Barcelona 2-1 Getafe: Report, Ratings & Reaction as Blaugrana Earn Critical Victory in Title Race

Barcelona closed in on league leaders Real Madrid with an important win on Saturday afternoon as they beat Getafe 2-1 at Camp Nou.

After a quiet opening 20 minutes, Getafe thought they had taken the lead. Allan Nyom followed up the rebound from Marc-Andre ter Stegen’s strong save, but VAR overturned it because of an unnecessary and excessive foul on Samuel Umtiti by Nyom.

That disallowed goal came back to bite Getafe when Barcelona broke the deadlock ten minutes later. Lionel Messi played a delightful ball through to Antoine Grizemann, who deftly slotted it home for his first league goal in six games.


Barça doubled their lead soon after with a sumptuous team goal, cutting through the Getafe defence with grace and precision. The ball was worked out wide to Junior Firpo, pulling it back for Sergi Roberto to fire into the bottom corner and give the reigning champions a comfortable lead.

Out of nothing, Getafe pulled one back with a stunning effort from Angel Rodriguez. The Spaniard positioned himself perfectly to meet Jaime Mata’s cross, sweeping it home into the bottom corner to give the visitors a lifeline at Camp Nou, but Barça held on to claim the win.


BARCELONA

Key Talking Point

Antoine Griezmann

?Barcelona have faltered in recent weeks, and while they started on Saturday with the lion’s share of possession, they didn’t threaten. They were lucky not to go behind, but Getafe’s disallowed goal woke them up and urged them on to go and take the lead themselves.

Once Griezmann put the Blaugrana in front, they had the confidence and belief to go forward and attack. This was complemented by a wonderful team goal finished off by Roberto, a sign of the vintage Barcelona that the football world has come to know and love.

While Getafe gave them a scare with the consolation, Barcelona did well to see out the win. They put in a typically vibrant performance that earned them three vital points in their pursuit of the title – it is just a case of whether they can maintain that momentum and gain consistency.


Player Ratings

Starting XI: Ter Stegen (6); Roberto (7), Pique (7), Umtiti (6), Alba (N/A); De Jong (6), Sergio (6), Arthur (6); Messi (7*), Griezmann (7), Fati (6).

Substitutes: Firpo (6), Rakitic (6), Vidal (N/A).


STAR MAN – LIONEL MESSI

Though he didn’t get onto the scoresheet, Lionel Messi was hugely influential in Barcelona’s win. He got the assist for the first goal with a beautiful pass, and was at the heart of every attack and every move in an excellent playmaker’s performance.



GETAFE

Allan-Romeo Nyom

Player Ratings

Starting XI: Soria (7*); Nyom (5), Djene (6), Etxeita (6), Olivera (6); Etebo (5), Arambarri (6), Maksimovic (6), Cucurella (6); Molina (7), Mata (6).

Substitutes: A.Rodriguez (7), Kenedy (6), Amath (6).


STAR MAN – DAVID SORIA

Goalkeeper David Soria kept Barcelona at bay for long spells of the game, keeping them out and Getafe in the game. He made several key saves that kept out a relentless attacking Barcelona, putting in a sound performance at Camp Nou.


Looking Ahead

Nemanja Maksimovic,Frenkie de Jong

Barcelona have a week off to prepare for their next match, when they welcome struggling Eibar to Camp Nou next Saturday. That is followed by a massive trip to Naples in the ?Champions League, as they meet ?Napoli on 25 February in the first leg of their round of 16 clash.

Getafe have a tasty Europa League clash next Thursday, when they host Eredivisie leaders Ajax in the round of 32. They then host fifth-place Sevilla at the Coliseum Alfonso Perez on 23 February, with the two sides currently separated by just three points.

Let’

Manchester City Banned From Champions League for 2 Seasons & Fined €30m for FFP Breaches

?UEFA have confirmed that Manchester City have been banned from the Champions League for the next two seasons over Financial Fair Play breaches.

City have also been fined €30m (£25m) after they were found to have misled UEFA as well as breaking FFP rules.

Pep Guardiola

UEFA’s Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) discovered that City falsely inflated their sponsorship revenues. 

UEFA said in a statement: “Following a hearing held on 22 January 2020 the Adjudicatory Chamber of the UEFA Club Financial Control Body (CFCB), chaired by José da Cunha Rodrigues, has today notified Manchester City Football Club of the final decision on the case which was referred by the CFCB Chief Investigator.

“The Adjudicatory Chamber, having considered all the evidence, has found that Manchester City Football Club committed serious breaches of the UEFA Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play Regulations by overstating its sponsorship revenue in its accounts and in the break-even information submitted to UEFA between 2012 and 2016.

