Archives for December 2018

Chelsea FC Starting XI Prediction vs Southampton FC

chelsea

Chelsea FC currently sit fourth in the Premier League table, sandwiched between two fellow London clubs. The Blues are two points behind second place Tottenham Hotspur, and five ahead of fifth place Arsenal.

Right now, the west London side is dealing with an accumulating injury problem that is on the verge of potentially becoming a full blown crisis. And it’s happening at the worst possible time with the games coming fast and furious. As depth decreases, the chances for squad rotation will be smaller as fixture congestion ramps up.

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Chelsea vs Southampton Injury Report: Giroud, Fabregas, Pedro, Bertrand, Soares

eden hazard chelsea

Chelsea host Southampton FC tomorrow afternoon winners of their past two Premier League games, but also feeling the pressure of a mounting injury problem. The win at Crystal Palace came with a price as striker Olivier Giroud was the latest player added to the unavailable for selection list after he left the pitch at Selhurst Park on crutches.

That list also includes Pedro (hamstring injury), Cesc Fabregas (neck injury), Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Danny Drinkwater and Callum Hudson-Odoi. The full extent of Giroud’s ankle injury is not known at this time.

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Pat Fitzgerald Emphatically Shoots Down Green Bay Packers Rumors

pat fitzgerald

So much for the Pat Fitzgerald to the Green Bay Packers rumors. In celebrating a record setting come-from-behind Holiday Bowl victory over the #17 Utah Utes, the Northwestern head coach made an emphatic statement.

It was reported by multiple outlets on Sunday that Packers CEO Mark Murphy, who elevated Fitzgerald to head coach in 2006 when he was NU athletic director, was interested in interviewing Fitzgerald for the open Packers head coaching position.

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Notre Dame QB2 Brandon Wimbush Considering Transfer at Season’s End

brandon wimbush

Notre Dame QB2 Brandon Wimbush is currently focused on preparing for the Cotton Bowl National Semifinal against Clemson tomorrow (full game preview and prediction at this link). He’s practicing with his teammates in Dallas, preparing for the possibility to be called upon should starter Ian Book go down with injury. At the same time, he’s also put out some feelers in the transfer market.

Having already graduated and received his degree, Wimbush would immediately be eligible to play at another school next season. With Book returning for his senior year in 2019, it makes sense for Wimbush to look elsewhere in order to optimize his final season of eligibility. At the very least, he should see what options are available to him.

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Green Bay Packers Want to Interview Pat Fitzgerald for Open Coaching Position

pat fitzgerald

According to multiple reports, Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald is on the list of candidates to potentially fill the Green Bay Packers head coaching vacancy. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the ball is in Fitzgerald’s court right now too. The Packers have contacted Fitz about scheduling an interview, but the NU mentor is currently focused on preparing his team to take on #17 Utah in the Holiday Bowl tomorrow (full game preview and prediction at this link).

We won’t know until after the bowl game whether or not Fitz will hear their Packers out on their offer, but he “has shut down countless interview requests from the NFL in the past,” according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

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Analogies Between 2018 and 2012 Notre Dame Have Significant Limitations

#3 Notre Dame got routed by #2 Clemson 30-3 in the 83rd Cotton Bowl Classic today, dropping the Fighting Irish to 0-6 all time in BCS and New Year’s Six bowl games. In a battle of undefeated teams, only the Tigers looked like a 12-0 squad pulling away early in the second quarter of this national semifinal, and never looking back.

The final margin of victory, 27, was just one point less than the last time Notre Dame played in a game with national championship implications- the 2012 BCS Title Game. The Fighting Irish lost to Alabama by 28 (42-14) that night, and just like on this day, the final score doesn’t really reflect just how one-sided the affair truly was.

