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Dortmund 0-0 Barcelona: Report, Ratings & Reaction as Ter Stegen Penalty Heroics Deny Hosts




Barcelona held on for a draw on the opening day of the Champions League group stages against Borussia Dortmund thanks to some heroics from their goalkeeper, Marc-André ter Stegen.

It was the hosts who carved out the first chance of the game but Marco Reus couldn’t find a way past his compatriot ter Stegen on his weaker left foot, while Jadon Sancho fired the ball over the bar with an effort from the edge of the box just before half-time.

Luis Suárez created Barcelona’s first real opportunity of the match but was denied at the near post by Roman Bürki, but the visitors handed Borussia Dortmund the chance to take the lead when Nélson Semedo fouled Sancho in the penalty area.

Jadon Sancho,Nelson Semedo

Reus stepped up to test himself against ter Stegen and once again it was Barcelona’s goalkeeper who came out on top, keeping out Dortmund’s captain with a powerful left hand while also collecting the rebound.

Substitute Julian Brandt came as close as anyone to breaking the deadlock when his long-range effort rattled the crossbar, but neither side could find a winning goal before the full-time whistle was blown.

Borussia Dortmund

Key Talking Point

 Borussia Dortmund might be used to having the majority of the ball in the Bundesliga, but Lucien Favre’s side wisely didn’t try to match Barcelona at their own game on Tuesday.

Frenkie de Jong,Thorgan Hazard

The Black and Yellows looked to stay compact and frustrate the visitors when Barça were in possession, something made possible by Mats Hummels, but it was how Borussia Dortmund transitioned from attack into defence which was their biggest threat throughout the match.

With Jadon Sancho, Marco Reus and Thorgan Hazard supporting Paco Alcácer, Dortmund’s quick one-touch passing worked wonders by exploiting areas of the pitch that were open after long spells of possession for Barcelona.

Even when Barça were able to hold onto the ball for long periods of time, the visitors were being forced to work a lot more than they’re used to in La Liga due to Borussia Dortmund’s pressing, something which made midfield maestro Arthur visibly tired even before the break.

Player Ratings

Starting XI: Burki (6); Hakimi (7), Akanji (7), Hummels (9*), Guerreiro (6); Witsel (8), Delaney (6), Reus (7); Sancho (8), Hazard (7), Alcacer (6).

Substitutes: Brandt (6), Bruun Larsen (6).

Star Man

If anyone was still unsure about Borussia Dortmund’s decision to re-sign Mats Hummels from Bayern Munich during the summer, then his performance against Barcelona did more than enough to leave no one sitting on the fence.

The 30-year-old didn’t put a foot wrong in the first-half, breaking up attacks with perfectly timed tackles and turning over possession with smart interceptions, something which then allowed him to showcase his fantastic ability on the ball.

Dortmund’s attacking players proved once again that they’ve got what it takes to go toe to toe with European football’s best, but Hummels’ performance highlighted the club’s one biggest improvement from last season.


Key Talking Point

Despite growing as the match went on, Barcelona didn’t have their first clear chance of the match until after half-time, while their hosts had already created a number of opportunities and even won themselves a penalty.

Frenkie de Jong,Lionel Messi

It was clear that Borussia Dortmund had the wind in their sails and although Lionel Messi’s introduction for the first time this season helped to bring a touch more balance to the game, it was at the other end of the pitch where Barcelona’s real superstar was on Tuesday.

Player Ratings

Starting XI: Ter Stegen (8*); Semedo (6), Pique (7), Lenglet (6), Alba (6); Arthur (7), Busquets (7), de Jong (7); Fati (7), Suarez (6), Griezmann (7).

Substitutes: Roberto (6), Messi (7), Rakitic (6).

Star Man

For all of Barcelona’s match-winning players, it was actually Marc-André ter Stegen who stepped up to be counted for at the Westfalenstadion.

A strong first-half performance saw the best chances of the game thwarted, but the Germany international saved his best moment(s) for after the break, keeping Marco Reus out from the penalty spot before denying Dortmund’s came a few more times as the game went on.

