Frank Lampard had a night of mixed emotions as his Derby side were eliminated from the Carabao Cup by former club Chelsea.
Lampard was serenaded throughout after being denied a Stamford Bridge farewell more than four years ago as two own goals proved costly for Championship Derby in a 3-2 loss.
Chelsea’s record goalscorer was frustrated Cesc Fabregas’ decisive strike after 41 minutes was allowed to stand. The Rams felt there was a foul by Davide Zappacosta on Tom Lawrence in the build-up.
“The third goal was a foul. The whole stadium saw that,” Lampard said.
“I turned round thinking we’d got the foul, then looked back and they were in our box.
“VAR should clear up the ones that go slightly wrong. It didn’t.”
Lampard scored a club record 211 goals in 648 appearances and 13 years at Chelsea, but left when his contract expired in June 2014, without having the chance to say goodbye.
Lampard admitted an afternoon nap – a routine retained from his playing days – had proven difficult on a surreal day.
He added: “It was exciting for me. Nervous and excited. It is home. Not my current home, but my home for such a long time.
“My overriding feeling is thanks to the Chelsea fans and the Derby fans and pride at the team.”
Lampard refused to dwell on his departure.
He added: “I left quietly. That was the circumstances at the time. I’ve got no bad feelings and I’ve got great relationships.
“It was nice to come back and feel it so positive.”
Frank Lampard receives a huge reception as he takes his seat in the away dugout at Stamford Bridge.— Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) October 31, 2018
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Chelsea granted Derby special dispensation to field on loan pair Fikayo Tomori and Mason Mount against their parent club.
Tomori and Richard Keogh scored own goals, with Derby’s equalisers coming from Jack Marriott and Martyn Waghorn, whose effort was set up by Mount.
Fabregas struck and Derby had chances to level again, leaving Chelsea assistant boss Gianfranco Zola to admit there was plenty of room for improvement.
“It was more than a little bit (shaky), especially towards the end,” Zola said.
Chelsea are still unbeaten in competitive games this season and next face Bournemouth.
Arsenal and Tottenham were drawn to face each other in the quarter-finals.
Arsenal beat Blackpool 2-1 and Spurs won 3-1 at West Ham in a contest marred by trouble at the London Stadium.
Middlesbrough beat Crystal Palace, earning a home game with League One Burton.
Reigning champions Manchester City play Fulham on Thursday and the winner will face either Leicester or Southampton.
That game was due to be played on Tuesday, but was postponed following the death of Foxes owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha on Saturday.
The last-eight ties take place in the week commencing December 17.
Provided by Press Association Sport
A mischievous smile cracks across this familiar face.
Mido, a former Egypt striker described as “completely nuts” in Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s acclaimed autobiography, has just been asked whether he had any regrets about a trailblazing playing career that burned brightly as a teenager at Ajax, but ended in ignominy aged 30 at second-division Barnsley.
“No, no regrets,” comes the reply, while smirking, at a du Football Champions event to promote the launch of both season 4 and du Talents, a Middle East-first sports tech scouting platform. “Never.”
The term ‘maverick’ is over-used in football. It is the only apt way to describe Mido.
At his best, he twinned an imposing physique with deft technique. These traits helped him become a giant at Zamalek and Belgium’s Gent before he was legally an adult.
There were 20 goals in 51 matches for his nation and 2006’s Africa Cup of Nations success. Plus, spells at Tottenham, Roma, Marseille and Celta Vigo – where four strikes in eight La Liga matches earned a club-first stint in the Champions League.
There was also, however, the aforementioned incident where an exchange of verbals with Ibrahimovic saw a pair of scissors launched with such velocity that they lodged in a wall next to the, fortunate, future Sweden superstar’s head.
Disagreements with a litany of coaches reached their nadir during 2006’s Africa Cup of Nations.
Mido had to be dragged away from Hassan Shehata during the semi-final win against Senegal. Shehata’s crime was to haul off his ineffective star attacker.
When Mido entered his peak footballing years, returns of two goals in 12 matches for Wigan Athletic and zero in nine for West Ham United were produced.
Since the Egyptian officially retired aged 30 in June 2013, Ibrahimovic has scored 172 goals in 213 run-outs for Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester United and LA Galaxy. Less than a decade ago, the latter couldn’t get a look in at Ajax because of his team-mate’s superiority.
“I think it could have been better and it could have been worse,” says Mido of his playing days.
“But I’m proud of what I’ve done. I played for some great clubs and had a very good relationship with team-mates, very good friends until now and I think that this is the most important thing about football is to build relationships and have friends through your career.
“Some good memories were when we won the Africa Cup of Nations in 2006, when we won the league with Ajax after four years without winning it, when I signed for a big club like Tottenham.
“Very important was qualifying for the Champions League with Celta Vigo for the only time in their history. A lot of good things, never regrets.”
In retirement, Mido’s nonconformist ways have made him a natural as an outspoken football pundit.
