Analysis of Gonzalo Higuain's performance during Juventus' 2-2 draw with Tottenham

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Gonzalo Higuain netted a brace but Juventus failed to hang on as Tottenham grabbed a 2-2 draw in the first leg of their Champions League last 16 tie in Turin.

Man-of-the-match Higuain put the home side 2-0 up inside the first ten minutes, but Spurs fought back with goals from Christian Eriksen and Harry Kane.

With the game still to play for ahead of the return leg at Wembley on March 7, we take a look at the stunning performance of two-goal hero Higuain.

BASIC STATS

HIGUAIN

Goals – 2

Shots 4

Shots on target – 2

Pass Accuracy – 85.7%

Touches – 41

Passes – 21

Key passes – 3

Dribbles – 5

EFFECTIVENESS

HIGUAIN

Another scintillating display from the Argentine.

He came bounding out of the blocks and tucked away a volley to break the deadlock after two minutes.

He then doubled Juve’s advantage six minutes later when stepping up to convert a penalty after Federico Bernardeschi was chopped down by Ben Davies.

Just before the break, Higuain had a chance to complete his hat-trick but his penalty attempt came off the crossbar.

The 30-year-old has now scored 24 goals in 38 appearances in all competitions for Massimiliano Allegri’s men.

KEY MOMENTS

HIGUAIN

2nd min (GOAL) – Miralem Pjanic chips in a lovely free-kick and finds Higuain unmarked, leaving the striker in acres of space. He turns and hooks a magnificent right-footed volley past Hugo Lloris to open the scoring.

9th min (GOAL) – Ben Davies trips Federico Bernardeschi in the Spurs penalty area and the referee points to the spot. Higuain steps away up to duly tuck away the penalty and double the hosts advantage.

30th min (CHANCE) – Pjanic and Higuain exchange passes as they barrel down the middle, with Spurs defenders in hot pursuit. The Argentine breaks into the box and his low shot sails narrowly wide of the upright.

45th min (MISS) – Serge Aurier is taken to the cleaners by Douglas Costa and drags the Juve man down in the penalty area. Higuain steps up and thumps his penalty down the middle and straight at the crossbar.

60th min (YELLOW CARD) – He tries to battle his way in between three Tottenham players and falls under the tackle of Jan Vertonghen. The striker argues to the referee about a potential free-kick, and he’s shown a yellow card for dissent.

63rd min (CLEARANCE) – Spurs win a free-kick on the right and Christian Eriksen attempts to curl in the ball from an acute angle, but Higuain rises highest to clear the danger.

87th min (CHANCE) – Costa shows his speed as he slaloms past three defenders on the left. He cuts into the box and tries to pick out Higuain, but Vertonghen sprints in to poke the ball into the side netting.

VERDICT

HIGUAIN

Two goals, a missed penalty and a yellow card may suggest a mixed game to some, but Higuain was outstanding. He orchestrated proceedings for Juventus and reminded everyone of his outstanding talents. His movement was good as he made the right runs and showed for the ball as well, but he struggled to hold on to his position in the second half. Overall, the Buenos Aires native showed his class and delivered when it mattered.

9/10

All statistics are compiled using whoscored.com

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Man City boast most expensive squad in football history ahead of PSG, Man United and Barcelona

David Cooper 13/02/2018
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Premier League leaders Manchester City have the most expensive squad in history, according to a report published by the Swiss-based CIES Football Observatory.

The research values Pep Guardiola’s squad at £777m, with PSG second on £713m, after a January transfer window in which City signed centre-back Aymeric Laporte from Athletic Bilbao for £57m.

The Sky Blues’ summer spending spree on Kyle Walker (£45m), Ederson (£35m), Bernardo Silva (£43), Danilo (£27m) and Benjamin Mendy (£52m) elevated the Abu Dhabi-owned club to new heights.

Neymar’s world-record signing from Barcelona accounts for more than a quarter of the PSG total but Kylian Mbappe is only on loan, despite an anticipated transfer fee of up to £160m to be paid to Monaco at the end of the season.

That leaves Guardiola managing the costliest-ever collection of talent.

“When you want to compete at the highest level, you need to spend,” Guardiola said last month.

“Some clubs spend 300, 400 million on two players. We spend it on six players.”

Two other teams have spent more than £640m building their squads – Manchester United (£661m) and Barcelona (£641m).

The rest of the top ten is made up of Real Madrid (£439m) in sixth, Juventus (£396m) in eighth and four Premier League teams – Chelsea (£524m), Liverpool (£408m), Arsenal (£356m) and Everton (£323m).

The researchers calculated that the average Premier League squad cost “a record high” of £260 million, more than double La Liga’s average of £116 million.

With La Liga one of the most popular leagues in the world, only three clubs – Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid – make the top 24.

This is in contrast to the Premier League where 12 of the top 25 on the list are English clubs.

Incredibly, three clubs hovering around the relegation zone – Southampton (£202m), Crystal Palace (£199m) and Stoke City (£132m) – are in the top 30.

And Napoli (£180m), who are on the cusp of winning a first Serie A title since 1990, are 21st – two positions behind struggling Palace.

Elsewhere, Everton – currently ninth in the Premier League – outspent Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich (£321m) by £2m.

Toffees boss Sam Allardyce spent £27m on Cenk Tosun from Besiktas and £20m on Theo Walcott from Arsenal last month as the Merseyside club look to climb into the top-8.

In total, 42 out of the 98 clubs on the list have broken the £100m barrier in recruitment, while bottom of the table Ligue 1 club Troyes have spent just £2m.

With the latest Premier League football TV rights deal set to be decided next week, the incredible spending shows no signs of slowing down.

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Xavi reveals Neymar told him of his desire to leave Barcelona at Lionel Messi's wedding

David Cooper 11/02/2018
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Former Barcelona midfielder Xavi has revealed that Neymar told him of his plans to leave the Catalan giants at Lionel Messi’s wedding in July.

The Spaniard, who left the Camp Nou in 2015 after a glittering 24 years at the club, was among the stars to attend the Argentine’s wedding in Rosario.

Speaking in an interview with Tifo Football, the 38-year-old revealed a conversation in which Neymar said he was no longer happy and wanted a new challenge away from Barcelona.

“Neymar had the really big decision to decide his future and he decided to go to Paris Saint-Germain,” Xavi said.

“He said to us at Messi’s wedding that he wanted to change club. And I said to him: ‘But, why?’

“He said ‘I’m not happy in Barcelona. I’d prefer to go out. To have a new experience in Europe in Paris St Germain’. And finally it was his decision. We must respect it.”

Neymar completed his record shattering €222 million move in August, signing a five-year deal with the French club.

Despite the significant loss of his services in attack, Barcelona are on the cusp of delivering another La Liga title as they hold a six point lead over second place Atletico Madrid with a game in hand.

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