“The Adjudicatory Chamber has also found that in breach of the regulations the Club failed to cooperate in the investigation of this case by the CFCB.

Fernandinho,Nicolas Otamendi

“The Adjudicatory Chamber has imposed disciplinary measures on Manchester City Football Club directing that it shall be excluded from participation in UEFA club competitions in the next two seasons (ie. the 2020/21 and 2021/22 seasons) and pay a fine of €30m.

“The decision of the Adjudicatory Chamber is subject to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). If Manchester City Football Club exercises that right the full reasoned decision of the Adjudicatory Chamber will not be published prior to publication of the final award by the CAS.”

City came under fire initially when leaked emails and documents uncovered by German outlet Der Spiegel back in November 2018 suggested that the club were finding ways of falsifying revenue streams. 

?The Guardian report that club owner Sheikh Mansour was alleged to have been funding the £67.5m deal with Etihad to sponsor City’s stadium and kits, and further leaks suggested only £8m from that sponsorship in the 2015-16 financial year came directly from the airline.

City have released a statement condemning the decision: “Manchester City is disappointed but not surprised by today’s announcement by the UEFA Adjudicatory Chamber. The Club has always anticipated the ultimate need to seek out an independent body and process to impartially consider the comprehensive body of irrefutable evidence in support of its position.

FBL-ENG-FACUP-MAN CITY-FULHAM

“In December 2018, the UEFA Chief Investigator publicly previewed the outcome and sanction he intended to be delivered to Manchester City, before any investigation had even begun. The subsequent flawed and consistently leaked UEFA process he oversaw has meant that there was little doubt in the result that he would deliver. The Club has formally complained to the UEFA Disciplinary body, a complaint which was validated by a CAS ruling.

“Simply put, this is a case initiated by UEFA, prosecuted by UEFA and judged by UEFA. With this prejudicial process now over, the Club will pursue an impartial judgment as quickly as possible and will therefore, in the first instance, commence proceedings with the Court of Arbitration for Sport at the earliest opportunity.”

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La Liga Doubt Barcelona’s Claim That Ousmane Dembele Will Miss 6 Months Through Injury

?A specialist panel working with La Liga will review the extent of Ousmane Dembele’s injury, with doubt being cast over Barcelona’s initial prognosis that he will miss six months and potentially scuppering their emergency transfer plans.

Barça put out a statement earlier in the week suggesting that the forward was feeling discomfort in his right leg, although there were no initial concerns that it would be anything severe. But further tests carried out by club doctors revealed a hamstring injury picked up in training has ended his season prematurely.


This ?most recent setback follows a long line of injuries the Frenchman has suffered since moving to La Liga, preventing him from cementing a regular spot in the side.

Due to the length of the 22-year-old winger’s layoff, La Blaugrana looked set to be given special permission from the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) to make a new signing outside of the transfer window. Some reports even suggested that they had even ?reached an agreement for Willian Jose to join from Real Socieded. 

But ?Sport report that those plans could be shelved as there is serious doubt over the estimation ?Barça placed on Dembele’s layoff, as the hamstring injury is the exact same injury he picked up on his other leg back in 2017. He missed a total of 106 days – nowhere near the six-month timeframe claimed by his club this time around.

Ousmane Dembele

Should Dembele be sidelined for fewer than five months, then the severity of his injury wouldn’t be enough to grant Barça special dispensation to sign another forward outside of the transfer window.

To look over his injury, a specialist group in sports medicine will reevaluate all the details submitted by Barça, and the committee will present their own estimation on his injury, potentially curtailing any hopes the club had of securing a stop-gap signing.


For more from Ross Kennerley, follow him on Twitter!  

Let’

The 7 Best Goalkeepers in European Football – Ranked

?The expectations placed on the shoulders of goalkeepers across Europe’s top-flight leagues grow ever-greater. The modern-day criteria by which clubs’ keepers are judged have vastly expanded over the last decade.

Gone are the days where a goalie’s responsibilities were confined to shot-stopping. Joe Hart was great at that, and was renowned as one of the world’s best during his time at Manchester City. Where is he now? Sitting on the bench at Burnley.

Being an impressive save-maker is a minimum requirement if you want to be one of the best. Keepers who are currently labelled the world’s greatest boast wide-ranging skillsets, including their abilities with the ball at their feet. 

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These days, it’s common practice to observe keepers playing as the fifth defender, charged with building the first phase of attacks. 

Here’s 90min’s list of the current top-performing goalkeepers across Europe.


