Serie A leaders Inter Milan will welcome Genoa to the San Siro on Monday for a one-on-one clash scheduled to kick off at 19:45 GMT.
Inter Milan Looking to Extend their Domination at the Top of Serie A this Season
Inter Milan have been in flying form this season, losing just once all-reason, with 25 rounds of fixtures.
They have won their last straight matches in Serie A as they have tightened their stranglehold on top spot heading into the run-in.
They have scored 14 times in this run, conceding just twice; these statistics highlight their potency in the final third as they have blown teams away this season.
They have kept four clean sheets in this run, demonstrating their solidity and compactness. They will look to extend this run when they host Genoa on Monday night.
Genoa Will Look to Make it Three Consecutive Unbeaten Serie A Matches
Genoa’s have steadied their position in midtable with a steady flow of performances in recent matches. They have won twice, drawn twice, and lost once, in their last five rounds of fixtures in Serie A.
Last time out, they convincingly beat Udinese 2-0 at home, to follow from the 1-1 draw they had away at Napoli. The draw against Napoli and win against Udinese were good responses to the heavy 1-4 defeat they suffered at home to Atalanta.
They will look to bolster their defensive record when they visit high-scoring Inter Milan on Sunday. A pragmatic approach will bolster their chances of getting something from the San Siro on Monday.
Inter Milan and Genoa have met 19 times in all competitions since 2013. Inter have shown their dominance in this match with 11 wins to Genoa’s 5 wins, with three matches ending in draws.
Last time out, Genoa held Inter Milan to a 1-1 draw, showing their capability against the runaway Serie A leaders.
Inter Milan will be without the injured Juan Cuadrado, Francesco Acerbi, Marcus Thuram, and Hakan Calhanoglu.
Genoa will be without Alan Matturo and David Ankeye on the trip to the San Siro.
Inter Milan are the odds-on favorites to win the match and extend their robust hold on top spot in Serie A.
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Projecting L’Jarius Sneed’s contract for 2024 and beyond is one of the biggest questions facing the Kansas City Chiefs on the heels of their Super Bowl victory.
The cornerback was a big part of Kansas City’s success in 2023. Now that Sneed’s free agency has arrived, the Chiefs have to decide if he’s going to be a part of their future and at what cost.
L’Jarius Sneed Free Agent Preview
To be fair, Sneed isn’t exactly one of the greatest defensive players in league history. But he’s certainly established himself as a top-flight cornerback. On the open market, he’s likely to get a lucrative deal from a team looking to boost their secondary.
The question is what team will end up with Sneed and how much will he make in free agency. Let’s take a closer look at L’Jarius Sneed’s contract situation, including what teams are likely to pursue him and how much he’ll make as a free agent.
Needless to say, the Chiefs are going to make a strong effort to keep Sneed. Using the franchise tag to keep him for 2024 is one option.
However, the Chiefs also have Chris Jones to consider. They might need to use the franchise tag on Jones if they don’t want to risk losing him in free agency. That increases the possibility that Sneed will end up on the open market this offseason, available for any team to negotiate with him.
As one of the teams with cap space to burn, the Commanders are an obvious candidate for Sneed. Washington is also a team with a lot of needs, including at cornerback with Kendall Fuller hitting free agency.
While the secondary may not be a top priority, the Commanders have the money to make a serious push for Sneed.
Elsewhere in the NFC East, the Eagles are another possible suitor for Sneed. Cornerbacks Darius Slay and James Bradberry are both starting to age.
With Sneed being in the prime of his career, Philadelphia could look at him as an upgrade, making Slay or Bradberry expendable.
Atlanta’s top priority this offseason is to find a quarterback. But there is also room for improvement on defense despite most of the team’s starting lineup set to return.
Depth is an issue at cornerback for the Falcons, which could lead them to consider Sneed. Plus, by pairing Sneed with A.J. Terrell, Atlanta would have one of the best cornerback tandems in the NFL, which would help to reshape the entire defense.
Similarly, the Packers could have the same mindset about pairing Sneed with Jaire Alexander. Keep in mind that the Green Bay offense is loaded with young talent.
That will allow the Packers to use their cap space to improve their defense. Outside of Alexander, the Green Bay secondary has a lot of holes to fill this offseason, making Sneed an ideal target.
The secondary doesn’t look like a strength for the Rams right now, especially given some of the players who are becoming free agents this offseason. On the other hand, Aaron Donald and Kobie Turner will help to ensure the Los Angeles defensive line is among the best in the NFL next season.
Therefore, the Rams can afford to be aggressive in addressing their secondary. Naturally, they will look to target one of the best cornerbacks available, making Sneed a great fit in Los Angeles.
