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Don't indulge Paul Pogba, Manchester United, or he'll end up like Alexis Sanchez

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Manchester United can't afford to indulge Paul Pogba any more... if they do, he'll end up like Alexis SanchezAlexis Sanchez was indulged for too long when he was an Arsenal playerIt was always poor old Sanchez. Always someone else's fault and not hisPaul Pogba is spinning his performances just like Sanchez did at ArsenalIt won't end well if Pogba is further indulged by Manchester United 

Alexis Sanchez was indulged too long. That has always been the problem for Manchester United. Not that they started it.

At Arsenal, Sanchez was allowed to perpetuate the idea that his team-mates were always to blame. He was allowed to talk — or in his case, gesticulate — a better game than he was playing. United are now making the same mistake with Paul Pogba.

No sooner had Manchester United's season started in the brightest way possible, than Pogba was up to his divisive tricks again. 

Alexis Sanchez (R) was indulged too much at Arsenal and was always allowed to blame others

'Only time will tell — this question mark remains,' he said when asked about his future, now the domestic transfer window had closed. So far, so tiresome. But it was Pogba's view of his performance levels that really caught the eye. 'I always give it everything,' he said. 'I give the maximum each time.'

Really? It didn't look that way against Chelsea. Pogba may have enjoyed a decent game, played a lovely pass for the third goal, and been the architect of the fourth, too, but there were still moments when his work-rate dipped way below the stated maximum. 

In the first half, for instance, he made a surging run into the opposition area, and when the move was intercepted and Chelsea broke, began a slow amble back towards his own half.

By the time he strode into anything approaching a run — never a sprint — Chelsea were 30 yards from United's goal. Then that counter attack ended, too, and Pogba was in position to receive the ball and go again. 

So it worked out for the best and many in the stadium wouldn't even have noticed how he came to be in such an advantageous position. But let's not kid ourselves. It wasn't by giving everything.

Sanchez got away with it at Arsenal, too. He lived the easy life, able to shift the blame elsewhere and unwilling to accept any personal responsibility, even when it was obvious his own form had dipped. Everyone saw those games, and too many fell for it. 

Paul Pogba is spinning performances like Sanchez did at Arsenal and United must deal with it

The arm-waving, the sulking, the hunched shoulders, the anguished expression. Poor Alexis. If only he had better around him, what a player he could be. And people forgot that, at Barcelona, he did have better around him and the way that worked out was he couldn't get in the team. He certainly had better at United.

As was seen on Sunday, it is possible to get a tune out of Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard, and Manchester United thought they had bought a world-class forward to accompany them. 

Maybe they thought his presence would be an inspiring challenge for the younger members of the squad, too. A player they could look up to, who would show what it took to reach the elite level.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer must not allow Pogba to go the same way as wantaway forward Sanchez

That is why Sanchez was deemed so valuable. Yet he swiftly brought his Arsenal attitude to United. He was a poor example to the young players, a negative in the dressing room.

Now he is being encouraged to leave before the transfer window shuts in Europe — but, unsurprisingly, no suitors can afford his wages. What a disastrous transfer this has been. 

Its only worth will be if United learn their lesson in dealing with Pogba. He is spinning his performances, just as Sanchez did at Arsenal. It won't end well, if he is further indulged.

Celtic were not the only significant name to exit the Champions League at the qualifying stage this week. Porto were eliminated, Basle, too. And while neither are the current champions in Portugal or Switzerland, like Celtic, they have benefited from long, recent periods of dominance. 

Celtic have won eight Scottish titles on the turn, while Basle have won nine of the last 12 in Switzerland. Only Porto and Benfica have finished top in Portugal since 2001-02, with Porto winning 10 of 17. 

Meanwhile, the most consistently dominant team in Europe — BATE Borisov now on a run of 13 straight Belarusian titles — did not even make it this far, eliminated in the previous qualifying round.

Celtic have had it too easy for too long and it cost them in Champions League qualification

The absence of domestic competition makes a team soft. CFR Cluj, who beat Celtic, are the strongest force in Romanian football right now with back-to-back titles, but Liga 1 has produced four different champions across the last five seasons. 

A consistent challenge keeps a club sharp. It may also explain why Paris Saint-Germain have been unable to crack the Champions League, or why Bayern Munich's threat has diminished since they took charge in Germany.

It is the height of irony that those who have VAR seem unconvinced of its wisdom, while those who do not are agitating for its introduction. Jonathan Woodgate, manager of Middlesbrough, insisted it should be introduced in the Championship, after a 1-0 defeat at home to Brentford on Saturday.

Meanwhile, the International Football Association Board, the game's rulemakers, are considering a number of tweaks that could be introduced after this season.  These include more information for fans inside the ground — which is a must — and an assessment of whether offside calls must be clear and obvious rather than black and white. 

The problem seems to be the pretence that VAR can judge the precise moment the ball is played forward and rule accordingly. For example, the fastest player in the Premier League is Leroy Sane with a top speed of 22mph. So even if we reduce that to 15mph, it still means a player will cover 22 feet per second. 

Leroy Sane runs at 22mph... we are kidding ourselves if we think VAR is up to speed on offside 

And now offside is being measured in matters of inches, this requires gauging events in fractions of second. To be two inches offside takes 1/75th of a second, less time than to blink. And how long does the ball remain in contact with the boot when it is kicked forward? 

We are kidding ourselves if we think we can measure the precise moment of contact in relation to the position of the forward with sufficient accuracy to judge his status perfectly. 

