Nemanja Matic Responds to Rumours Linking Him With Jose Mourinho Reunion at Tottenham

Jose Mourinho has signed Nemanja Matic in each of his last two jobs – Chelsea and Manchester United – and is already believed to be eyeing the experienced Serbian international for a third time at new club Tottenham Hotspur.

Mourinho signed Matic for Chelsea, the player’s second spell at the club, in January 2014, just six months after his own return to Stamford Bridge. He then took the player to Old Trafford a year into his spell at United, paying Chelsea in excess of £30m.

Jose Mourinho,Nemanja Matic

The Independent carries a report which details Mourinho’s early interactions with Spurs chairman Daniel Levy, with the Portuguese essentially selling himself to the club.

There is said to be a fresh vision, presumably allaying fears of a similar kind of catastrophic collapse that happened at Chelsea in 2015 and United in 2018, despite initial success.

That is seemingly evidenced by Mourinho telling Spurs that he wants to Sporting CP midfielder Bruno Fernandes, a player who was close to joining in summer, and Benfica talent Ruben Dias – Mourinho and agent Jorge Mendes has always had success in the Portuguese market.

But The Independent also note that Matic was another player that was ‘specifically name-checked’ by Mourinho when he sat down with Levy.

UEFA Europa League"AZ Alkmaar v Manchester United"

The speculation about reunion had already exploded before there was any air of substance to it, such has been the previous relationship between the manager and player.

Very strangely, Matic actually responded to one social media post on the subject.

The post from ‘Benchwarmers’ included a series of forlorn images and was captioned with the sentence, ‘Matic waiting for January so Jose Mourinho can sign him.’


Matic posted a commented consisting of clapping and laughing emojis, though it is not clear whether he was suggesting there is any truth to it or that he simply appreciated the joke.

90min reported just over a week ago that Matic could leave United in January after falling out of favour at Old Trafford. West Ham are one possible option for the 31-year-old, who is believed to be very fond of London and is therefore open to returning to the capital.

Tottenham are obviously based in London as well, suggesting they could also be a viable option.


For more from Jamie Spencer, follow him on Twitter and Facebook!

Let’

Jamie Carragher Provides Fixture List Advice for Jurgen Klopp Ahead of Liverpool’s Busy Schedule

?Jamie Carragher has urged Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp to prioritise the Premier League as the club approach the beginning of a ridiculously packed fixture list.

The Reds still have three more games to play in November, but December will see them feature in a total of nine matches in four separate competitions.

Premier League games against ?Everton and ?Bournemouth are up first, before the ?Champions League clash in Salzburg. They play Watford at Anfield four days later, with two games in two days in the Carabao Cup and the Club World Cup to follow.

Caoimhin Kelleher,Jurgen Klopp

Ahead of the congested fixture list, Carragher has claimed the English league title is at the top of Liverpool fans’ list of priorities.

He told the ?Liverpool Echo: “I know a lot of Liverpool supporters wouldn’t say this, and certainly the club couldn’t, but nothing can get in the way of Liverpool winning the league. Nothing.

“The Aston Villa game in the Carabao Cup? If Liverpool get through they will have two semi-finals to play then and that cannot get in the way of Liverpool winning the league.

“What I mean by that is do not play anyone in your first XI in that Carabao Cup team. Not one. If Liverpool win the league this year and find themselves in the same position next year I wouldn’t be saying that.

“I’d probably be saying ‘we are Liverpool Football Club. We should try and win the lot.’ But because it has been so long nothing can be allowed to get in the way of Liverpool pushing on and winning the league.”

FBL-EUR-C1-LIVERPOOL-GENK

Carragher also revealed the Club World Cup is of massive importance to Liverpool, given it is a competition they have never won before.

He added: “The Club World Cup, for me, is very important. A lot of people outside Liverpool don’t understand that. But really it’s massive for ?Liverpool. They have never won it before. To be able to say you’re the world champions.

“Liverpool have won the League Cup a record amount of times and will have other chances again. It might be another 20 years before we get the chance to become world champions again.”

