country. According to Turkish media outlet Sabah, Besiktas are planning on opening talks with Everton to take striker Cenk Tosun on a six-month loan.

The forward has not enjoyed his time in England at all and now he has not be playing almost at all for Marco Silva’s side in recent months. He is widely reported to be close to leaving Goodison Park in January transfer window, as no one at Everton sees him as a realistic option to start regularly up front. His 20-odd months in England since joining the Toffees in January 2018 have not been good and now a return to Turkey could be on the cards.

Tosun scored 16 goals for Turkey in 40 appearances and he has a great reputation in his native country, whilst in England he scored just eight Premier League goals.

Ajax 0-1 Chelsea: Batshuayi comes off bench to secure vital win for Blues

Michy Batshuayi came off the bench to secure a late UEFA Champions League victory for Chelsea over Ajax in Amsterdam on Wednesday evening.

In what was a hard-fought affair, the hosts thought they had claimed the lead in the first-half but Quincy Promes’ goal was chalked out by VAR for offside. Chances were a rarity throughout the 90 minutes but Frank Lampard’s men struck when it counted most as Batshuayi powered home Christian Pulisic’s cross late in the day to secure a crucial three points for the Blues.

Tight offside call sees Promes strike ruled out

It was a slow burning game throughout the majority of the first-half with Ajax goalkeeper Andre Onana making the only real stop as he parried away Mason Mount’s low effort. Callum Hudson-Odoi should then probably have done better as the ball fell to him in the penalty area but he could only skew his volley wide.

Supporters inside the Amsterdam ArenA thought an opening goal had eventually come in somewhat fortunate circumstances. Hakim Ziyech’s cross was deflected towards Promes at the back post, with Dutchman tapping home. However, the strike was ruled out by VAR due to a tight offside call.

Lack of attacking quality

Chances continued to be at a premium in the second-half with Edson Alvarez going closest to scoring without actually causing the net to bulge. From a corner, the Mexican leapt at the front post and his flicked header kissed the outside of the post.

One of the few real chances that the Blues had of the second period was via substitute Michy Batshuayi. The Belgian latched onto Christian Pulisic’s deflected shot and with only Onana in his way, looked sure to open the scoring. He somehow blazed the ball over crossbar though, allowing the hosts to breathe a deep sigh of relief.

Pulisic also had his own opportunity in the closing stages as he drifted infield but sliced his low shot wide of the Ajax goal.

Batshuayi redeems shocking miss

Chelsea did eventually break Ajax’s stubborn resistance and it was Batshuayi who got on the scoresheet. Combining with Pulisic, the Belgian found room in the penalty area to fire home his teammate’s cross off of the bottom of the crossbar and into the net to secure what could be a key result for Chelsea as they aim to qualify for the knockout rounds.

Final Thoughts

Quality really was lacking throughout this game, with both sides struggling to create clear-cut chances. Having said that, Chelsea probably did deserve to take the win. Their youngsters put in a thoroughly professional showing and marshalled Ajax extremely well. Despite not creating all too many opportunities, they hit the front at the vital moment and now claim top spot in Group H ahead of the return leg at Stamford Bridge in a couple of weeks’ time.

Match Report

Ajax: Onana (7); Tagliafico (6), Blind (6), Veltman (7) (de Jong (N/A), 89′), Dest (6); Martinez (7), Alvarez (6) (Huntelaar (N/A), 89′); Promes (6) (Neres (5), 74′), van de Beek (6), Ziyech (5); Tadic (5).

Chelsea: Kepa (6); Alonso (6), Zouma (7), Tomori (6), Azpilicueta (6); Kovacic (6), Jorginho (7); Hudson-Odoi (6) (James (N/A), 90′), Mount (6), Willian (5) (Pulisic (7), 66′); Abraham (5) (Batshuayi (7), 71′).

Goals: Batshuayi (86′)

Referee: Ovidiu Hategan

Yellow Cards: Tadic (49′), Martinez (65′), Zouma (84′)

Red Cards: N/A

Liverpool condemn ´offensive and inappropriate´ Origi banner

Liverpool have condemned a “highly offensive and inappropriate” banner of Divock Origi displayed by supporters ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League clash against Genk.

