• Vancouver Canucks vs St. Louis Blues

    14 Aug 2020, 00:00 CEST

    The St. Louis Blues are slight 52 percent favorites over the Vancouver Canucks. The Blues are favored despite being projected for 29 shots on goal vs 29 shots for the Canucks. The Blues goalie(s) have the edge in save percentage at 89.7% compared to the Canucks goalie(s) who have a forecasted save percentage of 89.3%. KEY PLAYER STATISTICAL DATA --- SAVES: Jacob Markstrom 26, Jordan Binnington 26 SHOTS: Brock Boeser 2.8, Alex Pietrangelo 3.3 GOALS: Elias Pettersson 0.45, David Perron 0.44 PTS: J.T. Miller has a 52% chance of scoring at least 1 point and Ryan O'Reilly has a 51% chance of 1+PTs

  • Santos Laguna vs Club America

    13 Aug 2020, 22:16 CEST

    This is a very close match-up. In 10,000 simulations Santos Laguna won 37.3%, Club America won 37.5% and there was a 25.3% chance of a draw. Overall, the average simulation score is Santos Laguna 1.5 to Club America 1.5. In simulation wins, Santos Laguna averages 12.9 shots and 4.6 shots on goal. They average 2.5 goals in simulated victories vs just 0.8 in simulation losses. When Club America wins they average 14.4 shots and 4.8 shots on goal. They average 2.6 goals in simulated victories vs just 0.7 in simulation losses.

  • Guangzhou Evergrande vs Henan Jianye

    13 Aug 2020, 22:15 CEST

    There is a 15.8% chance of a draw. In simulations where the game is not a draw Guangzhou Evergrande, at 74.9%, are heavy favorites to beat Henan Jianye who have just a 9.3% chance to win at home. Overall, the average simulation score is Guangzhou Evergrande 2.8 to Henan Jianye 0.9. In simulation wins, Henan Jianye upsets Guangzhou Evergrande by averaging 11.3 shots and 5.3 shots on goal. They average 2.3 goals in simulated victories vs just 0.7 in simulation losses.

  • Shanghai Shenhua vs Jiangsu Suning

    13 Aug 2020, 22:14 CEST

    There is a 17.9% chance of a draw. In simulations where the game is not a draw Jiangsu Suning, at 71.6%, are heavy favorites to beat Shanghai Shenhua who have a 10.5% chance. In simulation wins, Shanghai Shenhua upsets Jiangsu Suning by averaging 8.9 shots and 3.2 shots on goal. They average 2.1 goals in simulated victories vs just 0.6 in simulation losses. Overall, the average simulation score is Jiangsu Suning 2.4 to Shanghai Shenhua 0.8.

  • Julian Nagelsmann ‘very proud’ of players as RB Leipzig claim historic win

    Nagelsmann thought his team were slightly better in the final third and that “was the difference.”

    13 Aug 2020, 22:14 CEST

    RB Leipzig boss Julian Nagelsmann felt his side just about deserved their victory against Atletico Madrid as the fledgling club reached its first Champions League semi-final. Tyler Adams' deflected late shot secured a shock 2-1 win in Lisbon. The 21-year-old American struck the decisive blow after 88 minutes as the tie looked to be heading for extra time. His low shot from the edge of the area appeared to be going wide but hit Stefan Savic and the ball flew past the helpless Jan Oblak in goal. Atletico, runners-up in this competition in 2014 in Lisbon and again in 2016, saw a substitute of their own bring them back into the match when Joao Felix equalised from the penalty spot midway through the second half. Spaniard Dani Olmo had given Nagelsmann's side the lead at the start of the second half as Leipzig – who were only founded in 2009 – became the first German team outside of Bayern Munich or Borussia Dortmund to reach the semi-final of the Champions League since Schalke in 2011. "It was a good game for my squad and I am very happy.


    At the end I think we were a bit better in the final third and that was the difference," Nagelsmann told BT Sport after the match. "We did not create many chances but Atletico also did not create many chances and in the end I think we were a bit more dangerous around the opponent's goal and I think it is good we are in the semi-finals. "It is good emotions for the club and the team, I am very proud of my team, they did very well. This club and this team has developed very fast, faster than usual, but as a manager you have to look forward and prepare for the next game and prepare for the next opponent." Leipzig will now face French giants Paris St Germain in the semi-finals in Lisbon on August 18, "We will not have much time to celebrate this victory but perhaps we will drink a beer together in the hotel and then tomorrow we focus on PSG," Nagelsmann added. "We have to be very fast in the defence line and we will have to defend very well as there are a lot of stars in this PSG team and it will not be very easy but we try to go to the final."

  • Fans allowed back to select sporting pilot events from Saturday

    Government says ‘hard work’ to keep coronavirus under control has allowed restrictions to be eased.

    13 Aug 2020, 21:41 CEST

    Pilot events to test the safe return of spectators will resume from Saturday in the hope that fans can attend sporting venues from the start of October. The events will start with the final of the World Snooker Championship at Sheffield's Crucible Theatre this weekend, with a full pilot programme to follow. Prime Minister Boris Johnson called off planned pilot events with some fans in attendance during the first two weeks of August – including the final day of Glorious Goodwood – amid fears over the coronavirus infection rate. But the government has now sanctioned the public attending a small number of sporting events, with a view to reopening competition venues for sports fans, with social distancing measures in place, from October 1. Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: "The nation's hard work to keep the virus under control means we can now make further careful progress on recovery with allowing audiences back for indoor performances, fans back at sports events and the reopening of more Covid-19 secure leisure businesses. "We must all continue to stay alert but today's welcome news means these organisations can finally get going safely, and we can enjoy more of the things we love as a nation. "I have no doubt that they will work incredibly hard to keep their fans, patrons, and customers safe." Last month's two-day cricket clash between Surrey and Middlesex had signalled the return of some fans to live sport, and two more county friendlies also saw spectators through the gates. The World Snooker Championship started its first day with fans in attendance, and around 5,000 racegoers had been due to attend Goodwood on August 1. But those plans were shelved abruptly, with the government determined to limit the spread of coronavirus. The plan set out in the 'roadmap to recovery' was paused for two weeks but will now resume from Saturday, except for specific areas where local restrictions are in place.

