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Wilfried Gnonto having impact on return to Leeds squad – Premier League hits and misses | Football News




Gnonto back in the team and effective

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights of Leeds’ win over Wolves

Wilfried Gnonto was benched for games against Chelsea and Brighton but after returning to the starting line-up he was a crucial factor for Leeds in their 4-2 win over Wolves. It was Gnonto who set up the opening goal for Jack Harrison.

His cross made Harrison’s task fairly easy and it was the third time the winger had troubled Wolves, although the goal didn’t come until the sixth minute of the game. The Italy international being allowed to isolate his marker is a real weapon for Leeds.

This freedom wasn’t always there for Gnonto. It had become so obvious that the team depended on him to create that he received a lot of attention. Perhaps those two games helped the team because Wolves weren’t ready to deal with him.
Adam Bate

Will returning Isak fire Newcastle into the Champions League?

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WATCH FREE: Nottingham Forest v Newcastle highlights in the Premier League

One wonders how much higher up the table Newcastle United would be if Alexander Isak had been fit all season?

The striker of Sweden bought by Real Sociedad last summer for £63m scored on his Liverpool debut in August only to then sustain a serious thigh tear while settling at St James’ Park.

That injury sidelined Isak for the remainder of 2022, with the forward missing 16 games in total before finally returning in January.

However, since returning to full fitness, the 23-year-old has shown the kind of form we saw from him before his sacking and, following Friday night’s double at the City Ground, he has scored four goals in his last two games at the club.

His manager Eddie Howe now appears to have decided to go for the run-in with Isak ahead of veteran frontman Callum Wilson, and you can see why given his impressive scoring record for the Magpies.

Isak has scored six Premier League goals in just 10 games for the club this season, at an impressive rate of one goal every 115 minutes.
Richard Morgan

Leicester show their quality in second-half turnaround

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WATCH FREE: Highlights of the 1-1 draw between Brentford and Leicester

The writing appeared to be on the wall for visitors to west London. Leicester’s first-half performance had revealed their recent problems: a lack of cutting edge in attack and insecurity at the back.

But a wonderful team goal to equalize at the beginning of the second half reminded of the quality in this team. Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall was brilliant in midfield and deterred challenges, James Maddison did what he does best in the pocket by leading a through ball into the box and Harvey Barnes was dynamic and then deadly with his finish.

Brendan Rodgers threw both arms up in the sky with joy and relief. It was the kind of exercise he enjoys.

The goal restored his team’s confidence and although there was no winner, which would have significantly boosted their standing in the relegation battle, they denied Brentford a shot on target in the second half to secure the result. This will be seen as a positive move for a side that’s certainly too good to fail.
Peter Smith

Brentford raised expectations

Brentford are unbeaten in ten consecutive home games in the Premier League. In the race for Europe they are level on points with seventh-placed Brighton. Still, feeling full-time in their draw with Leicester was one of frustration. It’s a sign of how Thomas Frank has raised the standards for this side.

Brentford haven’t won a game, they’ve had more possession this season and they couldn’t convert their extra time on the ball into a win on Saturday either. Frank later admitted his forwards didn’t shoot, and perhaps that leads to questions about the creativity behind them.

But in the first half they wreaked havoc in the Leicester box with their direct play and perhaps the second-half abandonment is partly due to midweek efforts.

Frank looked tired in his post-match press conference and perhaps the international break comes at a good time for Brentford as it offers a chance to refresh their minds and bodies for their final 11 games where they hope to at least consolidate their strength high league place.

“Yes and no because I know what this group of players can do,” Frank said when asked if his side exceeded expectations. He and his team are ambitious but, overall, Brentford’s superb season deserves credit.
Peter Smith

Emery’s vision comes to life in Villa

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Unai Emery will be hoping his Aston Villa players can continue to perform well in their remaining games after his side defeated Bournemouth

“The last two games against Crystal Palace and today were the best two games we’ve played here in the style I want to create.”

It may have taken some time but Unai Emery is finally seeing his vision come to life at Aston Villa. His side are now unbeaten in four Premier League games and level on points with Chelsea.

