10 months agoNapoli president De Laurentiis: Mourinho wanted to buy Koulibaly for £95M

first_imgTagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Napoli president De Laurentiis: Mourinho wanted to buy Koulibaly for £95Mby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveNapoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis has confirmed Jose Mourinho wanted to sign Kalidou Koulibaly for Manchester United.De Laurentiis says his side rejected a £95m bid from United for Koulibaly earlier this month.He told Corriere del Mezzogirono: “Mourinho wanted him, we rejected £95 million.“But now it’s impossible that he leaves Napoli.”Indeed, Koulibaly penned a new deal to 2023 with Napoli this week. last_img

The Cardinals Spread It Out Like No Other Team But How Much

Source: ESPN Stats & Information Group 32,67245.0+0.12 Source: ESPN Stats & Information Group Play-action is more effective, especially with fewer receiversExpected points added (EPA) by the number of eligible receivers in route, for play-action plays vs. all other dropbacks, 2017-18 regular seasons If your goal is to fool your opponent into thinking you’re going to run the ball, bringing in a bunch of players who look like blockers is probably a good idea. That’s an intuitive finding that makes sense. Meanwhile, it’s also heartening to see that adding eligible receivers to the route design of a non-play-action passing play leads to greater passing efficiency. That’s also a finding that we’d expect — the more passing options the better!It’s no surprise that play-action continues to show up as one of the most efficient play types in football. Analysts have been calling it the NFL’s corner three for years. But it’s still somewhat shocking to see just how pervasive and massive an effect a little deception can have on the success of an offense. It will be interesting to see how much play-action the Cardinals incorporate into their attack moving forward. With a healthy dose, along with the ability to successfully flood the field with wide receivers over the course of 16 games, Arizona shouldn’t stay near the bottom of our Elo rankings for long.Check out our latest NFL predictions. 42,78350.6+0.216,17142.5+0.01 2 or fewer1,20139.0-0.03 Based on success rate2The share of those plays with a positive EPA. and EPA per play, the optimum number of receivers to send out into routes is three. NFL rules dictate that five receivers at most can report as eligible to catch a pass on any given play,3The sixth non-lineman must pass the ball and is normally referred to as the quarterback. so this finding would appear to support passing out of heavy sets with big tight ends staying home to help shore up the pass blocking. Or perhaps teams should keep a running back in the backfield to help chip rushing defenders. But it also could be that those heavier sets are effective because of the deception they afford via the play-action pass.To find out, we broke out all plays by the number of receivers and then split the plays by play-action and non-play-action. When we look at the plays this way, we find that play-action accounts for all the efficiency we see from the plays with three or fewer receivers. When play-action snaps are removed, passes with three or fewer receivers have a negative expected value leaguewide. 31,43848.8+0.221,13040.3-0.01 New Head Coach Kliff Kingsbury and Arizona have brought a variant of the Hal Mumme Air Raid to the NFL, and while the Cardinals didn’t earn a Week 1 win — they tied the Detroit Lions in their home opener — the system lived up to its billing. Known for its spread concepts and heavy use of the forward pass, the Air Raid relies on a smart, accurate passer to distribute the ball to a bevy of playmakers sent into routes that attack all areas of the field. And spread they did. With first overall pick Kyler Murray running the offense, the Cardinals trotted out more four wide receiver sets (45) on Sunday than the rest of the NFL combined (36).Clearly Kingsbury isn’t afraid to be different, but it comes with risks. Going four-wide is an approach that hasn’t typically paid off for NFL offenses. In the 2017 and 2018 seasons, NFL teams ran 1,185 plays from four-WR sets and ended up stubbing their toes. Over that fairly large sample, the expected points added per play across the league was negative, at -0.03 EPA per play. Meanwhile, teams found success featuring fewer wideouts, averaging positive EPA per play numbers with their personnel groups of two and three wide receivers.1Two-WR formations earned 0.04 EPA play, while three-WR formations earned 0.02 EPA play.[/footnote.That pattern continued in Week 1: Teams averaged -0.03 EPA per play on passes with four wide receivers — right in line with the two-year average.[footnote]On 86 dropbacks. As we saw, the Cardinals were responsible for the majority of those plays, though, so it’s encouraging they performed slightly better than the league mean, earning -0.01 EPA per play.The Air Raid encompasses a set of passing concepts that many teams have integrated into their schemes, so it’s not completely new. Andy Reid of the Chiefs incorporated parts of the Air Raid into his system to suit the specific strengths of Patrick Mahomes, Kingsbury’s former QB at Texas Tech. But the difference for the Cardinals may be in the details. Kingsbury used wide splits and 3×1 wide receiver sets often to stress the Lions defense with his four wideouts, and Murray improved as the game went on. Perhaps they have what it takes to make four-wide in the NFL successful.But we also wondered: Wide receivers aside, does a team having more eligible receivers running routes lead to more production in the NFL? Or do offenses benefit when players stay in to protect their QB? Is adding more receivers to a play ineffective?Expected points added (EPA) per play by number of eligible receivers running routes, for 2017-18 regular-season plays ≤ 242353.6+0.4276438.3-0.05 Number of RoutesDropbacksSuccess RateEPA per play 49,41944.9+0.07 525,73944.8%+0.04 Routesdropbackssuccess rateepa per playdropbackssuccess rateepa per play 52,75349.0+0.1522,48244.3%+0.03 play-actionnon-play-action read more

