Dries Mertens nets winner for Napoli at Atalanta

Napoli avenged their Coppa Italia defeat to Atalanta with a 1-0 victory in Bergamo.

Dries Mertens settled a tight contest after 65 minutes, accepting Jose Callejon’s through ball to fire home an angled drive for his 14th goal of the season.

The win extends Napoli’s Serie A lead over Juventus to four points.

Juventus are at home to Genoa on Monday night and the reigning champions might have hoped Atlanta would shock Napoli again after making an impressive start.

Atalanta knocked Napoli out of the Coppa Italia just over two weeks ago, but they were unable to turn pressure into clear-cut chances.

Bryan Cristante spurned Atalanta’s best chance from an Alejandro Gomez cross after 20 minutes.

Moments later Lorenzo Insigne saw his volley deflected wide, but Napoli created little until Mertens struck.

Napoli captain Marek Hamsik fired over before his stoppage-time effort was ruled out for offside by the Video Assistant Referee.

Mohun Bagan’s intent shines through in entertaining derby win

Asier Dipanda Dicka celebrates his goal against East Bengal.
Asier Dipanda Dicka celebrates his goal against East Bengal.

Mohun Bagan’s entertaining 2-0 win over East Bengal on Sunday featured one of the fastest Kolkata derby goals ever, with Cameroonian Asier Dipanda Dicka scoring inside 57 seconds of kick-off. Dicka got his second through a sweet volley off a corner that saw him airborne for a short while as he connected. The match also witnessed a first-half goal by East Bengal’s Willis Plaza disallowed as Katsumi Yusa’s corner was deemed to have cut the backline.

East Bengal’s second defeat of the season (both against Bagan) has left the I-League title race wide open, with Bagan only five points behind leaders Minerva Punjab.

Emphasis on attack

Bagan’s first derby win in December was based on defensive solidity, but they showed their attacking flair on Sunday. Coach Shankarlal Chakraborty deserves credit for reposing faith in Indian players, fielding seven of them, including three in midfield. Nikhil Kadam and Sheikh Faiaz responded magnificently along the wings, while Raynier Fernandes complemented Cameron Watson perfectly in the centre of midfield. Kinshuk Debnath led the defence admirably, and Shilton Paul was excellent in goal.

There are reports of Sony Norde’s contract for this season ending due to injuries, and that could mean a fresh start for the former champions. Lebanon’s Akram Moghrabi looked the part on Sunday, playing a selfless, energetic and creative role in attack. Norde has been a pivotal member in the Bagan squad across the last four seasons, but in Moghrabi they might have found an able replacement.

Bagan only have one home game in the remaining eight — and they can only challenge for the title if they recreate Sunday’s energy with more consistency.


Also read

Numbers behind I-League’s 100 goals of the season

Best of Mohun Bagan’s I-League century

A century of wins: East Bengal’s I-League journey


East Bengal’s muddled selections

On the back of draws against Churchill Brothers and Aizawl, Sunday’s result has meant East Bengal not only missed out on a chance to reclaim top place, but have now got just two points from their last three matches.

Sunday’s match witnessed some odd selection from coach Khalid Jamil — relegating his best Indian player Laldanmawia Ralte to the bench, and starting with Nigerian Dudu Omagbemi despite his lack of game time this season. The first Bagan goal came inside a minute, and Mahmoud Al Amna had to be substituted with injury inside the next three minutes. His replacement Bazie Armand is essentially a destructive midfielder and could not contribute as much to attack.

As has been the case in a few matches, the East Bengal midfield went AWOL on a few occasions, with all of their defensive players also joining in attack once they trailed by two goals. There were some openings early in the second half, but poor finishing made it easy for Bagan to get their bodies in the way.

Bagan can keep their title challenge alive if they recreate Sunday's energy with more consistency.
Bagan can keep their title challenge alive if they recreate Sunday’s energy with more consistency.

Elementary errors cost Jamil’s team

Plaza’s goal that didn’t count, it could be argued, was a marginal call in terms of where Katsumi’s corner had swung in from. The laws require the entirety of the ball to cross the line for it to have been deemed outside, but the header by Plaza was well inside the penalty box, and not too deep beyond the far post. Could a football conceivably have swung so sharply over a short parabola?

