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Chelsea held Liverpool to a goalless draw

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Chelsea wasted a host of chances to beat Liverpool as the troubled Blues were held to a 0-0 draw on Tuesday in their first Premier League match since Graham Potter’s sacking.

Potter was axed on Sunday after the former Brighton manager’s disastrous reign climaxed with a wretched home defeat against Aston Villa.

Chelsea are seeking their third permanent manager of the campaign, with Potter hired in September following Thomas Tuchel’s shock dismissal.

In the meantime, Bruno Saltor, a member of Potter’s backroom staff, made his managerial debut as Chelsea interim boss.
Bruno managed to coax a lively performance from Chelsea, but — as was so often the case under Potter — they paid the price for a lack of cutting edge.

Chelsea remain 11th, leaving them with an uncertain future despite the massive investment in new signings made by Chelsea owner Todd Boehly since he took over last year.

Liverpool hardly looked much better as a third successive league game without a win damaged their faint hopes of finishing in the top four.
Eighth-placed Liverpool are seven points behind fourth-placed Tottenham in the race to qualify for the Champions League.

Chelsea and Liverpool finished in the top four and met in the FA Cup and League Cup finals last season, yet less than a year later they are languishing in mid-table amid turbulent campaigns.

In response to Liverpool’s dismal 4-1 defeat at Manchester City on Saturday, Klopp dropped Mohamed Salah and Trent Alexander-Arnold as the Reds boss made six changes.

It was Chelsea who made the stronger start of the two troubled teams and Mateo Kovacic’s shot was blocked on the line by Ibrahima Konate.

Reece James saw his fierce finish disallowed for offside against Enzo Fernandez, while Wesley Fofana was narrowly off target with a headed chance.

As in the other Premier League games on Tuesday, there was a first-half pause at the Bridge for Muslim players to break their Ramadan fast.

Chelsea’s Kai Havertz dragged a good chance wide from N’Golo Kante’s pass immediately after the restart.

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Chelsea targets Leicester’s Enzo Maresca for Managerial Role

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Chelsea is in discussions to appoint Leicester’s Enzo Maresca as their new head coach, as reported by British media.

Maresca, an Italian who was Pep Guardiola’s assistant at Manchester City until last year, has successfully led Leicester back to the Premier League after their relegation a year ago.

Chelsea officials are reportedly impressed by his football style. According to Sky Sports on Monday, the Blues have requested permission from Leicester to speak directly to Maresca, whom they consider their top choice.

Chelsea is searching for a new manager after parting ways with Mauricio Pochettino.

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Southampton returns to Premier league after beating Leeds In Play-off Final

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Southampton secured their promotion back to the Premier League after a one-year absence, with Adam Armstrong’s goal clinching a 1-0 victory against Leeds in the Championship play-off final on Sunday.

Armstrong’s first-half goal at Wembley helped Southampton erase the disappointment of last season’s relegation, marking their immediate return to the top flight.

This victory, in football’s richest match, is expected to bring Southampton around £140 million ($178 million) due to increases in matchday, broadcast, and commercial revenue associated with Premier League clubs. According to financial experts Deloitte, Southampton could eventually earn up to £305 million if they manage to stay up next season.

While the financial boost is significant, the real motivation for Southampton was the prestige of competing against top-tier teams like Manchester City and Arsenal, rather than second-tier sides such as Plymouth and Oxford. This hunger to reclaim their Premier League status has driven their efforts after a year in the Championship.

Southampton, whose only major trophy is the 1976 FA Cup, had spent 11 years in the Premier League before their relegation. They hope this recent success, celebrated by over 35,000 fans at Wembley, will lead to another prolonged stay among the elite.

In their first ever play-off final, Southampton achieved their third win over Leeds this season, despite finishing three points behind them in the regular season. Southampton’s manager, Russell Martin, has gained admiration for his purist passing style, and this victory marks a significant achievement in his career.

Martin, who was managing Milton Keynes Dons in League One just three years ago, has transformed Southampton in his first season, leading the team to boast the highest possession rate in Europe’s top five leagues this season.

“I’m so pleased for the board because I wasn’t an exciting appointment for them. I finished 10th at Swansea, but we had a clear way of doing things at MK Dons and here, so their decision to hire me was brave,” Martin said. “We had to achieve this to justify their choice. I feel really emotional about it. The team has been so brave. I’m really grateful and proud of them. They deserve it.”

Securing promotion at the expense of Leeds boss Daniel Farke was particularly satisfying for Martin, who was released from his Norwich contract by Farke in 2018. This defeat is a significant setback for Farke and Leeds, who were relegated alongside Southampton last season.

Leeds had support from high-profile fans like American socialite Paris Hilton and actor Will Ferrell, a minority shareholder, but there was no fairytale ending for the club. On the 35th anniversary of the death of their legendary manager Don Revie, Leeds fell short in their fourth play-off final loss, still seeking their first Wembley win since 1992.