Let’

Andy Robertson Reveals His Pick for World’s Best Left Back – and it’s Not Andy Robertson

?Liverpool defender Andy Robertson has revealed he believes Barcelona’s Jordi Alba is the best left back in the world.

Robertson’s form at Anfield has seen his worth skyrocket over the past two years and he is now regarded among the best left backs in the world, while Alba has been renowned for his attacking exploits in Catalonia since his move from Valencia in 2012.

Neither player was included in the FIFA FIFPro World XI, with the spot strangely going to Real Madrid’s Marcelo instead. Now, Robertson has revealed Alba is the left back he ranks highest in the world, after ESPN named the Scot as the best player in that position.

Andy Roberton

He said, as quoted by ?Sport“For me, the best left back in the world is Jordi Alba.”

Alba certainly has a ton of admirers, but Robertson’s impact at Liverpool, alongside full back partner Trent Alexander-Arnold, has transformed the side’s threat in attack.

Robertson himself already has a goal and four assists in 12 Premier League games so far this season, also netting in the Champions League against RB Salzburg. Alexander-Arnold has also set up three goals in the league, scoring once.

Having joined Liverpool in 2017 from Hull, Scotland international Robertson initially struggled to get into the Reds’ starting lineup. However, he eventually made 22 Premier League appearances for the club in his debut season.

Georginio Wijnaldum,Roberto Firmino,Andy Robertson

His importance became more evident during the 2018/19 season as Liverpool won the Champions League and finished second to Manchester City in the Premier League, ending up just a point behind the champions.

With ?Liverpool now eight points ahead of second and third placed ?Leicester and ?Chelsea and nine points ahead of City, the Reds are in a stronger position than ever before to claim their first ever ?Premier League title.

Let’

West Ham vs Tottenham Hotspur Preview: Where to Watch, Live Stream, Kick Off Time & Team News

?Saturday’s lunchtime fixture between West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspur at the London Stadium just got a whole lot more interesting…

That’s because Spurs made the decision to sack Mauricio Pochettino – their manager of five and a half years – on Tuesday night, and replace him with a man who said he’d never manage them in his career, José Mourinho.


Seeing how the former ?Chelsea and ?Manchester United boss gets on at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium will be interesting, as at first glance they don’t seem an obvious fit. Spurs have a young and thriftily assembled squad, while the three-time Premier League winner has made his name by trusting experienced players and big money signings (just ask ?Kevin De Bruyne and ??Mo Salah).

As if all the internal drama at ?Tottenham wasn’t enough, there’s added spice in this fixture now due to the rivalry between Mourinho and a man he insists on calling ‘Manuel Pellegrino’ that ?stretches back nearly a decade.


Where to Watch

When Is Kick Off? Saturday 23rd November
What Time Is Kick Off? 12:30 (BST)
Where Is it Played? London Stadium
TV Channel/Live Stream? BT Sport 1
Referee? Michael Oliver

Team News

Lukasz Fabianski

West Ham are set to continue with Roberto in goal despite a series of errors in his previous matches as Lukasz Fabianski is not due to be back until the end of December. Manuel Lanzini looks set to be out for a while as well after ?breaking his collarbone against ?Burnley.

Captain Mark Noble also injured his ankle in that game, but will be hoping to come back for Saturday’s derby match. In more positive news for Hammers fans, Michail Antonio is expected to be back along with Jack Wilshere.

Jan Vertonghen

Jose Mourinho has a lengthy injury list to contend with in his first game in charge, as Jan Vertonghen, Erik Lamela and Hugo Lloris will all be out.

Record signing Tanguy Ndombélé is also a doubt after he picked up a groin problem in the ?1-1 draw with ?Sheffield United that turned out to be ?Pochettino’s last game. Mourinho does love turning wingers into full-backs, and with Ryan Sessegnon that’s already been done for him, so expect to see the England youngster feature.

