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  1. Sevilla have announced the appointment of Pablo Machin as their new head coach. The 43-year-old has made the move from Girona and signed a two-year deal to take over from Vincenzo Montella, who was dismissed in April after a nine-match winless run. Girona achieved promotion from the Segunda Division for the first time under Machin's leadership and then ended the campaign in the top half last term. "With his characteristic 3-5-2 system and a notable approach to set-pieces, Machin has created his own stamp which he'll now try to use to strengthen a team settled in Europe and designed to fight for the biggest prizes," Sevilla said in a statement. Sevilla had three different coaches over the course of the year following Jorge Sampaoli's departure in order to take up the vacant Argentina job. Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  2. Manchester United and Sevilla meet at Old Trafford on Tuesday night with the last-16 tie delicately poised at 0-0. Can the Red Devils finish the job? Football Manics previews the action. Stats The first leg three weeks ago was the first time that United and Sevilla had met in competitive action as David de Gea's heroics in Andalusia helped the Red Devils secure a goalless draw. Tuesday's game will be the first time that Sevilla have visited Old Trafford for a competitive European fixture, although they did take part in Rio Ferdinand's testimonial back in August 2013, winning 3-1. Over the years, 21 out of 30 away sides who draw the first leg of a Champions League knockout tie 0-0 end up progressing to the next round. United have largely struggled against teams from Spain in Europe, winning just 13 of their previous 51 games. However, they have only lost one of their past nine home Champions League games against Spanish sides - against Real Madrid at this stage in 2012-13. The Red Devils have not managed to score more than one goal in any of their past 15 Champions League encounters with Spanish opposition (seven goals in total). Mourinho has only lost seven of his previous 69 Champions League home games as manager, though five of those were against Spanish teams. Standings and form United go into this game on the back of a run of three consecutive wins in the Premier League, coming from behind beat both Chelsea and Crystal Palace before seeing off Liverpool 2-1 on Saturday to cement second place in the league. Their home form is excellent, having won all five games at Old Trafford in all competitions so far in 2018 and having only lost to Manchester City in 20 home games this season. Sevilla, meanwhile, currently sit fifth in La Liga, one place worse off than where they finished last season. Since playing United three weeks ago, they have lost one and won two of their three league matches. A 5-2 defeat at home to Atletico Madrid was followed up with a 1-0 away win over Malaga and a 2-0 victory against Athletic Bilbao. Team news Manchester United record signing Paul Pogba has returned to training after missing Saturday's 2-1 Premier League victory over Liverpool but Jose Mourinho is unsure whether he will feature. Forward Anthony Martial could return at Old Trafford after missing two matches but defenders Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo and Daley Blind, will be sidelined alongside midfielder Ander Herrera. Tuesday's game could also come too soon for striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who is regaining fitness after almost three months out with a knee injury. Midfielder Michael Carrick will hope to be included after confirming on Monday that he will retire at the end of the season. Sevilla will be without defender Sebastien Corchia, while Daniel Carrico is also a doubt, and former Manchester City winger Jesus Navas is unlikely to make the squad as he recovers from injury. Prediction All the signs seem to point to a Man United victory - they are in good form at present, have only lost once at Old Trafford all season (to a vintage Manchester City side) and Sevilla, who are struggling to put away Spain's bigger sides this term, have never won a Champions League game in England. If anybody knows how to contain an opponent and claim just enough for victory, it is Jose Mourinho. Score prediction: United 1-0 Sevilla (United go through 1-0 on aggregate) Share your thoughts about this preview feature article on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  3. Jose Mourinho has defended the tactics used by Manchester United in their Champions League last-16 first-leg goalless draw at Sevilla. The Red Devils' performance was widely derided by fans and pundits despite yielding a positive result at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan on Wednesday night. Sevilla registered 25 shots in total, while United had just six, although David de Gea was relatively untroubled save for two superb saves made from Steven N'Zonzi and Luis Muriel. When asked if Alexis Sanchez is the kind of player who appreciates detailed tactical instruction rather than being given a free role, Mourinho did not appear impressed. "I think you are all, or many of you, are in a new sport! In England, some guys say the wingers shouldn't defend," he told reporters after the game. "The next time I see David Beckham I'm going to ask him: 'David, when you were playing right wing at Manchester United, when the opposition left-back attacked, do you stay looking at the stands? Or do you come back with the guy?' I'm going to ask David that. "And everybody knows that I'm not big friends with Roy Keane or Paul Scholes, but I will ask them: 'When your team lost the ball, did you drop back? Or did you stay walking on the pitch?' "Because now it looks like all the good players have to play free, and when the team has the ball, which I think is such a stupid thing to say. When a team has the ball, you attack. When the team does not have the ball, you defend. "It's as simple as that, but it looks like now some guys are creating a new sport. But I still don't see it, because the winning teams, the top teams in the world now, not 10 years ago or 20 or 30, the top teams now, everybody works. Everybody has tactical discipline." