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Who will be sacked first?

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For whatever reason, Frank Lampard and Steve Gerrard can’t seem to get away from each other.

They probably should have been allowed to get away from each other when they played together for England, but every coach insisted on persisting with them.

Now they are both trying to forge managerial careers for themselves and neither will likely be especially happy with how that is going either. Gerrard is struggling to make any kind of an impact at Aston Villa after the best part of a year in charge, while Lampard does not appear to be making any real progress in turning Everton around.

Both look very vulnerable to the sack right now, but who is most likely to go first?

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It’s probably fair to say that nervously looking over their shoulders towards the Premier League relegation spots is not what Steven Gerrard or Aston Villa expected this season. That is exactly the situation in which they find themselves, though.

It could have easily been much worse as well. A run of three games unbeaten, including a home draw with Manchester City, has bought Gerrard some precious breathing room for now.

The problem that Gerrard ultimately faces at Aston Villa is the lack of a track record. He got the job on the back of his name as a player and impressing in his first managerial job at Rangers, although in truth the latter counts for little when it comes to the Premier League. A run of just two wins in 11 matches to close out last season won’t be helping Gerrard’s case either.

What we do know is that the Aston Villa board have acted before. Last November they sacked Dean Smith after a similar start to the campaign that Gerrard has produced this year. There is little reason to think Gerrard will fare any better if things don’t improve relatively quickly.

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Aston Villa recent form

Crystal Palace 3-1 Aston Villa
Aston Villa 0-1 West Ham
Arsenal 2-1 Aston Villa
Aston Villa 1-1 Man City
Aston Villa 1-0 Southampton
Leeds 0-0 Aston Villa

While Gerrard might have to worry about the lack of a track record, Lampard may just have the opposite problem at Everton. Lampard is with his third club in five years and has not achieved a thing yet in his managerial career.

It may be unfair, but the days of Lampard being considered a new manager with potential are long gone. He is not awaiting his first big opportunity in management. In fact, he has had far greater opportunities than his achievements have warranted.

In fact, it has reached a point where Lampard probably can’t afford to fail at Everton if he wants to continue his managerial career. It is certainly hard to imagine that nearly getting Derby promoted as a career pinnacle will be impressing many prospective employers.

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Lampard may ultimately be given more time due to the fact that Everton probably can’t afford another mistake either. They have spent a lot of money, too much really, and delivered little. They also have a new stadium to pay for and are unlikely to want to absorb the cost of sacking and replacing a manager.

Lampard has also stabilised Everton since a poor start and at least made them tough to beat, which is always a decent start to lasting change.

Everton recent form

Brentford 1-1 Everton 
Leeds 1-1 Everton
Everton 0-0 Liverpool
Everton 1-0 West Ham
Southampton 1-2 Everton 
Everton 1-2 Man Utd

At the moment you would have to say that Gerrard is looking in a lot more danger of getting the sack than Lampard.

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Gerrard has had more time in the job, been backed better in the transfer market and is at a more trigger-happy club.

Lampard is treading water a bit at Everton, but that is probably enough for them for now. By comparison, you get the sense that Gerrard is falling short of the expectations of the Aston Villa board, and we know they are not afraid to make a change around this time of year.

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Lionel Messi reacts to Argentina reaching World Cup knockouts

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Argentina superstar Lionel Messi has claimed that his missed penalty in Wednesday night’s crunch World Cup win over Poland ended up galvanising the team and was on course for victory as soon as Alexis Mac Allister broke the deadlock.

La Albiceleste, one of the pre-tournament favourites, were in danger of a shock group stage elimination ahead of kick-off and had it all to play for against Robert Lewandowski’s Poland.

When Lionel Scaloni’s team were awarded a first half penalty and Messi stepped up, it looked as though it would be business as usual. The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner was looking to score in a seventh consecutive Argentina appearance, something he had never done before. But Poland goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny was equal to his spot-kick and confidently palmed the ball away.

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“Having missed the penalty, the team came out stronger from that,” Messi told TyC Sports.

“The team was convinced that we were going to win, it was a matter of the first one coming in. Once we scored the goal, the game was going to be played the way we wanted.”

After Mac Allister found the key first goal, Julian Alvarez eventually got the second.

Neither Alvarez nor Enzo Fernandez, who assisted the second goal, had started either of the first two games. Yet they came in to make a critical impact. Mac Allister, meanwhile, hadn’t featured in the opening defeat to Saudi Arabia, before starting back-to-back wins.

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Messi went on to praise the ‘strength of this group’ which makes that possible.

“We said it from the beginning. The players who come in know what they have to do and are always fully prepared. It is the strength of this group, the union and that when a player has to, he responds,” the 35-year-old explained.

With the group stage now over, Argentina will face a plucky Australia side that qualified from a very challenging Group D ahead of Denmark. That game will be played on Saturday.

“We know it’s going to be very tough,” Messi assessed.

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Harry Symeou hosts Jack Gallagher and Toby Cudworth to look back on Germany ’06 as part of the ‘Our World Cup’ series. We take a trip down memory lane – join us!

If you can’t see the podcast embed, click to download or listen to the episode in full!



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Minnesota United make Joseph Rosales loan permanent

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Minnesota United have announced the permanent signing of midfielder Joseph Rosales from Panama’s CA Independiente.

Rosales returns to Allianz Field following a loan spell starting in August 2021, with the Honduras international notching five primary assists in 35 appearances so far across all competitions.

MNUFC have signed Rosales on a deal through the 2023 MLS season with further options on 2024 and 2025.

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Rosales returns to a Minnesota United side enjoying a four-year in the MLS Cup Playoffs under Adrian Heath, though the Loons have exited in the first round three times.

The 22-year-old will continue to compete for a starting spot in the MNUFC midfield alongside the likes of Kervin Arriaga and Wil Trapp.

Watch the story of Charlotte FC’s journey to MLS in 90min’s The Making of Charlotte FC, presented by DoorDash, on 90min channels now. Subscribe to our new US YouTube channel.



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Atlanta United sign former Columbus Crew forward Derrick Etienne Jr via free agency

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Atlanta United have bolstered their attacking options with the signing of winger Derrick Etienne Jr via free agency, the club announced Wednesday.

As reported by 90min, the Five Stripes have been pursuing a deal with Etienne since mid-November, with the forward having already spent time at the club’s training facilities.

That deal was finally completed on Wednesday as Etienne was unveiled on a contract through the 2025 MLS season with further options on 2026 and 2027.

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“Derrick is a versatile winger who fits the profile of a player we were looking to bring in,” Atlanta United vice president and technical director Carlos Bocanegra said in a club press release.

“We’re excited to secure his services as he was a top free agent coming off an excellent season and heading into the prime of his career. Derrick has a great mentality, knows the league well and we are looking forward to him being a big part of the team going forward.”

Etienne is entering his eighth season as an MLS player, notching 17 goals and 17 assists in 148 appearances so far for the New York Red Bulls and Columbus Crew so far.

His spell with the latter was particularly fruitful, winning MLS Cup and Campeones Cup titles, while the 26-year-old enjoyed a career-best return of nine goals and six assists in 33 regular season appearances in 2022.

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Etienne – who is also capable of playing through the middle – will now compete for places in Atlanta United’s forward line alongside the likes of Luiz Araujo and Edwin Mosquera as the club look to return to the MLS Cup Playoffs in head coach Gonzalo Pineda’s second full season in charge.

Watch the story of Charlotte FC’s journey to MLS in 90min’s The Making of Charlotte FC, presented by DoorDash, on 90min channels now. Subscribe to our new US YouTube channel.



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