This candour, however, caused problems as one of the first imports from the Middle East to Europe.
There have been no such issues for Liverpool’s current Egypt pin-up Mohamed Salah, while France-born, Algeria international Riyad Mahrez earned a summer move to Manchester City after overcoming a fit of pique at Leicester City.
Did the previous generation lack the professionalism to succeed abroad?
Mido answers: “I think it is a little bit unfair to say that the Arab players before weren’t professional enough. They have a different mentality.
“You cannot get someone who has been raised up in a totally different culture and ask him to react in the same way as an English, German or Dutch boy does.
“They are different, but players now let’s say in my opinion are more focused on their game.
“Now, football is different with social media and the attention around the game. Players they take good care of themselves and I wish we had this attention when we were playing.
“I remember when I scored a goal in Europe it was written in Egypt two days after, so it’s different. We were a bit isolated.”
Mido is now in a better place.
His slim-line figure has returned, courtesy of winning a battle that threatened premature death in 2017 when hitting 150kg.
Foundations are also nearly laid to better a coaching career that has previously provided mixed results in his home country.
“I’m getting my coaching badges in Wales, I’ve already done my C and B and I’m almost done with my A badges,” Mido says.
“I’m getting my Masters in Football Development and Coaching with the University of South Wales, so I’m taking good care of my education, because I don’t think playing experience is enough, I think education is important.
“I’ve already coached Egyptian clubs Zamalek, Wadi Degla and Ismaily, but now I’m looking for a good opportunity to come to Europe, even as an assistant to a good manager. I’ll get my badges done and then see where it goes.”
duFC, in partnership with La Liga, offers a professional scouting platform to develop the male and female football champions of tomorrow. More than 21,500 players have taken part in its opening three seasons.
The new du Talents allows prospects to upload highlights of their skills, connecting directly with coaches and scouts.
After an initial stutter against two of the best sides in England, Arsenal have recovered brilliantly. Unai Emery’s men have won all eleven games ever since and have begun to build their case as title contenders.
Thanks to some astute business in the summer transfer window, the Gunners are now a well drilled unit of experience and youth. With all the new signings impressing and some of the existing players enhancing their game tactically and technically, Arsenal could not have asked for a better recovery.
We examine this new look of the London-based club and attempt to determine the sustainability of Emery’s tactics at Arsenal.
Build from the back
With top teams such as Liverpool and Chelsea following Manchester City and opting for a keeper who is good with his feet, Arsenal were not to be left behind. Bernd Leno starts the move as the Gunners build from the back and move the ball around patiently.
In Granit Xhaka and Lucas Torreira, Arsenal have found a stable double pivot who prioritise providing cover and keeping possession over attempting risky passes and advancing to higher positions on the pitch. This system has brought the best out of the Swiss international who was usually isolated when his partner in midfield Aaron Ramsey was allowed the freedom to get into the opposition box last season. The two players have been key to Arsenal gaining control over the neutral zone.
Arsenal start slow in a 4-2-3-1 formation which slowly transforms into a 2-4-4 as they synchronise into the tempo of the game and start dictating the same. The fullbacks push forward and provide width in attack while the forwards tuck into the half-spaces, often disrupting the opposition’s defensive shape.
Hector Bellerin has shown significant improvements in the offensive aspects of his game. Arsenal have produced about 11 crosses every game and the fullbacks have been crucial to their attack.
However, the decision to incorporate fullbacks into attacks comes at a defensive cost. Arsenal have conceded 94 shots from open-play which is just one less than the number of shots the team has taken from open play. For a team like Arsenal who set the pace of the play, stats like these expose the flaws in defense. Arsenal’s defensive and midfield lines are narrow, preventing the ball from being played across. But a quick counter attack can spell doom for such a defensive setup.
Versatility and Sustainability
Arsenal haven’t been challenged by a top team in their 11-match winning streak and this does raise questions on the effectiveness and sustainability of the system. Also, the fact that the Gunners have scored 66 percent (14 goals) of their goals in the second half is a testimony to the fact that the team does not start off well. However, Emery has exhibited the versatility of his tactics and shown us why this can be sustained.
Fulham started in a 3-4-3 (flat) formation against the Gunners with the wide midfielders Cyrus Christie and Ryan Sessegnon looking to suffocate Arsenal’s fullbacks and prevent them from going forward. Emery tweaked his lineup a bit and constructed a 4-4-2 formation specially for this game. This season’s revelation Alex Iwobi and Henrikh Mkhitaryan played as wide midfielders to provide support to the fullbacks. Alexandre Lacazette and later Aubameyang tore Fulham’s compact defense apart and the game ended 5-1 in Arsenal’s favour. This display also opened the possibilities of a 4-4-2 formation headed by Lacazette and Aubameyang when needed.
Unlike Arsene Wenger, Emery isn’t stubborn with his system and can attend to the need of the hour. The Spaniard’s vision with the team is long term and his system appear to be sustainable.