OptiNews - Friday 15 to Thursday 21 September 2017

OptiNews - Friday 15 to Thursday 21 September 2017
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#1

All news is good news


#2

Sourced from A tweet by SouthamptonFC tweet

@SouthamptonFC - Southampton FC

:camera_flash:

Check out the best images as #SaintsFC trained at St Mary’s ahead of their #PL clash with #CPFC:… https://twitter.com/i/web/status/908403225220362245

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#3

Sourced from BBC article

Premier League predictions: Lawro v former world champion triathlete Non Stanford

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Only two teams are yet to pick up any points in the Premier League this season - Bournemouth and Crystal Palace - but will that change this weekend?

BBC Sport’s football expert Mark Lawrenson thinks it will - he has tipped both the Cherries and the Eagles to pick up their first wins of the new campaign.

Do you agree? You can make your own predictions now - take on Lawro and other fans, create your own league and try to make it to the top of the table by playing the new-look BBC Sport Predictor game.

Lawro picked up 40 points in week four, his lowest score so far this season. That saw him slip down the table by 4,061 places to 6,198th place out of a total of more than 190,000.

Lawro needs a big week or two to reignite his title push but time is on his side - he will be making a prediction for all 380 top-flight games this season, against a variety of guests.

Lawro’s opponent for this weekend’s fixtures is former world champion triathlete Non Stanford.

Stanford supports her hometown team Swansea City - after a brief flirtation with Arsenal because of Thierry Henry - and is backing them to beat Tottenham on Saturday, or at least she hopes they do.

You can hear more from Non on Football Focus at 12:00 BST on Saturday on BBC One and the BBC Sport website.

A correct result (picking a win, draw or defeat) is worth 10 points. The exact score earns 40 points.

Remember you can try to beat Lawro yourself by playing the BBC Sport Predictor game.

All kick-offs 15:00 BST unless otherwise stated.

Bournemouth have lost all four league games so far but there has been no suggestion that Eddie Howe’s future is in doubt as Cherries manager, and rightly so.

Brighton got their first Premier League win last weekend after an improved attacking display, and it bodes well for them that they have a goal threat, because they will need it to have a chance of staying up this season.

But I am backing Bournemouth to win this battle of the south coast, and I think they will soon recover from their poor start.

New Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson did well at struggling clubs when he took over at Fulham and West Brom, and the Eagles are obviously looking for him to steady the ship in a similar way.

Southampton also need to pick up after a poor start, but they will have to offer more going forward than they did in their defeat by Watford last time out.

I am going for Palace to win this one, because of the Hodgson factor - I am expecting to see a big reaction from their players on Saturday.

Huddersfield suffered their first defeat of the season at the hands of West Ham on Monday and their manager David Wagner was right when he said they did not really get going.

I am sure we will see a better performance from the Terriers at home, but this is a game where I see Leicester using their nous to come out on top.

I am not sure what is going on with the goalkeeper situation at Liverpool but Simon Mignolet should play for them against Burnley.

If Loris Karius is picked instead, then I think the Clarets will be licking their lips and looking to put a lot of balls into the box, because Karius is not very convincing when it comes to dealing with them.

Liverpool’s attacking talent still means they should win this game comfortably but they will have to be on their toes at the back, and be much more solid defensively than they have been of late.

Burnley are well organised and work hard, but you know what to expect from them when they come forward - the outcome on Saturday depends on how well Liverpool deal with that.

Newcastle’s last two results - wins against West Ham and the Swans - will have lifted the mood and confidence at the club after a difficult start.

Stoke will be a much tougher test than either of those teams, though.

The Potters gave Manchester United a good game last weekend and showed again that they are hard to beat.

Watford’s excellent start to the season continued last week with their win at Southampton.

The Hornets will feel that, if they can get at Manchester City, they can cause them problems too, because City’s defence is still not the same when Vincent Kompany is not fit. We saw that last weekend when Liverpool had 11 men.

I still think City will be confident that their attack is good enough to get them the three points here again, though. Again, we saw how good they are against Liverpool.

Whoever Pep Guardiola picks, it does not look like scoring goals is going to be an issue for them this season and I don’t see it being a problem on Saturday.

West Ham got off the mark with their win over Huddersfield on Monday but they still do not look much of a threat in front of goal.