It doesn’t really matter, because the I-League doesn’t have video-assisted refereeing. It happened off another Katsumi corner, and later from a cross from inside the penalty box. These are things the coach must look to iron out in practice and ensure they don’t get repeated in a match — it just allowed Bagan to relieve the pressure when East Bengal went hammer and tongs for the goals.

Far from over yet

East Bengal still have four home games, and face top-placed Minerva Punjab at home and away. One of their home games will feature second-placed NEROCA, who have 20 points from 10 games. Positive results in those three matches will automatically propel them back into title contention, though Jamil’s teams will have to find the right balance between adventurous optimism and the pragmatism that made his Aizawl stint such a success.

Melbournce City 5-0 Adelaide United: McCormack hits stunner as City romp Adelaide

Previous

Melbourne City FC

Adelaide United

5

0

FT

Game Details

Southampton

Tottenham Hotspur

4:00 PM UTC

Game Details

Real Madrid

Deportivo La Coruña

3:15 PM UTC

Game Details

Real Betis

Barcelona

7:45 PM UTC

Game Details

Bayern Munich

Werder Bremen

2:30 PM UTC

Game Details

Lyon

Paris Saint-Germain

8:00 PM UTC

Game Details

Internazionale

AS Roma

7:45 PM UTC

Game Details

Atalanta

Napoli

0

1

FT

Game Details

Cagliari

AC Milan

5:00 PM UTC

Game Details

Fraserburgh

Rangers

Postp

Postponed — Frozen Pitch

Game Details

Heart of Midlothian

Hibernian

2:05 PM UTC

Game Details

Next

Liverpool stars would not join a Premier League rival mid-season — Klopp


Jurgen Klopp outlines his stance on Liverpool’s January transfer window activity and explains why Loris Karius is ahead of Simon Mignolet in the pecking order.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has told the Liverpool Echo that his players would not ditch the club for a big six rival in January.

Klopp was answering questions about the future of Alexis Sanchez, who is set to complete his switch to Manchester United from Arsenal on Monday with Henrikh Mkhitaryan moving in the opposite direction.

Sanchez would have been able to walk away for free at the end of the season, and Klopp was eager not to make direct comparisons with a player who has wanted to leave the Emirates for several months.

But Klopp was insistent that no member of his team would have his head turned.

«No Liverpool player of this squad would leave to any other Premier League club during the season,» Klopp said. «It’s how I see the commitment of the players. We are not together for 10 years or so. It’s not just starting but it’s still all fresh and the direction and the development is the right direction. I know it’s far away from being perfect but it’s on a good way.

«It doesn’t mean that players can’t leave the club but we have to make sure that it doesn’t happen often that a player wants to leave the club even when we want to keep him. A few players we will sell or want to sell in the summer, that is part of the business.

Jurgen Klopp did sanction the sale of Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona this month.

«I know now that Alexis Sanchez maybe moves from one club to the other, that was not what I thought about. But you asked me about Liverpool, I can’t see any player at this moment in this moment who would do it.

«It says from my point of view nothing about Alexis Sanchez and stuff like that. It is no criticism on Alexis. He is a fantastic player and obviously he wants to leave since the summer, so it didn’t happen. Now it is more likely.

«It was more like it was with Phil [Coutinho, who was sold to Barcelona] and us, not like it is now with players from this squad who wants to leave for another club, a [big] six club. I can’t see it with this squad.»

Liverpool return to Premier League action on Monday with a trip to rock-bottom Swansea, and Klopp wants to make sure his side finds consistency after last weekend’s huge 4-3 win at home to Manchester City.

If they manage to avoid defeat it would be the club’s longest unbeaten run for more than 21 years, when they went 20 games undefeated.

«If nobody told me how often we didn’t lose, I’d have no idea about it. That’s all the past and I’m not really interested,» he said. «As a Liverpool player you cannot perform one week and then two weeks not — we need to deliver consistently, every day and each game.

