EPL stunners as Liverpool lose 7-2 to Aston Villa, Manchester United 6-1 to Spurs – Newstrends
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EPL stunners as Liverpool lose 7-2 to Aston Villa, Manchester United 6-1 to Spurs

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Premier League champion Liverpool was humiliated 7-2 by Aston Villa to end its perfect start to the title defence on Sunday.

Ollie Watkins scored a hat-trick and Jack Grealish scored twice as Villa made it three wins out of three after only surviving in the league on the last day of last season.

Liverpool became the first reigning Premier League champions to concede seven in a game. The last time it happened in English football’s top division was in 1953.

With Alisson Becker out with a shoulder injury, Adrian was in the Liverpool goal and his mistake allowed Watkins to open the scoring in the fourth minute.

A poor attempt at a pass was pounced upon in the Liverpool box by Grealish, who laid the ball to Watkins for a simple finish.

Villa doubled its advantage when Watkins, again set up by Grealish, cut inside Joe Gomez and fired past Adrian into the top corner.

Liverpool reduced the deficit in the 33rd as the ball came to Mohamed Salah in the box and he cracked it in.

But within moments the visitors had conceded again, with John McGinn’s volley going past Adrian via a deflection off defender Virgil Van Dijk.

Ross Barkley then got his debut goal after joining on loan from Chelsea in the 55th, hitting a shot from outside the box that flew in off Trent Alexander-Arnold, with Grealish again the provider.

Salah fired in at the other end five minutes later to make it 5-2, but Villa was not finished, with Grealish adding a brace.

His first came in the 66th minute, another goal involving a deflection as the Villa skipper’s shot hit Fabinho en route to the net.

Watkins was then denied by Adrian, before Grealish burst clear of the Liverpool defense as he latched onto McGinn’s pass and calmly tucked the ball past Adrian.

With three wins from three games, Dean Smith’s Villa are up to second place in the table, level on points with Liverpool – which has played four matches – plus Leicester and Arsenal.

The quartet is three points behind Liverpool’s Merseyside rival, Everton, which Juergen Klopp’s side faces at Goodison Park in their next match on October 17.

Tottenham tore apart Manchester United for a 6-1 victory at Old Trafford on Sunday, exposing the defensive weaknesses in Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s side by inflicting the team’s joint-heaviest Premier League defeat at home.

Only once since 1930 has United conceded six at home — to Manchester City nine years ago. Not since 1986 has United opened the league season with back-to-back home losses.

This was a crushing defeat to a Tottenham side managed by Jose Mourinho, who was fired in 2018 to make way for Solskjær. And against a team that has played eight games in 22 days across three competitions and was trailing after two minutes at Old Trafford.

But after Bruno Fernandes’ penalty, United’s wretched defense allowed Tanguy Ndombele to level in the fourth minute and Son Heung-Min to net again inside three minutes.

United can be aggrieved that Erik Lamela’s apparent playacting led to Anthony Martial being sent off in the 28th minute. But the team was already being run ragged by Tottenham.

Harry Kane scored his first on the half-hour, Son netted again in the 37th, Serge Aurier was on target in the 51st and Kane wrapped up the rout from the penalty spot in the 79th.

“Very impressive,” Mourinho said. “The team was phenomenal since the second minute. Losing 1-0, big personality.”

Tottenham’s Harry Kane scores his team’s sixth goal against Manchester United, from the penalty spot. (AP)

Unlike United, which opened the season with 3-2 defeat to Crystal Palace. Two more goals were conceded at Brighton last weekend but Fernando came to United’s rescue with a winner from the penalty spot in the 10th minute of stoppage time.

In contrast to that late penalty on the south coast, United was immediately off the mark from the spot against Tottenham.

The game was barely 30 seconds old when Davinson Sanchez tripped Anthony Martial to halt a run into the penalty and Fernandes converted from the spot.

Fernandes can be relied on to score penalties — this was his 18th in a row including at previous club Sporting in Lisbon. What cannot be relied on is United’s shambolic defense despite captain Harry Maguire becoming the world’s most expensive defender when he was signed last year for 80 million pounds.