West Ham Roberto; Fredericks, Diop, Balbuena, Cresswell; Rice, Noble, Fornals; Yarmolenko, Anderson, Haller
Tottenham Gazzaniga; Aurier, Alderweireld, Sanchez, Sessegnon; Sissoko, Lo Celso, Winks; Son, Moura, Kane

Head-to-Head Record

Heung-Min Son

Spurs have tended to come out on top in this derby in the past, winning 96 games to West Ham’s 64. There have been 52 draws between the pair.

Last season they met three times – twice in the league and once in the Carabao Cup fourth round. 

Spurs came out on top in the Cup match and their away league fixture whilst ?West Ham won 1-0 at the London Stadium in April.


Recent Form

Christian Eriksen

The argument that Spurs were right to sack Mauricio Pochettino stems from their appalling form under the Argentinian in 2019. 

Despite reaching the Champions League final, they haven’t won an away league ?game since January, and haven’t won a Premier League game at all since the end of September, leaving them in 14th position. They were knocked out of the Carabao Cup by League Two Colchester, and ?lost 7-2 to Bayern Munich at home in the Champions League.

Over to you José…

Roberto

West Ham’s form hasn’t been much better in recent times. Since Lukasz Fabianski was ruled out for two months with a hip injury at the end of September the Hammers haven’t won a single league game or kept a clean sheet.

They are two places below their visitors in 16th, and if Manuel Pellegrini doesn’t turn things around soon, he could be facing a similar fate to Pochettino.

Here’s how the two have fared in their last five matches…

West Ham Tottenham
Burnley 3-0 West Ham (9/11) Tottenham 1-1 Sheffield United (9/11)
West Ham 2-3 Newcastle (2/11) Red Star Belgrade 0-4 Tottenham (6/11)
West Ham 1-1 Sheffield United (26/10) Everton 1-1 Tottenham (3/11)
Everton 2-0 West Ham (19/10) Liverpool 1-1 Tottenham (27/10)
West Ham 1-2 Crystal Palace (5/10) Tottenham 5-0 Red Star Belgrade (22/10)

Prediction

Christian Eriksen

This one is almost impossible to call. With both sides in such terrible form it probably would’ve been easy to go for a boring 0-0 draw.

But like him or loathe him Jose Mourinho is a man who gets results and you would have to back him to have an immediate impact against an out of sorts West Ham side.

Prediction: West Ham 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur.?


Let’

Wolves’ Resilience and Clever Player Selection at Heart of Their Bid to Break Europa League Curse

It wasn’t so long ago that Wolves were in crisis, staring down the barrel of an awful start to the Premier League season and becoming the latest club to suffer from the dreaded Europa League curse.

While the qualifying rounds brought glamorous European jaunts to the likes of Turin, the Armenian capital of Yerevan and, well, Belfast, their domestic form made for uncomfortable viewing. The Wanderers failed to win in their opening six Premier League fixtures, drawing four and losing twice – defeats that brought a combined total of eight conceded goals to Everton and Chelsea.

Fast forward a further six games and Wolves are eighth in the Premier League table, unbeaten in those half a dozen matches. Not only are they in touching distance of the league’s European places, they’re on course to secure qualification from their Europa League group as they sit second on nine points after four fixtures.

Nuno Espirito Santo

?Nuno Espirito Santo has kept faith in his players and philosophy, turning their season around to make Europa League progression and a tilt at the top six genuine possibilities. 

But how exactly have Nuno and his troops got their season back on track?

First and foremost, Wolves are unrelenting and more resilient than most, and not just in a throwaway sense of bouncing back from adversity or making life difficult for opponents. Nuno’s side get the job done in the final few minutes with such regularity that it’s beyond the point of coincidence – it’s part of the game plan.

Wolves have become synonymous with scoring late goals, gaining a second wind as their opponents tire or lose concentration. So much so that the club posted a quiz on their official website to name the 12 players who’ve scored in stoppage time in the past 12 months, following Adama Traore’s late strike in October 6th’s 2-0 victory over Manchester City. They’ve added another in recent weeks and that impressive statistic now reads 13 stoppage time goals in as many months.

