'He will stay on penalties' – Arteta insists Aubameyang will remain Arsenal's penalty taker

‘He will stay on penalties’ – Arteta insists Aubameyang will remain Arsenal’s penalty taker | Goal.com

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Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has insisted his captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will remain the club’s first-choice penalty taker despite missing his last two.

In the 3-0 win over Aston Villa on October 22, the Gunners won a penalty and the Gabon international stepped up, only to be denied by Emiliano Martinez, but the rebound kindly fell to him and he made amends.

On Sunday against Watford, with the scores still 0-0, Alexandre Lacazette was fouled in the danger zone and the referee pointed to the penalty spot. The 32-year-old stepped up but Ben Foster stopped his effort.

However, his manager has hinted there are no plans to relieve his captain from the duty, but admitted he needs help.

“[Aubameyang] will stay on penalties if he is happy to do so,” Arteta said as quoted by the club’s website.

“You will miss when you take penalties – that is part of your career and the job – [but] we’ll try to help him.”

In the absence of the injured Thomas Partey and Granit Xhaka, Ainsley Maitland-Niles stepped up, partnering Albert Sambi Lokonga in midfield, and looked solid throughout the game. 

What was Arteta’s take?

“First of all, I see a different player in terms of his urgency, his commitment, the clarity in his play, his purpose,” the 39-year-old continued.

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“Since we made the decision, it was clear what I was seeing that I wanted him to stay because he was going to be useful. He has a huge talent because he’s versatile enough to adapt to almost any position on the pitch. Today we made use of him to do what he had to do in the game, which was really important.

“When I see him in training sessions, when I see how he prepares, when I see the questions he’s asking, his level of attention. Everything you talk through, his response is immediate. He’s a really clever boy, really clever, really intelligent. I think he needs to be able to transmit that, and how much he cares, with his body language and his determination. He’s come a long way.”

After losing their opening three matches of the season, the North Londoners have recovered well and are currently placed fifth on the table with 20 points, six behind leaders Chelsea.

‘Xavi likes him a lot’ – Algeria coach Belmadi reacts to reported Bounedjah-Barcelona links

‘Xavi likes him a lot’ – Algeria coach Belmadi reacts to reported Bounedjah-Barcelona links | Goal.com


Algeria coach Djamel Belmadi believes Al Sadd striker Baghdad Bounedjah has the qualities to reunite with Xavi at Barcelona.

For the past five seasons, Bounedjah has been one of the highest scoring players at the Jassim bin Hamad Stadium and also played with the Spain legend in the last few years of his playing career.

The Algeria striker has already scored 11 goals in nine appearances in the Qatar Stars League this season and he is reportedly on Barcelona’s radar as a replacement for injured Sergio Aguero who is out of action for three months due to a heart issue.

When asked about reports linking the 29-year-old with a move to Camp Nou, Belmadi said per TSA Algerie: “Baghdad is doing extraordinary things. Baghdad in Barcelona, ​​what do you want me to tell you? Xavi knows better than I… maybe he thinks Baghdad is the first or second choice.

“It can be a surprise for others and not for him since he knows him. He knows how to compare with the squad there is at the moment in Barcelona. God only knows, that would be an extraordinary thing.

“He made history, he scored goals everywhere…He scored the goal of the Afcon final, one of the most important goals in the history of Algerian football. We do not recognise his quality precisely because he plays in Qatar, whereas, in Qatar, there are players who cannot do it.”

Belmadi also revealed Xavi’s admiration for Bounedjah who finished as the Stars League top scorer in the 2020-21 season with 21 goals in 19 games. 

His goalscoring heroics helped Xavi win one Stars League title, two Qatar Cups, amongst other domestic silverware as a manager.

“The current Barca is not the Barcelona of Messi, Xavi, Iniesta. In our timing, I don’t know if Xavi has in mind to bring him back to Barcelona, ​​but I know he likes him a lot,” he continued.

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“I know he could bring any center forward back to Al-Sadd, they have unlimited resources, but it wasn’t even a dream.

