PSG lure in fans with escape games

Paris Saint-Germain are making the idea that football is part of the entertainment industry central to their strategy as they strive to become a “global brand” and attract new fans.

In pursuit of the worldwide ambitions of their Qatari owners, PSG are not just recruiting global football stars such as Neymar, but are also multiplying partnerships outside sport and moving into music, fashion, cinema, e-Sport and even “escape games”.

In early December, club president Nasser Al-Khelaifi took his squad to pose for the cameras with Mickey and Minnie the day after PSG beat Lille, and just as the Most Valuable Player at the Super Bowl did for many years, they went to Disneyland to celebrate. Continue reading PSG lure in fans with escape games

Mourinho faces defining year at Utd

Jose Mourinho finds himself in the unaccustomed position of having to prove himself all over again as he prepares to open up a final trophy front with Manchester United on Friday.

Much of the heat on the Portuguese comes as a blowback from the other side of Manchester where City have blazed such a scorching Premier League trail that has overshadowed United’s second place in the table and easy progress to the Champions League knockout phase.

United are favourites to see off Championship side Derby County in the FA Cup third round on Friday. But being cast as Manchester’s support act clearly grates with Mourinho, particularly when combined with suggestions that he is tactically inferior to his rival, Pep Guardiola. Continue reading Mourinho faces defining year at Utd

Salah set to complete awards hat-trick

Liverpool star Mohamed Salah hopes to add the African Player of the Year award in Ghana Thursday to his rapidly expanding collection of individual honours. NaijaBet

The Egyptian, scorer of 23 goals in all competitions midway through his first season at Anfield, has been voted BBC African Footballer of the Year and Arab Player of the Year.

Salah, Liverpool teammate Sadio Mane of Senegal and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Borussia Dortmund and Gabon are the contenders for the highest African individual football honour. Continue reading Salah set to complete awards hat-trick

‘Contracts to dictate Arsenal transfers’

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says the Premier League club’s transfer activity in the January window will be dictated by the contract situations of key players and injuries to his current squad.

Forward Alexis Sanchez and midfielders Mesut Ozil and Jack Wilshere will be out of contract in June and while the England international is keen to stay at Arsenal, both Sanchez and Ozil look unlikely to sign new deals to stay at the Emirates. Continue reading ‘Contracts to dictate Arsenal transfers’

‘Stoke must step up to stop poor results’

Stoke City players have to accept the blame for the club’s poor start to the Premier League campaign and must fight together to help the team climb up the table, midfielder Charlie Adam has said.

Stoke are in danger of dropping into the relegation zone after Monday’s 1-0 home defeat by Newcastle United left the hosts two points ahead of 18th-placed West Ham United, having played two games more. Continue reading ‘Stoke must step up to stop poor results’

Lukaku set to return for FA Cup tie

Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku could return to action for the club’s opening FA Cup fixture at home against Derby County on Friday, the Premier League side’s manager Jose Mourinho has said.

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The 24-year-old missed United’s 2-0 league win at Everton on Monday after sustaining a head injury during last weekend’s goalless draw with Southampton, but the Portuguese boss said his top scorer had not suffered a concussion and would make a quick return. Continue reading Lukaku set to return for FA Cup tie

Coutinho, Salah doubtful for Everton clash

Injured Liverpool playmakers Philippe Coutinho and Mohamed Salah are doubtful for Friday’s FA Cup match against Merseyside rivals Everton after missing their side’s 2-1 Premier League win over Burnley on Monday, manager Jurgen Klopp has said.

Salah, Liverpool’s top scorer who has notched 17 goals in 21 games, missed the trip to Burnley with a groin strain. The Brazilian Coutinho, who has netted seven goals in 14 league matches, was ruled out due to a thigh injury.

Continue reading Coutinho, Salah doubtful for Everton clash

Wenger promises proper replacements for duo

Arsene Wenger moved to allay the fears of Arsenal fans on Tuesday saying he would replace both Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil with world-class players should they end up leaving. 

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Both Sanchez, who came close to moving to Manchester City on the final day of the last transfer window in August, and Ozil’s contracts are up at the end of the present season.

Sanchez’s attitude and commitment to the club have been questioned by fans and some of his teammates did not congratulate the 29-year-old Chilean after he scored a double in the 3-2 Premier League win over Crystal Palace last Thursday.

Wenger, whose transfer dealings have been a sore point with sections of the Arsenal support, said he would also be on the look-out for players in the present transfer window. Continue reading Wenger promises proper replacements for duo

Snodgrass double as Villa hammer Bristol

Scotland international Robert Snodgrass’s double inspired Aston Villa to a 5-0 rout of League Cup semifinalists Bristol City in the Championship on Monday.

Snodgrass’ brace – taking his tally to three goals in the last two matches – plus a rare goal for Scott Hogan, only his fifth for the club since a £12 million move from Brentford a year ago, set Villa on their way.

Further goals from Birkir Bjarnason and Conor Hourihane completed the thrashing as Villa climbed to fifth in the table.

City, whose beat Manchester United in a giantkilling feat in the League Cup quarterfinals, slipped to fourth below Cardiff because of a worse goal difference, even though the latter went down to their fourth successive defeat, losing 2-1 to struggling QPR. Continue reading Snodgrass double as Villa hammer Bristol