Europa League playoff draw in full: Barcelona to face Man United for a place in Round of 16

The Europa League might be considered Europe’s second-tier continental competition, but there is a tie in this season’s playoff round worthy of global attention.

Barcelona, who dropped out of the Champions League after finishing behind Bayern Munich and Inter Milan in their group, will face Manchester United in a two-legged tie in February.

Serie A giants Juventus are also involved at this stage and will face Nantes, while Jose Mourinho’s Roma will take on Salzburg.

The winners of the playoff ties will progress to the Europa League last 16.

Europa League knockout playoffs draw, fixtures and schedule

The winners from the playoff round will advance to the Round of 16 and will be matched up against a group winner. All eight Europa League group winners earned a bye straight to the Round of 16.

The playoff matches will be played in February. The draw for the last 16 will take place on February 24.

Match 1st Leg 2nd Leg
Barcelona vs Manchester United Feb 16 Feb 23
Juventus vs Nantes Feb 16 Feb 23
Sporting CP vs Midtjylland Feb 16 Feb 23
Shakhtar Donetsk vs Rennes Feb 16 Feb 23
Ajax vs Union Berlin Feb 16 Feb 23
Bayer Leverkusen vs Monaco Feb 16 Feb 23
Sevilla vs PSV Feb 16 Feb 23
Salzburg vs Roma Feb 16 Feb 23

*Teams in bold are seeded and will play the second leg at home

Teams qualifying from Europa League group stage

First-place finishers earned a bye to the Round of 16, while second-place finishers must take part in the playoff round.

Europa League
1st Place
(Group Winners)
2nd Place
(Group Runners-up)
A Arsenal (ENG) PSV (NED)
B Fenerbahce (TUR) Rennes (FRA)
C Real Betis (SPA) AS Roma (ITA)
D Union Saint-Gilloise (BEL) Union Berlin (GER)
E Real Sociedad (SPA) Manchester United (ENG)
F Feyenoord (NED) Midtjylland (DEN)
G SC Freiburg (GER) Nantes (FRA)
H Ferencvaros (HUN) AS Monaco (FRA)

Champions League draw: Liverpool face Real Madrid, Bayern Munich vs. PSG

Defending champions Real Madrid will face Liverpool in the Champions League round-of-16, a repeat of last season’s final, while Paris Saint-Germain will play against Bayern Munich.

Madrid are seeking to win a 15th European title in June’s final in Istanbul, having claimed a 1-0 win over Liverpool in last year’s final in Paris. Madrid also beat Jurgen Klopp’s side in the 2018 final in Kyiv.

“It’s a repeat of the last final, they’re two historic teams. It will be an electric, fascinating tie for the fans,” Madrid director Emilio Butragueno said.

“We’re the champions, and we want to defend our title, while being aware of the opponent we face. We’ll do everything we can to be in the quarterfinal draw.”

Meanwhile, PSG, who finished second in Group H, remain on the hunt for their first Champions League title and will have to go through familiar foes to do so, having last met Bayern in the 2020 final where they suffered a 1-0 defeat.

Elsewhere, Chelsea drew Borussia Dortmund, meaning forward Christian Pulisic will return to face his former club for the first time since leaving for Stamford Bridge in 2019.

Manchester City eased their way to top Group G were rewarded with a draw against RB Leipzig, while Tottenham Hotspur face AC Milan.

The round-of-16 first legs will take place on Feb. 14-15 and Feb. 21-22, with the second legs due to be held on March 7-8 and March.

The final is scheduled for June 10 at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul.

Champions League Round of 16 draw:

RB Leipzig vs. Manchester City

Club Brugge vs. Benfica

Liverpool vs. Real Madrid

AC Milan vs. Tottenham Hotspur

Eintracht Frankfurt vs. Napoli

Borussia Dortmund vs. Chelsea

Inter Milan vs. Porto

Paris Saint-Germain vs. Bayern Munich…

 Mo Salah and Darwin Nunez hitting form against Tottenham Hotspur

Today’s encounter is a crucial one for Jurgen Klopp and Antonio Conte. Both managers are under pressure to deliver for their respective clubs but for vastly different reasons. Conte is trying to prove that Tottenham can be a major player in the Premier League title race whilst Klopp wants to get Liverpool back to winning ways and into the top four race.