Looking Ahead

Borussia Dortmund should have the edge when Bundesliga football returns this weekend with an extra 48 hours rest compared to Eintracht Frankfurt, who face Arsenal on Thursday.

Barcelona should find things a little more straight forward on Saturday, however, as they face Granada at the Nuevo Estadio de Los Cármenes.


Sheffield United vs Arsenal team news: Line-up latest and more ahead of Premier League clash




A look ahead to the Premier League fixture at Bramall Lane

Image result for arsenaL

Arsenal will be looking for just their second away win of the season when they travel to face Sheffield United on Monday night.

Despite sitting third in the table, Arsenal have looked sluggish away from home and have only won at Newcastle on the road, a win which came on the opening weekend of the season.

A defeat to Liverpool and frustrating draws against Watford and Manchester United complete Arsenal’s away league form so far in the campaign, and they now face a Sheffield United side looking for their first win in a month.

Chris Wilder’s side were extremely unfortunate to emerge with nothing from their home game against Liverpool because of Dean Henderson’s howler, before they drew at bottom side Watford last time out.

But while they have had mixed fortunes at home this season, they have also been impressive in patches and have taken points off the likes of Chelsea already this season.

Team news

Arsenal could welcome back as many as four players to Premier League action for the visit to Sheffield United.

Striker Alexandre Lacazette was back in full training this weekend and while it is unlikely he will be risked from the start, he could be among the substitues.

Hector Bellerin, Rob Holding and Kieran Tierney have all accrued minutes in the Carabao Cup and Europa League this season, but the latter is the most advanced in his recovery and could come in for Sead Kolasinac.

Chris Wilder meanwhile has said he will give injured trio John Fleck, Oli McBurnie and David McGoldrick every opportunity to prove their fitness ahead of the game.

McGoldrick missed Republic of Ireland’s Euro 2020 qualifiers with the groin injury, while fellow striker McBurnie pulled out of the Scotland squad with a knee problem.

Predicted line-up

Sheffield United: Henderson, Basham, Egan, O’Connell, Baldock, Lundstram, Norwood, Osborn, Stevens, Robinson, Mousset

Arsenal: Leno, Chambers, Holding, Luiz, Tierney, Torreira, Xhaka, Guendouzi, Pepe, Aubameyang, Saka

Aubameyang has been in fine goalscoring form for Arsenal (EPA)

When is it?

Kick-off is at 8pm BST on Monday 21st October. 

How can I watch it?

The match will be broadcast on Sky Sports Premier League and Main Event from 7pm.

You can also live stream the match via the Sky Go app on a range of devices, including laptops, smartphones and tablets.

David McGoldrick could miss out through injury (Getty Images)


Sheffield United: 11/4

Arsenal: 10/11

Draw: 13/5

(source: Paddy Power)

Prediction – Sheffield United 1-1 Arsenal

Arsenal’s last two Premier League away games have ended in score draws, and a similar fate could be in store for Unai Emery’s men in Sheffield.

While they have managed to fathom victory out of nowhere at the Emirates, Emery’s side have looked uninspiring for the majority of their games away from north London, except a brilliant first half not far from home at Watford.

Hope remains that Arsenal’s play will improve at both ends of the field once Hector Bellerin, Kieran Tierney and Rob Holding return, but regardless of the 11 players to take the field Sheffield United will fancy their chances against a side won just once on the road in four attempts this season.

The Blades came agonisingly close to claiming a point against Liverpool, and having also held Chelsea at Stamford Bridge this season, they could increase their points tally on Monday night as well.


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PENALTY FLAWS VAR is a ‘total embarrassment’ to the Premier League – it’s not working




VAR has become a total embarrassment to the Premier League.

Everybody wanted VAR brought in to correct decisions which were “clear and obvious” errors — but it has just left us baffled and confused.