7. Samir Handanovic (Internazionale)

Sarmir Handanovic

?The Slovenia international and three-time Serie A goalkeeper of the year may be celebrating his 36th birthday this July, but his performances are like a fine wine – improving as time passes us by.

In 2018/19, he recorded 20 clean sheets from 49 appearances in all competitions. Under Antonio Conte, Handanovic has continued to excel. He has conceded an average of 0.86 goals per 90 minutes – the lowest total throughout Serie A. 

His importance to Inter was laid-clear for all to see after he missed the recent Milan derby through injury. His replacement, Daniele Padelli, made two errors that could have cost Conte’s men three invaluable points. ?Inter will be praying their number one – nicknamed ‘Batman’ – can return swiftly to save the day. 


6. Keylor Navas (PSG)

Keylor Navas

Since his summer move to PSG, Navas has recaptured the form from earlier in his career. At 33, you’d perhaps expect the beginning of a slight decline. Not a chance. 

He’s kept the most clean sheets across Europe’s top five leagues (15), and conceded just 17 goals in 26 appearances, which ranks him third best across the continent. 

The French champions have chopped and changed their keepers these past few seasons, but it looks as though they’ve struck gold with the triple Champions League-winning Costa Rican stopper. 


5. Ederson (Manchester City)

Ederson

?While the spotlight has shifted towards Ederson’s fellow Brazilian, and Premier League rival  Alisson, there is no disputing the Manchester City man’s unique goalkeeping quality.

City have had a difficult season this time out, falling desperately short of runaway league leaders Liverpool. Yet, Ederson has still managed 11 shut-outs in 27 appearances in all competitions – the second-best total across the Premier League’s goalkeepers. 

Impressive, but not quite as outstanding as his record during the 2018/19 campaign – 28 clean sheets, and just 38 goals conceded in 55 appearances.

His sweeper-keeper abilities are perhaps the best in the world, succeeding Manuel Neuer in becoming the most technically competent keeper in Europe.? Perhaps we’ll even see him on penalty-duty soon?


4. Thibaut Courtois (Real Madrid)

Thibaut Courtois

?Courtois initially struggled for form after joining Real Madrid in 2018, but the 2019/20 campaign has seen him become an increasingly commanding presence for Los Blancos, and the best-performing keeper in La Liga. 

The 27-year-old has played his part in Real’s impressive form, and vastly improved defensive record. He has managed 13 clean sheets in 27 appearances across all competitions, conceding an average of just 0.70 goals per game – the second lowest in Europe. 

Finally, it looks as though the Belgian is proving he is the player Real envisaged when they signed him from Chelsea in 2018. 


3. Marc-Andre ter Stegen

Marc Andre Ter Stegen

The Germany international has established himself as one of Europe’s elite-level keepers in recent years. At 27, he has time yet to improve even further, and will have an eye on wrestling the German number one position, currently occupied by Manuel Neuer.

However, ter Stegen’s Barcelona have struggled this season. In the defensive third, they have conceded plenty of goals, meaning ter Stegen ranks lower in comparison to his European competitors. Yet, his ability with the ball at his feet remains remarkable. The German has two assists in La Liga this season – that’s one more than Eden Hazard.

Still, he has a respectable nine clean sheets in 29 appearances so far. His position among Europe’s best remains undisputed as is underlined by his 23 clean sheets in 49 games during the 2018/19 season – just one fewer than Atlético’s Jan Oblak. 


2. Jan Oblak (Atlético Madrid)

FBL-ESP-LIGA-REAL MADRID-ATLETICO

While Atlético find themselves having a difficult season by their lofty standards, Oblak’s standards remain as high as ever.

The Slovenian has managed an impressive 14 clean sheets in 31 appearances – the second best record across Europe. During that period, he conceded an average of 0.71 goals per game.

In December, he broke his club’s record for the most clean sheets – it was his 96th in just 169 La Liga fixtures. Before this campaign, he had won La Liga Best Goalkeeper of the Season award for the fourth consecutive time – another record. 

The human brick wall simply does not like conceding goals. 


1. Alisson (Liverpool)

Mohamed Salah,Alisson Becker

Yes, Alisson didn’t come cheap. However, there’s several reasons behind The Reds’ scintillating form over the last two years. And the Brazilian between the sticks is certainly one of them.

In his first season, he conceded just 34 goals in 51 appearances, recording 27 clean sheets. This season, the 27-year-old has been almost impenetrable as Liverpool’s last line of defence.

24 appearances so far this season have brought with them 13 shut-outs. He has saved a remarkable 87% of the shots he’s faced, and conceded an average of just 0.43 goals per game – the lowest total among Europe’s best. 


