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Man utd better than i expected

Ralf Rangnick said his Manchester United side's performance was "better than expected" when he began his administration as interim manager with a narrow win over Crystal Palace. (Author: Gardener)

Ralf RangnickRalf Rangnick said his Manchester United side did "better than expected" when he began his administration as interim manager with a narrow win over Crystal Palace. It was only Fred's second goal of the season - and it was the first time since mid-September that United had won consecutive league wins. By the time the Brazilian attacked, Rangnick's side were building up numerous good chances without really looking for a goal, and Guaita would have likely saved an Alex Telles free-kick that would have flown over the bar if it had hit goal. "I'm very satisfied with the team's performance, especially in the first half hour with the pressing, it was exceptional," Rangnick told BBC Match of the Day. “The only thing missing was 1-0 or 2-0.” The way we defended, we had the whole game under control. "Conceding the goal was the most important part. Those are the things that we need to improve. We have to keep the goals. We did a lot better than we expected. At all other times we tried to keep them away from our goal." Palace, who wanted to win for the third straight time at Old Trafford, almost took the lead when Jordan Ayew headed James Tomkins over the face of the goal and just past the far post. The win meant Rangnick mimicked three of United's other four new managers since Sir Alex Ferguson in 2013 by winning his first game at the top, with Louis van Gaal the only man to fail. Fred was one of the main criticisms during Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's reign as coach, which ended last month. As Michael Carrick pointed out during his three games as United manager, the midfielder is a mainstay of a Brazilian team that dominated South America's World Cup qualifiers. However, he has not given any indication by scoring goals or by giving up chances that he deserves the £ 47million United paid for him. And judging by his little dance after the goal celebration ended, he's not without personality that Rangnick could help in the months to come. The German hasn't had a full training session with his players yet, but United's early pressing has certainly been intense, with Cristiano Ronaldo on a few occasions among others. It made Palace some mistakes - but then, as is so often the case with Solskjaer, the fire went out of the hosts and they began to rely more on flanks and individual moments to cause problems for the guests. Marc Guehi managed to block a Ronaldo volley at close range after the Portuguese defeated the Palace's offside trap and Tomkins headed a Fred curling shot out of harm's way. Probably the hosts' best chance in the early stages was Bruno Fernandes, who didn't hit his shot cleanly but still forced a flat full-length save out of Guaita after Ronaldo set up the chance with an elaborate header. United did not reach the same level after the break, but Greenwood and Anthony Elanga's introductions kept them going, at least until the crucial moment. "I had to ask my assistant coach if it was Fred's right foot," added Rangnick. “After a success, it's always easier to build on it. We have to concede more goals and improve our chances of attacking. Palace has now lost three Premier League games in a row for the first time under the direction of Patrick Vieira. Six points above the last three, the Eagles clearly need to stop the crash before they get into trouble, and after having their previous wins at this stadium with 29% and 24% possession, respectively, Palace scored 39% in this competition. But aside from Ayew's efforts, an early shot by Wilfried Zaha easily saved by David de Gea, and a flurry of late set pieces that were all cleared, Palace lacked conviction. Zaha was a particular disappointment as he barely got into the game, especially in the second half when Cheikhou Kouyate and Conor Gallagher were more of a threat: "I'm disappointed - we gave them a tough game, we really made it difficult for them done, "said coach Patrick Vi. eira told Match of the Day. “After conceding a goal, we're so disappointed in the end. And we had the chance before [for Ayew] it's frustrating to be left vulnerable. I'm disappointed with Jordan because he had a fantastic game. * Our coverage of your Premier League club is bigger and better than ever - everything you need to know is here to make sure you don't miss a moment

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Women's FA Cup Final - Live Response!

Minute-by-minute updates on the delayed finals of the 2020-21 season. Rob Smith has the latest (Author: Gardener)

