Mourinho claims City are ‘untouchable’ ahead of Manchester Derby

Jose Mourinho has claimed that as a footballing business Manchester City are “untouchable” ahead of his Manchester United side’s meeting with the Blues on Sunday.

The Portuguese takes the Red Devils to the Etihad Stadium following three successive wins in all competitions and buoyant following their late comeback victory over Juventus on Wednesday.

City, meanwhile, have scored 12 goals in their last two games, though a series of allegations regarding the club’s finances have dominated the build-up to the weekend’s blockbuster derby clash.

Having refused to comment on the claims earlier in the week, Mourinho was again asked about City’s dealings and alleged Financial Fair Play breaches.

And though the ex-Chelsea boss was keen to suggest that he remains focused on the challenges Pep Guardiola’s side face on the pitch, he did offer an opinion on City’s business dealings since being taken over by the Abu Dhabi United Group.

“It’s difficult for me to answer because I focus on my job,” he told a press conference. “I focus on the four lines, focus on football, so if you want to speak about their football potential we can speak, and football potential starts with investment.

“After that, of course, there is a quality of the work, of the organisation, I think that is untouchable.

“But what is behind, I cannot say. But in this moment I have only to think about football, and to think about football is to think about Manchester City as a football team there.”

Mourinho bringing up City’s investment could be construed as a message to his own vice-chairman Ed Woodward and the United hierachy, with the 55-year-old having previously shown his unhappiness at the club’s lack of spending when compared to their local rivals.

Failures in the transfer market have been cited as a primary reason for the Red Devils’ struggles this term, with United sat seventh in the Premier League table after 11 games.

Jose Mourinho Manchester United 2018-19

And despite their improved recent form, Mourinho is firmly aware of how difficult a task his side face in taking on the league leaders.

He added: “We are going to try. I cannot say we are going to be successful in our motivations, in our desire, but we played two difficult matches away against two very good teams – Chelsea and Juventus – and we managed to get good results.

“Even if the good results were not in our pockets, the performances were there, the positive attitude was there, so we are going to try, but City are a very powerful team.

“If we draw the gap is still nine points, if we lose it’s 12, so I don’t think that is the way to look at the match.

“We have to just think about the match, is difficult enough as an isolated event, if you want to put that match into the context of where we are and where we can be.

“I want to play it as an isolated match, a difficult match against a difficult team, but they will also think it’s a difficult match for them.”

Mourinho could welcome Romelu Lukaku back into his side after the Belgium international missed the wins over Bournemouth and Juve with a hamstring problem.

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Sheffield United vs Sheffield Wednesday Betting Tips: Latest odds, team news, preview and predictions

The Championship is one of the most unpredictable leagues in the world and never more so when it provides punters with a derby.

They don’t come much more heated than the Steel City Derby where Sheffield United take on their bitter rivals Sheffield Wednesday. Two of the most historic sides in England, they share five league titles and seven FA Cups between them despite not meeting in the top division since 1994.

Latest odds

The Blades have had the bragging rights in Sheffield as of late, taking four points from Wednesday last season as well as finishing five places above The Owls.

This campaign has seen more of the same with United flying high in third place whereas Friday’s visitors are sitting in 17th. Unsurprisingly, United are favourites, with Bet365 pricing them up at 8/15 (1.53) , the draw is at 10/3 (4.33) whereas a Wednesday victory is 6/1 (7.0) .

Sheffield Wednesday vs Norwich City 031118

Team news

Defender Chris Basham returns for Sheffield United after serving missing out on the defeat to Nottingham Forest last weekend through suspension, Mark Duffy is a doubt as he continues to struggle with injury.

Sheffield Wednesday have a full squad to choose from and there could be changes a plenty after their embarrassing 4-0 defeat to Norwich last weekend.


The form points towards this being a routine win for Sheffield United. Last season’s 4-2 win at Hillsborough still hasn’t been forgotten between these two sets of fans and this game could end in a similar fashion.

Both teams posses a lot of talent in their squads but there is the feeling that the game will be won or lost in midfield. John Fleck and Oliver Norwood have been two of the Championship’s standout performers this year and Barry Bannan can produce when it matters for The Owls.

Sheffield United vs QPR 110818

As November rolls around again Sheffield United fans will remember Leon Clarke’s excellent record this time last year as he netted nine goals in just four games last November. If he can replicate that type of form this year then we could see a one sided affair at Bramall Lane.

Tips and predictions

With Mark Duffy a doubt Leon Clarke could return to the starting XI and his excellent record in November could mean the 6/5 (2.20) for him to score anytime is a good option.

United have won five of their eight home league games this term while Wednesday have tasted defeat in five of their away trips this term.

The derby atmosphere should work in the Blades’ favour and they should take full advantage of a team that have conceded 30 times already this season, meaning Wednesday boast the joint-worst defence in the second tier.

As a result, the best bet of the day is Sheffield United (-1) on the handicap result at 13/10 (2.30) with bet365. This bet will pay out if the home side win by at least a two-goal margin.

Betting Banner - Best BetBack Sheffield United to win -1 handicap at 13/10 (2.30) for a 1pt stake with bet365

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‘Wenger has unfinished business’ – Ex-Arsenal boss backed for coaching return by Walcott

Theo Walcott considers Arsene Wenger to have “unfinished business” in the coaching world, with the former Arsenal boss being backed to return to the dugout.

The iconic Frenchman remains without a club at present after seeing a 22-year spell with the Gunners brought to a close over the summer.

He has hinted at an imminent return to management, with various posts being mooted.

Wenger has played down links to AC Milan and Real Madrid, while also being linked with Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich, and is expected to land a new job at some point in the near future.

Walcott, who spent 12 years working under the 69-year-old at Arsenal, expects a move to be made soon, telling the BBC’s Premier League Show: “I still think he’s got unfinished business and there’s a missing chapter for him.

“He’s a father figure, he gave me the opportunity at a young age, took the pressure off me and put it on himself when he didn’t need to do it.”

While grateful to Wenger for all that he did for his career, Walcott has reiterated that he was not enjoying life at Emirates Stadium before securing a switch to Everton in January.

He added: “I wasn’t enjoying it. I’ll be honest.

“I was frustrated I wasn’t playing, I didn’t play a lot of the games.

“Having spent so much time there, done so well, it does hurt, but that’s gone now. I had great times but I feel like I’m going to have even greater times here at Everton, I really do.”

Theo Walcott Everton 2018-19

Walcott walked away from Arsenal having netted 108 goals in 397 appearances.

He is now looking to replicate those efforts with Everton and, at 29 years of age, believes that he still has many years at the top level left in him.

“I’ve got a good six or seven years left in me,” he said.

“I look after myself well, my kids keep me healthy.

“But I don’t think I will go into management when I do finish, it’s not for me

“I like working with children, maybe a striking coach with kids or something. Possibly a bit of TV as well.”

Those plans can wait for now, with Walcott currently looking to help Everton build on a run which has seen them collect four victories from their last five Premier League outings to move to within six points of the top four.

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Dani Alves reveals he almost signed for Mourinho & explains Man City snub

PSG defender Dani Alves has revealed just how close he was to signing for Jose Mourinho at Chelsea and explained why he turned down a move to Manchester City.

The Brazil international was still a Sevilla player when he agreed to move to Stamford Bridge in the summer of 2007.

However, the move did not go through and Alves stayed in Seville for another season before joining Barcelona in July 2008.

Now Alves has offered an insight into what caused the deal to collapse, insisting it was not his fault and that he was looking forward to working under Mourinho at Stamford Bridge.

“I didn’t go to Chelsea because of the club, not because of me,” he told Sky Sports.

“I thought it was done, that I was going there to work with him. I don’t know if he got different information, that I didn’t want to go or whatever, because since then our relationship hasn’t been so good, but it wasn’t my fault. I was convinced that I was going to work with him and form part of his team.”

Alves’ subsequent move to Barcelona saw him link up with Pep Guardiola, whose appointment as head coach sparked a glittering period of success for the Catalan club.

Dani Alves Barcelona

The defender won 14 major trophies under Guardiola at Camp Nou and is full of praise for the impact the current Manchester City boss has had on his career.

