Petr Cech got his ice hockey career off to a winning start as his crucial save saw Guildford Phoenix overcome Swindon Wildcats II in overtime.

Former Premier League goalkeeper Cech – a technical advisor at Chelsea after he left Arsenal at the end of last season – officially signed for Guildford on Wednesday.

The 37-year-old made his debut on the ice on Sunday, starting in net for Guildford against the Wildcats and, ultimately, proved decisive in clinching the victory.

Cech had little to do until the Wildcats struck to make it 1-1 after hosts Guildford had gone ahead, with the visiting side then taking a 2-1 lead.

The Phoenix hit back to force overtime and penalties, with Cech coming out on top in the shoot-out.

Swindon's penalty taker attempted to thread a low shot under the ex-Chelsea star, but Cech displayed plenty of experience, albeit from a different sport, to stand his ground and make an instinctive, match-winning stop with his pads.

Alexis Sanchez will leave international duty to have an assessment on a potentially serious ankle injury, the Football Federation of Chile (ANFP) has confirmed.

Sanchez was substituted late in Chile's goalless draw with Colombia in an international friendly on Saturday.

The forward, who is on loan at Inter from Manchester United, will travel back to Milan for tests on an injury that may require surgery.

Sanchez has suffered a "dislocation of left ankle peroneal tendons", according to the ANFP, and will miss Tuesday's game against Guinea.

"Tests with magnetic resonance imaging and dynamic echotomography will be carried out to make the best therapeutic decision," said an ANFP statement.

Sanchez has scored one Serie A goal since leaving United for Inter, his sole strike coming in a win away to Sampdoria, during which he was sent off.

The 30-year-old may be a doubt for an upcoming Champions League double-header against Borussia Dortmund.

Inter host the Bundesliga side on October 23 then travel to Dortmund for the reverse fixture in Group F two weeks later.

Declan Rice has dismissed speculation he could leave West Ham for Manchester United as "all talk".

Rice has broken into the England team on the back of his mature Premier League performances at London Stadium.

West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini said in March the club could be forced to cash in on the 20-year-old if the price was right.

United, struggling in the league's bottom half, are reportedly ready to make a £70million offer for Rice when the January transfer window opens.

But the midfielder is unconcerned about rumours over his future, having committed to the Hammers by agreeing a long-term deal.

"I signed a five-year contract with West Ham last year, which will keep me at the club till I'm 24," Rice told the Daily Mail.

"And for me this is the best place to be right now. I am playing for a manager who has given me my chance and played me week in, week out.

"It's all talk until something happens – and nothing has – so I'm just focused on West Ham, doing my best and making the fans happy."

Neymar does not have to leave Paris Saint-Germain to fulfil his goal of becoming the world's best player, according to Brazil team-mate Alisson.

The forward was strongly linked with a return to Barcelona during the transfer window, but no move to Camp Nou came to fruition.

Neymar has instead remained in the French capital, scoring four goals in five Ligue 1 games since recovering from a foot injury.

The 27-year-old did not finish in the top 10 for the 2018 Ballon d'Or but, asked if Neymar could become the best player in the world by joining Barcelona, Alisson told Mundo Deportivo: "I think that Neymar can be the best in the world on any team.

"Neymar is a high-level player and would be fundamental in any team in the world. If he returns to Barcelona or not... I wish him good luck and to play with his usual joy and energy, wherever he is."

Five-time Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi was reportedly pushing for Neymar to be signed by Barca, but he told RAC1 this month he was surprised his former team-mate did not join Real Madrid after it became clear he wanted to leave PSG.

Messi and Alisson met in the Champions League for the second season in a row last term, with the former Roma goalkeeper again coming out on top with a stunning second-leg comeback.

The Argentina captain had struck twice in the first leg to seemingly give Liverpool a mountain to climb but they won 4-0 at Anfield to overturn their deficit, going on to win the tournament by defeating fellow Premier League side Tottenham in the final.

Alisson also got the better of Messi at this year's Copa America, where Brazil beat Argentina 2-0 in the semi-finals before going on to lift the trophy on home soil with a win over Peru.

"The truth is that Messi played very well in the first leg in Barcelona and achieved two goals, but in the return I managed to stop him in some important moments," Alisson added.

