Month: January 2018

Messi and Suarez score late to help Barca overcome Alaves

Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez struck late to rally FC Barcelona a 2-1 win over Alaves while keeping the Catalans 11 points clear at the top of La Liga and preserving their unbeaten record in the league.

Alaves, who had 2 wins and a draw in their last 3 Liga games were the only team to win at the Camp Nou in the league last season.

Indeed, they looked set for the same upset against the Catalan team again when the Sweden striker John Guidetti gave them a shock lead in the 23rd minute, falling over as he lashed the ball past Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

Messi then had a free-kick hit the bar while Paulinho had another chance hooked off the line and Coutinho, a £142m signing from Liverpool, had a shot deflected wide.

Even as wave after wave of attacks from Barca came and a handful of impressive saves from the visiting goalkeeper, Fernando Pacheco was neede, Alaves were lively throughout and could have added a second goal soon after going ahead, Ruben Sobrino seeing a chance clawed away, while Ruben Duarte was denied by Gerard Pique’s block.

It was long after half-time that Luis Suarez finally levelled for Barca in the 72nd minute as the Uruguayan striker scored for the eighth league game in a row.

The equaliser already maintained Barcelona’s status as the only unbeaten team in Europe’s top five leagues before Messi then gave them a seventh consecutive Liga win by curling a spectacular free-kick beyond the reach of the former Pacheco in the 84th minute.

The result meant that Barcelona top the standings with 57 points, 11 ahead of their nearest challengers, Atletico Madrid, and 19 ahead of the champions, Real Madrid.

Atletico team had to overcome the absence of their injured striker Diego Costa to beat Las Palmas 3-0 while Sevilla were held to a 1-1 draw at home to Getafe after a controversial equaliser in injury time.

Chelsea set to complete £44m deal for Edin Dzeko and Emerson Palmieri

Chelsea’s £44m bid along with add-ons worth £13.2m for Edin Dzeko and Emerson Palmieri has reportedly been accepted, with the Blues hoping to complete the deals before the transfer window closes next week.

Negotiations with Palmieri — a left-back — has been straightforward while Dzeko, who spent five years at Manchester City, still needs convincing for a  Premier League return as the 31-year old seeks assurances over game-time.

Dzeko’s worries is notably justified especially in regards toChelsea’s recent transfer policy – the London club had only offered only one-year extensions to players on the books who are over 30 – but it has been indicated that they are willing to bend their own rules to secure the Bosnian.

As such, Chelsea are expected to offer him a contract through to at least 2020. Dzeko featured against Sampdoria for Roma on Wednesday night, with the club’s sporting director Monchi confirming that he has yet to agree personal terms.

“Roma, like every club in the world, listen to the offers that arrive for their players, not just for Edin, but anyone in the squad,” Monchi added said. “We are ready to listen and then we decide. Now Dzeko is here and the rest doesn’t matter, which means the offer that arrived is not interesting.”

“I don’t know what personal terms were offered to the player, as I am not his agent. I am talking about Roma: an offer arrives, we look at it and then decide.”

Dzeko, who played for Manchester City between 2011 and 2016 before joining Roma, won Serie A’s Golden Boot last season and has nine goals in 19 games this campaign.

Kevin de Bruyne extends Manchester City contract to 2023

Manchester City has announced that Kevin De Bruyne has signed a contract extension that ties him with the club up to 2023.

This meant that the Belgian international — who joined City from Bundesliga club Wolfsburg for £55m in 2015 — is set to stay with Pep Guardiola’s team for another five more years despite his previous contract not expiring until 2021.

“I am really happy to have signed this new deal,” he said in a statement published at City’s official website.

De Bruyne, 26, has been in sensational form and contributed 10 assists and six goals in the Premier League to help City open up a 12-point gap at the top of the table.

Having previously experienced an unsuccessful spell with Chelsea in which he only made three first-team appearances, De Bruyne has firmly established himself as a regular under Pep Guardiola and has scored 31 times in 122 appearances for City so far.

“As I’ve said previously, my intention has always been to stay here at City, where I’ve felt at home from day one,” the playmaker added.

“Not only are we winning — we are playing great football. It’s a pleasure to be a part of and I’m really excited about what we can achieve in the coming years.”

De Bruyne’s contract extension was announced at almost exactly the same time that Manchester United confirmed they had signed Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez.