Guardiola hails ‘extraordinary’ Fernandinho after Burnley drubbing

Pep Guardiola has singled out an “extraordinary” Fernandinho after the midfielder scored a breathtaking goal in a 5-0 defeat of Burnley that sent Manchester City back to the top of the Premier League.

City were already on track for victory at the Etihad Stadium thanks to goals from Sergio Aguero and Bernardo Silva before the Brazilain’s rocket secured all three points for the champions.

Riyad Mahrez and Leroy Sane added further goals in the closing stages, with an ideal day for City completed by Kevin De Bruyne’s return to action after two months on the sidelines.

But it was Fernandinho and John Stones – the England defender filling in on the right side of defence – who caught Guardiola’s eye.

“All the players make a good performance, especially John, playing in a position that is not natural for him in the absence of Kyle [Walker] and Danilo,” the Spaniard told a news conference. 

“He did really well, Fernandinho made an extraordinary performance and in general, especially in the second half, it was a good performance.

“Fernandinho was so important for us, no doubt. Today he was clever in finding more time to find the strikers, wingers and attacking midfielders. His body shape, every time he received the ball he was ready to play.

“So he was incredible, today was one of the best performances of the season and we’re delighted, he is a key player for us.”

Mahrez bounced back from missing a penalty at the end of a 0-0 draw at Liverpool before the international break with a fine display that was capped with the goal of the day, a 25-yard curler which beat Joe Hart on his return to the Etihad.

“He played so good at Anfield, that’s why I decided to play him again,” Guardiola told reporters of the former Leicester City star. “It was not easy there, he plays with a lot of personality, football can happen, but only takers can miss penalties.

“He scored an incredible goal, with an aggressive approach with the ball to go to the full-backs, the movement between the full-backs, especially in the second half with Phil [Foden], was so good. The second half Bernardo moved better in that position and we made a good performance.

“But we knew it – he [Mahrez] is a talented player and a guy who likes to play with the ball and he doesn’t miss balls. In the box, he is a dangerous guy because he can go to the byline or score with his left or his right, he is a good signing for us.”

City face Shahktar Donetsk in the Champions League on Tuesday and Guardiola indicated the returning De Bruyne is ready to play a part.

“He has no pain, physically he is a guy who is so strong, he needs minutes, this is the first time he played 30 minutes and this is so important,” the Catalan continued.

“We have a lot of games but of course he’s not new – not like Riyad – three years together so when I say something he knows what we have to do. He’s another important player and he’s back and will help us to achieve what we want to do. The first target is to play good.”

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Barcelona vs Sevilla: TV channel, live stream, squad news & preview

Barcelona are looking to leapfrog Sevilla and return to the top of La Liga when the sides meet at Camp Nou on Saturday.

The visitors had been the surprise league leaders after eight games, having taken advantage of stuttering starts made by both Barca and Real Madrid, but lost out on top spot to Alaves on Friday and need a point against Ernesto Valverde’s side to go back to the summit.

Game Barcelona vs Sevilla
Date Saturday, October 20
Time 7.45pm BST / 2.45pm ET
Stream (US only) fubo TV (7-day free trial)

TV Channel, Live Stream & How To Watch

In the United States (US), the game can be watched live and on-demand with fuboTV (7-day free trial).

New users can sign up for a free seven-day trial of the live sports streaming service, which can be accessed via iOS, Android, Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, Roku and Apple TV as well as on a web browser.

US TV channel Online stream
beIN Sports fubo TV (7-day free trial)

In the United Kingdom (UK), the game can be watched live on TV on Eleven Sports 1 and it can be streamed live online using the Eleven Sports app.

UK TV channel Online stream
Eleven Sports 1 UK Eleven Sports

Squads & Team News

Position Barcelona squad
Goalkeepers Ter Stegen, Cillessen, Ezkieta
Defenders Semedo, Pique, Lenglet, Alba, Umtiti, Vermaelen, Miranda, Cuenca
Midfielders Rakitic, Busquets, Suarez, Coutinho, Melo, Rafinha, Samper, Roberto, Vidal
Forwards Suarez, Messi, Dembele, Malcom

Barca are without Samuel Umtiti and Thomas Vermaelen in defence through injury. Malcom is also missing up-front.

Confirmed Barcelona XI:  Ter Stegen, Semedo, Pique, Lenglet, Alba, Busquets, Rakitic, Arthur, Coutinho, Messi, Suarez.

Position Sevilla squad
Goalkeepers Vaclik, Soriano
Defenders Gomez, Kjaer, Vidal, Carrico, Escudero, Arana, Gnagnon, Mercado
Midfielders Amadou, Mesa, Banega, Gonalons, Navas, Sarabia, Lasso, Vasquez
Forwards Nolito, Ben Yedder, Silva, Muriel, Promes

Confirmed Sevilla XI: Vaclik; Carriço, Kjaer, Gómez, Arana; Navas, Sarabia, Banega, Vázquez; André Silva, Ben Yedder

Betting & Match Odds

Barcelona are 1/3 favourites to win. Sevilla are 23/4 and the draw is 19/4.

Click here to see more offers for the game, including goalscoring markets, correct score predictions and more.

Match Preview

Luis Suarez Barcelona 2018-19

Barcelona are without a win in four in La Liga having suffered a startling collapse in form, and conceded their place at the top of the table with a 1-1 draw against Valencia before the international break.

Defeat at Leganes in September halted an unbeaten start for last season’s champions and Barca, who are facing a defensive crisis with Samuel Umtiti and Thomas Vermaelen both out of contention, have watched Saturday’s opponents leap ahead of them in the early-season title race. Those injuries leave Gerard Pique and Clement Lenglet as Ernesto Valverde’s only fit centre-backs.

“We hope he [Umtiti] will be back soon with us because there are important games coming up,” said Valverde.

“[Sergio] Busquets could play in defence, we’ll look for solutions if we need them.

“It’s possible that I will use players from the B team.

“We have quality to count on in the first-team squad and in the B squad.

Barca edged out Sevilla 2-1 with a late goal from Ousmane Dembele in the Spanish Super Cup in August, but Pablo Machin’s side have since won five of their eight league games, and will leapfrog surprise leaders Alaves at the top of the table if they avoid defeat at Camp Nou.

“Sevilla are a team on a good run,” said Valverde. “The game in the Super Cup is a reference point, but they can change the team and they have more options now.”

Barcelona face Inter Milan in the Champions League on Wednesday, before the first Clasico of the season against Real Madrid next Sunday.

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Salah ends Liverpool goal drought to hit half-century in English football

Mohamed Salah has reached 50 goals in English football after finding the target for Liverpool in their Premier League clash with Huddersfield.

The Egypt international headed into a clash at the John Smith’s Stadium facing questions regarding his return in 2018-19.

Having landed the Golden Boot during his debut campaign at Anfield, expectation levels have risen around the 26 year old.

He had gone four games without hitting the next prior to facing the Terriers, with just three efforts recorded in 11 appearances.

But Salah required just 24 minutes to get back into the groove during a trip to West Yorkshire.

His latest effort also saw him hit a notable landmark across his time in England.

Salah first graced English football after linking up with Chelsea in January 2014.

He struggled for regular minutes throughout his time at Stamford Bridge and managed just two goals in 19 outings.

His reputation was then rebuilt in Italy with Fiorentina and Roma, allowing him to return to the Premier League as a markedly different player in the summer of 2017.

Salah hit the net 35 times in the Premier League last season, while managing 44 efforts across all competitions.

Taking his tally to four this term means that he can now boast a half-century of strikes.

Liverpool will be hoping that there are many more to come, with Jurgen Klopp’s side chasing down major silverware.

Salah helped himself to a number of individual prizes in 2017-18, but collective honours are now the order of the day for a team approaching seven years without a trophy.

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Ronaldo sets another record as latest Juventus goal takes him to 400 in Europe’s top five leagues

Cristiano Ronaldo continues to redefine the art of goalscoring, with the Juventus superstar now the first man to record 400 efforts across Europe’s top five leagues.

The Portugal international burst onto the scene at Sporting but required a move away from his homeland in order for his full potential to be unlocked.

Manchester United were happy to provide that stage in 2003 and saw Ronaldo find the target 84 times in the Premier League during a productive spell at Old Trafford.

A record-breaking move then took the five-time Ballon d’Or winner to Real Madrid, where countless records would fall to the 33-year-old.

Ronaldo hit 311 La Liga efforts for the Blancos in just 292 appearances in the Spanish top-flight.

Juventus invested €100 million (£88m/$115m) worth of faith in that prolific strike rate over the summer and have seen an all-time great overcome a slow start to deliver the goods expected of him.

Ronaldo headed into a meeting with Genoa on Saturday with four goals for the Bianconeri to his name, with two of those coming in Serie A.

He bolstered that tally inside 18 minutes of his latest outing and hit another notable landmark in the process.

Ronaldo has spent much of his career battling with Lionel Messi for the right to be considered the best in the business.

He has been able to better the Barcelona talisman in a number of goal-getting areas, with the race to 100 Champions League goals among the more notable that the Portuguese has prevailed in.

He has now beaten the mercurial Argentine to the 400 league goal mark, with one-club man Messi currently sat on 389 at Camp Nou.

The South American star will be hoping to close the gap and hit that target himself this season, and could catch Ronaldo in time as he is two years younger than his eternal rival.

It is, however, the man in Turin who is currently revelling in yet another entry to the history books.

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‘Prove you’re crazy about Inter’ – Spalletti rallies players ahead of Milan derby

Manager Luciano Spalletti has challenged his players to prove they are “crazy about Inter” by winning the Milan derby at San Siro on Sunday.

Inter are four points ahead of AC Milan and have not lost any of their previous four Serie A meetings with their city rivals, though last October’s 3-2 victory remains their only win during that time.

Spalletti, who took charge in 2017, acknowledged that a derby game is like no other and had no intention of playing it down, calling on his players to show just how much playing for the club means to them.

“The derby is a match that means a lot more because of what it can create in the minds of the players and the fans,” Spalletti told a media conference.

“This week we’ve focused exclusively on the derby.

“This match is the best gauge of just how crazy we are about Inter.”

Spalletti noted the contest has extra significance for Inter fans and suggested it might mean more to them than landmark dates in their personal lives.

“We want to play this derby in an open style,” he added.

“There will be a lot of Inter fans at the stadium and an extra stand of fans who are watching from home.

“The Inter fans might forget the date of their spouse’s birthday, but they won’t forget the result in the derby. If you want to make Inter history, you need to win these games.”

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