Berbatov reacts to Maguire, Rashford expletive-ridden Man Utd row

Dimitar Berbatov thinks the heated exchange between Marcus Rashford and Harry Maguire on the pitch against Crystal Palace could be a “good” thing for Man Utd.

The row was sparked when Rashford strayed offside in the 0-0 draw at Selhurst Park and Maguire was heard shouting at his England and Man Utd teammate in frustration.

“What do you want me to do?” Rashford asked before Maguire replied: “F***ing get back onside!”

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The forward did not take kindly to this friendly advice from his captain and seemingly replied: “Shut the f*** up, f***ing k***head.”

However, Berbatov recalled arguments he would have with Rio Ferdinand at Man Utd and the Bulgarian reckons it can be healthy.

“In the match against Crystal Palace things got a little heated with Marcus Rashford and Harry Maguire, but I like that,” Berbatov told Betfair.

“It’s good in a game to have that fire and passion to fight. Aggression shows you are passionate, and you care about the game. You don’t want to be silent, because that tells me you don’t care.

“Of course, things like this need to stay on the pitch, although you might carry it on a little bit in the changing room, but as long as it doesn’t interfere with your commitment to the team, it’s ok.

“These things happened to me when I was playing. I’d tell defenders how to do their job and defenders would tell me how to do my job when I wasn’t scoring goals.

“When things aren’t going right in a game and you think your teammates can do more and you are running high on adrenalin, you need to push and push and even argue with teammates if necessary.

“I had it a lot in my career, arguing and screaming with teammates, and I’m fine with it. It’s all for the purpose of helping the team to win games.

“Rio (Ferdinand) used to always run his mouth and tell everyone what to do, I used to give it back to him by telling him how to defend and to pass it to me, to my feet, instead of clearing the ball high.

“It’s always good to put a bit of fire in your teammates, it’s a two way street and when you play on that to help you win it’s a good thing.”


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Tuchel insists he will ‘give the flowers’ to his Chelsea squad

Thomas Tuchel has batted away the praise despite guiding Chelsea to a 10-match unbeaten run since taking the Stamford Bridge tiller.

Tuchel has already masterminded victories over celebrated managers Jurgen Klopp, Jose Mourinho and Diego Simeone since replacing Frank Lampard in west London.

Chelsea were languishing down in ninth place when Tuchel took charge – just five weeks later the Blues are fourth in the table and three points shy of third-placed Leicester.

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Taskmaster German boss Tuchel has refused to take credit for that resurgence however, instead insisting the players must receive the plaudits.

Asked to explain his role in Chelsea’s revival, Tuchel replied: “I am flattered but I will just give the flowers to the players and to the club.

“It is proven that Chelsea is an organisation and a club that has everything that you need to be successful as a coach and as a football team, so now it is my job to bring out the very best of myself, together with the team.

“There is no other way to express myself than with team performances.”

Tuchel inherited a Chelsea squad lacking direction as Lampard’s reign had stuttered to a frustrating end.

The former Paris St Germain boss has quickly whipped the Blues into defensive rhythm however, with his side having conceded just twice on his watch.


Thursday’s 1-0 win over reigning champions Liverpool at Anfield provided another big step forward, following important wins at Tottenham and also against Atletico Madrid in the Champions League.

Tuchel will go up against another big-name coach, Carlo Ancelotti, when Chelsea host Everton on Monday night, with the fifth-placed Toffees boasting a game in hand over the Blues.

“I am happy to be on the sideline. I feel an attitude, an unbelievable attitude towards training, towards games, I feel the bond that is necessary,” said Tuchel.

“In the whole world when football is played, the teams that stand out are the teams that fight for each other, are ready to sacrifice, are happy for each other, push each other from the bench and this is exactly what I found.

“I found a lot of talent. It’s a pleasure to compete with this team and this group against other strong, strong managers and with their groups and to be in this competition is pure joy. It is everything that you look for as a coach.”


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Karius set to extend Union Berlin loan to avoid Liverpool return

Liverpool keeper Loris Karius is keen to spend the final season of his Reds contract on loan with Union Berlin.

The 27-year-old is on loan in the German capital after falling out of favour under Jurgen Klopp at Anfield.

He was at fault for two of the goals scored in Real Madrid’s Champions League victory over Liverpool back in May 2018.

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Ever since then, his career in the Premier League has looked pretty much over.

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When asked about extending his spell with Union Berlin, Karius told Sport Bild (via Goal): “I still have a contract with Liverpool until 2022. But of course I can imagine staying in Berlin if everything fits.

“I’m not just passing through here. The mentality of the people and the spirit of the team are good for me.”

If Karius were to extend his loan deal for another season it would see him avoid an awkward Liverpool return.

The shot-stopper would be able to join Union permanently once his contract with the Reds expires in June 2022.

He’s started four of their last five Bundesliga matches and kept a clean sheet during the recent win over Freiburg.