«It’s only the next game and I can’t imagine any easy games in the Premier League and Swansea is for sure not an easy game.

«They are bottom of the table but they are in a good way. What you have seen since the new manager has come in is a big improvement again: much better results and they won their FA Cup replay during the week.

«I’m not even sure if we’ll have a look at our game against Swansea because it will be different.

«We need to have a look at the games since they changed their manager. That’s a challenge to be honest but if you know about a challenge you can be prepared for it.

«That’s my job to do: that we go there and don’t think about the 5-0 or Man City, only think about what we have to do to keep them away from our goal and be as often as possible in front of their goal.»

LIVE: ‘No Easy Way Out’ for Sanchez


Arsene Wenger hints Alexis Sanchez’s move to Man United is all but done, exclaiming, ‘You cannot drive up north and as well play football.’

The transfer window is heating up! Transfer Talk brings you live updates on all the latest rumours and done deals. Check out all the confirmed January moves so far on our transfers page.

Sanchez posts cryptic private jet video

We are now only hours away from Alexis Sanchez becoming a Manchester United player, in swap deal with Henrikh Mkhitaryan at Arsenal. 

Sanchez has been eager to get away from the Emirates for months now, with a move to Manchester City falling through on deadline day in August.

But just how desperate has be been to leave Arsenal? Well going by his Instagram post on Sunday morning it can’t come soon enough.

The Chile international put up a video of him boarding a private jet in the snow, with a backing track of «No Easy Way Out» by Robert Tepper — a little-known song from Rocky IV.

LIVE BLOG

12.29 GMT: The Sunday Times claims that Real Madrid are ready to make a world-record bid for striker Harry Kane — but it will be rebuffed. The paper reckons that Madrid are ready to shell out £200 million — £2 million more than PSG paid Barcelona for Neymar last summer.

12.03 GMT: West Ham United are planning a move for Real Betis midfielder Fabian Ruiz with boss David Moyes due to fly out to watch him in action against Barcelona on Sunday, sources have told ESPN FC.

11.32 GMT: Could Federico Mattiello be leaving Juventus for Fiorentina? Tuttosport says he could cut short his loan at SPAL to join the Viola.

11.09 GMT: We could soon have some managerial transfer news, with Malaga coach Jose Gonzalez reported to be Watford’s No. 1 choice to replace Marco Silva, who they sacked on Sunday morning.

10.49 GMT: Are we about to see «Financial Fair Play 2.0»? French newspaper Le_Parisien claims that UEFA wants to impose a maximum net transfer spend of €100m each season. PSG, Manchester City and AC Milan are three clubs who would have been in big trouble last summer.

10.27 GMT: Here’s your latest Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang update! On Saturday, Dortmund chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke revealed that Arsenal had made their first enquiry. However, today he says that he is still waiting on a call from his opposite number at Arsenal, Ivan Gazidis, so talks have not yet begun.

09.58 GMT: Manchester City are now reportedly hoping to complete a deal for Fred, Shakhtar Donetsk’s Brazilian midfielder. Here’s our profile of the player from a few weeks ago. 

09.26 GMT: Brighton broke their club record transfer fee to sign Jurgen Locadia from PSV Eindhoven for a reported £14 million on Friday night, Here’s what he had to tell the official Premier League Twitter account. 

 

09.00 GMT: Just 10 days left in the transfer window. Will we see any big deals today? Stay with us for all the latest.

PAPER ROUND

Serie A giants battle for Sturridge

Roma and Inter will go head-to-head for the signature of Daniel Sturridge, reports Corriere dello Sport.

The Liverpool striker has been out of favour under Jurgen Klopp and is eager to secure a January move to salvage his World Cup dream.

The Giallorossi and Nerazzurri, who meet in a mouthwatering clash in the league on Sunday with both competing for a Champions League spot, will make offers for the 28-year-old.

Roma have entered the race after interest emerged from Chelsea for star striker Edin Dzeko, whom they are prepared to sell high on at nearly 32 years of age, but not until a replacement is secured.

