Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial excited by Zinedine Zidane to Man United rumours

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Manchester United stars Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial are said to be excited about the idea of Zinedine Zidane replacing Jose Mourinho as manager of the Red Devils, according to reports.

The Portuguese coach is under increasing pressure at Old Trafford after a summer of discontent in the transfer market put his relationship with the club’s board and CEO Ed Woodward under extreme pressure.

Rumours about his future also gathered pace after a narrow 2-1 Premier League opening day victory over Leicester was followed by a woeful performance and a 3-2 defeat at Brighton last weekend.

Despite the drama engulfing Old Trafford, United’s board still support Mourinho – though Zidane is their first choice should the situation with the Portuguese coach deteriorate further.

Zidane surprisingly left Real Madrid earlier this summer after winning three straight Champions League titles at the Bernabeu.

Were United to replace Mourinho with Zidane, The Telegraph report that the decision would have a number of supporters within the dressing room, notably Pogba and Martial.

Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial are said to be keen on Zinedine Zidane replacing Jose Mourinho.

Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial are said to be keen on Zinedine Zidane replacing Jose Mourinho.

Pogba and Mourinho have had a number of run-ins, including a high profile bust-up last season that resulted in the Frenchman being benched for a sustained period after a poor run of form.

The pair have argued over his performances and best position, while the midfielder has even sought a transfer away such is the toxicity of their relationship.

Martial, similarly, came close to leaving Old Trafford over the summer after growing frustrated with his lack of game time since Alexis Sanchez’s arrival in January, while he has also been criticised regularly by his manager.

The latest run-in was when the sulky French forward failed to return to the club’s tour of the United States after the birth of his son.

The prospect of playing under France legend Zidane is said to appeal to both players.

Zidane came close to signing Pogba two years ago only for his compatriot to choose to return to Manchester.

Then in charge of Real, Zidane explained: “Do I like Pogba? Of course, he’s a very good player and every club wants the best players but right now he’s at Juve and we have a large squad already.”

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Watch how Nigeria have escaped a FIFA ban

David Cooper 21/08/2018
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World Cup 2018 qualifiers Nigeria have escaped the threat of a ban by FIFA linked to potential governmental interference.

The FIFA-approved head of its national federation (NFF), Amaju Pinnick, had been threatened with being displaced by Chris Giwa.

Find out all the details below.

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Premier League Stock Exchange: Man United tumble as Liverpool and Man City push on

Alex Rea 21/08/2018
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Some rise and some fall, that is the nature of Premier League football.

Some sides, however, fall further than others and Manchester United are the big losers this week after their stunning defeat at Brighton.

The Sport360 Stock Exchange (360SE) is our season-long measurement for all 20 Premier League teams, as we track each club throughout the campaign and take into account their results to assign positions.

We initially used reputation and squad worth to determine the starting price but after this weekend’s action, we examine the output to create a new value.

The total points gained for the season are used as a tiebreaker but sides that have produced big wins against strong opposition get a big boost and vice versa.

Without further ado, here’s the rankings after GW2.

1. Manchester City: 515 / 523 / +8 

Total for 2018/19 = 23

Will City ever be budged from our top spot? Even in the games they’re expected to win, results are achieved in such a fashion they rack up extra points for their valuation. Blowing away Huddersfield 6-1 is hard to disregard, even if the rest of the league want to kid themselves over how dominant the defending champions look already. Can a title be won in August? It’s difficult to see how they’ll be stopped, even without Kevin De Bruyne for the next few months.

2. Liverpool: 482 / 490 / +8

Total for 2018/19 = 16

The Reds can win ugly. Coming through tests like away trips to Crystal Palace provide the rationale for their title challenge this season. The fact Alisson and Virgil Van Dijk were the two standouts point to a satisfying solidity married to their cutting edge in attack. James Milner and Sadio Mane grabbed the goals but it is the collective focus for each individual task which could see Jurgen Klopp’s side close the gap to City.

