De Futebol

Portugal defeated Russia 1-0. The Daily Mail:” It is when another piece of silverware beckons that we see Cristiano Ronaldo in the raw, free of the machinations and the politics.

This was his 53rd game of the season and it was still his own show, as he danced around the wooden defence of the host nation, instructing his team-mates where to stand and where to run, having given Portugal a lead which they never looked like relinquishing.

The goal, eight minutes in, revealed which of these nations looks like a World Cup commodity on current standing.

The defender Raphael Guerreiro arced a cross from the left, the trajectory of which left Fedor Kudryashov struggling desperately. Ronaldo just waited patiently behind him, leaping just enough to dispatch a header past Igor Akinfeev.

He wasn’t finished by a long way. The game was half an hour old when the 32-year-old’s dancing feet were doing for Viktor Vasin, who was sent this way and that by his feints.

The shot Ronaldo then dispatched was blocked by the left shin of Igor Akinfeev. Russia have a goalkeeper of quality, at least.

It wasn’t a one-man show from the European Champions. Manchester City’s summer acquisition Bernardo Silva impressed with his quick feet and eye for space in narrow pockets, allowing Cedric Soares to attack the flanks outside him.

But there is something supremely transfixing about Ronaldo in the arena such as this – the grimaces, closed eyes and searches for the camera.

They telegraphed every hope and frustration of a game which most players who began this season on September 10 could hardly be bothered with.

He could have doubled the advantage just beyond the hour, leaping for a header which was within his ambit but screwing it wide of Akinfeev’s right post.

The goalkeeper had already saved the nation’s fragile hold on the game by then – leaping to claw away Andre Silva’s header after Porto midfielder had leapt above Georgy Dzhikya.

The host nation’s defence certainly looked vulnerable – worrying for a side which has been asked by President Vladimir Putin to make the Russian nation proud.

There were muffled boos from the Russian support when the goal went in, though the support seized on every source of hope in the second half with the terrace-to-terrace counter chanting which is popular in this country.

There was talk before this tournament of coach Stanislav Cherchesov building a new, young Russia out of domestically-based players but there was age in a team that laboured.

The left-sided 21-year-old Aleksandr Golovin offered flashes of the talent which makes him the great Russian hope for 2018 but otherwise Cherchesov was banking on 30-year-old Denis Glushakov, 33-year-old Yuri Zhirkov and 32-year-old Aleksandr Samedov.

Cherchesov would have been helped if his striker Fedor Smolov, Russia’s main asset against a weak New Zealand in the tournament’s opening fixture, could have delivered. But his sidefooted effort wide just before half time and bad miss from a Samedov cross the other side of half-time.

The Russians began to make some more inroads in the last 20 minutes but barely troubled Rui Patricio. Dhikya headed over form a corner at the death.

Their tournament is not over, though Mexico in their last group game will be tricky. It is Portugal and Chile are the teams who look most intent on winning this competition – with the South Americans having brought 2,000 supporters with them.

Twelve months on from his European Championship success, Ronaldo plainly has his eyes on the right to call himself one of the world’s team of continental champions.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-4626078/Russia-0-1-Portugal-Cristiano-Ronaldo-goal-wins-it.html#ixzz4kjIQeF5M

De Futebol

Flamengo and Fluminense tied two all. Globo Esportes:” Com um gol de Trauco aos 49 minutos do segundo tempo, o Flamengo empatou por 2 a 2 com o Flamengo, neste domingo, no Maracanã, e deixou os tricolores com um gosto amargo depois de estar à frente do placar por duas vezes. O resultado deixa o Flu na nona posição com 11 pontos. Se vencesse, entraria na zona de classificação da Libertadores. O Fla está uma posição atrás, em 10°, também com 11 pontos. Wendel, Dourado, Diego e Traucos fizeram os gols da partida.

Na próxima quarta-feira, às 21h45, o Fluminense vai até a Ressacada, em Florianópolis, para enfrentar o Avaí. Na quinta-feira, às 21h, o Flamengo recebe a Chapecoense na Ilha do Urubu.

O Flamengo teve mais a iniciativa das ações e encontrava espaço, especialmente pelo lado direito da defesa do Flu, para criar as jogadas. Mas faltava o último passe. Vinícius Junior e Marcio Araújo tentaram, mas não finalizaram bem. A aposta tricolor era os contra-ataques em velocidade, e Wendel desde o início se apresentou como que mais ameaçava o Fla. Na primeira chance que teve, o volante aproveitou uma saída de bola errada do adversário, tabelou com Scarpa e chutou, mas Thiago fez boa defesa. Na segunda oportunidade dele não perdoou. Aos 36 minutos, a zaga do Fla parou, Scarpa deu ótimo passe e Wendel, de cara para o gol, pegou o próprio rebote de uma finalização na trave e mandou para a rede: 1 a 0.

