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Premier League Preview: Can Manchester United beat Arsenal?

Domestic football returns this weekend after the international break and there are some big games in the English Premier League.  None are bigger than the opening game which sees rivals Manchester United host Arsenal on Saturday lunchtime with managers Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger renewing their own personal battle.

Premier League leaders Liverpool face a potentially tricky trip to Southampton whilst Chelsea finish the weekend at Middlesbrough on Sunday.  Here's a look at the big games:

Manchester United vs Arsenal

All eyes will certainly be on Old Trafford as Mourinho and Wenger go head-to-head once more.  The two managers certainly don't get along to say the least.  The Gunners boss will be keen to pick up another three points to keep his side among the title challengers, whilst United are looking for three points just to keep themselves in the hunt for Champions League football next season.

Alexis Sanchez has been in fine form up front for Arsenal this season but having been away with the Chile national team midweek, he often returns a little fatigued from the international break and would certainly be considered a risky selection for your fantasy team this weekend.  Manchester United's defence hasn't been great of late so attacking players from Arsenal that you may want to consider in your fantasy team are Mesut Ozil and Theo Walcott.

Manchester United certainly won't roll over and both they and Mourinho have had the better of Arsenal and Wenger for several years.  However, neither Zlatan Ibrahimovic or Wayne Rooney are firing up front.  Youngster Marcus Rashford was the star in this fixture last season and could be worth a gamble for your fantasy team in this match.

Crystal Palace vs Manchester City
Manchester City are widely-expected to pick up a comfortable three points from Selhurst Park on Saturday after surrendering the lead at the top of the Premier League by being held 1-1 at home by Middlesbrough before the break.  In their previous away game Pep Guardiola's side thrashed West Brom 4-0.

It's a match that many players will be looking forward to with their fantasy sport picks - several goals expected from the visitors.  it must be said though that a clean sheet is no guarantee as Crystal Palace do provide a good attacking threat themselves, scoring twice versus Liverpool recently.

Sergio Aguero, Kevin De Bruyne, David Silva, Ilkay Gundogan and Raheem Sterling should all be considered for your fantasy team this weekend, particularly the first two names on the list.

Southampton vs Liverpool

Although Southampton have suffered back-to-back Premier League defeats, Liverpool's trip to St Mary's on Saturday certainly isn't a guaranteed three points.  The Reds themselves have players coming back from afar over the international break, such as Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino in Peru on Tuesday night.

The Saints can be a difficult side to break down at times with Virgil van Dijk and Jose Fonte two of the best centre-backs in the Premier League.  If his Brazilians are showing any signs of fatigue Jurgen Klopp has Daniel Sturridge and Divock Origi who can come into the starting XI.  Sturridge scored the opener in England's 3-0 thrashing of Scotland on Friday night.

Adam Lallana picked up an injury playing for his country on Tuesday so in terms of fantasy players from this match it's a bit of a gamble.  Liverpool's front three have all been excellent so far this season but their long travels means they are not guaranteed to start.

Middlesbrough vs Chelsea

The Premier League fixtures have been kind to Chelsea this weekend who get an extra day's rest compared to their fellow title chasers, and a trip to Middlesbrough on Sunday could previously have been seen as a favourable match up too.

However, Aitor Karanka's side are unbeaten in their last three league outings - drawing 0-0 at Arsenal, beating Bournemouth 2-0 and then holding Manchester City to a 1-1 draw at the Etihad.  Chelsea are playing so well right now that they are expected to take three points regardless.

Eden Hazard and Diego Costa are on fire - these are the obvious choices to any fantasy team manager.  Pedro could be worth considering too whilst the Chelsea defence has kept five consecutive clean sheets in the Premier League so any one of the back three are certainly worth picking right now.

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Greater London and Yorkshire dominate England’s Euro 2016 Group B campaign

Coral who recently released their 2016 football counties study have followed up the piece looking at makeup of the England team during the group stages at Euro 2016.

The study showed that while the squad includes a variety of players born all over the UK, the majority of the starting 11's were from Yorkshire and Greater London.

Looking at the team on a wider country view the split is quite even between the north and south with the midlands not featuring too highly.

