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Chelsea in talks over antisemitism match against New England Revolution in U.S. - sources

Chelsea in talks over antisemitism match against New England Revolution in U.S. - sources

ESPN

The Premier League enters the final international break until next spring with almost a third of the season now completed and the title contenders becoming clear after 12 games.

Some of the "Big Six" managers are performing to expectations, others are surprisingly ahead of schedule, while questions are being raised of those who are failing to deliver. So after 12 games, how do these manager rate?

PEP GUARDIOLA: MAN CITY

Season so far: Two points clear at the top of table, unbeaten and with 10 points from a possible 12 against Liverpool, Arsenal, Spurs and Manchester United. Also coasting at the top of their Champions League group.

What has he done right? Guardiola resisted the temptation to make several summer signings, instead adding only Riyad Mahrez from Leicester, but the City manager has been able to maintain the intensity and quality of last season. He is also quietly phasing out Vincent Kompany in defence with John Stones and Aymeric Laporte building an impressive partnership.

What has he done wrong? Nothing. Defending a title is never easy, but Guardiola has City riding high at the top of the table and his players look as focused and determined as ever.

What does he need in the January transfer window? City need a long-term replacement for Fernandinho, who is 34 in May, but there is no urgency to recruit in January.

JURGEN KLOPP: LIVERPOOL

Season so far: Unbeaten Liverpool are two points behind leaders City having made their best-ever start to a Premier League season, but they are already out of the Carabao Cup and successive away defeats against Napoli and Red Star Belgrade have left Klopp's team in trouble in the Champions League.

What has he done right?: Klopp's January move for Virgil van Dijk is now paying off in a big way, with the summer signing of goalkeeper Alisson also making Liverpool much stronger defensively. The addition of Xherdan Shaqiri has also boosted the team's attacking options.

What has he done wrong? Liverpool's forwards are not pressing as high and intensely as they did last season. Whether this is a new tactic, because the team's defence is stronger, or a result of complacency, only Klopp can say, but that slight change has led to two Champions League defeats. Liverpool have also claimed just one win from four games against title rivals.

What does he need in the January transfer window? Liverpool still lack a world-class midfielder, despite the summer acquisitions of Naby Keita and Fabinho, but do they have the funds to buy one in January? Another centre-back would also help, with Liverpool lacking genuine quality if Van Dijk is unavailable.

MAURIZIO SARRI: CHELSEA

Season so far: Unbeaten in all competitions since the Community Shield defeat against Manchester City in August, Chelsea are well-placed to challenge for the title in the second half of the season.

What has he done right? Good coaches make their players better and Sarri has revitalised Eden Hazard, polished the rough diamond that is Ross Barkley and injected much-needed confidence into Alvaro Morata. The Italian boss has quietly restored the feel-good factor at Stamford Bridge with "Sarri-ball" and the team's results are the ultimate proof of that.

What has he done wrong? Very little. Sarri should perhaps have added another striker to his squad during preseason because the lack of a real cutting edge could be the difference being winning the title and missing out.

What does he need in the January transfer window? If Sarri can persuade the club to splash out on a new Didier Drogba or Diego Costa, it could make all the difference, but finding a world-class striker in January will be very difficult.

MAURICIO POCHETTINO: TOTTENHAM

Season so far: Spurs are five points behind leaders Manchester City and holding onto fourth spot, but they have been unconvincing. Champions League hopes are in the balance after a poor start to the group campaign and they are still having to play games at Wembley.

What has he done right? Pochettino has arguably done well to keep Spurs in the top four after failing to strengthen his squad in the summer. With the squad showing signs of World Cup fatigue, perhaps the full extent of Pochettino's efforts will not be realised until later in the season.

What has he done wrong? The Spurs boss should have pushed harder for new signings in the summer, not only because his squad lacks depth, but also for the added competition that new faces would have provided. He and his team are now paying the price for the lack of recruitment.

What does he need in the January transfer window? Numbers. Pochettino simply needs three or four more players to enable him to rotate his squad and increase competition for places. But most of all, he needs Spurs to move into the rebuilt ground at White Hart Lane and that is something totally out of his hands.

UNAI EMERY: ARSENAL

Season so far: Starting with two straight defeats against Manchester City and Chelsea did not bode well, but Emery has since overseen a dramatic transformation, with Arsenal unbeaten in all competitions those two early losses.

What has he done right? Succeeding Arsene Wenger was never going to be easy, regardless of the obvious desire for change at the Emirates, but Emery has recruited well and displayed a much-needed lack of sentiment by sanctioning the departure of Jack Wilshere. The Spaniard is also getting the best out of Mesut Ozil, has made Arsenal exciting to watch again and, for the first time in years, they can actually defend.

What has he done wrong? Like Sarri at Chelsea, Emery has been virtually all good news, but he possibly showed too much faith in goalkeeper Petr Cech before Bernd Leno took over in October due to the Czech's injury.