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  4. Manchester United kick off their Champions League knockout campaign on Wednesday night with a trip to the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan to face Sevilla. How could this encounter pan out? Football Manics takes a closer look. Standings Sevilla currently sit fifth in La Liga on 39 points, six points adrift of fourth-placed Real Madrid but having played a game more, and their goal difference is negative. However, they're in the final of the Copa del Rey after beating Leganes in the semi-finals and will take on a dominant Barcelona side in April's showpiece. Vincenzo Montella's charges come into this game on the back of three consecutive wins in all competitions, though they did succumb to a 5-1 loss at Eibar at the start of the month. In the Champions league, Sevilla were runners-up in Group E, picking up nine points. They drew twice with group winners Liverpool, including coming from 3-0 down to draw 3-3 at home, and their only defeat was a 5-1 loss at Spartak Moscow. Man United have reached the quarter-finals of the FA Cup after beating Huddersfield in the fifth round- they also beat the Terriers in the league recently - and Yeovil in the fourth. Seven wins from their nine games in all competitions in 2018 suggests a team in form but they have lost two of their last three in the league, to Tottenham and Newcastle. The Red Devils remain second in the league but lie 16 points behind Manchester City, while Liverpool, Chelsea and Spurs are hot on their heels. In the CL, United finished top of Group A, which consisted of Basel, CSKA Moscow and Benfica, after winning five of six matches, the only dropped points coming in the 1-0 defeat in Switzerland. Head to head Sevilla and United have never faced each other in an official competition, though the Spanish side won 3-1 in a friendly which took place in 2013. Stats United did not manage to score more than one goal in each of their last 14 Champions League encounters with Spanish opposition - 7 goals in total. Sevilla have never kept a clean sheet in the Champions League knockout stages but they have also won two of their three home games, losing the other one. Sevilla have won 72% of their home games in the Champions League (13 out of 18), the third highest tally after Real Madrid (76%) and Barcelona (73%) among teams to have played at least 15 home games in the competition. Utd won five of their six group games this season, their highest tally in the Champions League since 2007-08. However, they have won only one of their last six Champions League knockout games (3-0 v Olympiakos in March 2014), drawing two and losing three. Wissam Ben Yedder has scored 50% of Sevilla's goals in this season's Champions League (6 out of 12) - of all players of the progressed teams, only Cristiano Ronaldo scored a greater proportion of his side's goals in the group stages (53%). Team news Paul Pogba is in the squad having missed Saturday's FA Cup win at Huddersfield, although Marouane Fellaini, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Daley Blind, Marcos Rojo and Phil Jones remain absent. Ander Herrera, Marcus Rashford and Antonio Valencia were on the plane after recovering from issues of their own, while David De Gea is set to be restored in goal after being rested. Alexis Sanchez is eligible to make his European debut for the Red Devils due to Arsenal's lack of involvement in this season's Champions League. Ever Banega, Joaquin Correa and Luis Muriel are all fit and available for the hosts but Sebastian Corchia is rated doutful. Prediction Sevilla know how to score goals but they've also been shipping them in high amounts - the two games against Liverpool in the group stage yielded 10 goals. Jose Mourinho could potentially take a conservative approach in a bid to get a result at the fiery Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan which he can build on for the second leg. However, given how Sevilla will likely take the game to the Red Devils, there is plenty of scope for counter-attacks as the hosts could leave wide open spaces at the back. Score prediction: 1-2 away win Share your thoughts about this preview feature article on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  5. Sevilla Even with their season facing many ups and downs, the Andalusians managed to get their hands on 5th spot, leading them to their beloved Europa League. With the departure of transfer mogul Mochi, Sevilla was now sentenced to life without him, resulting in various oscillations. Eduardo Berizzo was sacked, not so much because of the results, as much as it was due to the lack of defined playstyle and structure. Vincenzo Montella, the former AC Milan skipper, was brought in to make fixes on the go and pull Sevilla back into the Champions League spots, which seems like a lot to ask looking at the competition in the top 4. In the New Year, they suffered a tough 3-5 defeat against their local rivals, Betis, a result that certainly won't make the job easier for Montella. Villarreal The Yellow Submarine didn't start their 2018 journey as they would've liked. Dropping out of Copa del Rey to Leganes, the same team they lost 3-1 earlier in La Liga, and getting only a thin draw while hosting Deportivo definitely isn't the way they want to go this year. To make things worse for Villareal, Congo international, Cedric Bakambu is on his way to China in €40m move which will see him earning a whopping 18 million per season, far more than what Villareal can offer him. On the bright side, their youngsters are really showing up this season, with Rodri (21), Castillejo (22) and Fornais (21) all playing a major role in La Liga this season. Also, if they can get the best of Trigueros for the rest of the season, they could be in for a strong contention for top 4 with Bacca looking to effectively replace Bakambu as the main striker, the role former Milan striker proved he can fulfill while playing for Sevilla in the earlier days. Eibar Here we have the surprise of the season! The likeable team coming from the North has proved to be tougher than everyone expected. Right now, they're sitting at 7th, surpassing their much more famous neighbours, Athletic Bilbao. Veteran 33-year old Brazillian Charles led the team in scoring by bagging 6 goals, not an impressive number, but you can't expect much more from defensively-orientated Eibar side. Just to prove how exactly defensively orientated they are, it's enough to check who's their second best scorer – defensive midfielder, Joan Jordan, Eibar's asset for the future as he's exactly a decade younger than previously mentioned Charles. As you could expect, their best players show up in defense, with Arbilla and Jose Angel leading the team and providing the composure and experience, exactly what teams of this caliber needs. It is expected to see them drop down the table, but we should all definitely enjoy it while the wild ride lasts as the small Eibar side were able to get 4 wins out of their last 5 matches, and that doesn't happen without a good reason. Athletic Bilbao A huge historical figure in Spanish football isn't playing historical season by any standards. They are finding it difficult to cope without Ernesto Valverde. As you can always expect from them, most days they rely on their physicality to carry them trough matches, but