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Newcastle must not accept £16m and this Man Utd player’s brother in a swap deal involving this key first-team star



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Newcastle United Opinion: Magpies should drop interest in Lazio’s proposed Lascelles-Lukaku swap deal

According to The Shields Gazette, Serie A giants Lazio are interested in signing Newcastle United club-captain Jamaal Lascelles, with reports claiming that the Italian outfit are prepared to offer left-back Jordan Lukaku in a player-plus-cash exchange deal.

The Shields Gazette understands that Lazio’s Sporting Direction Igli Tare values Lascelles at around £16million and he is ready to throw in Jordan Lukaku, the brother of Man United striker Romelu Lukaku, as a bait to tempt the Magpies into selling their captain.

This is not the first time, though, that Lukaku has been linked with a move to Tyneside, with the same source claiming that the 24-year-old Belgian was lined up for a loan deal by manager Rafael Benitez back in January. However, the left-back, injured at that time, failed to pass a medical at St.James’ Park and a deal fell through, with Newcastle going on to sign Italian Antonio Barecca on loan from AS Monaco.

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However, Barecca made only a solitary Premier League appearance in the second half of this past season and apparently failed to impress upon Benitez to earn a significant first-team role. While a left-back continues to be high on the manager’s wishlist for the summer, it’s highly unlikely that the Magpies are going to go ahead with a permanent deal for the Italian.

Benitez preferred a back-five system in the Premier League last season, with two wing-backs on either side complementing a three-man central defensive unit. The Spaniard was forced to use Matt Ritchie in a left wing-back role due to lack of suitable personnel in his ranks but the former Bournemouth man showcased his versatility and racked up as a many as 3 goals and 8 assists in 39 appearances across all competitions.

However, one cannot help but feel that Newcastle should try and maximise Ritchie’s potential by using him further up the pitch, meaning that a specialist left-back needs to be brought in to allow Benitez more freedom when it comes to team selection.

To put things into perspective, it is a no-brainer that Newcastle need a new left-back but sacrificing club-captain Jamaal Lascelles for that purpose doesn’t make a lot of sense, given that the 25-year-old is nearing his prime years and is regarded as one of the best central defenders outside the big-six in the Premier League. Also, Jordan Lukaku won’t necessarily be the best possible choice for the Magpies, given his struggles with injuries in recent years.

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Lukaku was regarded as a bright emerging prospect in Belgium during his time at Anderlecht and Oostende but a move to the Serie A with Lazio hasn’t brought the best out of him. The 24-year-old’s performances in Italy have been anything but convincing, and that coupled with his poor injury record, mean that the Newcastle fans should be happy to see the rumours pass by without a deal actually materializing.

The Belgian has started only a single game for Lazio in the Serie A this past season and the Serie A club’s desire to get him off their books perfectly makes sense. The 24-year-old’s ill-fated spell in Italy has seen him make 71 appearances in all competitions over the course of three full seasons but his returns haven’t been all that great, with the Belgian just managing to contribute with a goal and 6 assists.

Lascelles, on the other hand, is not just a solid centre-back but he is also a charismatic leader on the pitch for the Magpies and, undoubtedly, one of the first names on Benitez’s teamsheet. He has established himself as one of the top performers at Tyneside over the past three campaigns and losing him would be a step backwards for the club. Also, he is only 25, meaning that he still has a lot of time to make significant improvements to his game, given his talent and potential.

Newcastle are yet to sort out the future of Benitez at the club, with the Spaniard’s contract set to expire shortly, and it would be foolish for the Magpies to sanction the departure of their highly-rated club-captain in under such circumstances.

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And, if they are really desperate to bring in a new left-back, the Toon army should consider a more direct approach rather than a swap deal involving Lascelles, who is likely to play a key role at the back for years to come. He recently committed his future to the club by signing a new six-year contract, so Newcastle’s decision to sell him would go against all logic and reason.


Champions League

“Could be a turning point”, “More please”: Several Tottenham fans joyful after huge 5-0 win vs Red Star + Match report



Tottenham fans react to the emphatic 5-0 win vs Red Star Belgrade

Tottenham romped home with an emphatic 5-0 victory over Red Star Belgrade on Matchday 3 of the UEFA Champions League, as Mauricio Pochettino’s side registered their first victory in the group stages of the tournament.