North x7
Midlands x3
South x9

Looking at individual counties the male up was as follows -

Greater London (South) x5
Yorkshire (North) x4
Hertfordshire (South) x2
Buckinghamshire (South)
Derbyshire (Midlands)
Gloucestershire (South)
Greater Manchester (North)
Merseyside (North)
Shropshire (Midlands)
Tyne and Wear (North)
West Midlands (Midlands)

You can read the whole piece here -

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France look to do their talking on the pitch after scandals

With many predicting a talented French side to be among the frontrunners for glory in the upcoming European Championships, Didier Deschamps’ men once again go into a major tournament facing question marks over their unity.

Despite the likes of Paul Pogba, Antoine Griezmann and Anthony Martial providing youthful exuberance to a squad already littered with international quality, recent events, including the loss of Karim Benzema, could well prove costly for France.

As the favourites for the tournament with many bookmakers, should France be able to put recent scandals behind them, they will undoubtedly be in with a shot come the latter stages of the competition.

Pogba, fresh from a stellar season with Italian side Juventus, will be the main man in midfield, with Griezmann and Martial providing exciting attacking options for Deschamps. Griezmann has been in excellent form for Atletico Madrid this season, and could well be a man to look at in the football odds for the golden boot award this summer, with providing a platform to find the best odds throughout the tournament. Odds for the games will likely change as the tournament progresses, so get your bets in now.

The absence of Benzema after a long running blackmail scandal involving team mate Mathieu Valbuena has been confounded by withdrawals at the opposite end of the field for France.

Raphael Varane and Jeremy Mathieu will miss the tournament through injury, along with fellow defenders Kurt Zouma and Aymeric Laporte.

This area of the field will certainly be an area of concern for Deschamps and France supporters, with any more injuries likely to significantly dent their hopes.

Attack may well be the best form of defence for the hosts, and if Olivier Giroud can find his shooting boots, it may be worthwhile backing France having found the best online odds through Bell Internet Limited.

Usual suspects Spain and Germany are likely to provide the fiercest competition to France, with the hosts looking to claim a first international honour since back in 2000.

The mercurial talents of a rejuvenated Dimitri Payet could well be the ace up Deschamp’s sleeve, with the West Ham man coming off the back of a wonderful first season in English football.

Although unlikely to start the opening game, Payet is more than a useful asset to have off the bench.

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Title Race vs Relegation Fight: Two Must-Watch Games

Week 17 of Premier League comes with a crème de la crème Monday football match: it’s Arsenal v Man City, who are occupying the #2 and #3 positions on the Table respectively. It’s been nearly a year since their last game against one another, and by now both of the teams can smell blood, as the title chase is getting more and more intense.

Despite the numerous injuries, the Gunners are down as the favourites to. win this match by the UK-licensed bookie TonyBet, with the odds of 27/20 against the City’s 39/20. However, the difference is rather slight, and it’s only fair as this is bound to be a proper battle, especially considering there’s Leicester City to think about, who’s currently top of the League.

Alexis Sanchez, Jack Wilshere, Danny Welbeck, and Francis Coquelin are all still on the bench duty along with a few others. However, Olivier Giroud is fit as a fiddle and the current golden boy Mesut Özil can be counted on to give a lot of trouble to the upcoming opponents. This game is a brilliant chance for Aaron Ramsey to shine though, so there‘s that to look forward to.

Now Man City isn‘t completely healthy, either. While Sergio Aguero is already in training before the big game, he‘s fresh out of an injury, and it looks like Vincent Kompany will have to sit this one out, too. That‘s surely a better scenario than that which the Gunners are currently having to deal with, and in general the Manchester team has been playing well recently, managing to score a lot.

Another intriguing game is definitely Chelsea vs Sunderland. Under the usual circumstances it would be overlooked as one with a painfully obvious outcome, but this season has been generous with surprises, and not only are the last year‘s defending champions only #16 after as many weeks: they’ve sacked José Mourinho literally two days before a match, smack-dab in the middle of the season.

