La Liga Formally Request to Play December Clash Between Atletico Madrid & Villarreal in Miami

?La Liga, along with Atletico Madrid and Villarreal have made a ‘formal request’ to the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) for permission to hold the December clash between the two clubs in Miami.

The proposal would see the teams line up for the first ever La Liga game played outside of the country, in Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium (home of the Miami Dolphins) at 22:00 CET (16:00 local time) on Friday 6th December – which is a public holiday in Spain.

This is not the first time ?La Liga have tried to arrange a foreign La Liga game, with an attempt to bring the Barcelona vs Girona fixture to Miami last season falling apart after opposition from the RFEF, FIFA and UEFA.

Peru v Chile

Barcelona eventually withdrew support citing the ‘lack of consensus’ around the proposal.

However, it was made clear then that La Liga and its current president Javier Tebas would not let the idea die, with the Spanish league having signed up to 15-year agreement with entertainment US company Relevent Sports, which is also owned by Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross. 

The deal included hosting one Spanish league game on American soil per year, 

A La Liga press release regarding the latest proposed fixture involving ?Atletico Madrid and Villarreal states: “This request is part of LaLiga’s strategy for international growth. 

“There are millions of LaLiga fans of LaLiga scattered all over the world. Bringing clubs closer to these fans represents an important opportunity to connect with them and to continue working for the global monitoring of LaLiga worldwide.”

Diego Simeone

Chosen for their ‘interest’, ‘availability’ and previous marketing work in the USA, Atletico Madrid and Villarreal also commented on the proposal.

CEO of Atletico, Miguel Angel Gil is quoted as saying: “Atlético de Madrid works every season to expand and boost our brand on all continents and this fixture in the United States would allow us to continue working on it. In addition, we would bring Spanish football closer to fans and followers who live outside our country. It would be a great game that would mark the future.”

“Everything that is exporting football and Spanish sport is good for everyone and, of course, also for Villarreal CF,” added the Villarreal club president Fernando Roig. 

The United States is a very important country where, in addition, we have official club academies and perform different activities with training, and it would be very special for us to play there.”

DOUNIAMAG-JORDAN-SYRIA-CONFLICT-REFUGEES-SPAIN-FBL-LIGA

La Liga president Tebas also made comparisons between American sports leagues NBA and NFL which already follow a strategy of ‘internationalisation’ by playing games beyond its countries borders.

For fans of Villarreal (the scheduled home team), La Liga’s press release also briefly outlined a plan that would see Spain-based members offered options of either a discount for a ticket the following season, a ticket and train fare for the away fixture against Atletico at the Wanda Metropolitano or the chance to travel to Miami for the game.

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Kieran Tierney Set to Make Arsenal Premier League Debut Against Sheffield United

?Kieran Tierney looks finally set to make his long-awaited Premier League debut for Arsenal, following his £25m summer move from Celtic.

The left-back has been eased back into the fold following a hernia operation, and is expected to start against Sheffield United on Monday.

Kieran Tierney

Tierney made his first appearance for the club against Nottingham Forest in the League Cup, but according to the Daily Record, he asked to be left out of the Scotland squad after he missed out on a place in the Gunners’ team for the game against Manchester United.

Scotland manager Steve Clarke understood why ?Arsenal were so reluctant to release the 22-year-old, and cooperated with the club over the injury. 

“?Arsenal have indicated to us that they’d prefer us not to select him at this moment in time because he’d only played 70-odd minutes of football,” he said. “You have to respect the club’s decision on that. I’d like to get Kieran in the squad and have him as part of the group but at this moment in time it’s more important that he gets minutes on the pitch and gets himself back to full speed.”

Kieran Tierney

However, Tierney is now all set to start the next Premier League game for Arsenal at Bramall Lane, after making a closed door appearance against ?Reading during the international break.

?Mesut Ozil, Rob Holding and Hector Bellerin were also all involved in the 2-2 draw against the Royals, with players short of match practice building up fitness in these games.

Tierney’s return will be a timely one, as Arsenal are in desperate need of defensive solidity and pace in wide areas, and the Scotland international will be looking to provide both in abundance.

Bellerin has been helping Tierney settle in at the club, and the duo could help Arsenal become a quicker and more aggressive side again.

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90min’s Premier League Hall of Fame: Class of 2008

The Premier League Hall of Fame is back, baby. Do you know what that means? It’s time to induct some rooting, tooting top level ballers of yesteryear into imaginary immortality. The cream of the crop, the big dogs, the best of the best, and today we arrive at the class of 2008.

You can read up on how players can be bestowed the glorious honour of 90min’s recognition ?here (spoiler: we won’t be returning Ali Dia’s calls), and you can look at the metaphorical ceremonies here for the classes of ?2005?2006 and ?2007.

For now, though, let’s focus on those we’ve deemed good enough to make the latest class.


David Seaman

David Seaman of Arsenal

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?Premier League Clubs Years Played?
?Arsenal ?1992-2003
Manchester City? ?2003-04

Here comes David Seaman, all moustached-up and ponytailed to the max, tucking in his shirt, standing between the Highbury goalposts, barking his orders and making saves you wouldn’t believe.