It could well be the difference in their progression to the Europa League round of 32, with a pair of stoppage time goals turning two points into six against Besiktas and Slovan Bratislava. This allowed ?Wolves to open up a five-point lead in second place. Those two performances highlighted that it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach to the final 15 minutes, Nuno prepares for the late dismantling of opposition in different ways.

Against Besiktas, Wolves found themselves in an interesting battle and their Turkish opponents had several chances to take the lead in either half. Much of the English side’s creativity had come from open play, yet in the final ten minutes they began to use set pieces to exploit Besiktas’ defensive frailties. A marginal offside ruled out a goal from a corner and Wolves had the scent for those three points, sealing them minutes later from long-throw-induced confusion as Willy Boly poked home.

Slovan was a different story, Wolves only denied by goalkeeper Dominik Greif’s stunning performance as they dominated from the kick-off. It was time to play to Adama Traore’s strengths as Wolves pressed for a late winner, using his directness and pace to bombard the Bratislava box with crosses. In the second minute of added time it paid off and Wolves secured their third Europa League win via Raul Jimenez’s header.

FBL-EUR-C3-BESIKTAS-WOLVERHAMPTON

Wolves were hardly known for their rotation during last season’s successful return to the top flight, so it’s understandable that squad depth was flagged as a concern from the moment they sealed Europa League qualification.

The 2019/20 season presents a similar story and Wolves have used just 18 players in the Premier League so far. However, Nuno is acutely aware that there’s more than one way to skin a tactical cat, keeping players fresh by utilising the versatility of key squad members. A ploy that has also enabled the Portuguese to make effective tweaks to his formation in-game.

Premier League fixtures with ?Newcastle and Arsenal at the turn of November support Nuno’s decision for positional rotation and adaptation. On their visit to St. James’ Park, Wolves’ right flank comprised of Matt Doherty in the back three, Adama Traore at wing-back and Leander Dendoncker alongside him in midfield.
?
?Although not at its most effective in this game, this approach has enabled Nuno to rest players like Doherty when necessary and cope with the loss of Ryan Bennett and Willy Boly to injury. 

Jonny

Wolves played well in the first half, but found themselves a goal down at the break. 3-5-2 became 3-4-3 in the second half – Dendoncker dropped into defence, Doherty moved to wing-back and Traore pushed into an attacking role. It turned the game on its head, the West Midlanders equalising in the 73rd minute and unlucky not to escape with all three points – especially as they should have been awarded a late penalty.

The same system and personnel were used in the following weekend’s 1-1 draw with ?Arsenal, Nuno’s side good value for the point after growing into the game at the Emirates and once again scoring in the final 15 minutes.

While the Premier League revival has been about those tried and trusted performers, Wolves’ Europa League campaign has been a platform for the progression of two academy graduates and the pair of young forwards to arrive at Molineux this summer.

FBL-EUR-C3-SLOVAN-WOLVERHAMPTON

22-year-old defender Max Kilman has featured in two group stage fixtures, while talented midfielder Morgan Gibbs-White has played in three. Patrick Cutrone joined from Milan this summer to feature in all four group fixtures so far, while Pedro Neto has two competition appearances since his transfer from Braga. 

Not only has this given them time to settle in, it has enabled Nuno to rest Diogo Jota and keep the now-Portugal international fresh for Premier League action. Raul Jimenez, however, simply cannot be dropped from the Europa League teamsheet, the Mexican is on fire and already has eight goals from ten appearances in the competition.

It’s this level of man-management and tactical prowess that has seen the Wolves manager transition from whispers of a potential sacking, to cries that he should have been considered for the Spurs job in the space of just two months. 

Wolves supporters will be relieved that Jose Mourinho filled the hotseat so quickly, as there is a genuine sense that their adventure is just beginning. However, losing Nuno is simply not an option if those dreams of Champions League qualification are to become a reality. If they carry on grinding out Europa League results, they might just lift the trophy and sneak into Europe’s premier competition through the back door.


Let’