Sigurdsson to miss Belgium clash

Everton star Gylfi Sigurdsson will be unable to represent Iceland in their Nations League clash against Belgium on Thursday due to an ankle injury.

The Football Association of Iceland confirmed the news on Monday after Sigurdsson had been hurt in a collision with Chelsea's Jorginho during Sunday's 0-0 Premier League draw at Stamford Bridge.

The 29-year-old has scored six goals in 13 appearances for Everton so far this season.

Meanwhile, Toffees goalkeeper Jordan Pickford believes Sunday's result shows that the squad is progressing under Marco Silva.

Pickford, who ensured the match ended goalless when he produced a fine save to keep out Marcos Alonso's volley, said: "Coming to Stamford Bridge, they're unbeaten in the league this season, so we know it's going to be a tough test but the result shows how much we're progressing as a group.

"The team spirit was there and that got us a point in the end. We may have had a couple more chances but to come away with a point from Stamford Bridge against an in-form Chelsea side is a good point.

"We've got new signings this year and we've improved as a squad. The quality in our squad has been good and it's a great challenge for everyone."

Everton are 2/5 to win their next Premier League match against Cardiff City on 24th November and 11/10 to keep a clean sheet in the encounter.

Van Dijk calls for Reds focus

Liverpool central defender Virgil van Dijk has urged his team-mates to remain focused on their own jobs and not worry too much about Premier League title rivals Manchester City.

The Reds are currently second in the top-flight standings and are unbeaten in their first 12 league games of the campaign, having dropped just six points to date.

They are two points behind reigning champions City, but Netherlands internationals Van Dijk has warned that taking too much notice of how the Citizens are doing could be counterproductive.

He told reporters after a 2-0 Anfield win over Fulham on Sunday: "That is something we still need to see (if we can catch them). They are the champions and the best team in the league, but we will try everything to be as good as we can.

"We don't have to look at others, we want to look at the games we have and the next challenge we have is Watford away, which is going to be tough.

"For us, the challenge is to win or try to win every game that is ahead of us. We need to look at what we have ahead of us and that is more important than looking at someone else.

"It is the only way forward."

Following the international break the Reds return to action with a trip to Vicarage Road to take on Watford on the afternoon of Saturday 24th November.

Last season this fixture ended in a 3-3 draw, with Miguel Britos bundling home a last-minute equaliser for the hosts.

Liverpool can be backed at 4/9 to defeat the Hornets and are 15/2 to secure a 2-0 victory, with a 2-1 final scoreline in favour of the visitors priced at 15/2.

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Poor start upsets Kurz

Adelaide United coach Marco Kurz wasn't happy with his team's lack of sharpness as they fell to a 2-0 home loss to defending champions Melbourne Victory.

The Reds survived a close call on 12 minutes when Joel Chianese hit the crossbar and, although Kurz felt they were better in the second half, they conceded both the goals after the break.

Andy Keogh and Chris Ikonomidis scored from close range to take the Glory into pole position and handing Kurz's team their first loss of the campaign.

Andelaide struggled to get into the rhythm of the match at Coopers Stadium, and the coach said: "I think in the 90 minutes we weren't in the shape we expected. In the first 20 minutes we had a lot of problems with our compactness. Our goal was to stay compact and to press them.

"At the start the players looked flat but then we came good in the game and had a lot of power. But if you don't stay compact and the weather was very hot and the opponents created a lot of chances and you drop a little back in your sharpness in the game can be a reason."

Adelaide had been unbeaten in eight games going into the clash against Tony Popovic's side.

However, they struggled to break down a strong Glory back-five unit that were able to block most of their shots.

Kurz took some positives out of the loss, especially the way they had played after the interval.

"I think we looked not bad in the second half. We had a lot of power and applied pressure on them," he added.

Adelaide are 14/1 to win the Grand Final and 1/1 to win their next game against Wellington, who are 5/2 with the draw 13/5.

Glory move to the summit

Perth Glory claimed top spot in the A-League with a 2-0 away win over Adelaide United.

Both the visitors' goals came in the final 17 minutes with Andy Keogh and Chris Ikonomidis the men on target at Coopers Stadium.