With the margins for error so slim at the top of the table Conte’s Spurs cannot afford to slip up against Liverpool this afternoon. They’ve had three poor weeks in the league with consecutive defeats to Manchester United and Newcastle before Rodrigo Bentancur rescued them with a 92nd minute winner against Bournemouth last time out. Three points today is a must if Spurs want to keep the pressure on Manchester City and Arsenal.

Liverpool, meanwhile, come into the game 9th in the table and eight points away from the top four having been beaten by Nottingham Forest and Leeds in their last two league outings. However, Klopp’s men tend to step up in big games – they’re the only ones to beat City this season – and with the pressure on they could prove to be too much to handle for Spurs especially with Mo Salah and Darwin Nunez hitting form.

Follow the action as Tottenham clash with Liverpool in the Premier League:

Tottenham vs Liverpool

  • Victory puts Spurs back in third place
  • Tottenham XI: Lloris; Royal, Dier, Lenglet, Davies, Sessegnon; Bissouma, Bentancur, Hojbjerg, Perisic; Kane
  • Liverpool XI: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Konate, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Thiago, Elliott; Salah, Firmino, Nunez

Tottenham Hotspur FC 1 – 2 Liverpool FC

Full-time: Tottenham 1-2 Liverpool

Benzema wins Ballon d’Or

Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema poses with the Ballon d’Or trophy at the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris, France on Oct. 17, 2022.

French striker Karim Benzema claimed the 2022 Ballon d’Or here on Monday after a dazzling season with Real Madrid which saw the Spanish giants win both La Liga and the UEFA Champions League.

Spain’s Alexia Putellas won the women’s trophy for the second year in a row following another stellar season with Barcelona.

The first French player to win the prestigious individual football prize since Zinedine Zidane in 1998, Benzema had his best season ever at Madrid, finishing with 44 goals in 46 matches and becoming the top scorer in both domestic and continental tournaments.

A highlight for the 34-year-old came in the knockout stages of the Champions League when he grabbed two consecutive hat-tricks against Paris Saint-Germain in the round of 16, and Chelsea in the quarterfinals.

“It’s a collective victory. It’s an individual trophy but without your teammates, you can’t score. Sometimes you might get a screamer but, for me, football is a collective sport and I will always be a team player,” Benzema said.

For the first time in the award’s history, the Ballon d’Or was awarded based on the performance of the past season, not according to achievements in a calendar year.

Senegalese forward Sadio Mane, who moved to Bayern Munich from Liverpool this summer, came second, while Manchester City playmaker Kevin De Bruyne of Belgium was third.

Barcelona’s summer signing Robert Lewandowski was named the best striker for the second year in a row, with the Pole also ranking fourth in the overall Ballon d’Or list. Fellow Barcelona midfielder Gavi won the Kopa Trophy for the best young player.

Benzema’s club teammate Thibaut Courtois was awarded the Yashin Trophy for best goalkeeper.…

Kizz Daniel is set to perform at the 2022 World Cup

A few months ago, Kizz Daniel tweeted that he would love to perform his hit single ‘Buga’ at the World Cup. It will appear that the universe has granted Kizz Daniel’s request as he is now set to perform at the opening ceremony of the 2022 FIFA world cup in Qatar.

Kizz has enjoyed a successful 2022 with his single ‘Buga’ becoming one of the biggest singles out of the continent. After embarking on a successful ‘Afroclassic Tour’ of the UK, US, Canada, and select African countries, Kizz Daniel is set to take ‘Buga’ to the biggest event in an event in competitive sport.

The 2022 FIFA World Cup is set to hold in Qatar from Sunday, 20 Nov to Sunday, 18 Dec 2022. Fans will be excited at the news of getting to see Nigerian artists perform at the World in what is another high point for Afrobeats.