Com Guerrero bem marcado e nervoso – fez seis faltas na primeira etapa -, o Fla tinha dificuldades para criar chances claras. Os rubro-negros reclamaram muito em um lance que Rodinei entrou na área e teve o braço puxado por Scarpa, mas o árbitro mandou o lance seguir.

O Fla voltou do vestiário com Berrío e Arão nos lugares de Vinicius Junior e Marcio Araújo, uma formação mais ofensiva. A pressão surtiu efeito, e aos nove minutos o Rubro-Negro empatou. Após lance confuso na área, Everton chutou, a bola voltou para Guerrero, que também finalizou. No rebote, Diego chutou rasteiro e marcou: 1 a 1. Os tricolores reclamaram que Everton estava impedido no momento do primeiro chute.

Os rubro-negros se animaram e não baixaram o ritmo. Everton pegou um rebote de Julio Cesar e, sem goleiro, mas também sem ângulo, não conseguiu fazer o gol. Berrío em linda jogada individual ficou de cara com o goleiro tricolor, mas perdeu a oportunidade clara. O Flu manteve a estratégia de explorar os contra-ataques e se deu bem mais uma vez a partir de um lançamento de Scarpa. Richarlison recebeu na frente e foi derrubado por Juan dentro da área. Henrique Dourado cobrou no canto direito do goleiro Thiago e colocou o time novamente à frente no placar: 2 a 1. Foi o oitavo do artilheiro isolado do Brasileiro.

O Fla fez nova pressão nos minutos finais, já com Conca em campo, e conseguiu impedir a derrota aos 49 minutos do segundo tempo. Trauco mandou uma bomba no canto esquerdo do goleiro Julio Cesar e decretou o empate no Fla-Flu: 2 a 2.

http://globoesporte.globo.com/futebol/brasileirao-serie-a/noticia/com-gol-de-trauco-no-ultimo-minuto-fla-empata-com-flu-no-maraca-2-a-2.ghtml

De Futebol

Flamengo finally stopped the bleeding with a 2-0 win over Ponte Preta. Globo Esportes O Campeonato Brasileiro tem uma peculiaridade. As atenções se dividem entre o time de hoje e o que está por vir. Há sempre um reforço por estrear. No imaginário do torcedor, há sempre um time que ainda não existe, mas que pode vir a ser melhor do que aquele que se vê em campo. O Flamengo tem suas apostas: Conca estreou nesta quarta-feira, ainda há Éverton Ribeiro e Rhodolfo. Só que, mais do que reforços, o rubro-negro tinha um estádio por estrear. E ter casa sempre ajuda.

Optou por uma no estilo alçapão, o que acredita-se ter lá a sua serventia. Na Ilha do Urubu, venceu a Ponte Preta por 2 a 0 e resolveu a maior das urgências do momento: ganhar, ainda mais no jogo em que punha a prova sua solução para encerrar a recente sina de time itinerante. Mas também ficou claro ser necessário algo além do alçapão. Para ser consistente, a qualidade de jogo do Flamengo ainda precisa melhorar. Talvez o alívio da vitória crie as condições para o próximo passo.

Sob o ponto de vista das chances concedidas a um rival tímido, devotado à defesa e a esporádicos avanços, o Flamengo fez uma partida segura. Na construção de jogadas, houve longos momentos de pouca imaginação.

Enquanto Vinícius Júnior fez a diferença, o que se sentiu notadamente nos 20 minutos iniciais, o futebol do Flamengo teve algo distinto em relação aos últimos jogos. Depois, tornou-se previsível, com um domínio da bola que, invariavelmente, acabava num cruzamento feito da intermediária, facilitando a defesa.

Sobre Vinícius Júnior, talvez o jogo indique que o déficit que hoje o separa dos jogadores já mais “adultos” seja físico. Porque a forma como deslizou pelo campo no início do jogo chamou atenção. Iluminou o jogo do Flamengo, por vezes na lateral da área, por vezes mais pelo centro, abrindo a defesa da Ponte Preta. Em três cruzamentos dele, originados de lances de virtude individual do jovem, Leandro Damião teve ótimas chances. No último, Aranha evitou o gol.

Aos poucos, o passar dos minutos fez Vinícius perder precisão na execução das jogadas e deixar de levar vantagem no drible. Como se tivesse perdido o frescor do início do jogo. Com a inspiração de sua promessa, foi-se também a inventividade do Flamengo.

