‘They wanted him out!’ – Capello hammers Bayern stars & blames them for Ancelotti sacking

The former Real Madrid head coach claims the Bavarian club’s players fought the Italian and wanted him to leave prior to his sacking in September

Fabio Capello has slammed Bayern Munich’s players and accused them of forcing Carlo Ancelotti out of the club following his sacking back in September.

Bayern coasted to the league title in Ancelotti’s first season in charge, but his tenure was blighted by rumours Die Roten’s key players were unhappy with his methods.

An inauspicious start to this campaign culminated in a woeful showing in a 3-0 Champions League defeat to Paris Saint-Germain and spelled the end of Ancelotti’s reign.

Veteran coach Jupp Heynckes, who led Bayern to the treble in 2012-13, returned to the Allianz Arena to take over until the end of the season and the club have lost just once in all competitions under his leadership.

Capello suggested that it is no coincidence and believes Bayern’s squad simply did not want to play under his compatriot.

“Heynckes is back on the bench and everyone wonders how he managed to get the team under control immediately. I think it was the players who took everything in hand,” he told Sky Germany.

“The coach can do a lot of things, but if the players do not want to give that little extra, which they did not give to Ancelotti, you will not get an olive branch.

“They fought him, they wanted him to fly out. And to show that Heynckes is the right one, they give everything.”

Bayern are 11 points clear at the top of the Bundesliga at the mid-season break and resume their domestic campaign at Bayer Leverkusen on January 12.


‘Griezmann’s release clause is €200m’ – Atletico warn Barcelona & Man Utd they face pricey transfer fight

Multiple clubs are reported to be interested in the French forward but Atletico’s CEO has promised to work to keep him from leaving

Manchester United and Barcelona have been warned they could need to splash up to €200 million to buy Antoine Griezmann this summer.

Atletico reported Barcelona to FIFA last week over their alleged transfer pursuit of the France star after Camp Nou director Guillermo Amor said it was possible Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu “had a meeting with Griezmann’s family”.

The 26-year-old forward was heavily linked with a move to Manchester United before the start of this season but opted to stay with Atletico.

Head coach Diego Simeone recently stoked speculation by saying he would not stand in Griezmann’s way should he desire a new challenge, but Atletico chief executive Miguel Angel Gil Marin has sounded a more combative tone.

“Atletico doesn’t want to sell Griezmann either now or in the summer,” he told Mega. “For us he is a very important player, who has grown a lot and we have grown up with him.

“Our intention is to keep growing all together. Last summer we made an effort beyond the possibilities of the club and we’ll do it again next summer.

“Griezmann departure isn’t in our hands, but until summer is impossible to leave us.”

Atletico will be able to pair Diego Costa with Griezmann in attack in the new year, when their FIFA player registration ban is lifted.

Gil Marin conceded putting together that all-star forward line has been no easy task, making him keen to renegotiate Griezmann’s contract, which runs until 2022 and contains a release clause of €200m until July next year when it will become €100m.

“It’s been hard for us to get Griezmann and Diego Costa together and I think it’s going to be very good for Atletico,” Gil Marin added.

“Until July 1, Griezmann’s release clause is €200m.”

Atletico lie second in La Liga but defeat to Espanyol in the final game before the mid-season break means they are now nine points behind Barca at the summit.

Watford vs Swansea : Match Preview & Prediction

Team News

  • Marco Silva may continue with a four-man defence for the welcome of Swansea, with Molla Wague featuring at the back alongside Christian Kabasele.
  • Tommie Hoban, Craig Caithcart, Nathaniel Chalobah, Younes Kaboul, Kiko Femenia and Isaac Success are all sidelined through injury, while Troy Deeney is suspended.
  • Will Hughes, Miguel Britos and Roberto Pereyra are all doubts for the home side.
  • Stefano Okaka has been brought back in from the cold recently and could make his first league start since the 3-3 draw with Liverpool on the opening weekend of the season.
  • Kyle Bartley misses out for the away side, while Wilfried Bony and Ki Sung-yueng are doubts for Swansea.
  • Leon Britton could ring the changes from the XI that started the 5-0 loss to Liverpool.
  • Tammy Abraham should start here, while Luciano Narsingh, Nathan Dyer and Sam Clucas may all start.