Mohamed Salah’s stunning goal earns Liverpool 1-0 win vs Man City

The Egyptian forward was picked out by goalkeeper Alisson and produced a stunning touch and turn, spinning Joao Cancelo in the process.

Salah then kept his composure to steer the ball past Ederson. It was a truly magical goal and has the potential to be one of the standout moments of the season.

The kick. The touch. The turn. The finish. What a sensational goal.

Tight first half at Anfield

Thirteen points separated the Premier League heavyweights at the start of the afternoon.

Previously unbeaten City have been magnificent during the opening weeks of the campaign, inspired by their £51 million summer signing Erling Haaland.

All eyes were on the prolific Norwegian forward at Anfield and he was City’s biggest goal threat during the first half, testing Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson on two occasions.

Haaland will feel that he should have broke the deadlock shortly before half-time with a header from Kevin De Bruyne’s inch-perfect cross.

Liverpool held their own during the opening 45 minutes but only managed to get one shot on target.

Salah’s moment of magic seals Liverpool win

Salah almost put the hosts 1-0 up early in the second half but the Egyptian forward, who scored a lightning-quick hat-trick against Rangers in midweek, saw his effort stopped by a superb Ederson save.

At the opposite end of the pitch, City scored through Phil Foden, only for the goal to be disallowed following a VAR review. Haaland had fouled Fabinho in the build-up to the chance and the goal was chalked off, much to Pep Guardiola’s frustration.

The game had suddenly burst into life. Salah then picked out Diogo Jota moments later but the Portuguese forward headed over the bar.

Alisson then produced another save from Haaland before Salah curled wide with 20 minutes left on the clock.

There was confusion shortly afterwards when it appeared that Salah was one of three players Jurgen Klopp wanted to substitute.

But he stayed on and then scored one of the best goals we’ll see this season in the Premier League, …

Real Madrid Take El clasico win against Barcelona

Real Madrid welcomed Barcelona to the Bernabeu with plenty to lose at the top of the La Liga table, but Los Blancos emerged with all to gain as goals from Karim Benzema, Federico Valverde, and Rodrigo secured a 3-1 victory.

Instead, it’s Barcelona who leave Madrid with yet another black eye, following the midweek Champions League calamity that likely sees them out of Europe’s top competition. Xavi’s sorrows are compounded after suffering through similar defensive mistakes to the ones made against Inter just days prior.

With the victory, Real Madrid take control of the La Liga title race, moving three points clear at the top of the standings. Barcelona are passed, only in the lead on goal differential before kickoff at the Bernabeu.

Karim Benzema was the first on the scene for Madrid, bagging the opener just 12 minutes in. He made way for others in the team, as big-game star Federico Valverde doubled the lead past the half-hour mark with a solid long-range strike.

After halftime, Barcelona pushed hard to get back in the game, and Real Madrid hung on until Ferran Torres brought the visitors back within one after great work from Ansu Fati. Yet it was not to be, as Real Madrid ran to victory as Rodrygo deposited a dubious penalty in stoppage time to secure the points.

Real Madrid vs. Barcelona final score

1H 2H Final
Real Madrid 2 1 3
Barcelona 0 1 1

12th min — RMA — Karim Benzema
35th min — RMA — Federico Valverde
83rd min — BAR — Ferran Torres
90+1 min — RMA — Rodrygo (pen)

Real Madrid vs. Barcelona post-match analysis

Toni Kroos, Luka Modric run midfield in El Clasico

The two midfield stars for Real Madrid were yet again showing their ageless beauty as they completely ran Barcelona’s midfield off the pitch.

Toni Kroos was instrumental in the opening goal, somehow managing to deliver a pinpoint through-ball while being dragged back by a helpless Sergio Busquets. He finished 49-of-55 passing, including 6-of-8 on long balls and …

Marcus Rashford double helps Man United beat Omonia Nicosia 3-2 in Europa League

Marcus Rashford came off the bench to score twice and help Manchester United overcome a half-time deficit to beat Omonia Nicosia 3-2 in a Europa League group phase clash in Cyprus on Thursday.

