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Football news updates - Uncertainty hangs over Serie A as Juve host Inter

Football news updates - Uncertainty hangs over Serie A as Juve host Inter
By Eurosport

6 hours agoUpdated 4 hours ago

Join us for the latest developments from the football world.

Video - Real serious about Barca summer target... and they have a plan! - Euro Papers

01:25

18:55 - That's all folks!

That's all from us but you can follow the fortunes of the Premier League clubs in the Europa League live with us.

18:45 - Europa League team news as Ighalo starts for United

Arsenal and Manchester United are both in Europa League action tonight and the teams news is in...

United entertain Brugge at Old Trafford with an away goal from last Thursday's 1-1 draw in Belgium, and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has made seven changes from the side that contested that first leg.

Nigeria international Odion Ighalo will make his full United debut up front while Scott McTominay returns from injury and there are also starts for Sergio Romero, Eric Bailly and Juan Mata.

The Gunners, meanwhile, have a 1-0 lead from the first leg of their last-32 clash with Olympiacos as the Greek side arrive in London.

Coach Mikel Arteta has recalled striker Alexandre Lacazette to his starting line-up, while Bukayo Saka starts at left-back.

17:43 - Newcastle defender Clark ruled out for the season

Newcastle defender Ciaran Clark has been ruled out of the rest of the season due to the ankle injury he suffered at Arsenal earlier this month.

According to the Press Association, Clark was given the bad news by a specialist and will now miss the Republic of Ireland's Euro 2020 play-off against Slovakia next month.

The 30-year-old suffered the injury during his side's 4-0 defeat at the Emirates Stadium on February 16, leaving the ground on crutches.

17:00 - Prodence handed full Wolves debut

Portuguese forward Daniel Prodence will make his full Wolves debut against Espanyol in Barcelona.

The January acquisition is one of five changes made by manager Nuno Espirito Santo to the team that beat Norwich 3-0 on Sunday.

Prodence comes in alongside Adama Traore, Max Kilman, Morgan Gibbs-White and Ruben Vinagre.

15:51 - Uncertainty hangs over Serie A as Juve host Inter

The most eagerly-awaited Serie A match of the season takes place on Sunday when leaders Juventus host third-placed Inter Milan yet, like the rest of the programme, uncertainty hangs over the match due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Italy has reported more than 400 cases, centred on the industrial heartlands of Lombardy and Veneto, while Italians or people who recently visited Italy have tested positive in Algeria, Austria, Croatia, Greece, Romania, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

Juventus, chasing a ninth successive title, lead the table on 60 points, one ahead of Lazio, and Inter in third are on 54 with a game in hand.

Inter coach Antonio Conte returns to his former club for the first time since he left in 2014 after leading them to the first three titles in their current run.

15:06 - Ole: Man Utd cannot rely on Europa success for CL spot

Manchester United cannot bank on winning the Europa League to ensure their place in next season's Champions League, manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has said.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Ole Gunnar SolskjaerGetty Images

The Old Trafford side are fifth in the Premier League, three points behind Chelsea, who occupy the fourth and final berth for Europe's elite club competition.

United host Club Brugge this evening in the second leg of their Europa League last-32 tie, which is locked at 1-1.

"In a cup competition you never know... you cannot predict, you can't rely on, 'we'll win this.' There are good teams in it," Solskjaer told a news conference.

"It might be a bad day, you meet someone ... so we just take one game at a time, hopefully take as many points as we can in the league."

14:39 - Arsenal have a narrow lead

The visitors were under immediate pressure as Olympiacos missed two good chances in the first five minutes. They eventually settled though and missed a great chance of their own in the 20th minute when Alexandre Lacazette drilled a low shot wide with the goal gaping.

14:16 - Pessimism surrounds 'Clasico'

Sunday's 'Clasico' between Real Madrid and Barcelona may have huge ramifications on La Liga's title race but poor showings in the Champions League mean the fixture is lacking its usual billing as a battle between the two best teams in the world.

