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What Happened Last Week? Important Football News

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Juventus Get 15-Point Deduction in Serie A 

Juventus has received a 15-point deduction for the current Serie A season by an Italian soccer court which investigated its transfer dealings and found them guilty of alleged financial irregularities and false accounting – “cooking the books”, as some would call it. The court also imposed bans from holding office in Italian football on 11 past and present Juventus directors including former chairman, Andrea Agnelli (24-month ban) and former Sports Director, Fabio Paratici who is now Director of Football at Tottenham (30-month ban). Other notable people include former vice-president and 2003 Ballon d’Or winner, Pavel Nedved (8-month ban) and former chief executive & ex-Ferrari Team Principal, Maurizio Arrivabene (24-month ban).  

Sampdoria, Pro Vercelli, Genoa, Parma, Pisa, Empoli, Novara and Pescara, eight clubs who had also been charged for similar financial irregularities, were all acquitted on Friday and, in a statement from Juventus’ lawyers, there was a claim of “clearly unequal treatment” of the Old Lady and a promise that an appeal would be launched.  

Juventus docked 15 points for financial irregularities

Following a slow start, Juventus had worked their way up from 10th earlier in the season to 3rd and had found themselves 10 pts behind league leaders Napoli. However, this 15pt deduction pushes them back to 10th position and 12 pts away from a Top 6 spot. With just 19 games left in the season, Juventus making it back to the Top 6 could be a tough task, and it seems only logical that they turn their attention to cup competitions in order to secure European football for next season.  

Chelsea’s Shopping Spree Continues 

Six. That’s the number you’re looking for. Chelsea have made Six January signings to go with the twelve made in the summer as new Chairman and Interim Sports Director, Todd Boehly continues his spending spree. The Londoners spent a world record €282m in the summer as Boehly took over from Roman Abramovich and he has showed no signs of slowing down with a further €171.5m spent in January (so far). The club’s January signings are: 

Mykhailo Mudryk: Chelsea sign winger for £88.5m from Shakhtar Donetsk | Football News | Sky Sports

  • Mykhaylo Mudryk (Shakhtar Donetsk) – €100m (add-ons included) 
  • Joao Felix (Atlético) – €10m Loan Fee 
  • Andrey Santos (Vasco de Gama) – €12.5m  
  • David Fofana (Molde) – €12m  
  • Benoit Badiashile (Monaco) – €37m 
  • Noni Madueke (PSV) – €35m 

With the Blues still in the market for a midfielder – Moises Caicedo being a strong target – we’ve likely not seen the end of Chelsea in this window.  

Arsenal & Man City Pull Away in EPL Title Race 

With Newcastle and Man Utd both dropping points over the weekend, the title race in England is beginning to look more like a two-horse race as we enter the second half of the season. Newcastle were held to a goalless draw at Crystal Palace while Man Utd lost 3-2 to the Gunners at the Emirates which resulted in both teams dropping to 11pts behind the league leaders. Man City’s 3-0 win over Wolves was their 2nd in a row after the Derby defeat to Man Utd, and they’ve moved to 5pts behind Arsenal having played a game more.  

The top two teams are yet to play themselves this season, with their first league meeting originally scheduled for Game Week 12 postponed in order to allow the Gunners play their rearranged Europa League match against PSV Eindhoven. Both teams will meet for the first time on Friday, but it will be in the FA Cup where Man City will play hosts. Wednesday, 15th of February will see them meet for the first time in the Premier League, this time, the Emirates will be the venue.  

Erling Haaland Beats Son & Salah’s Goal Tally in Just 19 Games 

It seems every time the Norwegian scores a goal, he breaks a record, and that was true as his hat-trick helped Man City to a 3-0 win against Wolves over the weekend. It was Haaland’s 4th league hat-trick of the season, and he needed just 19 games to get them.  

In comparison, Ruud van Nistelrooy – who previously held the record – needed 65 league games to get 4 hat-tricks.

Pep Guardiola says Erling Haaland will get even better and prolific Man City striker is perfect to manage | Football News | Sky Sports

Haaland has now scored 25 league goals in just 19 games in his debut EPL season, surpassing the 23-goal tally of last season’s Premier League Golden Boot joint-winners, Mo Salah, and Heung-min Son.  

With 18 league games left, Haaland now has his sights set on breaking Mo Salah’s record of 32 league goals set back in 2017/18 as well as the 34-goals jointly held by Andy Cole and Alan Shearer when the Premier League still had a 42-game season.  