Guus Hiddink is going to take the Chelsea wheel for the remainder of the season. This decision is a proper déjà-vu as well, considering Hiddink replaced Luiz Scolari in the 08/09 season on February 11th. The team then went on to only lose a single match, which was against Tottenham, and finished in the same position they started with, which was #3.

The squad was hugely different back then – Petr Cech was the keeper, and most of the goals were scored by Nicolas Anelka, Frank Lampard, Didier Drogba, and Salamon Kalou. As it happens, none of them are in the team anymore, but what Chelsea isn’t lacking is talent, and there’s a lot that Hiddink can work with.

While we’ve already seen one big managerial change when Klopp took over Liverpool, this one is bound to be just as interesting, considering it’s rather late into the season and the team seems to be in an inexplicable crisis. It’s tough to predict what’s going to come out of it – but what’s certain is that Week 17 is going to be a treat.

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Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool revival taking longer than expected

In the immediate aftermath of Jurgen Klopp's appointment as Liverpool manager, the former Dortmund coach expressed his surprise that he was taking charge of a club that were in such good shape. Admitting that he did not expect to be taking over a team that were only six points off the top-four, he can have no complaints that he has been playing catch-up.

But a quick look over his shoulder following the Reds' loss to Crystal Palace immediately before the international break will show Watford, Stoke, West Brom and Swansea hot on their heels – and given the relative standings of those clubs, this should give Klopp cause for alarm. They are now seven points behind arch-rivals Manchester United who occupy fourth spot, and also sit below the likes of Leicester, West Ham and Everton.

Whilst the German has not been instructed to get Liverpool back into the Champions League next season – his brief was instead to “develop a recognisable brand of football” – the fans certainly feel that they have been dining away from Europe's top table for too long.

Given Chelsea's failure to perform this season, the Reds would normally be strongly-backed to finish not just in the top-four, but possibly even the top-three, meaning that they would be spared the potential trauma of a play-off to qualify, but it's unlikely that even the most hardcore of Koppites will think it's a safe bet they'll be in the top 3 by Christmas.

They are currently 11/5 with Coral to finish in the top-four come the end of the season, and with a massive game coming up this weekend against present league-leaders Manchester City, a win for Klopp's side would see that price tumble – so get in on the action while you can. In fact, why not double-up by taking Liverpool to win at the Etihad on Saturday at 9/2, and with Coutinho in a ripe vein of form, you can also back the Brazilian to open the scoring at 9/1.

But it's not just punters with plenty to look forward to. Liverpool fans will be only too aware that the fixture list for the second half of the season is far more favourable, with games against Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United, Everton, Spurs and the return game against Man City all at Anfield – so it may be too early to give up dream of mixing it with the likes of Bayern Munich and Barcelona next season.

Time will tell of course – and the charismatic German has earned himself plenty of that with his media-savvy performances enchanting supporters and owners alike. But promising to deliver a title within four years, and then only signing a three-year contract have raised a few eyebrows. We will all know more on Saturday night...

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Will Manchester United or Liverpool triumph in the race for the top four?

With just eight games remaining in the 2014/2015 Premier League season, there are bound to be crucial fixtures which could determine the outcome at both ends of the table.

While a number of teams are battling to save themselves at the wrong end of the table, there are five teams competing for a top four finish in what could be the closest race in recent years.

Arsenal and Liverpool are two teams who find themselves within touching distance of Champions League football, with the upcoming fixture at the Emirates presenting an opportunity for either side to get one over on their closest rivals.

It has all the ingredients of being another enthralling game between the two sides, but while both sets of fans will back their team to win, defeat for either team could signal the end of their top four aspirations and whilst the winning side's fans are busy cheering on their team, those who don't go through may spend a lot more time on the Football Star game at Betsafe dreaming of glory the following season.

Well, that's certainly a lot more portable a game than the FIFA console games!

Superb form

Five consecutive victories has combined with a wonderful run of thirteen games unbeaten which makes Liverpool the in-form team heading into the final furlong of the race for the top four.

Brendan Rodgers accepted that his team were far from their best at Swansea, but the 1-0 victory at the Liberty Stadium ensured they remained just two points behind their fierce rivals and not cut adrift.

