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City keep perfect record as Arsenal, Tottenham and West Ham lead chase

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LONDON, Sept. 3 (Xinhua) — Manchester City head into the international break atop the Premier League, maintaining their perfect start to the season with a 5-1 home victory over Fulham.

Julian Alvarez’s opening goal for City was quickly equalized by Tim Ream. However, Nathan Ake restored City’s lead just before halftime, a goal that Fulham believed should have been ruled out for offside by VAR. In the second half, Erling Haaland secured the win with his seventh City hat-trick.

Tottenham sit in second place after a dominant 5-2 victory against Burnley, who initially led with a Lyle Foster goal in the fourth minute. The match featured a hat-trick from Son Heung-min and goals from Cristian Romero and James Maddison.

Arsenal, level with Tottenham on 10 points, clinched a 3-1 home win against Manchester United, with two goals arriving deep into injury time. Marcus Rashford and Martin Odegaard exchanged goals within a minute, making it 1-1. The match seemed destined for a draw until Declan Rice’s 96th-minute goal, followed by Gabriel Jesus’s strike in the 11th minute of injury time.

Liverpool secured a comfortable 3-0 victory over Aston Villa. Jurgen Klopp’s team took an early lead with a goal from Dominic Szoboszlai, and Darwin Nunez’s shot deflected off Villa’s Matty Cash into the net. Mohamed Salah added a third shortly after halftime.

Brighton’s Ewan Ferguson emerged as another hat-trick hero, scoring in the 27th, 65th, and 70th minutes in a 3-1 win over Newcastle.

Anthony Elanga’s 48th-minute goal earned Nottingham Forest a 1-0 victory against Chelsea, who, despite 21 shots, managed only two on target.

Odsonne Edouard’s brace helped Crystal Palace to a 3-2 win over Wolverhampton. Hwang Hee-Chan equalized after Edouard’s first, but goals from Eberechi Eze and Edouard’s second seemed to seal the win before Matheus Cunha’s late goal for Wolverhampton.

Brentford’s Bryan Mbeumo netted a last-minute equalizer against Bournemouth, ensuring a draw. Mathias Jensen’s early goal for Brentford was countered by goals from Dominic Solanke and David Brooks for Bournemouth.

Everton managed a 2-2 draw against Sheffield United, with Jordan Pickford’s incredible double save in injury time preserving the point. Abdoulaye Doucoure and Arnaut Danjuma scored for Everton, while Cameron Archer netted twice for Sheffield.

West Ham celebrated a win after goals from Jarrod Bowen and Kurt Zouma secured a 2-1 victory against Luton Town, who have yet to win this season.

Source(s): Xinhua

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Spain’s teenage winger Yamal mixing Euros with homework

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MADRID, June 11 (Xinhua) — Spain’s teenage international winger Lamine Yamal says he still finds it hard to believe that he is a key part of the country’s squad for the forthcoming UEFA Euro 2024.

The 16-year-old has made himself a key player for FC Barcelona this season and has also become a fixture in Spain’s squad under coach Luis de la Fuente with seven appearances.

“It seems like no time ago that I was watching the Euros on the sofa with my mother,” he said in an interview with Spanish sports paper, Diario AS on Tuesday.

Spain finished top of their qualifying group, after suffering an early setback in Scotland, before turning in some impressive displays, including a 7-1 win in Georgia and a 6-0 thrashing of Cyprus.

They rounded off their preparation with a 5-0 win at home to Andorra and a 5-1 victory over Northern Ireland, and will kick off in Germany against Croatia on Saturday with their morale sky-high.

“We haven’t come here for a stroll, but to try and to make history. I hope we can go a long way in the European Championships,” commented Yamal, although he admitted that would mean missing out on the Olympic Games, which begin soon after the Euros finish.

“I’ll watch the Games on the TV,” he said.

Being just 16 years old has its advantages, but also means extra work for the youngster, who has still to complete his studies.

“I have brought my homework, as I’m in the fourth years of Obligatory Secondary Education. I have classes online and I hope the teacher doesn’t mind,” he joked.

