Barcelona confirm fresh muscular injury for Ousmane Dembélé

No sooner had Ousmane Dembélé returned to the Barcelona first team picture and he has been sidelined again. The Frenchman has played in just 2 LaLiga fixtures this season, one of many attackers at the club to have been plagued by injury, as per iSports.

But he appeared to be in line for his comeback after being included in the matchday squad for Saturday afternoon’s trip to Getafe.

Barcelona won 2-0 but did so without Dembélé and the club have now confirmed that he has sustained yet another thigh injury.

Tests on the player on Saturday night confirmed an issue with his left thigh and the club did not offer a timetable for his return.

The 22-year-old seems all but certain to miss the Blaugrana’s midweek Champions League clash with Inter.

Although he joined Barça just two years ago from Borussia Dortmund, it is already the 7th different injury since that move, according to iSports API data. 6 of those have been muscle-related for the frustrating France international, who faces a familiar spell on the sidelines.


It's 15 years since Wayne Rooney's jaw-dropping Man United debut

It's exactly 15 years since an 18-year-old Wayne Rooney made his extraordinary Manchester United debut.

After breaking through as a 16-year-old at Everton, Sir Alex Ferguson decided to pay a then-record amount for a teenager of £25m, according to iSports API data.

Many deemed it far too much for a player so young – it took Rooney all of 54 minutes to make it look like pocket change.

Playing Fenebahçe in the Champions League, the young forward started alongside Ruud van Nistelrooy and netted an incredible hat-trick in a 6-2 victory.


The top ten flying starts by summer signings across Europe

With summer signings now having had some time to adapt to their new surroundings we pick out the ten to have started strongest for their new clubs in Europe's top five leagues. A minimum of four league starts has been set as a requirement, all data as per iSports API.

10. Joan Jordan (Sevilla)

Already proving to be a shrewd acquisition for LaLiga rivals Eibar, Jordan's all action displays have already won over the Sevilla fans. The 25-year-old midfielder has scored twice in his first five league appearances, completed 89.4 per cent of his passes, nine dribbles and created nine chances.

9. Enock Kwateng (Bordeaux)

Signed on a free transfer from Ligue 1 counterparts Nantes, Kwateng has impressed from a defensive standpoint and registered an assist on his debut at Dijon. The right-back has won four tackles per 90 minutes while winning 15 of 18 aerial duels.

8. Nabil Fekir (Real Betis)

Long on the radar of some of England's top clubs, when Betis snared Fekir over the summer for a modest fee there were plenty of eyebrows raised. He's made a strong start to life in Spain, scoring twice in five appearances while completing the most dribbles (21) and drawing the most fouls (23) in that time.

7. Martin Odegaard (Real Sociedad)

Another move considered something of a coup over the summer, while Sociedad may have only signed Odegaard on loan from Real Madrid they are already reaping the benefits. The young Norwegian is second in the dribbles chart in Spain to Fekir (16), has scored twice and created 11 chances in five appearances.

6. Sebastien Haller (West Ham)

Already having displayed all the attributes for which he became renowned in the Bundesliga at Eintracht Frankfurt, Haller has been an instant hit with Hammers fans. The club's record signing has scored three league goals in five appearances and held up play, winning the second most aerial duels per game (6.8) in the Premier League.

5. Zack Steffen

While some may have viewed Manchester City's move for Zack Steffen as a marketing opportunity, the US international has excelled since leaving for Duesseldorf on loan. Were it not for the 24-year-old the Bundesliga outfit would have shipped far more goals than the nine that they have in five appearances, with the American having produced 14 more saves (33) than any other keeper in Germany's top-flight.

4. Stefano Sensi (Inter)

While Sensi's quality had been evident at Sassuolo, earning the midfielder international recognition, the blistering start he has made at Inter has been alarming. Under the guidance of Antonio Conte he has been given more freedom in attack and rewarded his new coach with two goals and an assist already for Serie A's league leaders.

3. Victor Osimhen (Lille)

Speaking of blistering starts, few could have predicted the immediacy of the impact that 20-year-old Osimhen would have at Lille. With the club desperately needing to replace the goals lost following Nicolas Pepe's departure, the youn Nigerian has stepped up and led the line superbly. He has six goals to his name in seven league appearances - all of which have come at home - and has won the second most aerial duels (37) in France.

