Sports Burst - Benzema's Tough Love

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by Tim Stannard

 

"It means that we are alive," says Zidane after Benzema caught criticizing Vinicius 

 

Well, at least the 'crisis!' that Coach Zizou faced on Friday ahead of Super Saturday 2 on beIN SPORTS is a little better than the one the Frenchman was challenged by a week ago. 

That was a day before El Clasico and the Real Madrid coach was quizzed on the chances of being sacked if that match went south. 

 

Today, it was merely fending off probes about a leaked recording of Karim Benzema suggesting to Ferland Mendy that Vinicius Junior was having a stinker of a match against Borussia Moenchengladbach and should be cut out as much as possible. 

As our Gary Bailey - former Manchester United goalkeeper - recalled in Thursday's edition of the Sports Burst live show, he was once hit in the head by his own defender for being hopeless, so matters could have been a lot worse for the Brazilian striker. 

Despite soothing reports in the Madrid papers that both Benzema and Vinicius trained together on Thursday and got on swimmingly, it was still a top topic for Zidane with the ongoing absence of James Rodrigues and Gareth Bale to fill the attention hole. 

Nevertheless, Coach Zizou dealt with the matter quite smoothly - "it's good that these things happen as it means that we are alive. They've already spoken about it."

 

Real Madrid host Huesca at 9AM ET on beIN SPORTS to launch Super Saturday 2 with the league champions, Sevilla, Atletico Madrid and Barcelona playing back to back throughout the day. 

Remember - outside is bad. Be in with beIN. 

The weekend buildup starts on the Sports Burst live show at 12PM ET which will go over to Spain with the latest news. Head to our beIN SPORTS USA Facebook page and XTRA channel

 

 

 

Koeman gives advice to Ansu Fati in eve of turning 18

 

Barcelona will be bookending Saturday's merry marathon with an away match at Alaves, the kind of game that often causes Barca some troubles, especially after tough Champions League nights.

Friday started badly for Barcelona with the news that centerback, Roland Araujo, would be out for a month with a hamstring injury. With Samuel Umtiti still sidelined, that just leaves Gerard Pique and Clement Lenglet to get Barcelona through the three remaining matches before the international break. However, Ter Stegen returning to training on Thursday was some good news at least. 

One of the many questions put to Ronald Koeman on Friday concerned the present and future of Ansu Fati who turns 18 on Saturday. While praising the young Spaniard as a great talent, the Dutch coach noted that "he has to be more focussed to improve." 

Barcelona are at Alaves on Saturday with coverage beginning from 3:30PM ET. 

Round 8 of LaLiga gets underway on Friday and it could end with something quite life-affirming. Eibar are hosting Cadiz and if the visitors pick up a win in the Basque Country then newly-promoted Cadiz will be joint top of the table overnight. That game kicks off on beIN SPORTS at 4PM ET. 

 

 

MLS changes standings as Galaxy fire coach

 

Friday sees the MLS standings looking more than a little strange with teams with less points than others appearing higher up the table. Even for eccentric American soccer, it's a little odd. 

This is because the organization has had to take the drastic decision to judge the final placements of the regular season - those that decide playoff and play-in games - on a points-per-game ratio, rather than points total. 

Unfortunately, due to COVID-19-related postponements, a number of teams won't be able to play all their scheduled matches before the end of the regular season on November 8th. Algorithms are going to be needed by everyone involved in MLS over the next week. 

The rejig won't be of any use to the hapless LA Galaxy. Arguably MLS's biggest and brightest franchise remains rock bottom of the Western Conference and took the decision on Thursday to fire coach, Guillermo Barros Schelotto, with three games left to play. 

The Galaxy has suffered from a misfiring and injured Chicharito - just the single goal all season - and a defence that has seen the team lose eight of its last nine games with 17 goals conceded in the past four defeats. 

There really wasn't life without Zlatan.