EPL

Everton striker Calvert-Lewin to miss Premier League opener against Chelsea with knee injury

By Sports Desk August 03, 2022

Everton striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin will be absent from his side's Premier League opener against Chelsea after suffering a knee injury in training.

The England international spent much of last season on the sidelines but returned to the squad for the final four league games, in which he scored two goals to help keep Everton in the top flight.

But the 25-year-old will now be back in the treatment room at Finch Farm after sustaining an injury to his knee on Tuesday.

Everton will be keen for Calvert-Lewin to return as soon as possible, in the hope he can return to the form that saw him score 16 goals in 33 league appearances in the 2020-21 campaign.

Toffees boss Frank Lampard told reporters: "We are assessing Dom's injury. No timeframe has been confirmed and we are pretty sure what level it is, so we are hopeful it is not long-term.

"We'll miss him for Chelsea. He was looking in great physical condition and was training really well. It was a freak injury in training, which does happen.

"It's a shame but we have to find the solutions to keep ourselves strong without Dominic before he returns."

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  • Helsinki gets its chance as Real Madrid and Eintracht Frankfurt roll in for the Super Cup Helsinki gets its chance as Real Madrid and Eintracht Frankfurt roll in for the Super Cup

    Football might not be the first thing that springs to mind if you were to think of Finland.

    Long winter nights, saunas, Lapland, reindeer. A quick google search highlights telecommunications company Nokia as its most famous exporter, and that it is renowned for being "the happiest country in the world" with the best education system and cleanest air… oh, and the hotel where this reporter has been staying boasts "the best tap water in the world", too.

    Little mention of football, though. After all, ice hockey is the prominent sport here.

    Finland qualified for Euro 2020, but their sole win in the competition was overshadowed by the fact it came in a game in which Denmark's Christian Eriksen collapsed on the pitch in Copenhagen, having suffered a cardiac arrest. It was the nation's first appearance at a major international tournament.

    Not that there haven't been some notable Finnish players down the years. Jari Litmanen played for Ajax, Liverpool and Barcelona throughout a long career. Sami Hyypia spent a decade at Anfield from 1999 to 2009, while Jussi Jaaskelainen played in the Premier League for 18 years over spells with Bolton Wanderers and West Ham. Laura Osterberg-Kalmari was nominated for FIFA Women's Player of the Year in 2005 and 2006.

    More recently, Teemu Pukki has impressed with Norwich and Lukas Hradecky has been one of the most consistent goalkeepers in the Bundesliga across recent seasons.

    Hradecky, now at Bayer Leverkusen, made his name at Eintracht Frankfurt, and it is the German side – Europa League winners last season – who have travelled across the Baltic Sea to take on the might of Champions League holders Real Madrid in the Super Cup.

    Litmanen, Osterberg-Kalmari and Jaaskelainen were all guests at UEFA's fan park on Tuesday, a day ahead of the match at the 36,000-capacity Olympic Stadium.

    The Champions League, Europa League and Super Cup trophies were on show, though outside the fan park it would have been easy to miss that there was a major European match heading to the city. Indeed, on the opposite side of Helsinki’s grand central train station to UEFA's festivities, a music and arts festival was drawing a much larger crowd.

    That will surely change on Wednesday.

    Madrid are expected to bring approximately 1,800 fans. Meanwhile, 10,000 are anticipated to be arriving in support of Eintracht. 

    The signs were there even as Stats Perform arrived in Helsinki on Monday, with pockets of Eintracht supporters travelling into the city. A day later, the fan park was mostly populated by local football fans enjoying the rare occasion of such a major sporting event – involving one of the world's biggest clubs – coming to their city.

    Helsinki's centre will likely be a hub for Eintracht's travelling masses, and even as Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti ran the rule over his side in an opening training session on Tuesday, fans of the German team were making their presence heard outside the ground as the team coach departed.

    It's nothing new, though. Barcelona coach Xavi was left furious last season after 30,000 visiting Eintracht fans were said to have managed to gain entry to Camp Nou to watch their team sensationally knock out Barcelona in the Europa League quarter-finals. For the final against Rangers, held in Seville, authorities estimated that 50,000 Eintracht supporters made their way to the Andalusian city.

    "They played a big role, if I remember the game in Barca, 30,000, something special and it helped us a lot to perform at this level. They're not here to sightsee, they're here to support us because they believe in us," said goalkeeper Kevin Trapp in Eintracht's pre-match news conference.

    "Tomorrow will be the same, we know there’s going to be 10,000 again. We try to give our best and be able to celebrate again. It's a huge part of this club, this team, it's helping us every time."

    Eintracht might have the more raucous travelling support, but any local neutrals are likely to be in attendance to watch the stars of Madrid. Ancelotti, asked about his brief experience of Finland so far, compared the country to Canada, the home of his wife, and in training his team looked sharp as they put on a show for the assorted media and a small group of fans soaking in the late evening sun.

    Karim Benzema and Luka Modric accompanied Ancelotti in Madrid's media conference, just two of the superstars set to line up in all-white on Wednesday. Ancelotti, as amiable and as composed as ever, confirmed both players would start – unless they had any objections. His team are just rounding off their pre-season, and there were some signs of players still shaking off some rustiness in the finishing drills that ended their practice session.