Kylian Mbappé Scores 5 For PSG 

Not to be outdone by Erling Haaland, the FIFA World Cup Golden Boot winner scored 5 goals for PSG in their 7-0 win over 6th Tier Pays de Cassel in the Coupe de France to send them to the Round of 16. It was the first time in PSG’s history a player would score 5 in a game, and it took Mbappé’s tally for the season to 25 goals in 24 games.  

Newcastle United & Manchester United Move Closer to Wembley Final clash 

Both teams secured away wins in the first leg of the EFL Cup semi-final as they battle for the first trophy of the season. Newcastle’s Joelinton scored the only goal of the game as the Magpies left Saint Mary’s stadium with a slim win over Southampton while Manchester United bounced back from their weekend defeat at The Emirates with a comfortable 3-0 win over Nottingham Forest courtesy goals from the red-hot Marcus Rashford, new loanee Wout Weghorst and vice-captain Bruno Fernandes.  

Manchester United held to goalless draw by Newcastle United - Sports Mole

The two sides, currently level on points in the Premier League, will have the return legs at home next week, and we expect them to both make it through to the Wembley final. For Newcastle, it’ll be a chance for their first trophy since they won the Championship in 2017, the same year the Red Devils picked up their last piece of silverware – the Europa League.   

Barcelona Femeni Creates Football History 

Wednesday’s 7-0 victory over Levante Las Planas made Barcelona Femeni the first team in football history to win 50 league games in a row; a phenomenal achievement when you consider they’ve been without their 2-time Ballon d’Or winner, Alexia Putellas since July following an ACL tear. The record setting 7-0 win included a hat-trick from Nigeria’s Asisat Oshoala, the reigning African Player of the Year, and was their 15th of the current campaign. Since the 2020-21 season, Barcelona Femeni has won 78 of their 79 league games, losing just once – a narrow 4-3 away defeat at Atlético Madrid back in June 2021. In those 79 Primera División Femenina games, they’ve scored 389 goals and conceded just 30 times.  

UEFA Confirm EURO 2024 To Be 24-Team Tournament 

On Wednesday, UEFA announced their plans to leave the format for the EUROs unchanged ahead of the 2024 edition in Germany. UEFA had previously flirted with the idea of increasing the participating teams from 24 to 32 but, following some push back, they decided to retain the old format. They did, however, announce an expansion of the UEFA Nations League to include an additional knockout round with this change set to be implemented after the 2024 EUROs. In a statement, UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin said, “By introducing the new knock-out phase, teams will be given even more opportunities to progress while keeping the same number of games within the international match calendar.” The draw for this year’s Nations League final stage was also made with the Netherlands being the venue.  

  • Semi-Final 1: Netherlands v Croatian (Rotterdam) 
  • Semi-Final 2: Spain v Italy (Enschede) 

Tottenham Hijack Arnaut Danjuma Deal 

Between 1968 and 1972, more than 130 American airplanes were hijacked – a record high for the country, but the English winter transfer window of 2023 seems to be giving them a run for their money. Thankfully, there is way less at stake here and this is just football. Following Chelsea’s hijacking of Mykhailo Mudryk’s transfer from Shakhtar Donetsk to Arsenal, Tottenham have made a similar move by hijacking Arnaut Danjuma’s proposed loan deal from Villarreal to Everton. Arnaut Danjuma had completed his medicals with Everton and had even done the necessary photo and video shoots required for his unveiling.

Ufficiale: Arnaut Danjuma è un nuovo giocatore del Tottenham | Alfredo Pedullà

But, in a very strange twist – following the sacking of Frank Lampard and learning about Spurs’ interest in him – the Dutch winger delayed sending his registration form to the FA to confirm the deal. Instead, he drove down to London (probably as a tribute to fellow Nigerian-born Osaze Odemwingie) to explore the Spurs interest, which ended up in him signing for the North London side. Spurs will pay a reported loan fee of £2.5m with a £27m purchase option.  

Frank Lampard Sacked by Everton 

It was always a matter of when and not if and this week, Frank Lampard was relieved of his managerial duties by the Merseyside club, a year after taking on the role. The former Chelsea midfielder arrived Goodison Park in January 2022, and although he did help them avoid relegation last season, he found himself in the same mess as they were before his arrival and now leaves them in 19th with just 3 wins – a Premier League low. Some of the candidates to get the now vacant job are former Burnley manager Sean Dyche, Marcelo Bielsa, Ralph Hasenhuttl and Brentford’s Thomas Frank who has been phenomenal with the Londoners. Everton Legend Duncan Ferguson had been interim manager at the club on two occasions and many had tipped him on getting the permanent job this time, but the Scot has all but opted for the role at League One relegation strugglers Forest Green Rovers. You can bet on the next manager for the Toffees here: 

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