Real Madrid

Real MadridGetty Images

Champions Barca take a two-point lead into the clash at the Santiago Bernabeu after cashing in on a wobble from Zinedine Zidane's side, who drew 2-2 with Celta Vigo and lost to Levante in their last two league fixtures.

"This Clasico is like a race between two injured people, the reality is the two teams are doing very badly," said former Real Madrid and Argentina forward Jorge Valdano.

" Barcelona's recovery owes far more to Real's decline than their own merits. Real's slip ups have strengthened Barca, who put in an abysmal performance against Napoli."

13:38 - Bayern ponder Flick deal, Lewandowski absence

Bayern Munich are firmly back on track to defend their Bundesliga crown and interim coach Hansi Flick could be rewarded with a longer deal but the absence of Robert Lewandowski is proving to be a problem.

With Hoffenheim awaiting on Saturday, Bayern are top of the table on 49 points, one ahead of second-placed RB Leipzig, having won eight of their nine previous league games.

Buoyed by their 3-0 Champions League round of 16 first-leg win at Chelsea, Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge hinted a new deal could be in the works for Flick, after presenting him with a pen as a birthday gift following the victory in London.

Robert Lewandowski

Robert LewandowskiGetty Images

His team will face a major challenge, however, starting against Hoffenheim on Saturday, with top scorer Lewandowski sidelined for at least four weeks with a knee injury.

Lewandowski has been enjoying his best season and has scored 25 league goals in 23 league games, many of which kept Bayern in the title race.

Hoffenheim are the team with more points than any other Bundesliga side against Bayern since 2016 and they will try to add to their 10 since then to maintain their aspirations for a European spot.

12:51 - Liverpool announce £42m pre-tax profit

Premier League leaders Liverpool announced on Thursday a pre-tax profit of £42 million and increased turnover of £533 million for last season's Champions League-winning campaign.

Liverpool

LiverpoolGetty Images

The club, who also finished as Premier League runners-up, said turnover rose by £78mfor the year ended May 31, 2019, and that it had invested a club record £223m in players.

Liverpool signed goalkeeper Alisson and midfielders Naby Keita, Fabinho and Xherdan Shaqiri during the accounting period and offered new deals to 11 players, including Jordan Henderson, Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold.

Media, commercial and match revenue all increased as a result of the club winning their sixth European Cup in the same season that a new Champions League broadcasting deal commenced.

Media revenue rose by £41m to £261m, commercial revenue was up £34m to £188m, and match revenue climbed £3.5m to £84m.

"What we're seeing is sustained growth across all areas of the club, which is aligned to the recent performance on the pitch," chief operating officer Andy Hughes said in a statement.

Liverpool invested £50m in a new training facility in Kirkby and signed nine new commercial partnerships during the period. They also plan to expand their stadium capacity by rebuilding the Anfield Road stand.

"The cost of football, however, does continue to rise in transfers and associated fees but what's critical for us is the consistency of our financial position, enabling us to live within our means and continue to run a sustainable football club," Hughes added.

" This sustained period of solid growth is testament to our ownership, Fenway Sport Group, who continue to support the club's ambitions and continue to reinvest revenues."

12:11 - Gerrard jokes: I'll take the next penalty

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard joked that he was next in line to take penalties for the Scottish side after they missed from the spot for a sixth time this season in Wednesday's 1-0 Europa League victory at Portugal's Braga.

Winger Ryan Kent scored the only goal as Rangers completed a 4-2 aggregate win to book their spot in the last 16 of Europe's second-tier club competition.

The only blip was a penalty miss by Ianis Hagi, the son of Romania great Gheorghe.

"I'm on the next one ... if no one wants it then I'll have to take it myself," Gerrard told BT Sport after his side failed to convert for the sixth time in 10 attempts.

"Penalties are tough, especially in pressure situations, but we'll sit down with players and try and find the next solution."

