5 Things... Messi reaches another landmark

By Sports Desk September 03, 2018

Atletico failed to have a shot on target for the first time in a LaLiga match in 1778 days.

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  • Championship Review: Fulham thrash Millwall as Nketiah strikes for Leeds United Championship Review: Fulham thrash Millwall as Nketiah strikes for Leeds United

    Fulham thrashed Millwall on Wednesday but are only third in the Championship table thanks to victories for Leeds United and Swansea City.

    Sheffield Wednesday went top on Tuesday but have dropped three places following wins for three of the early-season pacesetters.

    Cardiff City overcame Huddersfield Town in south Wales in a battle of two of last season's Premier League sides, while Jack Butland had a game to forget for Stoke City at Preston North End.

    West Brom and Nottingham Forest, meanwhile, each earned a point by virtue of late goals.

     

    FULHAM ON SONG AS CARDIFF EDGE HUDDERSFIELD

    Fulham's front three of Ivan Cavaleiro, Anthony Knockaert and Aleksandar Mitrovic is starting to look a formidable attacking threat.

    All three were on the scoresheet as the Cottagers saw off Millwall 4-0 for a third win in a row in England's second tier.

    Cavaleiro fired home the opener and crossed for Knockaert to make it 2-0 at the end of a move that saw 26 completed passes involving all 11 Fulham players.

    Mitrovic got the third from the penalty spot and Cavaleiro added a cool fourth for a Fulham side who enjoyed a remarkable 84 per cent of the possession and completed 934 passes.

    Cardiff and Huddersfield, who joined Fulham in dropping out of the Premier League last season, played out a much more even encounter at Cardiff City Stadium.

    Trevoh Chalobah cancelled out Joe Ralls' opener, but Neil Warnock's side snatched all three points in the 88th minute through Junior Hoilett's deflected strike.

    LEEDS AND SWANSEA SETTING THE STANDARD

    Leeds and Swansea are the only two teams with 10 points from their first four games of the season, although Marcelo Bielsa's side left it late at home to Brentford.

    Arsenal loanee Eddie Nketiah was the hero on his Championship debut at Elland Road, tapping in Helder Costa's cross with nine minutes to go to seal a 1-0 win.

    Swansea were a little more comfortable, although their 3-1 win away to QPR came despite them attempting 10 shots to the hosts' 22.

    Bersant Celina put them ahead and, after Jordan Hugill headed in an equaliser, Borja Baston converted a penalty and Sam Surridge secured the points at Loftus Road.

    BUTLAND IN DEEP TROUBLE AT DEEPDALE

    Stoke's miserable start to the season continued with a 3-1 loss to Preston in which goalkeeper Butland had something of a nightmare.

    Having failed to stop Daniel Johnson's improvised half-volley from finding the bottom-right corner, Butland allowed Billy Bodin's shot to squirm beneath his body and put Preston 2-0 up after 25 minutes.

    Former Manchester United man Josh Harrop netted the third from a rebound after Butland denied Johnson, meaning James McClean's close-range finish was little consolation for a side who have taken one point from four games.

    West Brom had been staring at a home defeat to Reading until the 88th minute, when Kenneth Zohore's penalty – conceded by Ovie Ejaria – cancelled out a stunning goal from the Royals' Liverpool loanee.

    Charlton Athletic's meeting with Forest at The Valley also finished 1-1, with Albert Adomah earning a point after Lyle Taylor had headed in the opener.

  • Dembele 'not at all threatened' by potential Neymar return to Barcelona Dembele 'not at all threatened' by potential Neymar return to Barcelona

    Ousmane Dembele "doesn't feel at all threatened" by the possibility of Neymar going back to Barcelona, the forward's agent has said.

    Speculation persists over Neymar's future at Paris Saint-Germain, with the latest reports saying Barca have had a bid of a two-year loan with an option to buy rejected by the Ligue 1 champions.

    Should the Brazil star secure a return to Camp Nou, though, it is likely to leave Dembele's position in the first team unclear, with the France international struggling for consistency and fitness since his move from Borussia Dortmund for an initial €105million in 2017.

    However, his representative, Moussa Sissoko, says Neymar's future will have no impact on Dembele's determination to succeed with the Spanish champions.

    "When you are a high-level sportsman, you have to accept that you are praised but also subjected to criticism," he told RMC Sport. "[Dembele] is focused on his goals, and he knows what he has to do in order to succeed at Barca.

    "He doesn't feel at all threatened. When you play for Barca, you expect there to be competition. Neymar or anyone else - he does not care about that and [only] cares about what he has to do."

    Sissoko says there has been interest in Dembele but that all those clubs, PSG included, have been told the player has no desire for a transfer.

    "We received notice of interest from big clubs," he said. "But we were clear on the fact that he did not want to leave. I told them from the start that he wants to succeed at Barcelona. The door is closed, and Paris or any other club are aware of our intentions.

    "In our plans, he wants to stay and all his work is towards that. We are working on that."

    Dembele was diagnosed with a hamstring injury this week that is likely to keep him out for over a month, furthering suggestions his lifestyle is hampering his fitness and professional development.

    His former chef told Le Parisien on Wednesday: "Ousmane is a good guy but he doesn't have control of his life. He lives with his uncle and his best friend, who don't dare say anything to him. It's a crazy life.

    "I've never seen him drink alcohol but he doesn't respect his rest times, there's no professional structure around him."

    However, when asked about those comments, Sissoko said: "I do not want to give an advertisement to the chef who criticised him. Ousmane chose him, and it's me who stopped working with him, because he didn't correspond to what we wanted."

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