“Guardiola improved me a lot as a footballer,” added Alves. “He taught me a lot of things and that’s why in every interview I’m asked I always say the same thing: He is the best manager that I have worked with.

“He is a genius at key moments. He knows how to let his players know exactly what they should be doing. On many occasions, he was a manager who won us matches. We just had to follow his instructions.”

After eight trophy-laden seasons with Barcelona, Alves moved to Juventus in 2016, winning the Serie A title and Coppa Italia in his first year in Turin.

But, despite having a year left on his deal, Juve agreed to terminate his contract early the following summer amid reports of a move to Manchester City.

As Goal reported in July 2017, Alves had agreed a deal to move to the Etihad Stadium and a reunion with his former boss Guardiola. However, after being allowed to go on holiday, Alves stunned City officials by deciding to sign for PSG instead.

The 35-year-old has now revealed the reasons behind his dramatic U-turn, which reportedly left Guardiola livid.

“It was all done to go to Manchester City but it didn’t happen because of a family decision,” he said. “Pep knew my intentions. I spoke with him, he knew my intention to work with him and his staff again. He knows the gigantic respect I have for them, which is why I wanted to work with him again until something else came up.

“In life you have to weigh everything up, even when they are just decisions about your career. I like my decisions to be taken carefully, so they don’t harm anyone close to me, so that the people close to me are happy.

“I know that if the people close to me are happy, I am happy, and I can do my job better. For me, it was a shame not to work with Guardiola again because he knows I adore him, but at the same time it was a new challenge which is what changed my mind.”

Alves helped PSG claim a domestic treble last season before suffering a knee injury in May that caused him to miss the World Cup.

He has just one year left on his contract in the French capital and, at 35, knows he is approaching the end of his career.

But, when asked whether he regrets not playing in England, Alves hinted there might still be another chapter in his already illustrious career.

“No, no I don’t regret it… and anyway my career is not over yet,” he said. “English football is a type of football which excites me a lot.”

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Celta Vigo v Real Madrid Betting Tips: Latest odds, team news, preview and predictions

A week has shown itself to be a long time in football, and following the sacking of Julen Lopetegui, his successor Santiago Solari has achieved three wins in seven days at the helm of Real Madrid.

Los Blancos’ most recent success came on Wednesday night as they recorded their biggest win of the season by beating Viktoria Plzen 5-0 in the Champions League.

Solari was named an interim manager upon Lopetegui’s dismissal and the final match of his provisional period in charge is traditionally one of the toughest away trips of the season as the European champions visit Celta Vigo on Sunday night.

Latest odds

In 2018, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico have all visited Celta Vigo’s Balaidos stadium once and none of those sides have been able to return with a win.

Iago Aspas Celta Vigo La Liga 2018

Atletico were beaten 2-0 in September, while both Barca and Madrid were held to 2-2 draws last season. Celta are offered at 37/10 (4.70) with 888Sport to record another win, while Solari’s side are priced at 31/50 (1.62) and the draw at 9/2 (4.50).

Team news

Madrid were missing three of their first choice back four on Wednesday evening, with Dani Carvajal, Marcelo and Raphael Varane all missing. The latter two are almost certainly ruled out for the trip to Vigo, although Carvajal is closing in on a return.

For Celta, Slovakian midfielder Stanislav Lobotka is missing.


Celta Vigo Real Madrid graphic

They may be in 11th place in the table, but Celta are the third top scorers in La Liga so far this season with 20 goals scored in 11 matches.

Between them, Iago Aspas and Maxi Gomez have netted 14 of those 20 goals and the Galicians boast one of the division’s most dangerous strike pairings.

Madrid have rediscovered their scoring touch after an inexplicably long drought earlier in the season and Los Blancos have netted 11 times in their last three matches, albeit against modest opposition.

Tips and predictions

Backing a high scoring game makes plenty of sense therefore and there should be interest in the price of evens (2.00) for over 3.5 goals, a selection which has paid out in eight of the last nine meetings in all competitions.

Also perhaps worthy of consideration is backing Celta to score over 1.5 goals at 31/20 (2.55), which has paid out in four of the last six meetings between these two sides in Vigo. 

Betting Banner - Best BetOver 3.5 goals at evens (2.00) for a 2pt stake with 888Sport

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