His recent crowning as FIFA Goalkeeper of the Year underlined just how good he’s been these past few years. Oh, and ?he baptises his teammates. What can’t he do?


Honourable mentions: David De Gea, Gianluigi Donnarumma, Wojciech Szczesny, Manuel Neuer, Andre Onana

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Barcelona vs Getafe Preview: How to Watch on TV, Live Stream, Kick Off Time & Team News

It’s second versus third in La Liga on Saturday as an out of sorts Barcelona host an over-performing Getafe at Camp Nou.

Despite replacing Ernesto Valverde with Quique Setien last month, La Blaugrana’s form has not improved. Add to that the fact Lionel Messi has publicly fallen out with club director Eric Abidal and it is fair to say Barça are in crisis.

So, in many ways, the last thing they would have wanted is for their next match to be against the league’s second most in-form team: Getafe. If the Madrid side play their cards right, a major shock could occur in Catalonia.


Where to Watch

?

When Is Kick Off? Saturday 15 February
What Time Is Kick Off? 15:00 (GMT)
Where Is it Played? Camp Nou
TV Channel/Live Stream? La Liga TV
Referee? Guillermo Cuadra Fernández

Team News

Ousmane Dembele

?Barcelona are without long term absentees ?Luis Suarez and ?Ousmane Dembele, with the latter set to miss the rest of the season with a hamstring injury.

Clement Lenglet? will serve a one match suspension for the red card he picked up against Real Betis, but ?Gerard Pique is back from his own suspension just in time for Saturday’s fixture.

Damian Suarez is out for Getafe with a one match suspension for picking up too many yellow cards, meaning former ?Watford and ?West Brom full back Allan Nyom will most likely start.


Predicted Lineups

Barcelona Ter Stegen; Semedo, Pique, Umtiti, Alba; Arthur, Busquets, De Jong; Fati, Messi, Griezmann.
Getafe Soria; Nyom, Etxeita, Dakonam, Olivera; Jason, Maksimovic, Arambarri, Cucurella; Mata, Molina.

Head to Head Record

?Getafe’s last victory over Barcelona came back in 2011, when a team containing the likes of Thiago Alcantara, ?Dani Alves and David Villa couldn’t break down a resolute Azulones defence.

It was against Getafe that ?Lionel Messi truly announced himself on the world stage with a phenomenal Maradona-esque goal in the Copa del Rey in 2007.

FC Barcelona's Argentine Leo Messi and h...

Barca won that game 5-2, but somehow conspired to lose the second leg 4-0, which coincidentally was only the third time Getafe have beaten La Blaugrana this century.


Recent Form

?It’s fair to say that Barcelona would have expected more since the appointment of Quique Setien as manager.

They are becoming reminiscent of the Argentina national team in that they’re overly reliant on Messi to get the job done. Two losses in their last five matches have allowed Real Madrid to overtake them at the La Liga summit. 

Damian Suarez,Jaime Mata,Jorge Molina,Nyom

Getafe, on the other hand, have surprised many to launch another unprecedented Champions League push, having come so close last season.

Pepe Bordalas’ style might not be particularly pleasing on the eye, but four La Liga wins in a row would seem to suggest that it is effective.

Here’s how the two sides have got on their last five matches…

Barcelona Getafe
Real Betis 2-3 Barcelona (9/2) Getafe 3-0 Valencia (8/2)
Athletic Club 1-0 Barcelona (6/2) Athletic Club 0-2 Getafe (2/2)
Barcelona 2-1 Levante (2/2) Getafe 1-0 Betis (2461)
Barcelona 5-0 Leganes (30/1) Leganes 0-3 Getafe (17/1)
Valencia 2-0 Barcelona (25/1) Badalona 2-0 Getafe (11/1)

Prediction

Barcelona have struggled to break down tight defences in recent times, and Getafe are quickly replacing Atletico Madrid as the masters of sitting deep. An upset could be in the offing.?

Frenkie De Jong,Mauro Arambarri

That said, logic still dictates that Barca have the better players, and if they want to defend their La Liga crown then this game is a must win.

Prediction: Barcelona 2-1 Getafe?

Let’

90min’s Definitive European Power Rankings: Week 21 – Breaking Bad Special

?Following a week in which: 

– Liverpool DIDN’T play.

– Manchester City DIDN’T play. 

– Juventus DIDN’T bother trying to play and were beaten 2-1 by Hellas Verona. 

We, using quotes from Breaking Bad, rank the 15 best teams in Europe:


15. Sheffield United (Re-Entry)

Billy Sharp

“I once told a woman I was Kevin Costner, and it worked because I believed it.”

