Norwich Star Teemu Pukki Wins August Premier League Player of the Month

?Norwich City striker Teemu Pukki has been named Premier League Player of the Month for August, the first ever Canaries player to win the award and the first player from Finland since former Birmingham striker Mikael Forssell in March 2004.

Pukki scored five Premier League goals in four appearances during August, including a hat-trick in a handsome win for Norwich over Newcastle.


The former Celtic and Brondby forward also netted against Liverpool and Chelsea and became only the 10th player to score in each of his first three Premier League appearances.

Pukki beat a stellar shortlist that featured Manchester City trio Raheem Sterling, Sergio Aguero and Kevin De Bruyne, as well as Liverpool striker Roberto Firmino and Burnley’s Ashley Barnes.

“I feel really honoured,” the Finn told PremierLeague.com.

“I need to say thanks to my team-mates and the boss [Daniel Farke] as well for making it possible. This is more than I could believe when we started the season. I hope I can keep scoring goals. That’s the way I help the team the most.”


Pukki is tasked with getting on the scoresheet again this weekend as Norwich host reigning champions Manchester City at Carrow Road. His record already this season, after also finishing 2018/19 as the top scorer in the Championship, will ensure he has no fear.

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Mauricio Pochettino Discusses Kieran Trippier’s Move as Defender Opens Up on ‘Disappointing’ Exit

?Mauricio Pochettino has said there are no hard feelings between himself and Atletico Madrid defender Kieran Trippier, after quotes from the right-back this week appeared to suggest that Tottenham forced him out against his will. 

The 28-year-old endured a frustrating 2018/19 campaign, with injuries quelling his gametime and preventing him from rediscovering the form he showed for England at the 2018 World Cup. There were talks he could move on throughout the second half of the season, but his £20m move to ?La Liga caught more than a few off-guard. 

Despite putting things behind him after a fast start to life in the Spanish capital, playing every minute of ?Atleti’s 100% start to the seasonnthere remain some lingering questions about his hasty exit from the North London club. Particularly since he spoke to Spanish earlier this month (as per ?Football London), touching on the ‘disappointing’ nature of his exit. 

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“He [Pochettino] didn’t say he wanted to move me on. I tried to speak to the chairman about it. I spoke to the manager about his plans and I didn’t get a yes and I didn’t get a no. So you get the impression.

“It’s disappointing. I gave everything for the club and I wanted to stay, I had another couple of years left, but everything happens for a reason. Me and the manager didn’t leave on bad terms, he has done a lot for me and I respect him highly. It’s just a few things, I tried to speak to the chairman I just didn’t really get an answer.”

It’s not something the ?Spurs boss has taken lying down, and asked about the situation ahead of the ?London Derby with Crystal Palace this weekend, Pochettino says the two have been in communication through Harry Kane, and that there is no ill-feeling between them.

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“I didn’t see [the quotes] but I heard about it. I can explain how I feel. We had a conversation where he explained he was going to move to Atletico Madrid – okay nothing more.

“Yesterday when Harry Kane arrived back he said to me did you get Kieran’s text? I said ‘no’ because I changed my number. Maybe because he doesn’t have the new number?

“He believes his words were twisted – I don’t know anything more. Kieran translated this message to me through Harry Kane. He wanted to tell me.

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“But I’ve got no problem with Kieran. In football decisions happen and players move from one club to another. Look, what happened happened and we need to move on and he needs to think of Atletico Madrid and be happy there. There’s no point to talk about if something happened or didn’t happen.”

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Billy Gilmour: 7 Things to Know About the Chelsea Wonderkid Who’s Just Signed a New Contract

Billy Gilmour was one of Chelsea’s young stars who was given a chance to impress Frank Lampard during pre-season.

He was arguably the most impressive Blues starlet during those early months of the season and – a Premier League substitute appearance against Sheffield United later – the 18-year-old has since been rewarded with a new contract with the club.

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He put in two seriously impressive pre-season performances against Bohemians and St Patrick’s Athletic, but the sub appearance against Sheffield United shows he’s a firm part of Lampard’s plans going forward.

Here are seven things to know about the latest Chelsea starlet.


He’s No Stranger to Playing Above His Age Group

Billy Gilmour

An 18-year-old playing against seniors is impressive enough but, for Gilmour, it’s just another day in the office.

When he turned 15, he was promoted to Rangers’ Under-20 side, but was soon fast-tracked to the first team after his talent became clear. He featured in provisional matchday squads for Rangers, whilst he has also been a regular feature for Scotland’s Under-21s.