2. Rodri (Manchester City)

They may have had to break their club record transfer fee to sign the Spaniard but Rodri has taken to the Premier League with the ease most expected. The 23-year-old has a fine goal to his name already, has won 3.4 tackles per 90 minutes, 18 of 21 aerial duels and completed 92.3 per cent of his passes.

1. Islam Slimani (Monaco)

With three goals and and assist in just four Ligue 1 appearances, Slimani has put frustrating spells at Leicester, Newcastle and Fenerbahce behind him. Attempting to rebuild his career and reputation with Monaco, the Algerian has been a huge threat in every sense in France, firing off 18 shots, creating nine chances and winning 20 aerial duels.


Sandro Tonali: Pirlo's heir ready for Europe's elite

The only downside to great footballers is the gap they leave when they retire.

Andrea Pirlo said goodbye to the beautiful game last year, though his international career ended in 2015. Since then, Italy have struggled in his absence, desperately seeking his replacement.

While Jorginho’s methodical passing skills are helping to fill the void, Sandro Tonali has emerged as the natural long-term successor.

At just 18 years of age, he has established himself as a key player in Italy’s second tier with Brescia. Ironically, that’s exactly how Pirlo’s career took off.

The likenesses don’t end there, which is why many of Europe’s top teams – including Chelsea, Liverpool, Juventus, Inter and Roma – are reportedly monitoring the promising creator’s progress.

What with the global scouting networks and never-ending resources today’s super-clubs enjoy, it’s a wonder how Tonali has stayed under the radar for so long.

However, with the January transfer window open, there is a high chance his talents will no longer be visible only to those hardened calcio fans who follow Serie B.
Who is Sandro Tonali?

Born in Lodi, Tonali spent time with Piacenza before joining Brescia’s youth system. Originally a second striker, he was moved deeper by his academy coaches. Yet, in spite of the Pirlo-esque positional adjustment, he continued to score goals at a remarkable rate, bagging 11 in 24 outings at under-17 level in 2016/17, as per iSports API data.

Eventually making his senior bow for the club in August 2017 against Avellino, he went on to become a regular member of the first team last season, making 19 appearances. Along the way, he set up and scored two goals apiece, operating predominantly in defensive midfield.

After a breakout campaign at club level, Tonali played a vital role in Italy’s run to the final of the 2018 European Under-19 Championship in Finland.

Having helped his national side, which also featured Moise Kean and Nicolo Zaniolo, beyond the host nation and France, the only defeat ultimately came in the final to Portugal. For his efforts, the midfield prospect was named in the team of the tournament.

The good form has been carried into this season, where he has played in every single one of Brescia’s nine league games, assisting three goals in the process.

And, in further good news, his development has been aided by the club’s managerial appointment of Eugenio Corini, himself a gifted playmaker in his playing days.

What are Tonali’s strengths?

As well as the Brescia link and the career-changing alteration of position, Tonali reminds many of Pirlo for his physical resemblance. As well as his long, black hair, he is a slow mover with a calm exterior who rarely looks troubled even when under direct pressure.

But beyond these rather trivial similarities, he also has similar tactical and technical qualities to the former Milan and Juventus legend, the most obvious of which is the range and accuracy of his passing.

As a creative No.6, he is able to identify and find teammates in almost any area of the pitch with impressive vision and consistent execution. This ability translates well to set pieces, where he can be found curling right-footed crosses into the penalty box from corner and free kick situations.

Tonali isn’t just a showman, however. While he can perform the spectacular stuff, he is also a noticeably intelligent player for his age.

Not only does he roam to find space, but he is comfortable receiving with his back to goal and combining with centre-backs to enhance build-up. On top of that, he is able to provoke and resist pressure, utilising immaculate control to hold off defenders.

What are Tonali’s weaknesses?

It could be argued that Tonali’s specificity is a weakness. Brescia’s possession game is essentially built around him being allowed to pull the strings from the base of midfield, which partly explains his appearance in Serie B’s top 25 players for long passes per 90 minutes. Not all sides, particularly at the highest level, could afford to deploy him in such a role.

His lack of real pace and physicality may also be a concern should opponents target him through man marking or attentive pressing, though this could also free up teammates. Pirlo suffered from similar targeting during his career but it didn’t stop his ascendancy to the highest echelons of the Italian game.