It was also an impressive performance from Aston Villa. They look devastating up front and play a wonderful one-touch pass with speed and accuracy.

They didn’t always have it to their liking either, but they look solid at the back. Blocks and clearances from Matty Cash and Tyrone Mings come to mind, while Emi Martinez looked unbeatable in goal at times.

But perhaps one player who has benefited most from Emery’s arrival is Douglas Luiz. He scored the first goal and the later two were triggered by his set piece delivery.

Luiz has been directly involved in six goals (2 goals, 4 assists) in 14 Premier League games under the Spaniard this season, having provided one goal and one assist in his 12 games this season under Steven Gerrard and Aaron Danks .

Emery described Aston Villa’s victory as a confirmation of his side’s status in the Premier League and now they may very well start to look up. A crack in Europe may be just six points away – and don’t forget, Emery has won the Europa League three times as a manager.

But even if European football is a bit too far away this season, there’s no reason why Aston Villa fans can’t dream of it in the near future.
Charlotte March

Bournemouth’s soft belly exposed

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WATCH FREE: Aston Villa v Bournemouth highlights

Confidence in the Bournemouth squad would have been high after impressive performances against Arsenal and Liverpool. They still have a chance of surviving relegation – but losing at Aston Villa will be a bruise.

They were nullified by a slow start to the game – Douglas Luiz scored within seven minutes – and a lack of focus in the last fifteen minutes as Jacob Ramsey and Emi Buendia finished things off for Villa.

But for the incidents, Bournemouth often paired with an Aston Villa side that looked up rather than down. The home defense needed to be sharp and intercept some crucial interceptions, while Emi Martinez’s superb save from a Philip Billing free-kick was a timely reminder of his World Cup-winning tradition.

Aston Villa just looked like a high quality, smarter team and they punished Bournemouth for their mistakes. Especially the defense of the Cherries from standard situations left a lot to be desired at times.

For example, while the big results and wins are crucial – as well as core memories for fans – it’s the weekly drudgery of traveling to teams like Aston Villa or Brentford that can make or break a season. You must appear in each of them to have a chance of survival.

While Bournemouth’s soft belly was certainly revealed at Villa Park, they showed they have the quality to stay on top. You must now use these positive qualities sensibly.
Charlotte March

Wolves need to focus on their own mistakes

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Julen Lopetegui slammed the referee’s decisions at key moments in Wolves’ loss to Leeds on Saturday

Julen Lopetegui pointed to the decision not to award Wolves a penalty for a foul by Junio ​​Firpo on Nelson Semedo that even left right-back injured and was equally stunned that the referee didn’t allow Leeds’ fourth goal despite being asked the monitor had lifted.

The shirt pull on Adama Traore was clear and with that frustration coming so soon after a penalty was not awarded for Nick Pope’s foul on Raul Jimenez at Newcastle, Lopetegui probably has a fair claim when he says the margins are against his side go .

However, it’s their own mistakes rather than those of the officials that should be of greater concern to the Spaniard. Wolves had enough chances against Leeds to get something out of that game, despite conceding four goals at the other end, but still lack pluck.

They scored two goals, a 41-yard lob and a deflected shot, but it was the misses that will linger – Raul Jimenez not finding the net from the six-yard box, Pablo Sarabia passing with an open goal . It’s been taking too long now to expect it to turn around.

That waste means Wolves need to be solid defensively to win games – most of their wins this season have been 1-0. But organization at the back was lacking following Craig Dawson’s substitution. Bad in both boxes. It’s a combination that risks relegation.
Adam Bate


Marcell Ozuna, Braves looking solid again in 2023’s NL East




Life must be pretty good for the Atlanta brave. You can sit back and follow all the headlines about New York Mets and their Correa fiasco or the Mets and theirs Edwin Diaz fiascoor the Philly Phillies sign Trea Turner without really solving the problem that their outfield will look like a demolition derby most nights.

