louis-van-gaalLouis van Gaal believes Manchester United‘s 2-1 home defeat by Swansea City in his first competitive game as manager accurately reflects the enormity of the task ahead of him. Saturday’s 2-1 loss at Old Trafford was the first time in Premier League history that the 20-time champions – who finished seventh last season – have lost an opening-day fixture at home.

A spate of injuries forced Van Gaal to hand competitive debuts to two academy graduates – Tyler Blackett and Jesse Lingard – and his three central defenders had an average age of 22. Spanish midfielder Ander Herrera made his competitive debut, but United’s only other close-season recruit, left-back Luke Shaw, is currently sidelined by a hamstring injury.

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luis-suarez-barcelonaBarcelona head coach Luis Enrique has confirmed Luis Suarez will play in the pre-season clash on Monday.

The head coach says he has been impressed by the Uruguayan in training this weekend and will give him some playing time in the Gamper Trophy

The Uruguayan returned to training this weekend after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) reduced his ban from football to allow him to take part in training and club friendly matches.

And Luis Enrique has been sufficiently impressed by Suarez to allow him some playing time in Monday’s Gamper Trophy encounter.

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ConteThe stars aligned perfectly for the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) as they were able to name former Juventus boss Antonio Conte as the new head coach of the Italian national team. Conte replaces Cesare Prandelli who resigned at the end of the World Cup finals in Brazil after seeing his Azzurri side fail to progress from a group which also contained England, Uruguay and Costa Rica.

An FIGC statement read:

“President (Carlo) Tavecchio and Antonio Conte spoke directly by phone this morning to define the final aspects of the collaboration that will bind Antonio Conte to the FIGC until 31 July 2016.

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sergio-agueroAfter last weekends disastrous performance at Wembley against Arsenal, more than a few pundits were expecting Manchester City to come unstuck again today as they made the always difficult trek to Newcastle.

And they left St. James Park with all three points after David Silva gave the defending champions the lead in the 38th-minute when he made the most of Edin Dzeko’s intelligent back-heel. City fans will feel they were good value for the points after creating the better chances, although the result remained in doubt until Sergio Aguero scored in added time to secure the 2-0 win. City’s movement and passing were characteristically impressive, their finishing less so, although Newcastle were unable to work City goalkeeper Joe Hart to any real extent despite enjoying their fair share of possession.

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MLS LogoCharlie Davies scored his second goal in as many games as the New England Revolution were held at home by the Portand Timbers while elsewhere in MLS, Sporting Kansas City opened up a five-point lead at the top of the Eastern Conference as they cruised to a 4-1 win over Toronto FC.

Both teams came into the match at Gillette on the wrong side of the playoff standings, and it looked like it was going to be the Revolutions’s night when in the 27th minute Davies ran onto a Diego Fagundez through ball to make it 1-0.

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daniel-sturridgeLuis who? A lot of the talk this summer has been how Liverpool can replace the 30+ goals that Luis Suarez scored last season. What has been lost in the conversation is that the other half of the SaS partnership, Daniel Sturridge is still a Liverpool player.

On Sunday Sturridge shouldered the responsibility as Liverpool’s new main man up front with a late winner in a 2-1 defeat of Southampton at Anfield.

Brendan Rodgers has spent most of preseason working on improving Liverpool’s shaky back-four, but that unit showed that they are not yet a fully formed defensive unit when goalkeeper Simon Mignolet got in a tangle with Graziano Pelle at Southampton’s first corner, almost presenting the visitors with an easy chance.

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LVG and GiggsLast season Manchester United unveiled a new manager in David Moyes and in his first Premier League match in charge of the Red Devils he say his side thump Swansea 4-1 i South Wales.

Fast forward 12 months United unveil another new manager and once again Swansea were his first opponents as Swansea travelled to Old Trafford for Louis van Gaal’s first competitive game in charge.

But LVG was left with the same feeling that Moyes had last season as his new side exhibited many of the same failings from last season, as they lost 2-1 at home to Swansea.

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Manuel-PellegriniManchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini has defended his decision to have no English or UK players in his starting line-up for the Community Shield defeat by Arsenal.

Four English players made the City bench at Wembley on Sunday but an all-foreign starting XI reflected Pellegrini’s recent transfer deals.

The only British signing that Pellegrini made this summer was Frank Lampard but the Man City boss seemed to indicate that he doesn’t see nationality saying:

“We’ve had a lot of problems with Financial Fair Play, but we bought some very important players.

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NeuerUefa has announced its three contenders for its UEFA’s Best Player in Europe Award and they are Bayern Munich and Germany World Cup winning goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, Holland and Bayern winger Arjen Robben and Real Madrid and Portugal forward Cristiano Ronaldo.

The winner will be announced on 28 August in Monaco, where the draw for the group stage of the UEFA Champions League is taking place. A jury made up of journalists from the 54 member associations of UEFA will decide the winner.

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Bayern MunichBayern Munich midfielder Javi Martinez has been ruled out until 2015 after suffering cruciate knee ligament damage during Wednesday’s German Supercup defeat to Borussia Dortmund. The Spain international was carried off on a stretcher half an hour into the match at Signal Iduna Park after staying down following an aerial challenge and tests have revealed the 25-year-old’s injury is a serious one.

A Bayern statement read:

“Javi Martinez and Bayern’s worst fears have been realised after it was revealed the midfielder sustained a ruptured cruciate ligament in his left knee in Wednesday evening’s Supercup clash in Dortmund.

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