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Manchester City have edge over Liverpool, Chelsea due to squad – Fernandinho

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Manchester City’s depth of talent could give them the edge in the Premier League title race, according to midfielder Fernandinho.

Last season, City finished as champions on 100 points — 19 clear of nearest challengers Manchester United. However, with just two points separating the top themselves, Liverpool and Chelsea after 10 matches, many are predicting a much tighter race this time around.

And Fernandinho said Monday’s 1-0 win at Tottenham demonstrated the depth of City’s squad, and the Brazilian believes it could prove crucial over the busy Christmas period.nfl cheap jerseys nike

“Chelsea and Liverpool are very good teams,” the 33-year-old told ESPN Brasil, when asked if he expected a stronger challenge this time around. “Without doubt they are candidates, who are fighting for the title.

“Our aim is to fight with them, if they are still at the top of the table in March or April. We know that the period we have coming up: November, December is really important for the squad.10

“Our squad could make the difference. Everybody knows the games over Christmas are difficult, with the rhythm dropping, players tiring, It is a time when a lot of teams drop points.

“We are very focused. We know how things work in the Premier League and today [against Tottenham] was a demonstration of that.”nike nfl jerseys wholesale cheap

Despite being lauded for their attacking intent under Guardiola, City’s defence has been key to their unbeaten start to the campaign with the Wembley shutout their sixth consecutive Premier League clean sheet.

And Fernandinho said that, given the conditions of the pitch — which had been used for an NFL match between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Jacksonville Jaguars just two days earlier — the way they played was far less important than leaving the stadium with three points.

“The result today was much more important that the team’s performance,” Fernandinho said. “We scored a really early goal after a good piece of individual skill by [Raheem] Sterling which was finished really well — and this made everything so much easier for us because, for both teams, it was very difficult to create any kind of opening.

“After the goal, we defended well, created lots of chances. I think this win was extremely important for us to stay at the top of the table.”

Mike Moustakas, Joakim Soria officially join free-agent class

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Brewers third baseman Mike Moustakas is becoming a free agent again, and so is reliever Joakim Soria.

In addition, the Brewers exercised a $3,175,000 option on All-Star right-hander Jeremy Jeffress, who would have been eligible for salary arbitration if it had been declined.

Moustakas declined a $15 million mutual option on Tuesday.cheap new nike nfl jerseys

He rejected a $17.4 million qualifying offer and left Kansas City after the 2017 season but was unable to find a long-term deal he liked. He returned to the Royals in mid-March for a one-year contract that included a guaranteed $6.5 million — a $5.5 million salary and $1 million option buyout. Moustakas earned an additional $2.2 million in performance bonuses based on plate appearances, raising his total earnings for 2018 to $8.7 million.10

A 30-year-old left-handed hitter, Moustakas had a .251 average with 28 homers and 95 RBIs. He hit .256 with eight homers and 33 RBIs in 54 games for the Brewers, who acquired him from the last-place Royals on July 27.

“I think he provided our team with what we were looking for when we acquired him: a powerful left-handed bat, he played a really quality third base and we had a guy who’d been there before contributing to our clubhouse culture,” Milwaukee general manager David Stearns said last week.cheap nfl jerseys nike china

Soria declined a $10 million mutual option and gets a $1 million buyout, completing a $25 million, three-year contract he agreed to with the Royals in December 2015. The right-hander was acquired from the Chicago White Sox on July 26 and was 3-1 with a 4.09 ERA in 26 games with the Brewers.

Soria had an 18.00 ERA without a decision in two innings over four appearances in the National League Championship Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. He was 1-0 and allowed just a hit and no runs in 2⅔ innings in the division series sweep over the Colorado Rockies, appearing in all three games.

Moustakas and Soria follow left-handed starters Gio Gonzalez and Wade Miley, along with veteran outfielder Curtis Granderson, in Brewers who elected free agency this week. Gonzalez and Granderson also had been acquired in separate deals to bolster the Brewers for the stretch run.