3. Chelsea: 436 / 446 / +10

Total for 2018/19 = 16

Maurizio Sarri craved a cigarette during Arsenal’s 15-minute comeback, and in the end the Italian required second-half appearances from Eden Hazard and Mateo Kovacic to smoke out the Gunners. Jorginho, Alvaro Morata and Marcos Alonso were all plus points with the class of Kovacic and Hazard most telling. Sarri has the luxury of a 100 percent winning start to ease pressure while he works out how to solve the issues of his four-man defence.

4. Manchester United: 465 / 445 / -20

Total for 2018/19 = -15

United are beginning to drift under Jose Mourinho and it seems they are destined to sink under the Portuguese boss. There were signs in pre-season of an unhappy ship and the cracks appeared in a shock 3-2 loss at Brighton. The surprise primarily comes from the fact they managed to score twice because genuinely, they were so devoid of ideas, disconnected in midfield and shambolic at the back. United create more mistakes than openings at the moment and although the season is still young, these are worrying times.

Jose Mourinho

Jose Mourinho

5. Tottenham: 428 / 433 / +5

Total for 2018/19 = 13

Harry Kane and the August curse was expelled against Fulham, as too, was the prophecy of a tough start for Spurs. The delay over their new stadium still looms in the background like an ominous manifestation of future strife, but in the second half they were masterful against the promoted side. Erik Lamela and Mousa Dembele’s introductions and a switch to a diamond saw them overpower Fulham and the former was eye-catching as he broke the lines for Kane’s goal.

6. Arsenal: 425 / 423 / -2

Total for 2018/19 = -7

At face value, opening the season with two defeats for the first time since the 1992/93 campaign would ring the alarm bells. Not even Arsene Wenger sunk that low. However, context is everything. Chelsea picked apart the visitors’ high defensive line like an itchy scab and the wounds were equally as grim in the opening stages. When the Gunners recovered, though, they ripped open their rivals on both channels and were it not for poor finishing, Unai Emery would have had his first point or even points as Arsenal boss.

7. Everton: 370 / 374 / +4

Total for 2018/19 = 4 

Marco Silva is developing a fab four of his own across the way from Anfield. Theo Walcott, Cenk Tosun, Glyfi Sigurdsson and Richarlison hallmarked a striking 2-1 win over Southampton. They deserved the points alone for the slick free-kick routine for Walcott’s opener but boss Silva is providing pure gold so far with their high-energy and expansive style bringing about renewed optimism. The connection between the front four is being mirrored by the team and the fans.

8. Leicester City: 350 / 355 / +5

Total for 2018/19 = 5

Fortune favours the brave as the saying goes, and fortune brought about a big save for Leicester. Their own-goal opener arrived against the run of play with Wolves hitting the woodwork twice and seeing an effort cleared off the line before falling behind. Then James Maddison’s deflected effort doubled City’s advantage and the visitors were denied once more by the goal frame. Lucky in the extreme. Jamie Vardy’s reckless dismissal is a huge blow, though.

Kelechi Iheanacho, Demarai Gray and James Maddison

Kelechi Iheanacho, Demarai Gray and James Maddison

9. West Ham: 350 / 345 / -15

Total for 2018/19 = -25

Another wretched week for Manuel Pellegrini’s side. The Hammers were one-paced, limited and out-muscled against Bournemouth and a 2-1 defeat at home should have fans concerned. The Chilean pleaded post-match for fans to get behind the side after large swathes departed with 10 minutes to play, but you can’t support performances at home like that. Any enterprise they did have, was undermined by their defensive deficiencies.

10. Crystal Palace – 300 / 300 / 0

Total for 2018/19 = 10

Not many teams will come to Selhurst Park this season and walk away with three points and a clean sheet. Liverpool could be set for something special this season and they deserved their win. However, credit to Palace because they appear a team well capable of pulling into the top half this term. Aaron Wan-Bissaka was deeply impressive again and his suspension after being sent off for mistiming a challenge on Mohamed Salah is an early sucker punch.