Houve momentos em que a Ponte Prata passou a ter a bola e enervar o rubro-negro. A saída de bola com Cuéllar no lugar de Willian Arão não criou mecanismos de fazer o time chegar com qualidade à frente. Márcio Araújo andou assumindo funções mais ofensivas, sem sucesso. Diego chegou a recuar para iniciar os lances, afastando-se da zona ofensiva. A solução só viria num córner, nos acréscimos da primeira etapa, quando Réver cabeceou para a rede.

O gol foi um achado porque clareou o segundo tempo, oferecendo espaços. O Flamengo não chegou a ser uma avalanche de contragolpes, mas como marcava bem e anulava a Ponte Preta, jamais indicou ter a vitória em risco. E ainda permitiu o primeiro passe para gol de Vinícius Júnior, aos 14 minutos. Após uma bola longa que Damião ganhou pelo alto, o menino cruzou na cabeça do centroavante, que fez o 2 a 0.

Alívio na Ilha do Urubu, o que permitiu a Zé Ricardo até dar minutos a Conca: os primeiros 11 minutos do argentino. Não era o Conca habitual, nem poderia. O quanto vai progredir, o futuro dirá. O que será o Flamengo na Ilha, o Flamengo de Éverton Ribeiro, o futuro também dirá. No futebol brasileiro, o futuro é cheio de interrogações.

https://oglobo.globo.com/esportes/flamengo-resolve-urgencia-com-vitoria-na-ilha-mas-ve-questoes-no-futuro-21480883#ixzz4k4UTU6UY

De Futebol

Brasil blew away Australia 4-0. Globo Esportes:” Vocês não sabem como é bom estar aqui.

Essa foi a frase de David Luiz na oração dos jogadores, antes de vencerem a Austrália por 4 a 0, e citada por Tite em sua entrevista coletiva depois da partida. De volta à Seleção após mais de um ano, convocado pela primeira vez pelo atual técnico, o zagueiro do Chelsea atuou como volante, como era previsto, e quase fez um gol. Foi dele a cabeçada no travessão que terminou em assistência de Rodrigo Caio para o gol de Thiago Silva, no segundo tempo.

Com o carisma habitual, David Luiz foi um dos mais assediados pelo público durante os 10 dias na cidade de Melbourne. Segundo ele, a frase mencionada por Tite foi dita justamente por ter ficado fora do grupo nos últimos tempos.

– Eu conheço os dois lados, e amo representar meu país, estar nesse ambiente. Eu abri meu coração na hora da oração, falei para aqueles que têm oportunidade de estar aqui. São oportunidades de vida, não sabemos o dia de amanhã, então temos que aproveitar da melhor maneira possível. Veio do meu coração e é verdade, é muito bom estar aqui – afirmou.

A tarefa de David Luiz para se manter nas próximas listas é árdua. Como na visão de Tite, para que ele execute uma função mais próxima da que tem atualmente no Chelsea, a posição mais adequada é a de volante, seus concorrentes são dois jogadores adorados pelo treinador: Casemiro e Fernandinho.

Tite compara disputa por vaga a poupança e faz elogios a Luan, do Grêmio

Experiente, David Luiz não quer pensar nisso agora. A próxima convocação será apenas em agosto, para os jogos contra Equador e Colômbia, pelas eliminatórias. Até lá, ele curte o retorno.

– É muito bom estar de volta, participar de um grupo que exala verdade. É gratificante. Depois de uma derrota em que jogamos bem, tivemos oportunidades para empatar e até ganhar, fizemos um jogo consistente contra a Austrália, um time muito qualificado, que pressionava bem, muito bem orientado taticamente, que não se abalou mesmo sofrendo um gol aos 12 segundos. Soubemos controlar e ganhar o jogo – valorizou David Luiz.

De férias após ser campeão inglês pelo Chelsea, o jogador aguarda a próxima lista da Seleção para tentar se manter no grupo até a Copa do Mundo. O Brasil volta a campo nos dias 31 de agosto e 5 de setembro, contra Equador, em Porto Alegre, e Colômbia, em Barranquilla, pelas eliminatórias.”

http://globoesporte.globo.com/futebol/selecao-brasileira/noticia/tite-cita-frase-de-david-luiz-na-oracao-e-jogador-diz-veio-do-meu-coracao.ghtml

The Daily Mail wrote:” Diego Souza scored after 11 seconds and again in the last minute as Brazil beat Confederations Cup-bound Australia 4-0 in an international friendly on Tuesday.

The Brazilians swooped quickly in front of almost 49,000 fans at the Melbourne Cricket Ground when Australia defender Bailey Wright gave the ball away to Giuliano, who provided the space for Souza to fire a right-footed shot in off goalkeeper Mitch Langerak.

