EPL

Everton suspend player pending police investigation

By Sports Desk July 20, 2021

Everton have suspended a first-team player pending a police investigation, the Premier League club announced.

In a statement on the team's website, Everton did not identify the player or provide any further details.

The statement read: "Everton can confirm it has suspended a first-team player pending a police investigation.

"The club will continue to support the authorities with their inquiries and will not be making any further statement at this time."

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  • Ancelotti on Koeman: Getting sacked is part of the job Ancelotti on Koeman: Getting sacked is part of the job

    Real Madrid head coach Carlo Ancelotti says getting sacked is part of the job after his counterpart Ronald Koeman was dismissed by Barcelona on Wednesday.

    Koeman was axed by the Blaugrana following their dismal start to the new season, capped by Wednesday's 1-0 loss to Rayo Vallecano, leaving them ninth in LaLiga.

    Intense speculation and pressure had mounted about the Dutchman's future for the past month and former Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain boss Ancelotti weighed in.

    "I've been sacked several times and I'm still here, alive and happy," Ancelotti told reporters after Madrid's 0-0 home draw with Osasuna.

    "Getting sacked is part of the job and you have to give it everything you've got until the day you're sacked.

    "You have to look forward while keeping a clear conscience. He’s giving everything he has to give."

    Madrid's draw with Osasuna moved them into top spot in LaLiga but left them with only four points collected from their past four league games.

    Ancelotti's side are also winless from their past three home games, including a 2-1 home defeat to Sheriff in the Champions League.

    The stalemate with Osasuna follows a goalless draw with Villarreal in LaLiga, meaning Madrid have recorded back-to-back 0-0 draws in home games in the league for the fourth time, and first since November 1996 under Fabio Capello.

    "Of the three games, we deserved to win two of them," Ancelotti said. "We have to understand that they are difficult games for this squad, because in this game we lacked presence in the box.

    "But do you want the truth? You can call me crazy, but I liked the performance. Especially in the second half. My players have given everything and we have to keep going."

    Ancelotti bemoaned a first-half incident where Los Blancos were denied a penalty after Vinicius Junior was stamped inside the box by Osasuna's Lucas Torro. The Madrid boss also felt aggrieved at a lack of stoppage time in the second half.

    "The penalty is a complicated issue. All I saw, was Vinicius asking the referee to take a look at VAR and he didn't get why," Ancelotti said.

    "Then I understood why, he stamps on him and I think it's a penalty. Why VAR did not intervene I don't know.

    "I told the referee I felt he hadn't added enough injury time given how the game had gone. I asked him for an explanation but it wasn't very convincing."

    Vinicius Junior was busy throughout, attempting 71 passes (64 completed), which was his highest in a single game for Madrid in all competitions.

  • Koeman sacked by Barcelona: Gallardo, Ten Hag and Xavi among Camp Nou candidates Koeman sacked by Barcelona: Gallardo, Ten Hag and Xavi among Camp Nou candidates

    Ronald Koeman has been sacked as head coach of Barcelona following a poor start to the club's first season without Lionel Messi in 17 years. 

    Financial difficulties saw the six-time Ballon d'Or winner leave for Paris Saint-Germain and, in his absence, Koeman's side have struggled. 

    The Dutchman replaced Quique Setien at Camp Nou in August 2020 and led Barca to Copa del Rey success in his first season, although they finished third in LaLiga and suffered a Champions League last-16 exit, as well as losing the Supercopa de Espana final to Athletic Bilbao. 

    A shock 1-0 loss at Rayo Vallecano on Wednesday was the final straw and with the club in turmoil, it is imperative that Koeman's successor is chosen with great care. Stats Perform takes a look at the leading contenders who have been linked with the position. 

    Xavi

    With Koeman dismissed, Barcelona could turn to another club legend in Xavi, hoping the La Masia graduate can succeed where his predecessor failed with an unbalanced squad of ageing regulars and young talent. The former Spain international has presided over Qatari side Al Sadd since his retirement in 2019, leading them to a league title and six domestic cups.

    Turning to a young coach who does not have any experience in Europe amid a time of upheaval could be viewed as a huge risk, however. Plus, will Xavi see this as the right time to return? The opportunity to manage Barca is likely to come around again at some stage.

    Andrea Pirlo

    Another candidate who enjoyed a glittering career as a central midfielder in his playing days, Pirlo replaced Maurizio Sarri at Juventus in August 2020 and won the Coppa Italia and the Supercoppa Italiana, but was sacked at the end of his debut season following a fourth-placed Serie A finish and another disappointing European exit, this time against Porto.

    While Pirlo has experience of coaching in a top-five league, his stint in Turin hardly demonstrated the Italian has the credentials at this stage of his career to rescue an ailing Barcelona side.