"Messi is one of the best players in football history, but I don't think only of duels with him. Both Barcelona and Argentina are two very good teams that have high quality players.

"Luckily, in the last three matches I have been able to overcome him, but the merits are of the whole team: Rome, Liverpool and Brazil."

 

Manchester United defender Harry Maguire suggested England's backline has been affected by poor form at club level.

England crashed to a shock 2-1 defeat away to the Czech Republic in Euro 2020 qualifying on Friday, leading to questions about the country's defence.

The Three Lions have conceded five goals in their past two qualifiers in Group A and Maguire – the world's most expensive defender who has endured a difficult season with United languishing in 12th position in the Premier League – addressed the situation.

"Yes, maybe," Maguire said when asked if England's defence is lacking confidence ahead of Monday's trip to Bulgaria.

"We bring our club football into international level. It was a difficult game. Don't get me wrong, we started sloppy. We took the lead in the game but we didn't deserve to.

"The second half we controlled the game a lot more than the first half but we gave them a sloppy goal to win the game. We do need to improve on that.

"Obviously you are wanting to develop partnerships. Sometimes in international level you can't really do that.

"You have players who aren't playing for their clubs so they don't get selected, and you have players that pick up injuries.

"You've got to adapt. That's one of the tricky parts of playing international football, every camp you're normally playing alongside different players - you don't want to be - and need to develop new partnerships.

"But listen, there's no excuses. We need to be better than Friday night. We need to be better going forward. We need to be better on the ball. And we certainly need to be better at keeping the ball out of the net."

 

Either through injuries or dips in form, Luis Suarez has started to show signs of regression at Barcelona and they are planning for a future without him.

The Uruguayan striker has been a remarkable player for Barca, but at 32 he is approaching the twilight of his career and the Blaugrana have been considering who they might want to replace him with when the time comes.

Meanwhile, one player recently heavily linked with Barca could be signing a new contract with his current employers.

 

TOP STORY – BARCA DRAW UP STRIKERS SHORTLIST

Barca have significantly strengthened several areas of their team in recent transfer windows, with Antoine Griezmann, Junior Firpo, Frenkie de Jong and Neto bolstering their options.

They are now beginning to turn their attentions to the central striker role, according to Mundo Deportivo.

The publication reports Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe is the ideal target, though Barca are said to be hopeful of getting him on a cut-price deal in 2021 after he has entered the final year of his contract, assuming he does not sign an extension in the meantime.

England and Tottenham striker Harry Kane is also said to be high up their list, despite their being acknowledgement that his wages would be more of an issue than the transfer fee.

The other two reportedly being considered are Marcus Rashford of Manchester United and Inter's Lautaro Martinez.

 

ROUND-UP

Barca missed out on securing the return of Neymar in the most recent transfer window and, according to Gazzetta dello Sport, PSG are now planning to offer the Brazilian a new bumper contract.

- The LaLiga champions are also looking at midfield reinforcements with potential. Napoli's Fabian RuizEduardo Camavinga of Rennes and Bayer Leverkusen star Kai Havertz are all being considered, though Mundo Deportivo say Real Madrid are also tracking the trio with intent.

Christian Eriksen's future has been a hot topic for the last few months, with the Tottenham midfielder's contract ending next year. Sport1 in Germany claim Bayern Munich have already been in touch with him.

Liverpool are hoping to sign Brighton and Hove Albion-owned centre-back Ben White, 21, according to the Sun. The defender is impressing on loan at Leeds United and the Reds see him as a replacement for Dejan Lovren, who is said to be eager for a move to get first-team football.

- Despite languishing 12th in the Premier League after a wretched start to the season, the Daily Mail say Manchester United will not be splashing the cash in the January transfer window.

- But the Daily Express report United have reached a "verbal agreement" with Mario Mandzukic of Juventus, who are said to be demanding £10million for the Croatian forward.

Olivier Giroud has said he "cannot accept" his current position outside Frank Lampard's starting line-up at Chelsea - but he will not criticise the Blues boss.

France international Giroud netted a penalty for his country in their 1-0 Euro 2020 qualifying victory over Iceland on Friday, but he has yet to score in the Premier League this season.