  • Bruno Fernandes feels Europa League triumph could be catalyst for future success

    Manchester United face Sevilla in the semi-finals on Sunday.

    13 Aug 2020, 21:32 CEST

    Bruno Fernandes believes Europa League glory will help breed further success at Manchester United. Having fallen at the semi-final stage of the Carabao Cup and FA Cup this season, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men are looking to make it third time lucky against Sevilla on Sunday. Reaching a first final under the Norwegian fresh from a third-placed Premier League finish would offer another promising sign about the direction of travel, but Fernandes only has glory in his sights as the club look to continue to build. "I think it's so important to win because every player needs to understand how it is to win a trophy for Manchester United," the Portugal international said. "For the coach, it will be important and for the players because I think we've done very well until now. "I think if we finish with a trophy, it will not be perfect, but it will be a good year for us because Manchester United needs to come back again to win some trophies and fight for the European competitions and also the league. "Finishing well now is a good start for next season."


    United, a club synonymous with success, have only won three major trophies since Sir Alex Ferguson retired as a league champion in 2013. The last triumph came in the Europa League three years ago, with Jose Mourinho's side going onto finish as Premier League runners-up to swashbuckling Manchester City the following season. Asked if winning the Europa League can give United belief they can challenge for the title, Fernandes said: "I think we need to keep progressing and we need to start the league with the mentality to win. "We know we play for a big club with big aspirations, also the players, we have big aspirations and we need to win some trophies. "Of course, the Premier League is one of the trophies we want to win and I think to win the Europa League would be good for the mentality of winning trophies and fighting with the top clubs. "For next season, if we can win this, it will be important." Success will help the team mature and Fernandes believes the mindset of winning every game is crucial. The 25-year-old knows it is key for the more experienced players "to pass the good mentality to the younger ones" and precocious teenager Mason Greenwood already appears to have picked it up. "I think Mason has done a great season, of course," Fernandes said of the 18-year-old forward. "He's young and he has great numbers this season. "The age is just a number and you see Mason has done very well. "He can do much more because of the qualities he has and he still has to grow up physically. He did fantastically this season and he will get better. "He needs to play more and get more confidence from his team-mates and the staff and I think he will get much better because he has that quality."

  • Manchester City have their eyes on the Champions League prize, says Kyle Walker

    The club’s best showing in the competition remains the semi-final stage.

    13 Aug 2020, 21:30 CEST

    Kyle Walker has no doubt the Champions League is now the prize Manchester City want and need the most. City have won 11 major domestic honours, including four Premier League titles, since ending a 35-year trophy drought in 2011. The next step is to transfer that dominance onto the European stage. In a decade of competing, the club's best showing in the Champions League remains the semi-final stage they reached under Manuel Pellegrini in 2016. Right-back Walker said: "I think if you had asked me this two years ago when I signed here, I would have probably said that the Premier League was the big one for me having not won it before. "Now I have collected two of them and a number of others and this is the one that I want, and I can probably speak on behalf of the whole squad and Manchester City as well for what they need as a club to put them onto that next pedestal." The final stages of this year's competition have been repackaged as a mini-tournament in Portugal as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. City continue their latest challenge against Lyon in a one-legged quarter-final at Sporting Lisbon's Jose Alvalade Stadium on Saturday.


    The new format is unfamiliar and will allow less margin for error, but Walker believes it could suit City's style. The 30-year-old said: "It is a unique situation that we are in but I feel like we just have to attack it as we attack every game, whether that is in the Premier League, cups or Champions League. "We feel that our team as a whole and the way that we play and our philosophy is going to stand us in good stead to get us to where we want to be in the tournament, which is the final." City confirmed their place in the quarter-finals with victory over 13-time winners Real Madrid in the long-delayed second leg of their last-16 tie last Friday. Claiming the scalp of the newly-crowned Spanish champions has given City plenty of confidence, but Walker warns Lyon cannot be taken lightly. The French side took four points off City, including a win at the Etihad Stadium, in last season's group stage. They also arrive in the Portuguese capital in high spirits themselves after seeing off perennial Serie A winners Juventus. Walker said: "I think (that) speaks volumes. This year they don't have the players that they had when we played against them but you need to be a very good team, very disciplined, to beat Juventus over two legs. "We are just going to use the gameplan, listen to the tactics from the boss and hopefully that will see us over the line. "I feel it can swing our way in that it is over just the one leg and we can really attack the game and play every game like a final."

  • ‘I have never felt better’, says Motherwell’s fit-again David Turnbull

    The midfielder feels he is back to full fitness after knee surgery.

    13 Aug 2020, 21:30 CEST

    Motherwell midfielder David Turnbull feels he is back at the top of his game after hitting his first goal since his comeback. The 21-year-old produced a brilliant touch and finish in Motherwell's 2-2 draw with Livingston in his third start since undergoing knee surgery. The Scotland Under-21 international had to go under the knife to remedy a latent problem which scuppered a GBP 3million move to Celtic in June 2019. Turnbull said: "I'm absolutely buzzing to get off the mark after the first three games in 15 months. They are the moments you want to get after all the hard work and stuff you have been through. "That's the best part of it really, back to what I was doing best, scoring goals. "I hope I can kick on and get more and help the team out. "I'm feeling very fit. I came back fit after lockdown and got back up to speed. The gaffer has given me the chance in the first few games and I feel I am doing well, I just need to kick on. "I'd say I am 100 per cent now. I have never felt better to be honest." Although Turnbull has been happy with his start, Motherwell have only collected one point and manager Stephen Robinson accused some players of poor attitudes after the game. Ahead of Saturday's Scottish Premiership clash with Hibernian, Turnbull said: "The manager wasn't happy, he had a wee pop at some of the boys. Probably right enough after the results we have had. "But that will just spur boys on to work harder and play better." Motherwell strengthened their squad on Thursday night with the signing of Scotland full-back Stephen O'Donnell on a deal until the next transfer window.