Twice he weakly headed the ball, unable to clear the danger, before Ndombele prodded in the leveler.

United was carved apart when Kane slipped the pass through for Son who lifted the ball over goalkeeper David De Gea. It was the first time in a decade that three goals had been scored in the opening seven minutes of a Premier League game.

The blot of Tottenham’s day came with Lamela seeming to deceive the referee after being softly struck by Martial in retaliation for a light push on his face by the Argentine. Lamela clutched his face before dropping to the ground — and Martial’s red was upheld by a VAR check.

Tottenham didn’t seem to need the man-advantage it was so ruthless and United was so poor.

Eric Bailly received the ball and passed sloppily to Nemanja Matic, whose failure to control was seized on by Kane. The striker intercepted the ball and played a one-two with Son before netting.

United was torn apart down the right flank for Tottenham’s fourth. After being released by Moussa Sissoko, Aurier put the ball through the legs of Maguire, the center half who had drifted into a left back position, and Son flicked a shot through De Gea.

United was in disarray and fortunate not to concede again until after the break. It was Pierre-Emile Højbjerg’s weighted pass that set up Aurier for the fifth.

Pogba compounded a dismal display by fouling Ben Davies to concede the penalty that Kane converted.

The coronavirus pandemic kept fans out of the stadium — sparing Solskjær boos from his own supporters.

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Chelsea set to give Osimhen seven-year contract

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Chelsea set to give Osimhen seven-year contract

Victor Osimhen is fully focused on joining Chelsea even though Mauricio Pochettino has left his role as manager, while the Blues are well ahead of Paris Saint-Germain and Saudi clubs in the race for the striker.

After months of speculation about his future, Pochettino left Stamford Bridge by mutual consent on Tuesday night. Pochettino feels he has left Chelsea in a good position to improve next season, while Blues chiefs want a new manager to come in and take the side to the next level.

While Pochettino could replace Erik ten Hag at Manchester United, Chelsea are eyeing up Ipswich Town boss Kieran McKenna – coincidentally a former Man Utd coach – to fill their vacant Stamford Bridge hot seat.

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Despite Pochettino’s departure, some of Chelsea’s transfer plans are unlikely to change.

First of all, club officials know they need to make a huge investment to strengthen the attack, and the main target remains Victor Osimhen.

The Nigerian striker – whose release clause is €130m (£111m) – will leave Napoli in the summer and he desires to play in the Premier League next year, wearing a Chelsea shirt.

Sources have confirmed to TEAMtalk that Osimhen has already given his informal approval for a possible move to the Blues. Only some aspects of his prospective seven-year contract with Chelsea need to be discussed. Chelsea are willing to pay the centre-forward slightly more than what he earns at Napoli.

Chelsea set to give Osimhen seven-year contract

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Barcelona sack Xavi with flick set to replace him

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Xavi Hernandez

Barcelona sack Xavi with flick set to replace him

Xavi will take charge of Barcelona for the final time on Sunday, when they host Sevilla in their last La Liga match of the season.

The 44-year-old, who had been contracted until 2025, was informed of the club’s decision during a meeting with club president Joan Laporta and sporting director Deco on Friday – exactly one month since it was announced that he would remain at the club.

Former Spain midfielder Xavi said in January that he was going leave the Camp Nou, but he was persuaded to stay by Laporta in April.

But recent comments from Xavi, in which he opened up about the club’s financial struggles, are said to have angered Laporta.

Barcelona said they would like to “thank Xavi for his work as a coach” since taking charge in 2021.

“It is never easy to leave the club of your life, but I am very proud after two and a half years at the head of a dressing room that has been like a second family,” said Xavi in an open letter issued on social media.

“From Sunday I will be just one more Barca fan, in the stands.

“Because before being a player or a coach I am a Barcelona fan and I only want the best for the club in my life, which will always have me at its disposal.”

The Catalan club said a “new structure” will be confirmed in the coming days, with Flick set to take charge.

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The 59-year-old has been out of work since he was sacked by Germany in September 2023.

Flick, who replaced Joachim Low as national boss in 2021, became the first Germany manager to be sacked since the role was created in 1926, winning just 12 of his 25 matches in charge.