?Sheffield United once told the Premier League that they were the 2009 Barcelona team, and it worked because they believed it

At the start of the season, ?nine out of 12 members of the 90min editorial/written team predicted that the Blades would finish 20th.

In mid-February, they sit fifth in the league table, just two points adrift of the Champions League places. 

Are we all idiots? Yes.

Are Sheffield United the 2009 Barcelona team? They might be…


14. Manchester City (-) 

Pep Guardiola

“Darth Vader had responsibilities. He was responsible for the Death Star.”

Manchester City’s game was postponed this past week because the club were, to quote ?Toby Cudworth: “Too afraid to play the mighty Hammers! Irons! Irons! Irons!” 


13. Tottenham Hotspur (-)

Jose Mourinho

“Electrons – they change their energy levels. Molecules change their bonds. Elements – they combine and change into compounds. Well, that’s all of life, right? It’s the constant. It’s the cycle. It’s solution, dissolution, just over and over and over. It is growth, then decay, then transformation.”

Tottenham Hotspur didn’t play this past week because, to quote ?Sean Walsh: “Harry Winks wanted a holiday and he bloody deserved it so we gave it to him. One of our own! COYS! COYS! COYS!” 


12. Marseille (-) 

FBL-FRA-CUP-LYON-MARSEILLE

“You need to stop focusing on the darkness behind you. The past is the past. Nothing can change what we’ve done.”

Andre Villas-Boas has finally stopped focusing on the darkness behind him: the disastrous spells at ?Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea. 

He’s put it behind him. The past is the past. 

And in doing so, he’s been able to move forward with Marseille, and propel them up to second in Ligue 1 and a 13 match unbeaten run in Ligue 1. 


11. Barcelona (Re-Entry) 

Sergio Busquets

“You are a time bomb tick, tick, ticking. And I have no intention of being around for the ‘boom.’”

Ok, so ?Barcelona won at the weekend. Big whoop-de-doo. Well done. But this one win doesn’t mask the serious problems at the club; because there’s a lot of them. They’re a time bomb tick, tick, ticking. 

One of the main problems is how bad they are defensively. 

Another is how their forward options don’t know how to play with Lionel Messi. 

Another is how ugly their chequered kit is. 


10. Benfica (Down 1) 

Carlos Vinicus,Ruben Dias,Haris Seferovic,Ferro

“This is my own private domicile and I will not be harassed…bitch!”

Benfica’s last 17 Primeira Liga games:

Played: 17.

Won: 16.

Drawn: 0.

Lost: 1.

Goals Scored: 44.

Goals Conceded: 9.

Goal Difference: +35.

Throughout this season, Primeira Liga has been Benfica’s own private domicile in which they were rarely harassed – except when they play Porto…they get slapped about by Porto. 


9. Porto (Re-Entry) 

Sergio Oliveira

“We’re done when I say we’re done.”

Porto – ?outta nowhere (!) – have blown the title race wide open – sort of.

They’ve now done the double over Benfica in the league, and are now just four points adrift of them. Nice one. 


8. Getafe (Up 3)

Jaime Mata,Jorge Molina,Mauro Arambarri

“So you do have a plan! Yeah Mr. White! Yeah science!”

Getafe have a plan! Yeah, a plan! 

And it’s pretty simple one, but bah gawd it’s working: it’s to not concede any goals.

They’ve now won their last four La Liga games without conceding a single goal. 

Yeah clean sheets!


7. Juventus (Down 3) 

Paulo Dybala

“Some people are immune to good advice.”

Do you know what’s a good idea? 

Starting Paulo Dybala.

That is a really good idea. 

Do you know what Maurizio Sarri doesn’t do? 

Start Paulo Dybala. 

Disaster. 


6. Hellas Verona (New Entry) 

FBL-ITA-SERIEA-VERONA-JUVENTUS

“Just because you shot Jesse James, don’t make you Jesse James.”

Ok, Hellas Verona, just because you beat the Italian champions, don’t make you the Italian champions. 

BUT, what such a win does do is catapult you into 90min’s Definitive European Power Rankings for the first time ever. Which, in our humble opinion, is a big deal. 


5. Real Madrid (Up 1) 

Luka Modric,Sergio Ramos

“There is gold in the streets just waiting for someone to come and scoop it up.”

With Atletico Madrid unable to hit a barn door and Barcelona sieving goals like a Sunday league team, ?Real Madrid have a real opportunity to win some Spanish silverware this season. 

And judging by their recent form, they’re ready to do just that; they’re ready to scoop it allllll up. 


