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Dembele matches Messi as Barcelona fans thank ‘Luuk de Goat’ for Levante win

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Ousmane Dembele matches Lionel Messi as Barcelona fans hail ‘Luuk de Goat’ for last-gasp Levante win

 

Barcelona pair Ousmane Dembele and Luuk de Jong have taken their respective places in the headlines on Sunday evening.

Xavi Hernandez’s troops of course marked their return to action a short time ago.

Amid a stellar spell of recent form, the Blaugrana made the trip to the Estadi Ciutat de Valencia, hopeful of making it seven La Liga wins on the trot up against relegation-battling Levante.

And, when all was said and done, emerge with their latest three-point haul is precisely what the visitors managed.

This, though, only came owing to a last-gasp injury-time winner, on the back of a pulsating 90 minutes featuring five goals, three spot-kicks and a host of further presentable opportunities.

First on target for Barca was Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who guided Xavi and co. level on the hour mark, before Pedri continued his fine individual spell in front of goal to turn the clash on its head just minutes later.

After Levante levelled things up from the penalty spot inside the game’s closing ten minutes, though, it appeared as though the Blaugrana would be forced to settle for a share of the spoils.

But, cometh the hour, cometh the man…

As proceedings ticked over into time added on, a delicious whipped Jordi Alba delivery from the left was met by the head of Luuk de Jong, who made no mistake in nodding a picture-perfect header home at the near post, sparking jubilant celebrations amongst the visiting players and fans alike:

De Jong & Dembele starring

On the back of the action coming to a close at the Estadi Ciutat, it should therefore come as little surprise to hear of that man de Jong, once viewed as something of a running joke in Catalunya, take his place front and centre in the post-match chatter.

The social media reaction amongst Barcelona’s supporters has proven a particular sight to behold, with de Jong’s new nickname having come back to the fore in a major way:

Elsewhere, joining Barca’s on-loan hitman in the headlines has been winger Ousmane Dembele.

French international Dembele, ahead of the expiration of his contract at the Camp Nou in the summer, has of course enjoyed a remarkable resurgence of late.

And such efforts continued on Sunday evening, as the former Borussia Dortmund man, in the process of teeing up Aubameyang’s 2nd-half strike, joined one-time teammate Lionel Messi as the most prolific assist provider across Europe’s top-5 leagues since the turn of the year:

 

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Man City handed double boost ahead of Aston Villa

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Man City handed double boost ahead of Aston Villa

 

Premier League-chasing Manchester City have, on Thursday, been afforded an altogether timely double boost on the personnel front.

Pep Guardiola’s troops are of course primed to return to action in 72 hours’ time.

In the knowledge that a three-point haul will see them assured of back-to-back titles in the English top-flight, the Sky Blues are set to welcome Steven Gerrard’s Aston Villa to the Etihad, for a final day clash.

And, after stuttering to a 2-2 stalemate with West Ham last time out, City, this time round, will likely be considerably more confident in keeping their upcoming opponents at bay.

This comes owing to a pair of timely returns to fitness in the club’s first-team ranks.

As confirmed in a post across the Citizens’ social media platforms on Thursday, John Stones and Kyle Walker, both of whom were forced to sit out at the London Stadium owing to injury, have returned to training alongside the rest of Pep Guardiola’s squad.

The two defenders, in turn, are expected to be available for selection this coming Sunday.

Wolves test

Turning attentions towards the other protagonist in the Premier League’s title race, Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool will welcome Wolverhampton Wanderer to Anfield this weekend, primed to take advantage of any potential slip-up on Man City’s part.

The Reds, amid an ongoing pursuit of an unprecedented quadruple, currently sit just a point adrift of the table-topping Sky Blues.

This comes after Klopp and co, despite a whole raft of changes, emerged from a meeting with Southampton with a hard-fought 2-1 win on Tuesday night.

 

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Robert Lewandowski’s agent drops major hint over Barcelona switch

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Robert Lewandowski’s agent drops major hint over Barcelona switch

 

Word stemming from the Spanish media over the course of the last 24 hours points towards Bayern Munich star Robert Lewandowski inching ever closer to a move to Barcelona.

Speculation surrounding the future of Polish international Lewandowski has of course been rampant in the media for some time now.

This comes with the 33-year-old, fresh off another scintillating campaign in front of goal, eyeing a move away from Bavaria ahead of the 2022/23 campaign.

Speaking ahead of the club’s final Bundesliga outing of the season last weekend, Bayern sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic confirmed as much, albeit whilst adding that Lewandowski is expected to see out the remaining year on his current contract:

To this point, the outfit most frequently tipped as a summer landing spot for Bayern’s star man have of course been Barcelona.

This comes with Xavi and co. understood to be highly appreciative of Lewandowski’s goalscoring talents, and evidently of the opinion that heading into the new season with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as the club’s first-choice centre-forward is out of the question.

And, as alluded to above, if the latest rumours emanating from Spain are anything to go by, then the Blaugrana appear primed to imminently land their man.

As per transfer journalist Gerard Romero, Pini Zahavi, Lewandowski’s representative, was in Barcelona on Wednesday.

Not only that, but, during his trip, the super agent paid a visit to the club’s official store, to allegedly purchase no fewer than ten Barca jerseys, all with Lewandowski’s name emblazoned across the back.

Blues keen

Interestingly, word of Barcelona’s swoop for ‘Lewa’ inching ever closer comes fresh on the back of the 33-year-old being linked with a move to another of European football’s heavyweights just days ago.

The outfit in question? Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea.

 

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Jordan Ayew escapes punishment in reckless challenge against Everton

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Why Jordan Ayew was not sent off for ‘reckless’ challenge vs Everton

Iconic Premier League club Everton are in a fight for their lives in the top flight of English football coming into the final weekend of action in the 2021-22 season, and at the time of writing are hosting Patrick Vieira’s Crystal Palace at Goodison Park with anything less than a win set to subject the Toffees to a final day of action on Sunday that could consign them to relegation.

But Everton fans will undoubtedly feel aggrieved after Eagles forward Jordan Ayew escaped serious punishment after a reckless challenge on academy graduate Anthony Gordon right next to both dugouts during the first half of play.

Ayew was seen to hack down Gordon with a scissor motion while contesting possession and made no attempt to win the ball, with players on both sides losing their cool in the resulting scrum.

It could not have come at a worse time for Everton given the gravity of the evening, and though the Toffees have fought back to lead 3-2 at the time of writing after Jean-Philippe Mateta and the aforementioned Ayew gave the Eagles a two-goal lead ahead of Michael Keane, Richarlison, and Dominic Calvert-Lewin bringing matters into Everton’s hands, the fact that the Premier League came out in response to state that the tackle was “reckless” but not worthy of a red card once against calls into question the FA and the inconsistent refereeing standards in the league.

If Ayew was correctly sent off given the video and picture evidence on hand, matters could well be different regardless of the fact that Everton have done incredibly well to fight back when it has mattered most.

With both teams now in stoppage time, it’s clear that the Toffees found fuel through injustice with their Premier League lives at stake.


This article was edited by
Conor Laird.

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