“Out of all the foreigners they have, number 1 is still Baghdad. Xavi appreciates the player, he played with him, he knows his qualities and he knows how to compare with the players with whom he has evolved.”

Aside his club heroics, Bounedjah also powered Algeria to their second Africa Cup of Nations title in July 2019 with his second-minute strike that gave them a 1-0 win over Senegal in Cairo.

Mngqithi explains how 'scary' Marumo Gallants troubled Mamelodi Sundowns

Mngqithi explains how ‘scary’ Marumo Gallants troubled Mamelodi Sundowns | Goal.com


Mamelodi Sundowns co-head coach Manqoba Mngqithi insisted that their emphatic win over Marumo Gallants was not as easy as people would think.

Masandawana produced a dominant performance in their 4-0 victory over Bahlabane Ba Ntwa in a one-sided PSL encounter that was played at Peter Mokaba Stadium on Sunday night.

Mngqithi was pleased by how his charges applied themselves against Gallants as they remained the only team that is yet to concede in the league this season. 

“To be honest, there’s a lot of positives. Another clean sheet. Very important for us. Four goals. A very good outcome,” Mngqithi told SuperSport TV.

“We’re a bit greedy because we’ve still got a deficit of probably one or two more goals.

“But we still have one more game in this cycle because the last cycle we scored is less than what we wanted to score. But the number of clean sheets have already been achieved in this cycle.”

The win saw Masandawana open a five-point lead at the top of the league standings and Mngqithi praised his charges’ attitude. 

“So the players are really working very hard. The spirit is looking good in the group. Everyone is putting a shoulder in what we are trying to do,” he continued. 

“A very good attitude. One is always worried when you play these teams that everyone thinks we are going to win against easily.

“Those games require a little bit more in terms of intrinsic motivation where the willpower to try and say we want to dominate and if possible those are the games we want to score as many goals as possible.”

Mngqithi, who became the first coach to win the MTN8 title twice after Downs defeated Cape Town City in the final last weekend, felt that Gallants unsettled Masandawana’s defence with their high pressing. 

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“But the truth of the matter is it what was not as easy as people think. The moment we scored the second goal I knew we have a chance of scoring more,” he added.

“The scary part was their high press. It destabilised us a bit and forced us into playing many long balls and immediately we managed to find a double wide with Mosa [Lebusa] on the left.

“It created a few more problems for them on our left channel but truth be told the second half they put up a better fight.” 

'Omondi red card against Gor Mahia indicates Police FC have a problem' – Ogolla

‘Omondi red card against Gor Mahia indicates Police have a problem’ – Ogolla | Goal.com

Police FC.

Police FC coach Bobby Ogolla has hinted his team is still a work in progress after they were fortunate to pick up a point in the Football Kenya Federation Premier League match against Gor Mahia on Saturday.

Boniface Omondi struck for the former champions in the 54th minute but six minutes later, Clifton Miheso scored to ensure the spoils were shared.

But the administrative side’s coach felt lucky to escape with a point owing to the many chances their opponents wasted.

A point shows we are headed somewhere

“We thank God for the one point, we have been looking for it and I am glad we finally managed on Saturday. I am happy we got it, and I believe Gor Mahia are happy as well with the result,” Ogolla told Goal.

“There will always be mistakes even with victory, and also the red card [on Bernard Omondi late in the game] indicates there is a problem, but we will work on that and rectify.

“It would have been really tough on us if it would have happened early in the game, but we are fortunate he was sent off when it was almost over. 

“But I appreciate the point gained, it shows we are headed somewhere.”

Gor Mahia v Kenya Police.

Defense still shaky

The ex-Kenya international went on to explain his decision to bring Samuel Ndung’u back in the left-back position and insisted on why it is always important to take chances in matches.

“Ndung’u is a utility player, he can play in the attacking department or in defence, but in Saturday’s match, we needed him at the left-back position. We needed him at that position and he did quite well. He is a versatile player,” Ogolla continued.

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“We still have to work on our defence, it is a little shaky. The attacking department as well, we need to be sharp and composed because we had many chances that we did not take.