West Brom also don’t score too many, and I think there is a chance that both teams could cancel each other out. Hammers boss Slaven Bilic will probably be happy with that.

The way Tottenham dismantled Everton last week was very impressive.

In contrast, Swansea really struggled against Newcastle.

After seeing the Swans beat Crystal Palace, I was not too worried about Paul Clement’s side getting dragged into the relegation battle this season - but any more complete non-performances like that would be a real cause for concern.

Much has been made of Spurs’ poor record at Wembley until they beat Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday.

But even if they had stayed at White Hart Lane, it would have been a huge ask for them to repeat their results there last season when they won 17 and drew two of their 19 home league games.

This is the kind of game I would expect Spurs to win comfortably, regardless of the venue.

I fully expected Arsenal to beat Bournemouth last weekend, but that does not mean everything is rosy for the Gunners. Far from it.

Arsenal boss Arsenal Wenger only ever seems to be a game - or even a half - away from a full-blown crisis, and I think he will have another defeat to contend with this weekend, rather than a repeat of what happened at Wembley in the FA Cup final.

Since their opening-day defeat by Burnley, Chelsea have won four games in a row and I think the way they lost to the Clarets will actually have helped them focus.

Sometimes you need a game to go badly like that at the start of the season to realise you need to get back at it if you want to defend your title.

I am sure Everton forward Wayne Rooney will get a warm reception on his return to Old Trafford, but I don’t see him having much to smile about in terms of the result.

Even without the injured Paul Pogba, I think Manchester United will be too strong for Everton - United have such a strong squad to call upon.

Everton were poor at the back against Tottenham but the bigger issue for me is their lack of goal threat. United will find a way through, while I don’t think Everton will.

Last week, Lawro got four correct results, with no perfect scores, from 10 matches, for a total of 40 points.

He lost out to BBC NFL Show analysts Osi Umenyiora and Jason Bell, who got five results correct but with no perfect scores, for a total of 50 points.

*Foster and Cram both provided predictions on week one, but only Foster’s score contributes to the guest total.

Lawro’s best score: 120 points (week one v Foster and Cram)

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#4

Sourced from A tweet by MirrorFootball tweet

@MirrorFootball - Mirror Football

Fit-again Van Dijk may not regain Southampton captaincy after summer transfer saga, warns boss Pellegrino #SaintsFChttps://twitter.com/i/web/status/908452726895529986

Retweets: 8

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#5

Sourced from Optimus trousers summary article summary

Summary of non-mainstream articles: 15/09/2017 02:11:17

| | Olufela Olomola justifying Southampton’s decision to loan him to Yeovil TownHEREISTHECITY |

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#6

Sourced from Southampton FC - Official Site article

Quiz: Saints, Crystal Palace, both or neither?

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There’s 25 questions…did these players represent Saints, Crystal Palace, both or neither? Have a go at our latest quiz, ahead of the Premier League trip to Selhurst Park.

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#7

Sourced from Southampton FC - Official Site article

Press conference (part two): Pellegrino previews Palace clash

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#8

Sourced from Daily Echo article

New Palace boss demands ‘character and desire’ against Saints

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New Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson wants to see his players show character and desire during his first game in charge against Southampton.

The former England boss took over at Selhurst Park on Tuesday following Frank de Boer’s sacking after just four games in charge.

The Dutchman had overseen four straight losses without the team scoring a goal when Palace’s owners decided they had seen enough.

Hodgson said on Sky Sports News: "You are looking for character really, you’re looking for desire, you’re looking for people with enthusiasm and you’re looking for people who at least give the impression that they’re trying to do what the team wants them to do.

“I think we’ve got a lot of work to do before I will feel confident that every player fully understands with his role what I’m looking for and what I want him to do. There’s more work to do before that happens.”

Despite only taking over on Tuesday, Hodgson has been encouraged by what he has seen of his players so far.

“I’ve seen some signs that the little few things we have done and the one or two things we have said it’s not just been completely wasted on them,” he said.

“Most importantly of all I refer to those initial qualities - I want to see character, I want to see desire, I want to see enthusiasm, to see a team which shows the fans that they really care.”

Hodgson was also encouraged by what he saw in Palace’s last Premier League game before he took over, despite it being a 1-0 loss at Burnley on Sunday.