Reds fans unfurled the banner during the warm-up before the clash in Belgium, which the club say “perpetuated a racist stereotype”.

In a statement issued before kick-off, the club confirmed it took swift action to have it removed.

“Liverpool condemns the offensive banner displayed in our section of the ground prior to kick off,” the statement read.

“To be clear, the image used perpetuated a racist stereotype. This is completely unacceptable.

“We acted swiftly to have the banner removed and we are now working with the local authorities and stadium team in Genk to identify those responsible.

“Any subsequent action will be taken in keeping with our sanctions process.”

Solskjaer dismisses Kane links as Van der Sar distances himself from Man United role

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has hailed Manchester United’s striking options following Roy Keane’s suggestion the club should sign Harry Kane, while former team-mate Edwin van der Sar has distanced himself from the vacant director of football role.

Following United’s 1-1 draw with Liverpool on Sunday, ex-captain Keane – working as a pundit for Sky Sports – stated United should purchase England forward Kane from Tottenham to solve their issues up front.

Marcus Rashford scored in the stalemate at Old Trafford, taking his tally of league goals for the season to four, but Solskjaer’s options up front have been diminished by Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez leaving for Inter, while Anthony Martial is only just returning from injury.

Solskjaer insists he is satisfied with his current pool of strikers, although acknowledged having a player of Kane’s quality would always be a bonus.

“Roy’s quite straightforward, isn’t he,” Solskjaer told a news conference when asked about his former team-mate’s comments ahead of United’s Europa League meeting with Partizan Belgrade.

“For us it’s [about] working hard. Getting Anthony back is going to be a massive boost for us and I’m sure, when he comes back, that’ll help Marcus as well. 

“With the forwards we’ve got and the pace, I’m looking forward to the next few weeks.

“There aren’t many [Robert] Lewandowskis and Harry Kanes – they’re like [Alan] Shearer, [Ruud] Van Nistelrooy, fantastic players.

“Ours are different types of players but I like someone who can finish half a chance and Harry does that, but Harry’s a Tottenham player.”

With United’s transfer dealings having come under scrutiny in previous seasons, the club are reportedly still in search of a director of football.

One name consistently linked with taking up the position has been former United goalkeeper Van der Sar, who has enjoyed success as Ajax’s chief executive officer. 

However, Van der Sar says he is not considering leaving the Eredivisie champions at the moment, telling BT Sport: “I’ve said before, I want to make this a success at Ajax.

“As a player, you always needed to build up qualities and your strengths. Now I’m trying it out and experiencing a lot of different things here, I’ve still some unfinished business here.

“If we could have taken it one step further last year [getting to the Champions League final], it could have been a step already, but at the moment I’m concentrating on Ajax.”

RB Leipzig 2-1 Zenit: Sabitzer stunner seals comeback win

Excellent second-half goals from Konrad Laimer and Marcel Sabitzer saw RB Leipzig claim an impressive 2-1 Champions League win over Zenit.

Yaroslav Rakitskiy opened the scoring after 25 minutes for Sergei Semak’s visitors, thumping in from long range.

Leipzig’s star striker Timo Werner made way at half-time but Julian Nagelsmann’s men were revitalised and the influential Laimer got them back on terms.

A picture-book winner from Sabitzer followed in the 59th minute, lifting the Bundesliga side to the top of Group G ahead of the later kick-off between Benfica and Lyon.

Laimer’s speculative first-minute strike was pushed onto the crossbar by scampering Zenit goalkeeper Mikhail Kerzhakov.

The visitors began to find room on the break and, after Sebastian Driussi wastefully smashed a volleyed attempt into the turf, Rakitskiy emphatically clattered home a bouncing ball from 25 yards when Leipzig failed to clear.

Werner hacked a chance over when Rakitskiy missed a defensive diving header, leaving Zenit’s advantage intact at the interval.

Nagelsmann withdrew the Germany forward before the restart and his replacement Matheus Cunha made an instant impression – juggling the ball inside a crowded Zenit penalty area to fire an overhead kick wide.

That display of flair seemed to spark the hosts and a wonderfully worked equaliser arrived in the 49th minute.

Laimer dummied Ademola Lookman’s pass to Sabitzer and continued his run to collect a perfectly weighted return, arrowing a first-time finish across Kerzhakov.

