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Lionel Messi’s PSG woes continue ahead of Brest clash

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Lionel Messi’s PSG woes continue ahead of Brest clash

 

The latest word stemming from the home country of Paris Saint-Germain superstar Lionel Messi spells altogether bad news for the Argentine, ahead of his side’s meeting with Stade Brest.

PSG struggles

Messi’s debut season in France, to date, has of course proven an altogether trying one.

After departing his beloved Barcelona for the first time in his career during the summer, the attacker was always likely to endure a period of adaptation at the Parc des Princes.

Few, however, could have predicted just how significantly Messi’s production would go on to drop off.

Despite PSG sauntering towards another Ligue 1 title, to this point in the French top-flight campaign, the 34-year-old has managed just a solitary goal, netted in a 3-1 triumph over Nantes late in November.

Lionel Messi’s PSG woes continue ahead of Brest clash

Paris Saint-Germain’s Argentinian forward Lionel Messi leaves the pitch after chatting with head coach Mauricio Pochettino during the French L1 football match between Paris-Saint Germain (PSG) and Olympique Lyonnais at The Parc des Princes Stadium in Paris on September 19, 2021. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE / AFP) (Photo by FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images)

It is worth noting, though, that Messi has looked considerably better on the continent, on his way to five goals in five Champions League appearances.

Brest absence

As such, it is safe to say that the last thing that the iconic attacker – recently honoured with a record 7th Ballon d’Or – needed was to be faced with a spell on the sidelines early in the new year.

Precisely that, though, has been forthcoming over the course of the last couple of weeks.

First, a bout of Covid-19 saw Messi forced to sit out PSG’s meetings with both Vannes OC and Olympique Lyonnais.

And now, it has been widely reported on Thursday that the South American will too be unavailable for selection to manager Mauricio Pochettino this coming weekend.

The French heavyweights are primed to play host to Stade Brest on Saturday night, hopeful of adding to their 9-point advantage atop the Ligue 1 table.

Messi, however, as per Mundo Deportivo (citing ESPN in Argentina), will not participate, owing to lingering issues stemming from his fight against Covid-19.

The medical staff at PSG are understood to view it as best to provide their summer arrival with an extra few days to recuperate, with Messi also set to sit out Argentina’s upcoming round of World Cup qualifiers later this month.

 

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Amari Miller bags stunner as Leeds U23s secure 2-0 win over Derby

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Elland Road

 

Leeds United have, on Monday evening, unveiled footage of the club’s U23s making short work of their Derby County counterparts.

Miller’s sumptuous strike the highlight

The latest crop of up-an-coming talent in west Yorkshire marked their return to action a short time ago.

On the back of a dismal spell of form in the Premier League 2, the Whites welcomed the aforementioned Derby to the LNER Community Stadium, eyeing a much-needed three points.

And, when all was said and done, secure a return to winning ways is precisely what Leeds managed.

Amari Miller opened the game’s scoring in spectacular fashion just shy of the half-hour mark, picking the ball up on the right, before cutting inside and bending a pinpoint effort from distance into the far top corner:

And Charlie Allen made sure of the hosts’ victory inside the closing ten minutes of action, reacting superbly to control a deflected strike, before lashing home all in one swift movement:

Leeds, in turn, have climbed up to 12th in the Premier League 2 table, owing to just a 4th three-point haul from 17 outings thus far this season.

Harrison at the treble

The club’s U23s emerging triumphant on Monday evening of course caps a fine 24 hours in west Yorkshire as a whole, after the Peacocks’ senior stars too stepped up to the plate in timely fashion.

Faced with a daunting trip to high-flying West Ham United without the services of the likes of Kalvin Phillips, Patrick Bamford and Pascal Struijk, Marcelo Bielsa’s under-manned outfit shone en route to an eventual 3-2 win.

Jack Harrison proved the star of the show, bagging all three of Leeds’ goals, to guide the club a full nine points clear of the relegation zone.