Offseason additions have Cincinnati buzzing about Reds

Traditionally, a Cincinnati Reds offseason includes the signing of an overpriced free agent, i.e. Eric Milton or Willy Taveras, and misplaced hope for the upcoming season.Furthermore, the men of the Queen City usually attempt to fill major holes in their roster by acquiring “has-beens” and hoping that these players miraculously have career years.This offseason has been a bit different, and the upcoming season may merit a hint of optimism.The last major acquisition the Reds have made in recent memory was the Ken Griffey Jr. trade after the 1999 season. When rumors began to float around that the Reds were in the Aroldis Chapman sweepstakes, no one gave them a chance to sign the 21-year-old, left-handed Cuban and free agent pitcher armed with a 100 mph fastball.Pundits predicted Chapman would sign with one of the big-market teams such as the Yankees, Red Sox, Mets or Phillies. However, the Reds ended up on top by giving Chapman a six-year, $30.25 million contract on Jan. 12.Clearly, the Reds are taking a huge gamble. Chapman is a classic example of a pitcher with a big, live arm, but one who is also dogged by control issues. In 327 career innings for Holguin, his Cuban team, Chapman struck out 365 batters but walked 203.Coming into the offseason, the Reds had a gaping hole at shortstop. As the winter months wore on, popular opinion was that the Reds were going to spring training with Paul Janish, a slick-fielding but offensively-challenged shortstop, as the starter.Then, way out of left field, the Reds signed veteran shortstop Orlando Cabrera to a $3.02 million, one-year contract. The 35-year-old Cabrera has lost a step or two defensively, but is a significant upgrade offensively over Janish.Also, by trading outfielder Willy Taveras, who was due $4 million next year, to Oakland along with infielder Adam Rosales, the Reds opened up enough money to sign Cabrera.The last objective on the Reds’ offseason list would be bringing back outfielder Jonny Gomes. As a platoon player last year, Gomes hit 20 home runs in 281 at-bats and brought much-needed right-handed power to the lineup. Re-signing Gomes would also add experience to a young outfield that includes Chris Dickerson, Drew Stubbs and Jay Bruce.Without a doubt, the 2010 season is a make or break year for manager Dusty Baker. The Cincinnati Reds manager enters the last year of his contract having gone 74-88 and 78-84 in his first two seasons. Considering Baker was hired by General Manager Walt Jocketty’s predecessor Wayne Krivsky, it’s hard to see Baker returning if Cincinnati has another disappointing season.In Baker’s first two seasons, he has had a significantly different roster to manage each year. In 2008, the Reds still had sluggers Ken Griffey Jr. and Adam Dunn, whose personalities dominated the clubhouse. In 2009, the Reds were an extremely young team led by Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips.However, the offensive problems that have plagued the Reds for much of the past decade still ring true today. Their mantra a few years ago was to rely on the home run ball to win games. Last year, with a precocious but young ball club, the team relied on small ball. Yet, they ranked No. 11 in the National League in runs scored and No. 15 in batting average.Since the Reds did not make a big trade to acquire a power bat, Baker will fill his lineup card everyday hoping to get increased production from his young players. First baseman Joey Votto and second baseman Brandon Phillips are entrenched in the three and four spots, while third baseman Scott Rolen will likely bat fifth.Baker would be wise to utilize center fielder Stubbs’ speed and Cabrera’s contact skills at the top of the lineup. The Reds have not had a legitimate table-setter since Barry Larkin, and Stubbs’ blazing speed and bunt skills have the potential to make some noise in the leadoff spot.The biggest question mark in the Reds’ line-up surrounds Bruce. After bursting onto the big league scene in 2008, the right fielder suffered a sophomore slump in 2009, batting .223 with 22 home runs and 58 RBIs. However, there appears to be a light at the end of the tunnel for Bruce. He batted .326 over his last 18 games, in part due to a stance adjustment following a stint on the disabled list.The Reds’ clear strength is their pitching staff, specifically the bullpen. Closer Francisco Cordero anchors a bullpen that ranked near the top of the NL. Cordero is joined by flame-throwing right-hander Nick Masset and screw-ball lefty Daniel Ray Herrera.The first four spots in the Reds starting rotation appear to be set in stone with Bronson Arroyo, Johnny Cueto, Aaron Harang and Homer Bailey, while the fifth spot is up for grabs between a cast of characters including Matt Maloney and Micah Owings.The Reds appear to be heading in the right direction. For the most part, their young stars have taken their major league lumps. They have proven veterans looking to rebound from injury-plagued seasons. Jocketty is an aggressive GM with a track record of success.However, the fact remains the Reds have not been to the playoffs since 1995. Come August, if the Reds can stay healthy and get production from all 25 guys on the roster, they just may be able to keep Cincinnati fans focused on a pennant race instead of Bengals training camp. read more