What does he need in the January transfer window? Arsenal are now on the up again, so Emery needs to capitalise on that by adding quality wherever he can.

JOSE MOURINHO: MAN UNITED

Season so far: United have made their worst start to a Premier League season, exited the Carabao Cup at the first hurdle to Championship side Derby County and have limped along. They sit in eighth position, 12 points behind leaders Manchester City.

What has he done right? It has been a grim start to the season, but United have shown fighting spirit in wins against Newcastle, Bournemouth and Juventus. Mourinho has also recently started to get impressive performances from Luke Shaw and Anthony Martial.

What has he done wrong? There have been too many sideshows. The training ground spat with Paul Pogba, public criticisms of players, woeful performances, a failure to get the best from star players such as Pogba, Alexis Sanchez and Romelu Lukaku and a downbeat mood around the club dating back to negative comments about recruitment during pre-season. There has been little to shout about.

What does he need in the January transfer window? Two world-class centre-backs and a creative forward in the mould of Eden Hazard or David Silva. All of which are likely to be impossible for United to find in January.

Monaco head coach Thierry Henry said his side are not making excuses and that PSG were simply too good, after a humbling 4-0 defeat in Ligue 1.
Edinson Cavani scored a hat-trick, while Neymar converted a penalty to help Paris Saint-Germain come away victorious against a hapless Monaco.
Ligue 1: Neymar penalty (64') Monaco 0-4 PSG
Ligue 1: Edinson Cavani (53') Monaco 0-3 PSG
Edinson Cavani has gotten PSG off to a flyer, but VAR was needed on both of his goals due to the assistant referee incorrectly flagging for offside.

Paris Saint-Germain right-back Dani Alves has said he cannot consider ending his career without sampling the Premier League.

Speaking to the Telegraph, the Brazil international -- who has won 38 trophies from spells with Sevilla, Barcelona, Juventus, PSG and Brazil -- reiterated his desire to move to England before retirement.

"The idea that I might finish my career without going to the Premier League, it is not possible," Alves said. "For sure, this is the most amazing football in the world.

"First, because of the respect for the players from the fans, and then because of the passion on the pitch. If I can play, that would be perfect, but I will make it there one way or the other."

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Alves, 35, turned down Manchester City and the Premier League when he joined PSG on a free transfer in the summer of 2017.

Despite his good relationship with coach Pep Guardiola, the South American does not regret his Parc des Princes move.

"We had some ups and downs in our relationship and, just before he left [Barcelona], he said something that really hurt me," Alves said. "But he phoned me to talk about it and we had a very special talk.

"I like people that are able to say they need to be forgiven and to ask for forgiveness. So, turning him down was painful. In football terms he was one of the most amazing people I have known, completely obsessed with his work, but how he treated people was special, especially me."

Alves elaborated on his failed City move in an interview with The Times and said that not moving to the Etihad was down to bad timing.

"It was a hair's breadth away," the Brazil international said. "The circumstances of life took me in another direction. If the future gives me this possibility again, I accept. Right now, I don't think about that, I'm happy."

Chelsea are in discussions about playing a friendly match against MLS club New England Revolution next summer as part of their antisemitism initiative, sources have told ESPN FC.

Last week, Robert Kraft, the owner of the Revolution and the New England Patriots, told the World Jewish Congress he had spoken to Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich about a game that would see both men donate $1 million (£778,565) to the fight against antisemitism, with all money from ticket sales going to the cause.

Sources told ESPN FC that talks remain in the early stages, with the match set to take place in New England.

Kraft had indicated it could be played in the spring, but Chelsea's packed schedule means the only available date at that time would be the March international break, when many of their biggest names would be representing their countries.

The fight against antisemitism has been championed by Abramovich, who was granted Israeli citizenship in May after his British investor visa was not renewed.

The Chelsea owner wants to eradicate it from the club's fanbase, and in January announced the launch of the "Say No To Antisemitism" campaign in the matchday programme.

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Holocaust survivor Harry Spiro was invited to Cobham to address the first-team squad in January, while the club sent a delegation to attend the annual March of the Living at Auschwitz in April. This was followed in June by an official visit, consisting of 150 supporters and club officials, to the Nazi concentration camp.

Sources told ESPN FC last month that Chelsea are committed to engaging any racist supporters in educational courses rather than imposing blanket bans, and could send low-level offenders on funded trips to Auschwitz as part of their drive to stamp out antisemitism.

Kraft has donated more than $100m to Jewish and Israeli causes along with his late wife Myra, funding the start of the Israel Football League and the construction of the 25-acre Kraft Family Sports Campus in Jerusalem.

Last year, he said he was "intrigued" by the prospect of owning a Premier League club and has been mentioned in the past as a potential future suitor for Chelsea.

ESPN