The 33-year-old striker has made just three Premier League appearances this term, including only one start, making it a frustrating time for him at Stamford Bridge, as it often was under former boss Maurizio Sarri in the last campaign.

Asked how he accepted his position in the attacking pecking order at Chelsea, Giroud told Catholic magazine Le Pelerin: "Accept it? No, I do not accept it.

"You do not have to be fatalistic in certain situations. I have always been respectful and humble. Even if I do not agree with the coach, I do not criticise him.

"But in myself, I cannot accept it because I know what I'm worth on a pitch. Last year, when I felt I deserved to play, I asked the coach [Sarri] for explanations."

Since making a switch from Arsenal to Chelsea in January 2018, Giroud has started just 14 Premier League games and scored five goals.

He pointed out that he has outlasted the likes of Alvaro Morata and Gonzalo Higuain at the club, but indicated he is growing frustrated with the lack of reward for his longevity.

Tammy Abraham has become Chelsea's preferred central striker this term, with Giroud waiting for a chance of a run in the team.

"It was not easy to leave Arsenal for Chelsea two years ago. I loved Arsenal," said Giroud.

"But it was a progression because Chelsea is the English club that has won the most titles, with Manchester City, in the last 10 years.

"I had competitors in attack – Morata, Higuain – who ended up leaving. I won in the end: I played the final of the FA Cup in 2018 and the Europa League final in 2019.

"Once again, I'm starting the season in difficulty, but as my brother said, I have always grown in the face of adversity. Although I would like there to be less of it!"

Luis Suarez and Karim Benzema are the wrong side of 30 and could soon be looking over their shoulders.

LaLiga heavyweights Barcelona and Real Madrid are planning for the future and have reportedly identified ideal long-term successors to their respective strikers.

Meanwhile, two Premier League rivals could be about to do battle for the signature of a highly rated defender.


TOP STORY – ENEMIES EYE REINFORCEMENTS

AS claim Spanish champions Barca have identified Donyell Malen as the man to replace star striker Suarez, now 32.

The PSV forward scored on his international debut for Netherlands in September and has netted 10 goals in nine Eredivisie games this term.

Inter's Lautaro Martinez and Rafael Leao of AC Milan are also in the Blaugrana's sights.

Madrid, meanwhile, are considering an approach for Salzburg teenager Erling Haaland, AS adds.

Luka Jovic is yet to make much of an impression in the Spanish capital and Haaland, the scorer of four goals in two Champions League games, could prove a more useful option behind Benzema.


ROUND-UP

- Kai Havertz insists the decision on his next move will be his alone. Barca and Madrid have been linked with the in-demand Bayer Leverkusen midfielder, who told a news conference he is ready to take control of his future.

- Manchester City are preparing to hijack Manchester United's move for Ruben Dias. According to The Sun, the Premier League champions see the Benfica centre-back as the solution to their defensive crisis.

- In a second blow to the under-pressure Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, the Daily Mail claims United medical staff fear the injured Paul Pogba will spend the rest of October on the sideline. Pogba is in Dubai for warm-weather training as he battles to overcome a foot problem, but is in doubt for the blockbuster clash with leaders Liverpool in just over a week.

- Chelsea are weighing up whether to recall Ethan Ampadu from his RB Leipzig loan spell when the transfer window reopens in January, the Daily Express reports. Wales international Ampadu has not registered a single appearance for the Bundesliga outfit.

- Steven Gerrard's success in turning Rangers into genuine Scottish Premiership title contenders has garnered unexpected interest in his services. The Sun says Turkish giants Besiktas see the former Liverpool and England midfielder as a good fit to replace Abdullah Avci, should the incumbent boss fail to improve their Super Lig fortunes.

Kepa Arrizabalaga feels his battle with David de Gea to be first-choice goalkeeper can only be a good thing for Spain.

Chelsea keeper Kepa has started four of the national team's last five matches, with De Gea returning to the XI for the 4-0 win over the Faroe Islands last month.

De Gea endured a poor World Cup after a disappointing club campaign with Manchester United, but national team boss Robert Moreno recently stated he does not have an undisputed number one.

Spain take on Norway in Oslo on Saturday and Kepa is keen to earn a recall to the starting line-up.