That’s unlikely Emerson Palmieri, who is on his way out and will join the Blues as competition for Marcos Alonso at left wing-back.

Gunners ready to strike Auba deal

Arsenal have been told what it will take to sign Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang with Borussia Dortmund holding out for £55 million, reports the Express.

The Gunners have already bid £45m for the Gabonese striker, which was rejected by the Bundesliga giants.

But a second bid could come close to the asking price, which would break their current club record of £47m paid for Alexandre Lacazette last summer.

Pogba demands huge pay rise

Paul Pogba will demand Man United double his wages, according to the Mirror, once Alexis Sanchez completes his move to Old Trafford.

The Arsenal star is set to pocket a basic wage of £400,000-per-week and with Pogba well short of that on £200,000-per-week, United may have a problem.

Having proven himself to be instrumental to Jose Mourinho’s side with nine Premier League assists — just one behind Kevin De Bruyne and Leroy Sane despite an extended period out through injury — the Red Devils will have little option but to satisfy the French superstar.

Despite three years remaining on his deal, with United possessing an option to extend it by a further year, United are aware of the need to hold on to the 24-year-old throughout his prime years.

Roma eye Darmian

Roma want to sign Manchester United’s out-of-favour full-back Matteo Darmian, but the Mirror reports they only want a loan deal.

The Italian could prove a useful short-term replacement for Palmier, who appears to be on his way to Chelsea.

His versatility to play on both the right and left also make him an attractive target, though their reluctance to offer a permanent deal could see another club win out for the former Torino star.

AC Milan and Valencia are keen, while Juventus could also be in the running, with the Red Devils eyeing a £4m profit on the £13m they paid back in 2015.

Tap-ins

— Arsenal have been alerted to a £3m release clause in Jonny Evans’ contract, report the Star.

The Baggies could lose the Northern Ireland international this summer if they are relegated, which could give an edge to the Gunners in negotiations this month.

— The Star also report that Valencia are keen to take advantage of Juan Mata’s expiring contract.

United have yet to extend the Spaniard’s deal and with Jose Mourinho unable to give the former Chelsea star a starting role, a return to the Mestalla could be an option.

— Southampton will begin splashing the £75m banked from selling Virgil van Dijk to Liverpool by targeting Quincy Promes and Guido Carrillo, reports the Telegraph.

Saints are eager to spend big as a sign of their ambition, despite losing their defensive stalwart to the Reds, with Monaco striker Carrillo and Spartak Moscow winger Promes top of their targets this month.

Follow @ESPNFC on Twitter to keep up with the latest football updates.

Man Utd target Alexis Sanchez hints there’s ‘No Easy Way Out’ of Arsenal


Paul Mariner feels Daniel Sturridge must leave Liverpool and England, amid reports linking him to Inter Milan and Sevilla.

The transfer window is heating up! Transfer Talk brings you live updates on all the latest rumours and done deals. Check out all the confirmed January moves so far on our transfers page.

Sanchez posts cryptic private jet video

We are now only hours away from Alexis Sanchez becoming a Manchester United player, in swap deal with Henrikh Mkhitaryan at Arsenal. 

Sanchez has been eager to get away from the Emirates for months now, with a move to Manchester City falling through on deadline day in August.

But just how desperate has be been to leave Arsenal? Well going by his Instagram post on Sunday morning it can’t come soon enough.

The Chile international put up a video of him boarding a private jet in the snow, with a backing track of «No Easy Way Out» by Robert Tepper — a little-known song from Rocky IV.

LIVE BLOG

12.29 GMT: The Sunday Times claims that Real Madrid are ready to make a world-record bid for striker Harry Kane — but it will be rebuffed. The paper reckons that Madrid are ready to shell out £200 million — £2 million more than PSG paid Barcelona for Neymar last summer.

12.03 GMT: West Ham United are planning a move for Real Betis midfielder Fabian Ruiz with boss David Moyes due to fly out to watch him in action against Barcelona on Sunday, sources have told ESPN FC.

11.32 GMT: Could Federico Mattiello be leaving Juventus for Fiorentina? Tuttosport says he could cut short his loan at SPAL to join the Viola.