The former Liverpool skipper said he was delighted with his team for making it through to the next round.

"I'm super proud of the players - to a man they were outstanding. It's one thing giving a team a game plan but you've got to trust them to go and carry it out," Gerrard added.

11:23 - Sarri admits struggles asserting his style

Juventus coach Maurizio Sarri admits he frustrated that he is unable to implement his coaching methods after a poor performance in their 1-0 Champions League defeat to Olympique Lyonnais on Wednesday.

"I am having a lot of difficult in getting across the idea of moving the ball quickly to this team," Sarri said.

"In training, the ball moves around at 200 kilometres an hour but the strange thing is that doesn't happen in matches. In training, we work twice as fast as we did tonight.

"In the first half, our passing was lacklustre and that was why we suffered," he said. "The second half was better but not good enough for a Champions League match."

11:04 - Pardew and Den Haag players confronted by fans over form

Alan Pardew and his ADO Den Haag players were confronted by supporters at training on Wednesday over the club's poor form and questioned Pardew's tactics.

The session went "smoothly" according to local media outlet Omroep West who contacted a club spokesperson.

Den Haag currently sit 17th in the Eredivisie having won just once in the league since the former Newcastle and Crystal Palace boss took charge in December.

10:46 - AFC to hold coronavirus contingency talks

The Asian Football Confederation will hold an emergency meeting next week to discuss contingency plans for holding World Cup and Olympic qualifiers as well as the Asian Champions League as the coronavirus outbreak wreaks havoc across the continent.

Paulinho

PaulinhoGetty Images

Six more matches in the Asian Champions League were confirmed postponed on Thursday by the region's governing body, including five featuring clubs from Iran, while the confederation said they were assessing the potential impact on World Cup qualifying matches due to be played across Asia in late March.

The AFC also said they were looking at alternative venues for the women’s Olympic qualifying playoff between China and South Korea, which is scheduled to be played on March 6 and 11.

"These are unprecedented and challenging times, but the AFC is working tirelessly to monitor the situation, including the various travel restrictions, while being in constant contact with our member associations, leagues and clubs," said AFC general secretary Windsor John in a statement.

"We are grateful for the support we have received from all our stakeholders, including our commercial and broadcast partners and agencies, as we try to protect the safety and well-being of all our players, officials and spectators while also ensuring the integrity of the competitions."

The Asian Champions League has already been severely affected by the outbreak, with all-but one game involving Chinese clubs postponed until April at an earlier meeting held in Kuala Lumpur.

The AFC will convene two meetings to address the issue, with discussions focused on east Asia to be held on Monday and those centred on the situation in the west of the continent to take place on March 7 and 8.

Earlier in the week domestic league play in Japan was suspended until March 15 while the start to South Korea’s K-League season has also been delayed. Chinese authorities had already postponed the start of the Chinese Super League indefinitely.

10:28 - 'Referees go against Real Madrid on purpose'

Real Madrid winger Vinicius Jr. said his side had been treated unfairly by the referee in their 2-1 home defeat by Manchester City in the Champions League on Wednesday, saying Gabriel Jesus's equaliser should have been ruled out for a foul.

Vinicius believes referees have an agenda against Real Madrid

Vinicius believes referees have an agenda against Real MadridGetty Images

09:37 - Rodgers backs Vardy to end goal drought

Jamie Vardy - Leicester City

Jamie Vardy - Leicester CityGetty Images

Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers has backed striker Jamie Vardy to rediscover his goalscoring form but says it is the team's collective responsibility to find the net.

Vardy, 33, was in superb form at the start of the Premier League season with 17 goals from 18 matches but has not scored in his last seven.

"I have no doubt he'll get the goals and it's a matter of time," Rodgers told reporters ahead of Friday's league game at bottom side Norwich City.

"Sometimes you get a run like it ... you don't force it, you don't put the pressure on."

Third-placed Leicester have managed only three wins in nine league games since Vardy's last goal, which came in a 3-1 defeat at champions Manchester City on December 21.