Rajon Rondo’s bid for a tie fails as Lakers fall to Spurs

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However, San Antonio’s defense didn’t bite, and LeBron James was unable to knock down a contested, overtime-forcing 3-pointer for the second time in a week against the Spurs. San Antonio won another nail-biter over the Lakers 110-106 on Saturday at AT&T Center.

After the Lakers (2-4) had their two-game win streak snapped, Rondo and the Lakers explained what happened when they were down three with a chance to cut the lead to one and foul or tie the game.nike nfl jerseys cheap china

“We didn’t have any more timeouts,” Rondo said. “You know, I thought I could probably suck somebody in [on the Spurs’ defense off the Lakers’ 3-point shooters], but they did a great job of staying home. The layup would have gotten us one point closer. We’d still have to foul, but we didn’t have any timeouts, so maybe … I just made a split decision, and we didn’t get what we wanted.”

The Lakers thought they let one get away in San Antonio after leading by 11 with 2:32 remaining in the third quarter. They fell behind by eight with 1:34 left in the fourth but scored seven straight points.10

After DeMar DeRozan (30 points) scored to push the San Antonio lead to 108-105, James hit a wide-open cutting Rondo. Rondo, who had just returned from a three-game suspension for his role in a fight with Chris Paul and the Houston Rockets a week ago Saturday, then opted to turn down a layup. As he went to pull the basketball out of the paint, he nearly lost the ball before passing it to Josh Hart. Hart, covered by DeRozan, immediately fed James, who missed a contested 3.

Hart was able to draw a foul while crashing the glass, and he made the first free throw before saying he intentionally missed the second.

James took an inadvertent elbow from Pau Gasol to the neck as they went for the rebound. Gasol got the rebound and was fouled before making both free throws to seal the game.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

James, who poured in 35 points and 11 rebounds, saw what Rondo was trying to do.

“I was looking for a 3 and then ‘Do opened up wide-open, and I put the ball in his hands to make a play,” James said. “And sometimes when you drive it, you kind of mess with the defense, and they start to shrink in, and you’re able to get a 3, and that’s what ‘Do was thinking, trying to get Josh Hart one. But they stayed home and got it back to me, and I took one that missed.”

Justin Tucker’s unthinkable miss means no kickers are safe

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Justin Tucker missing an extra point is unthinkable and unimaginable.

What the football world learned Sunday is no kicker is immune in 2018 — not even the surest leg in NFL history.

Tucker’s point-after try that sailed wide right in the final seconds of the Baltimore Ravens’ 24-23 loss to the New Orleans Saints continued a nightmarish season for kickers.

There have been 94 missed kicks this season, which ties for the most through Week 7 over the last 25 years, according to ESPN Stats & Information. The only season that had this many misses was 2016.

“I felt like I hit it well,” Tucker said. “But, at the end of the day, the ball just didn’t go through, and that’s all it needs to do to keep the game going.”nike nfl jerseys wholesale cheap

How unlikely was Tucker’s miss? He had made all of his previous 222 point-after attempts, and he was the only kicker who hadn’t missed with at least 200 career extra points.9

On Sunday, a 14-mile per hour wind around the time of the kick and the even more unpredictable wind patterns created by the new video boards in the corners of M&T Bank Stadium played havoc with Tucker’s extra point, which would’ve tied the Saints at 24 with 24 seconds remaining in regulation.

In many ways, the end of Tucker’s perfect run makes perfect sense this year. Green Bay’s Mason Crosby, who holds the NFL postseason record for most consecutive field goals made with 23, missed five kicks (four field goals and one point-after) on Oct. 7. Carolina’s Graham Gano, who tied the NFL record with a 63-yard game-winning field goal on Oct. 7, has missed an extra point in each of his two games after that.china nike nfl jerseys cheap

“I’ll just say we’ve got all the confidence in the world in Justin,” guard Marshal Yanda. “We’re not even worried about it. It is what it is. It happened. I can tell you right now that I have 100 percent confidence in Justin. He’s our guy, and he’s made a ton of kicks for us, and I’m not worried [one] bit about [him].”