Flick’s stint with Germany came after he guided Bayern Munich to a treble in 2020, winning the Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal and Champions League.

Barcelona forward Robert Lewandowski, 35, played under Flick at the Allianz Arena for two seasons.

After guiding Barcelona to the La Liga title in 2022-23, Xavi’s side put up a disappointing defence to their crown this term.

The Catalans are 12 points behind rivals Real Madrid, with one game remaining in the season.

Barcelona were knocked out of the Champions League at the quarter-final stage by Paris St-Germain.

Xavi spent 17 years with Barcelona as a player, having emerged from the club’s La Masia academy.

After four years’ playing for Qatari side Al-Sadd, Xavi retired in 2019 to take over the side as manager.

He remained in Qatar for a further two seasons, before replacing Ronald Koeman in November 2021 as Barcelona boss.

Xavi helped the club to the La Liga title and Spanish Cup during his first full season in charge, earning the side a return to the Champions League.

Sevilla boss Quique Sanchez Flores has criticised Barcelona’s treatment of Xavi.

“I shouldn’t say this, but how badly Barcelona treats its legends. What a bad streak,” Flores told reporters on Friday afternoon.

“With Koeman, with Messi, with Xavi now – how bad. I wish clubs treated their legends well. That would be fantastic. Xavi is a legend of the club.”

Flores added he had “doubts the criticism about him [Xavi] is correct”.

Barcelona will finish the season second in LaLiga behind champions Real Madrid and Xavi will remain in charge for the game at Sevilla.

During his 141 games as Barcelona boss, Xavi won 89 matches – giving him a 63% win ratio.

Barcelona sack Xavi with flick set to replace him

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Lookman scores stunning hat-trick in Atalanta vs Leverkusen Europa League final

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Ademola Lookman

Lookman scores stunning hat-trick in Atalanta vs Leverkusen Europa League final

Ademola Lookman was the star of the night as his hat-trick ended Bayer Leverkusen’s unbeaten run and secured Atalanta’s first European Cup title.

Lookman’s three goals marked the first hat-trick in a European final in 49 years, delivering Atalanta their first-ever continental trophy.

The club from Bergamo, often overshadowed by AC and Inter Milan, has enjoyed a resurgence under Gian Piero Gasperini. This victory adds silverware to their impressive record, which includes four Champions League appearances in recent years.

Leverkusen, known for their late comebacks during their undefeated Bundesliga campaign, couldn’t recover from a slow start this time. Atalanta’s aggressive play was rewarded early when Davide Zappacosta set up Lookman, who exploited Exequiel Palacios’ lapse to score from the back post after just 12 minutes.

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Lookman, whose career has seen him move from the lower ranks of the Premier League to finding stability in Bergamo, cemented his hero status with his performance. His second goal, a brilliant nutmeg of Granit Xhaka followed by a powerful shot into the far corner, showcased his skill.

Despite Leverkusen’s efforts, including near-misses by Alex Grimaldo and Jeremie Frimpong, they couldn’t break through Atalanta’s defense. Gianluca Scamacca’s fortunate escape with only a yellow card for a rough tackle on Florian Wirtz also highlighted Leverkusen’s missed opportunities.

Coach Xabi Alonso, having quickly risen as a top coaching prospect and choosing to stay with Leverkusen despite interest from Liverpool and Bayern Munich, made tactical changes at halftime, including bringing on Victor Boniface. However, the early damage proved insurmountable.

Atalanta, content to absorb pressure and counter-attack, sealed the win with another stunning goal from Lookman. Skipping past Edmond Tapsoba, he blasted into the top corner with his left foot, clinching the victory.

This triumph is particularly sweet for Atalanta, who had previously lost all three finals under Gasperini, including a recent Coppa Italia defeat to Juventus. Their passionate fans, clad in blue and black, celebrated their historic win in Dublin.

Atalanta’s victory also marks the first time an Italian side has won the competition since Parma lifted the UEFA Cup in 1999, ending a long wait and underscoring the club’s remarkable journey to European glory.

Lookman scores stunning hat-trick in Atalanta vs Leverkusen Europa League final

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