it just seems that they're lacking intensity they had the previous years. Their new manager, Ziganda, is facing big pressure to lift the team up, as the hot Basque fans blood is boiling, which is never a good side for their manager. Their most valuable player, Aymerick Laporte, managed to prove his worth and is definitely one of the best, if not the best Basque player this season. Returnee Raul Garcia is also providing a good spark with his no-nonsense style of play, which fits Bilbao's idea of footballing perfectly. Iker Muniain is yet again out of luck with injuries, and it's looking probable that his career will never reach its full potential, a big shame, considering what we've seen from him in his youngest days. However, their recent matches give them a cause for optimism, as they managed 3 wins in last 4 La Liga matches, beating Levante, Betis and Alaves in the proccess and drawing with their bitter rivals Real Sociedad. While those names don't seem too dangerous, it's certainly a good path to go down, and it'll surely give them some confidence going forward (as if Basques don't have it). Aduriz is being Aduriz, scoring 7 goals in his usual fashion, and more spark is expected from fast-paced Inaki Williams, the next big thing coming out of the fiery Basque region. Find out how the top four of La Liga have got on in part 1 of Nedim Maric's 2017-18 mid-season preview or carry on to part 3, with analysis of Leganes, Real Betis, Girona, Espanyol, Getafe, Real Sociedad and Celta Vigo. Share your thoughts about this review feature article on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  6. Manchester United have pledged to subsidise their fans travelling to Sevilla by charging the La Liga club's supporters £89 to visit Old Trafford for the second leg of their last-16 Champions League tie. The Red Devils have matched the figure that Sevilla have insisted on charging visiting fans for the first leg in Spain, and the Red Devils will use the proceeds from their ticket sales to refund their own travelling supporters. United attempted to get Sevilla to lower the cost but, having failed to persuade them to do so, the club have said they will respond by hiking up the prices to the same amount for away supporters in March. That additional revenue will be used to subsidise United fans £35 each for their ticket in Seville, in keeping with the £54 Liverpool fans paid for their trip to the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan in November, with any extra money donated to the Manchester United Foundation. Sam Kelleher, head of ticketing and membership at United, informed supporters of the plans in an email on Wednesday, which read: "In this instance we believe that our travelling supporters are unfairly being subjected to increased/excessive ticket prices from the host club. "This view is shared generally amongst travelling supporters, and we have received lots of requests from individuals and supporter groups to intervene in this matter. "This has been raised with Sevilla, and internally, but ultimately Sevilla have not agreed to significantly lower the price of tickets for our fans to what we view as a reasonable level. "Therefore we have taken the difficult decision to charge Sevilla fans for the return leg at Old Trafford the same amount as our fans have been charged for the away fixture. "We have decided to increase the ticket prices for Sevilla fans for the game at Old Trafford, and use this increase to subsidise our fans, as we want this to act as a deterrent to future opponents who look to increase ticket prices for our travelling supporters. "We will subsidise our travelling support by refunding the difference between the price charged (£89) and the price that was paid by Liverpool supporters in the Group Stage of this year's competition. "The £35 difference will be refunded prior to the game taking place. "As a result of the changes to ticket prices for away fans, should we gain any additional revenue after having refunded our supporters, we will donate this to the Manchester United Foundation." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  7. Chelsea have been drawn against five-time European champions Barcelona in the last 16 of the Champions League. Although arguably the toughest draw, the Blues managed to beat Barca in the 2011-12 semi-finals before lifting the trophy at the end of the season. Tottenham Hotspur will face Serie A title-holders Juventus, Liverpool will take on Portuguese side Porto, Manchester City are up against Basel, and Manchester United will meet Sevilla. Defending champions Real Madrid have drawn Paris Saint-Germain in arguably the most illustrious tie of the round of 16. A record five English teams progressed from the group stage this season. Chelsea were the only English team to make it through as runners-up, with the other four sides all topping their respective groups. The group winners will be away in the round of 16 first legs on 13/14 and 20/21 February, and at home in the return matches on 6/7 and 13/14 March. The final will take place in Kiev on 26 May. Meanwhile, in the Europa League, Celtic have been drawn against Zenit St Petersburg in the last 32 of the Europa League. Arsenal, who won their Europa League group and were one of the seeded teams, will face Swedish side Ostersunds FK. The first legs will be played on 15 February and the second legs will be played on 22 February. The final will take place in Stockholm on 24 May. Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  8. Another exciting weekend of Spanish football is here. Some big games are coming up this weekend including Real Madrid v Sevilla and Villarreal v Barcelona. Let us now go through the 10 fixtures this weekend. ALAVES v LAS PALMAS Gameweek 15 will begin with the Friday night game between 2 teams in the relegation zone. 19th placed Alaves welcome 18th placed Las Palmas. A win for either side can take them above the relegation zone depending on other results. Both teams won their respective fixture in gw 14 and this will be a massive showdown. Hat-trick hero for Alaves last weekend Ibai Gomez will be up for it. Jonathan Calleri is the top scorer for Las Palmas this season with 5 goals. Prediction - Score Draw GETAFE v EIBAR 8th placed Getafe host 13th placed Eibar at the Coliseum Alfonso Perez. Getafe became the first team to beat Valencia this season and Eibar as well come into this game in some form winning their last 3 fixtures in the La Liga. Getafe have been hot and cold at home this season winning 4 and losing 3 while Eibar away from home have just faced defeats in 2 out of 7 games. Prediction - The narrowest of home wins REAL MADRID v SEVILLA The first massive clash of the gameweek is the 2nd game on Saturday evening at Santiago Bernabeu between Real Madrid and Sevilla who sit at 4th and 5th spot in the table respectively. Sevilla come into this game after winning their last 3 matches whereas the Madrid giants have drawn 2 of their last 3. Surprisingly both draws were goalless which is not what we expect from Zinedine Zidane's men. Marco Asensio and Isco are top scorers for Real so far with 4 strikes. Surely the now 5 time Ballon d'Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo has to increase his goal tally which is stuck at 2 right now. Prediction - Real Madrid cannot afford to drop points now so expect them to beat Sevilla DEPORTIVO LA CORUNA v LEGANES 17th placed Deportivo welcome surprised package Leganes who sit at 7th spot in the table at the Estadio Riazor. Cristobal Parralo's side are just 2 points above the relegation zone and badly need a couple of good results to release some pressure. Lucas Perez, the Arsenal man on loan at Deportivo, is their top scorer with 4 goals and has to take responsibility for this game as well. Prediction - Draw VALENCIA - CELTA VIGO High flying Valencia, who have just suffered their first defeat of the season last weekend at Getafe, face 10th placed Celta Vigo at Estadio Mestalla on Saturday night. This game can turn out to be a goal fest as Valencia are 2nd top scorers in the league with 33 goals while Celta are 4th best with 28 goals. Simone Zaza has been sensational and has already scored 9 goals for Valencia this season. Iago Aspas is also flying high this season and has scored 8 already for Celta Vigo. Prediction - Home victory for Valencia REAL SOCIEDAD - MALAGA 9th placed Real Sociedad welcome basement dwellers Malaga at Anoeta Stadium. The visitors have suffered defeat in all of their 7 away games this season whereas La Real have won just 2 of their 7 home games. Willian Jose is the top scorer for La Real with 7 strikes while the goals not coming frequently for Malaga, Uruguayan Diego Rolan has struck 3 times. Prediction - Home win for Real Sociedad REAL BETIS v ATLETICO MADRID 11th placed Real Betis host 3rd placed Atletico Madrid at Estadio Benito Villamarin. Atleti are not having a great season but are still unbeaten in the league and have the joint best defence conceding just 7 goals in 14 games while Betis have conceded 4 times more - 28 goals. Great chance for Diego Simeone's men to win this game and hope to close the gap on Barcelona and Valencia. Antoine Griezmann is expected to increase his goal tally which is at 5 right now. Prediction - Away win for Atletico Madrid LEVANTE v ATHLETIC BILBAO 14th placed Levante welcome 16th placed Athletic Bilbao at Estadi Ciutat de Valencia. Athletic Club held Real Madrid to a goalless draw last week but their last win came in gameweek 8 when they beat Sevilla at home. Levante and Bilbao both have won just 3 of their 14 games so far and have scored 14 goals each. This is really a game between out of form and short of confidence sides. Prediction - Goalless draw VILLARREAL v BARCELONA Sunday night's game promises to be a cracker as 6th placed Yellow Submarines welcome the league leaders to Estadio de la Ceramica. Villarreal are without a win in 3 games but can be expected to give Barca a tough fight. Barcelona were surprisingly held at home by Celta Vigo last weekend but are still unbeaten. Cedric Bakambu tops the scoring charts for the home side with 9 goals and no prizes for guessing the top scorer for Barca. Hint - he's the best in the world. Prediction - Barcelona win ESPANYOL v GIRONA The last game of this weekend is the Monday night fixture between 15th placed Espanyol and 12th placed Girona at the RCDE Stadium. Quique Sanches Florez' team is not doing really well which is bit of a surprise. They have just scored 11 goals in 14 games and 8 of those came from Gerard Moreno (5) and Leo Baptistao (3). Uruguayan Cristian Stuani is the top scorer for Girona. The ex-Boro man has scored 8 times so far. Prediction - Home win for Espanyol The La Liga Santander action resumes tonight and we expect some very interesting games which can have a massive impact on the league standings. Adiós. Share your thoughts about this preview feature article on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  9. Jurgen Klopp has described Liverpool's relinquishing of a three-goal lead in Tuesday night's 3-3 draw with Sevilla as a "misjudgement" by his players. Two goals from Roberto Firmino either side of a Sadio Mane strike by the break put the Reds on the verge of qualification for the Champions League knockout stage with a game to spare. However, two Wissam Ben Yedder strikes inside 15 minutes after the restart gave Sevilla a way back in the game before Guido Pizarro struck a 93rd-minute equaliser. "It was a fantastic first half for us, but in the second half we made a mistake and we didn't carry on playing football," Klopp is quoted by Sky Sports as saying. "We became passive, they scored the first, then it was obvious the atmosphere changed immediately. That gave them a big boost. "We did similar things already at home - we used our crowd and used our atmosphere. The atmosphere helped Sevilla a lot and they had to show character. "If this is at Anfield and we are 3-0 up it is different, but because it was here they had to show character in the second half. "They did, they fought back, and as I said, we let them come back in the game and that is our main mistake. "When controlling the game it is not allowed to become passive in a game like this. They are human beings. It was a misjudgement. "We showed already fantastic mentality against Dortmund [staging a late comeback to win the Europa League quarter-final 4-3], we showed it in a lot of other games. "Yes it was not perfect tonight but it's not a general problem. It just happened. Could we have done better? 100 per cent. Do I think it's a mentality problem? 100 per cent not. "We opened the door for them, didn't close it, so they could score in the last minute. That's the story of the game. It's football and until the final whistle, everything is possible. I knew that before - I don't doubt the mentality of the boys." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  10. With so many big games up and down the continent, we’ve done you a favor and picked out the top four televised fixtures for this weekend. Let’s be honest, the Premier League has left some of its big hitters hidden away until Sunday so before we got to those, let’s turn our attention to Saturday and the monster clash in Germany. Yes, it’s Borussia Dortmund vs. Bayern Munich (KO 17:30) in the Bundesliga. Lucky BT Sport 2 viewers will get the opportunity to see this rivalry in full force. With BVB in poor recent form they will be desperate to get back on track in arguably their biggest game of the season so far. Bayern, meanwhile, would love to add to Borussia’s worries and dish out further misery in the shape of three away points. The next big clash on Saturday takes place at the Camp Nou as Barcelona welcome Sevilla (KO 19:45). The visitors seem to have got over their bad patch and have enjoyed three consecutive wins in all competitions. This is unlikely to boost confidence as Barcelona’s recent home record certainly makes grim reading for Eduardo Berizzo’s side. The Catalans have won their last 17 home league games, scoring 68 goals along the way. While the appointment of Ernesto Valverde might have raised a few eyebrows at the start of the season, he has done a fine job so far and is sitting pretty at the top of La Liga. You can catch this game live on Sky Sports Football. Super Sunday promises to be Super for once Too often Sky Sports bill Sunday as ‘Super’ for no good reason. However this time round, the term is fully justified. In fact, it should be replaced with the word colossal, mammoth, monstrous or perhaps all three put together. The day begins with Manchester City taking on Arsenal (KO 14:15). The Cityzens have been unstoppable since the start of the season, literally speaking, and will be looking to extend their good run with a win over Arsenal. Following a bore fest with Crevna Zvezda in the Europa League, it will be interesting to see how Arsene Wenger’s side approach this game. Since 2014 they have a decent record against City (W4 D5 L1) but is there any stopping this Guardiola goal machine? If that’s not enough, the action moves to Stamford Bridge as Chelsea take on Manchester United (KO 16:30). The game will see Jose Mourinho make a return to his old stomping ground but will his Red Devils take the three points? The last time Man Utd won away at the Bridge was in 2012 when Chicharito scored a 75th minute winner in a 2-3 thriller (ahh, good old Fergie era). Both games are on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Premier League on what should be a memorable double header. Share your thoughts about this feature article on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  11. Liverpool have been handed a tricky draw against Bundesliga side Hoffenheim for a place in the Champions League group stage. Jurgen Klopp's charges are away in Germany for the first leg on either 15 or 16 August, with the return leg to be played at Anfield on 22 or 23 August. Scottish champions Celtic, meanwhile, meet Kazakh counterparts Astana in their play-off round tie, with the home leg first. The 10 winners from the play-off stage will join the 22 teams who have already qualified for the group stage. Full draw Champions route Qarabag (Azerbaijan) v Copenhagen (Denmark) Apoel Nicosia (Cyprus) v Slavia Prague (Czech Republic) Olympiakos (Greece) v HNK Rijeka (Croatia) Celtic (Scotland) v Astana (Kazakhstan) Hapoel Beer Sheva (Israel) v Maribor (Slovenia) League route Istanbul Basaksehir (Turkey) v Sevilla (Spain) Young Boys (Switzerland) v CSKA Moscow (Russia) Napoli (Italy) v Nice (France) Hoffenheim (Germany) v Liverpool (England) Sporting Lisbon (Portugal) v Steaua Bucharest (Romania) Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  12. Sevilla have announced the signing of Spain forward Nolito from Manchester City on a three-year deal. The 30-year-old joined the Citizens for £13.8m from Celta Vigo last summer and made 30 appearances, scoring six times. Sevilla are reported to have paid £7.9m for Nolito, who underwent a medical on Sunday and is now expected to join up with the squad on their pre-season trip to Japan. Nolito, often playing in a wide midfield role, made a bright start at City, scoring five goals in his first nine appearances. However, he fell down the pecking order as Leroy Sane impressed in the second half of the campaign. Last month he claimed that his "daughter's face has changed colour" because of the English weather. Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  13. The football media season, also known as the transfer season, is in full swing - we are just midway through it and some major deals have been completed already. Fans spend hours reading the transfer news and assessing completed deals so lets discuss a top signing of top 5 European leagues. LA LIGA VITOLO - SEVILLA TO ATLETICO MADRID, LOANED TO LAS PALMAS No better deal than this to start the article. Atletico Madrid are facing a transfer ban and have still arguably have made the best signing of La Liga so far. Atleti cannot register new players before January so, after buying Vitolo from Sevilla, have loaned him out to Las Palmas for the first half of upcoming season. The 27-year-old Spain international paid his own £33m release fee which was funded by Atletico Madrid, according to Marca. Vitolo was a vital part of the Sevilla side that won the Europa League three years in a row. The winger has scored 4 goals for Spain in his 11 caps. Other major transfers include Dani Ceballos from Betis to Real Madrid, Nelson Semedo from Benfica to Barcelona, Gerard Deulofeu from Everton to Barcelona, and Ever Banega back to Sevilla from Inter. BUNDESLIGA JAMES RODRIGUEZ - REAL MADRID TO BAYERN MUNICH (2-YEAR LOAN) Bayern Munich are not just having fun on their Twitter accounts, they are also making transfers in a fun way. After signing Kingsley Coman on a 2-year loan from Juventus couple of years ago, they strike again by signing James Rodriguez from Real Madrid on a 2-year loan deal. The loan fee paid for 2 seasons is €10m and they have an option to buy him for €40m thereafter. Signing the Colombian international could be a crucial move for Bavarians as Thomas Muller faced a poor season last time out and "Robbery" (Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery) are not getting any younger. New signing Serge Gnabry has also been sent out on loan to Hoffenheim. Bayern alone have dominated the key Bundesliga transfer business so far, also acquiring Sebastien Rudy and Niklas Sule from Hoffenheim and Corentin Tolisso from Lyon. PREMIER LEAGUE ALEXANDRE LACAZETTE - LYON TO ARSENAL Since Premier League transfers the get most clicks and comments online, let me first accept that there have been many many good signings made so far. However, Arsenal's new number 9 stands out in my opinion because finally the Gunners have splashed the cash to replace Robin van Persie. Arsenal fans were demanding a proven goalscorer for some years now and finally their prayers were answered as the Frenchman joins from Lyon for £ 52m. Alexandre Lacazette scored 28 goals for Lyon last season in Ligue 1 and 76 goals in the last three seasons and has also featured in Ligue 1 team of the season three times in last four seasons. Other major deals - Romelu Lukaku from Everton to Manchester United, Wayne Rooney's return to Goodison Park from United, Victor Lindelof