Tucker is the most accurate field-goal kicker in NFL history, converting 89.9 percent of his tries (215-of-239). He has the most field goals made as well as the most 40-plus and 50-plus yard kicks since entering the league as an undrafted rookie in 2012.

Twins 3B Miguel Sano arrested in Dominican Republic

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Minnesota Twins third baseman Miguel Sano was arrested early Sunday morning in the Dominican Republic after an incident that left a police officer with a broken leg.cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

Sano ran over the officer’s foot during an incident outside a club in San Pedro de Macoris, according to the police report. Sano was found to be driving a white truck without license plates and was not carrying proper identification, according to the report.

“The Minnesota Twins have been made aware of a situation involving Miguel Sano recently in the Dominican Republic,” team spokesman Dustin Morse said in a statement. “The facts of the incident are not completely available right now but the club is in the process of gathering as much information as possible.”9

Sano, 25, was released from custody after promising to meet with authorities Monday, according to website Diario Libre.

Sano was accused last December of sexual assault by a female photographer, but no charges were filed and Major League Baseball announced in March after completing an investigation that it would not discipline Sano.

His delayed spring training, while the investigation was completed, and an April hamstring injury set the stage for Sano having the worst season of his career. He hit just .199 in 71 games and earned a trip back to the minors to work on his swing and lose weight.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

Sano had been an All-Star in 2017, when he hit .264 with 28 home runs and 77 RBIs.

Aaron Ramsey’s contract talks with Arsenal collapse with no offer on table – source

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Contract talks between Arsenal and midfielder Aaron Ramsey have collapsed, a source has told ESPN FC, raising the prospect of the Wales international leaving on a free transfer next summer.

A source close to the situation said negotiations between the two sides were “at an advanced stage” just weeks ago, when a deal looked close to happening. But a final agreement was never reached and talks are now at a standstill, with no offer on the table from the club, the source said.nike nfl jerseys cheap paypal

It was unclear why the negotiations broke down, although the BBC reported that Arsenal “decided they could not proceed” with an offer.

Ramsey is in the final year of his contract and now looks likely to leave on a free transfer unless he is sold in January at a cut-rate price.9

It is the latest contract saga to play out at Arsenal that could have a destabilising effect on the team. Alexis Sanchez moved to Manchester United in January after refusing to sign a new deal, while Mesut Ozil finally penned a new contract that same month worth upwards of £300,000 a week.

The Ozil deal, along with the signing of Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, has put a strain on Arsenal’s wage bill. Ramsey, who is Arsenal’s longest serving player and leading active goal scorer, has reportedly been looking for a deal worth in excess of £200,000 a week.cheap nfl nike jerseys china

Coach Unai Emery, who took over from Arsene Wenger this summer, has said he views Ramsey as a key part of his team and has told the club he wants the midfielder to get a new deal. However, the new management structure at Arsenal means Emery has little say when it comes to contract negotiations.

Pistons hope Reggie Jackson will be ready for opener

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The Detroit Pistons have a new coach — and the usual amount of optimism that accompanies such a big change.

What they really could use this season is a healthy point guard.

The Pistons are hopeful Reggie Jackson will be ready to play by the start of the season, although he’s still working his way back into shape following an ankle injury. Jackson went down in late December, derailing what had been a promising start for Detroit in 2017-18. Ed Stefanski, a new senior executive for the Pistons, sounds optimistic about Jackson’s health, but the point guard’s recovery isn’t complete yet.cheap nike nfl jerseys free shipping

“Reggie is fully healed. We did an MRI I think a couple weeks ago, and it’s perfect,” Stefanski said at media day Monday. “It’s just now basketball shape, and he hasn’t played all summer long.”

Detroit got off to a 19-14 start last season, but after Jackson’s injury the team floundered, and Stan Van Gundy’s tenure eventually came to an end. The Pistons now have a new coach in Dwane Casey and a new front office.7

Their roster, however, looks a lot like it did at the end of last season. About a month after Jackson’s injury, Detroit acquired Blake Griffin in a trade, adding a star to the roster but also limiting the team’s flexibility.