 Burnley striker Chris Wood sees a goal ruled out for a foul on Jonny Evans in Leicester's 2-1 comeback win
Burnley striker Chris Wood sees a goal ruled out for a foul on Jonny Evans in Leicester’s 2-1 comeback win
 Man City playmaker Kevin De Bruyne gets nothing from this apparent shove from Crystal Palace main man Wilf Zaha
Man City playmaker Kevin De Bruyne gets nothing from this apparent shove from Crystal Palace main man Wilf Zaha

Incredibly, there has still not been a Premier League penalty awarded by VAR and that is because referees are not reviewing their own decisions.

It is amazing that referees are not totally accountable for their final decisions, like they are in the Champions League and around the rest of the world.

As per protocol from football lawmakers Ifab, Premier League referees MUST start viewing the pitchside monitors.

Instead, officials at Stockley Park are deciding whether to overrule colleagues’ on-field decisions, which they are clearly reluctant to do.


I am pretty sure the incidents at Tottenham and Crystal Palace would have been overturned if the referees had viewed the monitor.

Fans, players and managers would be much more likely to accept a decision once the on-field referee had reviewed their own decision.

Players and managers must be tearing their hair out. It is making a mockery of the Premier League.

For some reason, Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) chief Mike Riley has gone against the Ifab protocol — and it is not working.

This has to be the worst weekend yet, it was an awful set of matches for officials.

We must not blame the officials operating VAR, it comes from management level in terms of implementing VAR.

Riley has spoken about “raising the bar” — but he has set that bar too high.

VAR has been consistent regarding offside decisions.

But with subjective decisions, they have not overturned one.

Ultimately, at Premier League level, some of these decisions should not even need a VAR review.


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Monkey Chants, Racist Abuse Make Players Abandon English FA Match




An FA Cup qualifying match between Haringey Borough and Yeovil Town was abandoned on Saturday after allegations that players were racially abused and spat on.

The players of seventh-tier outfit Haringey walked off the field with about 25 minutes to go, shortly after Yeovil had scored a penalty.

The incident during the match in the fourth qualifying round came just five days after England players endured racist abuse during their Euro 2020 qualifier against Bulgaria in Sofia.

Haringey manager Tom Loizou said defender Coby Rowe suffered racial abuse while Cameroonian goalkeeper Douglas Pajetat was also spat at, prompting him to take his players off the pitch.

“Early into the second half, we got a corner and a couple of the players said to me there was monkey chants,” Loizou told Sky News.

“We got over that, we carried on playing. They got a penalty and my goalkeeper was spat at and had missiles thrown at him.

“The referee halted the game briefly, they scored the penalty, one of players went to pick the ball out of the back of the net and Coby Rowe was racially abused.”

Loizou said he had to take his players off.

“I looked at a couple of our players’ faces and I was distraught myself, just to see their faces. I gave it a couple of minutes and I went on the pitch and pulled my players off,” he said.

“There was no way that two or three of those players could have continued playing. What they heard was disgusting, they looked frightened.

“I can’t sit down and watch young players being abused by a minority.”

Rowe later posted on Twitter: “Can’t believe I’m tweeting this and it’s 2019 but today I was a victim of racism, in what was supposed to be a great day for @HaringeyBoroFC. Another game of football ruined by racists.”

Anti-discrimination charity Kick It Out praised the “swift and decisive action” taken by Loizou and his players.

The FA said it was looking into the incident “as a matter of urgency”.

In a statement, Yeovil said: “We are aware that there are allegations that racist comments were made in the crowd and this allegation will be a key part of any investigation.

“Irrespective of the outcome of any investigations, we would like to make it clear that the club will not accept racism or discrimination in any form.”

England players endured monkey chants and apparent Nazi salutes in Bulgaria. That match was stopped twice as England players made their feelings known to UEFA officials before the tie was eventually completed.

Aston Villa’s Tyrone Mings, who made his international debut that night and was singled out by the Bulgarian crowd, applauded Haringey for “taking a stance” against racism.

“Sometimes it can get brushed off in lower leagues but everyone stands with you,” he tweeted. “Our country isn’t perfect either.”


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