Jordan Henderson is currently enjoying a wonderful purple patch in front of goal, but Liverpool will need to perform much better in all areas of the pitch if they wish to leapfrog Manchester United, and potentially Arsenal, by securing all three points.

The clean sheet in South Wales equalled a club record of six away games without conceding a goal – some achievement for a backline that has come under scrutiny this season, particularly Simon Mignolet who looks a transformed player following a spell on the sidelines.

Rodgers may also be boosted by more options in midfield and upfront, with Lucas Leiva and Mario Balotelli poised to return following a groin strain and illness respectively.

Picking up points

Despite still not performing at their very best, Manchester United have shown their unerring ability to pick up vital points when it matters most.

Van Gaal may still have his doubters, but the Dutchman has reignited an element of belief and confidence back into the team that was evidently missing last season under David Moyes.

Their ability to get the job done has carried Manchester United towards a potential return to Champions League football, but they remain miles behind Chelsea and Manchester City in terms of quality.

They will have to be at their very best to see of Liverpool who will fancy their chances of playing against a team who have not been performing well away from Old Trafford.

However, it may be the perfect opportunity for Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao to finally show their quality and make a telling difference in a big game.

The latter, in particular, has struggled to find his feet, and with Robin Van Persie out until April with an ankle injury, it may ultimately be down to Wayne Rooney to lead from the front and fire Manchester United towards an invaluable three points.

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Will QPR do the unthinkable and win back-to-back away games?

Tuesday 10th February will be long remembered as the day when, at the twelfth time of asking, Queens Park Rangers finally managed to win their first away game in the Premier League.

The 2-0 victory at Sunderland not only broke a long-standing hoodoo which threatened to send the club straight back down to the Championship, but also lifted them out of the relegation zone.

There is still plenty of work to do before the Hoops can consider themselves safe, but finally winning away from Loftus Road should prove a huge confidence boost for the players and backroom staff.

The club may be close to announcing a new manager if recent tweets on Twitter from Tony Fernandes are anything to go by, but QPR have another away game to prepare for.

It promises to be another huge six-pointer at Hull who are also fighting for their lives at the wrong end of the table, but although QPR woes are widely reported on and off the pitch, victory at the Stadium of Light could be the turning point that every fan has been searching for.

Fighting for their lives

It is not beyond the realms of possibility that QPR could survive by the skin of their teeth by picking all of their Premier League points up at Loftus Road, but they must surely start to win more points on the road to improve their chances of survival.

The relegation battle is already beginning to shaping up to be one of the closest in recent years, and although QPR do have the quality in their squad with the likes of Charlie Austin and Leroy Fer to get themselves out of trouble, they have not applied themselves in the same way that they have at Loftus Road.

Transferring the positivity and expansive play at home into away performances must be the way of thinking between now and the end of the season, and although Chris Ramsey may not be in caretaker charge for much longer, the Sunderland victory provides an excellent platform for him to build on ahead of the trip to the KC Stadium.

The Hoops will still be without leading scorer Charlie Austin who may be out until next month, with Nedum Onuoha and Sandro also unlikely to feature before March.

Could QPR gain revenge against the Tigers?

Beating Aston Villa 2-0 at home is another step in the right direction for Hull who have shown signs of recovery in recent weeks.

Recording four points from a possible six coincides with the appointment of Sir Alex Ferguson's former right-hand man Mike Phelan as assistant manager who could turn out to be the best signing Steve Bruce has made this season.

Their draw at the Etihad against defending champions Manchester City proved that the Tigers will certainly be no pushovers, and may consider a home fixture against QPR as a great opportunity to pick up more points to push them further away from dangers.

Their cause will not be helped by the absence of James Chester, Liam Rosenior and Mohamed Diame who leave Hull short of quality and strength in defence and the middle of midfield.

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David De Gea Could Be Real Madrid's New Galáctico

David De Gea became one of the world's most expensive goalkeepers after an £18 million transfer from Atlético Madrid to Manchester United in 2011.

He was being heralded as the replacement for Edwin van der Sar. United underwent a lot of changes – in the goalkeeping position – after the departure of Peter Schmeichel. It took them several years to find a stable goalkeeper until it arrived in the form of van der Sar.

