11 11 11 Centre-back: Ashley Williams (Swansea City) – The Swansea captain has been integral to their impressive start to the season and against Newcastle he combined defensive assurance with a brilliant range of passing. Williams completed 102 out of 105 passes, with a remarkable 44 of them coming in Newcastles half. 11 11 11 Centre-back: Vincent Kompany (Manchester City) – Hes back, and thats a menacing thought for the rest of the Premier League. After a personal season to forget last term, Kompany bullied Diego Costa into submission on Sunday afternoon and looked more fired up than ever. Two goals in two games puts him in contention for the golden boot, too. Ha! Central midfield: Ross Barkley (Everton) – Its a big season for the young Englishman and hes had a whirlwind start. Everton were brilliant at Southampton on Saturday lunchtime, with Barkley central to everything good about the Toffees performance. His goal was excellent, and his link up with Romelu Lukaku suggests Roberto Martinezs side may have rediscovered their groove. Left-back: Aleksandar Kolarov (Manchester City) – Kolarov has hugely benefited from an injury to Gael Clichy, and looked back to his elegant best against Chelsea by establishing a promising relationship with Raheem Sterling on the City left. Hes created seven chances so far this season – the same as David Silva. 11 11 11 Right-back: Nathaniel Clyne (Liverpool) – Liverpool may well have just found a solution to their right-back problem. Clyne was the pick of the Anfield debutants as the Reds squeezed out a 1-0 win against Bournemouth, combing attacking forays with reliable defensive work. His tackling, in particular, caught the eye, leaving several Cherries players in a heap on the floor after crunching challenges. Defensive midfield: Fernandinho (Manchester City) – What a performance from the Brazilian. While the likes of Silva and Aguero may take most of the plaudits, Fernandinho delivered a brilliant defensive display to contain Cesc Fabregas and Willian. Although he may have been fortunate to stay on the pitch after a lunge on Diego Costa, he took his goal brilliantly. Striker: Sergio Aguero (Manchester City) – The leagues shining light we can only hope injuries evade him this season. He absolutely terrorised the Chelsea defence and if it werent for an inspired Begovic, we could have been talking about an Aguero hat-trick before half time. His display was so devastating John Terry had the indignity of being hooked at the break the first time he has ever been substituted under Jose Mourinho. Attacking midfield: Jefferson Montero (Swansea City) – First Branislav Ivanovic, now Daryl Janmaat. Both right backs will be glad to see the back of Montero, although the latter seemed intent on jumping ship as soon as possible before his inevitable red card on Saturday. Montero must be a strikers dream, knowing the Ecuadorian is a reliable source of service from the left. Hes a throwback to traditional wingers and we can only hope his form continues. Two weeks into the Premier League season and players are starting to brush off the cobwebs from their pre-season exertions.Leicester, many pundits’ tips to struggle under Claudio Ranieri’s stewardship, have proved the surprise package of the opening fortnight as they mix with the big boys in the top four.Chelsea are in mini crisis, while in stark contract Manchester City look like world beaters after dispatching the Blues in the first heavyweight contest of the campaign.Here’s your talkSPORT team of the week… Attacking midfield: Mesut Ozil (Arsenal) – Insignificant one week, world class the next. Ozils enduring qualities came to the fore in Arsenals impressive win at Crystal Palace as the Gunners rediscovered their verve. He misplaced just one of his 55 passes, created five chances for his team-mates and grabbed a brilliant assist for Olivier Girouds goal. Genius. 11 Goalkeeper: Asmir Begovic (Chelsea) – Remarkably, despite conceding three goals, Begovic makes our XI because of an outstanding first-half showing in his duel with Sergio Aguero. The Bosnian goalkeeper, stepping in for the suspended Thibaut Courtois, denied the City frontman on four occasions before the Argentine maestro finally found the net. Has he staked a claim for a first-team berth? 11 Striker: Romelu Lukaku (Everton) – Another player seemingly revitalised after a subdued season last term, Lukaku was unplayable against Southampton. He took his two goals brilliantly and when hes in that kind of mood, no defender on the planet would fancy facing him. Is he starting to justify that £28m price tag?