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Holiday Bowl Preview, Prediction: #22 Northwestern Wildcats vs #17 Utah Utes

Since 2014, the Holiday Bowl has featured a matchup of Pac-12 and Big Ten teams, making it a sort of junior varsity version of the Rose Bowl. It’s kind of like how San Diego is the j.v. version of Los Angeles in some ways. That’s not meant to be a slam, San Diego is an awesome city.

The 2018 edition of the Holiday Bowl features a match-up of the teams that lost the Big 10 (#22 Northwestern Wildcats) and Pac 12 (#17 Utah Utes) championship games. The winners of those two conference title games, Ohio State and Washington, will meet in the Rose Bowl the next day. So really, this year more than ever, the Holiday Bowl is a quasi-opening act for the Granddaddy of them all.

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Manchester United Starting XI Prediction at Newcastle United

manchester united line up

When Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took over Manchester United in the interim, he lifted the lid and cut off the constraints. It’s resulted in wins, fun to watch football and the team’s most expensive, talented and important player realizing his potential again.

It’s great for United that Paul Pogba seems to be back to his regular self again, and winger Jesse Lingard has taken notice. “He’s enjoying his football,” Lingard said. “He’s playing in the role he likes to play in just inside off the left. He has the freedom to make things happen. He has always got forward in that position and scored goals.”

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United at Newcastle Injury Report: Sanchez, Rojo, McTominay, Smalling, Darlow, Clark

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is off to a fantastic start as Manchester United caretaker manager. The club have won all three games that he has been in charge so far, putting up a goal differential aggregate of 12-3. Not only is United winning again, but they’re doing so with panache in an entertaining style.

Right now, this is the most fun United have been to watch since Sir Alex Ferguson retired, but OGS is yet to face a formidable opponent. The three teams that his United side have beaten up on are 12th, 16th and 20th (dead last) in the current table. Newcastle United, who sit 15th, won’t be much of a measuring stick either.

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Arsenal FC Starting XI Prediction vs Fulham FC

Happy New Year Arsenal and Fulham supporters! Typically, the mid-point of the season coincides with the calendar flipping over and in 2019 we’ll see if the Gunners can improve upon the progress that they have shown under Unai Emery in 2018. Arsenal, currently dealing with a slew of injuries, in all position groups, have only won two of their last five fixtures, so this is the perfect time for them to face a Fulham side that’s so low in the table.

The London derby is also a series that’s been extremely one-sided, in favor of the Gunners. In 56 meetings all time, we’ve seen 38 Arsenal wins, eight Fulham victories and ten draws. Let’s take a look at who Emery may select in his quest to make it 39.

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Fulham at Arsenal FC Report: Holding, Bellerin, Monreal, Ozil, Mawson, Anguissa

claudio-ranieri-leicester-city

“Nothing changes on New Year’s Day,” U2 told us back in the 1980s, but both of the teams in this fixture tomorrow will hope that’s not true. Fulham FC is at Arsenal tomorrow, and when this game kicks off 2018 will be a distant memory, having given way to 2019. The visitors enter this content 19th, four ahead of bottom dweller Huddersfield, but just one point behind Southampton for that final safety slot.

The appointed savior Claudio Ranieri has plenty of work to do, but he’s made some progress thus far. The Craven Cottagers are no longer dead last, so that’s something. As for the hosts, they are now five points behind Chelsea in the race to nab that final top four slot, so they are like their opponents in hoping changes will happen in the new year.

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Maurizio Sarri Worried About Chelsea Fitness Crisis After Olivier Giroud Suffers Injury

olivier giroud

The fixture congestion of the festive period is creating a lot of worries and concerns for Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri as the injuries continue to pile up for his team. Striker Olivier Giroud is the latest player added to the unavailable for selection list that also includes Pedro, Cesc Fabregas, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Danny Drinkwater and Callum Hudson-Odoi.

Giroud left the pitch on crutches today in the 76′ as Chelsea won 1-0 at Crystal Palace. He suffered an ankle injury, the full extent of which will probably not be known until tomorrow. Sarri will get at least some update on the situation later tonight.

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