“Now I must say we’ve lost four games. The last one I watched very closely. I didn’t see too much lack of character or desire or fight in that game. I don’t expect to see it on Saturday,” he added.

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#9

Sourced from Mirror.co.uk article

Southampton boss Pellegrino on whether fit-again Van Dijk will regain captaincy

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Virgil van Dijk must convince his Southampton teammates he deserves to keep the captain’s armband after his failed attempts to force through a club-record move to Liverpool.

Van Dijk hopes to return to Premier League action at Crystal Palace on Saturday for the first time since Saints blocked a £60million switch to Anfield.

Asked on Thursday if the want-away Dutch defender — who hasn’t played since January because of injury — will retain his role as skipper, manager Mauricio Pellegrino said: “For me, the captain is something the team may decide.

“You have to deserve it.

“You cannot make the captain someone who is not playing, but obviously Virgil was one of the leaders of the squad before.”

Van Dijk made a nightmare comeback after eight months out with an ankle injury as Saints’ Under-23s were thrashed 4-0 by Aston Villa’s on Monday.

New boss Pellegrino, who banished the former Celtic ace to train on his own after he demanded a transfer, added: “Virgil was training well and played 90 minutes in a reserve game. Tomorrow we will decide.

“Hopefully he will be getting better every single week. I am happy with that because everybody, not just Virgil, is ready right now to be part of the team.”

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#10

Sourced from Premier League - Official Site article

Pellegrino to make late decision on Van Dijk

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Mauricio Pellegrino has backed Virgil van Dijk to keep improving as he nears his Premier League comeback for Southampton, which could come on Saturday’s trip to Crystal Palace.

The 26-year-old defender returned to action on Monday night in their Premier League 2 defeat at Aston Villa, having missed a large part of last season with an ankle injury, and Pellegrino said he will make a late decision on whether he will feature at Selhurst Park or not.

“Virgil was training well, he played 90 minutes the other day in a game, but tomorrow we will decide,” the Saints manager told Southamptonfc.com.

“Hopefully he will be getting better every single week, but I am happy with that, because it’s not about just Virgil. Everybody I think right now is ready to be part of the team.”

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#11

Sourced from ESPN FC article

Virgil van Dijk could end Southampton exile against Crystal Palace - Pellegrino

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Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk could end his exile this weekend, according to manager Mauricio Pellegrino.

Van Dijk handed in a transfer request over the summer amid strong speculation linking him with a move away from St Mary’s.

The Netherlands international has not featured in any of Southampton’s five matches so far this campaign due to the uncertainty over his future, and has not played competitively since suffering a foot ligament injury against Leicester in January.

He was selected for an under-23s game on Monday – a 4-0 defeat to Aston Villa – and may now be a surprise inclusion for the Premier League fixture at Crystal Palace on Saturday as he attempts to get his career back on track.

Pellegrino said: "Virgil was training well. He played 90 minutes the other day, the reserve game. But tomorrow [Friday] we will decide [whether he features against Palace].

"Hopefully he will be getting better every single week but I am happy with that – not just about Virgil because everybody I think is ready to be part of the team.’’

Van Dijk, who was linked with a host of clubs including Liverpool and Chelsea, will be sticking with Southampton until at least January following the closure of the summer transfer window.

He captained Southampton last season, but Pellegrino was coy on whether the former Celtic man would reclaim the armband from midfielder Steven Davis.

"For me the captain is something that the teammates decide and something that you have to deserve,’’ he added. "Now, when he’s not playing, you cannot put the captain on someone that is not playing, but obviously Virgil was one of the leaders of the squad.’’

Saturday’s trip to Selhurst Park will see Southampton come up against former England boss Roy Hodgson.

The 70-year-old returned to management this week for the first time since leaving the national team job, replacing the sacked Frank de Boer in the Palace dugout.

Pellegrino is unsure whether the managerial change will make the game more difficult for his side.

"Yes and no,’’ he said. "Yes because we don’t have too much reference about them. We know how Roy Hodgson was playing in the past but when you have got another group of players, everything changes. And no because 90 percent of our job is to think about us, about our style, our model.’’