2020-21 seasonPlease use a supported version for the best MSN experience. Chelsea players celebrate after winning the FA Cup Final at Wembley. Fran Kirby: “It's incredible. We worked so hard after the international break so make sure we get it right tactically. We held back a little more in the second half, but I think we especially blew them away in the first half. My goal calmed our nerves a little. When you're through with a goal it's a stressful situation, but I managed to stay calm and bring it in, but it was a great performance from everyone - to be clean in the final is amazing. Overall, I think we deserved the win and could have scored a few more goals. It's a great day for women's football. Hopefully the performance today made everyone proud and hopefully more people want to get involved in women's football. "And here is Emma Hayes:" I'm very proud of everyone in our organization. It's the best performance I've seen from Fran [Kirby], she ran the show. The midfield was set up to do a job and allow Fran and Sam [Kerr] to play. It's a chelsea day. I said to the girls before the game: Today we play for everyone who has made women's football what it is. Women's football is our livelihood, but it's also our passion and today it was a win for every woman who has been involved in women's football in this country. ”The last one is Magdalena Eriksson, who collects the trophy and joins her teammates in the group , lifts him up and is immediately immersed in a tidal wave of champagne. Chelsea with the FA Cup trophy. Photo: Harriet Lander / Chelsea FC / Getty Images And Chelsea return to the pitch for their medals. Sam Kerr speaks: “I think we deserve it. Me and Fran scored, but the defense was fantastic, it was a team effort and we'll enjoy it. We felt like we dominated but they defended well in the first half and we couldn't miss some easy chances so we knew we had to score again to bring the game to bed and we did we done. Arsenal put their bodies on the line, but if we keep pushing we knew we were going to win, and at Wembley in front of a huge crowd - it couldn't be better. We haven't conceded many goals and scored a lot in the last few games - I think we're the best team in England. ”Sam Kerr tops the heights with an exquisite finish! CHELSEA WIN THE DOMESTIC TRIBLE FOR THE FIRST TIME! Full time: Arsenal 0-3 Chelsea Peep peep! Three is the magic number for Chelsea: three goals, the third FA Cup win and the first home triple. Fran Kirby's third-minute goal set the tone and Chelsea could have been out of sight long before Sam Kerr's double goal in the second half - the second a delicious chip. It's been a humiliating day for Arsenal, whose next game is against European champions Barcelona. It's a great day for Chelsea, one of their greatest. 90 + 4 min Another late change for Chelsea: Aniek Nouwen changes for the indefatigable Sophie Ingle. 🤯 @ samkerr1 with an incredible chip about Zinsberger 🍟 @ ChelseaFCW #WomensFACupFinal pic.twitter.com/uFEDQlSVbG— Vitality Women's FA Cup (@VitalityWFACup) December 5, 2021 88 min McCabe, who has already been booked, is very lucky not to run for a high tackle on Spence. It's been a miserable day for McCabe, who played more like herself of the 2020-21 than this season's star. 87 min And a change for Arsenal: Lotte Wubben-Moy gone, Simone Boye Sorensen on. 86 min Triple change for Chelsea: Drew Spence, Beth England and Ji replace a beaming Sam Kerr, a beaming Melanie Leupolz and a beaming Guro riding. It's a nice gesture from Emma Hayes to involve as many players as possible, even if it's only for a few minutes. 85 Min. Foord hits Cuthbert and lifts a dangerous cross, which is cleared by, yes, Jess Carter. A few moments later, Miedema heads wide after a cross from McCabe. What a majestic finish from Sam Kerr. Maanum rolled over the ball in midfield and was expropriated by Leupolz, who pulled forward and brought Kerr on goal in the right inner channel. It took Kerr two ball contacts to stand up, and then, with Zinsberger at the six-yard line, the ball chipped slowly, teasingly, over her and into the net. 83 min. Parris tries to outsmart Carter and soon realizes the pointlessness of this particular gesture. 81.Min. Nikita Parris replaces Frida Maanum and is cautioned immediately after a foul on riding. 80 mins Kerr and Kirby stole the show and no one would displease them, but all of Chelsea's spines - Carter and Leupolz in particular - were great. 79.Min. Mead's deflected shot goes behind for a corner. 76th min .: Another parade from Zinsberger! Harder dances Wubben-Moy away in the penalty area, but takes the ball a little too far and can only take one shot, which is comfortably blocked by Zinsberger. 74 min. A very dangerous cross from Little is left behind by Cuthbert, an important stop with Foord waiting behind her. 72nd min: Kirby hits the post! What a tremendous achievement from the best player on the pitch. She received the ball from Kerr from 40 yards and ran straight towards the receding Wubben-Moy. Kirby got to the D, then slid the ball onto her left foot and banged it off the post. 71 minutes McCabe has switched to left-back, Catley moves into the center of the defense. 70 min. Jonas Eidevall won't be surprised: he brought in Caitlin Foord, a striker, for center-back Jen Beattie. Kerr scores for Chelsea. 69 min. Kirby is also down after being challenged by Wubben-Moy. 68.Min. Catley's cross is missed by Berger, who was relieved that there were no Arsenal players behind her. There is a pause in the game when Berger is being treated for a spasm, which is a bit strange considering how little she had to do today. 65 minutes McCabe's corner is beheaded at the near post. Chelsea Break and McCabe are cautioned for cynical foul on Kirby. On 64 minutes, McCabe's dangerous low cross is cleared by Cuthbert, who collides with Bright. Corner against Arsenal ... 64 min As this is last season's competition, it's easy to forget that Chelsea are 26 minutes away from their first home triple. 61.Min. Ingle hisses a pass on riding, whose low-hanging flank heads over again. There are no Chelsea players in the middle, however, and Arsenal have time to sort out. 61.Min change for Arsenal in midfield: Lia Walti is replaced by Mana Iwabuchi. 60 min This was a master class from Emma Hayes whose move to 4-2-3-1 left Arsenal confused. Kirby drew a long pass across the line to Kerr, who made an excellent run from center to left. Kerr fit into Wubben-Moy, shot across the goal, then pulled a low shot past Zinsberger past the near post. Zinsberger was already determined to move to the left and could not change direction. 56 min. Arsenal now dominate possession, although Chelsea appear to be enough at break. 40th Minute: Big penalty appeal from Arsenal! Mead runs up to Cuthbert nearby, then turns back onto her right foot. Cuthbert, who is already engaged in a duel, slips into the ball and hits her arm. Arsenal's Beth Mead complains to referee Helen Conley. Photo: Tom Jenkins / The Guardian 55 min Zinsberger comfortably parries after Kerr's header. It was a tough chance with a Cuthbert cross just behind Kerr. 54 min. Eriksson's deep, driven flank is beheaded by the bent Catley behind him while Fleming waits behind her. The resulting corner is beheaded by Lia Walti. 28 min Another chance for Chelsea! Kirby, having a storm, breaks out forward and plays in riding to her left. She moves into the box but then the ball gets stuck under her feet and Arsenal's defenders can come over. The pitch saved Arsenal there. Riding cannot quite control the ball. Photo: Ben Stansall / AFP / Getty Images 51 min. Mead brilliantly turns Eriksson on the edge of the box and is about to shoot when Carter makes a decisive tackle. 7 min: Big parade by Zinsberger! Kerr, back on the field, plays a smooth one-two with Kirby, pulls through on goal, but then shoots too close to Zinsberger. That was such a good chance for Sam Kerr. Kerr shoots on goal. Photo: Harriet Lander - Chelsea FC / Chelsea FC / Getty Images 50 min. It was a quieter start to the second half for Arsenal, who have a more even share of the game. 48.Min. Miedema pushes the ball into the penalty area towards Little, but Carter reads the game well and takes cover. Little gets the ball first, but can only push it far over the nearby post on the track. 