Mattéo Guendouzi: “We didn’t deserve to win against Brest”

Following Olympique de Marseille’s away draw against an outstanding and resolute Stade Brestois side last night – OM midfielder Mattéo Guendouzi admitted that his side didn’t deserve to win the game, as Marseille struggled to build upon the lead taken by Arsenal loanee Nuno Tavares and fell victim to a stupendous strike from Pierre Lees-Melou to level the game up in the second half. Speaking to L’Équipe, the former Arsenal man said the following: 

“Brest gave us a hard time even if I think the first half was good overall, we found the gaps, we managed better in the last thirty metres. It’s a fair draw for both teams, we didn’t deserve to win. We weren’t as good at pressing, we didn’t get the ball high up in the defensive areas. It’s the second game of the season. We are still far from what we want to do. There are still a lot of things to improve, we’ve been working with a new coach and new players for less than two months. It takes time, but there are already many positive things.”


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Alonso loses Jeddah podium – slams FIA ‘system’

Fernando Alonso lost his hard-fought Saudi Arabian Grand Prix podium after the stewards hit the Aston Martin charger with a post-race 10-second penalty.

Alonso was handed a 5-second sanction for lining up incorrectly on his grid box at the start of the race – a plight that befell Esteban Ocon in Bahrain. And like his former Alpine teammate at Sakhir, the Spaniard was investigated again by the stewards for serving his penalty incorrectly.

The stewards concluded that one of Alonso’s mechanics had made contact with Aston Martin’s car before the 5-second penalty had been fully served.

The decision and the subsequent sanction – a 10-second post-race penalty – was communicated just minutes after the podium ceremony, and elevated Mercedes’ George Russell from fourth in the final standings to third.

    Read also: Perez holds on for victory over Verstappen in Saudi Arabia

The delayed decision obviously prevented Alonso from reacting on the track to the decision, and attempting to claw back the time difference.

Revisiting his initial transgression, Alonso wasn’t sure why he had lined up slightly to the left of his grid slot.

“I need to review obviously; I made a mistake” he explained before his second penalty was confirmed.

“When they told me five seconds penalty, I said okay, I need to drive a little bit faster to make [up] those five seconds. But I need to review.”

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In the closing stages of the race, given the pending investigation into Aston’s pit stop procedure, Mercedes had ordered Russell to press on and attempt to reduce the gap to Alonso to less than 5 seconds.

But there was no stealing Alonso’s thunder – out least out on the track – as he charged towards his 100th career podium in F1, although the stewards would eventually rain on the Spaniard’s party.

“It is hard a grand prix but, those guys [in the team] they gave me power and I push all the way through, like qualifying laps,” said Alonso.

“Red Bull’s maybe a little bit out of reach, but the rest were behind so I’m happy for that.”

In the end, Alonso wasn’t overly frustrated by events, preferring to look at the glass as half full in light of Aston’s continued strength. But the two-time world champion deplored that Russell had not been given an opportunity to celebrate.

“It doesn’t hurt much, to be honest,” he said. “It’s more an FIA poor show today, [than] disappointment ourselves.

“Today is not good for the fans when you have 35 laps to apply the penalty and inform about the penalty and you wait after the podium.

“There is something really wrong in the system, it’s the way it is, I feel sorry for the fans, but I really enjoyed the podium, I took the trophy, I have the pictures, I celebrate with the champagne and now 15 or 12 points doesn’t change much for me.

“It’s not fair for George as I guess the Mercedes sponsors will love to be on the podium, for us it’s good, we have [title partner] Aramco, we have the pictures.

“It’s not fair for George as if he really was third in the race he should enjoy the podium and not me, I feel sorry for George, for Mercedes sponsors, for George fans.”

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Nantes join race to sign Lens’ Ignatius Ganago

Nantes have joined Stade Brestois in the race to sign RC Lens striker Ignatius Ganago (23), who is not being forced towards the exit door by his club despite the signings of Adam Buksa and Loïs Openda, according to L’Équipe. 

Ganago has featured in both of Lens fixtures this season and is far from out of the picture at the club. However, the Cameroonian international is not short of suitors, and he could yet make a move this summer. L’Équipe reported earlier in the week that Brest were very interested in the striker and had even submitted a €3m offer. 

Earlier in the summer, Anderlecht registered an interest in the player and even made an offer to loan the player in July. Nantes are the latest team to express an interest, even if an offer is yet to be submitted. Brest’s first offer for the striker was said to be worth €3m, according to L’Équipe.

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2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix – Qualifying results

Full results from qualifying for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix at Jeddah, round 2 of the 2023 Formula 1 season.