Seaman has played more for ?Arsenal than any other goalkeeper in their history, and to this day they’ve found it hard to replace him, perhaps proving to be harder to move on from than the usual shouts of Patrick Vieira and Thierry Henry.

It’s not as if you need hindsight to know just how important Seaman was – he survived Arsene Wenger’s squad transformation through to the new millennium, and only left aged 40.

So, welcome David Seaman to the hall of fame, all clean-shaven and short back and sides to the max, untucking the shirt, standing among other legends of ?Premier League’s past, giving us that wry smile.


Denis Irwin

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?Premier League Clubs Years Played?
?Manchester United 1992-2002?
?Wolverhampton Wanderers ?2003-04

The joint-most successful Irish footballer in history? Sit down Roy Keane, we’ll get to you later, for now we’re here to appreciate Denis Irwin.

Sir Alex Ferguson was a master of blooding players perfectly of the image of his ?Manchester United into his squad, and Irwin was a prime example, a mixture of staunch defending and attacking flair. A free-kick specialist and one of the first inverted wing-backs, Irwin was a step in the evolution between the 90s footballer and the modern defender.

For good measure, Irwin was injured in the first half of his own testimonial against Manchester City – what a great idea of playing your local rivals in a ‘friendly’ is, eh?

After leaving United, he donned the famous Doritos kit of ?Wolves in their short spell in the top flight at the start of the 2000s, retiring once they were immediately relegated.


Gary Kelly

Ray Parlour of Arsenal and Gary Kelly of Leeds United

?Premier League Clubs Years Played?
?Leeds United 1992-2004?

From one side of Ireland’s backline in the 1990s to the other, Gary Kelly was a mainstay during ?Leeds United’s turbulent time in the Premier League.

Arriving as a fresh-faced teenager just after their glory days, his impact in the Premier League era was instantaneous, forcing his way into the PFA Team of the Year in his first season as a starter at Elland Road. From there on in, he was one of the first names on the teamsheet for club and country.

Trouble with shin splints split Kelly’s career into two in 1998, missing the whole season and being plagued by injuries forevermore, and yet he was still one of Leeds’ most reliable performers as they made their ultimately unsuccessful charge for the Premier League and ?Champions League titles.

Kelly was there to the bitter end, the bankruptcy and the heartbreak, the end of Leeds United as the world knew them to that point. For all he did for the club, it ended in collective tears on that sunny afternoon in Yorkshire on the penultimate day of the 2003/04 season. He would stay with the club into the Championship, before retiring in 2007.


Emmanuel Petit

Arsenal v West Ham x

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?Premier League Clubs Years Played?
?Arsenal 1997-2000?
?Chelsea 2001-04?

Manny Small (or Emmanuel Petit for the Francophones out there), one of Arsene Wenger’s loyalists who followed him to England, anchoring that famous midfield with Patrick Vieira as Arsenal re-announced themselves to the world? at the end of the 90s.

For the kids who only know Petit as that guy who likes criticise current Gunners defender Shkodran Mustafi, as we all do from time to time, the Frenchman was the original Gilberto Silva, the slick-back Sergio Busquets, helping Arsenal sweep up trophies, his country conquer Europe and all the world.

His influence didn’t go unnoticed to all as he earned a move to ?Barcelona in 2000, but it clearly did to their manager, Lorenzo Serra Ferrer, who Petit claimed did not even know his position.

One chaotic year in Catalonia proved to be enough for Petit, who returned to the Premier League with ?Chelsea as they began to enter a crucial period in their history, seeing the start of the Roman Abramovich era before retiring in 2004.


For more from Sean Walsh, follow him on Twitter!

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Augsburg vs Bayern Munich Preview: Where to Watch, Live Stream, Kick Off Time & Team News

?Bayern Munich make the short trip to Bavarian rivals Augsburg, as the Bundesliga’s highest scoring team face the league’s leakiest defence on Saturday afternoon.

The German champions suffered a surprise defeat in their last league game, with Hoffenheim shocking them in a 2-1 loss at the Allianz Arena.

For Augsburg, last time out they were hammered 5-1 by Borussia Mönchengladbach, and the Fuggerstädter will be looking for a first league win since mid-September. They sit 14th in the table, only one point above 17th-place Köln.

Robert Lewandowski

Both teams will be looking to bounce back with a victory, with Bayern currently sitting third and chasing their eighth consecutive league title, and Augsburg aiming to stay in the Bundesliga for a tenth successive season.

Here’s 90min’s preview of the clash.


Where to Watch

When Is Kick Off? Saturday 19 October
What Time Is Kick Off? 14:30 (BST)
Where Is it Played? WWK Arena
TV Channel/Live Stream? N/A
Referee? TBC

 


Team News

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Midfield pair Felix Götze and Carlos Gruezo are definitely missing the match through a hip and ankle injury respectively. Augsburg could also be without Andre Hahn and Felix Suchy who are both doubts for the game, with the former the more likely of the two to make it.