His performances are a major reason towards Manchester United given odds of 4/9 – by Betfair in the latest 2015 Premier League odds – for a top four finish this season.

A string of great performances in the Premier League this season has seen De Gea considered as the best keeper in England right now.

The magnitude of attention on the 24-year-old has been so intense that he is now subject to intense transfer rumours linking him with a return to Spain.

A number of situations have fallen in place – at exactly the right moment – for De Gea to be considered as being on the verge of a Manchester United exit.

The first reason will be the contractual situation of the player. United are certainly not in a position of strength, as the player has only 18 months left on his contract.

The balance will only tilt in favour of De Gea as the season comes to an end.

It is looking highly unlikely that the 24-year-old is prepared to extend his contract midway through the season.

Louis van Gaal recently admitted that it was certainly conceivable thatDe Gea could leave for a Spanish club, but he "hoped" that the player would sign on the dotted line.

United are in the same position as van Gaal, as they can only hope that the player signs the deal.

United's decision to sign Víctor Valdés, who is nowhere near enough the form shown by De Gea this season, on a free transfer is concrete proof that the club are bracing themselves for the exit of their number one goalkeeper.

Valdés, as a former Barcelona and Spain goalkeeper, is unlikely to be satisfied with a place on the bench should be regain his full fitness.

At the age of 33, he is in what is considered as the prime age for a goalkeeper. However, there remain numerous concerns about the former Barcelona star and least of all is his ability to settle in the Premier League.

Valdés has always had the "freak error" within him and it was one of the main reasons for being unable to usurp Iker Casillas from the number one position for Spain.

Despite being a regular for Barcelona since his first-team debut in 2002, Valdés has featured in only 20 appearances for Spain.

He is a top goalkeeper, but no longer the absolute best that Manchester United need.

Spanish football is no stranger towards having the top players concentrated within Barcelona and Real Madrid.

De Gea will see this as a great opportunity to play along with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and to feature regularly against Lionel Messi.

Apart from this draw, the chance to return to his hometown will also be a major pulling factor.

At this moment, United seem a couple of years away from being the dominant force that they once were.

The likes of Manchester City and Chelsea could dominate English football in the next couple of years with their settled and strong squads.

United are continuing to build and it is also highly likely that van Gaal may not be a part of it should the poor and inconsistent form continue.

Real Madrid, on the other hand, are on an incredible high after having just amassed three trophies in 2014. They are looking on course for league title success this season.

Betfair places Madrid at 4/11 to win the Spanish league title in the 2014-15 season whereas their arch rivals Barcelona are given odds of 9/4. Reigning champions Atlético Madrid are a distant 20/1.

The season has just gone past the halfway mark and Madrid have a one-point advantage over Barcelona. They can extend this lead with a win against Sevilla on Tuesday.

De Gea is held in high regards at Madrid and he could be the eventual replacement for Iker Casillas.

After facing an uncertain future only last season, Casillas has once again established himself as the number one at Madrid. However, his performances have been far from his best.

His recent admission that he may consider the MLS as a potential option has intensified rumours that this may be his last season at the Santiago Bernabéu.

Casillas has been a one club man, but he does not appear to have regained the confidence that he lost after losing his place under José Mourinho.

Casillas' current deal expires in the summer of 2017, but he has revealed in the past that Madrid will not be stopping him should he wish to leave the club.

Since it is highly unlikely that Manchester United will allow De Gea to leave on a free transfer, the situation may be resolved in the summer.

Given his current form, the Spaniard could easily command a transfer fee in excess of £25 million.

This may seem as excessive figure for a goalkeeper, but at just 24 years of age, he could go on to become the next Gianluigi Buffon.

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Pitch invader attacks Nottingham Forest player Kelvin Wilson

Derby County could face action from the FA after one fan forced his way onto the pitch and attacked Nottingham Forest player Kelvin Wilson during their Championship clash.

Ben Osborn's late winner helped Forest come from behind to sink local rivals Derby 2-1 in Saturday's encounter at Pride Park.

But tensions boiled over as Forest players approached their support to celebrate after the final whistle and one angry fan ran onto the pitch from the home section.

