Riyad Mahrez fits Pep Guardiola’s template while adding something new to City

In basic terms, the reigning Premier League champions’ purchase of a former PFA Footballer of the Year, for a club record fee, was clearly a huge statement of intent. But when Manchester City completed the signing of Riyad Mahrez in the summer, there was a legitimate question about his precise role in Pep Guardiola’s starting XI.nfl cheap jerseys nike

After all, City had just won the Premier League with a record 100 points, courtesy of a side based around two outright wingers, Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling, stretching the play. This was arguably the most fundamental part of City’s attacking approach, and when Guardiola occasionally played Bernardo Silva — a left-footed midfielder, always coming inside — on the right flank, more for the sake of rotation than tactics, City’s attacking wasn’t quite so dynamic.

Mahrez was a curious fit. Somewhere between an inverted winger and a No. 10, the Algerian was a dribbler accustomed to playing on the counter-attack and carrying the ball directly towards goal, and the outside-right position at City demanded entirely different characteristics. So far, though, Mahrez has proved his worth. After a slow start at the Etihad, where he was gradually eased into the side, now Mahrez is increasingly looking like one of City’s key players. His tactical role at City can be summarised concisely by assessing the nature of his four league goals so far.12

Mahrez scored two in a 5-0 thrashing of Cardiff City, one in a 5-0 victory over Burnley, and then came his first major goal for City, the winner in Monday’s 1-0 victory over Tottenham Hotspur. Those four goals, stylistically, can be divided into two; Mahrez has scored two pairs of identical goals.nike nfl jerseys wholesale cheap

His second strike against Cardiff, and his late goal against Burnley, were the type of goal we’ve come to expect from left-footed right wingers, strikes that can now be described, and universally understood, as Arjen Robben-esque.

Against Cardiff, Mahrez collected a loose ball on the edge of the box, cut inside by using the outside of his favoured left foot, and then whipped a shot into the far corner. His goal against Burnley was a more elegant variation: collecting a forward pass from Fernandinho, 25 yards out in an inside-right position, Mahrez touched the ball once with the inside of his left foot, then three times with the outside to work the ball into a shooting position, opened out his body, before majestically bending the ball into the top corner. Joe Hart didn’t move. It was the archetypal goal from an inverted winger.

But playing purely in that manner would mean City losing their most prolific route to goal from last season. Time and time again, City unlocked opposition defences through Sane and Sterling, with one winger charging down the outside, sending a low cross into the box, and the other winger arriving at the far post to convert, often into an open goal.


Cowboys sign veteran OL Xavier Su’a-Filo

After working out for the team last week, veteran offensive lineman Xavier Su’a-Filo signed a two-year deal with the Dallas Cowboys that includes a $50,000 signing bonus.

To make room for Su’a-Filo, the Cowboys released Kadeem Edwards, who served as a backup lineman in the season-opening loss to the Carolina Panthers.cheap nike nfl jerseys free shipping

Su’a-Filo was among the Tennessee Titans’ final cuts. He spent the first four years of his career with the Houston Texans, starting 31 of 32 games in 2016 and ’17 after being selected in the second round of the 2014 draft.8

The Cowboys have been searching for interior line depth since losing Marcus Martin in the preseason to a toe injury. They traded for Parker Ehinger from the Kansas City Chiefs, but he was placed on injured reserve last week with a knee injury that will require surgery. They also claimed center Adam Redmond off waivers from the Buffalo Bills after the final cuts, but he was inactive against Carolina.china nike nfl jerseys cheap

Rookie Connor Williams gave up two sacks in the loss to the Panthers, but the Cowboys believe he will get better the more he plays.

“Obviously it’s a challenging task for him Week 1 to go against that defensive front,” coach Jason Garrett said. “There were some good things for him. There’s some areas in pass protection that wasn’t good enough and we’ll continue to work with him on that.”


Kobe Bryant says his die-hard fans will ‘fall in line’ for LeBron James

Kobe Bryant has heard how some of his most die-hard fans might have an issue with LeBron James joining the Los Angeles Lakers.

Bryant says if those people are fans of his, they will “fall in line.”