Match Facts

Swanseahavelost their last 7 away matches (Premier League).

There have been over 2.5 goals scored in Swansea‘s last 3 away games (Premier League).

Swanseahaveconceded at least 2 goals in 5 of their last 6 away matches (Premier League).


  • Watford brought a six-match winless run to an end with a 2-1 win over Leicester on Boxing Day. The Hornets are unbeaten in their last three league meetings with Swansea and have won the last two.
  • Swansea lost 5-0 to Liverpool on Tuesday and have now lost seven successive away league games. They haven’t won at Vicarage Road in the Premier League and may struggle to come away with a positive result over the weekend.
  • Indeed, the hosts have the means to pick up all three points.

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Bournemouth vs Everton : Match Preview & Prediction

Team News

  • Charlie Daniels, Harry Arter and Andrew Surman are all doubts for the home side and will be assessed ahead of the welcome of Everton.
  • Adam Federici, Tyrone Mines, Brad Smith, Jermain Defoe and Junior Stanislas all miss out here.
  • Adam Smith is expected to continue at left-back for the hosts, while Marc Pugh could come in for Ryan Fraser on the left.
  • Ramiro Funes Mori, Seamus Coleman, Maarten Stekelenburg and Leighton Baines are all injured for the visitors, while Ross Barkley is not yet fit enough to feature.
  • Idrissa Gueye, Wayne Rooney and James McCarthy are all doubts for the Toffees.
  • Aaron Lennon, Oumar Niasse and Ademola Lookman could all come into the XI should Sam Allardyce look to change things up.

Match Facts

Bournemouthhaveconceded at least 3 goals in their last 3 matches (Premier League).

Evertonhave kept a clean sheet in 5 of their last 7 matches (Premier League).

Evertonhavefailed to win 17 of their last 18 away matches (Premier League).

There have been under 2.5 goals scored in 5 of Everton‘s last 6 games (Premier League).

Bournemouthhavefailed to win their last 8 matches (Premier League).

There have been over 2.5 goals scored in Bournemouth‘s last 3 games (Premier League).

Evertonhavescored at least 2 goals in 5 of their last 6 matches against Bournemouth in all competitions.


  • Bournemouth rescued a late draw in contentious fashion on Boxing Day, but the Cherries have now failed to win in eight in the Premier League, which has seen them drop into the relegation zone.
  • Conversely, Everton are on a seven-match unbeaten run, winning four, and have kept a clean sheet in three of their last four top-flight outings. The Toffees have won three of their last four Premier League meetings with the Cherries, though have not won at Bournemouth in the league.
  • However, the Toffees could inflict further misery upon Bournemouth with a victory here.

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Manchester United vs Southampton : Match Preview & Prediction

Team News

Manchester United
  • Marcos Rojo, who made his fifth Premier League appearance of the season against Burnley, is, to his credit, suspended after his fifth yellow card of the season.
  • Victor Lindelof should deputise alongside Phil Jones, with Chris Smalling and Eric Bailly ruled out, while Luke Shaw may also feature again due to Matteo Darmian and Antonio Valencia’s respective injury issues.
  • Anthony Martial is a doubt for the hosts, while Marouane Fellaini and Michael Carrick are ruled out.
  • Jose Mourinho could make a couple of changes to his XI here, with Jesse Lingard expected to start, while Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Henrikh Mkhitaryan may feature here.
  • Charlie Austin, Cedric Soares and Ryan Bertrand are all sidelined for Southampton.
  • Manolo Gabbiadini, Steven Davis, Dusan Tadic and Jeremy Pied could all start at Old Trafford

Match Facts

Man Utdareundefeated in 26 of their last 27 home matches (Premier League).