L’Jarius Sneed Contract Projection
Based on some of the comments that Sneed has made this offseason, he expects to get paid. He’s not likely to take a hometown discount to stay with the Chiefs. After all, he already has two Super Bowl rings.
He doesn’t need to chase a championship; he can chase money instead. Most projections have Sneed making between $15 million and $18 million per season. In the end, he figures to at least get a three-year deal worth $52 million with $30 million guaranteed. However, a four-year deal worth upwards of $70 million could be on the table if there is a bidding war for his services.
As the Premier League season progresses, the anticipation for each match grows, especially when top teams like Arsenal and Newcastle United are set to clash in the very late kickoff on Saturday night.
This weekend, on the 24th of February, 2024, the Emirates Stadium will be the stage for what promises to be an enthralling encounter between these two sides, with Arsenal looking to keep pace in the title race and Newcastle looking to close the gap in their own hunt for European football next season.
Here, we delve into the predicted lineups, recent form, and key statistics to give fans an insight into what to expect.
Arsenal have been in splendid form, particularly at home, winning eight of their past ten home matches and scoring two or more goals in the same number of games.
Their recent performances suggest they are a force to be reckoned with, especially with a five-match winning streak under their belt.
The Gunners’ lineup is expected to be strong, with David Raya in goal, a solid backline including Ben White, Gabriel, William Saliba, and Jakub Kiwior. The midfield and attack are bolstered by talents like Martin Ødegaard, Declan Rice, Kai Havertz, Bukayo Saka, Leandro Trossard, and Gabriel Martinelli, showcasing the depth and quality Arsenal possess.
Here is our predicted XI at a glance:
Newcastle United, on the other hand, have faced challenges away from home, conceding two or more goals in seven of their last ten away matches.
Despite these statistics, the Magpies have shown resilience and the ability to score, drawing 2-2 in their last Premier League outing against Bournemouth.
Our predicted lineup for Newcastle includes Martin Dubravka guarding the net, with a defensive setup of Kieran Trippier, Fabian Schär, Sven Botman, and Dan Burn.
The midfield and forward lines are expected to feature Lewis Miley, Bruno Guimarães, Sean Longstaff, Miguel Almirón, Anthony Gordon, and Harvey Barnes.
Here is our predicted XI at a glance:
Head-to-Head and Recent Encounters
Historically, Arsenal have had the upper hand in their recent meetings with Newcastle, winning seven out of their last ten encounters.
However, Newcastle secured a 1-0 victory in their last meeting, proving they can upset the Gunners.
An average of 1.9 goals have been scored in these matches, suggesting a closely contested game could be on the cards.
What time does the match start? The match is scheduled for 13:00 on Saturday, 24th February 2024.
Where is the match being played? The match will take place at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium.
Who are the key players to watch? For Arsenal, Bukayo Saka and Martin Ødegaard are pivotal, while Newcastle will rely on the likes of Bruno Guimarães and Anthony Gordon.
What’s the recent form of both teams? Arsenal have won their last five matches, while Newcastle drew their last game 2-2 against Bournemouth.
Any injury concerns? Arsenal and Newcastle have a few injury concerns, with players like Takehiro Tomiyasu and Gabriel Jesus sidelined for Arsenal, and Newcastle missing Callum Wilson and Alexander Isak due to injuries.
Australian football great Mark Bosnich plans to return to work on Friday after being rushed to hospital for a heart scare.
Bosnich posted a thumbs up photo and message on social media from hospital in Sydney where he had a stent inserted.
The 52-year-old ex-goalkeeper was admitted to hospital on Wednesday and Stan Sport’s Max Rushden and Craig Foster explained the situation before kick-off in Thursday’s Champions League round of 16 clash between Paris Saint-Germain and Real Sociedad.
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“We miss you buddy. I hope you’re well and feeling OK,” Foster said.
“For those of you who don’t know, he had chest pains, he’s had a stent put in,” Rushden added.
Rushden and Foster said Bosnich became concerned while exercising at work on Wednesday.
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“He was making a lot of noise… and he said ‘I’m going to get it checked out’,” Rushden said.
“He did, he’s OK, he’s back tomorrow but we are sending you our love Boz, it is very quiet without you.”
Foster applauded Bosnich for immediately seeking help.
“If you’re not sure about anything, health wise, get checked,” Rushden pleaded.
“Men are useless at talking about it and doing anything about it.
“The sooner you find anything is wrong, the better it is. That is our message and that is Bozza’s message too.”
Bosnich represented Australia, Manchester United, Chelsea and Aston Villa during a wildly successful and colourful career.