"If you're needing 65 goals to get where you want to be, it's no good having a striker with 40 when the others can't contribute -- it's a team responsibility," Rodgers added.

" Look at Roberto Firmino at Liverpool - he's scored 10, but look at his influence and what he gives and allows to the other players ... with Jamie, when he's not scoring, he's creating space for others.""

09:22 - Fredericks undergoes surgery

The 27-year-old sustained an injury in their 2-0 league defeat to Manchester City last week, his second match since returning from a hamstring problem that had ruled him out for nearly a month.

The Englishman has played 20 league games for the club this season, starting 19 of them.

"Ryan's surgery went exactly as planned and he'll begin his rehabilitation and recovery immediately, with the plan being for him to be available again in early to mid-April," West Ham medical chief Richard Collinge said in a statement.

Czech international midfielder Tomas Soucek, who joined West Ham on loan from Slavia Prague in January, was ruled out for around three weeks with a hip flexor injury.

West Ham, who are 18th in the league standings with 24 points, host Southampton on Saturday.

09:05 - A great night for Pep, but a miserable one for Juventus

THURSDAY’S BIG STORIES

Riyad Mahrez, Kevin de Bruyne celebrate

Riyad Mahrez, Kevin de Bruyne celebrateGetty Images

08:58 - Good Morning!

Hello and welcome to Eurosport's live football news blog! Keep it here for the latest breaking stories across the football world as they happen.

18:15 - Dele Alli charged with misconduct

Dele Alli has been charged with misconduct by the FA over the coronavirus video he posted to social media eearlier this month.

17:00 - FIFA to look at matches calendar

FIFA is to launch a major "once and for all" review of the international match calendar, which governs the dates of major competitions and tournaments, world soccer's governing body said on Wednesday.

There have been a number of complaints from coaches - including Jurgen Klopp - about the scheduling of games and concerns about the increasing number of commitments.

"The international match calendar plays a central role in the sustainable growth of football in all regions of the world and at all levels," FIFA said in a new document 'The Vision 2020-2023: Making Football Truly Global'.

"For this reason, the current system should, once and for all, be discussed thoroughly with all stakeholders and reviewed according to their needs in a collective effort to guarantee a truly global approach," FIFA added.

The review is part of a list of '11 goals' which FIFA president Gianni Infantino has outlined for the next three years.

Those goals include their ongoing attempt to reform the transfer system and expanding the use of technology, including the video assistant referee (VAR) system.

"The successful implementation of VAR in FIFA’s competitions provides a foundation for the continuous enhancement of VAR technology, which should focus particularly on improving communication around VAR incidents and making the technology accessible for all member associations, regardless of their size and/or financial resources," said FIFA.

16:20 - Aubameyang scorns Champions League talk

The Mirror reported earlier that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was waiting to see whether Arsenal would be playing Champions League football next season before signing a new contract - but the player himself has scotched that particular rumour.

15:50 - Lewandowski out for four weeks

Bayern Munich have confirmed striker Robert Lewandowski has been ruled out for four weeks after suffering a knee injury against Chelsea on Tuesday night.

The Polish international was in fine form with a goal and two assists as the Bavarians tore apart the London side at Stamford Bridge.

15:10 - United 'offered Forsberg'

Manchester United have been offered the chance the chance to sign RB Leipzig midfielder Emil Forsberg for £17 million, according to Bild.

The 28-year-old plays predominantly as an attacking midfielder or on the left and has scored 30 Bundesliga goals for the club since 2015.

United are strongly expected to try to sign an attacking midfielder this summer.

14:45 - Lacazette denies he wants Arsenal exit

Alexandre Lacazette has strongly suggested he will stay at Arsenal past this season amid reports that he would leave if the Gunners didn't secure Champions League football.

Lacazette and team-mate Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang have both been linked with moves away from North London as they continue their three-year exile from the competition.