2023 Saudi Arabia Grand Prix – Qualifying results

Pos Driver Team Q1 Q2 Q3

Sergio Pérez
Red Bull

Charles Leclerc

Fernando Alonso
Aston Martin

George Russell

Carlos Sainz

Lance Stroll
Aston Martin

Esteban Ocon

Lewis Hamilton

Oscar Piastri

Pierre Gasly

Nico Hulkenberg

Zhou Guanyu
Alfa Romeo

Kevin Magnussen

Valtteri Bottas
Alfa Romeo

Max Verstappen
Red Bull

Yuki Tsunoda

Alexander Albon

Nyck de Vries

Lando Norris

Logan Sargeant

Gallery: The beautiful wives and girlfriends of F1 drivers

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Houssem Aouar talks break down between Nottingham Forest & Lyon

According to Foot Mercato, talks between Nottingham Forest and Lyon have broken down as a second offer for Houssem Aouar (24) was turned down. Forest reportedly didn’t appreciate the attitude of Lyon’s director of football, Vincent Ponsot, with the Premier League side not best pleased with the Frenchman’s remarks during negotiations. 

Whilst Houssem Aouar has a “total agreement” in place to join newly-promoted Nottingham Forest, the Premier League club haven’t met Lyon’s asking price, and Crystal Palace are now set to join the hunt for the player, which was reported earlier today by L’Équipe. Palace are likely to take advantage of the situation with Forest within the next few days. 

Earlier in the week, sources contacted by Get French Football News revealed that the agents of Aouar had a provisional contract in place with Nottingham Forest. That then turned into a “total agreement” on Tuesday, according to RMC.

However, Nottingham Forest have yet to agree a fee with Lyon. The Ligue 1 club want €15m for the midfielder, but Nottingham Forest’s last offer was only €10m, which also included sell-on bonuses. L’Équipe report that the €15m fee isn’t “inaccessible” to Nottingham Forest, even though they have already signed 14 players this summer.

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Prudent Ferrari changes Leclerc and Sainz’s engines

Ferrari think it’s better to be safe than sorry, so the Scuderia has changed the Internal Combustion Engine on the cars of both Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz in Jeddah.

The move – described as a “further precaution” by the Italian outfit – comes after Leclerc suffered two Control Electronics issues in Bahrain.

As a result, Ferrari was forced to add a third CE to the Monegasque’s pool of hardware which will equate to a 10-position grid drop for Sunday’s Saudia Arabian Grand Prix.

But replacing the ICEs of both its cars after just a single race, even out of prudence, is still a worrying state of affairs for Ferrari.

    Read also: Leclerc set for 10-place grid drop in Jeddah!

Ferrari isn’t the only team in Saudi Arabia that has undertaken engine changes, with McLaren adding a new Mercedes engine and fresh turbocharger, MGU-H and MGU-K elements to the Briton’s PU inventory.

As a reminder, Norris suffered a pneumatic pressure leak in Bahrain that ruined his race at Sakhir.

Finally, Red Bull has also executed changes in the engine department, with Sergio Perez taking on a new Honda energy store and control electronics.

Save for Leclerc, none of the above changes warrant a grid penalty for any of the drivers mentioned.

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Wanda Nara travels to Istanbul to negotiate Icardi deal with Galatasaray & Fenerbahçe

According to RMC Sport Mauro Icardi’s agent (and wife) Wanda Nara has travelled to Istanbul in order to negotiate a potential move with Galatasaray and Fenerbahçe. 

The two Istanbul rivals are both at current interested in signing the player, but the Parisian number 9 also has his conditions: he wants to be starter at a major club, located in a city comfortable for him and his family.

Italy was clearly the preferred choice when the transfer market began. But the player, who was signed for €50m in 2020 by PSG, could seriously consider opportunities in other countries.

Nara was approached by Serie A side Monza, and held meetings with the Italians – who demanded that 60% of the player’s salary is covered by PSG but finally settled on Napoli’s Andrea Petagna.

Manchester United also have made a informal enquiry through intermediaries with the entourage of Paris Saint-Germain striker Mauro Icardi, according to sources contacted by Get French Football News – with the player enticed by the idea of moving across the channel.

The Argentine was confirmed by manager Christophe Galtier to be on the transfer list, with the club looking to find the former Inter forward a new club. After initially impressing in his first season in Paris, Icardi has struggled to hold down a consistent starting place in the last two campaigns in the face of major competition, scoring 18 in all competitions in the last 24 months.