11. Wolves: 305 / 300 / -5

Total for 2018/19 = 0

Raul Gimenez was super sharp up front for Wolves but a lack of bite cost them against Leicester. The newcomers once again dominated possession, cut open the Foxes yet only hit the target from three of their 11 attempts. There were mistakes and misfortune but Nuno Espirito Santo’s talented bunch must avoid the naivety they showed against City to find their first win.

12. Bournemouth – 278 / 290 / +12

Total for 2018/19 = 20

Callum Wilson took out five West Ham players en route to scoring his fifth goal against the Londoners. Granted, the hosts’ defending in this instance, and more, was abysmal, but Bournemouth, typified by that Wilson goal, showed they are full of verve and vibrancy this season. Continuity has certainly helped. Eddie Howe named one new signing in his starting XI and they are deservedly closing in on the top-10.

Callum Wilson

Callum Wilson

13. Newcastle United: 290 / 290 / 0

Total for 2018/19 = 0

Not since 1963 has a controversy centred on a Kenedy caused quite the storm. The Brazilian was incredibly fortunate not to be sent off for kicking out at Cardiff’s Victor Camarasa, yet had he used the same ferocity of his right boot for the injury-time penalty, Newcastle would have taken all three points. In the words of Cardiff boss Neil Warnock, “poetic justice” indeed.

14. Burnley – 292 / 284 / -8

Total for 2018/19 = -5

Sean Dyche was steadfast in his belief that Burnley’s punishing early-season schedule was not behind their 3-1 loss to Watford. The lethargic performance says otherwise. They’ve played six competitive games in 25 days with their travels in Europe leading to a hangover domestically. A Thursday-Sunday campaign with Europa League football could see the ailment worsen.

15. Fulham: 285 / 285 / 0

Total for 2018/19 = -6

Fulham will cause teams problems this season, even if Tottenham in the end sealed the three points on Saturday. Slavisa Jokanovic is building a side capable of creating chances – 25 shots in their opening two games – but they will need need to be more clinical in front of goal. This is a side still under construction rather than one falling apart after two opening defeats, though.

16. Watford – 255 / 270 / +15

Total for 2018/19 = 20

Burnley do not lose at home with such ease but Watford proved yet again their initial value may have been too low. It’s two wins from two, and another big points jump after Javi Gracia’s side earned their first victory from the last 12 away trips in the Premier League. Midfielder Will Hughes capped the 3-1 triumph and if he can remain fit, is one to watch this season.

Will Hughes

Will Hughes

17. Southampton – 270 / 270 / 0

Total for 2018/19 = 0

Mark Hughes is wasting his time blaming referee Lee Mason for his side’s defeat at Goodison Park. He accused Mason of allowing Everton to disrupt Southampton in the later stages by going to ground easily and then also insisted Jordan Pickford should have been sent off. In truth, they failed to grab at least a point through wasted opportunities in front of goal, Danny Ings and Charlie Austin both culprits.

18. Brighton – 245 / 265 / +20

Total for 2018/19 = 15

For one stock to rise so high, another must fall catastrophically. Brighton are justifiably the big winners from Gameweek 2 and while much of the analysis post-match pointed towards a Manchester United collapse, the reality was much different. Yes, United were incredibly open at the back, but Brighton blasted through them with impressive ease during a first-half blitz. Two goals flattered United because the Seagulls took a dump on them.

19. Huddersfield Town – 220 / 218 / -2

Total for 2018/19 = -2 

You can’t really glean too much from a hammering dished out by the juggernauts of the Premier League but regardless, the Terriers were terrible in areas they had control over. David Wagner opted for a blanket defence but the German will have been crying into one with some of the individual errors. Sergio Aguero and David Silva in particular, ripped them apart in a humiliating defeat.

20. Cardiff City – 195 / 199 / +4

Total for 2018/19 = -1

Predicted to finish bottom and bottom they remain, but Warnock’s side are up and running with a point at least, despite one of the worst individual performances in recent memory from Kenedy. Still, it’s only Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City in three of their next four games, although opportunity to raise their value exponentially presents itself with a result from any one of those fixtures.

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