Month: April 2018

Fiorentina routs Napoli to diminish Serie A hopes

Napoli’s hopes of winning Serie A for the first time since 1990 suffered a setback as a 3-0 rout at the hands of Fiorentina handed Juventus a clear advantage in the race for the title.

Defending champions Juve are four points clear with three games remaining.

Kalidou Koulibaly was sent off for kicking Giovanni Simeone, and the Argentinian struck thrice to lift La Viola to a first win in four games for mid-table Fiorentina.

Napoli played for 84 minutes with 10 men.

This season’s Serie A campaign has been one of the most exciting title chases in Europe’s major leagues, when Napoli moved to within a point of Juve after Koulibaly’s dramatic late headed winner against the leaders.

However, it is advantage Juventus again after Napoli suffered only their third league defeat of the season a day after Juve’s dramatic 3-2 win at Inter Milan.

Koulibaly was sent off after a video assistant referee (VAR) decision for preventing a clear scoring opportunity. Simeone then sprinted clear to set Fiorentina on their way and doubled the lead from close range.

Simeone, 22, completed his hat-trick with a composed finish in almost the last kick of the game.

Leicester City: Claude Puel’s future hangs in the balance

Claude Puel has to prove to Leicester City that he is the right man to lead the club into next season amidst growing unease about his management style and the poor run of results that has led to the first signs of supporter unrest.

Thus far, Leicester have won only four of their past 17 league matches and there is growing concern within the club that they are in danger of heading into a critical summer, when there is expected to be a significant turnover of players.

Their final four games of the campaign — against Crystal Palace, West Ham, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur — could be critical in terms of whether Leicester decide to stick with Puel.

Puel was appointed as Craig Shakespeare’s successor in October, but the second half of the season has fallen well short of expectations and it is also clear the Frenchman’s approach to the job has gone down badly among some of the playing squad.

Nonetheless, players have been left bemused by Puel’s chopping and changing of the team, not least because it is not his style to explain the thinking behind his decisions to those who are left out, and that have also been questions over the intensity of his training sessions.

It was a lack of communication is understood to be an issue across the board, with Puel described as distant.

The supporters made their thoughts clear last Thursday at the end of an uninspiring 0-0 draw against Southampton, a result which was greeted with loud booing as Leicester dropped points at home for the fifth game in succession, with three of those opponents now in the bottom four.

Jurgen Klopp: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain suffers ‘really bad injury’

 

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp believes that midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain have suffered a “really bad” injury during Tuesday’s 5-2 Champions League win against Roma.

Oxlade-Chamberlain, 24, was taken off on a stretcher in the 15th minute after appearing to hurt his knee when challenging Roma’s Aleksandar Kolarov.

When asked if he expected the player’s season to be over, Klopp replied: “Yes, that is how it is unfortunately. We don’t know yet but when all the medical department are concerned without a scan then you know it doesn’t look good. The season is not that long anymore.”

“I am a very positive person and hope it only feels bad but the reason I am not flying mood-wise tonight is because we lost a fantastic player. I am not in the mood to talk about fantastic things. Since I have been here Liverpool has always had to take the more difficult way but in the end Liverpool have always succeeded.”

Oxlade-Chamberlain has enjoyed an impressive debut season for Liverpool since joining from Arsenal for £35m last August, and made 41 appearances in all competitions, scoring five goals.

However, should the injury prove to be extensive it would put in doubt his availability for this summer’s World Cup, which gets under way on 15 June.

Reds full-back Trent Alexander-Arnold says the players will be determined to reach the Champions League final for the midfielder, if his injury is serious.

“Obviously we’re all gutted for him,” he said. “If he can’t play, we’ll be looking to secure the place in the final for him and the other lads who can’t be involved.”