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Author Archive for Ben McAleer

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Which club will take Manchester City’s place in the Champions League?

The club that finishes fifth in the Premier League may end up in the Champions League next season. Who will step up?By Ben McAleer for WhoScoredWith Liverpool, Manchester City and Leicester City well clear at the top of the Premier League table, the ba…

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Spurs are desperate for goals and must sign a striker this month

Tottenham have not scored in the Premier League in 2020. They have to bring in some backup for Harry KaneBy Ben McAleer for WhoScoredOne centimetre. That was the difference between one point and three points for Tottenham at Watford on Saturday. When I…

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Wilfred Ndidi is the driving force behind Leicester’s surge up the table

The midfielder has made more tackles and more interceptions than any player in Europe’s top leagues this seasonBy Ben McAleer for WhoScoredLeicester City have more points now than they did at this stage of the 2015-16 season, when they went on to win t…

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José Mourinho at Tottenham: the winners, losers and potential signings

Mourinho tried to sign Eric Dier and Toby Alderweireld in his last job, but Dele Alli and Giovani Lo Celso may not suit his styleBy Ben McAleer for WhoScoredSpurs make the short trip to West Ham on Saturday lunchtime in need of three points. They are 1…

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Champions League: previews for the crunch games this week

Form guide, fitness news and facts on Juventus v Manchester United, Spurs v PSV, Napoli v PSG and CSKA Moscow v RomaBy Ben McAleer for WhoScoredWe’re halfway through the group stage in the Champions League and it’s getting tight. The results of these f…

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Why Arsenal should start Alexandre Lacazette alongside Aubameyang

Arsenal appeared far more comfortable in attack at Cardiff with Aubameyang out wide and the Frenchman as a spearhead.By Ben McAleer for WhoScoredIt was no coincidence that Arsenal won with Alexandre Lacazette in the starting XI on Sunday. Despite the b…

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The five questions Gareth Southgate must answer in England’s friendlies

The manager faces selection dilemmas over his goalkeepers, wing-backs, centre-backs and attacking midfieldersBy Ben McAleer for WhoScored? of the Sport NetworkGareth Southgate has just two more opportunities to see his team play before the World Cup: a…

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Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, the sergeant who could take charge in the Premier League

Christmas could have come early for Manchester United fans in the shape of Sergej, a 6ft 4in midfielder who says José Mourinho is the best coach in the worldBy Ben McAleer for WhoScored?, part of the Guardian Sport NetworkAfter a run of nine wins in 10…

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Beyond the Premier League bubble: the biggest transfers in Europe this summer

Premier League clubs have been blowing vast sums in the transfer market – £50m for Kyle Walker anyone? – but not every player wants to move to England

By Ben McAleer for WhoScored?, part of the Guardian Sport Network

Premier League clubs, Tottenham aside, have been busy in the transfer market this summer. Arsenal have made Alexandre Lacazette their most expensive player; Liverpool have broken their transfer record to sign Mohamed Salah (and they want to break it again on Naby Keïta); Everton have made Jordan Pickford the most expensive British goalkeeper ever; and Manchester City have made Kyle Walker the most expensive defender in history. But, despite its vast riches, not every player wants to play in the Premier League. Below we look at the best players who have opted against moving to England to play elsewhere in Europe.

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Liverpool will have to break their transfer record to sign Naby Keïta. Is he worth it?

Liverpool have broken their transfer record once this summer – by signing Mohamed Salah for £36.9m – and they will have to do it again to buy Naby Keïta

By Ben McAleer for WhoScored?, part of the Guardian Sport Network

The rumour that Liverpool will sign Naby Keïta from RB Leipzig has gathered exponential pace over the last few days. The move seemed unlikely a few weeks ago but the clubs are set to meet in the coming days to thrash out a deal. Keïta, who was linked with Liverpool last summer, was one of the stars of the Bundesliga season as RB Leipzig secured an unlikely second-placed finish, a fine showing in their first season in the top division.

Keïta excelled and his valuation skyrocketed as a result, with Leipzig now demanding £70m for the 22-year-old midfielder. Liverpool would have to break their transfer record for a second time this summer to land the Guinean. Keïta has a release clause worth around £48m, which will become active next summer, but Jürgen Klopp wants him now. Leipzig do not want to sell one of their best players as they prepare to play in the Champions League for the first time, but they stand to make a massive profit on a player they signed from sister club RB Salzburg for £12.75m last summer.