11.09 GMT: We could soon have some managerial transfer news, with Malaga coach Jose Gonzalez reported to be Watford’s No. 1 choice to replace Marco Silva, who they sacked on Sunday morning.

10.49 GMT: Are we about to see «Financial Fair Play 2.0»? French newspaper Le_Parisien claims that UEFA wants to impose a maximum net transfer spend of €100m each season. PSG, Manchester City and AC Milan are three clubs who would have been in big trouble last summer.

10.27 GMT: Here’s your latest Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang update! On Saturday, Dortmund chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke revealed that Arsenal had made their first enquiry. However, today he says that he is still waiting on a call from his opposite number at Arsenal, Ivan Gazidis, so talks have not yet begun.

09.58 GMT: Manchester City are now reportedly hoping to complete a deal for Fred, Shakhtar Donetsk’s Brazilian midfielder. Here’s our profile of the player from a few weeks ago. 

09.26 GMT: Brighton broke their club record transfer fee to sign Jurgen Locadia from PSV Eindhoven for a reported £14 million on Friday night, Here’s what he had to tell the official Premier League Twitter account. 

 

09.00 GMT: Just 10 days left in the transfer window. Will we see any big deals today? Stay with us for all the latest.

PAPER ROUND

Serie A giants battle for Sturridge

Roma and Inter will go head-to-head for the signature of Daniel Sturridge, reports Corriere dello Sport.

The Liverpool striker has been out of favour under Jurgen Klopp and is eager to secure a January move to salvage his World Cup dream.

The Giallorossi and Nerazzurri, who meet in a mouthwatering clash in the league on Sunday with both competing for a Champions League spot, will make offers for the 28-year-old.

Roma have entered the race after interest emerged from Chelsea for star striker Edin Dzeko, whom they are prepared to sell high on at nearly 32 years of age, but not until a replacement is secured.

That’s unlikely Emerson Palmieri, who is on his way out and will join the Blues as competition for Marcos Alonso at left wing-back.

Gunners ready to strike Auba deal

Arsenal have been told what it will take to sign Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang with Borussia Dortmund holding out for £55 million, reports the Express.

The Gunners have already bid £45m for the Gabonese striker, which was rejected by the Bundesliga giants.

But a second bid could come close to the asking price, which would break their current club record of £47m paid for Alexandre Lacazette last summer.

Pogba demands huge pay rise

Paul Pogba will demand Man United double his wages, according to the Mirror, once Alexis Sanchez completes his move to Old Trafford.

The Arsenal star is set to pocket a basic wage of £400,000-per-week and with Pogba well short of that on £200,000-per-week, United may have a problem.

Having proven himself to be instrumental to Jose Mourinho’s side with nine Premier League assists — just one behind Kevin De Bruyne and Leroy Sane despite an extended period out through injury — the Red Devils will have little option but to satisfy the French superstar.

Despite three years remaining on his deal, with United possessing an option to extend it by a further year, United are aware of the need to hold on to the 24-year-old throughout his prime years.

Roma eye Darmian

Roma want to sign Manchester United’s out-of-favour full-back Matteo Darmian, but the Mirror reports they only want a loan deal.

The Italian could prove a useful short-term replacement for Palmier, who appears to be on his way to Chelsea.

His versatility to play on both the right and left also make him an attractive target, though their reluctance to offer a permanent deal could see another club win out for the former Torino star.

AC Milan and Valencia are keen, while Juventus could also be in the running, with the Red Devils eyeing a £4m profit on the £13m they paid back in 2015.

Tap-ins

— Arsenal have been alerted to a £3m release clause in Jonny Evans’ contract, report the Star.

The Baggies could lose the Northern Ireland international this summer if they are relegated, which could give an edge to the Gunners in negotiations this month.

— The Star also report that Valencia are keen to take advantage of Juan Mata’s expiring contract.

United have yet to extend the Spaniard’s deal and with Jose Mourinho unable to give the former Chelsea star a starting role, a return to the Mestalla could be an option.