Perhaps the most important aspect for Tonali to work on is his decision-making. The 7.94 long balls per 90 he attempts is a numerical indication of something visible to the naked eye when watching him – sometimes he tries too hard to force the line-breaking or game-changing pass,  according to iSports API.

To prevent unnecessary giveaways in a sport increasingly dominated by decisive transitions, he may need to keep it simple more often.
Will a move happen?

After one-and-a-half seasons building a portfolio of wonderful passes in Serie B, January 2019 may be the time for Tonali to make the step up.

Brescia have been out of Italy’s top flight for many years and have shown a willingness to sell their best talent in recent times, so long as the right deal is in place.

The youngster’s agent, Roberto La Florio, spoke fairly openly about his client’s prospects in an interview with Calciomercato. “I expect and hope to see him in Serie A, I think youngsters should be sold at the right time because you never know what will happen in football,” he said.

“I’m convinced that even at a top club he could adapt in a few months, but you need to find the right moment… I’d say it’d take €15-17m, maybe up to €20m to budge (Brescia president Massimo) Cellino.”

There is no rush for a transfer to take place considering Tonali is under contract to Brescia until 2021. But if Europe’s best do come in for him with a serious offer, it would be hard for them to turn it down. And, if and when such a move transpires, expect the Pirlo comparisons to ramp up.


Ed Woodward reveals Jose Mourinho received £19.6m after being sacked by Manchester United

Ed Woodward has confirmed that Jose Mourinho and his management team received a severance package totaling £19.6m after the 56-year-old was dismissed in December of last year.

The Portuguese manager was removed from his position following two and a half years in charge, with a particularly meek 3-1 defeat at Anfield serving as the final straw, accoding to iSports API data.

Since then, Mourinho has been out of work and is heavily tipped to take the Real Madrid job should the club remove Zinedine Zidane – which makes you wonder if, following six years of being in the wilderness, United might also turn back to the “Special One” in an act of manic desperation.

Speaking at an annual conference, where the big man revealed record revenues of £627.1m, Woodward also noted that almost £20m was spent on removing the Mourinho regime last year.

This conference is nicely timed, playing out amid a backdrop of universal anger and alienation among the club’s fanbase, the supporters aware that the hole United find themselves in on the pitch is a massive one – something which will take years to properly emerge from.

But, you know, record revenues, eh? That’s good, isn’t it? Isn’t it? At a time when the planet is dying and far-right forces are infiltrating western politics, at least we can all smile at another year of Resounding Financial Success.


Messi collects record 6th FIFA player of the year

Lionel Messi beat Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk and Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo to claim a record sixth FIFA's The Best award, which is given to the top men's player, on Monday.

The award was handed to the Barcelona and Argentina captain at a ceremony in Milan.

Messi, 32, led Barcelona to a fourth La Liga title in the past five seasons, scoring 36 goals and providing 15 assists in 35 league matches last campaign. He posted 51 goals and 22 assists in all competitions, as per iSports API data.

Croatia and Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric won the award last year, breaking up a years-long duel between Messi and Ronaldo for the prize. But Messi regained the honour for a record sixth time, having previously won FIFA's top award in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2015.

Before Modric's victory, Ronaldo and Messi had won every FIFA World Player of the Year award, which was renamed the FIFA Ballon d'Or in 2010 and The Best in 2016, since 2007, when Kaka was victorious.

Messi's win is somewhat of a surprise with Van Dijk, a centre-back who transformed Liverpool's defence on the way to the Champions League crown, having won the European best player award.

In the final voting, Messi finished with 46 points, while Van Dijk (38 points) and Ronaldo (36) finished second and third respectively. The rest of the top 10 was rounded out by Liverpool forwards Mohamed Salah (26) and Sadio Mane (23), Paris Saint-Germain striker Kylian Mbappe (17), former Ajax midfielder Frenkie de Jong (16), ex-Chelsea forward Eden Hazard (16), ex-Ajax defender Matthijs de Ligt (9), and Tottenham striker Harry Kane (5).

All data collected from www.iSportsapi.com.

Pochettino may veto Tottenham star new deal after poor beginning performance

Mauricio Pochettino is unconvinced Jan Vertonghen should be handed a new contract by Tottenham after a downturn in his performances this season, Football Insider has learned.