Having drawn 2-2 against Olympiacos before suffering an ignominious 7-2 defeat at the hands of Bayern Munich on Matchday 2, the Lilywhites came into the game knowing that they had to grab all three points to stay in the hunt for qualification from Group B and the hosts finally returned to winning ways after three games in all competitions.

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Braces from Harry Kane and Son Heung-min, and a solitary strike from Erik Lamela ensured that the fans finally had something to cheer about following a woeful recent run of results as Spurs managed to breathe some life into their tottering European campaign. 

Despite having picked up a shock 3-1 victory over Olympiacos on Matchday 2, Red Star Belgrade were clearly the underdogs heading into the away fixture against Tottenham and it didn’t take long for the Premier League giants to break the deadlock.

Kane headed it in from Lamela’s corner to give Spurs the lead just nine minutes into the game but that was just the beginning of a breathtaking display from the home side, something that has been an anomaly rather than a norm since the start of the season. 

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Lamela was once again the provider for the second goal as the Argentine got in behind the defence and turned his man before delivering an inch-perfect cross from the outside of his left boot for Son to make it 2-0. 

Son almost immediately returned the favour back to Lamela, who had a golden chance to grab a third goal for the hosts, only for Milan Borjan to deny him with a fine save. Red Star had a rare sight of goal when Rajiv van La Parra called Paulo Gazzaniga into action with a header shortly after. 

However, the visitors were soon the architects of their own downfall when their sudden loss of possession in the midfield allowed Tanguy Ndombele to embark on a driving run and the Frenchman set up Son for his second of the night and Spurs’ third just before the interval. 

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With Spurs leading 3-0 at half-time, the game looked like a done and dusted affair and the Lilywhites continued to toy with their opponents after the restart.

Kane and Son set up Lamela for a couple of very presentable chances early in the second half before the Argentine finally grabbed a goal from Serge Aurier’s assist just before the hour mark. 

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Lamela came close to bagging his second of the night just moments later while Son also narrowly missed the target but Kane made it 5-0 at the 72nd-minute mark with a precise right-footed finish, Ndombele chipping in with his second assist of the game. 

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In the end, it was probably relief more than joy for Pochettino but the thumping victory was definitely a sight for sore eyes to savour and a massive confidence-booster, nonetheless.

Here’s how some of the Tottenham fans reacted to the 5-0 victory:-

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Champions League

“World-class performance”: Some Man City fans on cloud nine after emphatic 5-1 win over Atalanta + Match report



UEFA Champions League Match Report: Man City 5-1 Atalanta

Man City stormed 5-1 past Italian outfit Atalanta in their Group C encounter on Matchday 3 of the UEFA Champions League, as Pep Guardiola’s side registered their third consecutive victory in the group stage of the competition to take a step closer to qualification.

Ruslan Malinovskyi’s opener from the penalty spot was cancelled out by Sergio Aguero’s first-half brace before a quickfire hat-trick from Raheem Sterling after the interval ensured that the Citizens absolutely demolished their opposition on the night to claim all three points in an emphatic manner.

Guardiola opted for a change in formation from a 4-3-3 to a 4-2-3-1, with Rodri and Fernandinho playing as the makeshift pairing at the heart of the defence.

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Gundogan and De Bruyne formed the pivot in the midfield while Phil Foden started in the No.10 role with Mahrez and Sterling playing out wide on either side to complement Aguero up top. 

Atalanta had been written off completely by many prior to the start of the game but the Serie A side showed strong signs of promise in the early stages of the game and found a surprise breakthrough much against the run of play.

Fernandinho brought Josip Ilicic down at the edge of the box and Malinovskyi stepped up from twelve yards to convert the resultant penalty, sending Ederson the wrong way to make it 1-0 just before the half-hour mark.

City, though, had been regarded as the strong favourites in the clash and it wasn’t long before the Premier League giants stamped their authority. Sterling’s excellent lobbed pass from the edge of the box had all the guile in the world to outwit the Atalanta backline and Aguero was at the right place to level the scores in the 34th minute. 