— Southampton will begin splashing the £75m banked from selling Virgil van Dijk to Liverpool by targeting Quincy Promes and Guido Carrillo, reports the Telegraph.

Saints are eager to spend big as a sign of their ambition, despite losing their defensive stalwart to the Reds, with Monaco striker Carrillo and Spartak Moscow winger Promes top of their targets this month.

Follow @ESPNFC on Twitter to keep up with the latest football updates.

West Ham boss David Moyes to scout Betis’ Fabian Ruiz vs. Barca — sources


Ryan Fraser opened the scoring for Bournemouth, but Javier Hernandez answered from the ensuing restart to earn West Ham a 1-1 draw.
Ryan Fraser opened the scoring for Bournemouth, but Javier Hernandez answered from the ensuing restart to earn West Ham a 1-1 draw.
Ryan Fraser opened the scoring for Bournemouth, but Javier Hernandez answered from the ensuing restart to earn West Ham a 1-1 draw.

West Ham United are planning a move for Real Betis midfielder Fabian Ruiz with boss David Moyes due to fly out to watch him in action against Barcelona on Sunday, sources have told ESPN FC.

Moyes has made midfield reinforcements one of his top priorities during this month’s transfer window and has been linked with a host of players, but now he is ready to switch his attention to Ruiz.

Ruiz, 21, has impressed for Betis this season, scoring two goals and creating two assists in 15 La Liga games so far this term.

Ruiz has come through the ranks at Real Betis and is a Spain under-21 international. His performances have brought him to the attention of a number of clubs across Europe and now West Ham are ready to make a move for him before the close of the transfer window.

Fabian Ruiz has come through the ranks at Real Betis and is a Spain under-21 international
Real Betis midfielder Fabian Ruiz is a Spain U21 international.

Moyes has decided to travel to Spain to watch Ruiz in action against Barcelona as he prefers to see his transfer targets in person before making a decision on whether or not to sign him.

Ruiz has a €15 million release clause in his contract at Betis and West Ham are ready to meet if Moyes is impressed by the midfielder in the game against Barcelona.

West Ham are 11th spot in the Premier League, five points above the relegation zone and Moyes wants to bring in some quality additions before the transfer window closes to help his side secure survival.

Peter O’Rourke is ESPN FC’s transfer news correspondent. Follow him on Twitter @SportsPeteO.

Everton 1-1 West Brom: McCarthy injury mars draw

Previous

Melbourne City FC

Adelaide United

5

0

FT

Game Details

Southampton

Tottenham Hotspur

4:00 PM UTC

Game Details

Real Madrid

Deportivo La Coruña

3:15 PM UTC

Game Details

Real Betis

Barcelona

7:45 PM UTC

Game Details

Bayern Munich

Werder Bremen

2:30 PM UTC

Game Details

Lyon

Paris Saint-Germain

8:00 PM UTC

Game Details

Internazionale

AS Roma

7:45 PM UTC

Game Details

Atalanta

Napoli

0

0

LIVE 34′

Game Details

Cagliari

AC Milan

5:00 PM UTC

Game Details

Fraserburgh

Rangers

Postp

Postponed — Frozen Pitch

Game Details

Heart of Midlothian

Hibernian

2:05 PM UTC

Game Details

Next

Manchester City 3-1 Newcastle: Aguero owns the night

Previous

Melbourne City FC

Adelaide United

5

0

FT

Game Details

Southampton

Tottenham Hotspur

4:00 PM UTC

Game Details

Real Madrid

Deportivo La Coruña

3:15 PM UTC

Game Details

Real Betis

Barcelona

7:45 PM UTC

Game Details

Bayern Munich

Werder Bremen

2:30 PM UTC

Game Details

Lyon

Paris Saint-Germain

8:00 PM UTC

Game Details

Internazionale

AS Roma

7:45 PM UTC

Game Details

Atalanta

Napoli

0

0

LIVE 12′

Game Details

Cagliari

AC Milan

5:00 PM UTC

Game Details

Fraserburgh

Rangers

Postp

Postponed — Frozen Pitch

Game Details

Heart of Midlothian

Hibernian

2:05 PM UTC

Game Details

Next