There are fears that the 116-times Belgium international (as per iSports API FOOTBALL DATA) maybe on the downhill slide following a glittering top-level career for club and country.

The Belgium international has been a nailed-on starter almost throughout the Argentine’s 6-season reign but there are growing signs he is not as effective as he once was.

A Tottenham source has told Football Insider that Pochettino and his coaching lieutenants are concerned about the drop in Vertonghen’s performance levels and aren’t ready to sanction an extension to his current deal, which expires next summer.

This comes after Football Insider revealed earlier this month that the centre-back, 32, is eager to extend his 7-year spell at the club with another extension, according to iSports API data.

Vertonghen has re-established himself in the Tottenham team after being omitted for the first three matches of the season, when Davinson Sanchez partnered Toby Alderweireld in central defence.

Sanchez has moved to right-back for two of the last four games to accommodate Vertonghen, but neither player have looked especially comfortable and Spurs’ defence has been notably sloppy this season.

They lost 2-1 at Leicester City on Saturday after failing to hold on to a lead for the second time in four days, following the midweek 2-2 draw at Olympiakos.

Tottenham’s decision-makers want to see a marked improvement in Vertonghen’s performances before handing him a new contract.

In other Tottenham news, it can be REVEALED that the club are lining up a sensational £60million offer.


Marco Silva admits Theo Walcott is currently unhappy at Everton

A lot was expected out of Theo Walcott heading into the Premier League season but, at the moment, the 30-year-old has only come off the bench three times for a total of 48 minutes, according to iSports API football data.

Though Walcott is currently livid with his current role at the club, manager Marco Silva knows that the England international has what it takes to turn it around and continue acting in a professional manner.

“Theo is unhappy, he has to be unhappy, like Tom Davies or whoever. Theo has to be unhappy but after that you have different ways to react.

“Of course, he was not happy but what I can tell you is that when the chance comes to him again he will be ready because of the way he works. He is an example for some of the others to look at.”

Everton will be back in action on Saturday, when they’ll host Sheffield United at Goodison Park.


Lewandowski happy after scoring 200th Bayern Munich goal

Bayern Munich star Robert Lewandowski revelled in scoring his 200th competitive goal for the Bundesliga champions.

Lewandowski celebrated a milestone as Bayern opened their Champions League campaign with a 3-0 victory over Red Star Belgrade in Munich on Wednesday.

The 31-year-old striker, who moved onto 199 competitive goals for Bayern in their draw at Bundesliga rivals RB Leipzig last week, poked home the team's second goal with 10 minutes remaining against Red Star.

"We always had the game under control and played well, we upped the pace and created a lot of chances," Lewandowski said as he reflected on the Group B clash.

"But we didn't score enough goals. We always tried to get forward. Sometimes we might have made wrong decisions, but these are little things. In the end it was only three goals, but it could have been five or six.

"You need games like today to help with a good analysis, to see what you can do better. After the second goal, it got easier. I'm glad I scored again."

Lewandowski – the highest-scoring foreigner for Bayern – is fourth on the club's all-time list, behind Rainer Ohlhauser (215), Karl-Heinz Rummenigge (218) and Gerd Muller (564), according to iSports API data.

The Poland international has flourished since arriving from Borussia Dortmund in 2014, winning five successive Bundesliga titles.

Lewandowski – who has also won two DFB-Pokal trophies and three DFL-Supercups – has topped the Bundesliga scoring charts for the past two seasons and four of the past six.


Hat-trick hero Haaland: This is the craziest thing I've ever done in my life

Salzburg sensation Erling Haaland described his stunning Champions League hat-trick as the "craziest thing I've ever done in my life".

Haaland – the son of ex-Manchester City and Leeds United defender Alf Inge – enjoyed a memorable Champions League debut, scoring three first-half goals to inspire a 6-2 rout of Genk on Tuesday.

The 19-year-old became the first teenager to score more than once on his Champions League bow since Wayne Rooney's hat-trick for Manchester United against Fenerbahce in 2004, according to iSports API.

Haaland's treble also saw him become only the eighth player to score three times on debut in Europe's elite competition.

"This is the craziest thing I've ever done in my life," Haaland – who scored 11 league goals heading into the match(as per iSports API data) – said after the Group E opener at Stadio Salzburg.