  • RB Leipzig beat Atletico Madrid to reach first Champions League semi-finals

    13 Aug 2020, 21:15 CEST

    RB Leipzig reached their first Champions League semi-final after Tyler Adams' deflected late shot secured a shock 2-1 win against Atletico Madrid in Lisbon. The 21-year-old American struck the decisive blow after 88 minutes as the tie looked to be heading for extra time. His low shot from the edge of the area appeared to be going wide but hit Stefan Savic and the ball flew past the helpless Jan Oblak in goal. Atletico, runners up in this competition in 2014 in Lisbon and again in 2016, saw a substitute of their own bring them back into the match when Joao Felix equalised from the penalty spot midway through the second half. Spaniard Dani Olmo had given Leipzig the lead at the start of the second half as Julian Nagelsmann's side – who were founded in 2009 – became the first German team outside of Bayern Munich or Borussia Dortmund to reach the semi-final of the Champions League since Schalke in 2011.


    Atletico were without Angel Correa and Sime Vrsaljko after they returned positive coronavirus tests last week but Leipzig were regarded as the underdogs, with top scorer Timo Werner having left to join Chelsea at the end of the Bundesliga season. It was Leipzig who made a strong start to the match and had a good chance to take an early lead. Atletico, uncharacteristically, failed to deal with a corner and the ball dropped to Marcel Halstenberg inside the penalty area but the big defender was unable to keep his shot down. It may have acted as a wake-up call for the Spanish club, who then threatened three times in quick succession. A looping header from Savic momentarily caused Peter Gulacsi problems but the Leipzig goalkeeper was able to sort out his feet and make an athletic catch, falling to the ground on the goal-line. Good work down the left saw Yannick Carrasco advance into the penalty area before attempting to beat Gulacsi at his near post.


    However, the Hungarian made a fine save, beating away the ball with two hands. From the resulting corner, Jose Gimenez saw his free header strike a defender before Saul felt he was tripped by the goalkeeper when retrieving the ball but the incident was checked by VAR and no penalty was awarded. The game settled down thereafter, with the last real chance of a largely attritional first half coming in stoppage time when Dayot Upamecano's downward header from a corner was straight at Jan Oblak. The games's first moment of brilliance came five minutes into the second half and it saw Leipzig take the lead. The German side switched play from left to right and when the cross came in from Marcel Sabitzer, Olmo was on hand – unmarked – in the middle and headed the ball across goal, past Oblak and into the far bottom corner of the net. Atletico boss Diego Simeone did not take long to respond and brought on Felix.


    After Lodi received a yellow card for diving, attempting to win a penalty after going to ground under a challenge from Upamecano, Atletico were given a spot kick and Felix stepped up to take it. The young forward, formerly of Benfica, confidently stroked it home, bringing his side level back in his home city. It was he that won the 70th-minute penalty, surging forward and drawing the tackle from Lukas Klostermann after feigning to shoot. Atletico's tails were up and Leipzig had to withstand some late pressure, with Carrasco twice going close and bringing a save from Gulacsi on one occasion. However, it was Leipzig who would win the tie. A great throughball from Sabitzer to pick out Angelino on the left saw the marauding left-back square the ball to Adams on the edge of the box and his shot deflected in off Savic. A combination of Upamecano and Gulacsi denied Alvaro Morata deep into added time as Leipzig held on for a historic victory to seal a semi-final spot against Paris St Germain.

  • Motherwell sign Scotland right-back Stephen O’Donnell

    The short-term deal for the 28-year-old includes an option to extend it until the end of the season.

    13 Aug 2020, 20:42 CEST

    RB Leipzig reached their first Champions League semi-final after Tyler Adams' deflected late shot secured a shock 2-1 win against Atletico Madrid in Lisbon. The 21-year-old American struck the decisive blow after 88 minutes as the tie looked to be heading for extra time. His low shot from the edge of the area appeared to be going wide but hit Stefan Savic and the ball flew past the helpless Jan Oblak in goal. Atletico, runners up in this competition in 2014 in Lisbon and again in 2016, saw a substitute of their own bring them back into the match when Joao Felix equalised from the penalty spot midway through the second half. Spaniard Dani Olmo had given Leipzig the lead at the start of the second half as Julian Nagelsmann's side – who were founded in 2009 – became the first German team outside of Bayern Munich or Borussia Dortmund to reach the semi-final of the Champions League since Schalke in 2011.


    Atletico were without Angel Correa and Sime Vrsaljko after they returned positive coronavirus tests last week but Leipzig were regarded as the underdogs, with top scorer Timo Werner having left to join Chelsea at the end of the Bundesliga season. It was Leipzig who made a strong start to the match and had a good chance to take an early lead. Atletico, uncharacteristically, failed to deal with a corner and the ball dropped to Marcel Halstenberg inside the penalty area but the big defender was unable to keep his shot down. It may have acted as a wake-up call for the Spanish club, who then threatened three times in quick succession. A looping header from Savic momentarily caused Peter Gulacsi problems but the Leipzig goalkeeper was able to sort out his feet and make an athletic catch, falling to the ground on the goal-line. Good work down the left saw Yannick Carrasco advance into the penalty area before attempting to beat Gulacsi at his near post.


    However, the Hungarian made a fine save, beating away the ball with two hands. From the resulting corner, Jose Gimenez saw his free header strike a defender before Saul felt he was tripped by the goalkeeper when retrieving the ball but the incident was checked by VAR and no penalty was awarded. The game settled down thereafter, with the last real chance of a largely attritional first half coming in stoppage time when Dayot Upamecano's downward header from a corner was straight at Jan Oblak. The games's first moment of brilliance came five minutes into the second half and it saw Leipzig take the lead. The German side switched play from left to right and when the cross came in from Marcel Sabitzer, Olmo was on hand – unmarked – in the middle and headed the ball across goal, past Oblak and into the far bottom corner of the net. Atletico boss Diego Simeone did not take long to respond and brought on Felix.