"My goal is to play," he said at Friday's pre-match news conference. "All players want to be in the starting XI. I am obviously confident and want to help the team. 

"If I am one of the eleven chosen, my goal is to win a match that will not be easy against Norway.

"I feel good and I'm confident. It is true that I barely participated at the World Cup and now I'm able to help the team more."

Both players have staked a claim to start regularly and Kepa says rotation is to be expected.

"Whenever there is a debate over a position for the national team, it is a good thing - the beneficiary is the team," he said.

"Since the policy of rotating in the goal has become common, you have to trust yourself.

"All these comments in the press, I don't get involved in that, we simply have to do our talking on the pitch."

Kepa left Spanish side Athletic Bilbao for Chelsea in August 2018, in the process becoming the most expensive goalkeeper in world football.

The 25-year-old believes he has developed during his time in the Premier League and hopes to continue improving his game at Stamford Bridge. 

"I have matured as a person and as a goalkeeper," he said. "I have become accustomed to playing in a different way. 

"I'm now seeing more physical opponents, also of great quality, and I keep developing because I'm young."

N'Golo Kante was withdrawn from the France team to play Iceland because of injury prior to kick-off in Reykjavik.

The Chelsea midfielder had been named in the starting XI and was all set to play in the Euro 2020 qualifying match before reportedly suffering a muscle strain.

It meant Tottenham's Moussa Sissoko came into Didier Deschamps' line-up for the Group H fixture.

Deschamps had earlier surprised some observers by choosing Lucas Digne at left-back, when Lucas Hernandez had been tipped to recover from a knee problem to start.

Olivier Giroud was the focus point in attack, supported by Antoine Griezmann, with Kylian Mbappe on the injured list along with midfield playmaker Paul Pogba and Hugo Lloris, the goalkeeper and regular captain of Les Bleus.

Kante could also miss France’s qualifier against Turkey on Monday, and Chelsea boss Frank Lampard will hope the former Leicester man is fit for the Blues' next Premier League clash, their home game against Newcastle on Saturday, October 19.

The 28-year-old has started just three of Chelsea's opening eight league games after being troubled by an ankle injury in the early weeks of the season.

Marouane Fellaini believes Manchester United were rash in their decision to sack Jose Mourinho and feels his former club lack long-term vision.

United parted company with Mourinho in December 2018 after two and a half years in charge of the club.

Mourinho was replaced by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, initially on a caretaker basis and then full-time - the Red Devils' fourth permanent appointment since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013.

David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and Mourinho have all tried and ultimately failed to emulate the success of Ferguson, but Fellaini - who played under each of those bosses - wonders whether they could have been given more time.

"They brought in Moyes - they didn't give him time," said Fellaini, according to several English newspapers. "They brought in Van Gaal - they gave him two years and we started to do some things, he won the cup, but after that they sacked the manager because they want to win quickly.

"For me the club were too quick to sack Jose because a manager like that comes and he needs a lot of players to do his own philosophy.

"He wanted to build his team but after two years and a half they decided to sack him because the results were not there.

"That's the problem - they have to find a solution together. A manager like Van Gaal tactically is very strong and a lot of experience and they sacked him."

Mourinho won the EFL Cup and Europa League in his first season at Old Trafford, but a trophyless second campaign preceded a poor start to 2018-19, leading to his sacking.

"It's not easy to build a team in that time - you need more than two years," said Fellaini, who left United for Shandong Luneng in February.

"They brought in one of the best managers in the world in Jose Mourinho, he wanted to build a team and they sacked him.

"I don't know what they will do with Ole. Mourinho, for the first season, he did amazingly, he improved the team, won things.

"OK the second season was a bit more difficult, but he tried and did his best to help the team."

United have changed philosophy under Solskjaer, who has favoured using young and hungry players during his 10 months at the helm.

Daniel James and Aaron Wan-Bissaka were signed during the close season, along with the more widely travelled Harry Maguire, but United have made a poor start to the campaign and Fellaini fears a lack of experienced options is holding them back.

"Now you have a new manager, they wanted young players and that's what happens when you play with just young players - they will be up and down, up and down, that's football," Fellaini said.