TV cameras, ready to interview goalscorers Osborn and Britt Assombalonga, caught the incident in the background, where stewards and players grappled with the frustrated fan.

The fan, wearing a blue jacket and jeans, threw punches in the direction of Forest defender Wilson, before teammate Jamaal Lascelles brought the attacker down with a rugby tackle.

Stewards then took over and dragged the supporter away before handing him over to police officers.

Derbyshire Police later confirmed that a 23-year-old man had been arrested in connection with the offence.


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Goal of the day: Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal) vs Galatasaray

Aaron Ramsey scored one of the goals of the season as Arsenal cruised to a comfortable 4-1 Champions League win at Galatasaray on Tuesday.

Lukas Podolski got the Gunners off to a flying start at the Türk Telekom Arena with a thumping strike in the third minute, before Ramsey doubled their lead just eight minutes later.

Ramsey stole the limelight in the 29th minute as he doubled his tally with one of the best goals of the season so far.

Joel Campbell's corner was headed clear by Galatasaray defender Semih Kaya, but what followed next was pure brilliance.

Ramsey raced on to the loose ball, allowed it to bounce once and then unleashed a thunderous left-footed half-volley from 30 yards that flew into the top corner.

It was a goal so good it brought the home fans to their feet in spontaneous applause.

Wesley Sneijder pulled one back for the hosts late in the game but it was Arsenal who had the final say as Podolski netted his second to seal a comprehensive win for Arsène Wenger's side.

"The ball came to the edge of the box and I thought, 'why not have a go?'," Ramsey told Sky Sports. "So I had a go and thankfully it went in.

"It's up there with the best I've ever scored."

Wenger added: "When he took the shot, I thought that is maybe not the best of ideas but the way it went in was absolutely unbelievable.

"The goals he is scoring is linked to his performances at the moment and that certainly helps his confidence to score goals like that."


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Peruvian footballer injured after being struck by lightning during match

An unfortunate incident took place in Peru on Tuesday when Sport Águila player Joao Contreras was hit by lightning during a Peruvian Cup match against Fuerza Minera.

Just as the match was about to restart for the second-half, an electrical discharge hit Contreras and a linesman.

Both Contreras and the linesman were immediately treated by medical staff and the match was suspended with the score tied at 1-1.

Despite initial reports claiming that Contreras had died following the incident, reports from South America have now said that the player is in hospital and in a serious condition.

Sport Águila player Joao Contreras injured after being struck by lightning during match
Sport Águila player Joao Contreras injured after being struck by lightning during match
Photos: Libero


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Per Mertesacker avoided German military service for being too tall to fit into tank

Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker has revealed he avoided German military service as a teenager by claiming that he was too big to fit into a tank or submarine.

The towering centre back, who stands at 6ft 6in, may be a tough nut on the pitch but he never had any desire to deal with weapons.

After a successful request, the 30-year-old instead ended up working with patients with mental illness in a clinic.

"I missed military service in Germany," the former Germany international told The Mirror.

"I wrote to them and said I did not want to get in touch with weapons, and also that I could not fit into a tank or a submarine - and it worked.

"Instead I did civilian service, I worked in a clinic for patients with mental illness."

Military conscription was compulsory for all German males until 2010 which meant that he had to divide his time between training with his club and working with patients.

Mertesacker added: "I would train with my club in the morning and go there in the afternoons.

"It was like a hospital, where no one recognises you and they might shout or scream at you. But I was never scared.

"It was very memorable to go from one world to the other. It kept me grounded and humble, coming from this glamorous football world, and would help me to grow as a person. It had a big impact on my life."


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Who wouldn't want Napoli's Gladiator-themed calendar?

Italian Serie A side Napoli have produced a seemingly bizarre calendar in which their players pose as gladiators of the former Roman Empire.

The calendar features star striker Gonzalo Higuaín, captain Marek Hamšík, and Spanish winger José Callejón in scantily-clad gladiatorial gear.

Given that the club President is noted film producer, Aurelio De Laurentiis, it's safe to assume that not only does he approve but he may even have come up with the concept in the first place.