    After Lodi received a yellow card for diving, attempting to win a penalty after going to ground under a challenge from Upamecano, Atletico were given a spot kick and Felix stepped up to take it. The young forward, formerly of Benfica, confidently stroked it home, bringing his side level back in his home city. It was he that won the 70th-minute penalty, surging forward and drawing the tackle from Lukas Klostermann after feigning to shoot. Atletico's tails were up and Leipzig had to withstand some late pressure, with Carrasco twice going close and bringing a save from Gulacsi on one occasion. However, it was Leipzig who would win the tie. A great throughball from Sabitzer to pick out Angelino on the left saw the marauding left-back square the ball to Adams on the edge of the box and his shot deflected in off Savic. A combination of Upamecano and Gulacsi denied Alvaro Morata deep into added time as Leipzig held on for a historic victory to seal a semi-final spot against Paris St Germain.

  • Grimsby snap up Wales international George Williams

    The 24-year-old was part of the squad which reached the semi-finals of Euro 2016.

    13 Aug 2020, 19:12 CEST

    Wales international George Williams has joined Grimsby on a two-year contract. Williams, a member of the Wales squad which reached the semi-finals of Euro 2016, links up with Mariners boss Ian Holloway after leaving Forest Green earlier this summer. "I got a phone call from the manager recently, he outlined the project that he's got going on here and asked if I wanted to be part of it," Williams told the Grimsby website. "It was an easy decision after talking to him to come up here, I have trained a couple of days with the boys and I am fully on board with the project we have here." The 24-year-old forward spent six years at Fulham before joining Forest Green in 2018, but his time in Gloucestershire was marred by injury. Holloway said: "The nasty injury was a break in the fibula, they put a plate in it, which got infected and caused a few complications. "But we have had a look at it, he got fit, played well and scored for them. "I hope our fans will enjoy the way he plays, he's full of energy and very creative in that midfield area and I cannot wait to work with him." Grimsby have also completed the signing of forward Montel Gibson on a three-year contract. The 22-year-old former Notts County striker scored 31 goals in 46 appearances for Southern League Division One Central side Halesowen Town last season, before the campaign was declared null and void.

  • Grimsby sign forward Montel Gibson

    The striker starred in non-league football last season.

    13 Aug 2020, 18:19 CEST

    Grimsby have completed the signing of forward Montel Gibson on a three-year contract. The 22-year-old former Notts County striker scored 31 goals in 46 appearances for Southern League Division One Central side Halesowen Town last season, before the campaign was declared null and void. Grimsby boss Ian Holloway told the club's website: "I've had situations in my life where I have taken players from the lower leagues and they've gone on to shine bright, so that's what I am doing here with these lads."

  • Angus MacDonald leaves Hull

    13 Aug 2020, 18:06 CEST

    Angus MacDonald has left Hull after his contract with the club expired. The 27-year-old defender, who made an inspiring comeback earlier this year after being diagnosed with bowel cancer, joined the Tigers from Barnsley in January 2018. He made 21 appearances in all competitions, the last of which came in a 3-0 defeat at Cardiff last month prior to the club's relegation from the Championship. In a statement the Tigers said: "Hull City can confirm that Angus MacDonald has left the club following the end of his contract. The club would like to thank Angus for his efforts and contributions in a Hull City shirt and wish him all the best for the future."

  • Veteran midfielder Paul Gallagher signs new Preston deal

    The 36-year-old should make his 300th appearance for the club next season.

    13 Aug 2020, 18:01 CEST

    Experienced midfielder Paul Gallagher has signed a new one-year contract at Preston. The 36-year-old was out of contract at the end of the season but has extended his stay at Deepdale until the summer of 2021. "I enjoy being here. It will be my eighth year and I am on 297 games and I want to play in front of the fans again," Gallagher told the club's website. "I didn't want to walk away and leave this football club without playing in front of the fans again. "You need experienced players with know-how and who know the standards that are set at this football club. I have been here a long time and I know what those standards are and can hopefully help get the best out of the younger players who are here and put this club in good stead." Gallagher enjoyed three loan spells at Deepdale before signing permanently for the Lilywhites after his release by Leicester in June 2015.

  • Lincoln swoop for defender Joe Walsh

    13 Aug 2020, 17:58 CEST

    Lincoln have made a seventh summer signing with defender Joe Walsh joining the Imps. Walsh, 28, left Sky Bet League One rivals MK Dons earlier this summer. "I'm delighted now that it's all done, and I can't wait to get going and start training," Walsh told the official Lincoln website. "I've spoke to the gaffer (Michael Appleton) a few times and he's sold the club to me." Appleton said: "He's another player who will add great experience to the group that we've assembled. "He's someone who is reliable, a good footballer, but most importantly naturally left sided ensuring we can add some real balance to the defence." Walsh, a Wales Under-21 international, played over 100 games for Crawley before joining the Dons in March 2015, initially on loan.

  • West Brom goalkeeper Josh Griffiths makes Cheltenham loan move

    Griffiths is the second West Brom player to join Cheltenham on loan this summer.

    13 Aug 2020, 17:57 CEST

    Cheltenham have signed goalkeeper Josh Griffiths on a season-long loan from West Brom. The 18-year-old becomes the second player to make the move from the Baggies to the Jonny-Rocks Stadium this summer, after midfielder Finn Azaz also arrived on loan. The deal includes a January break clause, allowing both clubs to assess how Griffiths' time at the club is going. "Hopefully I can help the team as much as I can and progress throughout the season and end with it as a good spell," Griffiths told the club's website.

  • Barca boss Quique Setien: Robert Lewandowski is great but Lionel Messi is better

    13 Aug 2020, 17:53 CEST

    Quique Setien has insisted that Barcelona talisman Lionel Messi remains a cut above Bayern Munich's prolific striker Robert Lewandowski. Messi and Lewandowski will go head-to-head on Friday when Barcelona face Bayern in a mouthwatering Champions League quarter-final showdown in Portugal. Former Bayern and Germany defender Lothar Matthaus this week claimed in-form Lewandowski has now jumped ahead of Messi in the global player standings, having fired a stunning 53 goals in 44 games this term. But Barca boss Setien rejected that notion, insisting Argentina star Messi remains as deadly as ever, ahead of the two European heavyweights – who have both won the competition five times – slugging it out in Lisbon. "Lewandowski is a great player but I think he is not at the level of Leo, I think that is clear," said Setien. "It's true he is in a fantastic moment, it's 13 goals in the Champions League and he's well assisted by a lot of team-mates around him. "But Leo's in a great moment too as we saw against Napoli. "It's good these players are out there on the pitch and we can enjoy them. "Leo Messi can help us win this game, of course, but I always believe in the strength of the team. You have to help Messi and give him the ball. "It's true he can make goals for himself but without the strength of the team, Leo would be less, just like any other player you can highlight."


