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No Hazard, no Chelsea: Mourinho’s tactical masterclass on how to stop PL leaders

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When Manchester United were knocked out of the FA Cup by Chelsea in March it was Ander Herrera’s sending-off which had tilted the Stamford Bridge clash in the home side’s favour. Jose Mourinho’s reshaped formation which had until then both kept Chelsea at bay and caused a few problems was quickly undermined once the Spaniard had been shown a 30th-minute red card.

So the reaction was somewhat curious on Sunday when Mourinho was widely slated on social media upon the release of a similar-looking teamsheet for the league clash with Antonio Conte’s side at Old Trafford. Despite this time having 28-goal Zlatan Ibrahimovic available for selection, the Portuguese again went for a back three and counted on the pace of Marcus Rashford in attack.

But his most crucial decision was employing Herrera as a man-marker on Eden Hazard, and the midfielder delivered his most telling contribution of the season in leading United to a 2-0 victory over the league leaders.

Eden Hazard Chelsea

Ander Herrera Manchester United 31122016

It was a Mourinho masterclass of the highest order, and while many had considered his selection to be an admission that their top-four assault was all-but over the reality was that the Portuguese was actually handing the remainder of the Premier League a timely blueprint on how to stifle the previously-imperious Chelsea attack.

In shutting off Hazard, United controlled the supply line to Diego Costa and killed much of Chelsea’s effectiveness. Herrera rarely ventured more than a couple of yards out of Hazard’s shadow and it left Conte’s side with few clues as to how to breach Mourinho’s reinforced defence.

With no Marcos Alonso on the left Chelsea had little in the way of energy in support of Hazard, while there were few alternatives in terms of opening up the United back three on the ball with Nemanja Matic and N’Golo Kante offering nothing as passing outlets.

Knowing how reliant his old club are on the Belgian, Mourinho believed that by pinning Herrera to Hazard for the duration his side could close off all avenues to their own goal and look to hit Chelsea on the break. His plan worked to perfection, and it just so happened that Herrera was at the heart of United’s goals too.

First the Spaniard made the most of a favourable handball decision to burst past a static opposition and fire a ball into the path of Rashford, who tucked the ball across Asmir Begovic. Then he drilled home a shot himself with the aid of a deflection off Kurt Zouma as a complacent Chelsea back line failed to respond when Ashley Young’s cross wasn’t fully cleared.

Herrera is a big favourite on the Old Trafford terraces for his constant shows of commitment, yet it is arguable that United have never really found the very best of him until his performance on Sunday. Before Chelsea came to town there had been the odd excellent offensive showing coupled with occasional energetic defensive displays, but this was Herrera in all-rounder mode and he could hardly have been more influential.

And in doing so he and Mourinho have provided the key to unsettling what had previously appeared to be an unstoppable title juggernaut. Chelsea were neutered in attack, having their first shot in first-half stoppage time, constantly stretched at the back and also bullied for long stretches as Marcos Rojo, Eric Bailly, Marouane Fellaini and Paul Pogba went toe-to-toe with Chelsea’s imposing forces.

Mourinho hasn’t got everything right since arriving at Old Trafford – far from it. He has looked like a man still getting to know his squad to some extent at times as United have been left playing catch-up in the race for fourth place. But on Sunday he showed that nobody knows Chelsea better than he does, and when his plans are followed to the letter he can still be the Premier League’s master tactician.

Source: Goal.com

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Transgender soccer player has her application denied because she’s too ‘physical’ to compete against biological females

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The Australian Football Women’s League has denied an application of a transgender soccer player because she’s too ‘physical’ to compete against biological females.

Hannah Mouncey, 27, a former member of the Australian men’s handball team, started “transitioning” in 2015 and ever since then she has participated in other Australian Football competitions against bio women.

She recently applied for the 2018 AFLW draft but her application was rejected, denying her the chance to take part in next year’s Australian rules football professional women’s league.

In its decision, the subcommittee said Mouncey, would have “an unreasonable advantage” over the smaller

Transgender soccer player has her application denied because she

“The AFL has made a decision that the physical disparity between Hannah and other AFLW players is significant, in that it would have an effect on the AFLW competition and give rise to an unreasonable advantage,” an AFL statement read.

The subcommittee added: “This decision solely relates to Ms. Mouncey’s nomination for the 2018 AFLW draft and participation in the 2018 AFLW competition. Ms. Mouncey may nominate for future AFLW drafts and for registration in other Australian Football competitions.”

Reacting after her application was rejected, Mouncey said she was “extremely disappointed”.

“While I am extremely disappointed with the AFL’s decision regarding my participation in Wednesday’s AFLW draft, I thank them for the genuine way in which they approached my situation.

“Despite not being able to take part in the draft, the AFL has given me the all clear to play for Ainslie next year in the AFL Canberra competition for which I am very grateful and look forward to doing in 2018, before hopefully being able to nominate for next year’s draft”.

Transgender soccer player has her application denied because she

The AFL Players Association (AFLPA) are also not happy with AFL and have accused them of lacking “clear guidelines for transgender players”.

Its statement added: “No athlete should face such confusion around their eligibility for an elite competition just days out from a draft.”

According to BBC, Mouncey, who is 6ft 2in and weighs 15st 8lb, has played eight matches and kicked 17 goals for Ainslie in the Canberra Women’s League.

Transgender soccer player has her application denied because she

© 2017, Ikrueyen Vickky. All rights reserved.

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US Olympic gymnast, McKayla Maroney says team doctor started molesting her when she was 13

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US Olympic gold winning gymnast, McKayla Maroney has alleged that she was molested by a former USA Gymnastics team doctor as she adds her voice to the #MeToo movement on social media where people are sharing experiences of sexual harassment and assault.

 

In a statement released on her Twitter page today, the 21 year old athlete alleged she was molested for years by former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar, who is currently awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to federal child pornography charges.

 

“People should know that this is not just happening in Hollywood,” she wrote, in reference to the allegations about producer Harvey Weinstein. “It started when I was 13 years old, and it didn’t end until I left the sport. I had a dream to go to the Olympics, and the things that I had to endure to get there were unnecessary and disgusting.”

 

Maroney ended her involvement with the sport in 2016

 

© 2017, Ikrueyen Vickky. All rights reserved.

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Leicester City sack manager, Craig Shakespeare

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Leicester City Football Club has parted ways with its first team manager, Craig Shakespeare.

 

According to the club, Michael Appleton will be in charge of the First Team as Caretaker Manager for Saturday’s Premier League trip to Swansea City, supported by First Team Coaches Mike Stowell and Adam Sadler.

 

Leicester City Vice Chairman, Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha said: “Craig has been a great servant to Leicester City during his spells as an Assistant Manager and since taking over as Manager in challenging circumstances in February. His dedication to the Club and to his work has been absolute and the contribution he made to the most successful period in Leicester City history is considerable. However, our early promise under Craig’s management has not been consistently evident in the months since and the Board feels that, regrettably, a change is necessary to keep the Club moving forward consistent with the long-term expectations of our supporters, Board and owners”. 

 

He continued to say, “Craig is and will remain a very popular, respected figure at Leicester City and will be welcome back at King Power Stadium in future, both professionally and as a friend of the Club.”  

 

The Club will now begin the process of identifying and appointing its next First Team Manager and will make no further comment on the process until the appropriate time.

© 2017, Ikrueyen Vickky. All rights reserved.

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