Even at ?Chelsea, Gilmour has plenty of experience in the Under-23 set-up, so playing against senior players is nothing new to him.


He Attracted Interest From Europe’s Elite

With a 15-year-old Gilmour on the cusp of senior football back in 2016, many of the elite sides around Europe took notice. 

Think of any top side around the world, and chances are they were interested in Gilmour. ?Manchester United, ?Manchester City, ?Real Madrid and ?Barcelona were all eager to win the race for his signature, but a trip to Chelsea’s Cobham training complex ultimately won him over.

If he keeps up this development, it would come as no surprise to see those sides reignite their interest.? Whether Chelsea would be interested in selling him remains to be seen.


He Is a Creative Machine

Billy Gilmour

Onto his play style, Gilmour is the kind of midfielder managers adore. Comfortable anywhere in midfield, Gilmour’s primary mission is to get on the ball, whether that means dropping deep or pushing forward.

One of the most impressive things about the teenager is his composure. He is almost impossible to fluster, and he uses his technical ability to pick out passes all across the pitch.

Similar to Andres Iniesta, Gilmour wants to dictate the tempo of a game, but he is not satisfied with just passing the ball. He wants to be part of every phase of play, and he’s certainly good enough to do so.


He Still Loves a Tackle

Billy Gilmour,Callum Cooke

These slender, creative midfielders often shirk the physical side of the game, but that cannot be said for Gilmour.

Whilst he’s no ?N’Golo Kante, the diminutive Scot is not afraid to put his body on the line to recover possession, such is his desire to have the ball at his feet.

His temper can get the best of him at times – he has picked up red cards playing for both Chelsea and Rangers’ youth sides in the past – but it is nothing to worry about at this stage. He will give his all for his team, which can only be a good thing.


Frank Lampard Sees a Bright Future for Him

Frank Lampard

?His impressive performances this summer have not gone unnoticed, with manager Frank Lampard taking time to specifically praise Gilmour for his impact on the side.

Lampard told ?Chelsea TV just how impressed he had been with Gilmour, hinting at a potential role in the team for the teenager by expressing his desire to see Gilmour maintain this level of performances for the remainder of the season.

The quality of opposition will certainly improve as the year goes on – as we’ve seen when he made his Premier League debut – but all signs suggest he is capable of rising to the challenge.


He’s Certainly Ambitious

Breaking through at Chelsea has proven to be too difficult for countless youngsters in the past, but Gilmour has the kind of ambition and drive that a young player needs to make it at the top level.

He told ?BBC Sport that he only has one goal in football, and that is to become the best player in the world.

It is clear by his actions on the pitch that Gilmour is not satisfied with simply winning games. He wants to dominate opponents and do things fans can hardly believe, which will help him stand out at Stamford Bridge.


He Prefers Frank Lampard Over Steven Gerrard

Liverpools Steven Gerrard (L) vies for t...

It’s like an unwritten rule in England. Anyone involved in football must decide who was the better midfielder – Steven Gerrard or Frank Lampard. For Chelsea fans, Gilmour chose the right answer.

In the same BBC Sport interview, he wasted little time to choose Lampard as his favourite player, and this was well before Lampard was even close to stepping into the dugout at Stamford Bridge.

He now has the chance to work alongside Lampard, who will undoubtedly be able to pass on some of his vast football knowledge. For Gilmour, the future is incredibly bright.


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Liverpool: The XI That Should Start Against Newcastle

?So far so good for Liverpool. They are the only side in the Premier League to have won their opening four games, and appear ready to challenge Manchester City for the title once more.

This weekend they return to league action, facing off against Newcastle United at Anfield. It seems a relatively comfortable fixture on paper, but Steve Bruce’s side did cause a major shock in their last away game, beating Tottenham 1-0 to earn their first win of the season. Any hint of complacency from Liverpool could leave them vulnerable to a similar upset.

The Champions League also begins in midweek, with Liverpool starting the defence of their crown with a tricky trip to Napoli. With this in mind, Jurgen Klopp will have to consider how much rotation is needed to allow his squad to perform in both games.

Here is how 90min expects the side to line-up this weekend.


Goalkeepers & Defenders

Trent Alexander-Arnold

Adrian (GK) – First choice goalkeeper Alisson has returned to light training after suffering a calf injury on the opening day of the season against Norwich. However, he is set to miss out once more this weekend, leaving Adrian to deputise for him once more.