    Bayern have been installed tournament favourites by some having thumped Chelsea 4-1 in the last-16 second leg in Munich and 7-1 on aggregate. Hansi Flick's side have already powered to the German league and cup double, and showed no ill effects when brushing aside the Blues despite a five-week fixture gap. "We know the power of our opponent and I won't play that down," said a wary Setien. "Their numbers are not just numbers, it's the capacity to what they do. "They are an extraordinary team but we are too. That's the reality. "Many things worry us about them, they are a complete side. "They press you well, we know this, but let's see if we can beat their press. If we get through that we can hurt them." Barcelona will be boosted by the return of long-term injury absentee Ousmane Dembele, who has not played since November after a string of injury concerns. "In the case of Dembele, it's really satisfying that he's included and able to play a few minutes," said Setien. "He's been unable to play any part for almost a year. We're hoping he can manage a few minutes and do well." Bayern centre-back Niklas Sule is back in action after almost 10 months sidelined due to knee surgery, and is tipping the German giants to see off their Catalan foes. "I think we have a unique team spirit," Sule told Bayern's official club website. "It's something that I've not experienced before, the way we interact with each other. "It's always been special here but really, the team spirit we've had this year has been exceptionally good. "It's incredibly difficult to win this Champions League title, but I think we have the opportunity, with our squad, to achieve something special this year."

  • Celtic and Aberdeen players could be hit by new coronavirus sanctions

    Scottish football authorities will unveil new enforcement rules on Friday.

    13 Aug 2020, 17:40 CEST

    Sanctions for Scottish players who breach coronavirus protocols are set to target individuals – and could be aimed at the Celtic and Aberdeen players who broke rules. The Scottish football authorities will unveil new enforcement rules on Friday and have signalled they will "encompass recent breaches". Clubs outside the Scottish Premiership have also been told they cannot yet return to training – relegated Hearts had already done so. The Joint Response Group has acted following demands by the Scottish Government to instigate penalties for breaches of health and safety guidelines.


    First Minister Nicola Sturgeon handed Scottish football a "yellow card" on Tuesday after it emerged Celtic left-back Boli Bolingoli had travelled to Spain and failed to quarantine days before playing against Kilmarnock. That came after two Aberdeen players caught Covid-19 and a further six were instructed to self-isolate following a night out. The indiscretions led to four Scottish Premiership matches being postponed and both clubs opened internal disciplinary proceedings while Bolingoli received a police fine, but no punishments were open to the league or governing body. A statement from the Joint Response Group read: "The JRG has worked to ensure that existing rules will be strengthened to include the provision of sanctions for players who do not adhere to Covid-specific football protocols or government public health guidelines. "This will encompass recent breaches and further details will be provided tomorrow (Friday)."


    The Scottish Football Association has also agreed that the return to training of all clubs outside the Premiership will be delayed until August 24 at least, pending updated government guidance next Thursday. The delay is to ensure that all clubs are complying with protocols, social distancing, testing and hygiene measures, and that all players and club staff are fully aware of the latest government guidance. The Betfred Cup group stages are due to start on October 6, with the lower-league season kicking off 11 days later. Players will be given clear instructions on what is and is not allowed via a video message from Jason Leitch, Scotland's national clinical director, and public health messages will be displayed in grounds. SFA president Rod Petrie said: "The message from First Minister could not have been clearer. The JRG must now ensure that the planned resumption of football beyond the Scottish Premiership is done in a controlled manner with the strictest adherence to protocols and guidelines. "The pause on the return to training for the professional game outwith the Scottish Premiership will not impact on the proposed start dates of the respective league competitions but will give sufficient time to reinforce protocols, educate players and make sure of the ability of clubs in the lower divisions to conform."

  • Wigan administrators set August 31 deadline for potential buyers to sign deal

    13 Aug 2020, 17:29 CEST

    Wigan's administrators have set a deadline of August 31 for potential buyers of the club. Joint administrators Gerald Krasner and Paul Stanley remain in "continuing talks" with "various interested parties" and say they are in discussions with four bidders regarding a sale.


    A statement on Wigan's club website said: "If the contract is not signed by this date, we will have to reconsider the position on the basis that the new season starts a week later. "The reason for this is that we will be responsible for the team at the start of the season and the fulfilment of the fixtures. Understandably, if no buyer is available, we do not wish to commit to something we cannot see through. "We are still hopeful that one of the bidders will be in a position to sign the contract as set out." Joe Gelhardt and Kieffer Moore were sold to Leeds and Cardiff respectively this week and the administrators confirmed that negotiations remain ongoing for further departures. "There are further negotiations currently taking place regarding player sales and these will be announced when they are completed," the statement continued. Wigan will play in Sky Bet League One next season after failing in their appeal to get a 12-point deduction for going into administration overturned.


    The Latics went into administration on July 1 when their new Hong Kong-based owners, the Next Leader Fund, said they could not support the club financially and their relegation from the Championship – due to the points deduction – was confirmed last week. Wigan finished 13th in the Sky Bet Championship after losing just one of their final 15 games, winning eight. But the decision to dock points saw them finish 23rd and boss Paul Cook quit at the start of the month with the Latics searching for a new manager.

  • Sheffield Wednesday recruit former Wigan defender Chey Dunkley

    The 28-year-old made over 100 league appearances for Wigan.