The score remained 1-0 until the hour mark but the Brazilians stepped up a level, adding three goals in the last 30 minutes.

Liverpool playmaker Philippe Coutinho delivered a pinpoint corner kick from the right in the 62nd minute and unmarked David Luiz’s powerful header crashed into the crossbar. The Brazilians had numbers at the back post and Thiago Silva nodded in a header to make it 2-0.

Willian added plenty of energy to the attack when he came on as a replacement and was heavily involved in a passing exchange before Paulinho’s back-heel set up substitute Taison for his first international goal.

Souza finished it off with a comfortable header from Willian’s corner deep in stoppage time.

The Brazilians had a 1-0 loss to Argentina in a friendly in Melbourne last Friday, coach Tite’s first defeat since taking charge of the national team.

Souza was one of eight changes in the starting line-up and was playing in place of Manchester City forward Gabriel Jesus, who fractured his eye socket late in the match against Argentina.

The Australians were coming off a 3-2 win over Saudi Arabia in a World Cup qualifier last week and were missing captain Mile Jedinak, who was ruled out of the friendly and the Confederations Cup because of a groin injury. The Socceroos leave for Russia on Wednesday.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-4599646/Australia-0-4-Brazil-Diego-Souza-scores-10-seconds.html#ixzz4ju0EwEVb

De Futebol

England and Scotland tied two all in Group F of the World Cup qualifying. The Daily Mail:” For six minutes, it was a genuine classic of the Auld Enemy genre. The 87 minutes which preceded that frantic finale, those three minutes from the end of normal time and those three minutes of added time, were anything but.

It was high on commitment but low on technique and, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain apart, almost devoid of inspiration, but given what unfolded thereafter, given the sheer enormity of the drama this game managed to squeeze into its dying moments, you could forgive that.

When the story is told again down the generations, as it surely will be in Scotland for years to come, with heavy hearts full of regret, they will judiciously edit out what happened before. Only those last six minutes will make the cut.

That had everything: iconic goals to rival Archie Gemmill’s against Holland, a potential humiliation for England, and another desperate tale of what might have been for Scotland. It was the stuff of folklore. For a couple of minutes at least this stadium created a din to remind you why Hampden Park was once so feared by young English footballers. One hundred and forty seven years of footballing rivalry isn’t easily put aside. By the end you left convinced that the oldest game still matters.

To recap: with 87 minutes gone England, thanks to Oxlade-Chamberlain, were 1-0 up and frankly cruising to an uninspiring yet important victory. When Gary Cahill conceded a free kick some 25 yards from goal, Leigh Griffiths stepped up but it seemed ambitious, an exercise in hope.

He delivered a quite superb strike, over the England wall, swerving past Joe Hart, whose positioning looked suspect given that the ball was well inside the post. Still, Hampden cared not for such analysis. Honour at least had been salvaged and ecstatic celebration ensued.

From the restart, England conceded possession, Scotland advanced and won a free kick, wrongly awarded against Jake Livermore, in an identical position. Griffiths stepped up again.

This, though, seemed to push the boundaries of optimism to breaking point, yet, in the opposite corner, he repeated the trick, sending the ball through an England wall, which as least deigned to jump the second time, to send Hampden into a delirium perhaps not seen since 1985, when England were last defeated here.

England had been close to a famous win; now they looked about to embrace abject failure, and yet, in added time, they were awarded their own free kick and Eric Dier forced Craig Gordon to scramble away desperately.

Hampden drew in breath in utter relief and then roared as Stuart Armstrong sprung away to attack. At that moment the fervour and decibels surely matched anything seen by the famous old Hampden Park, but it was a cruel deceit.

Armstrong, over-excited with just seconds to play, gave the ball away. England found Raheem Sterling. His cross was exquisite, and from close range captain Harry Kane, who had barely featured until then, volleyed its superbly past Gordon. It looked simple; it clearly wasn’t. It was an outstanding goal.

You suspect that never before has joy ballooned so rapidly and then been punctured so brutally. England cavorted like victors. Scotland, both team, fans and perhaps an entire nation beyond, looked utterly aghast, just as you might imagine anyone would if you witnessed a truly historic achievement slipping away.

For Gareth Southgate, it was potentially defining. Not in terms of World Cup qualification, which still looks safe enough, but in terms of the fragile English psyche.

‘I think it’s a huge moment for his team,’ he said. ‘The questions around us centre on character and the ability to withstand events that go against you, and we have to be a team that is never a beaten.

Maybe the clock runs out, but we never, ever stop. Today we’ve done that, and with a real quality finish under pressure to get the point. Is it what we wanted when we turned up here? No it isn’t. But the chain of events was remarkable.’