Union see Karius as an effective backup for current number one Andreas Luthe. The 33-year-old has kept Karius on the bench for most of the campaign but had to take special leave recently, missing three matches.

Klopp and Liverpool solved their keeper nightmare by signing Alisson Becker for £67million in July 2018.

The Brazilian international was the world’s most expensive keeper at the time but has since proved his worth.

He played in the 2019 Champions League final as Liverpool beat Mauricio Pochettino’s Spurs.

He also recorded an impressive 15 clean sheets last season as the Reds won their first ever Premier League title.

Alisson’s backup is Adrian, a keeper not without his faults.

But Karius is surplus to requirements and looks set to leave Liverpool without even returning.

Mikel Arteta tips Arsenal youngster for England call-up

Mikel Arteta has told Emile Smith Rowe he can work his way into the England squad this month – if he uses Arsenal team-mate Bukayo Saka as a role model.

Smith Rowe has been in fine form since breaking into the Arsenal first team late last year, earning plenty of plaudits for his style and ability in and around the penalty area.

The 20-year-old was labelled a “huge breath of fresh air” for the Gunners by Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate during an interview with talkSPORT earlier in the week.

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Smith Rowe has provided four assists across his 12 Premier League outings this season and scored in a Europa League win over Rapid Vienna and in an FA Cup success at home to Newcastle.

The Croydon-born playmaker has yet to be capped at under-21 level by England and that remains a more likely target when the international break rolls around at the end of March.

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But Arteta feels a senior call-up is a possibility and that Smith Rowe could follow in the footsteps of Saka, who made his England debut in October.

“I think it is possible,” Arteta replied when asked if it was realistic for Smith Rowe to dream about breaking into the England squad this month.

“If he shows the same determination as Bukayo, be as humble as he is and play with the personality that he’s done, I think he’s got a great chance.

“Emile has got all the attributes, all the qualities that are needed to play for this football club and, in my opinion, to play for the national team.

“After that it is about finding the consistent level that is required, because obviously that level is as good as it gets. But I think he has shown in moments of this season what he can do.

“So it is about now doing it for longer periods, adding more assists, more goals, being a threat all the time and working as hard as he has been doing because I think he has been phenomenal for us.”

Smith Rowe suffered a muscular injury during Arsenal’s 3-1 Premier League win at Leicester last Sunday but Arteta said the issue is not serious and he could feature on Saturday’s trip to Burnley.


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WON NEWSLETTER: February 8, 2021 Observer Newsletter: WWE breaks revenue records, AEW/NJPW deal

Our lead story in this week’s Observer covers WWE finances.  We look at the direct numbers of WWE, revenue, profits, value of the company on Wall Street,  what was up and why, what was down and why, exactly how much WWE took in on TV rights, network and merchandise.  We look at what the company’s top priorities are for 2021, why the stock price is down, plus Vince McMahon, WWE President Nick Khan, CBO Stephanie McMahon and CFO Kristina Salen comment on the company.

They talk the Peacock deal, the Indian and Latin American markets, new television products, how much COVID cost the company in revenue and costs of the Thunderdome set-up as compared to the old way of doing things.  

The issue also covers:

Ratings, as well as what USA would be doing without WWE, and WWE’s declines as compared to cable and network TV as a whole, how much money WWE has taken in and profited, or lost, every year since 1994.

Update the New Japan/AEW relationship, the different steps over the past few years from New Japan blowing off AEW to them doing business with the KENTA vs. Jon Moxley program, why it happened and where things stand now.

Royal Rumble, including how everyone did, stories behind the matches, age of men’s talent in WWE vs AEW and the message loud and clear, two of the main events scheduled for WrestleMania, match-by-match coverage with star ratings and poll results.

New Japan deal with Roku and what this means both short and long-term, as well as other people who had interest.  We look at the keys to the deal decision going the way it did.

Viewing experience for fans from Peacock, John Cena WrestleMania notes, NXT Takeover card, update on the Dusty Classic shows, two top WWE stars talk their recent positive tests for COVID, details behind the firings of Lars Sullivan and Steve Cutler, update on Vince McMahon/Oliver Luck lawsuit, Roman Reigns and Bobby Lashley talk Undertaker remarks, International TV ratings, how wrestling does in comparison to other sports in the ratings, Bill Goldberg talks MMA, background of Reginald, Cesar update, new WWE signing and most watched shows of the past week on the WWE Network.

NJPW New Beginning in Nagoya, with match-by-match coverage, poll results, and where things are going next.

Giant Baba Memorial show.

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Television ratings of the past week, including segment-by-segment numbers for the past two weeks on Wednesday, who was watching in different age groups, how different segments did on Raw & Smackdown and more.