    13 Aug 2020, 17:22 CEST

    Sheffield Wednesday have made defender Chey Dunkley their second summer signing. The 28-year-old joins Wednesday ahead of the Owls' return for pre-season later this week. Dunkley made over 100 league appearances for Wigan after joining them from Oxford in 2017 but was released earlier this summer. The centre-half is Wednesday's second close-season arrival after teenage midfielder Fisayo Dele-Bashiru joined from Manchester City last month.

  • Murphy takes grip on title race with Salisbury treble

    Defending champion out on his own.

    13 Aug 2020, 17:00 CEST

    Oisin Murphy ramped up the pressure on title-chasing rivals trying to dethrone him as champion jockey with a near 31-1 treble at Salisbury. The Classic-winning rider extended his advantage at the top of the Flat Jockeys Championship with his third treble this month – and second in successive days – as he continues to make a one-person race of an event which at one stage looked closely fought. Having trimmed Murphy from 2-5 into 1-4 to defend his title earlier in the day, William Hill were forced to cut the 24-year-old further into 2-9. "It has been a crazy day with punters lumping on Oisin to lift the trophy, almost as if it was already on the mantelpiece," said William Hill spokesman Rupert Adams. Paddy Power went even shorter, offering Murphy 1-5 from 1-4 to keep his crown. "It looks increasingly likely that Oisin Murphy is going to gain back-to-back titles," said spokesman Paul Binfield. "A couple of weeks ago William Buick stated his title intentions with a four-timer at Newmarket – but since then Oisin Murphy has continued to ride multiple winners at multiple tracks and looks like he will now be hard to peg back." Crazy Luck (5-1) got the ball rolling for Murphy when taking the step up to seven furlongs in her stride to win the Crouch's Down Maiden Auction Fillies' Stakes by a length and three-quarters. Winning trainer Rod Millman said: " She has always been a nice filly and done everything correctly. "She got in behind and had a few traffic problems first time out – but that didn't do any harm, because it was a nice first experience. "She has come here, really enjoyed it and done her job probably. I expect she will go down the nursery route now." Sidereal cast aside his rivals by three and a quarter lengths in the Federation Of Bloodstock Agents Novice Stakes to give Murphy and trainer Andrew Balding the first of two winners together. Murphy said of the 11-4 shot: "He relaxed in front, and Andrew Balding's horses are in very good form. I think there are lots of upsides to him. He will stay further and he clearly doesn't mind any type of ground." Only two went to post for the Kevin Hall & Pat Boakes Memorial Handicap, but it produced arguably the finish of the day – with Iron Heart getting the better of Gentleman At Arms by three-quarters of a length to complete Balding's double and Murphy's three-timer. Murphy said of the 2-5 winner: "His work has been smart. He ran a good race at Newmarket last time behind Grand Bazaar, who is an improving horse. "I'm really pleased he has won, and he can go on to better things." Amazon Princess rewarded Tony Newcombe's gamble to run her in the Whiteparish Handicap, prevailing by a neck. Newcombe said of the 11-2 shot: "I don't think she enjoyed the ground one little bit. It was touch and go whether we were going to run her. "I followed the radar overnight, and they gave rain here at 3am this morning – which didn't come. "We declared her at Chepstow, hoping for some ease in the ground on Saturday. The owner made the call to run today, and it has worked. This was her 'Derby' today." Almareekh made it a hat-trick of wins for the campaign with a decisive five-length success in the British Stallion Studs EBF Odstock Fillies' Handicap. Jim Crowley, rider of the Sir Michael Stoute-trained 3-1 shot, said : "It was rattling ground quick ground out there. "She is by War Front and she bounced off it, when a lot of the others probably didn't go on it."

  • Jaakko Oksanen joins AFC Wimbledon on loan from Brentford

    The Finn has made three senior appearances for the Bees.

    13 Aug 2020, 16:57 CEST

    AFC Wimbledon have signed midfielder Jaakko Oksanen on a season-long loan from Brentford. The 19-year-old Finn has made three senior appearances for the Bees and becomes Dons boss Glyn Hodges' sixth signing of the summer. "We are delighted to have Jaakko here and he will definitely add something to the team," Hodges told the club's website. "He's a holding midfielder, so he has a lot of discipline and he will screen in front of the defence, but he's also a good footballer."

  • Hamilton boss Brian Rice wants sanctions against coronavirus rule-breakers

    13 Aug 2020, 16:53 CEST - Emmott Leigh

    Hamilton boss Brian Rice has called for sanctions to deal with Covid-19 protocol breaches. There was uproar in Scottish football after it emerged that Celtic defender Boli Bolingoli played in Sunday's 1-1 Premiership draw against Kilmarnock despite having recently returned from Spain without quarantining. That furore came after Aberdeen's match against St Johnstone was postponed at the request of the Scottish Government after two Dons players tested positive for Covid-19 and a further six were ordered to self-isolate. Celtic and Aberdeen both had their next two games called off with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon saying football was being shown a "yellow card". Hamilton should have played the Dons on Wednesday night and ahead of the match against St Mirren, Rice admitted fearing there could be more Covid-19 incidents and looked for action. He said: "I think there's got to be sanctions, I think we've had a couple of cases now where we have had warnings. "We know the rules, know the regulations that we need to work under. So, there has to be sanctions some place. "We can only do so much as a club, every club can only do so much until the boys leave the stadium. "And then it's their responsibility, not just to themselves, but to Scottish football, and to every other player. "So, I hope everybody has seen the consequences that could happen and everybody behaves themselves now. "Football is only a small part of this, the health and well-being of everybody is of paramount importance. But like I say the clubs have done everything they can. "Celtic and Aberdeen are the two clubs we've been talking about. "They've done everything possible they can to tell the players the rules. It is individuals that have done this, not the clubs. "You just go with a guidelines. It's quite simple for me, keep your head down, work away and stay safe."

  • Celtic new boy Albian Ajeti: I deserved to play more at West Ham

    The Switzerland striker has signed a four-year deal at Celtic Park.