"Of course, in football you can't play with just young players, you need a mix. I think to win games, to win titles, to win big games you need experience. Of course you can win with young players but not every game."

Manchester United left Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's squad short due to the club's dealings in the transfer market, says Bryan Robson.

Defeat away to Newcastle United last time out left the Red Devils 12th in the Premier League table, two points above the relegation zone.

Solskjaer has overseen a poor run of form since his March appointment on a permanent basis, a period in which United have taken 17 points from 16 league games.

His squad was bolstered by Harry Maguire, Daniel James and Aaron Wan-Bissaka, but senior players including Romelu Lukaku, Alexis Sanchez, Ander Herrera and Chris Smalling have departed.

Robson, who captained the club and won two Premier League titles with United, feels the transfer business was inadequate but, asked if United should stick with Solskjaer, he said: "Yes, I do.

"Because everyone went with the policy that they want to encourage the young boys coming through the ranks. That's exactly what United have done.

"I think they've maybe allowed too many good, experienced players to leave the club without replacing them. That's why it's left them a little bit short."

United have particularly struggled for goals since a 4-0 home win against Chelsea on the opening weekend of the Premier League season.

England striker Marcus Rashford netted twice in that victory but he has only scored once for club and country since, a run that has seemingly hit his confidence.

Robson, speaking at a Football Writers' Association dinner sponsored by William Hill, feels there are aspects of his game where the 21-year-old must develop.

"I think he has still got a little bit of knowledge to know about being a centre-forward," Robson added. "I think it's a natural game for him coming off the left side but the right side as well.

"But I think going through the middle of the park, I think Marcus needs to know the game that little bit better where it's not always about running through, it's about build up play and bringing midfield players into the game.

"That's where Marcus can maybe improve his game a little bit."

Liverpool youngster Harvey Elliott has been handed a 14-day ban by the Football Association after admitting using derogatory language about Tottenham's Harry Kane in a social media video.

Footage emerged earlier this year of the 16-year-old performing an offensive impersonation of Kane on Snapchat while watching Liverpool's Champions League final win over Tottenham.

Elliott apologised for his "senseless" actions in August and has now been suspended from playing domestic club football until October 25 for a breach of FA Rule E3.

The winger, who joined Liverpool from Fulham in July after becoming the Premier League's youngest player in May, must also complete a face-to-face education course and pay a £350 fine.

Paul Pogba says he is "almost there" with his comeback from injury, though he remains a doubt for Manchester United's clash with rivals Liverpool.

An ankle injury ruled Pogba out of the Premier League loss to Newcastle United and prevented him linking up with France for international duty.

World Cup-winning coach Didier Deschamps indicated Pogba would be out for three weeks, which left him a major doubt for the visit of Liverpool to Old Trafford on October 20.

Pogba has been working in Dubai in a bid to recover for the game against Jurgen Klopp's table toppers, who are yet to drop a point in the league this season.

The midfielder posted a video to Instagram on Friday in which he showed off his training regime, though his right ankle remains strapped up.

"Almost there," Pogba wrote in the caption. 

"Show off or motivation you choose? Same result at the end anyway."

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been named the Premier League Player of the Month after scoring in each of his four appearances in September.

Arsenal striker Aubameyang netted a brace in a 2-2 draw at Watford and notched crucial equalisers against Tottenham and Manchester United, along with an 84th-minute winner in a come-from-behind 3-2 triumph over Aston Villa.

His five-goal haul helped the Gunners go unbeaten during the month after their August ended in a 3-1 loss to Liverpool.

Aubameyang now has seven for the season in the Premier League, one fewer than joint Golden Boot leaders Tammy Abraham and Sergio Aguero.

The former Borussia Dortmund star beat out Trent Alexander-Arnold, Kevin De Bruyne, Riyad Mahrez, John McGinn, Ricardo Pereira, Son Heung-min and Callum Wilson to claim the honour for the second time in his career.

Jurgen Klopp, meanwhile, has won the Manager of the Month award, adding to his August accolade.

Under the German's stewardship, Liverpool continued their perfect start to the campaign with victories over Newcastle United, Chelsea and Sheffield United.

Eddie Howe, Frank Lampard and Brendan Rodgers were the other bosses in contention.

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