46th min. Beth Mead, who ended half time strong on the left, moved back to the right wing at the start of the second half. Chelsea start the second half with no changes on either side. "I suppose if the Arsenal team has a sports psychologist in the locker room, they can explain why the players' technique seems to have let them down," says Charles Antaki. “Has this team ever had half an hour full of bad controls, bad passes, futile lunges and general confusion? I suppose Chelsea are in so much trouble, but it kind of seems that the Arsenal players just managed to scare themselves into incompetence. "I don't think the pitch will help. Chelsea handled it a lot better, mostly by being more direct at times. Chelsea lead at Wembley thanks to Fran Kirby's early goal. You should already be out of sight: Kirby hit the post *, Sam Kerr hit the crossbar and Manuela Zinsberger parried some important saves. The good news for Arsenal is that they were much better in the last 10 minutes of the first half and it is only 1-0. * I wasn't aware of that at the time, but her shot in the 19th minute was pushed against the post by Zinsberger. At the time I thought she had just left it behind for a corner. Next: Lesley Lloyd: "It's an honor to have won the first Women's FA Cup" 19 min: Beautiful parade by Zinsberger! Kerr runs onto a long pass to the right of Cuthbert and moves into the area. She cuts the ball back to Kirby and a split second later is knocked out by the sliding Beattie. The game continues and Kirby hits a rising drive, which is pushed onto the outside of the short post by Zinsberger. That should have been a penalty for Chelsea but there is no VAR today. Not like it's a big game or anything. 45 + 2 min. Chelsea break three on three just for Kirby to overtake her pass on Kerr. That was another chance and an unusually sloppy ball from Kirby. 45 + 1 min. Three minutes of stoppage time. Cuthbert was cautioned for the foul on Mead. 45 min Cuthbert fouls Mead and injures himself. I think she is fine but there is a stoppage of play during treatment. 42 min. McCabe is fouled by Leupolz from 25 meters. Either way, Arsenal are having their first good phase of the game and this is a good opportunity ... 39 mins "Hi Rob," says Dan in Kennington. "When does Arsenal start? Chelsea is currently playing alone. Great things from them. ”The trouble is, if Chelsea are 1-0 at half time, Jonas Eidevall will be the happier coach. 38 min Arsenal have finally changed their wingers; I'm surprised they didn't do it 20 minutes ago. Mead, now on the left, runs towards Cuthbert and wins a corner. 36 min: Kerr hits the bar! Kerr runs on a long poke forward, muscles Wubben-Moy from the ball - Arsenal thought it was a foul - and lifts a shot from eight meters to the crossbar. It was another great opportunity for Kerr, whose conclusion today was strangely undecided. 33 min Bright, ready for a set piece, volley shot from 20 meters at the target. 29.Min. Leupolz now serves Kirby, whose shot is deflected backwards from the edge of the penalty area. Zinsberger keeps Arsenal there. Another parade from Kirby. I don't think she or Kerr will be missing again if they continue to get that much space.— Tim Stillman (@Stillberto) Dec 5, 2021 27 min McCabe is fortunate enough to not get booked after hitting a Chelsea goalkeeper Ann-Katrin Berger has left. 25th minute: Another nice parade from Zinsberger! Riding pulls down left and pushes the ball into the infield to Kerr on the edge of the box. She lets it run to Kirby, who opens her body and shapes a curler to the bottom corner. Zinsberger cleverly leans to the left to leave it behind, and then hits the post in frustration at how much work she has to do. 26 min. Cuthbert's corner heads Eriksson past the far post, another great chance for Chelsea! Without exaggeration, this could be 5-0 for Chelsea. 23 min. After a snappy pass from Arsenal, Miedema shoots up and far from 20 meters. 23 min Chelsea have been the much better team so far. 21 min. Emma Hayes is understandably angry about the penalty awarded. 17 min. Zinsberger makes another save from Kerr at close range, although this would not have counted as it was just offside. 15 min Arsenal starts to gain a foothold. A complicated move by McCabe, Miedema and Little leads to their first corner ... 13 min. Half chance for Kerr, who winds away from Beattie on the right in the penalty area but cannot find Kirby in the middle. I'm surprised she didn't get a shot - the angle was tight but not prohibitive, and the ball fell well for her. 11 mins. Chelsea play a 4-2-3-1 with Cuthbert A and Eriksson as orthodox full-backs. It's a bit of a surprise, but it has worked out fine so far - Kirby, playing as number 10, scored the goal and almost gave Kerr a second chance. Kirby scores Chelsea’s first goal. Photo: Andrew Boyers / Action Images / Reuters Kirby celebrates after scoring. Photo: Chris Lee - Chelsea FC / Chelsea FC / Getty Images Chelsea fans show their support. Photo: Tom Dulat - The FA / The FA / Getty Images 10 min Arsenal has not gained momentum as an attacking force. The pitch helps neither side; it's so slow. Out of nowhere, Fran Kirby gave Chelsea the lead. The ball bounced off some players 35 yards from the Arsenal goal and rebounded favorably for Kirby. She rushed straight through the middle, pulled Zinsberger and quietly wedged the ball into the corner. 8 min Beth Mead is booked for a very awkward duel against Eriksson. 8 min The course is not in good condition, by the way. 6 mins. There is a break in play while Sam Kerr is treated. I think she injured herself building up on goal. 4 min There was so much room for Kirby to walk into. Wubben-Moy was pulled over to challenge Fleming (I think) and Maritz didn't have time to cover from right-back. Arsenal could play a 4-2-3-1 with Kim Little number 10. The players on both teams will be introduced to Lesley Lloyd, captain of the 1971 Southampton Cup winners, and then it's time for the national anthem. It's a cold, drizzly day, not exactly the cup final, and the players really want to get down to business. Lesley Lloyd and Elsie Cook, the two captains of the women's first FA Cup final, pose for a picture. Photo: Naomi Baker - The FA / The FA / Getty Images 1 min Peep peep! 1 min. Peep-beep! After the players hit the knee, Arsenal begin right to left. “Both teams were indeed rusty for the league game, but Arsenal had had a few European games to warm up; things will be more balanced now, ”says Charles Antaki. And the bench looks great - Iwabuchi, Nobbs, Foord - so a kind of Arsenal-style positive anticipation that is highly qualified… "One reason the FA Cup final from last season of last season is being played today, is that the tournament was postponed due to Covid last season. But the FA made a special decision today because it marks the 100th anniversary of the ban on women's football, which has lasted for 50 years. - Tim Stillman (@Stillberto) December 5, 2021 This is a lovely piece on the 1971 finale, including some notable details about the condition of the pitch and nutrition. Related: Lesley Lloyd: "It's an honor to have won the first women's FA Cup" These teams met once in the 2021/22 season, a 3-2 win for Arsenal on the opening weekend. See also: Eidevall hopes the women's FA Cup final will land luck on Arsenal's side | Suzanne Wrack No surprises at Arsenal's side, unchanged since they beat Manchester United 2-0 a fortnight ago. “I saw Beth Mead talk about the goals of the season so far: some belts. Play it up! "What's your favorite 2021/22 goal so far? 🔥Take it away, @ BMeado9 😎— Arsenal Women (@ArsenalWFC) December 1, 2021 In fact, six of the top 11 of this year's Ballon d'Or are involved today: Sam Kerr, Vivianne Miedema, Pernille Harder, Jessie Fleming, Fran Kirby and Magda Eriksson. Emma Hayes makes a change from Chelsea's last game, a 5-0 WSL win against Birmingham before the international break. 🙌 # CFCW #WomensFACupFinal pic.twitter .com / T3rGngeUvk - Chelsea FC Women (@ChelseaFCW) December 5th, 2021 Sunday May 9th, 1971 was a big day in the Bolton and District Cricket Association League, I know because the results of that league were in the Guardian the next day Also the results of the Cross Cup and the Glossop League and the Shettleston Marathon and the North of England Lacrosse League and the Longwood 10 Mile Road Race, and I'm really not making up any of them Absence noticed: the opening final of the women's FA Cup. (Southampton defeated Stewarton Thistle 4-1, with Pat Davies scoring a hat trick.) The world has changed since DCI Gene Hunt's heyday, and it's not just the Guardian who are devoted to women's football. Today's Arsenal-Chelsea final celebrates 50 years of the FA Cup and how good the sport has become. The sheer quality of both teams makes this final a perfect one. It's also a mystery of the future: In what season did the country's two best teams clash in the FA Cup final after finishing first and third in the league? That game belongs to last season when Arsenal finished behind Chelsea and Manchester City and will now be played because of the backlog caused by Covid. Arsenal have replaced City as Chelsea's main rivals this season, whatever Emma Hayes says publicly, and the two are embroiled in an exciting race for the title. Either Arsenal wins the FA Cup for the record 15th time or Chelsea for the third time - and, more importantly, the first domestic triple.