from Benfica to Man United, Kyle Walker from Tottenham Hotspur to Man City, Bernardo Silva from Monaco to Man City, and Mohamed Salah from Roma to Liverpool. SERIE A LEONARDO BONUCCI - JUVENTUS TO AC MILAN We can write a book on new signings made by AC Milan in this window but they have arguably pulled off a contender for signing of the summer in Leonardo Bonucci. The stunning transfer saw the Italian champions sell arguably the best defender in the world (best player in the world in my eyes if defenders get same recognition as goalscorers) to a Serie A rival. Problems between the defender and boss Massimiliano Allegri may end up proving costly to the Old Lady. A Champions League final loss to Real Madrid also caused problems between Bonucci and several now-ex-teammates like Dani Alves, Andrea Barzagli and Paulo Dybala. Other major transfers - Douglas Costa from Bayern to Juventus, Borja Valero from Fiorentina to Inter, Hakan Calhanoglu from Leverkusen to Milan, Andre Silva from Porto to Milan, and Roma recruiting Rick Karsdorp and Hector Moreno. LIGUE 1 DANI ALVES - JUVENTUS TO PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN Veteran full-back Dani Alves was announced as a PSG player this week after rejecting the approaches from various Premier League clubs including Manchester City. The Brazilian was released from Juventus this summer and hence was a free agent on the market. PSG boss Unai Emery will hope that this signing can help them win the league back from AS Monaco and help the Parisians go further in the Champions League. Other major transfers - Adil Rami from Sevilla to Marseille, Steve Mandanda from Crystal Palace to Marseille, Bertrand Traore from Chelsea to Lyon, Terence Kongolo from Feyenoord to Monaco, Luiz Gustavo from Wolfsburg to Marseille. A tremendous amount of money has been spent so far and we are still only halfway into the market. More major deals to happen. So which has been your favourite signing? Share your about this feature article on Football Manics by signing up for FREEthoughts to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  14. Sevilla midfielder Vicente Iborra has completed a switch to Leicester City on a four-year deal. Since 2013, the 29-year-old has scored 30 goals in 169 appearances for the La Liga side in all competitions. However, he has decided to swap Spain for the East Midlands with the Foxes paying a reported £12.5m fee to sign him. Iborra played for Sevilla when they were knocked out of the Champions League by Leicester earlier in 2017. Leicester boss Craig Shakespeare told the club's official website: "I'm absolutely delighted that Vicente has joined us. "He's player with such a good pedigree from his time in Spain with Sevilla and he adds some really strong competition to our squad." Share your thoughts about this news story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the chat with fellow football fans.
  15. Sevilla have announced the appointment of Eduardo Berizzo as their new head coach. Last week, it was revealed that the former Europa League holders had "reached an agreement in principle" for former Celta Vigo manager Berizzo to become their new manager after the departure of Jorge Sampaoli. Sevilla have now officially confirmed the arrival of the 47-year-old, who is determined to bring more success to the Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan. "My aim is that of Sevilla, for it to continue to win. The challenge is to make sure that happens," Berizzo told reporters. "I expect to have and build a strong group based on work, which is the only thing one can guarantee. I haven't been given a specific aim, but I know what this club wants. We need to keep growing. "I didn't hesitate to accept this job because it's a big club, a winner and this is a huge challenge for me. I hope I can repay the confidence and the enthusiasm the club and the fans have shown in me through my work and commitment." Share your thoughts about this news story on Pride of Nottingham by signing up to the website, visiting the forum and joining in the chat with hundreds of fellow Notts County fans.
  16. 1) Sheffield Wednesday vs. Reading The action begins this Friday when the play-off battle in the Championship resumes. Sheffield Wednesday will welcome Reading to Hillsborough ahead of what promises to be an entertaining fixture. The Owls are currently sixth in the table and on the fringe of the play-off places, a point ahead of an in-form Fulham side. Their opponents, Reading, are currently in fifth and are two points above the South Yorkshire outfit. They are also only two points away from fourth-placed Leeds United. Both sides come into this tie with the same form (one win and one draw from their last five), with little separating the promotion contenders. 2) Leeds United vs. Brighton & Hove Albion The fight for promotion continues the next day when Leeds United welcome Brighton & Hove Alvion to Elland Road. Under the leadership of Garry Monk, Leeds have been transformed from mid-table squatters to promotion challengers. However, Brighton will be a tough challenge for the Whites as they look for the three points that could see them top of the Championship. 3) Manchester City vs. Liverpool Next day the attention turns to the Premier League as Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City take on Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool. City are currently one point and one place above the Reds; however, ten points still separate them and leaders Chelsea. With the conclusion of the season fast approaching, even the slightest of slip-ups could take either of these sides out of the title picture; something that Liverpool are all too familiar with. But before this mammoth clash takes place, a colossal tie is also set to take place in La Liga. 4) Atletico Madrid vs. Sevilla Atletico Madrid will be looking to strengthen their position in the top four as they welcome Sevilla to the capital. The visitors are only five points off the league leaders and come into Sunday’s fixture with a lot to prove following their Champions League exit at the hands of Leicester City. Sevilla are without a win in three and will be looking to upset a side which has won five of their last seven league games. 5) Barcelona vs. Valencia Luis Enrique’s side might have completed the mother of all comebacks when they beat Paris Saint-Germain in the final minutes of the Champions League tie. However, a loss to Deportivo La Coruna last weekend allowed Real Madrid to climb back to the top of La Liga. Barca will be looking to right their wrongs and leave the visitors empty handed as Valencia look to continue their surge up the table. Share your thoughts about this article on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the conversation.