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The hosts’ dominance continued to reign supreme and Sterling’s lung-busting run drew a foul from Andrea Masiello inside the box as Aguero coolly stepped up to convert the penalty and put City 2-1 ahead before the interval. 

The second half was nothing but one-way traffic and after playing a key role in each of Aguero’s first-half goals, Sterling was simply unstoppable after the restart.

Foden set him up for an easy finish to make the scoreline 3-1 before a sumptuous through ball from Gundogan set the England international free down the left side, allowing him to cut inside and get the home crowd off their feet with a clinical finish.

The game looked dead and buried but Man City were apparently keen to inflict more pain on the Italians as Mahrez set up Sterling for his hat-trick in the 69th minute. The winger had a glorious opportunity to grab a sixth goal for the hosts but it was a night to remember for him, nevertheless.

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There was a rare blemish for the Citizens when Foden was given the marching orders for a second bookable offence but Pep Guardiola will definitely be a pleased man after his team completely tore the visitors to pieces on Tuesday night.

Here’s how some of the joyous Man City fans reacted to the 5-1 victory in the Champions League:-

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[Image] Man United vs Arsenal: Star-studded combined XI featuring 4 Red Devils and 7 Gunners



Man United vs Arsenal: Combined XI featuring 4 Red Devils and 7 Gunners

After a round of EFL Cup fixtures, Premier League action is set to return this weekend with plenty of thrills and spills and the high-octane clash between Man United and Arsenal on Monday night is undoubtedly going to be one of the main attractions of matchweek 7. 

Both the teams won their EFL Cup fixtures, with Arsenal handing Nottingham Forest a 5-0 drubbing and Man United somehow edging past a lowly Rochdale in the penalty shootout. 

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Arsenal are currently placed 4th in the Premier League standings after a 3-2 victory over Aston Villa last week and the fans will be expecting the Gunners to continue their winning run, while Man United will have their work cut out away from home after a 2-0 defeat at the hands of West Ham last week. 

Combined XI

Bernd Leno (GK)

The German has proven his worth between the sticks on numerous occasions with some fine saves this season and he certainly deserves the nod over de Gea, who has been a bit inconsistent. 

Aaron Wan-Bissaka (RB)

The youngster has proven himself to be an excellent addition to Man United’s backline and it is a no-brainer that he has fared way better than Maitland-Niles in that position.

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Harry Maguire (CB)

The England international has added a lot of steel to United’s backline following his big-money move from Leicester City earlier in the summer. One of the best centre-backs in the Premier League, he definitely deserves a place ahead of the error-prone David Luiz in the elite combined line-up. 

Sokratis (CB)

The Greek international has hardly been at his best but Victor Lindelof too, has been equally lacklustre and there isn’t really a lot to choose between them so far this term.

Kieran Tierney (LB)

The Scotsman made his first start for the Gunners since his move from Celtic back in August and the fans will be expecting him to play a big part on Monday if he starts.

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Matteo Guendouzi (CDM)

The Frenchman has arguably been Arsenal’s most influential presence in the middle of the park with his excellent all-round game, leapfrogging Fred, Matic, Xhaka and Torreira on the performance charts. 

Scott McTominay (CDM)

The youngster has really come of age for United this term and his combative and energetic displays in the middle of the park have caught the eye amidst a lot of mediocrity from his teammates, including star man Paul Pogba. 

Nicolas Pepe (RW)

The Ivorian is currently on high spirits after bagging his first goal for Arsenal against Aston Villa last week and though he hasn’t done anything spectacular yet, there is hardly a better player from either team in that role. 

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Daniel James (LW)

The former Swansea City starlet has taken the Premier League by storm this season and he will be United’s best bet to find the net on Monday. 

Dani Ceballos (CAM)

The Spaniard has shown a lot of promise in that No.10 role for the Gunners and he definitely deserves the nod ahead of big names like Juan Mata and Mesut Ozil.

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Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (ST)

The Gabonese international has become a nemesis for the defenders in the Premier League and with an impressive tally 6 goals in 6 league outings this season, Arsenal will look up to him to propel them to a victory over rivals United on Monday. 

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