"The fans today, oh my god. I had goosebumps as soon as I stepped onto the field and I still have. This feeling in my body I never had before."

After crushing Belgian visitors Genk, Haaland does not believe it is impossible for Salzburg to follow in the footsteps of Dutch champions Ajax, who reached the semi-finals last season.

"Everything is possible. We all saw Ajax last year, it would be nice to be the new Ajax," he told UEFA.com. "But we know there are lot of good teams. It's hard, but everything is possible."

Salzburg head coach Jesse Marsch led the praise for Haaland – who scored nine goals for Norway's Under-20 side in a 12-0 demolition of Honduras in May – post-match

Asked to describe Haaland in three words, Marsch replied: "Positive. Energetic. Electric. Or maybe electrifying!"

"Haaland is a great player, but even more for me is that he's a great young man. He shows up every day, he works hard and takes nothing for granted. He gives to his team-mates every day smiling. We're really lucky to have him here and if we can keep him fit, he's only going to get better."

Salzburg team-mates Maximilian Wober and Zlatko Junuzovic also hailed Haaland.
Wober said: "He is phenomenal. With his height, to be so nimble and have such command of the ball. It's really hard to play against him in training, you just have to foul him. Once again, he proved why he's definitely going to become one of the best strikers in the world."

Junuzovic added: "His goalscoring run is incredible. I'm so happy he scored three today. People said: 'okay he's scoring for fun in the league, but wait until he comes to the big stage'. Then he goes and scores another hat-trick!"


Martin Ødegaard didn't think returning to Real Madrid was a good move

Despite bagging 11 goals and dishing out a further 12 assists in 39 matches at Vitesse Arnhem last season(as per iSports API data), once-heralded Martin Ødegaard knew that first-team football at Real Madrid simply wouldn’t be a realistic option this season.

“At the end of last season, I felt it would not be good for me to return to Madrid. In Madrid, there are many good player and the competition is huge. It was obvious that the best for me was to ask for another loan, and I assumed the club would also accept that. Because of that, we decided very early where I would land.”

While signing a two-year extension to keep him at Real Madrid until 2023, the Norway international headed off to fellow LaLiga side Real Sociedad on a season-long loan.

According to iSports API database, Ødegaard has got off to a flying start this season, scoring twice in his first four appearances, including the opener in Saturday’s 2-0 victory over Atlético Madrid. Almost as importantly, he has the full backing of manager Imanol, going the full 90 minutes in each match.

However, the 20-year-old still has his eye on becoming a regular at the Bernabeu. "My objective is still the same, to play for Real Madrid. That’s why I signed with them, because I want to play there one day. I feel that I have improved a lot in the last two years. I think I am a better player and more mature, I am also bigger and stronger. I feel like I am better now than when I first arrived in Spain. Of course, age also helps.”

Paco Alcacer: People treated me very badly at Barcelona

Paco Alcacer accused "many people" of treating him badly at Barcelona ahead of a Champions League reunion with his former club.

The Spain international left Barca for Borussia Dortmund on loan at the start of last season and made the move permanent in February.

Alcacer quickly proved a hit in Germany, scoring 18 goals in his first Bundesliga campaign, and already boasts seven in all competitions this term,according to iSports API data.

That form gives the striker the chance to prove a point to those who doubted him when Barca visit Signal Iduna Park on Tuesday.

"I'll decide in the moment," Alcacer told SER Catalunya when questioned on whether he would celebrate scoring.

"I have respect for many people there. Many peopled behaved very well with me but many people behaved very badly. My team-mates and the fans treated me well.

"As in any job, if people trust you, you give your best, and if they don't trust you, you don't give it.

"It's very important for me to see those signs of trust and in the end many people did not show it."

Alcacer made 37 LaLiga appearances in his two seasons with Barca, 23 of them from the bench, as per iSports API.

The former Valencia forward generally served as Luis Suarez's understudy in an attack containing Lionel Messi, who has yet to feature this season due to injury.

Alcacer was asked about Messi's influence at Camp Nou and said: "It's clear that a player of that level is important for the team and for the club.

"You will always ask for his opinion and listen to him.

"Hopefully he will play next weekend, against Granada, and not against us!"