  17. Leicester City boss Claudio Ranieri has declared himself satisfied with his side's performance during their 2-1 defeat to Sevilla in the Champions League on Wednesday night. The Foxes will take a potentially vital away goal back to the King Power Stadium for the second leg of the tie thanks to Jamie Vardy's second-half strike, and the Italian was quick to praise his team's fighting spirit. He told reporters: "We knew they are better than us, they have high quality in possession. We suffered. They showed their quality but we showed our heart. We showed belief and never game up. That makes me satisfied. "At the end, if we are a little more calm on the counter-attack, we could have done more. It was very important to match them and every result is still open. Their quality is very high and when you make a mistake, the opposition scores goals." Vardy, meanwhile, said: "Everyone has given 110 percent and everyone has come off absolutely blowing. We knew we had to be patient and take our chances but we knew we could hurt them on the press and that's what Danny (Drinkwater) did. He got it over to me and I slipped it in." Share your thoughts about this story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the conversation.
  18. Jose Mourinho is the kind of manager who always has his way, and that goes for his relationship with his players - if they listen to him, they will succeed. When Henrikh Mkhitaryan was frozen out early in the season, many thought Mourinho had lost the plot, but the Armenian waited for his chance and now he is reaping the dividends, while critics of the Portuguese coach are now having to do some rethinking. Mourinho even went on to use Mkhitaryan as a left-back in the Middlesbrough game, indicative of the appreciation that the recent signing has won from his manager for his hard work and perseverance. But the story with Anthony Martial seems to be going in a different trajectory. Eyebrows were raised when he became the most expensive teenager in world football upon his signing in 2015, but he went on to score 19 goals in all competitions for United last season, making him top scorer for the club in what turned out to be a pretty disappointing campaign. Under Mourinho, however, he has failed to hit the ground running, with his goal tally standing at five from 18 appearances in all competitions, and just two in 12 in the league, which has put his first-team place under threat. Though Martial scored a goal and played a part in Paul Pogba's goal which sealed a 2-1 win against Boro, reports suggest that he is looking to move away from Old Trafford. And earlier this week the 21-year-old's agent, Philippe Lamboley, said: “We’re studying the Sevilla option very closely. “Sevilla is in a good position in La Liga, in the Champions League and have a great coach.” Mourinho publicly rebuked Lamboley's comments, telling reporters: "He played, he scored, he fought. I know he's a top talent, but he needs to listen to me, not his agent. "With Martial, every day I read the newspaper, saying Martial is going to Sevilla, Martial is going on loan, he's not happy. Martial needs to listen to me. He's a player with amazing conditions to be a top player." Martial's recent absence from the team has been likened to Mkhitaryan's spell on the sidelines earlier in the campaign; and Mourinho said Martial could learn from the Armenia international, who has now permanently made his way into the first team. "I knew Mkhitaryan was a top talent and I was not playing him. Anthony has to listen to me in training. Every feedback I give to players, I give to improve them," Mourinho added. Former United man Phil Neville is on Mourinho's side of the argument, telling the press: "The club invested £56m in him and he needs to play to that level more consistently. "He needs to ring his agent and say ‘why are you linking me with Sevilla?’ He should say ‘I’m at the biggest club in the world, or one of the biggest clubs in the world, and I want to stay here’." It is quite obvious Mourinho wants Martial to strengthen his bench for the time being, but according to the reports in the press, the latter is in no mood to follow his manager's instructions. So Martial's United career is at a crossroads - does he take the copout option and head to Sevilla, or does he knuckle down and fight for a first-team place? It remains to be seen, but many will surely be hoping that he listens to his manager and football peers rather than his agent in this case. Share your thoughts about this feature on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the conversation.
  19. Philippe Lamboley, Anthony Martial's agent, has revealed that the France international could leave Manchester United for Sevilla next month. The 21-year-old is currently on the fringes of manager Jose Mourinho's first-team having struggled to recapture his fine form from his first season at Old Trafford, when he claimed 17 goals. Martial has scored just four times this campaign and Mourinho has advised him to follow the example set by previously out-of-favour midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan in order to force his way back into contention. However Lamboley has claimed that his client is wanted by the Europa League holders and says an agreement could be reached during the January transfer window. "We are studying the Sevilla option in detail," Lamboley told Spanish radio station ABCdeSevilla. "Sevilla are a very good club, are in a good position in La Liga, play in the Champions League and have a great coach. That's all I can tell you." Martial became the most expensive teenager in football history when he joined United from Monaco for an initial £36m in September 2015. Share your thoughts about this story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the conversation.