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Ancelotti hopes Benzema will return in the Madrid derby

Carlo Ancelotti said Karim Benzema could be available in next week's derby against Atletico Madrid despite being injured. (Author: Gardener)

BenzemaPablo Zabaleta praises Real Madrid's consistency in LaLiga after expanding their lead to eight points with a win against Real Sociedad. Pablo Zabaleta praises Real Madrid's consistency in LaLiga after expanding their lead to eight points with a win against Real Sociedad. Carlo Ancelotti said Karim Benzema could be available for next week's derby against Atletico Madrid despite being substituted on with a hamstring injury in Real Madrid's 2-0 win at Real Sociedad on Saturday. Benzema's resignation in the 17th minute after Madrid's victory at the Reale Arena raised serious doubts about his chances of participating in the La Liga clash on December 12th. Substitute Luka Jovic set up Vinicius Junior for the opening goal in the 47th minute before scoring his own goal 10 minutes later when Madrid scored three important points against a La Real side who have been at the top of the table for most of this season fetched. - ESPN + viewer guide: LaLiga, Bundesliga, MLS, FA Cup, more "Karim had a problem in the first half, he felt a bit uncomfortable," said Ancelotti in his post-game press conference. We'll see in the next few days, I don't think he's available for Tuesday's game [against Inter Milan in the Champions League] but he could be for Sunday. "Benzema - ranked third best striker by ESPN FC 100 - has scored 12 goals and provided seven assists in LaLiga this season and his absence in an important week would be a major blow to the team. Tuesday's game against Inter will determine which team in the Champions League -Group D take first place Ancelotti said the tests in the coming days would determine Benzema's availability for this game, praising the impact of substitute Jovic, who hadn't scored a goal for Los Blancos since February 2020 “Good striker "said Ancelotti." He has different qualities to Karim, we will use him less in possession, but he is a very physically strong striker, we use him as a 'wall'. "The first The goal for Vinicius is a Jovic classic with his body, a fantastic assist and the second is a goal from a penalty area player, with all the good news today, we have another trial in three days and everything can change. " Rivals Atletico will face pressure in the derby after losing 2-1 at home to Mallorca with a final Takefusa Kubo goal. "The derby is always a special game," said Ancelotti.