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#12

Sourced from Premier League - Official Site article

DEFAULTVideo: On this day in 2012: Arsenal 6-1 Southampton


#13

Sourced from Optimus trousers summary article summary

Summary of non-mainstream articles: 15/09/2017 06:31:11

| | The Southampton ViewTHEEAGLESBEAK |
|

| Premier League Preview – SouthamptonTHEEAGLESBEAK |
| | Top Liverpool and Chelsea target may end exile from first team this weekendCAUGHTOFFSIDE |
| | Struggling Southampton are perfect opponents for abject Crystal PalaceFOOTBALLFANCAST |
| | Predicted 4-3-3 Crystal Palace lineup vs SouthamptonMADABOUTEPL |
| | Pellegrino on whether Van Dijk will be captain upon returnFOOTBALL365 |
| | Pellegrino makes no promises to Van Dijk over captaincyREADSOUTHAMPTON |

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#14

Sourced from A tweet by SouthamptonFC tweet

@SouthamptonFC - Southampton FC

Happy 22nd birthday, @SamGallagher40! :tada: #saintsfc

Retweets: 0

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#15

Sourced from Optimus trousers summary article summary

Summary of non-mainstream articles: 15/09/2017 07:31:21

| | 'We were punished for failing to kill the game off’GOLIVERPOOL |

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#16

Sourced from Daily Echo article

Hojbjerg heads home to Denmark after birth of child

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PIERRE-Emile Hojbjerg has returned home to Denmark after the birth of his first child - and will therefore be absent at Crystal Palace tomorrow.

The 22-year-old midfielder has been given time off to celebrate the birth of his daughter with his family in his homeland.

He will return on Monday, so will miss the Premier League early kick-off at Selhurst Park.

Hojbjerg has not been included in any of Saints’ first five games of the season.

“I’d like to congratulate Pierre Hojbjerg and his family and him on the birth of his daughter,” Pellegrino said. "Pierre is at home in his country now, “He’s the only player that’s away, all the rest are okay to be a part of the team.”

The St Mary’s chief was asked in his pre-match press conference if he believes Palace changing managers this week will make the game more difficult ,after Roy Hodgson replaced Frank de Boer, who was in charge for just 77 days, on Tuesday.

He said: "Yes and no. Yes because we don’t have too much reference about them.

"We know how Roy Hodgson was playing in the past but when you have got another group of players, everything changes.

“And no because 90 per cent of our job is to think about us, about our style, our model.”

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#17

Sourced from Daily Echo article

COMMENT: Pellegrino’s Saints honeymoon is over

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ALL the national focus has been on Crystal Palace this week.

Chairman Steve Parish panicked in the wake of a fourth successive league loss without a goal, and Frank de Boer was axed after just 77 days.

In his place has come ex-England boss Roy Hodgson, whose last competitive game as a manager was the Euro 2016 humiliation against Iceland.

Tomorrow he takes charge of his first game, and in a way he could not wish for a better introduction.

In the same way some Saints fans might look forward to playing the top flight’s bottom team, so Palace supporters might be thinking this is the game where their club ends their goals and points droughts.

After all, Saints will rack up at Selhurst Park having failed to score in nine of their last 12 league games – ten out of 13 in all competitions if you include the League Cup loss to Wolves.

So make no mistake about it. This is a big game for Hodgson, obviously, but an equally big one for Mauricio Pellegrino.

Saints sacked their last manager after the club finished eighth in the Premier League and reached a major cup final.

A lack of goals and a lack of entertainment were two of the main sticks used to beat Claude Puel with.

Ok, it’s early days in 2017/18, but last weekend’s home loss to Watford was a throwback to the worst days of the Puel reign. Sarcastic cheers when a home player had a shot were evidence of that.

You cannot get away from the facts – Saints have only scored once from open play in five games under Pellegrino, and four of those games were at St Mary’s.

What’s more, they were against teams that, with respect, are not part of the Premier League elite – and Wolves didn’t even bring a first team with them.

Already, there is a distinct taste of déjà vu about Saints.

They are currently averaging 14.5 attempts on goal per game – exactly the same as under Puel in the league in 2016/17.

Yet last season they averaged 4.5 shots per game on target. At present, they are averaging under two.

Saints have had over 50 efforts on goal in the league this term, and have scored just one.

Like last season, therefore, is the problem the men tasked with scoring the goals, rather than the manager and his style of play?