“I hear that,” Bryant said when asked on “The Rich Eisen Show” whether he is aware that some of his fans have an issue with James being a part of the Lakers family. “But listen, if you are fan of mine, you are a fan of winning, you are a fan of the Lakers. I bleed purple and gold. So, that is above anything else.cheap wholesale nike nfl jerseys

“I have been a Lakers fan since I was yay high. That is never going to change. Right? [It] is about winning championships. So, they’ll fall in line.”

But some in Los Angeles were not so welcoming. A few have chosen to express their feelings by defacing a couple of murals around the Los Angeles area featuring James as a Laker.

Bryant was asked whether James has to lead the Lakers back to a championship in order to be viewed in the same light as Bryant, who won five championships during his 20-year career with the franchise.7

“I don’t know, making the comparison of him being viewed in the similar vein as me, that doesn’t make much sense,” Bryant told Eisen. “I think the goal is always to win championships. No matter where you go, that is the goal. And that is his goal, that is Rob’s [Pelinka] goal, that is Magic’s [Johnson] goal, Jeanie’s [Buss] goal, [Rajon] Rondo, all the guys, [Kyle] Kuzma, Lonzo [Ball], they all want to win championships. That is what they are gunning for.

“This is why we play. This is why we are here, is to win championships,” Bryant later added. “He wouldn’t have come here if he didn’t expect to win championships.”

Bryant, who just turned 40, also laughed off any notion of him making a comeback and returning from retirement.cheap nfl nike jerseys free shipping

“There is about a zero percent chance that I come back and play,” Bryant said, after laughing when asked about a rumor of him coming out of retirement. “Nothing. Done. That’s it.”

“Unfortunately for us athletes, we have been pigeonholed into thinking that we can only be one thing,” said Bryant, who won an Oscar for his contributions to the animated short “Dear Basketball” in March.

“So when I retired, everybody is saying he is too competitive, he is not going to know what to do with himself. He is going to have to come back. I took that as a personal challenge of them thinking that I am this one-dimensional person, that all I know is how to dribble and shoot the ball and play basketball and compete at that level. I will never come back to the game. Ever.”


Giants catcher Buster Posey might have season-ending hip surgery

San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey’s season might soon be coming to an end.

The six-time All-Star said Tuesday night that he’s considering surgery to fix a hip problem that has been hobbling him all year.

“I think when you’re dealing with an injury, it can be a level of frustration,” Posey said. “I’m so hesitant just because … I hate reading stuff where I feel like people are talking and there’s any sort of excuse, no matter what it is.

“But yeah, I mean, just where we are in the standings, too, I think that makes it difficult.”cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

The 31-year-old Posey recently got a cortisone injection and missed last month’s All-Star Game.

“We have discussed the possibility,” Giants general manager Bobby Evans said.8

Posey didn’t play Tuesday night in a 6-3 loss to the New York Mets after catching all 13 innings in a win Monday. He is expected to play Wednesday.

“It’s better some days than others. Some days it’s cranky. Thirteen innings isn’t the best for it,” Posey said. “Right now, we’re going day-to-day. We’ll see where we’re at tomorrow and the next day.”

Manager Bruce Bochy said there is no deadline for Posey to have the surgery. He added that the sooner the surgery occurs, the more time there is for Posey to recover.

The Giants are 62-65 and behind several teams for the second wild-card spot. They are 3-5 on an 11-game road trip and 12-19 since July 13.

Posey is hitting .286 with five homers and 40 RBIs. Since the All-Star break, he is hitting .283 with no homers and nine RBIs. He hasn’t homered in a span of 166 at-bats since June 19, the third-longest homerless drought of his career in terms of days.

“He’s been battling this all year,” Bochy said. “He’s been a warrior through this, dealing with it. But you know, sometimes it comes to a point where you have to do something about it. And that’s what we’re talking about now.”cheap nfl jerseys china nike

“There is a rehab with this thing if it gets done, and it’s going to take a little while. So we want to make sure that we get him right,” he said.

The San Francisco Chronicle first reported on Posey’s situation.


Unlikely duo might patch Indians’ holes in the outfield

Cleveland’s center fielders rank 28th in the majors with a combined .628 OPS, and the right fielders had an aggregate 12 home runs and a .399 slugging percentage entering Tuesday night’s game at Fenway Park. Bradley Zimmer (shoulder) and Tyler Naquin (hip) are recuperating from season-ending surgery, and Lonnie Chisenhall’s hamstring issues have been persistent enough to temper expectations that he’ll be back anytime soon.nike nfl jerseys cheap paypal

The front office tried to upgrade the product by acquiring Leonys Martin from the Detroit Tigers at the non-waiver deadline July 31. He lasted a mere six games and 15 at-bats before a life-threatening bacterial infection derailed his season. There’s no timetable for his return.