“If you score many goals and concede a few, you will win the game.”

Police have so far played six matches in the Kenyan top tier, managing a win, a draw, and four losses. They are currently placed 14th on the table with four points.

Zidane the right man for Manchester United’s top-four ambitions – Haibeh

Zidane the right man for Manchester United’s top-four ambitions – Haibeh | Goal.com


Zinedine Zidane is the ideal appointment to help Manchester United secure a top-four Premier League finish, according to Somalia national team manager Said Abdi Haibeh.

The Red Devils’ uninspiring start to the 2021-22 campaign continued following Saturday’s 2-0 home defeat to Manchester City – a result which mounts more pressure on under-fire manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Defeat for the Old Trafford giants saw them slump to sixth in the English elite division having accrued 17 points from just 11 matches played so far.

With the Norwegian tactician likely to be kicked out of United, the Ocean Stars official claims the former Real Madrid manager – who is a winner – would be the right choice should they dream of a Champions League ticket at the end of the current season.

“There is still a good chance that the club can finish in the top four, but it comes with a price, they must first get rid of Ole,” Haibeh told Goal.

“It will then depend on the next manager, if United bring in [Zinedine] Zidane, I think they will have a very good chance of finishing in the top four.

“Zidane will bring stability while the players will respect him because he is a winner. He has done it all as a player and a manager.”

Haibeh had called for the dismissal of the club’s legend in the wake of their collapse against Pep Guardiola’s Citizens.

“Ole has been in the club for three years, during his time he hasn’t won any trophy,” Haibeh told Goal in a no holds barred chat.

“Manchester United are the biggest club in the United Kingdom and one of the biggest globally. Therefore, fans will not accept a defeat against one of their bitter rivals.

“Although a few of Ole’s former teammates have been defending him for some time, I think it’s time for him to go.

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“If United don’t sack him now, the club will only be heading down.”

Solskjaer’s fine start at United following the sacking of Jose Mourinho saw the club’s management later hand him a permanent three-year job.

He was close to leading the club to Europa League glory in the 2020-21 season but his team lost to La Liga side Villarreal on penalties after scores stood at 1-1 after extra time at the Gdansk Stadium.

Aston Villa sack manager Smith after five successive Premier League defeats

Aston Villa sack manager Smith after five successive Premier League defeats | Goal.com

Dean Smith has been sacked as manager of Aston Villa after suffering five successive Premier League defeats.

The 50-year-old, who was a boyhood Villans supporter, led the club to promotion back into the top tier in 2018-19.

Much was expected in the current campaign, despite parting with Jack Grealish in a record-breaking £100 million ($135m) deal, but Villa have slipped to within two points of the relegation zone.

What has been said?

CEO Christian Purslow told Villa’s official website following a 1-0 defeat against Southampton: “When Dean joined us in October 2018 our team was really struggling in the Championship. He immediately transformed the atmosphere and performances and achieved the ultimate success of leading Villa back to the Premier League within the same season – a rare feat.

“He then secured our place in the Premier League after a tough campaign and took us to a cup final at Wembley.

“However, after a good start to last season, this year we have not seen the continuous improvement in results, performances and league position which we have all been looking for. For this reason we have decided to make a change now to allow time for a new head coach to make an impact.

“The board would like to sincerely thank Dean for his many excellent achievements, on and off the pitch, during this time.

“Everyone knows how much Aston Villa means to Dean and his family. He has represented the club with distinction and dignity – universally liked and respected by everybody associated with Aston Villa – our staff, players and supporters alike. We wish him the very best.”

The bigger picture

Across three years with Villa, Smith oversaw 139 games. He collected 55 wins but also suffered 56 defeats.

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Villa have announced that, with another international break now being reached, the search for a new manager has already begun.

Smith has become the fifth Premier League coach to lose his job this season, with Steve Bruce, Xisco Munoz, Daniel Farke and Nuno Espirito Santo already parting company with Newcastle, Watford, Norwich and Tottenham respectively.