For Gordon Strachan and his team there was some pride; but overwhelmingly regret. ‘It’s probably one of the most emotional games I’ve ever managed,’ said Strachan.

‘To do so much, to have a result that could have been one of the best results ever. I’ve seen Scotland’s best-ever free kick today and then two minutes later I’ve seen Scotland’s second best-ever free kick. In all my years of watching Scotland, I can’t remember better ones.

‘You try to protect yourself from excitement, but it could have been my best result as manager. I’ve been lucky enough to have some good ones. One pass, one header, goes somewhere else, we would have won the game.’

The emotion defied analysis, but when the dust settles, Hart will be ruing those free kicks. He stands at a crossroads of his career. Which direction he will go is unclear but he knows Jack Butland stands ready.

For Marcus Rashford, it felt a game too far in an excellent season. The misplaced passes, the struggle to impose himself, led to an inevitable early exit. For his replacement, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain there was a cameo performance of genuine quality and maturity.

On 70 minutes it was he alone who broke the drab deadlock, picking the ball up on the edge of the box, weaving across goal and unleashing a shot, which, though Gordon should have saved, was a triumph of opportunism.

Five minutes later he delivered a superb cross on to the head of Adam Lallana and the game should have been finished but the Liverpool man headed over.

Still, it looked as though England would survive: that Kane wouldn’t need to regret the skewed miss on 18 minutes, nor Dele Alli his misplaced pass for Rashford on 36 minutes.

Jake Livermore had hit the post on 50 minutes but this was hardly vintage stuff; and though Strachan referred to England as ‘giants’ and ‘heavyweights’ compared to his middleweights, they were laboured for long periods.

Scotland, for a match they needed to win, seemed curiously unambitious. That was until they unleashed the master-plan and that Leigh Griffiths finale. That was truly glorious; at least, it was while it lasted

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-4591530/Scotland-2-2-England-Late-Harry-Kane-volley-earns-point.html#ixzz4jiveYkKy

De Futebol

Chelsea’s David Luiz is back on the Brasil national team. The Daily Mail:” David Luiz has had a brilliant season at Chelsea, and now he is set to round it off with his first Brazil cap in over a year.

The flamboyant central defender was recalled by Tite for his country’s friendlies against Argentina and Australia this week.

And the Chelsea star looked delighted to be back in the international set-up during training on Tuesday.

Brazil are currently in Melbourne, where they will face bitter rivals Argentina on Friday.

Tite left out some of his big-name stars who had busy seasons, including Dani Alves of Juventus and Barcelona star Neymar, but there is still plenty of talent on show.

Premier League stars including Luiz’s Chelsea team-mate Willian, Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho and Manchester City pair Fernandinho and Gabriel Jesus are all part of the squad, which Tite claims is a side in construction, despite having won all of their last nine games.

Coutinho could be set to be handed the captaincy by the Brazil boss, as he looks to spread the responsibility around his squad.

The game against Argentina on Friday will be followed by a second friendly, this time against Australia, next Tuesday.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-4576726/David-Luiz-Brazil-training.html#ixzz4jJiFgBbn 

De Futebol

Argentina defeated Brasil 1-0 in a friendly. Brasilerios did not have Neymar and bunch of the top guys in this waste of time friendly. Globo Esportes:” Chegou no décimo jogo a primeira derrota de Tite como técnico da seleção brasileira. Sem sete titulares, entre eles Neymar, o time perdeu para a Argentina por 1 a 0, em Melbourne, no primeiro dos dois amistosos que o Brasil fará na Austrália. Na terça-feira, a seleção enfrenta os donos da casa.

Se a derrota não parece motivo para abrir grandes preocupações quanto à evolução da seleção brasileira com Tite, já que o time teve diversas chances de gol, abre-se, isto sim, um novo horizonte para os argentinos. A estreia de Jorge Sampaoli já mostrou uma equipe com nova cara: compacta, buscando o controle da bola, pressionando em todos os setores do campo.

Era um jogo de marcação por pressão das duas equipes, reduzindo espaços e exigindo soluções rápidas. A primeira delas, logo aos cinco minutos, foi dos argentinos, que escaparam de uma marcação adiantada do Brasil e viram Di María finalizar na trave. A partir daí, o Brasil passou a criar. Gabriel Jesus, ótimo como pivô, participou da troca da passes que resultou em chute perigoso de Renato Augusto, aos 17. Quatro minutos depois, uma escapada de Willian terminou em incrível chance perdida por Philippe Coutinho. Num jogo disputado com bola no chão, a Argentina terminou por abrir o placar após um córner cobrado curto. A bola foi recuada para Di María cruzar e Mercado aproveitar o rebote de uma cabeçada na trave, marcando o único gol do jogo.

