European round-up: Pedro gem moves clinical Chelsea closer to title

Sport360 staff 21:53 30/04/2017

PREMIER LEAGUE

Chelsea took a big step towards the Premier League title with victory over Everton but Tottenham’s dogged pursuit continued.

The gap remains four points with four games left for both teams after Spurs showed they are the cream of north London this season by defeating Arsenal 2-0.

Mauricio Pochettino’s side could not find a breakthrough in the first half but led through Dele Alli’s 22nd goal of the season in the 55th minute.

Moments later Harry Kane tumbled under a challenge from Gabriel and the England striker found the bottom corner from the penalty spot.

A trip to Goodison Park looked to be the biggest test for Chelsea in their final five games and Antonio Conte’s men ultimately eased to a 3-0 victory.

A moment of magic from Pedro in the 66th minute broke the deadlock and Gary Cahill made sure of the points with a close-range finish before Willian marked his entry to the game with a late third.

Manchester City had to fight back from behind twice to earn a 2-2 draw with 19th-placed Middlesbrough.

Having gone more than four months without a Premier League win, Boro looked set to follow up their midweek victory over Sunderland by stunning the Champions League hopefuls.

Alvaro Negredo gave Boro a first-half lead, and the hosts were then incensed when City were awarded a penalty for a foul on Leroy Sane, converted by Sergio Aguero.

Defender Calum Chambers put Boro back in front 13 minutes from time only for Gabriel Jesus to grab a point for the visitors.

Middlesbrough look doomed, six points adrift of safety with only three games left, while for City it was a missed opportunity to cement their top-four spot.

Manchester United had earlier dropped points in a 1-1 draw with Boro’s fellow strugglers Swansea.

Wayne Rooney put Jose Mourinho’s side ahead from another disputed penalty on the stroke of half-time but Gylfi Sigurdsson claimed what could be a precious point for the Swans with a 79th-minute equaliser.

United remain outside the top four, one point behind City, who are level on 66 points with Liverpool in third.

LA LIGA

Deportivo La Coruna failed to make certain of their LaLiga status after being held to a 2-2 draw at relegated Osasuna.

A victory at El Sadar would have guaranteed safety, but a late own goal from Juanfran gave the home side a point and left Deportivo eight points clear of 18th-placed Sporting Gijon, who have three games remaining.

Osasuna took the lead after just four minutes when the visitors failed to clear a corner and Jhon Mondragon smashed a half-volley into the net, but Deportivo equalised on 18 minutes when Guilherme dos Santos was left unmarked to score with a diving header at the back post.

Dos Santos scored his second of the game from close range midway through the second half, only for Juanfran – who hit the bar in the first half – to put through his own net 12 minutes from time.

Alaves fought back from a goal down to defeat Real Betis 4-1.

Neither team had much to play for, with Alaves firmly in mid-table and Betis safe, and it was the hosts who took the lead in the 12th minute through Ruben Pardo.

But three goals in 10 minutes early in the second half turned the match on its head.

First Nenad Krsticic equalised three minutes after the break, then Ruben Sobrino put Alaves ahead before Christian Santos netted their third.

That looked to be that but Aleksandar Katai added a fourth with the final kick of the match.

SERIE A

AC Milan suffered a second league setback since their takeover by a Chinese consortium to boost rivals Inter’s bid for one of two Europa League spots in Italy’s Serie A.

Milan travelled to relegation-haunted Crotone looking to make up for a shock 2-1 San Siro defeat to struggling Empoli last week.

But for the second game in succession since Rossoneri Sport Investment Lux bought the seven-time European champions from long-time owner Silvio Berlusconi, Vincenzo Montella’s side disappointed.

Marcello Trotta fired Crotone into an eighth-minute lead at their Ezio Scida stadium and it took until the 50th minute for Milan to level, veteran defender Gabriel Paletta bundling home a messy goal from close range.

Milan pushed for a late winner but the Serie A giants, who saw Juraj Kucka sent off six minutes into second-half stoppage time for a second bookable offence, were forced to settle for a point.

Milan remain sixth, five points adrift of Atalanta in the final Europa League spot.

Inter, enduring an equally tough season under new Chinese owners Suning, host Napoli in Sunday’s late game looking for their first win in six outings.

A home win at the San Siro would pull Stefano Pioli’s men level on points with Milan (59).

Roma’s 3-1 derby defeat to Lazio earlier Sunday left them in second place at nine points behind runaway leaders Juve, but only four points ahead of Napoli, as they chase the second automatic Champions League qualifying place.

Elsewhere, former Roma striker Mattia Destro struck in either half to complete a brace as Bologna moved away from the danger zone with a comprehensive 4-0 win over Udinese.

LIGUE 1 

Florian Thauvin struck a hat-trick as Marseille boosted their hopes of European football next season with a 5-1 victory at Caen.

There was a dramatic start to the game as Marseille scored twice in the opening five minutes through Thauvin and Maxime Lopez.