Alexandre Lacazette

Alexandre LacazetteGetty Images

" I don't know about this. I have a contract with the club, there is no point for me to leave, everyone is happy with me at the club."

14:30 - FA hold crisis talks over coronavirus threat for Italy friendly

The Football Association is set to hold urgent talks today over the potential impact of the coronavirus on England's Wembley friendly against Italy next month.

There has been a sudden outbreak in Northern Italy of the deadly disease, with more than 370 people diagnosed so far and several towns put into quarantine.

Several events in the country have been cancelled to prevent the spread and the risk of next months fixture plus other risks will now be urgently discussed by England's chiefs.

13:15 - Flick could stay at Bayern another year

Flick was placed in temporary charge after Niko Kovac was sacked in November and has impressed as he has overseen the Bavarians climb back on top of the Bundesliga as well as some impressive showings in the Champions League, including a 3-0 demolition of Chelsea last night.

12:45 - 'United chief scout busted watching Swedish star' - Euro Papers

Alexander Isak is a big target of Manchester United's, and we know this because the Spanish and Swedish press have caught their chief scout watching him in action.

Video - 'United chief scout busted watching Swedish star' - Euro Papers

01:45

12:20 - Willian: "difficult" Chelsea talks at a standstill

Willian has admitted that negotiations with Chelsea over a new contract have been "difficult" with the Brazilian's current deal set to expire in the summer.

The winger reportedly wants a three-year extension but the Blues are refusing to move from the two they are offering, putting his future at the club in serious doubt.

11:55 - United chief scout watches Odegaard

Manchester United sent their chief scout to watch Real Madrid's Martin Odegaard play for loan club Real Sociedad last weekend ahead of a potential summer move, according to Spanish publication El Diario Vasco.

The midfielder, signed by Real Madrid as a 15-year-old but has only ever made one top-flight appearance for the club, and has impressed for Sociedad this season, scoring seven goals.

The Spanish newspaper claim Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will look to move for his fellow Norwegian as United look to bring in an attacking midfielder in the summer.

11:35 - David Villa was "90% certain" he would join Gunners

Spanish football legend David Villa says he was "90% certain" he was going to sign for Arsenal in 2013 before the move fell through and he joined Atletico Madrid instead.

Arsenal were linked with a move for the World Cup winner in January 2013 when Villa was expected to leave Barcelona, but Arsene Wenger revealed the Catalan club did not want to sell.

He joined Atletico six months later, spending a season there before spells in the USA and Japan before his retirement from the game in December.

" I felt 90% in that moment that I [would] go to Arsenal and Arsene Wenger."

10:20 - City appeal European ban

Manchester City have taken action against their two-year suspension from European competition handed by UEFA by registering an appeal.

The Court of Arbitration announced that the club have submitted an official appeal after they being accused of 'serious breaches' of UEFA's financial fair play rules.

A statement read: 'The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has registered an appeal filed by Manchester City football club against the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA).

10:50 - Firmino contacted by Bayern

The Reds have been strongly linked with a move for RB Leipzig's Timo Werner which could force the Brazilian to look elsewhere at the end of the season.

Roberto Firmino (FC Liverpool)

Roberto Firmino (FC Liverpool)Getty Images

10:05 - Bayern hero Davies almost joined United as a 17-year-old

The Bayern Munich teenage sensation was a star last night as the Bavarians tore Chelsea apart with a 3-0 victory in the Champions League.

As a 17-year-old, Davies was due for a three-week trial at Carrington in 2018, but the left-back decided to go to Canada's Olympic team camp instead.

9:55 - United chase Gent youngster

The 20-year-old Canadian has scored 22 goals this season and provided 10 assists, leading United's scouts to take interest in the man nicknamed 'The Iceman'.

With several other English clubs interested in David, his club are thought to value him at around £18 million.

9:50 Good Morning!

Hello and welcome to Eurosport's live football news blog! Join us as we bring you live updates of breaking stories across the football world as they happen throughout the day.