Leeds started strongly but Southampton weathered the early pressure and took the lead in the 24th minute. Armstrong, who had scored twice in the play-off semi-final win over West Brom, displayed his scoring prowess with his 24th goal of the season, cleverly evading the Leeds offside trap to finish Will Smallbone’s pass with a precise strike from 12 yards.

Leeds were shaken and Armstrong nearly scored again, but his shot from Smallbone’s quick free-kick was parried by Illan Meslier. Early in the second half, Leeds defender Joe Rodon’s promising run was halted by Taylor Harwood-Bellis’s crucial block.

Despite their efforts, Leeds couldn’t find an equaliser, with Daniel James’s shot hitting the bar and Alex McCarthy making a stoppage-time save to deny him, as Southampton celebrated their return to the Premier League.

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Real Madrid named World’s Most Valuable Club

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Real Madrid has been ranked as the world’s most valuable football club by Forbes for the third consecutive year, with a valuation of $6.6 billion.

The list places Real Madrid at the top with a market value of $6.6 billion (€6.08 billion), followed closely by Manchester United at $6.55 billion (€6.04 billion).

Barcelona trails significantly behind, with a market value of $5.6 billion (€5.16 billion), having seen a decline in value over recent years, especially after the departure of Lionel Messi and other high-profile players.

Liverpool and Manchester City round out the top five, valued at $5.37 billion (€4.95 billion) and $5.1 billion (€4.7 billion), respectively.

The top ten is completed by Bayern Munich, PSG, Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea, and Arsenal, with their valuations ranging from $5 billion to $2.6 billion.

The World’s 10 Most Valuable Football Clubs

No. 1 • $6.6 billion
Real Madrid

No. 2 • $6.55 billion
Manchester United

No. 3 • $5.6 billion
Barcelona

No. 4 • $5.37 billion
Liverpool

No. 5 • $5.1 billion
Manchester City

No. 6 • $5 billion
Bayern Munich

No. 7 • $4.4 billion
Paris Saint-Germain

No. 8 • $3.2 billion
Tottenham Hotspur

No. 10 • $2.6 billion
Arsenal

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Nigeria’s Lookman scores hattrick as Atalanta win Europa League

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Ademola Lookman scored a stunning hat-trick to lead Atalanta to a 3-0 victory over Bayer Leverkusen in the 2023/24 UEFA Europa League (UEL) final.

The Nigerian star was named player of the match as the Bergamo-based club became the first Italian team to win the UEL since its renaming in 2009.

Lookman netted twice in the first half and once in the second half at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium, ending Leverkusen’s unbeaten streak in all competitions.

Three Nigerians participated in the final: Lookman spearheaded Atalanta’s attack, while Leverkusen brought on Victor Boniface and Nathan Tella as substitutes.

Atalanta started aggressively and opened the scoring in the 12th minute when Lookman fired Davide Zappacosta’s low cross into the top of the net.

The former Everton forward extended the lead in the 26th minute with an impressive goal, nutmegging Granit Xhaka before curling his shot into the top corner.

Lookman completed his hat-trick in the 75th minute, dribbling past a defender and blasting a shot into the top corner to seal a dominant final for Gian Piero Gasperini’s side.

Lookman is the first player to score a hat-trick in a UEL final and the first African to do so in a major European Cup final.

He became the seventh Nigerian to win the Europa League, joining John Obi Mikel, Victor Moses, and others as UEL champions.

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Real Madrid’s Kroos To Retire From Football After Euro 2024

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Real Madrid’s Tony Kroos has announced his retirement from football following Euro 2024.

The German midfielder, who won the 2014 World Cup with Germany, shared the news on Instagram, stating that his active career will conclude after the upcoming championship.

Kroos, 34, is aiming to secure his fifth Champions League title with Real Madrid before retiring.

He has been a pivotal figure for both Real Madrid and the German national team throughout his career.

Despite previously announcing his retirement from international football in 2021, he reversed his decision to play until Euro 2024 after discussions with Germany coach Julian Nagelsmann.

Kroos expressed his gratitude for being able to conclude his career at the peak of his performance and on his own terms.

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Despite win over Everton, Arsenal Miss Premier League Title to Man City

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Despite securing a 2-1 victory against Everton on the final day of the season, Arsenal fell short of claiming their first Premier League title since 2004.

Manchester City clinched the title for the fourth consecutive year. In a tense finale, Arsenal needed a win against Everton and for Manchester City to lose against West Ham to secure the championship.

However, despite their efforts and Kai Havertz’s late winner, Manchester City’s triumph over West Ham dashed Arsenal’s hopes.

The match saw ups and downs for Arsenal, including Idrissa Gueye’s deflected free-kick putting Everton in front, swiftly followed by Takehiro Tomiyasu’s equalizer.

Despite hitting the woodwork twice in the second half, Arsenal managed to find the winner through Havertz, albeit amidst controversy over a potential handball. Referee Michael Oliver eventually allowed the goal after reviewing the VAR footage.

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