With United stunningly trailing to a first-half goal from Karim Ansarifard, Rashford came on at the interval and scored one and set up another for Anthony Martial to turn the game on its head within 20 minutes of his arrival.

Rashford added United’s third with six minutes remaining before Omonia ensured a nervy finale after Nikolas Panagiotou immediately pulled a goal back.

The result leaves United second in Group E on six points, three behind leaders Real Sociedad and three ahead of Sheriff. Omonia, who will visit Old Trafford in a week’s time, remain without a point.

Man United boss Erik ten Hag made three changes to the lineup that was blasted 6-3 by rivals Manchester City on Sunday, with Cristiano Ronaldo, Casemiro and Victor Lindelof coming into the side.

For Ronaldo, playing against the Cypriot cup winners seemed an ideal opportunity to get the one goal he needed for the 700th of his club career.

But while United expectedly dominated play from the off they failed to make that advantage count in the first 45 minutes.

Antony was the chief culprit, missing a glorious chance to open the scoring in just the 16th minute. After Bruno Fernandes ran over a pass from deep by Lisandro Martinez, Anthony found himself clean through on goal but instead of shooting chose to try and lay the ball back to Fernandes. The pass failed to find its target and the chance inexplicably came to nothing.

Fernandes was left frustrated again two minutes later when his chip beat the goalkeeper but came back off the crossbar.

Then in the 34th minute, the visitors were struck by a classic sucker punch.

Tyrell Malacia was caught in possession by Bruno in the Nicosia half while United had everyone ahead of the ball. The Nicosia forward was able to drive forward before finding the …

Napoli hit six past Ajax in record defeat for Eredivisie club

Giacomo Raspadori netted twice as Napoli came from behind to deliver a masterclass and score a runaway 6-1 win at 10-man Ajax Amsterdam in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Captain Giovanni di Lorenzo, Piotr Zielinski, Khvicha Kvaratskhelia and substitute Giovanni Simeone added the other goals for the Italian league leaders, after Mohammed Kudus had given the hosts the lead inside the opening 10 minutes.

Napoli, who might have scored more such was their dominance, have a 100% record at the halfway point in Group A, leaving Ajax with three points from their opening three games and in stark danger of missing out on next year’s knockout stages after their biggest defeat in European football.

Ajax coach Alfred Schreuder had warned on the eve of the game about the attacking threat that Napoli posed but, even then, would not have expected his team to be so thoroughly outsmarted.

Ajax, who had lost at Liverpool in their previous group game, went ahead in the ninth minute when Kenneth Taylor’s goal-bound shot hit teammate Kudus on the shin and deflected into the corner of the net.

It proved the only highlight for the packed house at the Amsterdam Arena as Napoli did not take long to work their way into the game, pressing Ajax into mistakes, cutting them apart with swift attacking moves and finishing with aplomb.

Raspadori equalized in the 18th minute with a diving header at the back post at the end of Mathias Olivera’s cross from the right.

A simple corner routine saw Kvaratskhelia, who produced another performance to emphasize his growing reputation in European football, deliver a cross for Di Lorenzo to power home a header for a second goal.

Napoli extended their lead on the stroke of half-time with Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa driving forward from his own half before setting up Zielinski to finish.

Two minutes after the break, Zambo Anguissa then stole possession as Ajax were caught trying to pass their way out of defense and set up Raspadori for his second goal.

Kvaratskhelia made it 5-1 …

Calhanoglu secures crucial Champions League win over Barcelona

Inter Milan secured a timely Champions League win at the San Siro as Hakan Calhanoglu’s fine strike eased the hosts over the line to a 1-0 win against Group C rivals Barcelona.

Both sides created chances in a busy opening in Milan, with Joaquin Correa seeing a penalty call rejected by VAR, before Calhanoglu stepped up to power the home side in front just before the interval.

Barcelona did look to react after the restart, with Ousmane Dembele posing a constant threat on the counter attack, and Pedri’s equaliser chalked off by VAR.