    13 Aug 2020, 16:36 CEST

    Albian Ajeti claims he was not given enough chances at West Ham before his move to Celtic. The 23-year-old Switzerland striker signed a four-year deal with the Hoops for a reported fee of GBP 4.5million after making 12 appearances without scoring in a year with the Londoners. Ajeti, whose move to West Ham from Basel reportedly cost the Premier League club GBP 8m, was speaking in an open-air media conference at Celtic Park when he thought his opportunities in England were limited. He said: "Yes, to be fair I deserved to play more, I don't need to hide that. I deserved that. "But this is football, this is how it is. I am really happy now. What is gone is gone and I am looking forward now. "I just think I need to play and this why I signed for Celtic. "I had a good chat with the gaffer, Neil Lennon, and the sporting director (Nick Hammond), they really wanted me and this was the most important thing because the first season I had in West Ham was clear for me; I need to play and I am really looking forward to playing with Celtic." Celtic manager Lennon told the club's official website: "We are delighted to bring Albian to Celtic. "He is a tremendous player, an international with real quality and I know he is really determined to do all he can to bring more success to our supporters. "I have admired him for a long time as he is a really intelligent footballer, well balanced and a really good finisher. We are so pleased to make him a Celtic player and we hope he has a long and prosperous career with us." Ajeti insists the challenge at Celtic Park is no different to the one down south. He said: "It is the same. It is football, here or the Premier League. Celtic, with the standards they have, it doesn't feel any change. I am really happy to be here." One familiar face in the Celtic line-up is attacker Mohamed Elyounoussi, a former team-mate at Basel. "He actually called me a couple of times and tried to convince me but it did not need a lot to convince me to sign for Celtic," said Ajeti. "We had a chat, he asked me about my situation. I talked to him about the city and how the life is here. "I remember the games we played together, we had many good moments, scored lots of goals at Basel so I am really looking forward to linking up with him again." Ajeti also has a friend across the city at Old Firm rivals Rangers. Striker Cedric Itten, who signed for the Ibrox club earlier in the month from St Gallen, came through the ranks at Basel with Ajeti and they are Switzerland team-mates. The new Parkhead striker said: "I shared many years in the Basel academy. He had a different route to me. "I am happy we can play in one of the biggest derbies in the world against a mate I know from Switzerland."

  • Angel Palm victory signals Moyglare aspirations

    Lyons’ Leopardstown winner set for sharp rise in class next month.

    13 Aug 2020, 15:53 CEST

    A tilt at Group One glory in the Moyglare Stud Stakes is next on the agenda for Angel Palm following an impressive display on her second career start at Leopardstown. The Ger Lyons-trained filly was a hot favourite for her course-and-distance debut in mid-June, but had to make do with minor honours in fourth behind Jessica Harrington's Oodnadatta. Angel Palm was the 6-5 market leader to reward those who kept the faith in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies Maiden – and it was impossible not to be impressed by the way she swept aside her rivals by three lengths in the hands of Colin Keane. "She's a nice filly. We were disappointed because they went no pace the first day, but the form is working out," said Lyons. "This is our better two-year-old filly, so we weren't surprised to see horses come out of that race and win. "She'll go straight to the Moyglare now. Colin said she'd appreciate another furlong and said that ground is as quick as she wants it. It's beautiful ground, but on the quick side of good. "Hopefully, all going well, it's off to the Moyglare with her now." Joseph O'Brien's Pista came from last to first to claim Listed honours in the Vinnie Roe Stakes An impressive winner of a Galway Festival maiden, the 14-1 chance faced a big step up in class, but was produced with a withering late run by Shane Crosse to get up and beat Sunchart by half a length, with odds-on favourite Dawn Patrol a close-up third. O'Brien's assistant Brendan Powell said: "I thought for one minute that it didn't look like she would finish anywhere, but Shane said she stayed very well and hit the line well. "She's improving all the time – she's still a bit green, and I think there is more to come out of her." O'Brien doubled up with Lampetia in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies Handicap, with 7lb claimer Mikey Sheehy the winning rider. Jessica Harrington and Shane Foley teamed up to land the Foran Equine Irish EBF Auction Maiden with 11-8 favourite Fly Girl. Fifth on her debut at the track, the daughter of The Gurkha found the necessary improvement to score by half a length from Messidor. Harrington said: "She had a nice run here the first time – but I ran her over a mile, and I don't think she really got home. "Shane said she was pretty green in front today, but she did it well." The Harrington-Foley combination completed a quickfire double with 9-1 shot Pixel Power in the following Leopardstown Handicap.

  • Future Chelsea stars use augmented reality app to supplement training

    The tool is available for anyone to download.

    13 Aug 2020, 15:52 CEST

    Chelsea's stars of tomorrow are already honing their skills by using the Blues' groundbreaking new augmented reality mobile phone app. The Stamford Bridge club's junior academy players are using the Perfect Play app to supplement their training. Academy graduate Reece James has provided the first digital masterclass for the tool that is now available for anyone to download. The new app uses video tracking technology to map the user's space and return inch-perfect data on performance and ability in a host of individual or team challenges. Chelsea's academy staff and developers have worked since December 2018 on a product launched this week, one which they believe can take youth training to a whole new digital level.


    Chelsea Under-11s head coach Sam Page has helped stars like Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham through the Stamford Bridge ranks and has taken a lead role on the new app. "We've actually already used the app with our academy players and it's been a really interesting part of our home learning programmes that we developed during the course of the pandemic lockdown," Page told the PA news agency. "It presented a really exciting opportunity for us with Perfect Play, and we offered the testing version of the app to our academy players from the Under-Nines to Under-13s as part of their home learning programme. "They tested it for us and had it as part of their programme, so we had some really nice feedback and were able to make some refinements off the back of that. "And moving forward we're really keen for it to be a supplementary part of the programme for the youngest age groups that we only see on a part-time basis. "Our goal is to remain at the forefront of what's happening in global academy football, we always aspire to be world-leading. "Our head of youth development Neil Bath really drives us as coaches to think in a fully-integrated fashion, and about all the technologies that come with that. "Perfect Play is a really good example of how as coaches we can think about what technology can do to enhance our coaching practice."