He has since become one of the country’s most beloved and entertaining football broadcasters.
Australian boxing champion George Kambosos Jr posted: “Speedy recovery Bozza.”
Through the first quarter and a half, it was the Wizards using their advantages against the Celtics. Without a true center, they were smaller but also faster on the floor. That turned into 36 transition points on the night; Boston only gives up 14 a game on average.
However, midway through the third quarter with the game tied 76-76, Sam Hauser and Al Horford replaced Jaylen Brown and Jrue Holiday. The substitution gave Boston that vaunted double big pairing with Horford and Kristaps Porzingis (and the 6’8 Jayson Tatum at the 3) and a height advantage across the front court. That effectively turned the tables on Washington by slowing down the game on defense and playing with more purpose on the other side of the ball.
“A good shot, I don’t care where it is on the floor. We take what the defense gives us and we’re taking advantage with what we think the other team’s weaknesses are. It doesn’t matter what kind of shot it is,” head coach Joe Mazzulla said after the game. In the end, the Celtics outscored the Wizards 62-42 in the paint by taking it to Washington’s weakest defenders.
“We joke about it a lot, but the point is to infiltrate the defense, take advantage of the weakness, take the best shot possible based on their coverages and our matchups.”
Just before this clips starts, Horford and Derrick White run a simple pick-and-roll. Tyus Jones switches on to Horford in the post, slips, and falls to the parquet. That kicks off a series of defensive scrambling on Washington’s part that ends with Porzingis with a wide open 3. Sure, the action starts with a big (Horford) taking advantage of a small (Jones) on the block, but it’s also the spacing and unselfish ball movement that ultimately generates a great shot on the perimeter.
A few possessions later, it’s a more traditional “me big, you small” mismatch. Horford runs in transition and recognizes the size advantage on Landry Shamet. He very deliberately runs to the block, calls for the ball, doesn’t react to the Shamet flop, and calmly puts in the layup.
Finally, with Porzingis gassed after playing the entire third quarter, he refuses the down screen from Sam Hauser and Hauser instead screens and gets Jordan Poole switched on to Tatum. Tatum does the rest and effortlessly drives past Poole for the dunk.
Tatum would finish the game with a team-high 35 points, but it was Porzingis’ 34 against his former team that really showed how his presence raises the team’s ceiling to potentially the rafters. Porzingis finished 2-for-4 from behind the arc, but importantly, he punished Washington in the paint and subsequently went to the line fourteen times and making all of his free throws.
“To be honest, now playing against them, Kuz was guarding me for a big part of the game, I don’t think he realized how much I was doing for them — all the tricks, all the drawing the fouls, little bit of grabs here and there. ‘You’re a dirty—.’ ‘Brother, you didn’t realize all the little things I was doing for you guys,’” Porzingis said.
He continued, “We always want to find the balance between ‘we want to attack this matchup’ or ‘we just want to play in the flow and see what happens.’ We have so much talent that each night, we could win differently. Even if we’re prepared to do something, something else opens up because they’re doing a counter to whatever we’re trying to do. It’s always reads throughout the game.”
Porzingis is a Celtic now and the opportunity to raise a banner isn’t lost on him. He’ll gladly trade a role as a team’s focal point and a chance to rep a franchise in the All-Star Game for a mid-season tan during the break and an opportunity to get his body ready for the postseason and raise Banner 18.
Jose Mourinho would love the chance to return for a third spell as Chelsea manager, a report has claimed.
Current Blues boss Mauricio Pochettino finds himself under immense pressure after watching his side tumble back into the bottom half of the Premier League table, with some inside Stamford Bridge chanting Mourinho’s name as Chelsea fell 4-2 to Wolves at the weekend.
Mourinho, who is currently out of work after leaving Roma in January, has spoken fondly of Chelsea since he left England, and according to the Daily Mail, he would “love” the opportunity to return to Stamford Bridge once again.
Alongside his eternal affinity for the club, Mourinho would relish a return to Chelsea for personal reasons. His family home sits just 200m from the Bridge and it is understood that his children still live in London alongside his wife.
As a result, a return to Chelsea would appeal to Mourinho, but it remains to be seen whether Todd Boehly and Behdad Eghbali will keep their faith in Pochettino, who claimed on Tuesday to have received a positive message of support from the owners after the Wolves loss.
Mourinho last led Chelsea in 2015 / CLIVE ROSE/GettyImages
Mourinho first joined Chelsea in 2004 as the first appointment of the Roman Abramovich era, and he won two Premier League titles with the Blues before disagreements with the then-owner saw him depart in 2007.