These are subjects for IFAB to discuss, although one might have thought this would have happened before VAR's introduction. It was hardly unforeseen.

At Bournemouth last week, Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder sent out a starting XI made up entirely of British and Irish players — it is the first time this has happened in three Premier League seasons. 

It is also the reason a manager as innovative as Wilder has not been poached. Chairmen see this domestic fixation as problematic at a time when squads are made up of large numbers of foreign players.

They mistakenly think it makes Wilder insular. Similar logic has held back Sean Dyche at Burnley.

Jack Wilshere says he will need a few more games in the Premier League to get up to speed after missing most of last season with injury. West Ham cannot afford to wait. 

At the weekend, Declan Rice was doing the work of two men keeping Manchester City at bay and was exhausted by the time Wilshere came off, with his team already 2-0 down. After that the game ran away from West Ham. 

Everyone would love to see Wilshere at the peak of his powers again, but the fact is West Ham's form only picked up last season after his injury, with a more balanced midfield. 

Wilshere is yet to collect a point in his five starts for West Ham, with an aggregate score of 2-15 in those matches. Manuel Pellegrini loves him, but this cannot last.

Long before kick-off in Istanbul, the verdict was in. No matter what happened, the appointment of Stephanie Frappart was to be deemed a success. So it was no surprise to see her performance described in review as brilliant, excellent and faultless.

Even though we know she got the biggest call of the game, the penalty award to Chelsea in extra-time, wrong; even though Adrian had both feet in front of the line when Tammy Abraham took the penalty that decided the game; even though, by the new interpretation of handball, surely that's a penalty to Liverpool, against Andreas Christensen in the first half.

That VAR did not intervene when Adrian was judged to have fouled Abraham was obediently cited as evidence it was not a clear and obvious mistake. But that's just more pretence. 

The appointment of Stephanie Frappart was to be deemed a success long before the match

More likely, it was evidence that there was no way Frappart's support team were going to undermine her unless it was utterly unavoidable. This performance had to be seen as a flawless triumph and vindication.

Frappart, by and large, had a good game. She let the play flow, she was clear in her instructions, she is on the Ligue 1 roster this year and deserves many more matches than her two last season.

Yet experience — not gender — matters. A more experienced referee would not have fallen for Abraham's extra-time tumble. Some would — but they are not the sort considered ready for major European finals.

Still, Liverpool won, Adrian got to be the hero and Abraham, who also got off lightly for going to ground so cheaply, did not end the night a winner.

So all's well that end's well; but, then, it was always going to be that way.

Frappart got the biggest call of the game, the penalty award to Chelsea in extra-time, wrong

Nigel Adams is this week's sports minister, and would like everyone to know it. And, as nothing makes a headline like a moral sermon about football, he has chosen as his subject Wayne Rooney's move to Derby, sponsored by betting company 32Red.

'I would ask Derby County to look within themselves and think about the impact problem gambling can have, particularly on vulnerable people and youngsters,' Adams said. 'They have got a social responsibility to be mature and grown up. Football needs to be mindful of the problem gambling has.'

All of which makes it sound as if Derby, or Rooney, and not the government of which Adams is a member, make the rules on gambling. There has been a lot of pontification from politicians on this issue since the Rooney deal was announced, but little mention of what could be done, quite simply, to help the type of vulnerable young people inviting Adams's concern.

Nigel Adams questioned Derby's signing of Wayne Rooney as if they make rules on gambling

No mention of raising the legal gambling age, or of limiting the amount that can be gambled through smartphone apps. No discussion of linking proof of funds to betting, or limiting the stake placed in one day through a credit card.

These proposals — drastic and unpopular, particularly with those who bet regularly and can afford it — would greatly impact on the profits of gambling companies, and therefore government revenue. Similarly, a ban on gambling advertising across all forms of media, would be disastrous for newspapers and broadcasters, who view these companies as an important revenue stream.

Far easier, then, for Adams to make the villains an aging footballer and his second division club.

Suzann Pettersen is the world number 620 and has played two golf tournaments since November 2017. She took time off to have a baby but, in the years before that, her influence on the women's tour was dwindling. 

Since taking the Evian Championship in 2013, Pettersen has won twice, the last time in 2015 at the Manulife LPGA Classic in Canada. Her most recent tournament was the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational, where she missed the cut. 

Yet, at 38, Pettersen is one of captain Catriona Matthew's wildcard picks for next month's Solheim Cup. It says much for Pettersen's resolve that she is included; it doesn't, however, say much for the strength of women's golf in Europe.

Chelsea are no doubt livid to be serving a FIFA-imposed transfer ban, only to see Manchester City given a £315,000 fine for similar offences surrounding the signing of youth players. Yet this is progress, of sorts. 

When Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain were sanctioned by UEFA over financial fair play, their penalties were identical although their economic transgressions could not have been. It was a crass, blanket punishment as if the clubs — or more likely their Arab owners — were all the same. 

This at least distinguishes between cases and offences. FIFA's own rules surrounding admission of guilt have changed, which benefited City — but there also appears to be an attempt to explore the nuances of the two offences, with Chelsea's judged more serious. 

This is surely better than one-size-fits-all, or the view that all new money is equally distasteful.

Tyson Fury will take on Otto Wallin, a little-known Swede, in Las Vegas on September 14. 

Expect a lot of talk, plenty of antics, much calling out of Deontay Wilder and a fight you wouldn't cross the street to watch. In other words, the usual.

Tyson Fury talks a good game but he's in another fight you wouldn't cross the street to watch


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