The Glory are one of two teams unbeaten after the first four rounds and are two points clear of that side, Sydney FC. They were impressive against the Reds and could have scored twice in the opening 22 minutes.

First Joel Chianese was played in by Keogh but fired against the bar from inside 10 metres. Then Irish striker Keogh missed from close range with a good chance.

Adelaide had two shouts for penalties in the first half with both being denied by the VAR.

Video checked first that Ben Halloran hadn't been fouled in the area in a collision with goalkeeper Liam Reddy and six minutes before the break it was adjudged that a shot striking Perth defender Shane Lowry on his arm had been outside the box.

Having missed out on two possible spot-kicks, the hosts then saw German midfielder Mirko Boland forced off in the second half with a hamstring injury.

It got worse for them on 73 minutes when goalkeeper Paul Izzo made a good save to keep out Alex Grant's header only for the rebound to fall to Keogh who tapped home from close to the goal-line.

Perth made sure of their third win of the campaign in the final minute when Ikonomidis slotted into an unmarked goal after going round Izzo.

The Glory are 5/1 to win the Grand Final and 9/20 to win their next game against Central Coast, who are 11/2 with the draw 7/2.

Muscat hails ‘exciting’ display

Coach Kevin Muscat was delighted with Melbourne Victory's attackers after their 4-1 win over Central Coast lifted them to fourth in the table.

Four players got on the scoresheet for the defending champions, with Corey Brown registering his first goal since joining from Brisbane Roar in the close season and James Troisi breaking his duck for the season.

Japanese marquee Keisuke Honda scored the home side's go-ahead goal at AAMI Park – his first since the opening round.

Muscat felt his attackers were very sharp against the Mariners and could easily have scored several more goals.

The coach had had to reshuffle his side just before kick-off after Jai Ingham sustained an injury in the warm-up. It didn't harm them as the opening 45 minutes were by far the best they have played this season.

Muscat says the last two games – last week they won the Grand Final rematch against Newcastle Jets – had been a great response after back-to-back losses at the start of the campaign.

He hailed their first-half performance as "tremendous", adding: "It was exciting, it was disciplined, it was controlled, it was measured, had a lot of desire about it and some really good football.

"I really enjoyed watching it and the players certainly enjoyed it and we created a number of chances in that first half. We could have had quite a few more."

The Victory coach was happy to see former Sweden international Ola Toivonen make his mark on his club debut when he came off the bench to set up the final goal for Josh Hope.

"Ola's run [to set the goal up] was very clever and you'll see in weeks to come he's a very clever footballer," he added. "The execution – one touch to control, second one to play the ball into Josh's path – he made it look a lot easier than it was."

Melbourne Victory are 9/2 to win the Grand Final and 5/2 to win their next game against Sydney FC, who are 19/20 with the draw 11/4.

Three-goal burst for Victory

Melbourne Victory's attacking power was on display as they thrashed the Central Coast Mariners 4-1 at AAMI Park.

Three goals in the final 15 minutes of the first half put the home side in total command and the scoreline could have been even more lopsided by the break.

A first goal for new signing from Brisbane, defender Corey Brown, helped the home side build up their big lead.

Former Sweden international Ola Toivonen came off the bench for his Victory debut and set up Josh Hope for his maiden goal for the club to round off the scoring.

The Mariners were poor and the loss leaves them at the foot of the table with just two points from their opening four games.

Kevin Muscat's side have made amends after a disappointing start to the defence of their championship which saw them lose at home to rivals Melbourne City and Perth Glory in the opening two rounds.

They have now beaten last season's Grand Finalists Newcastle Jets and the Mariners in consecutive games to climb up to fourth in the table.

The champions were ruthless from the kick-off on Sunday night, with Keisuke Honda, James Troisi and Brown scoring in a vintage first-half display.

Honda grabbed his second goal of the season to get Victory up and running, hassling Antony Golec out of possession and breaking away to score on the half-hour mark. Five minutes later, Terry Antonis played in Troisi who scored with a dinked finish.

Brown made it 3-0 in first-half injury time when he volleyed home a loose ball in the penalty area.

The Mariners pulled a goal back just after the hour mark when Mario Shabow netted from close range but the last word went to Victory in stoppage time when Hope found the net.