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This Chelsea Defender is the top performing across Europe’s top 5 leagues in 19/20 season

According to statistical results by iSports API, Chelsea player Emerson Palmieri is the top performing left back across Europe’s top 5 leagues so far this season.

He is the only Chelsea representative in the starting 11, that also features Raheem Sterling, Teemu Pukki, and Jadon Sancho to name a few.

The Brazilian has gotten off to a flying start for Chelsea under Frank Lampard, and has been a real menace to The Blues attacks, providing that extra threat on the left.

He’s been strong defensively as well and has improved vastly from last season. So much so that Marcos Alonso isn’t even getting a look in these days.

iSports API football data look at a large amount of stats defensively and offensively, and they scored Emerson a high rating so far. This rating would be much higher should his team not be leaking goals.

The way he is going so far, Chelsea might actually have finally found an Ashley Cole replacement, all these years later.

For more details, please click iSports API.


Is Mohamed Salah's Individualism Hurting Liverpool? Far From It

Liverpool’s 3-0 win at Burnley shows that last season’s Premier League runners-up are continuing to make progress. Burnley have posed Jürgen Klopp real problems since his appointment on Merseyside, not always getting a result but constantly breaching Liverpool’s defence. There was no great danger of that at the weekend, but the positives from a convincing win at a tough away ground were somewhat overshadowed. Instead, attention turned to a potential rift in the Liverpool squad. Worse still, it concerned players who will be utterly pivotal to their hopes of overcoming Manchester City and going one better in the league this season.

When Liverpool have won big in the past, the names of Sadio Mané, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah have often graced the same scoresheet. The relationship between the club’s fearsome front three has been a key catalyst to transforming a team from hopefuls to European champions. For that reason, when Mané was enraged at being substitute just moments after Salah had opted not to put him in on goal, the narrative was that there was trouble in paradise. Not long before, Salah had also attempted to go for goal himself rather than picking out Firmino in a far more favourable position.

Tellingly, Salah, unlike his fellow forwards, had failed to find the net at Turf Moor. Regardless of the level you are playing at, if your teammates are scoring goals, it is tempting to force your way in on the act – at times to the detriment of the team. Had Liverpool been drawing the game or just winning by a single goal, Salah’s decision-making may have been very different. You don’t score the number of goals he has without taking the greedy option every once in a while, but is it unfair to say he is overly selfish.

Salah is undoubtedly more individualistic in his play than his teammates, but he is also more effective in the final third. He is better at picking up positions not only to shoot for himself but pick out a teammate to do the same. He ranks tenth for chances created in the Premier League since the start of last season, with 77. That’s way above either Mané (55) or Firmino (46),as per iSports API.

The modest number of chances the Brazilian creates may come as a surprise to some, but there is a reason for that. His job is to operate further from goal, allowing his wide teammates to bomb on in attempt to stretch the play and get behind the opposition’s defence. Firmino, after all, has attempted to pass with more than 70% of his overall touches since the start of last season accoring to iSports API, with Mané’s equivalent figure just over 65% and Salah’s just under 60%.

Salah shoots more often than his teammates, doing so with 7.5% of his touches to Mané’s 4.8% and Firmino’s 4.7%. He also attempts more dribbles, doing so with 8.1% of his touches to Mané’s 5.5% and Firmino’s 4.5%. Crucially though, his end product more than compensates for what some might see as selfishness. While Mané scored as many goals as Salah last season (the pair shared the Golden Boot in the Premier League with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang), he managed just one assist – a tally he has already matched this campaign. Salah, by comparison, set up eight league goals last season and has set up two already this campaign.

Mané and Salah have an exceptional partnership, the most productive in the squad. They have set up chances for each other 40 times since the start of last season, with Mané setting up Salah 23 times and Salah returning the favour on 17 occasions. The combination between Salah and Firmino is not far behind, on 38; iSports API shouws Salah has teed up the Brazilian 21 times, being paid back with 17 chances in return.

Interestingly, the link-up between Firmino and Mané is not nearly as effective. They have combined to create a chance for one another just 20 times since the start of last season – exactly half what Salah and Mané have achieved. Again, Liverpool are at their most productive when Salah is involved.