So what’s a manager to do? Keep running out the names at his disposal, pat a few guys on the fanny and hope the production exceeds the résumés.5

While Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez were going a combined 0-for-8 Tuesday, the Indians got some big contributions from complementary sources. Melky Cabrera went 3-for-4 with a home run, and Greg Allen was strong on both sides of the ball in a 6-3 victory over Boston at Fenway Park.

It was the Indians’ second straight win over the Red Sox, who are in the midst of only their second three-game losing streak this season.

This one was a statement game on behalf of veteran players who keep hanging around for the love of the game and prospects who show flashes of promise through a combination of confidence and opportunity. In the first two games of the series, Cabrera and Allen are a combined 8-for-13 with three home runs.

Cabrera, 34, was one of baseball’s premier hit collectors during his peak. In 2011, he batted .305 with 201 hits and 102 runs scored for the Kansas City Royals. But his reputation took a hit in 2012, when he received a 50-game PED suspension and participated in a fake website scam in an attempt to cover his tracks. He even relinquished his 2012 batting title with the San Francisco Giants because he didn’t want to benefit from an achievement that he considered “tainted.”cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

After stops with the Blue Jays, White Sox and Royals, Cabrera couldn’t get a sniff on the free-agent market last winter. He was all but begging for a job when the Indians signed him to a minor league contract in April.


Packers’ Jamaal Williams says he’ll retaliate for dirty plays by kicking

Jamaal Williams isn’t happy about how his ankle was injured, and the Green Bay Packers running back has a plan for the next time a would-be tackler grabs and twists it.

“If they’re twisting ankles, I’m for sure kicking,” Williams said Monday. “I’m kicking from now on. If the ref asks why I’m kicking, I’ll be like, ‘Hey, they twisted the ankle.’

“I’m just going to do what I’ve got to do to survive honestly. I’m not trying to get hurt and not be able to play anymore because somebody wants to be aggressive and do dirty things like that. So why I can I not protect myself from those type of injuries?”cheap wholesale nike nfl jerseys

Williams appeared to sustain the ankle injury against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Thursday’s preseason game when linebacker Vince Williams tackled the second-year running back around the lower part of his right leg. Jammal Williams stayed in the game for one more play before he hobbled off.

“I’d rather he just let go of my ankle,” Jamaal Williams said. “Obviously, I’ve got to do a better job of getting him off my legs, so I guess I’m going to start kicking now under the piles.” Williams, the leading candidate to start at running back, did not practice on Monday during the Packers’ first open workout since the game. His status for Thursday’s game at Oakland – and the remainder of the preseason is in question – but he said he did not expect it to impact his availability for the Sept. 9 season opener against the Bears.6

“It wasn’t that bad but at the moment, it swelled up,” he said. “I just need to get off it. The next day the swelling went down and it just went from that to me just grinding it out, getting everything back together. It’s really just the swelling and the fluid build-up there. I’m all good, man. It’s just a football lesson you’ve got to learn from and just try not to get injured like that again.”

The Packers remain thin at running back because of a hamstring injury to Aaron Jones, who is expected to be part of the running back by committee along with Williams and Ty Montgomery.

Jones did not play in the first two preseason games but returned to practice on Monday and took 11-on-11 reps for the first time since Day 2 of training camp. Jones is ineligible for the first two games of the regular season because of an NFL suspension for violating the substance-abuse policy.

Devante Mays, a seventh-round pick last season, has yet to play in a preseason game because of a hamstring injury. Another running back, Akeem Judd, who was signed on Aug. 6, unexpectedly retired over the weekend after he carried five times against the Steelers.cheap nfl nike jerseys free shipping

The Packers signed a pair of running backs – Bronson Hill (who has been with seven different teams since 2015) and LeShun Daniels (who finished last season on the Redskins’ injured reserve list).

“I think the biggest thing for both those guys is just to get up to speed because we want them to play in the game in Oakland,” coach Mike McCarthy said. “I don’t know at exactly what level.”