O segundo tempo viu a Argentina alterar seu esquema e passar de uma linha de três defensores para uma defesa com quatro homens. Mas foi o Brasil quem teve as melhores oportunidades. Aos 14, Filipe Luís deu belo passe para Gabriel Jesus penetrar e esbarrar em Romero. Dois minutos depois, veio o lance mais impressionante: Fernandinho lançou Jesus, que driblou o goleiro argentino mas chutou na trave. No rebote, Willian também acertou a trave.

A partir daí, Tite passou a fazer mais observações. Colocou Douglas Costa no lugar de Renato Augusto e passou Coutinho para o centro do campo. O Brasil perdeu um pouco de presença física no setor e até passou a criar menos. Embora controlasse a bola, algo que não vinha sendo fácil diante desta Argentina de Sampaoli. Numa jogada de linha de fundo de Willian, a defesa argentina evitou o último lance de perigo da seleção.

https://oglobo.globo.com/esportes/brasil-cria-chances-mas-sofre-contra-argentina-primeira-derrota-da-era-tite-21455798#ixzz4jVrCmS32

De Futebol

He is a little piece written by the Guardians Michael Cox. “ Chelsea’s domestic campaign ended on a sour note, with last Saturday’s 2-1 FA Cup final defeat to Arsenal denying Antonio Conte the double in his first campaign at Stamford Bridge. But it is Conte who has been Chelsea’s superstar this season and his decision to switch from 4-3-3 to 3-4-3 in autumn should be considered among the most decisive tactical moves in the 25-year history of the Premier League. After changing to that system, Chelsea steamrollered their way to the title and eventually recorded 93 points – the second-most in the Premier League era.

Conte, however, is unlikely to rest on his laurels and will strive to improve Chelsea further next season. It is notable that no one has retained the Premier League since Manchester United won it in 2007-08 and 2008-09 and Conte will need to create a stronger squad to cope with the added demands of European football if he is to defend the league title successfully.

Indeed, since that decisive switch to 3-4-3 in the second half of a 3-0 defeat at Arsenal in late September, Conte essentially used only 13 players to any great extent. As with Leicester in 2015‑16, it is easy to identify Conte’s first‑choice starting XI, with only a minor debate about whether Willian or Pedro should start on the right and a late flourish from Cesc Fàbregas testing Conte’s faith in his regulars.

Conte’s main task now will be developing his squad for next season for a Champions League challenge and he may even prioritise European competition as a personal mission, considering his inability to take Juventus past the quarter-final stage. Either way more rotation will be required. Chelsea appear well‑stocked in defence, with Nathan Aké and Kurt Zouma likely to play a more significant role next season, but Chelsea are woefully short of midfield back-ups after the mid-season departure of Oscar to Shanghai SIPG. Up front, Michy Batshuayi provided some decisive contributions from the bench but Conte will need to use him more next season.

In a tactical sense, too, Chelsea may need to evolve. If it would be unfair to suggest that opponents have found out their system, it is clear the 3-4-3 did not work quite so effectively after Christmas, with Tottenham, Manchester United and then Arsenal all genuinely outplaying Conte’s side. It is notable that Chelseawent 11 games between January and the end of April without keeping a single clean sheet, an amazing statistic considering they kept six in a row immediately after the change of system.

Opponents exploited weaknesses in the 3-4-3 more readily: Spurs successfully exposed Gary Cahill’s lack of mobility and César Azpilicueta’s lack of height. Other sides have caused Chelsea problems with energetic pressing and have exposed Fàbregas’s tactical indiscipline when he has started in a central role, and Manchester United man-marked Eden Hazard very effectively, leaving Chelsea without genuine creativity. Arsenal used Danny Welbeck up front to prevent Chelsea’s defence from keeping a high line and then, when Conte asked his players to press, Chelsea lack compactness and Arsenal played through them easily.

The level of opposition scouting and data analysis in modern top‑level football means systems can be considered unbeatable one month and fundamentally flawed the next, and top-class managers are always seeking to evolve their side and keep opponents guessing.

How, then, will Conte change things next season? First, Diego Costa may depart and the nature of his replacement may cause a fundamental restructuring of Chelsea’s attacking play. A pure speedster up front, for example, might mean Conte is more likely to field a defined midfield playmaker. On that note, Fàbregas has proved almost irresistible in recent weeks, having been excluded from the starting XI at the start of the campaign, although in big games the Catalan surely needs two defensive midfielders behind him, which would necessitate a change of formation.