Further reading

'I have to keep my head up' – Ivory Coast's Bailly after Manchester Derby error

‘I have to keep my head up’ – Ivory Coast’s Bailly after Manchester Derby error | Goal.com

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Ivory Coast defender Eric Bailly has promised to keep his head up after scoring an own goal during the Manchester Derby, when Manchester United lost 2-0 to Manchester City on Saturday.
Bailly’s attempt to make a clearance in the seventh minute saw the ball slide into his own net and that gave Manchester City an advantage early in the game.

In the process, the Ivorian became the first Manchester United player to score an own goal in the Manchester derby in the Premier League era.
The own goal, coupled with Bernardo Silva’s strike just before half-time, meant Manchester United are now without a clean sheet in their last 14 home games in all competitions.

They’ve only had one longer run in their entire history without a home clean sheet, a 21-game run between April 1958 and March 1959.
“Nobody is more frustrated than me. I have to keep my head up, no excuses,” Bailly said on Instagram after the derby.

Meanwhile, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer claimed Manchester United played below their standard even though they faced a tough team.

“It’s very difficult to talk now, of course, because we started the game off badly, passive and when they get the first goal, it was always going to be a difficult game anyway, but being 1-0 down was hard,” the manager said in his post-match address
“David [De Gea] kept us in the game, some good stops and then they scored a goal they always score. [Joao] Cancelo cuts inside, cross [to the] back-stick that we know that’s going to happen and it shouldn’t happen. 
“It’s disappointing, of course. It’s hard to talk at the moment. We played against a good team, don’t forget that, but we were nowhere near what our standards and levels could be and that’s something we have to get back to. 
“We’ve got to go back to being on the front foot, be more aggressive, maybe circumstances have made us a little bit more cautious and passive.
“We have to be more precise on the ball, trust ourselves on the ball, without the ball, be more aggressive, find the angles quicker and play the passes we should be doing.”
The next Premier League match for the Red Devils will be an encounter against Watford, after the international break on November 20.

‘Manchester United players not feeling Ole’ – Ambani calls for Solskjaer sacking after derby defeat

‘Manchester United players not feeling Ole’ – Ambani calls for Solskjaer sacking after derby defeat | Goal.com

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Boniface Ambani has called for the sacking of Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after the team suffered a 2-0 derby defeat against Manchester City on Saturday.

The Red Devils were poor in all departments at Old Trafford and they were punished in the seventh minute when Ivory Coast defender Eric Bailly scored an own goal before Bernardo Silva sealed the points for the Citizens on the stroke of half-time.

The latest defeat has irked former Kenya international and AFC Leopards player Ambani, who believes the Norwegian tactician’s time at Old Trafford is up and someone else should take charge.

‘United needs a very mature manager’

“Ole has been given a long time, he is a good coach but I think that team is bigger than him in coaching circles,” Ambani told Goal on Sunday.

“That team needs a very mature manager, a manager who can push his players, a manager who when he stands in the touchline the players feel him. Those players aren’t feeling him.”

Eric Bailly - Manchester United

Ambani further explained Man United are lacking the character to push for wins and described the defeats to Liverpool and Man City at Old Trafford as “unacceptable.”

Time for Ole to quit

“Losing to Liverpool and Man City at home is just unacceptable from the Man Utd family,” Ambani continued.

“The team has no character.

“He [Solskjaer] himself lacks that push. To me, I think it’s time for him to do the honourable thing and quit if he cannot be sacked. He should relieve himself of those duties at Man United.

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“Looking at how that team plays, it’s just pathetic, very pathetic defensive-wise, very pathetic in the midfield and very pathetic even going forward, he needs to quit now.

“Man United have quality players but the problems go down to the coach, I think it is becoming a heavy burden to him when it comes to picking his squad, maybe that is why I insist, the club is bigger for him to handle, he can do the job somewhere else but at United, I don’t think he is the right person.”

The defeat against City is the fourth suffered by United this season, and they are now fifth on the 20-team table with 17 points from 11 matches.