    Roberto Martinez

    Martinez has a greater coaching pedigree, although the highest level he has managed at has come on the international stage with Belgium — a job he still holds. The 48-year-old guided the Red Devils to a third-place finish at the 2018 World Cup and took them to number one in the FIFA world rankings, though a major trophy continues to elude them.

    At club level, however, he has managed Everton and Wigan Athletic in the Premier League, winning the FA Cup but also suffering relegation with the latter, and also Swansea City below the top tier — rather different jobs to the one that faces the newcomer at Barcelona.

    Erik ten Hag

    Could Barca turn to another Dutchman to try to turn their on-field fortunes around? Ten Hag has built his reputation at Ajax, having previously worked at Utrecht and Go Ahead Eagles, as well as a stint with Bayern Munich's second string. He has twice won the Eredivisie title, while he appeared set to reach the Champions League final in 2019, only for Tottenham to produce a stunning comeback in Amsterdam.

    Barcelona, who know what it is like to be on the wrong end of a second-leg turnaround in Europe, have well-documented financial problems at the moment, potentially raising an issue if they want to try to lure away a coach under contract elsewhere.

    Antonio Conte

    Conte is out of work, at least meaning Barca would not have to pay any compensation to appoint him. However, that does not mean the Italian comes cheaply, considering he has a hugely impressive resume. The former Juve boss made a quick impact at his previous two jobs, having returned to club duties after a spell in charge of the Azzurri.

    He won the Premier League title in his first season at Chelsea, during which they produced an impressive 13-game winning streak, then ended Inter's Scudetto wait last term, leading the Nerazzurri to a first championship since 2010. His San Siro departure amid Inter's financial cutbacks does raise questions over whether he would want to go anywhere near Camp Nou right now, particularly with Manchester United also reportedly interested.

    Marcelo Gallardo

    A name strongly linked with the post, Gallardo started out his coaching career with Nacional in Uruguay. However, he has been in charge of River Plate — a club he had three stints at during his playing career — since 2014, winning the Copa Libertadores twice among an impressive list of honours at Los Millonarios.

    The last Argentinian coach to take the top job at Barca did not last too long: Gerardo Martino had just one season at the helm. Gallardo would have to cut short his River journey to do so, a move he suggested was not likely after revealing he plans to see out a contract that runs until the end of 2021.

  • Man City knew they were in for a tough game - Pearce says Guardiola's side showed West Ham 'respect' Man City knew they were in for a tough game - Pearce says Guardiola's side showed West Ham 'respect'

    Stuart Pearce believes Manchester City showed "respect" to West Ham in their EFL Cup clash as the Hammers won 5-3 on penalties following a 0-0 draw in normal time.

    Guardiola made nine changes to the side that beat Brighton and Hove Albion 4-1 in the Premier League on Saturday, but his line-up still featured the likes of Riyad Mahrez, Raheem Sterling and Kevin De Bruyne.

    However, West Ham frustrated the competition holders - who have won the last four editions in a row - and eventually knocked them out in a penalty shootout, with Phil Foden guilty of the only miss.

    West Ham first-team coach Pearce believes City were respectful towards a side that have enjoyed a strong campaign so far, sitting fourth in the league and top of their Europa League group, adding the Hammers deserved to progress.

    "This is an outstanding Man City side, they came with a very strong lineup," Pearce said after the game. "That was potentially a mark of respect for us, knowing they were going to be in for a tough game.

    "Man City have the majority of the possession whenever they play anyone in the world so you have to suffer without the ball. Our resilience and defensive work when they had the majority of possession was good and what we did with the ball trying to play against their press was pleasing.

    "You win some, you lose some, but the resilience of the team over 90 minutes, even though we missed a couple of decent chances, with the honesty and resilience of the team, they deserved to get over the line.

    "It was a really good night for the club, 60,000 in the ground, you couldn’t get a ticket for the game. It’s absolutely superb and the players deserve the credit - and a bit to our manager as well who drives this club on a daily basis. Anyone with 1,000 matches deserves to be taken seriously.

    "There is a level of honesty here and hard work drives us on. We will not get ahead of ourselves and keep working."

    City head coach Pep Guardiola was gracious in defeat, praising West Ham but also insisting that his side would be back in search of cup glory next season.

    "An incredible run has finished," Guardiola said. "We finished in a good way. We played in a really good way, creating chances against a team who defended deep. On penalties, they were better. Congratulations to West Ham. Next year we will be back.

    "One of the toughest games we played at home last season was against them. They are doing well in the Premier League and in the Europa League and now in the Carabao Cup quarter-finals. Fantastic team and fantastic manager."

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