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Thread: The Official TCSS Thread

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    Lionel Messi on target as Barcelona beat Real Madrid to win ICC

    espnfc.com

    Barcelona got the better of Real Madrid by a final score of 3-2 in the team's International Champions Cup match in Miami on Saturday night.

    The hype leading up to the match was matched by the drama in its opening seconds, as Neymar suffered an early injury and was forced off before returning minutes later.

    Shortly after the knock to Neymar, Lionel Messi opened the scoring for Barcelona, evading Luka Modric with a deft touch and then seeing his shot take a fortuitous deflection off Raphael Varane.

    Neymar made an immediate impact upon his return, dribbling down the left flank and playing the ball across the top of the penalty area where Ivan Rakitic smashed home from 18 yards to make it 2-0 inside of eight minutes.

    Madrid looked shaky in the opening 10 minutes, but they quickly cut the deficit in half when Mateo Kovacic beat Gerard Pique in the 13th minute and neatly finished from 18 yards away past Jasper Cillessen.

    Karim Benzema nearly had Real back on level terms, using Marco Asensio as a decoy on the counter-attack before blazing his left-footed shot just wide of the post.

    Barca needed just four passes to go from their end to the Madrid penalty area in the 28th minute, with Luis Suarez setting Neymar up only for the 25-year-old's shot to roll just wide of the far post after some slick footwork.



    And Asensio would level in the 36th minute on the counter-attack, getting a return pass from Kovacic after a long run and firing past Cillessen after beating Jordi Alba in the penalty area and send the teams to the dressing room at 2-2.

    Gerard Pique wasted no time putting Barcelona back in front in the second half, getting on the end of an inswinging Neymar free kick and volleying home over Keylor Navas after some woeful defending by Madrid.

    Navas would come up big minutes later though, doing just enough to force a Neymar miss after he'd broken free in the Real Madrid penalty area.

    At the other end, Cillessen answered his opposite number with a fine save from an Isco strike that looked certain to even the score between the La Liga rivals.

    Wholesale changes came after the hour mark, with Messi coming off for Barcelona and the match settling into the type of pace more usual in a friendly.

    However, just past the 80-minute mark, it was Cillessen denying Isco again after the attacker cut in from the left and curled a shot toward the back post that would have gone in had it not been for the fingertip save of the Barca keeper.

    Barcelona concluded their U.S. tour with the ICC North American trophy for 2017, while Real Madrid will go on to play Major League Soccer's All Stars in Chicago on Wednesday.

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    Default Re: The Official TCSS Thread

    LOL…..only one fag talking to himself here….LOL.

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    As Miami enjoys a thrilling Clasico, the saga of Neymar's future rumbles on

    By Gabriele Marcotti
    espnfc.com

    MIAMI -- For many, it did not matter: The ICC Miami version of El Clasico was not going to be overshadowed. 65,000 plus, clad in the colors of Barcelona and Real Madrid's eternal rivalry, braved the soupy South Florida night to see the stars they usually only see in HD and in two dimensions and were treated to a show.

    But for the rest, particularly those whose blood runs Blaugrana or who simply are fascinated by the sport's journey through time, there was a question haunting the heavy air over Miami's Hard Rock stadium like an uninvited presence.

    Was this Neymar's final appearance in a Barcelona jersey? Were we really about to witness a doubling of the world record transfer fee? Was the likeliest heir to the Lionel Messi-Cristiano Ronaldo duopoly, which has dominated the game for the past decade, really going to turn his back on the cathedral of the Camp Nou and the spotlight of La Liga for away days at Angers and Amiens?

    Those questions remain unanswered.

    There was no public farewell. No dramatic heel turn. No sudden departure from the script... although when Dani Carvajal clattered into Neymar inside of a minute and he got up slowly, limping noticeably for the next minute or so, you couldn't help but wonder if maybe he wasn't reaching for the escape hatch of an early substitution.

    After all, if you were on the verge of a half-billion dollar-plus deal -- between transfer fee and wages over the next five years -- would you really jeopardize it by playing in a preseason friendly against your arch-rival?