However, it is Inter who gain a crucial advantage in the group, as they look to overpower Barcelona, in the race for second place, behind Bayern Munich.

Gritty Inter dig in for Inzaghi

Inzaghi came into the game under real pressure, after picking up just eight points in Serie A this season, and three in the Champions League.

Reports from Italy have questioned his long term future at the San Siro but his players produced a battling performance for their manager.

Next week’s trip to the Camp Nou is likely to decide second place in Group C and Inter travel to Catalonia with a key advantage.

Calhanoglu’s superb winner will grab the headlines on the night, but Andre Onana’s crucial stops, and the defensive marshalling of Milan Skriniar, kept Barcelona at bay, to give the former Italian international some breathing space.

Lewandowski’s off-night blunts Barcelona

Robert Lewandowski has been sensational in his first few months as a Barcelona player with 12 goals across all competitions ahead of this tie.

His excellent goal secured a 1-0 win at Mallorca last weekend but he struggled to get into the flow of the contest against a well drilled Inter back line.

Skriniar did brilliantly to restrict him in their one-on-one battles with Dembele providing the visitors main outlet.

Xavi stuck with him in the closing stages, but he was unable to steer home a late chance, from Dembele’s set piece, on a rare blank for the Polish international.

Inter Milan

Vinicius Jr. ignores racist chants, keeps dancing in Madrid derby vs. Atletico; Real Madrid stay perfect in LaLiga

A tense, chippy affair ended in a 2-1 win for Real Madrid, who stay perfect in LaLiga this season amid jeering for Vinicius Junior from Atletico’s fans.

Goals from Rodrygo and Federico Valverde put Real Madrid ahead early, and a goal from Atletico’s Mario Hermoso followed by a red card eight minutes later didn’t do much to help the hosts’ cause.

Rapid Reaction

1. Rodrygo, Valverde and Vinicius are Madrid’s future

It’s happened fast, but this season already feels like the beginning of a new era at Real Madrid, with Rodrygo (21 years old), Vinicius Junior (22) and Fede Valverde (24) as this team’s new stars.

It’s a process that began during last year’s Champions League run and is now impossible to ignore. One or more of Rodrygo, Vinicius and Valverde have scored in each of Madrid’s last seven games — Rodrygo’s opener made it three league games scoring in a row for him — and together they sum up this fast, direct, clinical Madrid team.

Veterans like Luka Modric and Toni Kroos are still very much present — both were excellent against Atletico — and of course Karim Benzema will come back into the team when he returns from injury. But this was a night that was all about Madrid’s vibrant, irrepressible front three.

After a positive start from Atletico, it was Rodrygo who opened the scoring, firing Aurelien Tchouameni’s floated pass beyond Jan Oblak, and when Vinicius’ low shot hit the post and rebounded across goal, Valverde was there to make it 2-0 and effectively end the contest, despite Atletico’s late fightback. Amid all the noise of a frantic Madrid derby, those two moments of quality made the difference.

2. Appalling racist chants demand action from Atletico

The footage of a group of Atletico Madrid fans singing a full-throated racist chant directed at Vinicius outside the Metropolitano stadium before this game was sickening, dispiriting and, unfortunately, nothing new.

Atletico’s hardcore group of ultras, the Frente Atletico, have been guilty of such incidents on numerous occasions before — …

Gunners cruise, remain top of the table

Arsenal cruised past Brentford to stay top of the Premier League table heading into the international break.

Goals from William Saliba and Gabriel Jesus set them on their way in the first half and a stunner from Fabio Vieira sealed the win, as Mikel Arteta’s side responded superbly following their first setback of the season last-time out at Manchester United.

The victory means Arsenal have won six of their first seven games this season and sit atop the table on 19 points, one point clear of second-place Manchester City. Brentford have nine points and Thomas Frank’s side just weren’t at the races on Sunday.