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Madrid and Barca challenge LaLiga with a € 2 billion plan

Real Madrid, Barcelona and Athletic Bilbao have written to La Liga clubs proposing a € 2 billion investment plan, an alternative to the CVC deal. (Author: Gardener)

€ 2 billionAfter Barcelona's goalless draw with Benfica, ESPN FC's Ale Moreno explains why fans shouldn't expect a drastic improvement just yet. After Barcelona's goalless draw with Benfica, ESPN FC's Ale Moreno explains why fans shouldn't expect a drastic improvement just yet. Real Madrid, Barcelona and Athletic Bilbao have written to other La Liga clubs suggesting a € 2 billion investment plan that they believe is a superior alternative to the league's own contract with CVC Capital Partners. The CVC deal - backed by the other 39 clubs in Spain's first and second division - was originally approved in August despite opposition from Madrid, Barca and Athletic, with the final vote due on December 10th. - ESPN FC 100: The Best Male Players and Managers of 2021 - La Liga on ESPN +: Stream LIVE games and replays (U. - You don't have ESPN? Compared to a 50 year period for the LaLiga CVC agreement who would see the mutual fund receive 11% of the league's revenue from TV rights. The clubs posted details of their proposal on their websites on Friday, saying that LaLiga's plan would "damage the future of our football" and a "long-term, "Sustainable, rational and legal" offer. An alternative that they said would be between five and 193 times more economical, depending on how much the league's revenue grew over time. LaLiga President Javier Tebas replied with one Letter to the clubs on Friday in which he described the proposal as an "attempt to break the consensus," creating uncertainty with the sole aim of putting the selfish interests of a few against the common ones Protect the majority's benefit. "Madrid and Barcelona were vocal critics of the CVC deal. Speaking to club members last month, Madrid President Florentino Perez called it "a transaction that made no financial sense for the clubs but was good for CVC and others involved" and offered to help find an alternative. Barca president Joan Laporta said in August the deal was "not in Barca's best interests" and "too risky", even if it could have helped the club keep Lionel Messi. LaLiga responded to the three clubs' new proposal on Thursday evening, saying the move was "intended to derail a project that will jeopardize their own individual goals". "The operation presented in this letter is based on an improvised proposal that was worked out without the required minimum level of accuracy," said a statement from the league. LaLiga argued that the partnership with CVC was not just a financial operation, but "a strategic project to guarantee medium and long-term growth". The dispute over the CVC deal is the latest clash in a falling Madrid-LaLiga relationship that has worsened since the Super League attempted to launch in April. "It is surprising that the Super League promoters, which would have been fatal for the national leagues, have raised concerns about a project that the majority of LaLiga clubs have approved and not financially affecting them," LaLiga said Thursday. The three clubs were banned from the CVC deal in August when plans were changed at the last minute prior to the vote to ensure they were not receiving any money or affecting their share of television rights revenue.

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Behind Benzema, Courtois starts pulling Real Madrid

Carlo Ancelotti's side are seven points clear of Atlético Madrid and Real Sociedad and are aiming for the title. (Author: Gardener)

Real MadridBARCELONA, Spain (dpa) - With Karim Benzema's feet and Thibaut Courtois' hands, Real Madrid is back on course for the title in its second stint under the experienced coach Carlo Ancelotti. Madrid's 1-0 win over Athletic Bilbao on Wednesday extended their lead in the Spanish league to seven points over defending champions Atlético Madrid and surprise hunters Real Sociedad. On Saturday, Ancelotti's side will travel to San Sebastián on a mission to move ahead of Sociedad and reinforce their streak of seven straight wins in all competitions. "It is not a stroke of luck that we have won seven games in a row," said Ancelotti. Benzema's goal just before halftime brought his lead to 12 in 14 games. Courtois did the rest by making several good saves to frustrate a Bilbao side who outplayed Madrid in the second half. "Courtois is going crazy," said Ancelotti, comparing him to other great goalkeepers the Italian has coached over his long career. "We have Courtois and we should enjoy it," said Ancelotti. It came as a slight surprise when Madrid President Florentino Pérez selected Ancelotti to replace Zinedine Zidane in June after the team had their first trophyless season in more than a decade. Pérez fired Ancelotti in 2015, a year after leading Madrid to their tenth European Cup. Since then, with his last job at Everton, he seemed to have fallen out of the European coaching elite. Despite an embarrassing home defeat to the Moldovan sheriff in the Champions League, Ancelotti has so far managed to get Madrid back on track. The visit to Sociedad will begin an intense streak of three games in eight days for Madrid. Madrid host Inter Milan on Tuesday to determine who will be promoted to winners in their Champions League group. The following weekend Atlético visits the Santiago Bernabéu in a Spanish capital derby that promises to be important for the domestic title fight. "It's non-stop," said Courtois, "and we'll try to rest to keep winning." Led by strikers Mikel Oyarzabal and Alexander Isak and a dynamic midfield with Mikel Merino, Sociedad were unbeaten in 13 games until they lost 1-0 to Espanyol last weekend. In last season's Copa del Rey, the Basque club beat Madrid 4-3 in the quarter-finals at the Bernabéu on their way to victory. With a Sociedad side keen to play at speed, Ancelotti may be tempted to play some more rested players after veterans Luka Modrić, Toni Kroos and Casemiro were eliminated by Bilbao. "The team was tired towards the end," said Ancelotti. The other top teams in the Spanish league will be in action on Saturday before critical Champions League games come to an end at the end of the group stage. Atlético welcomes Mallorca before visiting Porto. Diego Simeone has to win in Portugal and hope AC Milan won't beat group winners Liverpool to make it through to the knockout round. Fourth placed Seville will host Villarreal, with both facing Europe. Villarreal play against Atalanta and need a draw to advance. Seventh-placed Barcelona also host fifth-placed Real Betis. Xavi Hernández's team will then travel to Bayern Munich and need a win to secure their place in the round of 16.