FBL-GER-BUNDESLIGA-DORTMUND-AUGSBURG

Jann-Fiete Arp is definitely out for ?Bayern with a fractured wrist, and Leon Goretzka is short on match fitness and is a doubt.


Predicted Lineups

Augsburg Koubek; Lichtsteiner, Gouweleeuw, Uduokhai, Max; Richter, Khedira, Baier, Vargas; Finnbogason, Niederlechner.
Bayern Munich  Neuer; Pavard, Süle, Hernandez, Alaba; Kimmich, Thiago, Gnabry, Müller, Coman; Lewandowski.


Head to Head Record

Dong-Won Ji,Thiago

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With only 12 matches being played between the two, it shouldn’t come as a shock to see that Bayern have dominated the fixture. Nine wins have gone to the German champions, with Augsburg winning twice. The only draw between the two came last season at the Allianz, with the game ending 1-1.


Recent Form

Manuel Neuer

Augsburg have only won once all season, with Martin Schmidt’s side slumping to a humiliating 5-1 defeat in their last league game at Mönchengladbach.

Bayern haven’t exactly performed to their own high expectations so far with season, with points being dropped in three of their seven fixtures so far in the league. However, they have only suffered defeat once all season, which came last week against Hoffenheim. The German champions ?have scored 33 goals in all competitions so far this season though, which will give them confidence going into Saturday’s fixture.

Here’s how each team has performed in their last five fixtures:

Augsburg Bayern Munich
Borussia Mönchengladbach 5-1 Augsburg (6/10) Bayern Munich 1-2 Hoffenheim (5/10)
Augsburg 0-3 Bayer Leverkusen (28/9) Tottenham 2-7 Bayern Munich (1/10)
Freiburg 1-1 Augsburg (21/9) Paderborn 2-3 Bayern Munich (28/9)
Augsburg 2-1 Eintracht Frankfurt (14/9) Bayern Munich 4-0 Kln (21/9)
Werder Bremen 3-2  Augsburg (1/9) Bayern Munich 3-0 Crvena zvezda  (18/9)

Prediction

FBL-GER-BUNDESLIGA-BAYERN-MUNICH-OKTOBERFEST

Augsburg have been poor so far this season and will hope that Bayern are suffering from an Oktoberfest hangover, in order to have a chance to pick up any points.

However, Bayern, and particularly Robert Lewandowski and Serge Gnabry, have been scoring for fun and will score more goals at the WWK Arena. However, Augsburg have scored in every game bar-one so far this season, and Bayern’s defence certainly isn’t mistake-free. 

Both teams will score but i fear it could be another embarrassing result for Augsburg, with Nico Kovac’s men looking to bounce back. 

Prediction: Augsburg 1-4 Bayern Munich

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Mesut Ozil Lifts Lid on Harrowing Attempted Robbery & Hails ‘Brave’ Sead Kolasinac

?Mesut Ozil has spoken in depth about the harrowing attempted robbery he, teammate Sead Kolasinac and their wives were faced with while out together in north London earlier this year.

Back in July, the Arsenal duo were targeted as they drove through the leafy suburb of Childs Hills in Ozil’s Black Mercedes, before being chased for a mile by knife-wielding attackers riding mopeds.

The incident was briefly captured on CCTV, in which Kolasinac is seen fending off the assailants with his bare hands, while ?Ozil and their partners were trapped inside the car, before the German sped off and overtook oncoming traffic to reach a Turkish restaurant on Golders Green Road.  


Speaking to ?The Athletic about the incident for the first time, Ozil retold the terrifying events of July, which left him and his wife shaken.

“I drove from my house to Sead’s,” Ozil recalled. “He was outside and we spoke. My wife was sitting next to me. Then these guys came. We were looking at each other for 10-15 seconds. Then we noticed that they had a weapon and something was going wrong.

“They told him directly, ‘Give us your watch!’. Sead’s reaction was really, really brave because he attacked one of the attackers. We were newly wed and I was scared about my wife. I was scared about Sead. I wasn’t thinking about myself. I was worried they were going to open my wife’s door and they tried, so I reached across her to keep it closed.”

Sead Kolasinac,Mesut Ozil

Faced with uncertainty over his and everyone else’s safety, the 31-year-old then revealed how he was forced to speed off at the first opportunity, in a desperate bid to evade the attackers.

“I saw one chance to drive. If they got to my wife, something terrible might have happened to her. It was going so quickly that you can’t think properly. I drove a little bit forwards and backwards to try and get the moped away. I told Sead, “Jump in! Jump in!” and thankfully he did,” he added.

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“I started driving but they followed. I was driving very fast but they kept coming close on the moped. I tried to move the car, block them, escape, but each time they would be there. My wife was extremely scared. Nothing happened to us, that’s the most important thing.”


Admitting the worry over potential further attacks has now dissipated, the ?Premier League star did confess he was worried for his wife’s well-being in the aftermath of the horrifying ordeal. 

He said: “Something like this has never happened to us before. She told me — and Sead’s wife told him — let’s go back to our families, to be safe and let everything calm down. It was a bad couple of weeks but never made me want to leave London permanently. Now, even for my wife, everything is OK.”

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