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Bordeaux and Milan hold talks over Junior Onana transfer

L’Équipe report this afternoon that Milan and Bordeaux are set to hold talks today over a potential move for midfielder Junior Onana, who has already agreed personal terms with the Rossoneri.

Les Girondins have set their asking price for the 22-year-old at €6m, along with €1m in bonuses and a cut of a future sale. A source close to the talks told L’Équipe that an agreement has yet to be reached but is not far.

The Cameroon international has also attracted the interest of two newly-promoted Serie A clubs in Monza and Cremonese, while over in Spain, Girona were also said to be making a move, although it’s the Italian champions who appear to have won the race.

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Onana joined Bordeaux last summer from Lille, having spent the previous season out on loan at Royal Mouscron. He made 23 appearances and scored three goals as the team finished rock bottom after a cataclysmic season, and has been a regular at the start of the club’s campaign in the second tier.

Sir Clive Woodward: Steve Borthwick’s England ‘promises a stark contrast to the Eddie Jones era’

Sir Clive Woodward believes that Steve Borthwick’s England Six Nations squad “promises a stark contrast to the Eddie Jones era”.

Borthwick named his 36-man group for the upcoming Six Nations, and former head coach Woodward has hailed the new boss for injecting new faces and pace in his squad.

Form and pace

“Jones would never have named the likes of Ollie Hassell-Collins and Ben Earl for the Six Nations, as Borthwick did. Under the Australian, England became far too slow from one to 15,” Woodward claimed in his latest Daily Mail column.

“To win a World Cup, England can’t rely on brute power alone. They are not South Africa. There must be a speed and dynamism to the players who are selected.”

Woodward believes that England’s approach and game-plan needs a radical change and added that he was Jones’ ‘No 1 fan’ up until the 2019 Rugby World Cup final but that the team and Jones never recovered from the defeat.

Captain Farrell

Zoning in on the players selected, Woodward added that Borthwick selected his team based on Premiership form and their ability to play at pace. He also backed Borthwick’s decision to name Owen Farrell as captain and to recall Dan Cole.

“Hassell-Collins, Earl and Ben Curry have earned selection on the back of their domestic exploits and that is how it should be. Dan Cole is back at the age of 35 after playing very well for Leicester Tigers. I don’t mind that at all. It shows age is no barrier and that form is rewarded,” Woodward wrote.

“Borthwick’s decision to make Owen Farrell captain is the right one and I would absolutely have him starting at No 10 during the Six Nations. He must begin the Scotland game there.

“The best I saw England play under Jones was when Farrell, Manu Tuilagi and Henry Slade filled the 10, 12 and 13 shirts respectively. Hopefully, we can see that trio reunited in midfield.”

Eddie Jones

Turning his attention back to Jones, Woodward wrote that Australia’s decision to appoint the former England coach made him smile.

“Australia have made a seriously big call by going back to Jones. The decision made me smile because Jones’ return to the international arena does add extra spice to what is already a huge World Cup year,” he continued.

“He will be a man on a mission. His last three years with England have taken a lot of the aura away from him but if I was in charge of Australian rugby, I’d have made exactly the same call.

“Like many others, I have been very critical of Jones as England were going backwards and fast in every aspect of the game, but he is excellent at getting a team into shape in double-quick time.

“There is now the mouth-watering prospect of Jones possibly coaching against Borthwick’s England at the World Cup. England were right to get rid of Jones, but if he comes back to haunt them then big questions will still be asked of the RFU and chief executive Bill Sweeney. There will be finger-pointing if England get knocked out of the tournament by Jones’ Australia.”

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England kick their Six Nations off with two home Tests, the first against Scotland on February 4; they then host Italy eight days later.

Nottingham Forest reach full agreement with Djibril Sidibé

As reported by Foot Mercato, newly-promoted Premier League club Nottingham Forest have reached an agreement to sign former Lille, Everton and Monaco defender Djibril Sidibé this summer.

Having been frustrated by his Monaco exit on a free transfer at the end of last season after falling out of favour under Philippe Clement, the World Cup winner has struggled to find a new club after his contract expired at Stade Louis II.

Although a full agreement has been reached between the English club and the player over a one-year deal with an option for a second season, the move is far from certain to go through. Forest have also approached former Tottenham and PSG right-back Serge Aurier in their search for a full-back and he is the preferred option of the Nottingham club’s leadership as it stands. 

Part of the 2018 World Cup winning squad and Monaco’s 2017 Ligue 1 winning side, the 30-year-old Sidibé totalled 174 appearances for Monaco, either side of a season on loan in the Premier League with Everton, during five years at the club.

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