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The best XIs from the big leagues in Europe this season

The league titles have been awarded and now it’s time to praise the players who made the difference in England, Spain, Germany, Italy, France and Portugal

By Ben McAleer for WhoScored?, part of the Guardian Sport Network

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How Ronald Koeman led Everton to their best start to a season for a decade

Roberto Martínez was sacked when his tactic of trying to outscore opponents failed. Ronald Koeman is succeeding by trying to build on solid foundations

By Ben McAleer for WhoScored?, part of the Guardian Sport Network

As August draws to a close and the transfer deadline nears with each passing minute, Premier League managers will be looking back on their first three games of the new season. Pep Guardiola, José Mourinho and Antonio Conte can reflect on 100% records, a feat that was nearly matched by newly appointed Everton boss Ronald Koeman. His unbeaten team go into the international break in fourth place after their best start to a Premier League season for a decade. They haven’t started this well since David Moyes took the team on a seven-match unbeaten run at the start of the 2006-07 season.

Koeman has made the ideal start as he tries to take the club back into Europe following a period of regression under Roberto Martínez. They were a tad fortunate to secure all three points against Stoke City on Saturday – a Shay Given own goal helped Everton to victory – but winning only breeds confidence.

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Five outsiders Sam Allardyce should consider for his first England squad

Before picking his squad on Sunday, the new England manager should consider Curtis Davies, Jack Cork, Mark Noble, Nathan Redmond and Andros Townsend

By Ben McAleer for WhoScored?, part of the Guardian Sport Network

At 31 years of age, time is not on Curtis Davies’ side as he strives for international recognition. Yet, the centre-back has enjoyed a blistering start to life back in the Premier League, with his rating (8.44) the fourth best in the division and top for players to start both games so far. Hull, meanwhile, are one of four teams to have won both of their games, including an opening day victory over defending champions Leicester City.

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Will Cristiano Ronaldo break his own scoring record against Atlético Madrid?

Cristiano Ronaldo has scored 16 goals in the Champions League this season – as many as Atlético Madrid – but Saturday’s opponents have Europe’s best defence

By Ben McAleer for WhoScored?, part of the Guardian Sport Network

Real Madrid secured La Décima in 2014 after chasing their 10th European Cup for 12 years. Sergio Ramos’ header deep into second-half injury time cancelled out Diego Godin’s opener to set Real Madrid on their way against Atlético Madrid, with Gareth Bale, Marcelo and Cristiano Ronaldo finishing off the 4-1 victory in extra time. The clubs meet again on Saturday as Real Madrid chase La Undecima. Atlético, meanwhile, are hoping to secure their first European Cup, having lost two finals.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s form will be key in Milan. He scored his 17th goal of the 2013-14 competition when he tucked a penalty past Thibaut Courtois in the dying minutes of the final in Lisbon, becoming the competition’s record scorer in the process. With 16 goals in this season’s Champions League – more than any other player and as many as Atlético have scored in their 12 matches – Ronaldo can break his own record this weekend.

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How Eddie Howe took Bournemouth out of the bottom three and towards safety

If the Premier League had started on 1 December, Bournemouth would be third in the table. How has Eddie Howe turned things around in the last few months?

By Ben McAleer for WhoScored?, part of the Guardian Sport Network

When the full-time whistle blew to confirm Bournemouth’s 3-2 win over Swansea on Saturday, the supporters in Dean Court will have breathed a huge sigh of relief. Steve Cook’s header 12 minutes from time secured a vital three points for the home team in their bid to avoid relegation. Victory moved Bournemouth 13 points clear of the relegation zone and, barring a major downturn in form, Eddie Howe’s side can begin gearing up for life in the Premier League next season.

“We’re not going to change our ideals, our way of working and our way of playing for various reasons,” said Howe back in November. At the time, his Bournemouth side were mired in the bottom three and were struggling to cope with the rigours of Premier League football. They had won many friends following their promotion from the Championship, but adulation will only take a team so far. When the going initially got tough, Bournemouth failed to shift out of neutral. Now, though, there appears to be no stopping them. Howe’s side have lost just two of their last nine league games, a commendable return in their first ever season in the top flight.

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World Cup 2014 in statistics: the 10 players who excelled in the group stage

Lionel Messi and Arjen Robben have won the man of the match awards in all of their games, but Robin van
Persie, Mathieu Valbuena, Miralem Pjanic and Neymar have also impressedThe World Cup has lived up to its billing. The standard of football has been…