There have been over 2.5 goals scored in 6 of Man Utd‘s last 7 games (Premier League).

Southamptonhavefailed to win their last 7 away matches (Premier League).

Man Utdhavescored at least 2 goals in their last 3 matches (Premier League).


  • Manchester United were made to come from behind to secure a late point against Burnley on Boxing Day and have since fallen further behind Manchester City in the title race.
  • A 5-2 loss to Tottenham means Southampton have now failed to win in seven Premier League outings, which has seen them drop just two points above the relegation zone. United have lost only one of their last 27 home league matches, so Saints’ task to return to winning ways doesn’t get much easier here.
  • While United have underwhelmed of late, the hosts should win this one.

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Denilson given stern telling off by referee for making LOVE HEART gesture to female assistant who flagged him offside

Former Brazil international Denilson was given a telling off by a referee in a charity game – after making a romantic gesture to a female official.

Denilson, 40, was flagged offside by lineswoman Eircles Artuzi when he was through on goal attempting to chip the opposing goalkeeper.

But rather than show dissent towards Ms Artuzi, who has become something of a celebrity in Brazil because of her looks, Denilson proceeded to do the polar opposite.

He instead made a heart gesture with his fingers and aimed it at the direction of the official.

While TV cameras couldn’t exactly pick up what Denilson did, eyewitnesses claimed he clearly made the heart-shaped symbol in Ms Artuzi’s direction.

The actions didn’t go unnoticed, however, as the referee, who was also a woman, spotted Denilson’s geature and immediately ran towards him to tell him off.

Denilson ended his competitive playing career back in 2010.

He became the world’s most expensive footballer in 1998 when he signed for Real Betis for £21.5million – a club he stayed at for seven years.

Denilson’s most famous on-pitch achievement was being part of the victorious Brazil squad at the 2002 World Cup.

Top Facts

Frosinone have drawn their last 5 away matches (Serie B).

Venezia have drawn their last 4 matches (Serie B).

Cremonese have drawn 5 of their last 6 matches (Serie B).

Ascoli Picchio FC 1898 have drawn their last 3 matches (Serie B).

Besiktas have won 8 of their last 9 matches against Osmanlispor FK in all competitions.

Boluspor have won their last 4 matches (Cup).

Cesena have won their last 4 matches against Cremonese in all competitions.

Gostaresh Foolad FC have won 5 of their last 6 matches (Persian Gulf Pro League).

Naft Tehran have lost 5 of their last 6 matches (Persian Gulf Pro League).

Sepidrood Rasht have lost their last 3 away matches (Persian Gulf Pro League).

Empoli have won their last 3 matches against Perugia in all competitions.


Liverpool vs Leicester : Match Preview & Prediction

Team News

  • Adam Bogdan, Nathaniel Clyne, Alberto Moreno and Jordan Henderson all miss out for Liverpool through injury.
  • Daniel Sturridge and Mark Grujic are both doubts for the Reds.
  • Jurgen Klopp could make some changes to keep his squad fresh, with James Milner, Sadio Mane, Joe Gomez, Adam Lallana and Dominic Solanke all potentially coming in to start.
  • Robert Huth and Danny Simpson are both sidelined for the Foxes.
  • Daniel Amartey is available following suspension, though is unlikely to start here.
  • Adrien Silva will miss his final game before he is eligible to play again.

Match Facts

There have been over 2.5 goals scored in Leicester‘s last 5 games (Premier League).

Liverpoolareundefeated in their last 12 home matches (Premier League).

Liverpoolhavescored at least 3 goals in their last 3 matches (Premier League).

Liverpoolhave kept a clean sheet in 5 of their last 7 home matches (Premier League).

Liverpoolhavewon 5 of their last 6 home matches against Leicester in all competitions.

There have been over 2.5 goals scored in Liverpool‘s last 3 games (Premier League).

Leicester have conceded at least 2 goals in their last 3 matches (Premier League).