Central Coast are 66/1 to win the Grand Final and 11/2 to win their next game against Perth Glory, who are 9/20 with the draw 7/2.

Sarri sees room for improvements

Chelsea head coach Maurizio Sarri says he has work to do to change the way his side have started in recent games, despite the Blues remaining unbeaten in the Premier League.

Sarri was speaking after seeing his team held to a goalless draw at home to Everton on Sunday, a result which left the Londoners six point off the pace being set by reigning champions Manchester City.

And the Italian was clear where he felt the problem lay, being unhappy with the tempo set in the early stages of several recent games.

He told reporters: "I think we have to sort out the problem of the approach of the match, because in the last two or three matches we haven't been approaching the games right.

"At the beginning we moved the ball too slowly, so it is easy for the opposition to defend and impossible for us to be dangerous. I think we played better in the second half with more intensity, we moved the ball faster.

"We have to accept the draw, at the end it's a good point and we are still unbeaten. I am happy with everything, but I would have preferred the three points.

"We have to think day by day and match by match and we have to be focused."

The result against Everton meant that former Napoli boss Sarri claimed a new record by being unbeaten in his first 12 games as a Premier League manager.

Chelsea are priced at 20/1 to win the Premier League title this season, while they are 7/1 to lift the FA Cup and 5/1 to triumph in the Europa League.

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Guardiola cool after derby win

Manchester City head coach Pep Guardiola refused to get too carried away after seeing his side defeat Manchester United 3-1 to preserve their Premier League lead.

Having seen Liverpool see off Fulham earlier on in the day, Guardiola was delighted to see his players respond with a deserved derby victory at the Etihad Stadium, but was not reading too much into a single result.

He told reporters: "It is November so we haven't even finished the first round (of games). A lot can happen in football.

"City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Tottenham, Arsenal – they have numbers to be champions. We are just two points ahead, it is nothing.

"When you win (the league) with 100 points, people can think we’ll maintain our level. The key is the depth (of the squad). Everybody knows they have to maintain their level if they want to stay in the team.

"The important thing is that we are consistent and that we play well most of the time, but I see a lot of things we can improve."

The Citizens are currently two points clear at the top of the table, with Liverpool their closest challengers, while Chelsea are now four points off the pace after drawing 0-0 at home to Everton on Sunday.

City are currently priced at 1/4 to retain their Premier League crown, with Liverpool available at 4/1 and Chelsea 20/1.

Guardiola's side return to action after the international break with a trip to West Ham on Saturday 24th November, with City having won their last five meetings with the Londoners – scoring 18 goals in the process.

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Serie A: Gonzalo Higuain and a Terrible, Awful, No-Good Day for AC Milan

AC Milan 0-2 Juventus

AC Milan striker Gonzalo Higuain was at the spotlight in the club’s defeat to reigning Serie A champions Juventus, and not for a good reason.

Higuain, who lost his place in Juventus after the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo, missed a game-tying penalty at halftime and was sent off with seven minutes remaining in regular time in what was a disastrous day for him and the team at San Siro.

Making matters worse for the Argentine, Ronaldo showed why the Bianconeri chose him as he scored the second goal to put the game to rest.

Highlights of the game

It didn’t take long for the Bianconeri to establish their dominance in the game, breaking the deadlock on eight minutes following a surprise header from Mario Mandzukic.

Alex Sandro launched a deep cross to the back post and Mandzukic, reading the trajectory of the ball well, was right in the spot to convert. The Croatian forward—known for his aerial prowess—outleapt Milan’s Ricardo Rodriguez for the ball and swiftly fired a bouncing header to stun keeper Gianluigi Donnarumma.

Madnzukic had a couple more opportunities to put Juventus ahead, particularly in the 26th minute when he was set to replicate his eighth-minute header after a Joao Cancelo cross. However, 23-year-old defender Alessio Romagnoli beat him to the ball and averted what could have been a huge Milan crisis.

The next best opportunity fell on Higuain when Medhi Benatia was called for a handball. After VAR review of the play, the referee pointed to the spot, supposedly gifting Gennaro Gattuso’s men an easy equaliser.