    But whatever else people might call Neymar over the next month, nobody can dare call him unprofessional. He stayed out there for 73 minutes, racing around the pitch, dispensing nuggets of magic and coming close to scoring on several occasions.

    After the game ended in a 3-2 win for Barcelona, those who looked for clues as to what might happen next were left disappointed. Neymar waved to the crowd no more and no less than he would have in normal circumstances. He joked and laughed with his teammates. He spent a seeming eternity chatting with Casemiro and Marcelo -- club rivals, yes, but also Selecao teammates -- hands placed over mouth to deny lip-readers. At one point, all three doubled over in laughter, guffawing at something Marcelo said.

    Maybe one day, when he writes his autobiography or, perhaps more likely, produces some sort of virtual reality biopic of his life, we might find out what this evening was really like for Neymar. But, for right now, good luck finding any meaning there; this was business as usual.

    Except it wasn't. We're days away from either the most audacious and expensive footballing decision in history or, possibly, the most dramatic, high profile U-turn anyone can remember and the guy in the middle of it appears to be in the eye of the hurricane: unperturbed and inscrutable.



    Meanwhile, everything swirls around him. Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu is insisting that if Paris Saint-Germain want Neymar -- and he wants to leave -- they'll need to pay every last cent of his €222 million release clause.

    Gerard Pique is telling ESPN's Hannah Storm that Neymar "doesn't know what he wants" though, increasingly, that seems like wishful thinking: There are enough people who are convinced his mind is made up.

    PSG's lawyers and commercial folks have put together what's bound to be one of the most complicated and detailed contracts around, because Neymar isn't just a footballer, he's equal parts corporate entity, mission statement and magic money tree.

    Parisian bean-counters are figuring out how they can make this work without breaching UEFA's Financial Fair Play Regulations and agents everywhere are asking themselves whether we're living through a paradigm shift.

    That's because, if Neymar can justifiably be worth a quarter of a billion dollars, then every generic Dieter Defender, Frankie Footballer, Simone Striker and Carlos Kickball they represent is worth a whole heck of a lot more than they thought.

    This is seismic. And it's not just the size of the deal, it's the psychological blow it would deal to an entity that, rightly, views itself as "more than a club." One that is on the precipice of seeing someone walk into their house, whip out a roll of bills and walk out with a chunk of the family jewels. And all this while being entirely powerless to stop what is happening, beyond pleading and begging.

    There will be time to break this down, if and when it happens... or doesn't happen. Time to learn how Barcelona will plug that Neymar-shaped hole in their lineup, for example.

    Time to begin to understand how Barcelona could have gotten it so wrong less than year ago when they extended Neymar's contract and set a buyout clause that someone might actually be willing to pay in the very near future.

    Time to figure out what tough choices PSG might make, given that Neymar would be joining a squad already replete with attacking midfielder/winger types -- more than $250m worth in fact -- in Lucas Moura, Julian Draxler, Javier Pastore, Angel Di Maria and Goncalo Guedes.

    Time to see what type of final deal these two clubs ultimately work out, since a player-plus-cash transfer --- rather than a straight buyout -- is considerably more beneficial to both parties from a practical, accounting and FFP standpoint.

    Time to investigate whether any deal ends up being as murky and with implications as far-reaching as the one that took Neymar to the Camp Nou in the first place in 2013, a move that ultimately cost Barcelona president Sandro Rosell his job and his freedom.

    And, most of all, time to try and understand whether Neymar's decision was a function of wanting to be the main man and turn a great club into a legendary one or, more crassly, about cold, hard, cash.

    All of that will have to wait. All we have for now is a supremely talented megastar who, for a few hours on a Miami night, gave the impression that absolutely nothing is going on.

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    Barcelona confirm PSG target Neymar wants to leave, demand €222m

    By Samuel Marsden
    espnfc.com

    Barcelona have confirmed that Paris Saint-Germain target Neymar intends to leave the club but insisted that his €222 million buyout clause be paid in full.

    Neymar, who flew back to Catalonia on Tuesday after a promotional trip to China, had been expected to resume training on Wednesday despite being strongly linked with a move to PSG.

    The Brazil international was photographed driving into Barca training, but the club then announced on Twitter: "Neymar Jr hasn't trained on Wednesday with the permission of the coach."