What we learned from Brentford vs Arsenal

This win underlines Arsenal’s progress: Their horrendous defeat at Brentford at the start of last season underlined all of the issues Arsenal had. Just over 12 months later, this convincing win underlined the progress they’ve made. A clear playing style with a young, hungry side who have been painstakingly recruited. Even with Martin Odegaard and Oleksandr Zinchenko out, Kieran Tierney and Vieira slotted in seamlessly as Arteta’s side dominated from start to finish. They are playing with confidence throughout the team and after a few years of building, this is what Arsenal wanted to become. The only issue is the fact that their squad looked pretty thin as a few injuries piled up with teenagers on the bench and Ethan Nwaneri, 15, became the youngest Premier League player in history when he came on late in the game. With the Europa League and League Cup coming up in the weeks after the international break, Arteta will be hoping his squad remains healthy to make the most of all of this positive momentum.

Brentford energy levels unusually low: It was a real off day for the Bees as they suffered their heaviest home defeat since being promoted to the Premier League. Thomas Frank’s side just weren’t at it as usually they push high, force teams into mistakes and pounce on loose balls. There was none of that on …

Chelsea sack Thomas Tuchel after shock Champions League defeat by Dinamo Zagreb

Chelsea have sacked Thomas Tuchel in the wake of Tuesday’s chastening 1-0 Champions League defeat at Dinamo Zagreb, the Premier League club have announced.

German coach Tuchel led Chelsea to the Champions League title in 2021 and the Club World Cup crown in 2022, but has paid the price for an indifferent start to the new campaign. New owners Todd Boehly and Behdad Eghbali have worked hard all summer to impose their authority at Chelsea, but this represents the boldest and most sweeping change yet.…

Marcus Rashford scores twice to Lift United against streaking Gunners

Manchester United ended Arsenal’s winning start to the Premier League season in a thrilling clash that saw Antony score on his debut and Marcus Rashford hit a quick-fire double after Bukayo Saka had equalized in the second half.

After a bright start by both teams, Arsenal thought they had struck first as Gabriel Martinelli finished a devastating counter-attack but the goal was ruled out by VAR for an earlier foul on Christian Eriksen.

From there Arsenal took control but the Gunners were torn apart by United on the break, as Rashford set up Antony to steer a first-time finish past Aaron Ramsdale for a debut goal following his €100m move from Ajax.

Arsenal responded after the break with chances through Martin Odegaard and Bukayo Saka, before the England international fired a deserved equalizer on the hour-mark. It seemed as if Arsenal had the momentum, but they were hit with a counter-punch as Rashford raced away to restore their lead.

It was the latest swing in a thrilling match and with Arsenal pushing forward with more numbers, Rashford scored his second to seal United’s fourth straight win and end Arsenal’s unbeaten start.

Manchester United beat Leicester City for third win in a row

Jadon Sancho scored the game’s lone goal as Manchester United beat Leicester City 1-0 on Thursday at the King Power Stadium for their third win in a row.

After a stuttering start to the season, Erik ten Hag’s side came into the match off the back of Premier League wins over Liverpool and Southampton and saw both captain Harry Maguire and Cristiano Ronaldo left out of the starting XI for the third game in a row.

United hit Leicester on a quick counter-attack midway through the first half as Marcus Rashford threaded the ball through the hosts’ backline to Sancho, who rounded goalkeeper Danny Ward with his first touch and rolled the ball into an empty net with his second to finish the move.

James Maddison went close for Leicester with a superb free kick which brought an excellent save from United’s David De Gea, but the home side struggled to create chances.

The opener seemed to boost the visitors’ confidence and they pushed forward throughout the remainder of the opening 45 minutes. No second goal came and United took their 1-0 lead into the break.

Ten Hag brought on summer arrival Casemiro for Anthony Elanga just before the hour mark as United clung to their lead and Leicester chased an equalizer.

Ronaldo, who did not leave the club before Thursday’s end to the transfer window, came on shortly after in place of Sancho and looked lively, setting up Rashford for a chance in the 82nd minute and bouncing an overhead kick past Ward’s far post minutes later.

