Sane shows need for speedAmid all the tactical sophistication of the modern game with its various formations and talk of ‘gegenpressing’, it is sometimes re-assuring to be reminded that certain things are a constant. One of these is that a player running with the ball at pace — still one of the best sights on a football field — remains a defender’s worst nightmare as was shown when the extremely rapid Leroy Sane beat the otherwise assured Billy Jones on his way to scoring Manchester City’s second goal in a 2-0 win away to bottom-of-the-table Sunderland.Share on: WhatsApp England sees other side of ZlatanHe has charmed English football since his move from Paris Saint-Germain, but Zlatan Ibrahimovic now finds himself in the dock following a volatile display in Manchester United’s 1-1 draw with Bournemouth. The 35-year-old Swedish striker appeared to deliberately elbow Tyrone Mings late in the first half and although he was acting in retaliation after the Bournemouth defender seemed to stamp on his head, a violent conduct charge from the Football Association seems inevitable. Ibrahimovic also saw a second-half penalty saved by Artur Boruc, preventing him from registering a 27th goal of the season. United’s next-highest scorer is Juan Mata, with nine. With a three-match suspension likely to be heading Ibrahimovic’s way, Jose Mourinho’s other forwards will need to step up to the plate in the weeks ahead if their top-four challenge is to remain alive. London, United Kingdom | AFP | Tottenham Hotspur closed to within seven points of leaders Chelsea and Manchester City stayed in touch after defeating basement club Sunderland but Arsenal lost ground in the race for a top-four finish with a defeat by Champions League place rivals Liverpool.Here are five things we learned in the Premier League this weekend:Wenger’s football faith testedArsene Wenger compared being a manager to being a priest and on Saturday many Gunners fans felt he had committed the sin of omission. The decision to leave his two leading scorers, Alexis Sanchez and Theo Walcott, on the bench against Liverpool backfired spectacularly in the first-half as a limp display saw the visitors 2-0 down at the break. Sanchez’s introduction at half-time sparked a revival but that was not enough to salvage even a point in an eventual 3-1 loss and merely led to further questions as to why he had not been in the team from the kick-off at Anfield. Wenger rebutted any criticism but to some observers it was merely further evidence the 67-year-old French manager has lost his way and is unlikely to help persuade Sanchez, one of the few world-class players at Arsenal, to sign a new contract.Kane no flash in panAs Tottenham’s fans celebrated Harry Kane’s second goal in their team’s 3-2 win over Everton on Sunday, it was easy to hear the defiant edge to their songs. Their chorus of “he’s just a one-season wonder” was a sarcastic reminder to all those who wrote off Kane before he embarked on a prolific run of three successive seasons with at least 20 goals. With 24 goals in 28 games this season, Kane is well established as one of Europe’s most deadly strikers.Shakespeare’s tale of intrigueJust 10 days after Claudio Ranieri’s shock sacking, Leicester have been transformed from an abject rabble in severe danger of relegation into a cohesive, focused group that closely resembles the side who won the Premier League last season. A come from behind 3-1 win against Hull on Saturday lifted the Foxes clear of the relegation zone and increased caretaker manager Craig Shakespeare’s chances of landing the job on a permanent basis. Despite their very public denials, it is surely no coincidence Leicester have won their first two matches since former manager Ranieri departed amid strong reports of player unrest over the Italian’s tactical tinkering and confusing team selections. Shakespeare, who served as Ranieri’s assistant, has gone back to basics with a 4-4-2 formation and direct approach that served Leicester so well last season. Crucially, Shakespeare’s presence in the dug out — or Ranieri’s absence from it — has revitalised Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez.
Standing in Mane’s way is the continent’s best goalkeeper, Denis Onyango. Senegalese Mane and Ugandan Onyango were included in the 2018 African team of the year chosen by a Confederation of African Football (CAF) panel.They are also Champions League winners — Mane with Liverpool in Europe last season and Onyango with South African club Mamelodi Sundowns in Africa three years ago.Veteran Onyango has conceded three goals in three matches with another Liverpool star, Egyptian Mohamed Salah, among those who have scored against him.He however leads a team still rocking from a strike over bonuses. Onyango told the pre-match conference he is ready for the tie, but the toll of a full day in which the team was diverted in negotiations with soccer governing body FUFA over bonuses could show in this game. The stalemate was only resolved when FUFA offered a $6000 per player bonus for making it to the group of 16.Uganda last reached the knockout stage of AFCON 41 years ago, at Ghana 1978.“Uganda Cranes is not afraid of anyone. We shall enjoy the moment and take on Senegal. The most important thing is the game ahead of us. What happened before, we call it past. We have re-opened the engine once again,” Onyango said.Senegal may top the African rankings, 58 places above Uganda, but coach Aliou Cisse has warned his star-stacked side against over-confidence.“No one should take Uganda for granted and eliminating them will not be easy,” warned Cisse, one of the stars of the Teranga Lions team that reached the 2002 World Cup quarter-finals.Mane echoed his coach, saying: “We saw the kind of football they played against Egypt. They are a good side and we will need to be at our best to beat them.”Uganda had Egypt on the rack for more than half an hour before Salah scored and were equally impressive in the second half without being able to convert chances into goals.“We have reached the second round, which was the minimum target set for us by the national federation, and anything can happen in knockout matches,” said coach Sebastien Desabre. Uganda’s goalkeeper Denis Onyango in action. It is turning out into a tussle between Mane who scored, and missed a penalty, and Onyango.FT: Uganda 0 Senegal 1 Uganda: Denis Onyango, Murushid Juuko, Hassan Wasswa, Bevis Mugabi, Godfrey Walusimbi, Khalid Aucho, Mike Azira, Abdu Lumala, Emmanuel Okwi, Farouk Miya & Patrick Kaddu Senegal: Amigo Alfred Gomis (GK), Youssouf Sabaly, Kalidou Koulibaly, Sadio Mane, Idrissa Gueye, Cheikhou Kouyate (C), Papa Ndiaye, Henri Saivet, Ismaila Sarr, Lamine Gassama & Mbaye Niang.Cairo, Egypt | THE INDEPENDENT & AFP | All eyes will be on star forward Sadio Mane as Uganda takes on Senegal Friday in an Africa Cup of Nations last-16 match in Cairo.Mane has scored twice and missed a penalty for Senegal in two group matches after being suspended for the opening match.“I am even ready to trade my Champions League success to win the Africa Cup of Nations,” he told France Football magazine in a pre-tournament interview. Share on: WhatsApp