Soweto Derby: 'Baxter apologised for penalty' – Orlando Pirates coach Davids after Kaizer Chiefs loss

Soweto Derby: ‘Baxter apologised for penalty’ – Orlando Pirates coach Davids after Kaizer Chiefs loss | Goal.com


Orlando Pirates co-interim coach Fadlu Davids felt that his side was the better team following their clash with Kaizer Chiefs on Saturday afternoon. 

The Buccaneers suffered a narrow 2-1 loss to their Soweto rivals in a titanic Premier Soccer League match that was played at FNB Stadium in Johannesburg.

Davids disclosed what Chiefs head coach Stuart Baxter told him after the Soweto Derby encounter which produced three second-half goals. 

“When the opposition coach Stuart Baxter comes to me afterwards and apologises for the penalty, saying that we should have got a penalty in the second half and for the challenge on Terrence Dzvukamanja late on, you know the story,” Davids told SuperSport TV.

Pirates dominated possession for large periods of the game, but two goals from Keagan Dolly inspired Chiefs to a victory.

Linda Mntambo scored Pirates’ consolation goal in the 87th minute and Davids was disappointed to see his charges fail to take their chances in the first half. 

“We exerted total dominance from the first half until the end of the match. At half time, we told the players that they need to use the dominance to score,” he continued. 

“That has been a problem for us right now as well as gifting opposition goals. We gifted them the first and the penalty that they got to score, the second was questionable.

“We dominated from start to finish so I’m proud of the players in that regard but we should not be giving opponents goals.” 

Davids, who is working with Mandla Ncikazi as Pirates’ co-head interim coaches, was pleased with the impact made by their substitutes.

“The substitutes made an impact and gave the cherry on the top of our attack. The best team lost today and it’s clear,” he added. 

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“The players performed well but we need to start scoring when we dominate. We got the equaliser when we were the only team that was pushing to get the winner.

“But we were unfortunate to have conceded the penalty.” 

The defeat saw Pirates slip down to seventh place on the league standings and they will now take on Lamontville Golden Arrows in their next game on November 20.

Xavi: Barcelona legend will bring back the glory days – Okunowo

Xavi: Barcelona legend will bring back the glory days – Okunowo | Goal.com

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Gbenga Okunowo claims Xavi will do everything possible to return Barcelona to their “glory days” following his announcement as the Catalans’ new manager.

The Spaniard will now take charge of the Blaugrana following the sacking of Ronald Koeman whose 14-month reign at Camp Nou came to an end following Barca’s 1-0 defeat against Rayo Vallecano.

During his playing days for the La Liga giants, the former Al Sadd boss enjoyed a trophy-laden career that included eight La Liga, four Champions League and six Spanish Super Cup diadems.

With his appointment, Barcelona players would look up to the club’s icon for inspiration as they hope to revive their stuttering 2021-22 campaign.

And Okunowo, who played alongside the 41-year-old at Camp Nou, claims the legend can help turn Barca’s fortunes around.

“Xavi’s appointment is a good one. I’ve known him for so long. He knows the club in and out,” the former Nigeria international told Goal.

“He could read the game when he played for Barcelona and he can still read the game very well even now.

“He’s always been rated just as Pep [Guardiola] was rated at Barca. He has always been a replacement for Pep all along.

“Barcelona always think ahead with their backup plan. I’m quite confident they will not regret recruiting him as their coach. Barca just need to give him all the support.”

Gbenga Okunowo PS

Xavi is one of the most decorated players in Barca’s history, having won 25 trophies between 1997 and 2015 including eight Liga titles and the Champions League.

He made 767 appearances for the club, a record bettered only by Lionel Messi, and also contributed 85 goals and 185 assists.

Okunowo states his off-field personality and experience would help him achieve success in his new role.

“He’s Barca through and through, so he knows that he needs to use his experience and all the skillset he has gained over the years to make his coaching tenure a successful one,” he continued.

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“He knows what needs to be done to make Barcelona reach their top-notch level of performance. I know him as a calm person. 

“He will set up his management and backroom staff in such a way that all hands will be on deck to deliver good football results for Barca.

“Everyone is waiting for him to start his coaching job and hit the ground running and he will do all that is necessary to return Barcelona to its glory days.”