“We need a good squad and we needed numbers,” Ten Hag said after the match. “There are a lot of games to cover. Once we have Cristiano Ronaldo and Casemiro getting fitter it will get better still — we need not only a team we need a squad.”

Leicester had a late chance to level but full-back James Justin blasted high and wide from a promising position on the right as United collected back-to-back away victories.

Man United saw out the remainder …

Haaland hat trick leads rout vs Nottingham Forest

Manchester City turned on the class to hammer Nottingham Forest 6-0 as an Erling Haaland hat trick set them on their way.

Haaland scored a perfect hat trick in the opening 38 minutes (his second hat trick in the last four days) to set a new Premier League record for the most goals scored by a single player in their first five games in the competition.

Joao Cancelo scored a beauty and then Julian Alvarez scored his first two Premier League goals in the second half to add deserved gloss to the scoreline.

City have now gained 13 points from a possible 15 to start to the season and remain unbeaten, while Forest have lost three of their first five games and have four points.

What we learned from Manchester City vs Nottingham Forest

Haaland is not human: We all knew he was going to be brilliant and, on paper, he was exactly the striker City needed to finish off the boatload of chances they create every game. But nobody thought he would be this good, right? Back-to-back hat tricks is insane and so is Haaland. He has set a new PL record with nine goals in his first five games and he could have scored more. He is only 22 years old and he is set to play with Phil Foden for the next five years (at least). That is a scary thought for the rest of the Premier League. Yes, there will be tougher tests than Crystal Palace and Forest, but Haaland is doing exactly what is being asked of him.

Forest continue to struggle with fluidity: With so many new players coming in and out of the team, it was always going to be tough for Forest to find their rhythm early in the season. But even away at Man City, this was bleak. At a period in the first half they had just three percent of possession over a five minute period. Three. Steve Cooper knows his team won’t be judged by their performances …

Man United confirm signing of winger Antony from Ajax

Manchester United have completed the signing of winger Antony from Ajax on a five-year deal, the club confirmed on Thursday.

Antony said: “This is an incredible moment in my career to be joining one of the most iconic clubs in the world. I’m thankful to everyone who has believed in me, especially my family, and all my coaches and team-mates, because I could not have got here without them.

United agreed a fee for the Brazil international on Monday, which sources told was worth an initial €95 million with another €5m in add-ons — making it the club’s second-most expensive transfer behind the then-world record €105m (£89.3m) deal to sign Paul Pogba from Juventus in 2016.

Antony’s move to Old Trafford means he will be reunited with his former Ajax boss Erik ten Hag, who has completed his fifth signing of the summer after deals for Tyrell Malacia, Christian Eriksen, Lisandro Martinez and Casemiro.

Antony added: “Playing under Erik ten Hag at Ajax was perfect for me and my development. His style of football and coaching brings out the best in me, and I am excited by what he has told me about his plans and ambitions in Manchester.

“My time at Ajax was fantastic and I will always be grateful for the trust they put in me, but now I am ready for the next challenge, and I can’t wait to join my new team-mates and play my part in bringing success to Manchester United.”

The 22-year-old winger gives Ten Hag more options in attack after Anthony Martial sustained an Achilles’ tendon injury in United’s 2-1 victory against Liverpool last week.

Antony scored 25 goals in 82 games for Ajax after joining the Eredivisie side from Sao Paulo in 2020, winning two league titles and a KNVB Cup during his time there. He has made nine appearances for Brazil, scoring twice, and helped his country to an Olympic gold medal in Tokyo last year.

John Murtough, United’s football director, said: “Antony is one of the most exciting young talents …

Chelsea sign Wesley Fofana on seven-year contract from Leicester City

Chelsea have completed the signing of Leicester City defender Wesley Fofana on a seven-year contract, the club announced on Wednesday.

On Saturday Chelsea agreed a fee in the region of £75 million for Fofana after Leicester demanded the same £80m fee they received for defender Harry Maguire when he moved to Manchester United in 2019.