    Contacted by ESPN FC, a Barcelona spokesperson said: "Firstly, the player came to training today as expected; secondly, he spoke to his teammates to say goodbye because his intention is to leave the club; and thirdly, due to the situation the manager has given him permission not to train."

    The club later released a statement, which read: "The player Neymar Jr, accompanied by his father and agent, has informed FC Barcelona this morning of his decision to leave the Club in a meeting held at the Club's offices.

    "Faced with this position, the Club has informed them they refer to the buy-out clause of his existing contract which as of 1 July totals 222 million euros which will have to be deposited in its entirety."

    Barca also referred to the €26m bonus that Neymar's father had been due to collect this week as part of the contract renewal his son signed last year.

    Given that Neymar is now expected to leave before completing that contract, Barca believe they should pay only a percentage of the fee.

    The statement continued: "In reply to the claim for the contract extension bonus, the Club has once again made it clear that the amount remains deposited with a notary until the case is resolved," the statement continued.

    "The player remains under contract at FC Barcelona but with temporary permission to not take part in training sessions."

    La Liga president Javier Tebas had earlier said the Spanish league will not accept the money for the buyout clause and vowed to complain about PSG to UEFA and the European Union for what he feels are clear breaches of financial fair play.

    Meanwhile, Wagner Ribeiro, who is no longer officially Neymar's agent but still does work for his father's company, N&N Consulting, confirmed to ESPN FC he was in Paris to finalise a deal with PSG.

    Ribeiro had written on Twitter on Wednesday: "Marvellous Paris, of the Eiffel Tower, of wine, of gastronomy and of FOOTBALL."

    A source told ESPN FC last month that Neymar had already agreed terms on a contract, while French publication L'Equipe had reported on Tuesday that a PSG medical was likely to take place either at the end of the week or on Monday.

    PSG goalkeeper Alphonse Areola has used his Twitter account to deny that he told ParisFans.fr on Tuesday that Neymar was expected in Paris for a medical. ParisFans.fr said it stands by the interview.

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    It's time to resurrect this thread for the new season of the EPL.
    First game tonight:
    Arsenal vs Leicester City (K.O. 2.45a.m).
    Mrs. Robinson, you're trying to seduce me... Aren't you?

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    Arsenal's Arsene Wenger 'not super optimistic' on Alexis Sanchez stay

    By Ian Holyman
    espnfc.com

    Arsene Wenger has told SFR Sport that Arsenal have the "firm intention" of not selling Alexis Sanchez this summer but he is "not super optimistic" of keeping him beyond this season.

    Sanchez, 28, has been strongly linked with Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City and has less than a year remaining on his contract.

    Arsenal have refused to consider selling the forward, who hit 24 goals in 38 league games last term, a tally bettered only by Harry Kane and Romelu Lukaku in the English top flight.

    However, Wenger said: "He's an Arsenal player in the short term. Now, will we manage to extend his contract?

    "We didn't manage to do that last season so I'm not super optimistic in that regard, but we have the firm intention of not selling him."

    Sanchez will miss Arsenal's Premier League opener with Leicester City on Friday night due to an abdominal strain, with Wenger having said this week he is "out for a while."

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    Arsenal 4 Leicester City 3. very exciting game ?

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    A decent entertaining game. Credit to Arsenal for fighting back from 3-2 down.
    Still too early to make a prediction but on this performance I don't think either of these teams will win the title.
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  9. #14269
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    Entertaining and exciting game.

    Olivier Giroud the hero as Arsenal come back to beat Leicester 4-3

    By Michael Cox
    espnfc.com

    LONDON -- Arsenal's new stars took centre stage, but it would fall to old faithful, Olivier Giroud, to score the late goal in a 4-3 comeback win vs. Leicester. Here are three quick thoughts from the Emirates ...

    1. The Premier League returns in style

    It's good to have the Premier League back, eh?

    Sometimes opening-day fixtures can be cagey and tedious, almost as if the players are still in preseason mode. But there was nothing of the sort here: it was truly end-to-end stuff with plenty of chances, a quick tempo, four first-half goals, three second-half goals and a brilliant Friday night atmosphere at the Emirates.