England and Tottenham striker Harry Kane insists he is feeling ‘fitter than ever’ and is confident he can prove his doubters wrong and score goals for club and country this season.The 22-year-old was crowned PFA Young Player of the Year following a breath-taking breakthrough season, as he not only became Spurs’ first-choice frontman but also received a Three Lions call-up after netting 32 times in all competitions.It’s perhaps inevitable for a young player to be labelled a ‘one-season wonder’ after such exploits in front of goal so early in his career, and with the academy graduate yet to score in Tottenham’s opening four fixtures this term, many are questioning whether it’s wise for the north London outfit to put so much faith in the youngster.There have also been question marks raised over his fitness, having chosen to represent England in the European Under-21 Championships in the summer instead of rest after a long campaign.But, speaking ahead of upcoming Euro 2016 qualifying ties against San Marino and Switzerland, Kane insists he is determined to end his goal drought – starting with the Group E minnows on Saturday.“I’m raring to go and hopefully I’ll get on the scoresheet and get off the mark this season,” he told talkSPORT.“As a striker you’re always going to go through spells where sometimes you’re on fire and scoring all the time and sometimes it doesn’t always go your way.“But I’m very focussed and confident, I’ve got goals in me and if I keep doing the right things I’ll be able to score.“I feel 100 per cent fit, I feel fitter than I did last year. I had a good pre-season, I worked very hard and I’m in great shape.“People were always going to question it if I didn’t score so early on in the season, but I can put that to bed and say I’m not tired, I’m feeling as fit as ever.”Tottenham have been left with just two recognised strikers at White Hart Lane following the summer transfer window, though Emmanuel Adebayor’s current exile from first-team affairs leaves Kane shouldering the goalscoring duties.Rather than shrink from the responsibility, however, Kane insists he thrives off the pressure of being the main man following years of grafting in various loan spells in the lower tiers.“That’s what you want to be, you want to be the main man, the main striker at the club, and I’ve had to work hard to get there,” he added.“It hasn’t been easy over the last few years to work my way into the team, but now I’m here I’m really excited for it.“This is really the first season where I’ve started the first game of the Premier League, so it’s a new experience for me but I’m happy to be doing it.“Hopefully I can maintain it, keep getting better each year and really push on.”England, victors in all six of their qualifiers so far, can have their Euro 2016 place sealed on Saturday, and Kane said: “It will be a great achievement, but exactly what we were looking to do.“We want to win all 10 qualifiers, then take that form into the Euros.“We are not taking our foot off the pedal – if anything, we are putting it down more, trying to improve even more for the tournament.”
Monaco received a higher bid for Anthony Martial than the £36m Man United paid Here’s the latest transfer gossip on Saturday morning…Sunderland manager Dick Advocaat is understood to be considering quitting the club after Saturday’s home game against West Ham, having become disillusioned with life on a limited budget. (Guardian)Advocaat has already told Sunderland’s backroom staff he is ready to leave, with former Leicester City manager Nigel Pearson in the frame to replace him. (Daily Mail)Burnley boss Sean Dyche is also among the contenders to take over from the Dutchman at the Stadium of Light. (Daily Mirror)Monaco received a bid higher than the £36m Man United paid for Anthony Martial from an unnamed club in the summer, but the teenager wanted to move to Old Trafford. (Manchester Evening News)Newcastle manager Steve McClaren says the club were looking to send out Swiss defender Kevin Mbabu on an emergency loan just days before the 20-year-old starred at left-back in his Premier League debut against Chelsea. (Newcastle Chronicle)Chelsea are planning to make a £29m bid for 18-year-old Porto midfielder Ruben Neves next year. (Evening Standard)The best of talkSPORT.com rumours and gossipWest Ham star signs new two-year contractReal Betis wonderkid being chased by LiverpoolMan City teenager reveals why he snubbed ChelseaEverton are top four contenders, says Joe Royale 1
Shane Long celebrates his goal v Germany 1 Shane Long’s rocket gave the Republic of Ireland an unforgettable win at home to world champions Germany last night.The Southampton striker latched onto a long ball from goalkeeper Darren Randolph and lashed the ball into the top corner to send fans inside the Aviva Stadium wild.Long’s strike guarantees the Irish at least a play-off spot as they look to qualify for Euro 2016, while victory in Poland on Sunday would see them qualify automatically.Check out the goal below.
Host Colin Murray was joined by Matt Holland and Des Kelly for Monday’s show.The podcast includes an interview with British athletics legend Daley Thompson on the IAAF doping scandal, our Heroes of the weekend and the Tuesday Quiz (even though it’s Monday!).PLUS, the boys chat to Chesham coach – and ex-Fulham striker – Barry Hayles and Chesham defender Nick Beasant – son of FA Cup hero Dave – about their side’s first round giant killing of Bristol Rovers.