Fofana, 21, joins Chelsea after spending the past two seasons at the King Power Stadium following his move from then-Ligue 1 club Saint-Etienne.

“The two last days have been really big days for me and I’m very happy,” said Fofana after completing the move.

“I trained this morning with the team and it’s a dream for me. I’m very excited to start playing games for the fans and the club.

“I’m here to win trophies — the Champions League, Premier League, FA Cup, Carabao Cup, everything. I came here to win and the club is built to win trophies so I’m here to continue that.”

Chelsea chairman Todd Boehly said the club is “delighted” to have Fofana joining their ranks.

“Wesley is a hugely promising defender who has already proven his quality in the Premier League at a young age,” Boehly said in an announcement.

“We are delighted we were able to bring one of Europe’s most exciting talents to Chelsea and further strengthen that area of our squad, both for this season and many more to come.”

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel will welcome the arrival of Fofana after seeing centre-backs Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen leave this summer and admitting the club granted Marcos Alonso’s request to leave Stamford Bridge before the end of the transfer window.…

Romeo Lavia helps Southampton beat Chelsea 2-1

Lavia left Premier League champions Manchester City in search of regular first-team football in the summer and made the move to the south coast for a fee of £11million

The Belgian grabbed his first senior goal on Tuesday night as Saints came from behind to beat Chelsea 2-1 at St Mary’s, levelling the match shortly after Raheem Sterling’s opener in the first-half.

Adam Armstrong then put Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side the lead in first-half stoppage time and Saints held on to record their first home win of the season.

“He’s a player that is just so calm, so composed,” Benali said prior to kick-off. “He was bringing balls down in his own 18-yard box against Tottenham and picking passes out, he’s got that in his locker as well.

He’s got a bit of an engine around the middle of the park, not necessarily breaking forward too much but when he gets the ball at his feet, he can find those passes and break through the lines.

“He’s been really really impressive in the few games that we’ve seen him.”

Southampton fans are already over the moon with how Lavia has started his Southampton career but will now face a period of time without him in the side following his substitution due to injury on the hour mark vs Chelsea.

The 18-year-old had to be replaced by Joe Aribo for the final 30 minutes, with Hasenhuttl confirming after the final whistle that Lavia was now expected to miss a few weeks with injury.…

Harry Kane double seals victory over Nottingham Forest

Harry Kane was at the double for Tottenham Hotspur, who held off constant Nottingham Forest pressure to take all three points on Sunday afternoon.

Antonio Conte’s men produced a relatively poor performance in the East Midlands, with a lack of urgency seeing a spirited Forest dominate possession and carve out some presentable chances. But the hosts were simply unable to finish, and endured two key periods of looking susceptible on the break.

In both of those spells, Spurs capitalized. Dejan Kulusevski, one of Spurs’ few bright sparks, broke through the heart of the Forest backline before teeing up Kane for the early opener. With nine minutes left on the clock, the North Londoners killed the game with Richarlison’s superb outside-of-the-boot cross finding Kane in space at the back post, for the England captain to stoop down and head in.

Kane was making amends for earlier spurning a chance of a second goal, with his second-half penalty having been saved by Dean Henderson. The former Manchester United goalkeeper stepped up with a big spot-kick save for the second game here in succession.

Unlike against West Ham United, it wasn’t enough, though. It leaves Forest with four points from as many games, while Spurs rise to 10, level with reigning champions Manchester City and a couple behind leaders Arsenal.

Plenty of promise for Forest – but a focal point is needed

The transfer fee of Morgan Gibbs-White, potentially rising to £42.5m, raised plenty of eyebrows over the last fortnight – but there is no doubt he is the man for this Forest side.

The versatile attacker was brilliant against Spurs, particularly in the first half, causing problems for all three opposing centre-backs as well as Ivan Perisic. He spotted balls nobody else did, and generally looked a level above many of his teammates – which was a feat in itself, after such a strong team performance.

He dovetailed well with both Jesse Lingard and Brennan Johnson, with the trio interchanging positions throughout. They were slightly more weighted towards the right flank, almost …