    Entertainment aside, this was a far from convincing performance from Arsenal, who defended poorly, conceded possession easily in dangerous positions and twice went behind to a Leicester City side all too eager to exploit the Gunners' lack of natural defenders. But ultimately this was a fine way to start the campaign for the home supporters as Arsenal put on a ludicrous demonstration of gung-ho football throughout the second half before Giroud's winner.

    In a week's time, the Premier League marks its 25th anniversary and this was a perfect reminder of precisely what the division brings. The best defending? No. The best technical quality? No. The most astute tactics? No. But the best entertainment? Almost certainly.



    2. Arsenal signings start well but old face wins the day

    A club-record signing always needs an early goal to get up and running, with Arsenal centre-forward Alexandre Lacazette wasting absolutely no time in proving his goal-scoring ability. The game was barely two minutes old when Mohamed Elneny dinked in a cross from an inside-right position onto the head of Lacazette, who casually but firmly nodded the ball into the far corner beyond Kasper Schmeichel's despairing dive.

    The French international's celebration was priceless: he stood with his arms wide apart and a Thierry Henry-esque nonchalant expression on his face as if to say, "what's all the fuss about?"

    That Lacazette scored on his debut shouldn't come as a particular surprise as his scoring rate in Ligue 1 was outstanding, but this was a somewhat atypical goal for a player more renowned for running into the channels and showing quick feet on the deck. On Friday night, his goal was more befitting of his No. 9 shirt; it was also the type of goal for which Arsene Wenger probably thought he'd have to turn to substitute Giroud.

    All in all, it was an excellent debut from Lacazette and not simply for his goal. His movement into deeper positions was excellent, constantly pulling Harry Maguire into uncomfortable positions -- the Leicester debutant was fortunate not to be cautioned for a clumsy foul when the Arsenal forward turned quickly in the midfield zone.

    It was also notable that Lacazette twice battled back to counter-press and win possession quickly, denying Leicester one of their famous counter-attacks and setting up a quick Arsenal attack at the same time. Both incidents prompted cheers from across the Emirates.

    Another man noticeably keen to press on his debut was Sead Kolasinac, starting on the left of a back three. A formidable physical presence, the Bosnia international constantly pushed up and dispossessed opponents quickly; he was also notably keen to storm forward whenever Arsenal had possession. Indeed, he teed up Danny Welbeck for Arsenal's equaliser on the stroke of half-time, albeit with a slightly awkward close-range pass that rather suggested he'd picked up that old Arsenal habit of "trying to walk the ball into the goal" already.

    Incidentally, Kolasinac ended the game pirouetting away from an opposition challenge deep under pressure inside his own half. It was a confident debut.

    At 3-2 down in the second half, Wenger made dramatic changes. Aaron Ramsey replacing Elneny made sense, and the Welsh midfielder nearly nodded in a left-wing Lacazette cross with his first touch. A bolder move was bringing on Giroud for Rob Holding and Arsenal essentially playing a 4-2-1-3 formation with the quiet Mesut Ozil tucked in behind Lacazette, Giroud and Welbeck.

    Bizarrely, this change also involved Hector Bellerin switching from right-sided wing-back to left-back and Oxlade-Chamberlain switching from left-sided wing-back to right-back, the two essentially swapping flanks.

    Arsenal rallied without creating too much in the way of chances before Ramsey popped up again in the penalty box with a late chance in the aftermath of a set piece, this time keeping his cool to drill the ball into the far corner. 3-3. Five minutes to go.

    The momentum was with Arsenal and more attacks came. Lacazette had another chance and had a shot deflected over; then, from the resulting corner, Giroud -- who is surely the best supersub in the Premier League -- ignored the fact his shirt was being tugged off his back, somehow reached the corner and nodded it in off the bar.

    4-3, Arsenal are top of the league and this game might not be topped in the 379 Premier League games that are to follow this season.



    3. "Old-school" Leicester fall just short

    Leicester City started this game in disastrous circumstances by conceding Lacazette's goal, but to their credit, they battled back into the game quickly and immediately put pressure upon Arsenal.