Conte could, therefore, turn to a 3‑5‑1‑1, a system he used in the second half of matches in recent weeks, with Fàbregas as a third central midfielder and Hazard floating behind the main striker – which might allow the Belgian more freedom to evade opposition man‑marking. This was a formation Conte occasionally turned to at Juventus, albeit without significant success.

However, it is not beyond the realms of possibility that Conte could ditch his three-man defence entirely. With Marcos Alonso capable of playing left‑back and Azpilicueta a natural right-back, Conte can switch from a back three to a back four seamlessly, and it is slightly surprising he has not done so more regularly this season – that flexibility has clearly benefited Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham. Perhaps, with Conte’s 3-4-3 proving so successful, he simply hasn’t needed to. But Conte had planned to use 4-2-4 and 4-1-4-1 at Chelsea – and if he suspects opponents have sussed out his 3-4-3, we could see something radically different for 2017-18.”

https://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2017/jun/01/antonio-conte-premier-league-chelsea-tactics

De Futebol

Flamengo is looking to help offensive disaster.

Globo Esportes;” Com falhas na defesa, o Flamengo está perto de anunciar mais dois reforços para o ataque. Após a eliminação do Al-Ahli da Liga dos Campeões da Ásia, ontem, o meia Éverton Ribeiro entrou de férias e vai acertar com o clube árabe sua vinda para o Flamengo. Enquanto aguarda o desfecho do acordo, o rubro-negro encaminhou outro reforço: o meia-atacante Geuvânio, ex-Santos, que atualmente está no Tianjin Quanjian, da China, e chega por empréstimo.

No caso de Éverton Ribeiro, o Flamengo negocia a compra de parte dos direitos econômicos por até € 7 milhões. O jogador de 28 anos ainda tem dois anos de contrato. Mesmo prazo de Geuvânio, de 25, na China. O jovem atacante, contudo, não se firmou no futebol chinês e quer retomar a carreira no Brasil. Em 2017, Geuvânio disputou cinco jogos e não fez gols.

A janela de transferência no Brasil se abre em 20 de junho, quando pode acontecer o registro dos atletas vindos do exterior. O diretor Rodrigo Caetano está em Dubai para pressionar os árabes a acelerarem a liberação de Éverton Ribeiro depois da eliminação da equipe, o que deve acontecer esta semana.

Os reforços se somariam a nove peças do ataque do atual elenco. Com Éverton Ribeiro e Geuvânio, a concorrência no meio e no ataque vai aumentar, sobretudo quando Conca estrear e Diego voltar à equipe. A dupla, que prepara o retorno aos gramados, treinou ontem e deve fazer um jogo-treino amanhã, provavelmente na Arena da Ilha. A ideia é que ambos sejam relacionados para o jogo contra o Botafogo, no domingo.

Hoje, a diretoria do Flamengo entrega o laudo do Corpo de Bombeiros à CBF, que, com o documento em mãos, poderá confirmar o clássico para o estádio Luso-Brasileiro. Se houver alguma reviravolta, a partida será em Volta Redonda. A entidade visitou o local novamente ontem e constatou que tudo está dentro dos padrões. O Flamengo instalou inclusive as redes nas traves, em modelo padrão Fifa, quadrado. A rede véu de noiva, mais antiga, será colocada nos próximos jogos. O clube queria deixar todos os preparativos para a estreia na nova casa prontos. Ontem, foi feita uma revisão geral no estádio.

O Grupamento Especial de Policiamento em Estádios, o Gepe, emitiu o laudo de segurança e aguarda a confirmação da partida pela CBF para programar o esquema para o jogo. Os acessos às arquibancadas foram ampliados para abrigar a multidão. A divisão de torcidas para o clássico prevê 90% para o Flamengo e 10% para o Botafogo, como foi feito pelo alvinegro em 2016. O rubro-negro manteve a cautela ao longo do dia e espera fazer o anúncio da venda de ingressos hoje, também com serviço sobre a chegada ao estádio. Órgãos públicos como a Subprefeitura da Ilha do Governador lideram a divulgação de informações sobre o bairro.

https://oglobo.globo.com/esportes/flamengo-encaminha-mais-dois-reforcos-para-temporada-21410241#ixzz4ixZxWQa4

De Futebol

Jose Mourinho is trying to get it right at Man U. Many may not like it but this cat is a proven winner.

Man U won the Europa League to prove my point.

The Daily Mail wrote:” The bad news for Manchester United and Jose Mourinho is that this league season looks like being the club’s worst for 26 years. Not since the 1990-91 campaign have a United team finished so far behind the champions as the 24 points that currently separate them from Chelsea.

For those who like to look for omens, meanwhile, there is some encouragement to be found in symmetry.