4. SS Lazio (Up 4) 

Parma Calcio v SS Lazio - Serie A

“I am the danger. A guy opens his door and gets shot, and you think that of me? No! I am the one who knocks!”

Lazio are the danger.

They’re not the team in Serie A that rolls over for one of the top sides. No! They are one of the top sides.

Simone Inzaghi’s men’s win at the weekend moved them to within just one point of top spot in Serie A. They’re the real deal.


3. Paris Saint-Germain (-) 

FBL-FRA-CUP-DIJON-PARIS

“Tread lightly.”

Oh would you look at that, Paris Saint-Germain have won their last nine games in all competitions by scoring 29 goals and conceding just five?

What a surprise.


2. Inter (Up 3) 

Romelu Lukaku

“I have spent my whole life scared, frightened of things that could happen, might happen, might not happen. 50 years I spent like that – finding myself awake at three in the morning. But you know what? Ever since my diagnosis, I sleep just fine. And I came to realise, it’s that fear that’s the worst of it. That’s the real enemy. So, get up. Get out in the real world.”

?Inter spent the last decade scared, frightened of things that could happen, might happen, might not happen. Ten years they spent like that – finding themselves awake at three in the morning wondering how they managed to finish outside of the UEFA Champions League spots over and over again. 

But you know what? Ever since Antonio Conte’s appointment, they sleep just fine. And they came to realise, it’s that fear that’s the worst of it. That’s the real enemy. So, get up. Get out in the real world. And win the Scudetto. 


1. Liverpool (-) 

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain,Roberto Firmino

“The moral of the story is I chose a half measure when I should have gone all the way. I’ll never make that mistake again. No more half measures, Walter.”

Liverpool didn’t play this past week because, to quote ?Brendan Hodrien: “We’re the best team in the werrrrrlllllld mate! We don’t need to play – we’ve already won. YNWA!”


Let’

9 Games You Simply Must Watch This Weekend

It’s the middle of February guys, and you know what that means: Champions League football is back!

But, before we can enjoy the heavyweight clashes of Europe’s greatest competition, there is some scintillating domestic action from across the continent to get your teeth stuck in to first.

With title races heating up across the continent (except for England that is), as well as European qualification to play for, strap yourselves in for another adrenaline-pumping weekend of world-class football. 

Let’s take a look at the games you have to watch this weekend (Friday and Monday included).


Wolves vs Leicester (Friday)

Leicester City v Wolverhampton Wanderers - Premier League

As the reverse fixtures of the ?Premier League’s opening weekend games come around, it’s always a good time to take stock. While the previous encounter finished 0-0, both sides find themselves in very different predicaments to when they met in August.

Leicester’s form may have dipped in recent weeks, but the Foxes are still a shoo-in for the top four, and a win would take them in to second (for a few days at least). Meanwhile, Wolves are knocking on the door of the Champions League places themselves, sitting just six points behind Chelsea in fourth.

More than anything, both Midlands clubs play some swashbuckling stuff under their respective managers, and both teams will be looking to end Valentine’s Day without a broken heart…or a massacre.


Valencia vs Atletico Madrid (Friday)

Diego Pablo Simeone

?The battle for ?Champions League qualification is wide open in La Liga, with Friday’s clash of titans potentially pivotal in the race for Europe. 

Atletico currently sit in fourth, but Valencia (seventh) can leapfrog Diego Simeone’s side with a victory at the Mestalla. Both sides may have one eye on their incredibly difficult Champions League ties midweek, but will also have to prioritise re-entering Europe’s top competition next season.

There may not be a flurry of goals, but the atmosphere and potential ramifications of this one makes it well worth a watch.


Borussia Dortmund vs Frankfurt (Friday)

FBL-GER-BUNDESLIGA-LEVERKUSEN-DORTMUND

If you do happen to be alone this Valentine’s Day, you needn’t fear. There is yet another mouthwatering clash on Friday night, with the ?Bundesliga’s most chaotic side Dortmund in action against the resurgent Frankfurt.

The Eagles have won four of their last five matches, scoring five in their demolition of Augsburg last time out. Meanwhile, Dortmund played out a 4-3 thriller against Bayer Leverkusen last Saturday, and still have their eyes firmly fixed on top spot. 

Oh by the way, Dortmund’s last five results: 4-3, 3-2, 5-0, 5-1, 5-3. There’s gonna be goals.


West Brom vs Nottingham Forest (Saturday)

Alfa Semedo,Semi Ajayi

If you seldom seek out ?Championship football, then this should change all of that. 