You can buy the calendar from Napoli's official website beginning on 18 December.

Who wouldn't want Napoli's Gladiator-themed calendar?
Photo: SSC Napoli


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Roy Keane: Sir Alex Ferguson owes me apology

Roy Keane claims he would end his infamous rift with Sir Alex Ferguson - but only if he receives an apology from the former Manchester United manager.

The 43-year-old won seven Premier League titles, four FA Cups and one Champions League crown under Ferguson in a 12-year spell with the Red Devils.

But the pair have been at each others throats for a year and both savaged each other in their respective books.

Fergie had claimed the Irishman became a disruptive force in United's dressing room and said his tongue was the "hardest part of his body".

Keane blasted back at his own book launch in October, accusing Ferguson of "cheap digs" while hammering him for criticising other players who had brought him success.

However, when asked if he would ever enjoy a pint with Ferguson, Keane told FourFourTwo: "Well, it would be a cup of tea. If Sir Alex apologises, then yes, I would.

"If Ferguson apologises, I would be happy to move on. For Ferguson to bad-mouth me after I left, I think he does owe me an apology."

The former United captain admitted that the similar personalities of himself and his manager meant a fractious parting was inevitable.

He added: "Yes. It was never going to end as a pal's act. I was never going to leave with champagne and flowers.

"I saw how Bryan Robson and Steve Bruce left the club, both decent United captains, and I didn't like the way they left."

And the outspoken Irishman couldn't give a damn if United fans think he is to blame for the vicious feud with Ferguson.

Keane said: "If United fans say I had a decent career, then brilliant. If they want to say, 'What's gone on with the Ferguson stuff?' then f*** them."


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Schalke poke fun at rock-bottom Dortmund on Twitter

Borussia Dortmund are currently bottom of the Bundesliga table, and local Ruhr rivals Schalke 04 decided to make of enemies' plight on Twitter.

Whilst they have performed admirably in the Champions League this season, Dortmund's start to the season is their worst in the club's Bundesliga history.

Almost unbelievably, a team who were playing in the Champions League final in 2013 are now sitting bottom of the Bundesliga table with just three wins from a possible 13.

However, as expected, fierce rivals Schalke are loving it so much that they tweeted out a mock-up league table showing just how badly Dortmund are doing this campaign.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, it was deleted not long after.

Schalke poke fun at rock-bottom Dortmund on Twitter
Photo: Twitter


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Branislav Ivanović: Eden Hazard is Chelsea's Lionel Messi!

Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanović believes Eden Hazard plays the same role for the Blues that Lionel Messi does for Barcelona.

The 23-year-old winger is in sparkling form and has been central to Chelsea's unbeaten start in all competitions so far this season.

It has led to comparisons between Hazard and Messi - although the Belgian himself has admitted he still has work to do if he wants to emulate the four time Ballon D'or winner.

And although Ivanović is unsure whether Hazard is close to Messi's ability, he reckons that his teammate is as important for Chelsea as in the Argentinian for Barcelona.

Ivanović told FourFourTwo: "Hazard is a quality player and he has the qualities to play even better.

"It's hard to say how close he is to Messi, when we know about all the records of Messi, but for us at Chelsea he is like Messi for Barcelona."


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Romanian coach found out he was getting sacked from waiter

In what may be a football first, Flavius Stoican found out he was out of a job as Dinamo București coach from his waiter at a restaurant.

Flavius Stoican has resigned from his post as coach of Dinamo București
Flavius Stoican has resigned from his post as coach of Dinamo București


According to, Stoican was supposed to meet club owner Ionuț Negoiță and President Constantin Anghelache for a dinner at a popular restaurant in Bucharest.

However, when he arrived at the restaurant he was informed by his waiter that his dinner partners were dining with former Dinamo striker Claudiu Niculescu, who was a rumoured candidate to take over for Stoican.

After being on the receiving end of the not-so-pleasant news about his own job prospects, Stoican reportedly stormed out of the restaurant and handed in his resignation the following day.

For what it's worth, Niculescu has not yet been put in charge of the club, with the interim coaching job going to former striker Ionel Dănciulescu.


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