After successful stints with Inter and Real Madrid, Mourinho returned to Chelsea in 2013 and, with the likes of Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas at his side, he brought one more title before leaving in late 2015.
Since managing Chelsea, Mourinho has had stints at both Manchester United and Tottenham, but he has never hidden his love for the Blues, describing them as “my Chelsea” in an interview with Sky Sports last summer.
“Chelsea will always be Chelsea,” he said. “Chelsea will always be big and my house will always be 200 metres away from the stadium so I want to keep listening to the sound of happiness and success. I’m pretty sure it’s going to be like that.
“Of course, my English connection is Chelsea. That’s the way I see things, as a Chelsea man after two periods of Chelsea and six years.”
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The Los Angeles Chargers hired Jim Harbaugh as their next coach, who went on to say that his goal is to ‘win multiple championships’. Emmanuel Acho explains why expectations are too high on the Chargers and their QB Justin Herbert.
Before Sunday’s AFC Championship Game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Baltimore Ravens, three of the biggest stars on the field got into a brief conflict.
Ravens kicker Justin Tucker moved his practice tee, football and helmet to warm up on the Chiefs’ side of the field — right where Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes was doing his own warmup routine. Mahomes repeatedly moved Tucker’s tee and holder after the longtime Ravens kicker would set it up to practice kicks.
Star Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce eventually walked over and tossed Tucker’s helmet and practice football off to the side.
Whatever mind games may have been afoot appeared to work out in the Chiefs’ favor, as Mahomes and Kelce provided just enough offense to back up a stellar performance from Kansas City’s defense in a 17-10 Chiefs win.
After the Ravens’ season-ending loss Tucker said he thought the pregame interaction was not a big deal. According to Tucker, it’s commonplace for kickers across the NFL to practice on the opposite side of the field from their team’s designated warmup area.
“I saw Patrick there trying to warm up and get some dropbacks and he asked me, while I was on the ground stretching, if I could move my helmet. I happily got up and I moved my helmet out of the way — at least I thought it was enough out of the way,” Tucker said. “And then Travis comes over and he just kicks my stuff and he throws my helmet.
“I thought it was all just some gamesmanship, you know, all in good fun, but they seemed to be taking it a little bit more seriously. I’m totally willing to let it all go, but I just wanted to explain that that’s just what I have done for 12 years and it’s not like I’m out there trying to be problematic.”
Former NFL offensive lineman and current FOX Sports Radio host Rich Ohrnberger said that while Tucker was correct in saying kickers doing so is commonplace, it serves no purpose aside from gamesmanship and Mahomes and Kelce were justified in their actions.
Tucker is a highly respected veteran and considered one of the greatest kickers in NFL history. Of course, Mahomes and Kelce may be two of the most well-known figures in the entire league both on and off the field, especially since the duo has helped the Chiefs to four Super Bowl appearances (and, thus far, two wins) over the past five seasons.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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The Atlanta Falcons are planning to hire Raheem Morris as the team’s next head coach, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Thursday.
Morris was last in Atlanta three years ago when he was the interim head coach after Dan Quinn was fired following the team’s 0-5 start. Morris went 4-7 as the interim coach, and Atlanta hired Arthur Smith to replace him. The Falcons fired Smith after three 7-10 seasons.
Morris comes from the Los Angeles Rams, where he had three successful seasons as the defensive coordinator and is widely respected around the league. He’s coached on both sides of the ball.
He’s the first head coach owner Arthur Blank has hired with prior NFL head-coaching experience; he was head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 2009 to 2011. A young head coach at the time — he was 32 when he was hired by Tampa.
This concludes a search where Atlanta interviewed 14 candidates for the position and had multiple second interviews, including with former New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick.
Taking a closer look, Falcons reporter Michael Rothstein answers two big questions about Morris’ hiring, including what will happen at quarterback. National reporter Dan Graziano dishes on what he’s hearing about the hire and why it wasn’t Belichick, and draft analyst Matt Miller spins it forward to the draft. Finally, front office analyst Mike Tannenbaum grades the hire.
What has changed since Morris was Atlanta’s interim coach in 2020?
Rothstein: A lot. The roster is almost completely turned over from when he left following the 2020 season. Only cornerback AJ Terrell, defensive tackle Grady Jarrett, left tackle Jake Matthews, right guard Chris Lindstrom, right tackle Kaleb McGary and kicker Younghoe Koo remain from the roster he left behind and are under contract for 2024.
He’ll also be working with a different general manager, Terry Fontenot, who was brought in in January 2021.
The only thing that will look the same to him might be Mercedes-Benz Stadium and the practice fields.