    Manager Frank Lampard awarded a record number of senior debuts to home-grown stars in his first season at the Stamford Bridge helm. Page admitted his own pride at seeing such a bumper crop of academy graduates, especially when witnessing England midfielder Mount hit the net in the 1-1 home draw with Leicester at the start of the campaign. "There is immense pride in seeing a lot of our lads playing at Stamford Bridge," said Page. "For me the memory of Mason scoring against Leicester in the first game, I've been to many games at Stamford Bridge but that's a very special memory for me. "We talk to our players about it now, about the pathway and the expectations that Frank has, and the things he talks to us as academy staff about; the commitment, hard work, dedication, all of those core fundamental skills that we've also tried to embed in the Perfect Play app."


    Product owner Steve Pidd will continue to work with Chelsea on refining an app he believes can help radically alter general sports training. "Technology is going to be hugely influential in terms of how people train, and it's something we're hugely excited about delivering within Perfect Play," Pidd told the PA news agency. "Our goal with the product is to make kids better footballers, and this technology enables us to show them they are getting better, because it captures their performances. "Kids are very tech savvy now, but this should be extremely intuitive to set up and use and we believe it's going to become an essential part of football training moving forwards. "We're taking elite academy methodologies that have been developed over decades, digitising that, and allowing kids to have that same kind of training, that wouldn't be accessible elsewhere. So it's there to help kids improve and gain the edge. "We already have a masterclass in the app with Reece James. "We're heavily involved with the first-team men and women as well as the academy kids who feature. And we'll be doing more masterclasses with players from both the men's and women's team."

  • Jim Goodwin does not want clubs punished for coronavirus protocol breaches

    St Mirren had their game with Celtic postponed.

    13 Aug 2020, 15:38 CEST

    St Mirren manager Jim Goodwin does not want to see clubs punished if players breach coronavirus protocols. Goodwin saw Celtic's midweek visit postponed after it emerged Hoops defender Boli Bolingoli had travelled to Spain and failed to quarantine before facing Kilmarnock. The Irishman was reluctant to comment on Bolingoli's actions but claimed they were different to those of the "naive" Aberdeen players who "misunderstood" the guidelines and caught Covid-19 on a night out. However, with the Scottish Professional Football League discussing new rules to punish such indiscretions following talks with the Scottish Government, Goodwin feels there should be no collective sanctions. "It's difficult to punish clubs as a whole because of one individual," he said. "You could end up with different circumstances at every football club where maybe a certain individual who isn't involved in the first team and doesn't care as much about the situation as everybody else. "So I think it would be difficult for clubs to police every single individual and member of staff. It's not just football players and the footballing staff, there's a lot of other staff members at every club. "We have had promising dialogue with the players and staff, they are well aware of what's expected of them. "We have asked everybody for the time being to stay away from restaurants, pubs and nightclubs, and just make good choices. It's as simple as that. If we do that we give ourselves the best chance of staying free of coronavirus. "But of course it's very hard to control partners, wives, and obviously kids are going back to school now as well. Everybody is mixing now with other people. "So it's difficult to control what comes back into the house but as a football community we have to control our own environment."


    Saints had a pre-season friendly postponed after Goodwin was among six false positive tests along with one confirmed case as a staff member caught the virus from his partner, who was exposed to it at work. But another postponement was not a disaster for Goodwin with a trip to Hamilton to come on Saturday. "We were obviously disappointed that the game was off, particularly in the manner it was postponed. But I have to say it might be a bit of a blessing in disguise for ourselves considering we had such a difficult game on Sunday against Rangers and then to have to recover so quickly for what was going to be another extremely difficult game against Celtic," he said. "So hopefully that means we are a lot fresher for what is a massive game for us against Hamilton on Saturday." Meanwhile, Goodwin confirmed he had made an enquiry to sign PSV Eindhoven striker Joel Piroe on loan. The 21-year-old played 20 times for Sparta Rotterdam last season. "We are in the hat," he said. "It's a bit of a long shot but if you don't ask, you don't get. We have asked PSV to be open-minded about it and we expect to hear back by the start of next week. "We are talking to a number of other players and we are continuing to scour the UK and Europe to see what we can get, whether that's a good loan signing or a good permanent."

  • Southend name Mark Molesley as new manager

    Sol Campbell left Roots Hall in June after he was unable to keep the club in Sky Bet League One.

    13 Aug 2020, 15:37 CEST

    Southend have appointed former Weymouth boss Mark Molesley as their new manager, replacing Sol Campbell who left by mutual consent in June. The ex-Bournemouth and Aldershot midfielder, 39, enjoyed great success at Weymouth and guided them into the National League on the back of successive promotions during his three seasons with the Dorset-based club. Molesley, who during his time as Terras manager also helped coach Bournemouth's U23 side, is looking forward to working at Southend, who were relegated to Sky Bet League Two this summer. He will be joined at Roots Hall by coach Tom Prodomo. Molesley said: "It's a really exciting time for me and my assistant manager coming in. It's a great day for us but it's also a little bittersweet because I'm leaving two fantastic clubs as well, in Bournemouth and Weymouth. "But we're really excited by this challenge at this great football club so I'm proud to be standing here and excited by the challenge. "After speaking with the chairman I can see he shares the same vision and work ethic to take this club onwards and upwards. "We've got to open up some cracks, open up the wounds a little bit and have a look because we really want to build some strong foundations to take the club onwards and upwards." Southend won just four of their 35 games in League One before the season was curtailed by the coronavirus pandemic.

  • Arsenal teenager Trae Coyle makes Gillingham loan switch

    Gills also signed Zech Medley from the Gunners.

    13 Aug 2020, 15:13 CEST

    Arsenal have allowed youngster Trae Coyle to join Gillingham on a season-long loan deal. The 19-year-old forward joins Gunners team-mate Zech Medley at the Sky Bet League One club. "Trae is a very exciting young talent and he is ready to further his football education," boss Steve Evans told Gillingham's website. "He is very highly thought of at Arsenal and his performances have made him a sought-after loan player. "Trae has a lot to learn, his development we are entrusted with but, in reality, his attitude and work rate will determine his success at League One level because he is a very, very talented boy."