Hejduk looking forward to World Cup

As the 2010 World Cup in South Africa approaches, one of U.S. Soccer’s all-time greats looks back on his career and looks forward to the summer event.Columbus Crew’s Frankie Hejduk has had ups and downs while cementing himself as one of U.S. soccer’s most accomplished player.“It came with hard work,” Hejduk said. “I’m a believer that you create your own luck.”Hejduk’s resume speaks for itself: two World Cup appearances, two Olympic games, part of the German team Bayer Leverkusen that played in the 2002 UEFA Champions League final, five-time Major League Soccer all-star and 2008 MLS champion with the Columbus Crew.Hejduk, born in La Mesa, Calif., a suburb of San Diego, grew up surfing and playing soccer. He was more passionate about surfing, and many of his friends did go pro in surfing. Despite that, he decided to attend UCLA on a scholarship to play soccer.His first international cap came in 1996 in El Salvador during a World Cup qualifer. He scored a goal in his international debut.“Scoring a goal was icing on the cake,” Hejduk said.Hejduk made his World Cup debut in 1998, playing in the second game of the first round against Iran. That day is something he will remember for the rest of his life, he said.“Absolutely incredible experience,” Hejduk remembers. “During the National Anthem, thinking of all the past coaches I played for, my family, what they have sacrificed, what I sacrificed, all of that comes together at one moment. I got the chills, teary-eyed. And this is all before the game even starts.”The summer of 2002 is one that stands out to Hejduk and US soccer fans. That summer in Korea and Japan, the team made an unexpected run all the way to the quarterfinals. To get there, they defeated rival Mexico 2-0 in the round of 16.“It was for bragging rights. Who was going to step up?” Hejduk said. “We knew we were going to win.”USA fell to Germany 1-0 in the quarters, a match many felt the US should have won. “The German press told us ‘We got a lot of respect for you guys. We lucked out,’” Hejduk said of the aftermath.“We were proud of ourselves. We gave everything we had,” Hejduk said.After that great World Cup run, Hejduk looked forward to another one four years later. Unfortunately, two days after being named to the 2006 World Cup roster, Hejduk tore his ACL.“Pretty much a buzz kill,” Hejduk said. “A lot of mental stuff you go through when you have those injuries. That’s why you have friends and family to help you get by it.”Despite not being able to participate, U.S. Soccer paid for Hejduk and his family to go to Germany and be at the World Cup with the team.“It was a great experience, I got to be a fan,” Hejduk said. “I was able to bring my son. He got to experience the World Cup with me. I got a different perspective and it was simply amazing.”Hejduk has taken that experience and used it for motivation.“It actually motivated me to try to make this next World Cup because after 2006 a lot of people wrote me off because I was 32 at the time with a torn ACL,” Hejduk said. “I made it a goal of mine to prove those people wrong.”The motivation seemed to work, as Hejduk helped team USA qualify for this year’s World Cup and helped lead the Crew to the 2008 MLS Cup.“Nothing better than picking up that trophy after the 9 years I gave to the MLS,” Hejduk said.As for U.S. Soccer’s chances in South Africa, Hejduk believes they should make it out of the first round. After that, he feels anything can happen.“I think on any given day the US can beat any team in the world,” Hejduk said. “I think teams are starting to have a lot more respect for the US.” read more