  20. We are seven games into the La Liga season and fans are already very much excited about the title race. Usual suspects Real Madrid and Barcelona are always the favourites but it's Atletico Madrid who are on top of the table during the October international break. Fans of Spanish football know there is no surprise in seeing Diego Simeone's passionate side at the top right now. Atletico Madrid started their season with two disappointing draws against promoted sides in Alaves and Leganes, but four wins in the next five games, plus a draw against Barcelona, helped them in getting the top spot so early in the season. Frenchman Antoine Griezmann is on fire with six goals and three assists and, as we expect from a Diego Simeone's team, they are solid at the back conceding just two goals in seven games. Real Madrid were looking unstoppable at the start of the season. Zinedine Zidane's men won all four of their opening games by scoring 12 goals and conceding just two. However, in the next three games they could only get three points by drawing games against Villarreal, Las Palmas and Eibar. Gareth Bale is the top scorer for them with three goals so far and an assist to his name as well. Normally we say that the team under new management will take time to settle but we cannot say the same about Sevilla who are third in the La LIga table right now with four wins, two draws and a defeat out of their opening seven games. New manager Jorge Sampaoli's season started in sensational fashion as Sevilla beat Espanyol 6-4 which has to be the match of the new season so far. New signings Luciano Vietto and Wissam Ben Yedder, meanwhile, have both scored three goals in the league for the Europa League champions. Barcelona have been shaky at best so far. Luis Enrique's side are right now sitting in fourth place after losing at home to Alaves and another defeat away from home against Celta Vigo. The Blaugrana are the top scorers in the league with 22 goals but have let in 10 goals as well. Injury to Lionel Messi is also not helping the case but a team of Barca standards should definitely improve. Uruguayan Luis Suarez is the top scorer for Barcelona with 5 goals in the league so far. The top four sides will be back in action after the current international break as Atletico play Granada at home, Real Madrid and Sevilla go to Betis and Leganes respectively whereas Barcelona are set to host Deportivo La Coruna. Let us wait and watch the upcoming turn of events in the La Liga. Share your thoughts about this story on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the conversation.
  21. Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart is considering a move away from the club after being dropped for the first two games under Pep Guardiola, according to reports. The 29-year-old has been first choice for the Citizens for the last six years, but was on the bench for Saturday's Premier League opener against Sunderland and in Tuesday night's 5-0 win over Steaua Bucharest in the Champions League playoffs. Hart, who played for England at Euro 2016, has been linked with a switch to Merseyside outfits Everton and Liverpool, while Sky Sports News speculates that he may be open to a move abroad - Sevilla and Borussia Dortmund are said to be interested. He has spent more than a decade at Man City after joining the club from hometown side Shrewsbury in 2006 and made 347 appearances, helping them win the Premier League title in 2012 and 2014. Should Hart stay at City or is it time for him to move? Share your thoughts on Football Manics by signing up for FREE to the website, visiting the forum and joining the conversation.
  22. Gareth Bale has been left out of Real Madrid's squad for their upcoming game on Tuesday night against fellow Spanish side Sevilla in the UEFA Super Cup. The Welsh forward, Bale, 27, and team-mate Toni Kroos have not been included with Real Mardid's selection after their return from an extended post-Euro 2016 break. Euro 2016 winners, Cristiano Ronaldo and Pepe will also not feature for the current Champions League winners. Sevilla, who beat Liverpool to win last season's Europa League final, will be hoping there is no repeat of the 2014 Super Cup.
  23. Paris Saint-Germain have appointed former Sevilla manager Unai Emery as the club's new boss on a two-year deal. The 44-year-old Spaniard replaces Laurent Blanc, who left his position in charge after three years at the Ligue 1 champions on Monday. Emery won the Europa League with Sevilla in each of his three full seasons in charge of the La Liga club. "It's with great pride that I accept the challenge of coaching PSG," said Emery, who has also coached Valencia. "This club has become one of the biggest in Europe over recent seasons, and I am happy and honoured to help lead it towards achieving its goals." Emery spent the majority of his playing career in the Spanish second tier before moving into management.
  24. Barcelona have clinched a record 28th Copa del Rey after beating Europa League holders Sevilla 2-0 after extra time in Sunday's final at the Vicente Calderon. After a goalless first 90 minutes during which Javier Mascherano and Ever Banega were sent off, the Blaugrana took the lead through Jordi Alba, who latched onto Lionel Messi's ball over the top and fired past Sergio Rico in the 97th minute. Sevilla then went down to nine men when Daniel Carrico received two bookings in quick succession, before the Catalan giants sealed victory late on, Neymar slotting home to send their fans into raptures. Barcelona are the only team to win both La Liga and the Copa del Rey for two seasons in a row (1951-52 and 52-53 and again now).
  25. Sevilla have become the first ever side to win three Europa League trophies in a row after coming from behind to beat Liverpool 3-1 in Wednesday's final in Basel. Jurgen Klopp's side enjoyed a bright first half and took the lead via Daniel Sturridge's wonderful curling strike with the outside of his boot. The La Liga outfit, however, stormed back after the restart, equalising within 17 seconds via Kevin Gameiro's tap-in from close range. From then on it was one-way traffic as Unai Emery's charges surged in front and subsequently killed off the tie, courtesy of a Coke brace. Sevilla are the first team to win a major European title three years in a row since Bayern Munich won the European Cup three times between 1974 and 1976. In addition the Spaniards - who beat Benfica in the 2014 final and repeated the feat a year later against Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk - have claimed the trophy when it was known as the UEFA Cup in 2006 and 2007. Sevilla's win has also completed a clean sweep of European cup wins by Spanish sides over the last three seasons, with Real Madrid clinching the Champions League in 2014, Barcelona winning it a season later, and Atletico Madrid taking on their city rivals in this year's final.

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