Former Manchester United coach Rene Meulensteen admits Wayne Rooney is no longer the striker who terrorised defences in the peak of his career, but insists that does not make him any worse a player.The England captain has been largely out of sorts in a season which has seen the Red Devils side struggle as a team, despite their – perhaps misleading – second place position in the Premier League table.Rooney has scored ten goals in 23 games for club and country so far this term, but his output has been inconsistent and he was again ineffective as United played out a disappointing 0-0 draw – their fifth of the season – with PSV on Wednesday, a result which leaves their Champions League hopes hanging by a thread.No longer universally seen as an out-and-out frontman, the 30-year-old has rarely played in the same position for a run of games as Louis van Gaal continues to tinker with his team, and Rooney’s form has suffered as a result.He has come under fire from both fans and pundits for his recent dip, but Meulensteen believes it is unfair to judge the striker by the same standards he set while he was at the peak of his powers.Speaking on the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast, the Dutchman said: “All good players adapt their styles when they come into the latter stages of their careers.“It’s something Ryan Giggs had to do when he got a bit older. When he started his career he was a very electric player – he was quick, had that change of pace and took players on – but he adapted his game [when he got older].“It’s not much different with Rooney. When Rooney first came on to the scene he had that burst of pace and was able to run past player after player, but you hardly see that from him anymore.“It doesn’t make them a worse player, it’s something players have to do to maximise the qualities and experience they have, and it’s not any different with Wayne.”
1 Kingsley Coman Arsene Wenger has revealed he tried to lure Bayern Munich star Kingsley Coman to Arsenal.The 19-year-old has been a hit for the German champions this season after joining on loan from Juventus in the summer.However, Wenger has now revealed that he tried to sign the Frenchman back in 2014 when he was at Paris Saint-Germain.Coman, though, turned down the Gunners and joined Juventus on a free transfer after his contract expired with PSG.“Yes we really tried to sign Kingsley Coman in the summer of 2014,” Wenger old beIN Sports.“The transfer was almost completed, but he preferred Juventus.”
1 Steve Evans of Leeds United has lashed out at Neil Redfearn Leeds United boss Steve Evans has goaded Neil Redfearn by saying that he may be only one game away from being sacked by Rotherham United.In a whirlwind series of events, Redfearn replaced Evans after he left the Millers for the Elland Road post in October.Redfearn, who endured a tumultuous time as Leeds manager himself, risked the wrath of the 53-year-old by claiming that the squad Evans had left him was not good enough to stay in the division. This stunning accusation caused Evans to retaliate, having signed 15 of Rotherham’s new first team members himself this summer.“I could have said that here couldn’t I but I have got too much professionalism about myself,” he said.“I have read those comments and it just sounds like a man as if he is under extreme pressure and wonders what happens if he loses the next one.”Rotherham will spend the Christmas period in the relegation zone after having won just four of their 21 league games this season, whilst Leeds sit precariously in 18th place a mere eight points above their Yorkshire rivals.
1 Leicester City have entered talks with Sampdoria over teenage defender Pedro Pereira.Despite the Foxes’ incredible first half of the season, Claudio Ranieri is not resting on his laurels and wants to strengthen his back-four, which has shipped more goals than anybody else in the top half of the Premier League.According to Secolo, Leicester are expected to pay around £7.3m for the 17-year-old right-back.The Portuguese starlet has attracted a number of clubs this season but it appears Ranieri’s exciting project at Leicester has persuaded him to move to the Premier League leaders.The deal could see Gokhan Inler go the other way after reports emerged earlier in the week that the midfielder was open to a move to Italy. Sampdoria star Pedro Pereira
Daniel Sturridge 1 Perfect gift for Christmas from the boys getting a win. On a sidenote I’m back training and good to go!! #Lfc #redordead— Daniel Sturridge (@DanielSturridge) December 26, 2015 Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge has declared himself “good to go” after recovering from his latest hamstring injury.The injury-prone England star has made just six league appearances this season and last featured for Jurgen Klopp’s side in the 2-0 defeat to Newcastle at the start of December.He came on as a 62nd-minute substitute at St James’ Park, but suffered a fresh knock which kept him out of games against FC Sion in the Europa League, plus Premier League clashes with West Brom, Watford and Leicester on Boxing Day.Sturridge watched from the stands as his teammates battled to a 1-0 victory over league leaders Leicester which ended a run of four games without a win.And following the crucial three points, the forward revealed on Twitter that he will soon be available for selection again. The news comes as a timely boost for Klopp, who vented his frustration after his strike force was again reduced by an injury to Belgian forward Divock Origi.The Reds coach was forced to substitute Origi after he picked up a hamstring problem, with international team-mate Christian Benteke taking his place and going on to score the winner goal against the Foxes.“Origi did really well. I hope it is not too serious, we will see,” said Klopp, following the game. “Hamstring is the s**t word of the year for me.“It is always hamstring, hamstring, hamstring – that is the intensity of the game and fixtures.”