Danny Murphy says Fulham can play with freedom in Championship playoff

first_imgThe victors of the annual showpiece at Wembley could be £280million richer and it’s the most lucrative prize in world football.The game goes live 5pm today and Murphy, who has played 169 games for Fulham, thinks their opponents are more desperate for promotion to the Premier League according to talkSPORT.“I think Villa need it more.“There’s more pressure on Villa because of the outlay that they’ve put out and the wages they’re paying.“Fulham can go into this with a little more freedom – the club’s not going to be in financial trouble if they don’t go up.”The Whites finished third in the Championship after stringing together 23 games without defeat. They overcame Derby in the semi-final, coming from 1-0 down in the first leg to win 2-1 on aggregate.Murphy added: “I think Fulham, playing the way they do, are going to be difficult to stop.Liverpool told to pick ‘fantastic’ Dembele over Coutinho Andrew Smyth – July 18, 2019 Ousmane Dembele would be a better signing for Liverpool rather than his Barcelona team-mate Philippe Coutinho, says Danny Murphy.“Especially now they’ve got over that tricky 1-0 with Derby. To come back from that, being a goal down, I think that’s the hardest bit.“Now they can just go and enjoy it.”Villa, who beat Middlesbrough 1-0 over two legs in their semi-final, carry a lot more experience into the big game with the likes of John Terry and Glen Whelan in the squad.The former Fulham man also suggested the large Wembley pitch may suit the Whites, but the contrast between youth and experience will be intriguing even though the pre-game talk has centred on Fulham’s teenage-sensation Ryan Sessegnon, Murphy believes Steve Bruce should focus his attention on another talent.“When Tom Cairney’s at it, Fulham really are creative and a good side to watch.“He’s the one for Villa that I think they need to stop.“But Villa have got talent of their own. It’s going to be a good game” he continued.last_img read more

Juventus prepare Pogba offer

first_imgJuventus are plotting a sensational move to bring Paul Pogba back to the club.The Italian club are ready to cash in on players like Gonzalo Higuain, Miralem Pjanic and Daniele Rugani to find a transfer for Pogba.The Turin based outfit have made initial contact with Pogba’s agent, Mino Raiola, and have informed him of their desire to resign the midfielder they sold to United for £89million two years ago.It is understood United would be willing to sell due to the fractious relationship between Jose and Pogba, which escalated last season after the player was dropped to the bench on several occasions.Franck Ribery, FiorentinaFiorentina owner: “Ribery played better than Ronaldo!” Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Fiorentina owner Rocco Commisso was left gushing over Franck Ribery’s performance against Juventus, which he rates above that of even Cristiano Ronaldo’s.The awkwardness between player and coach was made obvious when Mourinho made comments to reporters about Pogba’s World Cup performance with France.“I don’t think it’s about us getting the best out of him but him giving us the best he has to offer,” Mourinho responded when asked about United getting the best out of Pogba, according to Daily Mail.This won’t have gone unnoticed by Paul who’s currently on holiday in the United States.Meanwhile, Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri wants Pogba to come to join Cristiano Ronaldo at the club as he plans to extend his dominance of the Italian Serie A into the UEFA Champions League.last_img read more

Soldotna Declares May As Bike Month

center_img The group envisions bike-friendly communities where bicycling is a convenient, routine, safe, and healthy transportation option that contributes to the high quality of life for Kenai Peninsula residents. Facebook0TwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享May has been declared as ‘Bike Month’ by the City of Soldotna. Soldotna Mayor Nels Anderson presented the proclamation at the council meeting on Wednesday, April 24.last_img

Womens Roller Derby Returns To Wilmington On June 23

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Watching the rise of the religious left on 1970s TV

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NYC Mayor Offers Plan to Diversify Elite High Schools

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