Zenit attacks became increasingly sporadic, although Oleg Shatov and substitute Yordan Osorio both fired over from clear openings.

Those misses came either side of Sabitzer’s majestic winner, the winger controlling a Lukas Klostermann cross on his chest and curling a beautiful volley into the top-left corner with the outside of his right boot.

Cunha blotted his influential showing by missing a pair of late one-on-ones, but Leipzig saw out a hard-earned triumph.

What does it mean? Leipzig and Nagelsmann earning Champions League stripes

Leipzig were unable to progress beyond the group stage on their Champions League debut in 2017-18 and Nagelsmann suffered a similar fate in charge of Hoffenheim last season. At half-time, their misery looked set to continue in unison, but the Bundesliga side are now well-placed ahead of a tricky trip to Russia.

Laimer pulls the strings

Laimer’s clear gesture to Sabitzer to show exactly where he wanted the pass for his goal was entirely in keeping with a majestic performance from the 22-year-old midfielder, who frequently seemed to see the whole picture unfolding a frame or two before anyone else.

Better not worse without Werner

The home side’s star man laboured before the break and Leipzig improved massively in his absence. The fact it remained unclear whether Werner had been withdrawn due to tactical or fitness concerns told its own story.

Key Opta Facts

– RB Leipzig have now alternated between a win and a defeat in their last eight games in the Champions League (four wins, four defeats).
– RB Leipzig have failed to keep a clean sheet in each of their nine games in the Champions League.
– Konrad Laimer’s equalizer for Leipzig made him the youngest Austrian to score a Champions League goal since David Alaba in October 2013 (22 years, 149 days).
– Zenit’s Yaroslav Rakitskiy scored just the second Champions League goal in his career, eight years and 200 days after his first (Shakhtar Donetsk vs Barcelona, April 2011) – the longest gap between two goals since Nico Pareja had a gap of 10 years and 70 days between goals for Anderlecht in 2006 and Sevilla in 2016.
– By making his Champions League debut for RB Leipzig, Ademola Lookman became the fourth Englishman to play a game in the competition for a German team after Owen Hargreaves (Bayern Munich), Jadon Sancho (Dortmund) and Reiss Nelson (Hoffenheim).

What’s next

Zenit travel to Krylya Sovetov in the Russian Premier League on Sunday, a day on from Leipzig’s Bundesliga trip to Freiburg.

Ajax 0-1 Chelsea: Batshuayi late show earns huge win for Blues

Michy Batshuayi’s late strike earned Chelsea a 1-0 win at Ajax in Wednesday’s Champions League Group H encounter in Amsterdam.

The Belgium striker thumped home fellow substitute Christian Pulisic’s low cross with just four minutes remaining at Johan Cruijff ArenA to earn the Blues back-to-back way wins in the competition.

Batshuayi had earlier wasted a gilt-edged chance for Frank Lampard’s side in a game that had been struggling to get going.

Ajax will feel aggrieved not to have taken at least a point, though, with Quincy Promes on the wrong end of the narrowest of offside calls and Edson Alvarez hitting the post in the second half.

Joel Veltman struck narrowly wide of the right post from 25 yards and Donny van de Beek saw a sweetly hit volley blocked by Kurt Zouma as Ajax started with purpose.

Chelsea gained a foothold, though, and Mason Mount’s low drive was well parried by Andre Onana before Callum Hudson-Odoi flashed an effort wide from the left of the box.

The Blues were spared going behind by the narrowest of margins when VAR ruled Promes was offside by a matter of inches after he turned in Hakim Ziyech’s deflected shot.

Ajax delivered another almighty scare on the hour when Alvarez’s diving header from Promes’ corner cannoned off the right-hand post.

Chelsea really ought to have made Ajax pay when Batshuayi, who had only just replaced Tammy Abraham, blazed over when Mount’s shot deflected kindly into his path.

But Batshuayi did not make the same mistake twice.

Pulisic did brilliantly to get to the left byline and, although the cross was behind him, Batshuayi thumped a left-footed strike off the underside of the crossbar to secure three vital away points.

What does it mean? Away-day successes could prove crucial for Chelsea

An opening-round defeat to Valencia was not the start Lampard would have envisaged.

But two away wins, their first consecutive victories on their travels in Europe’s premier competition since 2013, puts the Blues on six points from three matches.

