Lol…They couldn’t even look at themselves to shake hands. By 12:30pm on Saturday 10th September 2016, Manchester United will host Manchester City at the Old Trafford in the first Manchester Derby of this 2016/17 EPL season. This derby is even more popular because of the managers involved, Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola. It’s more than the Old Trafford dugouts that will attract attention on Saturday. Guardiola and Mourinho have a rivalry that dates back to Guardiola getting the Barcelona manager’s job ahead of Mourinho in 2008. The pair did have a tempestuous relationship when they were last in direct opposition; with Guardiola at Barca and Mourinho at Real Madrid between 2010 and 2012. But the chances are nothing they will say in their respective news conferences tomorrow will come close to Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s withering condemnation of Guardiola in his autobiography. The Swede had an ill-fated season at Barca which ended in acrimony as Ibrahimovic reacted to what he felt was Guardiola’s preference for Lionel Messi. “I thought he was all right, not exactly another Mourinho or Capello, but an OK guy,” was Zlatan’s first observations of Guardiola. By the end, Ibrahimovic felt Guardiola was “a spineless coward”. “Mourinho lights up a room. Guardiola draws the curtains.” The derby will sure make an interesting game given the caliber of managers and players involved. Sergio Aguero will be missing for City because of his three match ban for his elbow on a West Ham player. Who knows Nigeria’s Kelechi Iheanacho may get the nod to start for City. Ibrahimovich will be out to “teach” Pep some lessons. Be sure not to miss it.
On 8th September 1888, the first ever football league matches anywhere in the world were played. Above are the results. That was some 128 years ago. In today’s EPL, you only have Everton, Stoke and West Brom. The rest of these teams are in the lower leagues.
Crystal Palace have signed former Arsenal midfielder Mathieu Flamini on a contract until the end of the season. Flamini, 32, left the Gunners this summer having made 246 appearances over two spells and winning three FA Cups. The Frenchman, who also won the Serie A title in 2011 during five years at AC Milan, becomes Palace’s fifth permanent signing of the summer. Flamini moved to Italy after four years with Arsenal, before a return to Emirates Stadium in 2013. Palace manager Alan Pardew said he was pleased to “have secured a player of his stature”, adding: “His playing ability will help us but also his leadership qualities and his ability of how to win games in a passing style.” Flamini described his new club as “very ambitious” and said the move was a “very interesting challenge”. Palace added Andros Townsend, Steve Mandanda, James Tomkins, and Chrhistian Benteke earlier this summer, while Loic Remy arrived from Chelsea on loan.
The Rio Paralympics got under way with a stunning opening ceremony on Wednesday at the Maracana Stadium. The iconic stadium was packed with supporters and 4,350 athletes from 160 nations, staged on Brazil’s Independence Day, just two-and-a-half weeks after the Olympics. The central theme of the opening ceremony was “Everybody has a heart” with the president of the International Paralympic Committee Philip Craven making a rousing speech, highlighting the inspiration behind the event. Craven, who lost the use of his legs in a rock-climbing fall aged 16, said: “In a country which has faced major challenges of late, Paralympians will switch your focus from perceived limitations to a world full of possibility and endless opportunity. “They will surprise you, inspire and excite you, but most of all they will change you.”
Barcelona have officially inaugurated their brand new American corporate headquarters – and ex-Barca star Ronaldinho was on hand to help with the unveiling. The Spanish giants announced that they have taken up residence in New York as they plot a new path across the Atlantic in the hope of agreeing new trading opportunities, as well as expanding their global reach. And Ronaldinho, who featured over 140 times for the club between 2003 and 2008, proverbially cut the red ribbon of the facility by kicking a ball into a small goal. Around 30 guests were invited to the unveiling, with Club President Josep Maria Bartomeu, Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber and the US ambassador to Spain, James Costos, all in attendance. The offices, which are situated on the 20th floor of 250 Park Avenue in the heart of Manhattan, will house a select team of Barcelona officials tasked with promoting the club’s charitable and social sides, as well as seeking out other deals.
Odion Ighalo insists he could not turn his back on his Premier League dream to line his pockets. The Watford striker has rejected a string of lucrative offers to head to the Chinese Super League. The latest £37.5million bid from Shanghai SIPG was knocked back by Watford before deadline-day on the say so of the Nigerian. It’s believed Watford were ready to cash in but Ighalo did not want to head to the Far East at this stage of his career. Ighalo said: “I’m not moved by money from China. Yes it is big and crazy. When the right time comes I will go. “But now is not the right time. I love playing in the Premier League. It’s all I’ve wanted to do. “My mum and my siblings watch me in action in the best league in the world. I still have unfinished business in England.” Ighalo, who signed a new five-year deal on the eve of the new season, has seen the goals dry up in 2016. He has scored just three times in the Premier League this year and is still waiting to break his duck this season ahead of Saturday’s trip to West Ham. Ighalo, 27, added: “I know the goals will soon start flowing again. Now in the Premier League, it’s more difficult because they know me very well. “Every defender wants to mark me so hard and more than what they did last season.”
Reading manager Jaap Stam has confirmed that Asamoah Gyan failed a medical with Reading. The Ghana striker looked set to complete a shock switch to Madejski Stadium before last week’s transfer deadline – only for the move to dramatically collapse at the last moment. Gyan claimed it was because he was asked not to play in the Africa Cup of Nations, which starts in January – but Stam has labelled that claim as ‘rubbish’. Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday afternoon at Hogwood Park the Dutchman said the club would have been happy to let the 30-year-old head off on international duty, providing he was fit. But stringent medical checks flagged up it would take six to eight weeks before he was up to full fitness, so Reading opted not to go ahead with the loan deal from Chinese side Shanghai SIPG. “Yes. He wasn’t in very good shape. When he joined us they did a very good medical on him which was very important because he’s been injured in the past. He hasn’t been playing a lot of games. “You need to be sure, if you bring a player in, that he’s fit and not that you need to work him for six to eight weeks to get him in shape. And maybe there’s a risk of him getting injured during that period so he’s out for a longer time. “And then he needs to go to Ghana in January and we lose him for two months. So it’s a big risk. “He wasn’t in good shape, that was the case. Of course the player says he was in good shape because he wants to play, but he wasn’t. Our medical people are not going to be lying about that. That’s why we made the decision not to sign him.
The President of the Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA) Isha Johansen and two others have been detained over corruption allegations. The country’s Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) picked the trio up after an FA Cup match on Wednesday.
Sunderland have signed Boavista goalkeeper Mika on a two-year deal for an undisclosed fee. The 25-year-old could make his Premier League debut against Everton on Monday. Fifa have ratified the signing after a technical issue meant Boavista were unable to complete their requirements by the 11pm deadline on 31 August. Sunderland needed cover in goal after first choice Vito Mannone, 28, was ruled out for up to three months with an elbow injury.