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Bryan and I will be back tonight talking Raw and the rest of the news with Wrestling Observer Radio late tonight. You can send questions to the show to

On Google trends for the past week, Saturday’s UFC show did 600,000 which is huge for an ESPN+ show.  A lot of that was due to having big names like Alistair Overeem and Frankie Edgar lose, and the Edgar knockout loss in 28 seconds was the big discussion point coming off the show.  Edgar also trended. It was in the No. 8 spot on Saturday and four of the seven ahead were Super Bowl related. On Friday, Paige VanZant was No. 6 at 200,000 from her Bare Knuckle fighting loss to Britt Hart. On Monday, the death of Dustin Diamond, who dabbled in wrestling but was best known as Screech in Saved by the Bell, had 5 million searches. For a comparison,which tells you how impressive Conor McGregor numbers are, The Super Bowl did 16.5 million searches.

Speaking of McGregor, Ariel Helwani reported today on his podcast with Daniel Cormier that UFC was leaning in the direction of doing a Conor McGregor vs. Dustin Poirier rematch soon. No word yet on what it means as far as the lightweight title is concerned.

Tonight’s Raw will set up the Elimination Chamber PPV. They only have two Raws to build the show, so they will likely have Chamber qualifiers, announce the main event, which the best guess is Drew McIntyre vs Sheamus on the Raw side, plus a Charlotte Flair-Lacey Evans face-to-face segment, McIntyre vs. Randy Orton and more.

Straight Up Steve Austin after Raw tonight has Bret Favre as a guest.

For this week, there are three major Japanese shows airing. New Beginning in Hiroshima day one is Wednesday morning at 4:30 a.m. Eastern with Hiromu Takahahashi vs. Sho. The second show is Thursday morning at 1 a.m. Eastern with Kota Ibushi vs, Sanada for the IWGP title, which is 10 p.m. Pacific Wednesday evening so it starts on the West Coast right after AEW & NXT end. Actually it starts right before NXT ends because NXT usually has an overrun. Pro Wrestling NOAH’s Budokan Hall show with Go Shiozaki vs. Keiji Muto starts at 2:30 a.m. Eastern late Thursday night Eastern time.

Bellator is saying it will have a special announcement tomorrow at 4 p.m. Eastern time.

Heath Schnedier, the promoter of ACW in Florida, a group that worked with WWN, is in bad condition after suffering a stroke which caused swelling on the brain.

A story on Curt Stallion and his WWE start. (thanks to Mike Kumzuk)
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Guram Kutateladze is out of his 3/13 fight with Don Madge due to undergoing knee surgery.
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Spike Carlyle announced that UFC has cut him.
Chris Jericho is doing the narration for the season three episodes of Dark Side of the Ring which have been filming for the last few months.  
A replay of Go Big Show airs on CW on 2/12 at 8 p.m.
Impact on Tuesday night on AXS has Trey Miguel & Suicide & Josh Alexander & Willie Mack vs. Chris Bey & Ace Austin & Blake Christian & Shawn Daivari, Doc Gallows & Karl Anderson vs Chris Sabin & James Storm for he tag titles, ODB vs. Kimber Lee and Kiera Hogan vs. Nevaeh.  
The 2009 Final Resolution PPV headlined by A.J. Styles vs. Christopher Daniels, Desmond Wolfe (Nigel McGuinness) vs. Kurt Angle, Scott Steiner vs. Bobby Lashley last man standing and more will air at 4 p.m. Eastern tomorrow on AXS.
ACH vs. Brian Pillman Jr. has been added to Wednesday’s Fusion show on YouTube and Fubo. The main event is title vs. title with MLW middleweight champion Lio Rush facing AAA cruiserweight champion Laredo Kid.
A story on Gabi Tuft, the former Tyler Reks, and the sex change operation was covered on the Houston FOX station. (thanks to Ross Blair)
Here’s some interesting finds. This was women’s wrestling star Judy Grable on the TV show What’s My Line at 12:40. And this was Fabulous Moolah on To Tell the Truth. (thanks to Bob Nowak)
The Melbourne City Wrestling return show from Saturday night went online on their Vimeo page. Slex vs. Adam Brooks in a three stages of hell match headlines. The match got over big with the live crowd.  
Robbie Eagles vs. Mat Gauge headlines the 2/20 Suplex Pro Wrestling show in Newcastle, Australia.
Riot City Wrestling is part of Adelaide’s Fringe Festival on 2/27 and 3/20. Matt Hayter vs. Rocky Menero for the RCW title is the main event on 3/20.
FWAS from Saturday night in Sydney, Australia: CBK & AJ b Kasai & Bob the Viking & Tyler Gunn, Parker Tomas b Lee Morrow to keep the Mercury title, Buccaneer Cesar & Rochelle Rouge b Massiva Q & Matt Gauge & Mathias clock, Blackman b Kai Drake, 5 Star Flash b Vinnie Vain in a street fight, Robbie Eagles won three-way over Unsocial Jordan and Sam Osborne, Xena b Tarelee to win the FWA women’s title, Rhys Angel & Donnie Mako b Jude Lndon & Paris De Silva in a 2/3 fall match to win the FWA tag titles (thanks to Kevin Chiat)

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