Swagu: Raheem Morris’ success as a coach tied to the QB position
Marcus Spears says Raheem Morris is the right hire for the Falcons, but adds that he will ultimately be judged on his choice at starting quarterback.
What will the Falcons do at quarterback?
Rothstein: This is an open question and might be dictated by who Morris decides to hire as offensive coordinator.
Both Desmond Ridder and Taylor Heinicke — Atlanta’s quarterbacks last season — remain under contract in 2024, but Blank called their play “deficient” during his Jan. 8 press conference after firing Smith. So it’s easy to surmise the Falcons will look to replace part — or all — of their quarterback room from a season ago.
Ridder was a third-round pick in 2022 and is on a rookie contract. Heinicke is a potential cap cut, a move that would save Atlanta $7 million.
Morris was on the Rams staff last season when Baker Mayfield came in as a late-season replacement, and he is scheduled to be a free agent, so there would be some familiarity there if Tampa Bay was unable to come to terms with Mayfield. But that’s all speculative at this point, and Mayfield and the Bucs have expressed a desire to work something out.
It’s highly possible Atlanta brings in a free agent veteran for at least the first year, and if a rookie quarterback makes sense, the Falcons can either trade up or draft one at No. 8 and have them compete. Or there might be longer-term answers like Kirk Cousins or Russell Wilson.
Once Morris gets settled and assembles his staff, the first big piece of what he and Fontenot have to figure out is what to do at quarterback and how that quarterback fits into an offense with good skill position players: Running backs Bijan Robinson and Tyler Allgeier, receiver Drake London and tight ends Kyle Pitts and Jonnu Smith are all under contract for 2024.
Why didn’t the Falcons hire Bill Belichick
Graziano: Multiple sources have said for weeks that Blank went into this process wanting Belichick, and I think the league and the industry expected that to work out. But there were hurdles that couldn’t be cleared. The organizational structure in Atlanta involves Blank and CEO Rich McKay, and a lot of the discussions with Belichick centered on the idea of what McKay’s role would be if Belichick came to coach the team — and how much power and control the various parties would have in the end.
Belichick — who is 15 wins shy of breaking Don Shula’s all-time record for most by a head coach — was seen as a short-term play, so there were some in the Falcons’ building who were concerned about overhauling things extensively only to potentially have to do so again in a few years. Blank may have gone into the process wanting Belichick, but he also went in with an open mind and was willing to listen to the input of others in his organization. All of that, combined with already high opinions of Morris, led to this surprise result. And it could leave Belichick without a job in 2024.
What else are you hearing around the league on the hire?
Graziano: Morris has as good and complete a resume as any candidate in this cycle, plus a strong relationship with Blank. So after interviewing 14 candidates, including Belichick twice, the Falcons made a hire that makes all kinds of sense for them.
Morris was on Atlanta’s coaching staff from 2015-20. A longtime defensive coach, he moved to the offensive side of the ball to coach Falcons wide receivers from 2016-19. He then became defensive coordinator in 2020 and served out the final 11 games of that season as interim head coach following Quinn’s firing. For some reason, Blank decided at that point to hire Arthur Smith instead of Morris. Well, three years later, the Falcons corrected their error.
Morris is extremely well-liked and well-respected around the league, and Sean McVay and the Rams were pushing for him to get a head coach job this offseason. Morris had his second interview with Blank earlier this week, and sources said it went great, which is no big surprise. The two men are very close. But between his previous (albeit long-ago) head coaching experience, his work as an assistant on both sides of the ball and the time he spent under McVay (whose assistants always seem to become head coaches), Morris returns to Atlanta with all of the requisite experience to handle this job.
If Morris opts to do defense at No. 8, who is the perfect fit for his first pick as the Falcons’ coach?
Miller: The 2024 draft class isn’t rich with top-end defensive talent, but if Morris has his sights on a defender at No. 8, Alabama’s standout pass-rusher Dallas Turner fits the bill. He’s my top-ranked defender in the class, and he reminds me of the Jaguars’ Josh Allen because of his awesome length and speed. Turner had 10 sacks in his final season for the Crimson Tide, and he not only has immediate starter ability but also the highest upside of all defenders in this class. That’s what the Falcons need, considering they posted a pass rush win rate of 30.9% in 2023, last in the NFL.
How would you grade this hire?
Tannenbaum: B. Morris did an outstanding job rebuilding a very young and inexperienced Rams defense, but he has gone 21-38 as a head coach (three seasons with the Buccaneers from 2009-11, and an interim stint in Atlanta in 2020). His first decision as the Falcons’ coach — who will play quarterback — will be absolutely critical for Morris.