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Real Madrid extend La Liga lead with victory against Real Sociedad, Bayern win eventful The classic

Real Madrid are eight points ahead of the top of La Liga after beating Real Sociedad 2-0 on Saturday. (Author: Gardener)

La LigaVinicius Jr (center) celebrates his goal against Real Sociedad. Real Madrid are eight points ahead of the top of La Liga after beating Real Sociedad 2-0 on Saturday. Vinicius Jr. opened the goal in the second half when he swapped passes with Luka Jovic before Jovic headed for a second goal 10 minutes later from a corner. It was Real Madrid's twelfth league win so far this season that opened a commanding lead at the top of La Liga and the eighth in a row at the Real Arena. “We played well and deserved the win after a strong overall performance. After a flying start to the season, Real Sociedad have now won once in their last five games and are fifth in the table. The only disappointment for Real Madrid was striker Karim Benzema, who was injured in the first half. Real Madrid's rivals Atlético were beaten 2-1 by Mallorca, who won two goals behind in the last 10 minutes, Matheus Cunha bundling the opening goal in the second half but Mallorca struck with a header from Franco Russo. back and a calm finish from Take Kubo. Meanwhile, Xavi's unbeaten start as Barcelona coach ended in a 1-0 loss to Real Betis. Barcelona have won two league games since Xavi's arrival but Juanmi's goal towards the end of the second half means R al Betis move up to third and Barcelona remain seventh. In the Bundesliga, Bayern Munich defeated Borussia Dortmund 3-2 in an eventful and controversial Der Klassiker and moved up four points from the top of the table. Julian Brandt gave Dortmund an early lead, but his start was quickly undone by Robert Lewandowski under pressure from Thomas Müller. An entertaining first half came to an end when Kingsley Coman gave Bayern the lead after Dortmund failed to clear the ball out of the box. However, the lead was short-lived when Erling Haaland equalized with a brilliant, twisting shot at the beginning of the second half and Dortmund rejected a criminal complaint shortly afterwards when Marco Reus was brought down by a foul by Lucas Hernández. 20 minutes later, after a handball decision against Mats Hummels, Bayern were awarded a penalty that was converted by Lewandowski. "We saw a great game, a real top game," said Dortmund manager Marco Rose, who got the red card after the decisive penalty against his team after venting his anger not even to see the ball, is a controversial one Dortmund's Emre Can was also frustrated by referee decisions: "In the end, a penalty decides the game. While Bayern and Real Madrid have extended their table lead, Chelsea's 2: 3 defeat against West Ham saw Thomas Tuchel's side in the Premier League overtaken by Manchester City and Liverpool City moved to the top after beating Watford 3-1 and Liverpool moved up to second after a late Divock Origi goal that secured a 1-0 win over Wolves in history in Serie A, as the 3-2 defeat of Naples against Atalanta allowed AC Milan to take first place in the league with a 2-0 win over Salernitana nd Inter Milan finished second with a 3-0 win over Roma.

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Washington defeated Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks 17-15 for a third straight win

The Seahawks' two-point conversion attempt failed in the waning seconds and ended their comeback bid. (Author: Gardener)

WashingtonWashington Football Team Defensive Tackle Daron Payne beats Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson during an NFL game on Monday, November 29, 2021, at FedEx Field in Landover, Md. Patrick Smith / Getty ImagesLANDOVER, Md. (AP) - Ron Rivera was without letting a kicker drift and feeling like he had to try in any situation-point conversion attempt allowed Washington to hold on and beat the Seahawks for a third straight win on Monday night 17-15. "Despite what happened to the injuries during the game, we got our way, that's good for these guys." Review, Wilson led the Seahawks on a 10-game, 96-yard touchdown in just over two minutes Drive on. He hit Freddy Swain on a 32-yard TD pass, 15 seconds back, but his 2-point throw at Swain was picked up by Fuller, preventing Wilson from making a memorable comeback on his 33rd birthday - the one in the last 10 years, and you never count it, ”said Heinicke. He almost got another chance when it looked like Seattle (3-8) had regained an onside kick. But the Seahawks were fined for illegal formation on the first try and were unable to recover on the second try. "The final minutes of the game show that we have the right character for the boys," said Wilson. "That's what makes this team special, just believing that something great is going to happen." The defeat likely ended Seattle's hopes for a long playoff bid. Wilson was 20 of 31 for 247 yards and two TD passes, but he missed several throws and lost for the first time three games as the Seahawks starting quarterback. "The movie doesn't lie, you know," said trainer Pete Carroll. "We're getting some momentum right now," said receiver Terry McLaurin. McKissic caught a touchdown pass from Heinicke, ran for another, and ran 56 yards from scrimmage against the team he broke into the NFL with before being retired with an unknown injury late in the game, "Rivera said via McKissic. "He's a threat in the first, second and third failure." Heinicke and Co. had to do everything in the second half without the possibility of a field goal after kicker Joey Slye sustained a thigh injury at the end of the second quarter while trying to score extra points and was suspended and returned for two points. Dodging some potential sacks, Heinicke defeated Wilson in a mobile QB matchup, walking 27 of 35 for 223 yards with the TD throw against McKissic and an interception Monday night for the third time in 20 tries since FedEx Field opened in 1997 Seattle, which started with the best odds in the NFL on Monday night, fell in these situations in Carroll's 11 seasons as a coach to 11-4 in the playoffs in the last three weeks. They were right against Washington when Rasheem Green blocked, rallied and returned the extra point attempt towards the end of the first half to make the score at 9, but the offense went cold after half time. Washington overtook Seattle 152-34, holding a 41: 40-18: 20 edge in possession time. "We didn't run the ball well at all tonight, but there are so few games that in the end every single game counts that much." Green has been first since the NFL allowed the defense to return a PAT for points in 2015 According to SportRadar, the player can block, recover and score points in the same game. It was the first defensive remodeling in the league since 2019 and the 11th in the last seven seasons, with seven additional points. A suite sprinkler burst in the first half, the second public water disruption in Washington's home stadium this season. A fan in a # 52 burgundy Washington jersey urged Everett to keep celebrating on the field, finding results of an investigation into the team's misconduct in the workplace. Kyle Fuller started in his place. Washington: C Wes Schweitzer left the game in the second quarter with an ankle injury and pushed fourth-tendon Keith Ismael into action. Thomas returned after missing six games with a hamstring injury.