  • Liverpool dispatched of Swansea with ease on Boxing Day to maintain their unbeaten home start to the season. The Reds have a great record against Leicester at Anfield and will look to continue their good form in Saturday’s welcome of the Foxes.
  • Claude Puel’s side have now failed to win in four in all competitions in what has been a disheartening festive period for the former champions. Things don’t get much easier for Leicester here either as they look to bounce back from the 2-1 loss to Watford.
  • Liverpool should make home advantage count with a win here.

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Leicester Leicester logo

Chelsea vs Stoke : Match Preview & Prediction

Team News

  • David Luiz is a long-term absentee for Chelsea with a knee issue and misses out.
  • Andreas Christensen is a doubt due to illness having missed the win over Brighton, while Charly Musonda has a groin problem.
  • Davide Zappacosta and Danny Drinkwater could come into the XI in place of Victor Moses and Tiemoue Bakayoko.
  • Kurt Zouma is unable to face his parent club and with Bruno Martins Indi sidelined and Ryan Shawcross a doubt, Geoff Cameron could partner up with Kevin Wimmer at the heart of the defence.
  • Erik Pieters is a doubt, however, and Mark Hughes will hope to have the defender fit to start.
  • Jese and Glen Johnson are both doubts, while Stephen Ireland is a long-term absentee.

Match Facts

Chelseahavewon 10 of their last 11 home matches against Stoke in all competitions.

Chelseahavewon their last 6 home matches (Premier League).

Chelseahave kept a clean sheet in their last 3 matches (Premier League).

Chelseahave seen over 2.5 goals in their last 3 matches against Stoke in all competitions.

There have been under 2.5 goals scored in Chelsea‘s last 3 games (Premier League).

Chelseahavescored at least 2 goals in their last 3 matches against Stoke in all competitions.

Stoke have failed to win 9 of their last 10 away matches (Premier League).


  • A 2-0 win over Brighton means Chelsea have now won their last six home Premier League games, conceding just three goals in that time. The hosts are also unbeaten in their last six home meetings with Stoke, winning five.
  • The Potters have won only one of their last 10 away league games, though four points from the last six available has eased pressure on Mark Hughes. With a raft of defensive absentees, Stoke are expected to struggle here.
  • Indeed, Chelsea should make light work of Stoke.

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Stoke Stoke logo

Cardiff vs Preston : Match Preview & Prediction

Team News

  • Icelandic international Aron Gunnarsson could be involved after recovering from a serious ankle injury, while Craig Bryson completed his return from injury on Boxing Day, featuring in the Bluebirds’ 4-2 defeat to Fulham.
  • Towering centre-half Sean Morrison is out, with Lee Camp and Kadeem Harris the only other injury concerns for the hosts.
  • Daryl Horgan will likely retain his spot on the left-hand side of midfield, with Callum Robinson absent from the Lilywhites’ 0-0 draw against Barnsley, while Alan Browne is pushing for a recall.
  • Darnell Fisher is battling to return in time for this clash. Calum Woods remains available to deputise should he be needed.
  • Alex Neil’s squad remains plagued with injuries. Sean Maguire is out with a hamstring problem, while Tommy Spurr, Greg Cunningham and Joshua Earl are also sidelined.

Match Facts

Cardiffareundefeated in their last 8 home matches against Preston in all competitions.


  • Neil Warnock received the opposite response to Cardiff’s 2-0 defeat to Bolton than he would’ve hoped for, with his side falling to a 4-2 home defeat against Fulham. Out of the top two for the first time in months, the Bluebirds need to bounce back with a win here.
  • Preston’s play-off hopes remain alive and healthy, with just a four-point deficit left to close. Alex Neil’s side are now unbeaten in eight league games and gathering momentum in their charge for the top six.
  • Fears of a collapse are rife around the Millennium Stadium and Neil Warnock will be feeling the pressure ahead of this crucial tie. Expect a cagey, well-fought affair.

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