Trent Alexander-Arnold (RB) – The 20-year-old remains one of the best attacking full backs in the league. He may well come under pressure for a starting berth in midweek, as Joe Gomez could be preferred for his defensive qualities against Napoli. Yet in this game, where Liverpool will likely control possession for long periods, Alexander-Arnold should get the nod.

Joel Matip (CB) – The Cameroon international continues to go from strength to strength. He finished last season in fine form, and has maintained his consistency in the current campaign, starting Liverpool’s last three league games. With the team keeping a clean sheet last time out against Burnley, he should hold off Gomez once more to stay in the side.

Virgil van Dijk (CB) – Not much to say here. If he is fit – he plays. The standout centre back in the league over the past season, and Klopp will not even consider resting him here.

Andrew Robertson (LB) – Liverpool have a lack of alternatives at left back, meaning that Robertson will not be rotated for this game. Despite having a troublesome time on international duty with Scotland, the full back continues to shine at Anfield, and will likely be a thorn in Newcastle’s side this weekend.


Midfielders

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Fabinho (DM) – One of the best holding midfielders in the league right now. Klopp may consider resting him here with midweek in mind, but given that the Brazilian was not particularly busy over the international break, making just one substitute appearance, so he should be fine to start.

Jordan Henderson (CM) – The captain should start once more, having done so for Liverpool’s four previous Premier League games. Liverpool do have alternatives available if Klopp wants to give him a break, but Henderson is known for his energetic displays, so he should get the nod to lead the side again.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (CM) – This could be the kind of game in which Oxlade-Chamberlain shines. Having missed much of last season through injury, he has made an impressive return by featuring in Liverpool’s last three league games. Klopp will likely opt for the discipline of Georginio Wijnaldum or James Milner against Napoli, but for this home contest with Newcastle it is Oxlade-Chamberlain who should start.


Forwards

Sadio Mane

Mohamed Salah (RW) – The Egyptian winger did not play for his national side over the international break, so he will be fresh for this fixture. With three goals and two assists in the opening four games of the season he is flying once more, and will be licking his lips at the prospect of facing Newcastle’s vulnerable defence this weekend.

Sadio Mane (LW) – On the opposite flank will be Mane. The pair did appear to fall out during Liverpool’s win over Burnley prior to the international break, with Mane seemingly angry at Salah for not passing to him. That now seems to have been forgotten though, meaning it is almost a certainty that Mane will operate down the left wing, looking to add to his two league goals so far this season.

Roberto Firmino (ST) – Arguably Liverpool’s best performer so far this campaign. He has often been in Salah and Mane’s shadow over the past two seasons, but now he is being appreciated for the exceptional striker that he is. He already has two goals and two assists in the Premier League this season, and he will fancy adding to that tally this weekend.


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Bayern Munich, Real Madrid & Barcelona Declare Interest in Kai Havertz Ahead of Summer Bidding War

?Bayer Leverkusen talent Kai Havertz has been tipped to choose between Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and Barcelona next summer as he prepares to take the next step in his fledgling career.

The 20-year-old is one of the most talked about talents in European football after managing 27 combined goals and assists for Leverkusen from attacking midfield last season.

Kai Havertz

Havertz has been linked with Liverpool and the youngster has a reported value of as much as €100m (£91m). But, as things stand, Anfield or anywhere in England doesn’t appear to be the likely destination for a player who also already has five senior caps for Germany.

According to Bild, Borussia Dortmund are also expected to miss out on Havertz, despite apparently holding strong interest in the player.

That is perhaps surprising given the club’s reputation for promoting and developing emerging talents, with Christian Pulisic and Jadon Sancho fine recent examples of their record.

Jadon Malik Sancho

It is said that Dortmund are likely to be able to afford Havertz’s vast price tag if they sell Sancho at the end of the season, with the England international heavily linked with Manchester United and the subject of the confirmed talks in March.

But even if Dortmund have the funds, Bild suggests they may be out of luck. The German publication suggests that there is more chance of Havertz sealing a move to domestic heavyweights and rivals Bayern, or Spanish giants Real Madrid and Barcelona instead.

All three European giants have been in the process of rebuilding this summer and largely recruiting younger players with long-term potential, with those jobs not yet complete.

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The player’s own recent take on his future was one of patience, stating, “I am happy to stay at Leverkusen for one more year. What happens next summer will be experienced in the future.”

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