By Tim Stannard
1) Kroos control returned to Madrid in big day in Dortmund
Sporting logic dictates that Real Madrid are not going to have the best of times against Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday in the Champions League. But sporting logic is oft tossed out of the window when it comes to Madrid and the Champions League.
Coach Zizou’s men labored to beat the previously terrible Alaves on Saturday, whereas Dortmund are currently at the top of the Bundesliga with just the one goal conceded and 19 scored. And of course, the German outfit also have ‘Golden Boy’ Christian Pulisic.
Real Madrid will be without Mateo Kovavic, Marcelo and Karim Benzema for Monday’s hop across Europe, but Toni Kroos is available to Zidane after missing the weekend’s Alaves clash through injury. Cristiano Ronaldo looks very off the ball indeed and Madrid’s back four is all out sixes and sevens. But the Champions League is sacred ground for the current holders (for two years now) and Dortmund need to be on their best behavior.
2) A new captain leads the Yellow Submarine
Well, some people really don’t like Getafe, the go-to team for firings if a team loses against them.
Villarreal committed that error on Sunday and a day later, coach Fran Escriba has been booted out. Admittedly, the Yellow Submarine have been spluttering so far this season in 14th place, but Villarreal have sacked a manager who led the side into fifth last year. Youth team manager, Javi Calleja takes over.
La Liga is not yet wrapped up though. There is one more game to enjoy with Real Betis hosting Levante. Should the visitors win, then the Valencia outfit could leap into third! That clash is live on beIN SPORTS from 2:50PM ET / 11:50AM PT.
3) Conte admits days numbered at Chelsea
So, Villarreal have already had to change their manager. And it looks like Chelsea will have to do the same before too long. But for very different reasons.
Antonio Conte has been hugely successful in a short spell at Stamford Bridge with the Premier League title won already, but the Italian could be returning to his homeland sooner rather than later for another reason – homesickness. "I have in my head not to stay abroad for so long. I have the will to finish a project and then look for the right continuation,” was the admission from Conte to Italian radio.
Chelsea are currently in third place in the table, but waaaaaay behind them even with the season in September are Arsenal. Just seven points from five games so far for the Gunners but the chance arrives on Monday to make that look a little more respectable with a home clash against WBA.
You can catch all the best action from around Europe on the XTRA at 7PM ET / 4PM PT.
4) President Trump renews on attack on NFL
The current ‘taking the knee’ story which dominated the NFL weekend has rumbled on into Monday with President Trump keeping the matter alive – of course – by pitching sport against sport.
Trump, who called for the instant firing of any player kneeling before the national anthem, tweeted his support on Monday morning of NASCAR which has so far avoided the conflict between major football and basketball stars and the president.
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