Nonetheless, in a brutal turn of events, Juve keeper Wojciech Szczesny produced a moment of brilliance and denied Higuain’s effort. The Polish shot-stopper jumped to his left-hand side and tipped the Argentine’s shot onto the post to keep Juve ahead at the break.

Juventus dominated AC Milan during their Serie A match up

Wojciech Szczesny saves a penalty attempt by Gonzalo Higuain during their Serie A clash

Milan showed more determination at the restart, but it wasn’t enough to break the Juve defence.

Both Hakan Calhanoglu and Rodriguez had chances of their own, but their efforts didn’t really come close to the net.

Max Allegri’s charges stayed in the front foot throughout the second half and had much more initiative on the offensive end. Paulo Dybala, who needed less than a minute to score in their 3-1 win over Cagliari, hit the right post and even saw a free-kick parried away by Donnarumma.

The team wouldn’t be denied of a second, though, and they got what they wanted on 81 minutes. After Donnarumma parried away a right-footed shot from Cancelo, an unmarked Ronaldo pounced on the rebound and swiftly sent the ball to the top.

It was game over after that, but the drama didn’t stop there. Two minutes later, a frustrated Higuain was booked for a foul on Benatia. The 30-year-old then reacted angrily to the call and shouted in the referee’s face, leaving the match official with no other choice but to give him a straight red card.

Key statistics

The Serie A 2018 odds at us expected Milan to put up a fight, but that was never the case.

In fact, Juventus completely dominated and were a little unfortunate not to score more. According to the post-match statistics, the Old Lady of Turin had the lion’s share of possession at 57 percent and finished with a total of 12 shots—eight of which were on target.

Moreover, they forced Milan to a total of five saves, one of which was crucial.

Gattuso’s side had five total attempts, including only two on-target shots. They also committed 16 fouls, which resulted in three yellow cards and one red card.

In other Serie A 2018 news, the victory meant that  Juventus now have 34 points through 12 games. Remarkably, it is the first time in league history that a team has accumulated that many points at this stage of the campaign.

For what it’s worth, Juve made just 31 points in their first 12 games of the 2017-18 campaign.

Juventus are now six points clear of second-placed Napoli and nine ahead of third-placed Inter Milan, who recently suffered a shock 4-1 defeat at the hands of Atalanta.

What’s next?

The international break gives Juventus and their fellow Italian top-flight teams a two-week break before returning to regular programming.

Juventus extend their unbeaten Serie A streak after dismantling AC Milan

Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after scoring Juventus’ 2nd goal against AC Milan

Juventus face SPAL next in a bid to stay undefeated in the Serie A. After that, they host Valencia in the Champions League with high hopes of finally securing their spot in the next round.

AC Milan, meanwhile, have a high-profile match against Lazio in their return followed by a Europa League match against Luxembourg-based squad F91 Dudelange.

 

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Mourinho rues defensive errors

Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho warned his side that they must cut out the mistakes, having been beaten 3-1 in the derby clash with City at the Etihad Stadium.

The Red Devils were 2-0 down to the Citizens shortly after half-time, before pulling a goal back through an Anthony Martial penalty, before Ilkay Gundogan put the game to bed four minutes from time.

And Mourinho felt that his team had given a decent performance, but had been punished heavily for their defensive mistakes.

He told Sky Sports: "I think it is not a bad performance at all. It was a performance with mistakes and we paid for it – all three goals are our mistakes. Against a team like City, if you make mistakes you will get punished."

Of his side's Premier League hopes for the rest of the season he added: "We are outside the top four, how can we speak about the title?

"Let's fight to close the gap to jump into the top four. If we jump into the top four, then let's see the difference."

United are currently priced at 7/2 to finish in the top four, with Arsenal 6/4 and Tottenham Hotspur 1/2.

Meanwhile, Mourinho also admitted that his plans had been upset by the absence of midfielder Paul Pogba due to a slight knock.

The Portuguese concluded: "It is not for me after defeat to speak about a player who is not here. Of course we missed him, it did affect our plan because Marouane Fellaini had to start.

"He is not in a condition to play 90 minutes. His effort was magnificent, but he is not in a position to play all 90 minutes."

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