 

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Player Team Goals
Salah, Mohamed Liverpool FC 16
Jota, Diogo Liverpool FC 10
Vardy, Jamie Leicester City 9
Antonio, Michail West Ham United 8
Dennis, Emmanuel Watford FC 8
Ronaldo, Cristiano Manchester United 8
Son, Heung Min Tottenham Hotspur 8
Smith-Rowe, Emile Arsenal FC 8
Raphinha Leeds United 8
Mane, Sadio Liverpool FC 8
Mount, Mason Chelsea FC 7
Fernandes, Bruno Manchester United 7
Gallagher, Conor Crystal Palace 7
Sterling, Raheem Manchester City 7
Maupay, Neal Brighton & Hove Albion 7
Silva, Bernardo Manchester City 7
Bowen, Jarrod West Ham United 6
Mahrez, Riyad Manchester City 6
Saka, Bukayo Arsenal FC 6
Ward Prowse, James Southampton FC 6





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As Arthur-Arsenal update surfaces, Fiorentina boss speaks on Vlahovic’s future

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As major Arthur-Arsenal update surfaces, Fiorentina boss speaks out over Dusan Vlahovic’s future

 

A pair of updates pertaining to the January transfer efforts of Premier League giants Arsenal have been forthcoming late on Monday night.

‘Very motivated’

The first comes in the form of a fresh insight into the future of Fiorentina sensation Dusan Vlahovic.

The Serb has of course been hotly tipped for an Emirates switch this month, amid a scintillating campaign to date which has seen him bag 20 goals in just 24 appearances across all competitions.

Vlahovic’s latest display of remarkable finishing ability came earlier this evening, when the 21-year-old added to his season tally courtesy of a sumptuous touch and strike in a 6-0 drubbing of Genoa:

What truly piqued the attentions of the Arsenal faithful, however, was not the hitman’s finish itself, but rather his ensuing reaction.

This comes with Vlahovic having turned to wave to the Fiorentina crowd in almost apologetic fashion, an act which many of a Gunners persuasion have since chosen to believe represented a message of farewell. The more likely explanation, however, was that the youngster was simply saying sorry, after seeing an earlier spot-kick ‘Panenka’ attempt foiled by Genoa’s no.1

In turn, speaking post-match, it came as little surprise when the future of his side’s talisman was put to Viola boss Vincenzo Italiano.

The Italian, however, was keen to keep his cards close to his chest, assuring that Vlahovic remains ‘with us’ and ‘very motivated’:

One in/one out at Juve?

Elsewhere, an update has too been provided on Arsenal’s pursuit of another Serie A star.

The man in question? Arthur.

Amid the crisis in Mikel Arteta’s ranks in the middle of the park of late, Juventus midfielder Arthur has too been heavily linked with a move to the Emirates.

To this point, a deal has not been forthcoming, though, amid the widespread understanding that Juve boss Max Allegri will not sanction the Brazilian’s loan departure until a replacement is secured.

As major Arthur-Arsenal update surfaces, Fiorentina boss speaks out over Dusan Vlahovic’s future

BARCELONA, SPAIN – DECEMBER 08: Arthur Melo of Juventus runs with the ball during the UEFA Champions League Group G stage match between FC Barcelona and Juventus at Camp Nou on December 08, 2020 in Barcelona, Spain. Sporting stadiums around Spain remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

But, as per a report from Italian transfer expert Gianluca Di Marzio, the Bianconeri may well now have found their man.

The transfer chiefs in Turin are understood to have made fresh contact with Borussia Monchengladbach, over the January addition of soon-to-be free agent Denis Zakaria.

This comes with Arthur ‘insisting’ on a move to Arsenal, before the January transfer window slams shut in just two weeks’ time.

 

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Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 Manchester City 22 41 56
2 Liverpool FC 21 37 45
3 Chelsea FC 22 28 43
4 West Ham United 22 11 37
5 Arsenal FC 20 8 35
6 Tottenham Hotspur 18 3 33
7 Manchester United 20 3 32
8 Wolverhampton Wanderers 20 2 31
9 Brighton & Hove Albion 20 0 28
10 Leicester City 18 -2 25
11 Crystal Palace 21 -1 24
12 Southampton FC 21 -8 24
13 Aston Villa 20 -5 23
14 Brentford FC 21 -9 23
15 Leeds United 20 -15 22
16 Everton FC 19 -10 19
17 Watford FC 19 -14 14
18 Norwich City 21 -35 13
19 Newcastle United 20 -23 12
20 Burnley FC 17 -11 11
Player Team Goals
Salah, Mohamed Liverpool FC 16
Jota, Diogo Liverpool FC 10
Vardy, Jamie Leicester City 9
Antonio, Michail West Ham United 8
Dennis, Emmanuel Watford FC 8
Ronaldo, Cristiano Manchester United 8
Son, Heung Min Tottenham Hotspur 8
Smith-Rowe, Emile Arsenal FC 8
Raphinha Leeds United 8
Mane, Sadio Liverpool FC 8
Mount, Mason Chelsea FC 7
Fernandes, Bruno Manchester United 7
Gallagher, Conor Crystal Palace 7
Sterling, Raheem Manchester City 7
Maupay, Neal Brighton & Hove Albion 7
Silva, Bernardo Manchester City 7
Bowen, Jarrod West Ham United 6
Mahrez, Riyad Manchester City 6
Saka, Bukayo Arsenal FC 6
Ward Prowse, James Southampton FC 6





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West Ham set sights on €20m-rated defender/Newcastle also keen

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West Ham set sights on €20m-rated defender/Newcastle also keen

 

Word stemming from the English media on Monday evening suggests that West Ham United are expressing a keen interest in Fenerbahce stopper Attila Szalai.