With regards to Mané’s outburst on the sidelines on Saturday, it is natural to become even more concerned with one’s goal return in a team that scores so many. It sparks competition among teammates that may at times boil over into what some might consider petulance – see Sergio Agüero’s reaction to being withdrawn for Gabriel Jesus last month. With the right guidance and coaching, that competition can breed great success.

Should Salah have passed to his teammates when they were in better positions to score at Burnley? Of course. Would he have done so under different circumstances with the scoreline less comfortable? History, in terms of his own returns by way of chances created and assists when compared to his teammates, suggests he probably would.

Throw in the fact that footballers have personal lives and mood swings outside of the game and one might come to the conclusion that Mané was just more wound up than usual. Only time will tell if there is any genuine lasting friction between the players, but perhaps the international break will do everyone involved some good.

All sports data collects from iSports API.


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It can be a bit of a bind trying to keep up with all the latest information for a certain subject. The world wide web is a wonderful tool but there are billions of web pages to sift through. One way to get all the latest news and features delivered to you personally, rather than having to visit loads of individual sites, in to make use of API.

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iSports API - sports data feed,statistics and content

iSports API is your one stop provider for rich sports content services with a comprehensive blend of live & historical sports data.

Our coverage team follows thousands of events each year to bring you unrivalled updates from games worldwide. Our objective is to deliver a quality service with high service reliability, speed & accuracy of the content we serve.

The range of delivery technologies on offer are meant to provide easy integration and minimal overheads for your business.

iSports API offers an impressive content catalogue delivering up to the minute coverage from over hundreds of competitions globally. Our data is the market leading supplier of sports and betting-related data services. 

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Football Talent Scout Report: Jadon Sancho

Jadon Malik Sancho is an English Under-19 player who currently plays for German Club Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga. The 18-year-old played for the Manchester City youth academy until Dortmund paid 7.05 Million Pounds for him in late August 2017. He can play on both the wings in an advanced midfield cum attacking position, but his proficiency lies in the left wing position.

Sancho was part of the England squad which won the FIFA U-17 World Cup in India 2 years ago. The left winger is currently valued at £80 million as per sports analysis website, iSports API.

17/18 season, Sancho played a total of 12 games for Dortmund in the Bundesliga and scored 1 goal in those appearances for the club. In the current 2018-19 season which has just begun, Sancho has appeared for the senior squad in a total of 4 matches – 3 in the Bundesliga and 1 in the League Cup, DFB-Pokal, as per iSports API.

What’s astonishing, is the fact that Sancho has a brilliant record of 3 assists in his 4 appearances this season and that too having just played 96 minutes in total. That averages to around an assist every 32 minutes, which might be one of the best assist per minute averages in Europe right now if we were to leniently not consider various other factors involved.

Just to remind you, we are talking about an 18-year-old here. As per reports from iSports API, after graduating from the Manchester City academy not long ago, Sancho was chased by Manchester United, Arsenal and Tottenham. He was also offered a new contract at Manchester City worth 30,000 Pounds which he turned down.

The English teenager then chose Dortmund as his new home, after turning down all the English heavyweights. Dortmund Sporting Director Michael Zorc has hailed Jadon Sancho as ‘one of the greatest young talents in European football’ and has assured that he will ‘definitely play at BVB’.

After being given the number 7 jersey at Dortmund which was vacated by Barcelona bound Ousmane Dembele, and has been previously worn by former Dortmund stars Shinji Kagawa and Robert Lewandowski, the future looks bright for the young Englishman.

Also, Dortmund has always been known to produce and develop Europe’s best talents – the list of which contains big names such as Marco Reus, Mario Gotze, Robert Lewandowski, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Shinji Kagawa and so on – Sancho might be one of the names to be added to this list in the coming 3 years.

In a recent article by The Guardian, Sancho was described as ‘A street player with the potential to be England’s Neymar who can emulate Dele Alli for England' by former England youth coach, Dan Micciche. This is due to the 18-year-old’s quick feet and dribbling abilities on the left wing position for Borussia Dortmund as well as for England at the Under-19 and Under-17 levels. Dan Micciche has coached Sancho at the U-17 level.

Having an Under-17 World Cup under his belt in addition to the number 7 jersey and an important squad role at Dortmund, there is only one thing that is sure about Jadon Sancho - his development.

The teenager will surely learn a lot from German World Cup winners Mario Gotze and Marco Reus who are his teammates at Dortmund, while the three of them fight for the advanced midfield position at the club.