Jackson eventually returned, but the Pistons weren’t able to salvage the season. If he’s healthy throughout 2018-19, that could go a long way toward helping Detroit improve.

“I’m excited to be getting on the court,” Jackson said. “I didn’t touch a court much in the summer, so I’m excited to just go ahead and love on Spalding some — get out there with my teammates and try to get back to playing basketball.”cheap nike nfl jerseys paypal

Center Andre Drummond says he’s tried to encourage Jackson.

“He’s had a tough go at it since he’s been here, with injuries. It’s been hard for him,” Drummond said. “I’ve done a great job of just staying on him, letting him know that we do need him. `Don’t get down on yourself. Your time is coming.”

In addition to Jackson’s injury, Luke Kennard had an offseason knee issue, and Jon Leuer had surgery after injuring his right knee during an offseason workout. Stefanski said Kennard and Leuer are progressing fine but are also not in basketball shape.

“My goal is to be back before the first game,” Leuer said. “Hopefully the last preseason game. That’s still kind of fluid right now.”

Kristaps Porzingis: There’s ‘no protocol for a 7-3 guy’ rehabbing ACL tear

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New York Knicks All-Star Kristaps Porzingis says he’s taken a conservative approach in his rehabilitation from ACL surgery, in part because no player Porzingis’ height has dealt with the same injury.

“We’ve done things differently because there is no protocol for a 7-3 guy. There is no timetable for my type of body, my size and all that,” Porzingis said at the Knicks’ media day on Monday. “We’ve done things differently, very conservative and at the same time (I’ve been) killing myself working. We’re just going to have to keep moving forward, keep progressing and see when is the right time for me to be back.“nike nfl jerseys wholesale cheap

Porzingis is expected to be out until at least December. He said Monday there is no specific timetable yet for his return.6

“Obviously I’m getting itchy and I want to get back on the court as soon as possible, but it won’t happen until I am 110 percent and medically cleared,” he said.

Porzingis has spent the past several months rehabbing in Spain at the facilities of Real Madrid, the famous soccer club, and in his home country of Latvia.

He says he has done light jogging and shooting on the court and the rehab of his knee — led by physiotherapist Manolo Valdivieso — has gone well thus far.

“(My) leg’s getting stronger. (I’m) feeling really, really good,” said Porzingis, who suffered a torn left ACL in February.

Porzingis is eligible for a five-year, $157 million contract extension before the start of the season. But it appears that the Knicks are comfortable waiting to sign Porzingis to the extension next summer. Doing so would provide an extra $10 million in cap space. Porzingis said he’s focused solely on the health of his knee — and not on the potential extension — at this point.

“That is something I have no thought about, something my management is dealing with and we’re going to talk about that whenever is the right time,” said Porzingis, who averaged a team-high 22.6 points and an NBA-high 2.4 blocks per game before he injured his knee in early February.cheap nike nfl jerseys paypal

Porzingis added that he appreciated new coach David Fizdale and his wife, Natasha Sen-Fizdale, visiting him in Latvia over the summer.

Fizdale has said that he wants to challenge Porzingis to win MVP and Defensive Player of the Year, goals that Porzingis himself has openly discussed.

Jose Mourinho running out of time to boost Manchester United’s squad

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It was after a September 2016 Europa League game vs. Feyenoord that I first heard it suggested. “Do you think Mourinho is finished? I can’t see him being here too long if this is what it’s like,” a journalist said after Manchester United had been beaten 1-0 in Rotterdam.

Jose Mourinho had been manager for three months and United, who had been beaten at home days earlier by Manchester City and would lose at Watford the following weekend, were mired in a run of three straight defeats. That they began the 2016-17 season with three straight Premier League wins had long been forgotten.

Nearly two years later, Mourinho continues to divide opinion. There are many who would love to see him walk away or sacked; they think he is yesterday’s man and do not like what United have become under him.