West Brom moved six points clear at the top of the table midweek, while Forest’s slip-up means they remain just two points off Leeds in the automatic promotion places. Regardless, these are two of the league’s form sides and pressure is ramping up for both of them in their fight for Premier League football.


Barcelona vs Getafe (Saturday)

Quique Setien

With Quique Setien’s job already under threat, the last thing he needs is a game against a plucky underdog that will cause Barcelona problems.

Getafe have actually built on their near-miraculous form in ?La Liga from last season, and currently sit third in the league table having won their last four games without conceding a goal. With Barça’s injury crisis continually deepening, and their lack of options upfront and in defence, Getafe may be sniffing out a big-time scalp on Saturday afternoon.

This is a must-win game for the Catalan giants, especially at Camp Nou, with Real Madrid three points clear at the summit of La Liga.


?Norwich vs Liverpool (Saturday)

Mohamed Salah

?Liverpool have been so good this season that every game they play has become a must-watch.

But to add some extra spice to this one, it’s top vs bottom.

Norwich are seven points away from safety, while the Reds are looking to open up a 25-point gap at the top of the table (more points than the Canaries have). However, Norwich’s surprise win over Manchester City back in September will offer them hope and gives them a slim chance of ending Liverpool’s ‘invincible’ run.


Atalanta vs Roma (Saturday)

Luis Fernando Muriel

Why wouldn’t you want to watch Atalanta?

Serie A’s top scorers have netted 63 goals this campaign – 17 more than Italian giants Juventus – and can open the gap between themselves and fifth-placed Roma with a win on Saturday. However, this also means a win for the visitors can see the Giallorossi go level on points with Atalanta as they hunt a return to Champions League football.

Considering the teams played out two breathtaking 3-3 draws last season, there is certainly potential for a hell of a lot of action in this crucial clash.


Lazio vs Inter (Sunday)

Lega Calcio Serie A TIM"FC Internazionale v SS Lazio"

Undoubtedly the biggest clash of the weekend, ?Serie A’s title race could take another turn, and potentially twist, this Sunday evening.

Table-toppers Inter travel to Lazio knowing a victory would secure their place atop the league table for another week. However, the hosts are just a point behind Antonio Conte’s side, and could leapfrog the Nerazzurri with a win on home soil.

With two of the division’s top three scorers in action as well, this heavyweight clash won’t likely disappoint goals-wise. 


Chelsea vs Manchester United (Monday)

FBL-ENG-PR-MAN UTD-CHELSEA

Having already met twice this season, Manchester United have enjoyed the bragging rights on both occasions following wins in both the Premier League and Carabao Cup. 

United will be hoping to close the gap between themselves and Chelsea to just three points, but a trip to Stamford Bridge is a tricky proposition for any side, let alone a team struggling for consistency. 

Either way, both sides’ unpredictability may work in favour of the neutral this Monday night, as nobody truly knows what we’re going to see unravel in London.

Oh and we all get to see more of Bruno Fernandes!


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Dayot Upamecano Refuses New RB Leipzig Deal With Arsenal, Barcelona and Bayern Circling

?Dayot Upamecano has refused to sign a new deal at RB Leipzig with host of top European clubs eyeing up a summer move for the defender.

The 21-year-old has made 24 appearances for Julian Nagelsmann’s side this season and his stoic performances at centre-back have been crucial to Leipzig’s surprise title challenge. 

Dayot Upamecano

Upamecano has long been the subject of interest from across the continent with 90min revealing back in November that ?Manchester City were considering a ?January bid for the defender. As well as the Cityzens, Arsenal, Bayern Munich and Barcelona were all said to be tracking the player.

No such move materialised last month, however the Frenchman looks likely to depart Leipzig in the summer. According to ?BILD, Upamecano has refused to extend his contract which expires in June 2021. If negotiations continue to falter, the Frenchman would be available for a fixed price of €60m in the summer.

Leipzig have not yet given up hope that their star men will renew terms, with sporting director Markus Krösche explaining the club’s position.

“Dayot is a very important player on our team and showed on Sunday [against Bayern Munich] what a fantastic defender he is,” Krösche said. 

Dayot Upamecano

“I also think that we know what we have to each other – time will tell how things will go in the medium term.” 

?Barcelona are thought to be the club most heavily interested in signing Upamecano. They have struggled defensively this season and Quique Setien is keen to bolster his ranks. The club made the centre-back their ‘?ultimate‘ target last month. 

?Arsenal have also been porous defensively for about a decade, and view the stopper as the man to make them more sturdy at the back. The report in Bild states that the starlet’s preferred move would be to a club in the ?Premier League.