Ajax, who had won their first two games, are not sitting quite as comfy as they were in Group H.

Batshuayi stakes his claim

Batshuayi has largely played second fiddle to Abraham this season. But with Chelsea’s first-choice striker enduring a subdued evening, Lampard turned to the Belgian to find an answer and he delivered in brilliant fashion.

Creative forces Tadic and Hudson-Odoi not on it

Neither side can be faulted for their efforts or attempts to play attractive football, but it was not the best of nights for either team’s creative forces.

Ajax captain Dusan Tadic had the fewest touches of any player in a low-key first half and was fortunate to escape with just a yellow for a forearm into the face of Willian, while Hudson-Odoi was guilty of several misplaced passes and will have been relieved by Batshuayi’s late intervention.

Key Opta facts

– Ajax suffered their first Champions League group stage defeat since November 2014, ending a run of nine matches unbeaten at this stage.
– Chelsea have kept consecutive clean sheets in all competitions under Frank Lampard for the first time.
– Since the start of the 2016-17 season, Batshuayi has scored nine goals as a substitute for Chelsea in all competitions – four more than any other Blues player.
– Despite only appearing as a 71st minute substitute, Batshuayi had more shots than any other player in the match (4), including scoring the winning goal.
– Hudson-Odoi (18y 350d) became the youngest player to start a Champions League game for Chelsea since Josh McEachran (17y 282d) in December 2010.

What’s next?

Chelsea are back in Premier League action at Burnley on Saturday when they go in search of a seventh straight win, with their next Champions League assignment being the return clash with Ajax on November 5. The Amsterdam side welcome Feyenoord on Sunday.

Mandzukic given permission to start training with another club

Mario Mandzukic of Juventus has been given the green light to start training with another club ahead of a potential departure in January, according to Sky Sports and their branch in Italy.

Manchester United have so far failed to make up for the loss of Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez who both joined Inter Milan this summer, and they continue to be linked with Mandzukic despite failing to complete the move at the very end of the transfer window.

The 33-year-old striker has lost his place in the Juventus team completely with head coach Maurizio Sarri preferring all three of Cristiano Ronaldo, Paulo Dybala and Gonzalo Higuain ahead of him, and has been training away from the squad for the last several days. Sporting director Fabio Paratici has says that the club are talking to Mandzukic in the hope of finding the best possible solution for all parties involved, and they aren’t ruling out his departure, but they would also be willing to let him stay if need be.

Spurs Players Are Going to Keep Trusting Their Manager 100% – Dele Alli (Video)

Speaking after Tottenham Hotspur’s 5-0 thrashing of Red Star Belgrade in the Champions League on Tuesday, Dele Alli said that the players are fully behind manager Mauricio Pochettino, who has come under severe criticism lately due to several disappointing results.

Manchester City go after Tonali

According to a recent report from Gazzetta dello Sport, Manchester City recently sent a scout to watch Brescia youngster Sandro Tonali. The 19 year old has been compared to the likes of Andrea Pirlo in the past, with many dubbing him the next big thing in European football. City haven’t exactly been shy in the past about going after young talent that they want to bring into their growing dynasty, and Pep Guardiola is known for being particularly ruthless in that regard.

Tonali has been a name that has been on the lips of many clubs around Europe, as you can expect, and it seems as if it’ll take quite the offer for Brescia to agree to sell.

That shouldn’t exactly come as much of a surprise, given the nature of the current market.

Now, we have to wait and see whether City really commit to the idea of making it a reality.

Barcelona want Rakitic gone in January

According to a recent report from Sport, Barcelona are believed to be interested in the possibility of getting rid of Ivan Rakitic during the January transfer window. It’s been well known that Barca wanted to sell Rakitic, but it wasn’t yet known whether or not it’d happen in the winter or perhaps next summer. Rakitic has been eager to get away from the Nou Camp in order to begin a new adventure away from the club, and it seems as if he’s going to get the chance to do just that sooner rather than later.

Puig and Alena are also both being linked with a departure from Barca, which could seem to signal a changing of the guard at the club.

They’ve never been shy about making big changes within their squad in the past, and the same can be said of Rakitic.

Now, it’s just a case of finding a team that’s interested.