Among fans, Mourinho still holds support from the majority. However, it slipped during the second half of last season, the lowlight of which was a Champions League exit vs. Sevilla, and it will get into dangerous territory if the upcoming campaign starts badly.nike nfl jerseys wholesale cheap

Throughout preseason, Mourinho has griped due to not having a full squad of players to work with and because the players he wanted to sign have not arrived. Is he right to be irritated?

Working without so many key men is not ideal, but was to be expected after the World Cup. Mourinho could have put a positive spin on the success of United’s players in Russia but, when you’ve gone on record saying you hope Serbia go out of so Nemanja Matic can return sooner, it shows your frame of mind.8

Few supporters have a problem with the club-over-country argument, but Mourinho has been backed in the transfer market. His net spend is £302 million; only Manchester City (£388m) have spent more.

The club has parted with £70m this summer but, despite spending around £30m each on Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof over the last two years, Mourinho wants to sign another central defender before the transfer window closes on Aug. 9.

Mourinho also sought a right-sided midfielder to add width; United’s best play in a 2-1 ICC win against Real Madrid on Tuesday came down that flank, with stunning goals involving Alexis Sanchez, Juan Mata, Matteo Darmian and Ander Herrera.cheap nike nfl jerseys paypal

The manager is frustrated — I have covered United preseason tours since 1991 and never seen a boss so miserable as Mourinho this summer — but getting players from increasingly wealthy clubs with no interest in selling is not easy.

Atletico Madrid, a fine recruiter and producer of talent, were a selling club at the start of this decade and United made their best signing of recent years, David De Gea, from there in 2011.

Now, Atletico sell on their terms. United wanted Antoine Griezmann and he wanted to move, but was reluctant to say so. That is another issue: Clubs often demand that, if a player wants to leave, he states it publicly.

Inside the Cubs’ position-player pitching experience

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It’s not just a fad anymore, or something to laugh about later. Major league managers are using their position players on the mound as a strategy — instead of a novelty — to save their bullpen. And as you might imagine, Chicago Cubs skipper Joe Maddon is at the forefront of the trend. He’s more unorthodox than most.

This year alone, the Cubs have used a position player in six different instances — the most times in baseball — including in two games in four days recently. In one, against the St. Louis Cardinals, Maddon used three different position players to get through innings seven through nine. Three days later, against the Arizona Diamondbacks, he used two more to finish the game, including first baseman Anthony Rizzo. Rizzo has been begging his various managers over the years to get his chance. It finally came with two outs in the ninth inning.

“Was good theatre,” Maddon said. “I’ve heard from more fans walking around how much they enjoyed that moment.“nfl cheap jerseys nike

Rizzo threw two pitches, getting A.J. Pollock to fly out to center field. Those in attendance went crazy, giving him a standing ovation, despite the 7-1 loss.

“It was crazy,” Pollock said. “Fans going nuts. I was trying to figure out what the hell was going on. Then you’re trying to figure out how hard he’s going to throw. You know he can probably throw in the 80s or is he going to just go with 40 mph?”7

Rizzo made sure to throw on the softer side, as an injury would have been a monumental public relations disaster for the Cubs, let alone one that could have dashed their World Series hopes.

“I take my side sessions during my pregame routine a little more serious, actually,” Rizzo said. “But I’m not going to the mound and blow out my arm.”

No matter what the final score is, position players pitching almost always elicit entertaining moments, such as when Cubs backup catcher Victor Caratini took the mound to face Diamondbacks slugger Paul Goldschmidt last Monday. Caratini already had an inning under his belt, logged a few days prior against the Cardinals, but that didn’t settle his nerves.

“Honestly, I was a little bit scared,” Caratini recalled through an interpreter. “He’s a great hitter. I was just waiting for a line drive right back at me. I didn’t know how I would be able to react to it.”

Before Goldschmidt stepped in, Caratini got some sage advice from his backstop mate, Willson Contreras.nike nfl jerseys wholesale cheap

“Caratini told me he might quick-pitch Paul Goldschmidt because he didn’t want to get hit by a line drive,” Contreras said. “I told him to throw really soft and start running back. Then you’ll have time to react.”