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Make no mistake, the Seahawks' afflictions ultimately fall on a dysfunctional offensive

For the past three weeks, the Seahawks have been on the defensive side of the ball for over two hours. Of course, the exhaustion created by this disproportionate workload has taken its toll, and while Seattle's defense is far from perfect, there really is only one instance: the offensive. (Author: Gardener)

SeahawksFor the past three weeks, the Seahawks have been on the defensive side of the ball for over two hours. Of course, the exhaustion created by this disproportionate workload has taken its toll, and while Seattle's defense is far from perfect, there really is only one instance: the offensive. How is it possible that the NFL's eighth best defense (20.2 points per game allowed) also comes last in the total yards allowed per game (399)? Quite simply, the Seahawks' defenses were disproportionately stressed every week thanks to a lethargic, unsupportive attack. Don't get it: Seattle is definitely flawed defensively. All year long, Ken Norton Jr.'s unit struggled to get off the field in third place, creating a constant pass rush and limiting the damage in the scripts. This is the only reason the Seahawks' negative point difference is a modest -17 instead of anywhere in the three-digit range. With eight defeats and a total of eleven games in the 2021 season, Seattle averages 24 minutes and nine seconds of possession per competition. As ESPN's Field Yates noted Tuesday morning, the 1999 Browns are the only team to fall below the 25-minute mark in the past 45 years, but the Seahawks are well on their way to join them. The main reason for this Chasmic rift was the Seahawks' inability to convert down in third place. That's one of the fewest third-down opportunities in the NFL (10.9 per game) just because they're unable to expand the drives to get more done. All of these problems came to a head in the team's most recent disaster: a 17-15 loss to Washington Football team in the national spotlight of Monday Night Football. On 11 drives, the Seahawks recorded only 10 first downs versus Washington's 27. Plagued by the inaccuracy of quarterback Russell Wilson, who still looks far from 100 percent on his return from finger surgery, they only converted 33.3 percent of their third downs ( 4-of-12) and went three-and-offs a whopping six times, including five consecutive drives from the first through the second quarter. Consequently, Washington won the tenure battle time, 41: 40-18: 20. Many will blame the defense for allowing multiple long, sustained journeys. Four of Washington’s 10 "real" drives (excluding the end of halftime / game) had 10 or more plays called; three of them took north of six minutes. However, this is the mere product of an imperfect, understandably exhausted defense that has been forced to execute the same script for the past six games. In the three games since Wilson's comeback, Seattle's offense has controlled the ball for 58 minutes and 39 seconds and only scored three touchdowns in 30 drives. This means that the defense has played two hours, one minute and 11 seconds of football in the past 22 days. Though tears were shed following the Monday night result, cooler heads reigned as several Seahawks defenders stepped onto the podium. “We can concentrate on ourselves in defense. I'm not talking about the offensive, "Adams said. All we can do as defense is go outside and control what we can control. Obviously giving up the last touchdown where they put it, we'd have one Can do a better job. Whether it was cover or it was in the right place at the right time, but they had a hell of a reputation for our game and they made this game. Such a humble response is to be expected, but the Seahawks' defense has every right feeling offended by their aggressive colleagues. Healthy partnerships are meant to be transactional, but for now, Seattle's offense has disturbed its significant other and left it at the altar utterly exhausted. This is the story of the 2021 Seattle Seahawks.

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Is there a split coming between Russell Wilson and Seahawks?

Also the race for coach of the year, questions about Christian McCaffrey's contract, the race for NFC East and the sloppiness on Sunday. (Author: Gardener)