Ivan Santini halved the deficit after nine minutes, but 19-year-old Lopez (27) restored the visitors’ two-goal cushion as he became the youngest Marseille player to score a brace in Ligue 1 for 30 years.

Thauvin, who is on loan from Newcastle, took his league tally for the season to 15 with further strikes after 63 and 89 minutes as Marseille coasted home.

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Transfer Gossip: Zouma, Walker, Van Dijk, Silva

Sport360 staff 09:46 30/04/2017
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Bernardo Silva has been linked with Man Utd.

Every day we will be keeping you updated with the latest transfer rumours as the season draws to a close and the window opens up…

Kurt Zouma

As Chelsea have regrouped under Antonio Conte, repairing the woes of a dreadful campaign last year, one player has been conspicuous in his absence.

A combination of serious injury and the form of Conte’s preferred trio of centre-backs has seen Zouma’s playing time reduced as Chelsea have motored toward the Premier League title.

And, if The Sun is to be believed, former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho is preparing a raid on his former club to strengthen Man United’s defence with the France international.

The paper is also reporting that Chris Smalling and Phil Jones are headed for the Old Trafford exit door to make way for Zouma.

Rating: 3/10

Sport360 Verdict: There is no doubt that Mourinho is interested in adding to his defence this summer, with a partner for Eric Bailly a priority. And while Zouma would be a perfect fit, and is a player Mourinho knows well, is it realistic to think Chelsea would sign to a potential rival? You wouldn’t count on the Stamford Bridge hierarchy doing too much business with Mourinho and United.

Kyle Walker

The talk of Kyle Walker’s exit at Spurs has ramped up in recent weeks, with even La Liga giants Barcelona linked with a move for the England full-back.

The latest admirers? Manchester City who, again according to The Sun, have been told by Tottenham that £50 million would be what it takes to make a deal happen.

Walker is reportedly unhappy that he isn’t matching the £100,000 a week deals of fellow key Spurs men Harry Kane and Hugo Lloris and that if no improved terms are offered then a move could be in the offing.

Rating: 4/10

Sport360 Verdict: It is certain that Pep Guardiola is in the market for full-backs and Walker is one of the best out there in the Premier League. However, a far more likely outcome is that Walker secures a new deal with Spurs and continues to lead the revolution under Mauricio Pochettino with the Premier League title firmly on their minds.

Virgil van Dijk

It seems the Southampton centre-back will be the centre of a bidding war this summer, with a long list of admirers looking at him most fondly.

The Netherlands defender is currently a long-term injury absentee at St. Mary’s and although the club believes the player will remain for one more season – hopes increased by his response to being given the Saints captaincy – the player and club will be tested.

And, as reported in The Daily Star, Manchester City and Arsenal are leading the chasing pack with a £50m price-tag on the Dutchman’s head. Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester United and Everton have all also been linked with a move.

Rating: 7/10

Sport360 Verdict: There is still hope on the South Coast that the dominant defender will remain at the club next season and Saints fans do have reason to believe that. However, if someone comes up with something in the region of £50m for Van Dijk then a swift exit will be approved by all involved.

Bernardo Silva

The Monaco schemer has already stated that this is his final season at the club, even stating that the Premier League and La Liga are preferred destinations.

And it seems United are leading the pack, with The Express reporting that Silva will be part of a double Ligue 1 raid for United worth £80m.

The other player apparently on their wishlist is PSG’s Blaise Matuidi with the duo destined to be United’s latest big money foray into the transfer market.

Rating: 8/10

Sport360 Verdict: Silva is available, keen on the Premier League and United’s attack needs some freshening up. It seems, on paper, a no-brainer but all will depend on whether United prefer Silva to other options such as James Rodriguez or Silva is fancied by a more attractive option elsewhere, possibly as Rodrguez’ replacement at Real Madrid. It is certainly one to follow.

What else is going on?

Ronaldinho’s still got it…

Yep, that enigmatic Brazilian is still one of the most exciting players on the planet.

Need evidence? Well, here you go, a classic Ronaldinho no-look pass in a Barcelona legends match for you to drool on…

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WATCH: Tactics Explained - Monaco 2016/17

Sport360 staff 20:30 27/04/2017
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Even after Zlatan Ibrahimovic left PSG last summer, the capital team were expected to continue their domination of French football this year under new manager Unai Emery.

Instead, Leonardo Jardim’s AS Monaco have taken Ligue 1 by storm, holding a three-point lead at the top of the table, and are in the Champions League semi-finals. The young side, led by teenage sensation Kylian Mbappe, have been dominant, and their free-flowing, high-scoring style has been refreshing to watch.

How have they managed to surprise everyone in France and the rest of Europe? Here’s a look at Monaco’s tactics from this season.

Will Monaco be able to continue their stunning rise?

Share with us your thoughts by commenting below, using #360fans on Twitter or getting in touch via Facebook, and watch more cool football videos from uMAXit on their YouTube channel.

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