Back in 1991, Sir Alex Ferguson’s team did finish 24 points behind champions Arsenal but they also reached the final of the League Cup and then won a major European trophy, the Cup-Winners’ Cup.

So as Mourinho and his players head to Stockholm to contest the Europa League final next Wednesday, they will hope history repeats. United have already won the modern version of the League Cup this season but only victory over Ajax, it seems, will save Mourinho from scorn.

United, it must be said, have rarely looked less like United than they have recently. Treading water in games against Southampton, Tottenham and Arsenal that their manager effectively said they could not win, United’s soporific football has left Mourinho open to suggestions that he is betraying club traditions. It has also left United with their fewest number of wins ever in a Premier League season.

Struggling for form is one thing, looking like you are not at full throttle is quite another and as United prepare to close their domestic season with Mourinho begging Sam Allardyce’s Crystal Palace for mercy on Sunday, two different arguments are at play.

One surrounds Mourinho’s persistent bleating about fixture congestion and his claim that it was impossible for his team to push for progress in the Premier League and in Europe at the same time.

The other refers to the nature of United’s play throughout the whole campaign, one that currently sees his team boast a poorer home record than relegated Hull City.

Certainly, his complaining about fixtures is tiresome. Once he feels a grievance, the Portuguese rarely undersells it and he has reverted to type here.

Big teams have often found themselves stretched as they chased trophies at the back end of a season. Some have cracked it while others have merely cracked, but it is worth noting here that when Ferguson’s team won the treble in 1999, they played more games than Mourinho’s United have this season.

Ferguson was no stranger to complaints about fixture congestion himself. Prior to a Premier League game against Everton in 2013, he suggested he would like his team ‘not to turn up’ rather than damage their chances in a game against Real Madrid that followed.

But during that incredible surge towards glory in 1999, Ferguson always made it clear he felt the monotony of game after game helped his players.

One of those players, defender Wes Brown, said: ‘If you keep winning, everyone’s playing well and there’s a good team spirit, it just carries on and carries on. It just keeps ticking. That’s what happened for us. You don’t really have a chance to think about tiredness or any negatives, you just think, “We can do this”.’

Mourinho sees it differently. He believes the Premier League should help United by moving domestic fixtures to maximise rest before European ties and he is not alone in this.

But he also believes — or claims to believe — that players can’t cope physically and mentally with what has recently been put before them.

The cynical will say the United manager has effectively thrown recent Premier League games because he knew he had no chance of catching Liverpool for the final top-four place. If you are going to lose out to your greatest rivals you may as well do it by pretending not to try.

Others will argue that by telling the world that all that matters is one game in Stockholm, Mourinho is focusing his players’ minds for one big night of glory and the Champions League place that will be handed out along with the trophy.

Whatever the case, the sight of United drifting aimlessly through recent league games has been strange and just about unprecedented.

United looked a decent bet for a surge into the top four when they won well at Burnley on April 24 but subsequently have tailed off so badly that their three recent games have resembled training matches.

It is this that takes Mourinho into dangerous territory more than any general accusations about style or tactics.

The notion that United managers must ask their teams to play a certain way is absolute bunkum. United managers are simply hired to win trophies.

Though many will tell you otherwise, those of us who sat through the second half of Ferguson’s reign at Old Trafford will testify that it was not all champagne and roses.

There was plenty of very good football and then there were long stretches when United managed to win seemingly out of habit and sheer will alone.

Ferguson was committed to attacking football, Mourinho less so. But United knew that when they hired him. As last season drew to a close under the broken figure of Louis van Gaal, United needed Mourinho more than even he needed them. So why should he change?

So far, he has delivered a Community Shield and League Cup.

Already, he has kept a good chunk of his part of the bargain while other, supposedly more progressive clubs, such as Liverpool and Tottenham, have won precisely two major trophies between them in the last 11 years.

Mourinho did not come to Manchester to turn the world’s most famous football club into the Harlem Globetrotters. He came to mend what was broken, rebuild an identity and ease a broken-down first-team squad back into a forward gear.

To a large degree, he has done this and, with that, has come the return of a little pride.

Mourinho’s recent behaviour has been complicated to say the least and he definitely needs to come away from Stockholm with the big prize next week for the ends to have justified the means.

But this is what you get with the 54-year-old. Mourinho was never going to mould himself to Manchester United. It was always going to be the other way round.

And for those who like to look at history for comfort and reassurance, it is worth noting that, in 1993, two years after trailing in so far behind champions Arsenal, Manchester United won the Premier League.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-4520218/Is-Jose-Mourinho-betraying-Man-Utd-s-spirit-adventure.html#ixzz4hXcOh5Fl