Pellegrino has virtually the same strike options available to him as his predecessor. Indeed, following the sale of Jay Rodriguez, you could argue he has fewer options.

Manolo Gabbiadini started off well, but has scored just once since early March.

Shane Long has never been a prolific marksman at Premier League level, and at the moment can’t get in the first team anyway unless it’s from off the bench.

Charlie Austin does have form in the top flight, but Pellegrino has so far preferred Gabbiadini ahead of him.

Austin has yet to start a league game this season, which seems strange given his record.

The spotlight will be on Roy Hodgson tomorrow, but the pressure will only mount on Pellegrino if Saints lose again. Harder games will follow than Swansea, West Ham, Huddersfield, Watford and Palace and Pellegrino doesn’t want to end those five games with only five points.

The Argentine will not be given a long honeymoon period by the fans.

For some, that time might already have passed.

This is the Premier League, after all, and as de Boer will testify there is not much patience around these days.

And if the club’s best chance of goals, Austin, is kept on the bench for much longer, Pellegrino will start to lose friends rather than gain them.

Unless, of course, Saints can start scoring regularly again.

Over to you, Mauricio …

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#18

Sourced from Daily Echo article

Pellegrino targets goals against Palace

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MAURICIO Pellegrino views Saints’ match at Crystal Palace tomorrow as a big opportunity to open the scoring floodgates.

Misfiring Saints have scored just one goal from open play in five games in all competitions this season.

Boss Pellegrino wants his team to take a collective responsibility for goals and wants his side to come out firing on all cylinders at Selhurst Park.

“I see the next game as an opportunity to improve and to convert more chances and create more,” he said.

The Argentine admits he is still trying to find the right blend of players in the attacking areas to make his team start hitting the net.

He has experimented with different combinations during the opening weeks of the campaign.

“This is a process. It’s sometimes about the point of view of the manager, sometimes it’s about them as players,” he said.

"Obviously I will try to change something to be better.

"But it’s about everybody, not just the strikers.

"Sometimes it’s about our bad position on the pitch, sometimes it’s about too much anxiety to go forward.

"Sometimes we have to be more patient, sometimes we have to be quicker and sometimes we have to try more.

"But to score a goal is the most difficult thing in modern football.

“That is why people who score goals are worth £100m, £200m. Their value is really, really high.”

So is Pellegrino happy with the strikers he has at his disposal?

“These are the best strikers that I’ve got and I can have in this moment,” he said.

"We will work with them.

"Every single squad you can improve, but my job is to work with this group of players, not to talk about how they are.

"My job is to improve them. I make mistakes and the players make mistakes all the time.

“Why? Because we are part of the game and when we are part of the game you can win, lose or draw.”

The latter has been Pellegrino’s go-to man upfront on his own, but he has often been isolated.

The Italian is the scorer of Saints’ only goal from open play, which came in the 3-2 win over West Ham at St Mary’s - when the hosts netted twice from the penalty spot.

Pellegrino believes Saints have “deserved” to score more in these early stages of the season.

He said: "I think the number of goals is there because we scored three goals and it’s a fact.

"But at the same time we created more chances and we deserve to score more goals because in the past three games, we deserved to score more goals than we did.

“It’s part of our job, football is sometimes efficiency, you have to convert these chances and I see the next game as the opportunity to keep improving, to create more chances to arrive to the final third and to convert these chances.”

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#19

Sourced from A tweet by SouthamptonFC tweet

@SouthamptonFC - Southampton FC

Did they play for #SaintsFC, #CPFC, both or neither? :thinking:

Let us know how many you get right in our pre-match quiz: http://sfcne.ws/QuizCPFCA

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#20

Sourced from Daily Star article

Virgil Van Dijk: Liverpool fans can’t be disappointed, Saints just wouldn’t sell - Barnes

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That’s the verdict of former Red John Barnes, who’s compared his old side’s pursuit of the Southampton man to Barcelona chasing Philippe Coutinho.

Van Dijk emerged as Jurgen Klopp’s No.1 defensive target earlier this year after establishing a solid reputation at St. Mary’s.

And an Anfield switch looked to be a formality for the 26-year-old Holland international until Liverpool were accused of tapping him up in June.

Klopp maintained an interest in signing Van Dijk until the transfer window shut but Southampton were unwilling to entertain the prospect of letting him go.

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