Sure, there was the divisional round loss when Spencer Strider boomed and Brian Snitker kinda fell asleep in the process. But if the Braves’ rally in the ninth inning produced just one more run in Game 1, they might have thrown that streak back to Atlanta and White Flight Park for a Game 5. With edges like that…

This is still a 101-win team supporting their World Series-winning team. The Braves didn’t have to do much, and they didn’t really do it. Their big moves consisted of trading catcher William Contreras for Sean Murphy, then laughing maniacally at the Cubs when they decided to overpay Dansby Swanson, the only homegrown product the Braves came out the door, and then played Galaga again. Murphy is the better overall player than Contreras or an aging Travis d’Arnaud, but he will do well to match Contreras’ overhead production last year (138 wRC+). d’Arnaud as a backup is a good thing.

Other than that, the Braves themselves are running back pretty much like the Mets, only without the noise and don’t have to replace nearly as much as New York. Your questions are left and at DH where both Eddie Rosario and Marcell Ozuna decompose (what is good in the case of Ozuna). Vaughn Grissom didn’t take the shortstop job in spring training, so he’ll start the year in AAA, but shortly be the starting SS, it’s envisioned. Grissom batted well on his cameo last year (.291/.353/.440) but was pretty solid on second base. Even when he emerges from the minors, it’s a mystery if he can handle Short every day. That and Orlando Arcia’s brief interlude is still what the Braves preferred over Swanson’s payment. Still, it’s the only spot in the lineup where the Braves lost something and didn’t actually replace it, and it might be something they feel they need to address after the trade deadline if Grissom never finds it. They also lost some depth when Adam Duvall trotted over to Boston, and the bench will pretty much end up being Arcia and Kevin Pillar, who occasionally bumps into a wall.

The first four of the rotation return intact, and Michael Soroka’s inability to eat the cursed frog is also intact as he’s back on the IL with hamstring problems. Ian Anderson has broken away from fifth place and is expected to be replaced by top prospect Jared Schuster (was there ever a bolder name than “Jared Schuster?”). Turning 40 right after the season, Charlie Morton started dealing with it last year as hitters have had far more success sending their pitches into someone’s beer mugs outside of the various walls of MLB. They’ll hope to move him down the pecking order if Spencer Strider can pitch 130+ innings, Kyle Wright gains more experience, and maybe Soroka can track down the gremlin that lives in his house and eventually kill him and be his fate can change.

They got rid of Kenley Jansen at the pen and handed things over to A full-time.J Minter, and found one of the few useful tigers in Joe Jimenez on the trade (he beat a third of the thugs he faced last year and you certainly didn’t hear about it).

Everything about the Braves seems to be standard now. The core of that roster is basically locked in until Fried hits free agency after the 2024 season. Even with their left and DH and short holes, they’re so good everywhere else they can basically sleepwalk to 95 wins. The rotation issues are all below and fixable.

The Mets are still lacking some power and the top of their rotation has a combined age of Gandalf. The Phillies will miss their best player halfway through the season and treat baseball like it’s covered in scorpions selling knives many nights. And the Braves just hum along.

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Cristiano Ronaldo breaks men’s international caps record, scores double




Soccer Football - UEFA Euro 2024 Qualifying - Group J - Portugal v Liechtenstein - Estadio Jose Alvalade, Lisbon, Portugal - March 23, 2023 Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo reacts

UEFA Euro 2024 Qualifier – Group J – Portugal v Liechtenstein – Estadio Jose Alvalade, Lisbon, Portugal – March 23, 2023 Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo reacts REUTERS/Pedro Nunes

Cristiano Ronaldo broke the men’s international record on Thursday and marked the occasion by scoring twice in Portugal’s 4-0 win over Liechtenstein in Euro 2024 qualifiers.

The 38-year-old who was deposed by the Portuguese first choice XI during the World Cup in Qatar last year, he won the 197th international match for his country as a starter in Lisbon.

After earlier goals from Joao Cancelo and Bernardo Silva, he scored a penalty in the 51st minute before bringing home a free-kick 12 minutes later.

It was Ronaldo’s record-breaking 120th goal for his country and made him the first man to score 100 goals in internationals.

“Records are my motivation,” Ronaldo told reporters on Wednesday.

“I want to be the record player in history. That would make me proud.

“But it doesn’t stop there, I would like to be called very often.”