Ogbonna out long term

The need for defensive reinforcements has of course emerged as something of a pressing matter at the London Stadium over recent weeks.

This comes with David Moyes’ high-flying Hammers having been dealt an altogether untimely pair of blows on the personnel front.

First, late in November, Angelo Ogbonna was forced under the knife owing to a knee injury picked up in a 3-2 win over Liverpool, ruling the Italian out for the remainder of the campaign.

West Ham set sights on €20m-rated defender/Newcastle also keen

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 09: Angelo Ogbonna of West Ham United holds his ankle after Anthony Martial of Manchester United collides with it during The Emirates FA Cup Fifth Round match between Manchester United and West Ham United at Old Trafford on February 9, 2021 in Manchester, England (Photo by Simon Stacpoole/Offside/Offside via Getty Images)

Then, just weeks later, the Irons’ concerns were added to further, when Kurt Zouma was too forced onto the treatment table, on the back of a hamstring issue picked up during a derby clash with Chelsea.

Szalai eyed

With both stoppers still sidelined, it has therefore come as little surprise to see speculation begin to mount in the media of late that the transfer team at the London Stadium have set their sights firmly on defensive reinforcements this month.

A whole host of defenders have been tipped to make the move to east London, with Liverpool’s Nat Phillips previously viewed as the front-runner to link up with David Moyes’ squad.

West Ham set sights on €20m-rated defender/Newcastle also keen

BLACKBURN, ENGLAND – JULY 19: Nat Phillips of Liverpool at Ewood Park on July 19, 2018 in Blackburn, England. (Photo by James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images)

But, as alluded to above, on Monday, a new name has entered the fray.

The player in question? Attila Szalai.

As per a report from Sky Sports News, West Ham are expressing a keen interest in bringing highly-regarded Hungarian international Szalai to the English capital.

The 23-year-old, who shone for his country at last summer’s European Championships, is currently plying his trade in Turkey with Super Lig giants Fenerbahce.

The Irons’ board, though, will need to move decisively if they hope to strike a deal for Szalai, understood to boast a price-tag of around 20 million euro (£17 million), with both Premier League rivals Newcastle and Italian heavyweights AC Milan also keen on the defender.

 

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Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 Manchester City 22 41 56
2 Liverpool FC 21 37 45
3 Chelsea FC 22 28 43
4 West Ham United 22 11 37
5 Arsenal FC 20 8 35
6 Tottenham Hotspur 18 3 33
7 Manchester United 20 3 32
8 Wolverhampton Wanderers 20 2 31
9 Brighton & Hove Albion 20 0 28
10 Leicester City 18 -2 25
11 Crystal Palace 21 -1 24
12 Southampton FC 21 -8 24
13 Aston Villa 20 -5 23
14 Brentford FC 21 -9 23
15 Leeds United 20 -15 22
16 Everton FC 19 -10 19
17 Watford FC 19 -14 14
18 Norwich City 21 -35 13
19 Newcastle United 20 -23 12
20 Burnley FC 17 -11 11
Player Team Goals
Salah, Mohamed Liverpool FC 16
Jota, Diogo Liverpool FC 10
Vardy, Jamie Leicester City 9
Antonio, Michail West Ham United 8
Dennis, Emmanuel Watford FC 8
Ronaldo, Cristiano Manchester United 8
Son, Heung Min Tottenham Hotspur 8
Smith-Rowe, Emile Arsenal FC 8
Raphinha Leeds United 8
Mane, Sadio Liverpool FC 8
Mount, Mason Chelsea FC 7
Fernandes, Bruno Manchester United 7
Gallagher, Conor Crystal Palace 7
Sterling, Raheem Manchester City 7
Maupay, Neal Brighton & Hove Albion 7
Silva, Bernardo Manchester City 7
Bowen, Jarrod West Ham United 6
Mahrez, Riyad Manchester City 6
Saka, Bukayo Arsenal FC 6
Ward Prowse, James Southampton FC 6





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