    Eintracht opened their Bundesliga campaign with a 6-1 hammering at the hands of Bayern Munich, and head coach Oliver Glasner knows that, even if his side are underdogs, they cannot show such naivety against the 14-time European champions. With key player Filip Kostic absent to complete a move to Juventus, Eintracht must avoid another humiliation, even if it is an outstanding achievement to have reached this showpiece in the first place.

    As for Helsinki, it might be a far cry from the football hotbeds of Paris, London, Milan, Munich or Madrid, but those cities have their fair share of big matches already. The welcome has been warm, the weather perfect and the stadium – constructed in the 1930s but recently renovated – an ideal venue.

    Interviewed after his appearance at the fan park, Litmanen told Stats Perform: "It's very important for us to have this kind of game because we don't see these things very often. We cannot get the Champions League final we haven't been in the World Cup or the European championships. This is a big game for Finland."

    Now it's time to enjoy the show.

  • Rumour Has It: Man Utd investigate attacking moves for Sarr, Morata and Gakpo Rumour Has It: Man Utd investigate attacking moves for Sarr, Morata and Gakpo

    Manchester United are scrambling for further reinforcements after their troubling loss to open the Premier League season, with Watford's Ismaila Sarr, Atletico Madrid's Alvaro Morata and PSV's Cody Gakpo all named as potential forward solutions.

    Sarr, who scored a spectacular goal from the halfway line against West Brom on Monday, slowed after a strong start in the Premier League last season.

    Meanwhile, Morata is back at Atletico after two years on loan at Juventus, and Gakpo, just 23, has hit the ground running for Champions League chasers PSV in the new season.

    TOP STORY – UNITED WEIGH UP HOST OF FORWARD OPTIONS

    The Sun reported interest in Sarr, ESPN detailed the Morata story, and The Telegraph had the scoop on Gakpo, indicating there are plenty of moving parts behind the scenes at United, and they are casting a wide net.

    While no price has been named for either Sarr or Morata, Gakpo figures to demand a fee in the range of £35million, while The Telegraph is reporting the club are also assessing the availability of Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, who Corriere dello Sport suggests would cost €50m.

    Milinkovic-Savic, 27, would likely fill a similar role envisioned by Erik ten Hag for Barcelona's Frenkie de Jong – who has ruled out a move to Old Trafford – and could relegate one of Scott McTominay or Fred to the bench.

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    – Fabrizio Romano is reporting Manchester City are closing in on a transfer worth at least €10m to bring Anderlecht left-back Sergio Gomez to the Premier League. 

    – According to the Daily Mail, Arsenal are in discussions with Milan about acquiring 22-year-old midfielder Sandro Tonali, who the Italian club value at £46m.

    – Metro claims Arsenal are also leading the race for 19-year-old winger Yeremi Pino from Villarreal, with the club said to be willing to meet the £33m asking price, while Liverpool are also interested.

    – Foot Mercato is reporting Nottingham Forest are pushing to sign Villarreal's €20m Ecuadorian full-back Pervis Estupinan

    Chelsea are preparing a £12m move for 19-year-old Inter midfielder Cesare Casadei, per the Evening Standard.

  • Van Bronckhorst ecstatic as Rangers comeback keeps Champions League qualification dream alive Van Bronckhorst ecstatic as Rangers comeback keeps Champions League qualification dream alive

    Giovanni van Bronckhorst was overjoyed by the memorable comeback instigated by Rangers on Tuesday that set up a Champions League qualification play-off against PSV.

    Rangers lost 2-0 to Union Saint-Gilloise in Belgium last week, a result that Van Bronckhorst even felt flattered his team.

    But just as Ibrox proved a dependable fortress en route to the Europa League final last season, home advantage helped Rangers over the line again.

    James Tavernier's penalty on the stroke of half-time was added to by Antonio Colak's close-range header near the hour mark.

    Bayern Munich loanee Malik Tillman then nodded in the crucial goal 12 minutes from time, and Van Bronckhorst – who will go up against his former Netherlands team-mate Ruud van Nistelrooy in the next round – was left ecstatic with the 3-2 aggregate success.

    "It's another amazing night in Europe," he said. "There was a lot of pressure on us to deliver and to go through to the next round. We played really well at moments and kept the pressure on them.

    "We know the atmosphere can be very hostile and we created that atmosphere along with the fans. I'm very proud of the performance of my team."

    Rangers only lost once at home in the Europa League last term, a 2-0 defeat to Lyon in September, and Van Bronckhorst once again highlighted the fans' role in their turnaround on Tuesday.

    "We know the fans are always there but if we have a performance like we did today then the crowd will be even more hostile," he continued.

    "They keep pushing us to go forward so at moments in the game you have to make the right decision not to go too quick with your attacks. We knew we were capable of doing this but we keep doing it time after time. And we did it again.

    "They had some chances – the biggest one was saved in the second half. Some chances we just dropped our bodies in front of them to block the shots.

    "It's a big performance. We needed that. I’m very proud of the team. We're still in contention to go to the group stages of the Champions League. We'll to do everything possible to be in the Champions League this season."

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