    First Riyad Mahrez volleyed a shot narrowly wide before their equaliser after just five minutes. A short corner from the left flank caught Arsenal napping, the ball was swung to the far post, where Maguire provided another crucial header from a debutant. However, instead of going for goal like Lacazette, he nodded it back into the goalmouth for Shinji Okazaki to head home, the type of close-range finish the Japan forward only ever seems to score. 2017-18 had started with a bang.

    After that initial spell of pressure, Leicester reverted to being the Leicester we've come to expect: two deep banks of four, Okazaki and Jamie Vardy dropping back tight to keep the side compact with those two and Mahrez trying to launch quick counter-attacks through the centre of the pitch with neat combination play. There were some searching balls into the opposition's right-back zone for Vardy, too.

    Maguire showed he's up to speed with the Foxes' plan shortly before half-time when he turned down two short passing options to casually knock the ball along the left-hand touchline into 30 yards of space. Vardy charged across from the centre and shoulder-barged Rob Holding out of play, winning a throw in the process. It was old-school Leicester.

    Indeed, their left-flank throws caused Arsenal problems: Christian Fuchs' deliveries were so powerful they were clearing the near post and Petr Cech was forced to awkwardly palm one ball away from his goal-line when it might have been heading in (although it wouldn't have actually counted as a goal).

    But it was a more traditional left-wing cross that produced Leicester's second. A quick turnover in Arsenal's half found Marc Albrighton breaking down the wing and his devilish curled delivery was half-volleyed high into the net by Vardy, the man who turned down Arsenal just over a year ago.

    Vardy then had Leicester's first chance of the second half, characteristically chasing a booming long ball and forcing Cech to sweep well outside his penalty box, but then came a very atypical Vardy goal. He rose highest to flick in a right-wing, near-post corner from Mahrez to put Leicester 3-2 ahead.

    Arsenal's set-piece defending was repeatedly poor, probably related to the fact they essentially started this game without any commanding centre-backs and Nacho Monreal of all people deployed in the middle of their back three. But Leicester were guilty of sitting too deep late on, inviting plenty of pressure their defenders couldn't entirely deal with.

    As such, the visitors ended the game just as they'd started it, conceding a headed goal by a French striker.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sideswipe View Post
    Arsenal 4 Leicester City 3. very exciting game ?

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    Default Re: The Official TCSS Thread

    Watford vs Liverpool just finished 3-3.


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    Default Re: The Official TCSS Thread

    Halftime: Chelsea 0 Burnley 3.

    Gary Cahill sent off.


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    Default Re: The Official TCSS Thread

    Fabregas also sent off.
    Chelsea 2-3 Burnley

    ***Update***
    Final score
    Last edited by THE_CHANSTER; 12-08-2017 at 03:54 PM.
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    Beaten at the Bridge???
    On this performance, Chelsea will struggle to defend their title.
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    Not that surprising that Liverpool and Chelsea stumbled, considering their problems with star players. Hazard injured, Costa in a legal dispute with the club; Coutinho wanting to go to Barcelona. But it will be amazing if Man City stumble against Brighton.

    Quote Originally Posted by THE_CHANSTER View Post
    Beaten at the Bridge???
    On this performance, Chelsea will struggle to defend their title.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jw5 View Post
    But it will be amazing if Man City stumble against Brighton.
    That would be one shock too far!
    Given how much City have spent in the transfer market, they should be joint favourites with (Man) United for the title IMHO.
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    Looks like Man City are the early title favourites after easily defeating Brighton 2-0. Man Yoo will have to see how they perform against West Ham later. Newcastle vs Spurs will also be interesting.

    Quote Originally Posted by THE_CHANSTER View Post
    That would be one shock too far!
    Given how much City have spent in the transfer market, they should be joint favourites with (Man) United for the title IMHO.

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    Newcastle -0-2 Tottenham (FT)

    Back to the harsh realities of the EPL for Rafa.
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    Looks like Man Yoo, Matic and Mourinho Mean business after defeating West Ham 4-0 to go top of the league.



    Quote Originally Posted by THE_CHANSTER View Post
    Newcastle -0-2 Tottenham (FT)

    Back to the harsh realities of the EPL for Rafa.

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