Ronaldo made his international debut in 2003 and became the first man to score in five World Cups in the past year before Portugal lost to Morocco in the quarter-finals.

He currently plays for the Saudi club Al Nassr after a bitter end to his second spell at Manchester United.

Ronaldo’s appearance from the bench in the defeat by Morocco equaled the previous mark of 196 caps for Kuwait Bader Al-Mutawa.

He left the pitch in tears after Portugal’s 1-0 defeat by the North Africans.

Since leaving Europe, Ronaldo has scored nine goals in ten games for Al Nassr.

He was replaced as a starting striker by Goncalo Ramos during the World Cup, with the Benfica youngster scoring a hat-trick in the Round of 16 win over Switzerland.

Ronaldo’s captaincy

Soccer Football - UEFA Euro 2024 Qualifying - Group J - Portugal v Liechtenstein - Estadio Jose Alvalade, Lisbon, Portugal - March 23, 2023 Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo reacts

UEFA Euro 2024 Qualifying – Group J – Portugal v Liechtenstein – Estadio Jose Alvalade, Lisbon, Portugal – March 23, 2023 Portugal coach Roberto Martinez with Cristiano Ronaldo after being replaced by REUTERS/Pedro Nunes

But veteran coach Fernando Santos resigned after the tournament and new boss Roberto Martinez immediately put his faith in Ronaldo, who was also the team’s captain.

There have been questions as to whether his 20-year international career was over in Qatar as Ronaldo will be 39 when Euro 2024 starts.

But Martinez, who gave up his role as Belgium coach after the World Cup, has strongly defended his decision to keep Ronaldo in the herd.

“To be in the national team, you have to get involved,” said the Spaniard on Thursday.

“It’s a new cycle. It is very important that a player shows commitment and can contribute his experience.

“Cristiano has that: a lot of experience and a lot of commitment to the national team.”

Portugal started the qualification perfectly with a clear win against Liechtenstein.

Cancelo scored the only goal of the first half in the eighth minute but the floodgates opened after the break.

Bernardo Silva doubled the lead less than two minutes into the second half before Ronaldo hammered a penalty into the bottom corner.

A powerful free kick from the edge of the penalty area flew through the hands of goalkeeper Benjamin Buchel and completed the goal.

Ronaldo came on as a late substitute for Ramos with the much-anticipated Changing of the Guard put on hold.

Ronaldo adds the international appearances milestone to an impressive list of individual records.

He is the top scorer at EURO finals with 14 goals and has scored 140 goals in the Champions League.

Ronaldo has also been top scorer in three of Europe’s top five leagues – in England, Spain and Italy.

Portugal will visit Luxembourg in their second Group J qualifier on Sunday.

They were also drawn alongside Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iceland and Slovakia.


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Suns vs. Kings prediction and odds for Friday, March 24




Just two games behind the Memphis Grizzlies for the Western Conference No. 2, Sacramento hosts Phoenix tonight in a crucial matchup for both teams overall.

The Sacramento Kings lost each of their last two games but won 11 of the previous 13 before that. They beat the Phoenix Suns away earlier this month and are now hoping for a similar result at home.

Phoenix has been struggling lately after losing five out of six and is in danger of falling even into the play-in tournament in an extremely close race in the west.

I see clear value on one side, so let’s look at the odds and jump in.

Suns vs. Kings odds, spread and total

Suns vs. Kings prediction and selection

Despite two losses in the past few days, this is a great setback point for Sacramento. Not only did the Kings beat that Suns roster recently, but Phoenix is ​​reeling at the moment.

The Suns have not covered the spread in six straight games and have been unable to cover nearly eight points per contest on average. They’re still a good team, but the market seems to be overvaluing Phoenix and undervaluing Kings here.

Sacramento is 10-5 against the spread in their last 15 games thanks to the NBA’s best offensive rating (123.1) at that stretch. The Kings are 4-1 in the last five as home favorites and should be able to capitalize on an injury-plagued Phoenix roster.

Watch for De’Aaron Fox and Damontas Sabonis to lead Sacramento to a convincing home win and continue the Suns’ descent in the standings.

Game odds are updated regularly and are subject to change.

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