Another fact is that Dortmund guarantees Sancho not only good exposure of German football but also European competitions, which is a big plus if the Englishman is bound to ever return to one of the Premier League giants. The Premier League clubs have been disappointing in the Champions League for many years now and would love a huge prospective European talent like Sancho, 3-4 years down the line.

The future is bright for the 18-year-old Englishman.

All datas from iSports API.

Phil Foden, the next superstar in Manchenster City

Being a young player at a big club is not easy. It’s even truer at Manchester City where all positions are covered twice (almost three times) and where the bench still contains world-class quality.

Almost 10 years on from Mansour’s takeover, not one English player from City’s academy made a Premier League or Champions League appearance last season. Phil Foden is the exception.

He has been at Manchester City since the age of nine. Now 17, the young midfielder has been promoted to the first team after excelling for the U18s last term.

He also was the star man for England under 17s as the Three Lions made history by winning the FIFA U17 World Cup for the first time in the country’s history in 2017. His two goals in the competition’s final secured the trophy as he emerged the golden ball winner as the tournament’s best player.
Style of play

Phil Foden has developed as an offensive midfielder with a preference for the leads. Some fans already name him the ‘Stockport Iniesta’ in reference to his hometown. Indeed, there are a lot of similarities between the Barcelona player and the young Englishman.

Firstly he is a playmaker. Either in youth competitions or in elite games, he always has the adaptability to lead the game thanks to very good qualities with and without the ball. He scores and provides assists in the same quantities, the mark of top players, being decisive whatever his position on the field.

Phil Foden is very fast and smart. Here he oriented his body to be ready to get the ball and move forward quickly.

Like Iniesta, he is also a dribbler thanks to an incredible left foot. Moreover, he has a particular physique. He is quite thin for a player reaching such a level (even more for the Premier League) and boasts excellent stamina and maximum speed.

Although his apparent lack of toughness can be seen as a weakness, he protects the ball well and is so rarely dispossessed.

On the field, he played most of the time in the midfield, either behind the striker as a number 10 or a bit on the right side.

However, when Pep Guardiola called him up to play with the first team to play Premier League games (he played a total of 43 minutes last season and already eight minutes this season, as per iSports API), he used him on the left side of the attack as we can see on the touch map below.

We really started hearing about him when Pep Guardiola arrived at Manchester City. The Catalan said of the player during the pre-season tour of the United States in 2017:

“It’s a long time since I saw something like this. His performance was another level. He’s 17 years old, he’s a City player, he grew up in the academy, he loves the club, he’s a City fan and for us he’s a gift.”

In fact, it is not his habit to play a lot of young players but recent declarations show how Phil Foden and Guardiola have a good relationship.
“It gives me a lot of confidence that the manager wants to keep me. He’s always talking to me and letting me know where I need to improve. I just listen to him and see what he can help me with and make me better.”

That is why he opted to go on City’s tour instead of playing for the England U19 team this summer.

“I think it was right for me to stay here and try to develop more and become a better player. It’s going to be quite difficult. I just need to try and show the manager what I can do in training, work hard and see where that takes me.”

With Guardiola in charge, Foden may just develop into another world-class superstar reminiscent of Xavi or Iniesta.

One tough obstacle for Foden is that there are a lot of players higher in the hierarchy, not to mention Riyad Mahrez’s arrival this summer. However, there are some elements in favour of the young Englishman.

Firstly he is a homegrown graduate in a club which definitely needs that kind of player. Currently the Premier League allows a maximum of 17 non-homegrown players in each 25-man club squad. This means that in a full squad, there must be at least eight homegrown players. Therefore Foden is likely to stay in the plans of management, at least for this reason.

With a busy club schedule, he will also have more playing time as David Silva gradually leaves his place little by little. Phil Foden is the perfect substitute for the Spaniard, who recently retired from international duties.

But like Daniel Sturridge or Kieran Trippier before, the young talent could be forced to leave Manchester if he doesn’t earn more playing time. This is the downside of the influx of cash and the arrivals of big stars.

Damian Lillard drops 61 to lead Portland past Dallas, keep playoff hopes alive

  Damian Lillard   wasn’t going to lose on Tuesday night. He more than made sure of that. Lillard put up a career-tying 61 points — marking ...