Source(s): Xinhua

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Ahead of Euro 2024: Germany’s second-row players stepping into limelight

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BERLIN, June 8 (Xinhua) — The German squad has been granted two days off as a final opportunity to rest ahead of their 2024 UEFA Euro opener against Scotland next Friday.

With mixed feelings, the team members departed for various destinations to meet family and friends after their narrow and laborious 2-1 victory in a friendly against Greece.

On Monday, head coach Julian Nagelsmann will regather the team at their tournament compound in Herzogenaurach, Bavaria, to make final preparations. The squad hopes to play a vital role in the Euro on home ground.

As Europe’s most successful team, with three titles and two second-place finishes, Germany feels the burden of expectations. Spain, also with three titles, follows closely behind.

Recent friendlies against Ukraine and Greece highlighted both defensive inconsistencies and a lack of efficiency up front. Manuel Neuer’s mistake, which allowed Greece to score, has become a major topic of discussion as Germany prepares for the Euro’s kick-off on Friday. Venues and cities are setting up various public viewing spots for the event.

Coach Nagelsmann is demanding patience, expressing full trust in his selected squad. He dismissed debates about a possible change of keepers, despite Neuer’s mistakes against Greece and Ukraine.

“We know about our gaps; we will solve them until the Scotland game,” Nagelsmann said, while 2024 Champions League winner Toni Kroos called for more determination.

Toni Kroos, a 2024 Champions League winner, called for more determination. The Real Madrid midfielder was convinced that “we will do well at the tournament, but we need to improve and develop greediness.”

Positives include the value of Germany’s second-row players, such as David Raum, Leroy Sane, Nico Schlotterbeck, Chris Fuhrich, and Pascal Gross. The Brighton midfielder not only scored the winning goal against Greece but also emphasized the importance of “our well-equipped bench.”

Nagelsmann’s strategy involves relying on a core of key players, including Neuer, Antonio Ruediger, Toni Kroos, and Ilkay Guendogan, while recognizing the contributions of the entire squad.

“It’s not only eleven that make a successful tournament, but we are also 26, and everyone is important. That is a good message, and we should keep an eye on that,” Gross added.

Like in the game against Ukraine, substitutes Deniz Undav and Niclas Fullkrug revitalized the German game. Gross described the recent matches as a confidence booster for the second row. “Not only I will follow every minute from the bench to be ready when I am needed. Everyone now is aware he can make a difference even when sitting on the bench at first,” Gross said.

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Chelsea and Mauricio Pochettino part ways after just one season

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LONDON, May 21 (Xinhua) — Chelsea have parted with coach Mauricio Pochettino and his coaching staff after just one season, the club announced on Tuesday.

Chelsea announced the news with a brief statement on their official website saying: “Chelsea FC can confirm that the club and Mauricio Pochettino have mutually agreed to part ways”, while Pochettino thanked the club for “the opportunity to be part of this football club’s history”, adding that Chelsea was now “well positioned to keep moving forward in the Premier League and Europe in the years to come.”

The former Tottenham, Southampton and Paris Saint Germain coach arrived at Stamford Bridge last May, after a disastrous campaign that saw the club sacked Thomas Tuchel in September 2022, before then showing his replacement, Graham Potter the door in April 2023 and appointing Frank Lampard as an interim coach until the end of the disastrous campaign which Chelsea finished 12th in the Premier League.

The club spent heavily over the summer, mainly on young players, while losing several veterans such as Cesar Azpilicueta, N’Golo Kante and Mateo Kovacic.

An important turnover in playing staff and as young squad saw Chelsea struggle for performances and results for much of the season, although a strong finish to the campaign saw Chelsea win their last five matches and finish sixth in the Premier League to qualify for next season’s Europa League.

Pochettino also led Chelsea to the Carabao Cup final, which they lost 1-0 to Liverpool, while they also lost the FA Cup semifinal 1-0 to Manchester City.

The south London club has now had seven coaches since Antonio Conte left the job in the summer of 2018.

Source(s): Xinhua

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