The Gunners’ north London rivals, ?Tottenham, take on Leipzig next Wednesday in the Champions League – though Upamecano will not be playing due to suspension.  


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Every Injury That Ousmane Dembele Has Suffered During His Barcelona Career

?When Neymar left Barcelona for PSG in 2017 for a world record €222m fee, many wondered who would be capable of filling his rather large Camp Nou shoes.

The world wouldn’t have to wait long to find out, as Barça forked out an initial €105m – with €40m in add-ons to follow – fee to snare Ousmane Dembele from Borussia Dortmund, making him, at the time, the second most expensive player in history.


With prices at an all-time high and market inflation continuing to soar, Dembele’s arrival was viewed as an expensive but necessary outlay. After all, he could prove to be the successor to Lionel Messi, who as great he is, won’t go on forever.

Sadly, for ?Dembele and ?Barcelona though, it hasn’t quite worked out. Injuries, injuries and more injuries have ruined his time in Catalonia, leaving the Frenchman’s once promising career hanging in the balance.

Don’t believe it’s been that bad? Well, take a look at this, as 90min spins you through every injury he’s suffered since arriving in Spain.


Hamstring Injury (17/09/17)

Ousmane Dembele

?Days Injured: 106

Games Missed: 20

Dembele’s first – and sadly not last – hamstring injury, unbelievably, occurred on his first La Liga start for Barça, away at Getafe.

The injury would leave him on the sidelines for three months, leaving Dembele to watch on as the first Clasico of the season passed him by.


Hamstring Injury (15/01/18)

UEFA Champions League"FC Barcelona v PSV"

Days Injured: 26

Games Missed: 7

Tragedy struck again for Dembele as he suffered another hamstring problem just four games into his return.

He missed both legs of the Copa del Rey semi-final against Valencia, and was moved away from the first team as Ernesto Valverde switched to a 4-4-2 formation.


Ankle Injury (21/01/19)

FBL-WC-2018-MATCH64-FRA-CRO

Days Injured: 18

Games Missed: 5

It would be another year before Dembele’s injury curse would strike again, and during that period he had a pretty good time of it, winning La Liga with Barcelona and the World Cup with France.

But then an ankle injury struck ruled the Frenchman out of yet another Copa del Rey semi-final, this time against ?Real Madrid. He did return for the second leg, though, assisting twice as Barça beat their fiercest rivals 3-0.?


Torn Muscle Bundle (14/03/19)

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Days Injured: 26

Games Missed: 4?

Dembele’s next bout of inactivity stemmed from more ‘muscle’ problems, ruling him out of action for just under a month.

More worryingly, Barça didn’t appear to miss him during this period, averaging three goals per game in their four outings.


Hamstring Injury (05/05/19)

Ousmane Dembele

Days Injured: 42

Games Missed: 4

Ahhhh, back to the hamstring trail – with an injury that would end Dembele’s 2018/19 season, just six minutes into Barcelona’s clash with Celta Vigo.

On the positive, his absence allowed him to enjoy watching a brief – rather than a participating one – as Barça collapsed against Liverpool in their Champions League semi finals second leg tie.


Hamstring Injury (19/08/19)

Ousmane Dembele

Days Injured: 34

Games Missed: 5

Yep, you guessed it, another hamstring injury for Dembele – and again, another shocking start to a season.

Another month on the sidelines followed, with five games and 34 days required to get over this latest problem.


Muscle Injury (27/09/19)

FBL-ESP-LIGA-LEGANES-BARCELONA

Days Injured: 3

Games Missed: 1?

Just five days after returning to action, Dembele was ruled out once more – with another unspecified muscle problem ruling him out of Barça’s game with Getafe.

Unfortunately, the worst was still to come.


Hamstring Injury (28/11/19)

Ousmane Dembele

Days Injured: 67

Games Missed: 15

At this point we can only assume Dembele would have been doing his best Brenda from Bristol impersonation and saying: “What, another one?!”

A fifth hamstring injury in just over two years was one of Dembele’s worst to date – ruling him out of the Spanish Super Cup, another Clasico, as well as Barça’s crunch Champions League clash with ?Inter.

Still, could only get better, right?


Hamstring Tendon Tear (04/02/20)

Expected Days Injured: 182

Minimum Games Missed: 19

Sadly, things have deteriorated further, with a torn tendon in Dembele’s right hamstring – picked up during his rehabilitation – requiring surgery, ruling him out for six months.

Not only will be on the sidelines for the longest period of his career, he will now miss France’s Euro 2020 campaign – and question marks will be surely be raised among Barça’s hierarchy over his ability to recover from such a debilitating, ongoing injury.

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