Back of the net: Europa League, Rooney and Simeone

By Niall Clarke

  • A round up of the latest football stories
  • Europa League round-up
  • Rumour: Diego Simeone to Chelsea?

Europa League, Wayne Rooney out of six weeks and Diego Simeone to Chelsea? Here’s a round up of the latest from world football.

English clubs struggle to find victory in Europa League


It was not exactly a perfect night for English clubs in the Europa League, but the Premier League representatives earned some credible results in UEFA’s second competition.

The pressure on Louis Van Gaal continues to grow as his side were beaten 2-1 by Danish side FC Midtjylland. Memphis Depay earned a crucial away goal to give the Red Devils the lead on the night but the hosts struck back on the stroke of half time thanks to Pione Sisto’s finish. Thirteen minutes from time Ebere Paul Onuachu gave the Dane’s the lead, but United were unable to respond and they will go into the second leg with a one goal deficit.

Liverpool faired slightly better in Augsburg but were unable to convert any chances as the game finished 0-0. Daniel Sturridge would feel he should have grabbed a crucial away goal but he failed to convert an open net. Jurgen Klopp’s side didn’t find an away goal to take back to Anfield but they importantly avoided defeat and will be favourites to advance.

Premier League high flyers Tottenham Hotspur earned the most positive result after a respectable 1-1 draw away Fiorentina. Nacrer Chadli opened the scoring from the spot after Ben Davies was brought down. The Italian side equalised on the hour through Federico Bernardeschi, but the Serie A outfit could not find a winner. Spurs now only need a 0-0 draw to advance when the sides meet again in a week’s time.

Though no English sides could grab a victory on Thursday, an English manager will be celebrating for more than one reason. Whether it’s the prospect of Champions League football or the fact it was the gaffer’s birthday, Gary Neville’s Valencia routed Rapid Vienna 6-0 at the Mestalla. The Spanish side scored five first half goals before adding a sixth in stoppage time to complete the demolition. That’s two straight victories for Valencia, are fortunes changing for 41 year old?

Rumour: Diego Simeone to Chelsea?


It has been heavily rumoured this week that Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone has agreed to join Chelsea at the end of the season.

The Argentine is now favourite to take over Guus Hiddink as manager of the Blues in time for the 2016/2017 campaign.

Spanish outlet OK Diario claimed that Simeone told Atletico that he is leaving the club after agreeing a £9.28 million-a-year deal to take over the reigns at Stamford Bridge.

The former Argentina midfielder, famous for the David Beckham red card incident at the World Cup in 1998, has been linked with the London based club for a while. Speculation has only intensified since Jose Mourinho left the club last year.

Simeone has been a rousing success since taking over at the Vicente Calderon in 2011. Amongst the Europa League titles, The Argentinian led the Madrid outfit to the La Liga title ahead of Real Madrid and Barcelona in 2014, and Atletico were Champions League runners-up in the same year. They currently sit second in La Liga this year.

Italy manager Antonio Conte is another favourite for the Chelsea job after reportedly holding talks with the club this week.

Wayne Rooney out with knee injury


Manchester United Captain Wayne Rooney faces two months on the side lines after injuring his right knee after United’s 2-1 defeat to Sunderland.

The injury will particularly concern Roy Hodgson as it possible that the forward will not head into Euro 2016 at full fitness.

England have friendlies against Germany and Holland next month in preparation for the tournament and Rooney is set to miss both of them.

The 30 year old has had a history of injury problems during major International tournaments. Rooney suffered a broken metatarsal in England’s Euro 2004 quarter final clash with Portugal. Two years later the same injury plagued the United striker’s World Cup in which he failed to score in four games.

Four years later, Rooney suffered another injury set back prior to the World Cup and yet again he failed to find the net in the tournament. He missed England’s opening two games in Euro 2012 with suspension too, but he was fit for the World Cup disappointment in 2014.