Russell WilsonThe theatricality of this week's college coaching carousel makes everything going on in the NFL seem pretty bland by comparison, though the names of Kliff Kingsbury and Urban Meyer have been interspersed so we don't feel left out. Monday night's loss to Washington, which left his team 3-8, virtually eliminated any hope the Seahawks had of making the postseason. This would only be the second time they miss the playoffs since Wilson was drafted. The focus is now on the question that lurked all season: is a breakup coming? Wilson expressed his frustration over the past off-season with the number of layoffs in his career, at which point his agent told ESPN that Wilson did not want to leave Seattle but also released a list of trade destinations he would accept. That summer, however, Wilson downplayed offseason posturing and focused on the 2021 season. But his week 5 finger injury turned the Seahawks' season upside down, not just for the time he'd missed, but because he'd been since after his hasty return from the operation no longer looked like himself. Despite insisting it wasn't a problem, even head coach Pete Carroll admitted after the defeat, "We miss a lot," the kind of throws Wilson doesn't usually miss. That's at the heart of the Seahawks' fighting in '21: that year they couldn't rely on Wilson to create some magic and mask other flaws. The Seahawks are starting to look more like a team heading for a major overhaul, but the first question that needs to be answered is: will these changes include a split from their 33-year-old quarterback? That might not sound like a surprise, but in three of the last four years the winner has been a new employee who turned his team inside out. However, the seven new signings this season have together made a 23-54 record. Only one, Brandon Staley of the 6-5 Chargers, currently leads a team with a track record. And four of the five worst teams in the league (by win-loss record) are led by head coaches in the first year. Our two top contenders: Matt LaFleur, who appears well on his way to a third straight double-digit win of the season despite injuries to many of his key players, including Aaron Rodgers (infamous little toe); and Bill Belichick, who hasn't won this award since 2010 (but has won three Super Bowls in that time!) 3. The Panthers renewed Christian McCaffery for being their best offensive player. News that McCaffery will be sidelined for the remainder of the season with an ankle injury, the fifth injury that has resulted in him missing time in the last two seasons, has led the team to make the team's decision to give him four years The award of 64 US dollars has been carefully checked for a million-dollar extension in 2020. Since then, he will have played a total of 10 games in the two seasons. But his importance as a player is only compounded by the impact his absence is likely to have on not only offense but the team's wildcard aspirations as well. But the decision Carolina made in year 20 is hard to make: McCaffrey hadn't missed time for an injury in his first three NFL seasons, and he ended a season 19 in which he was both rushing and rushing 1,000 yards had received. Also, Carolina was going through a QB transition at the time, cutting Cam Newton the same spring they signed McCaffrey to his renewal. The Panthers wanted McCaffrey to continue to be at the heart of their offense and ease the transition to their next QB. When McCaffrey '22 returns, everyone will see if this was just bad luck or the red flags for durability are real. At the start of this season, it looked like the Cowboys were running away with the division, avoiding our adorable December tradition for the past couple of seasons of keeping track of which NFC East team was making their way into a playoff spot. After starting 6-1, the Cowboys lost three of their last four games and dropped to 7-4. Now they have a COVID-19 outbreak on the team ahead of Thursday's New Orleans game. Dallas are still the clear favorites, but Washington (5-6) and Philadelphia (5-7) are not far behind, although the Eagles' chances were hurt with their loss to the Giants on Sunday. After the Saints game, four of the Cowboys' last five games are within the division, including two with Washington. The fifth game is against the 9-2 Cardinals. Also: Washington has five league games left and Philadelphia has four. It's almost like the planners set things up that way. 5. It was a sloppy football Sunday and we have the statistics to back it up. By "we" I mean Gary Gramling, reporting from his proprietary table that can accurately predict Super Bowl winners for the rest of this century (if he shares his results with us). Anyway, Gary's secret crunching of numbers generated this statistic that sums up Sunday's games: There have been 21 times this season where a team has flipped the ball more than four times in a game. Four of these happened on Sunday (five for the Colts; four each for the Ravens, Eagles, and Titans). • MMQB: Patriots turned the season around by staying on the way

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NFL Week 13 picks plus Priscos Power Rankings and a recap of Washington’s wild win over Seahawks

Here's everything you need to know about the NFL for November 30th (Author: Gardener)

NFLLANDOVER, MARYLAND - NOVEMBER 29: Taylor Heinicke # 4 of the Washington Football Team celebrates after defeating the Seattle Seahawks at FedExField on November 29, 2021 in Landover, Maryland. Today is the last day of November and I suspect some teams will be happy when it starts, like the Rams, Seahawks and Saints, all of whom did worse than the Detroit Lions over the month. If you're worse than the Lions at anything you should be automatically banned from the playoffs, but luckily it doesn't quite work that way for these teams even though the Saints and Seahawks eliminated themselves. One team that will likely be sad to see November go by is the WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM. Thanks to their 17-15 win over the Seahawks on Monday night, Washington became the ONLY team in the NFC to go undefeated in November. If you're wondering how they beat the Seahawks, that's what we're going to cover in today's newsletter. We also take a weekly look at Prisco's power rankings, and I've got some tips for you, so let's get to the overview. As always, here's your weekly reminder to encourage all of your friends to sign up for the Pick Six newsletter. The Seahawks quarterback turned 33 on Monday. After the game, Ryan Wilson, Will Brinson, and I got together to record a podcast about everything we saw in Washington's 17-15 win. Here are three key things from this game that we addressed during the podcast: * Washington's offense controlled the game. It's almost impossible to lose in the NFL by holding the ball for more than 40 minutes, but that almost happened to Washington in this game. The football team's offense was in total control for most of the game, and that was largely thanks to the fantastic performance of Antonio Gibson, who raced 111 yards with 29 carries. Washington's possession time was 41:25, the second-highest in franchise history in a non-overtime game. * Seahawk's offensive continues to fight. In his third game after finger surgery, Russell Wilson fought on. Despite being erratic and inaccurate for most of the night, Wilson led a dramatic final-minute comeback that ended with a 32-yard TD with Freddie Swain only 15 seconds to go. Wilson would, however, intercept the two-point conversion that brought Washington the victory, and that interruption was essentially an indication of his night. Before the final drive, Wilson had thrown only 161 yards in the game. Overall, the Seahawks' offensive looked mostly clumsy on one night in which it was canceled three times. This game had more team drama than almost any game in the NFL this week combined. The drama began in the second quarter after a McKissic touchdown. After the score, Washington's attempt at extra points was blocked and RETURNED by Seattle's Rasheem Green for two points. Instead of taking a 10-7 lead with the TD, the return of Green tied the game at nine. Washington not only missed the extra point, but also lost kicker Joey Slye for the night to an in-game injury. After Slye was out, Washington was forced to finish fourth while he was in the field goal range for the remainder of the game. On a fourth and one goal from Seattle's three-yard line, Washington should have scored a field goal to freeze the game, but it couldn't because Slye was injured. Instead, the team dropped to fourth place and failed by pitching Wilson's TD drive in the last minute. After the TD, the Seahawks needed a two-pointer to tie and the only reason they needed that was because Washington had to go to two after a TD in the second half due to Slye being out. The end of the game was even more dramatic, and that's because the Seahawks actually regained their onside kick after Seattle's late game, but it was recalled due to a sticky - but correct - illegal formation penalty against Seattle. Aside from these three things, we also seriously debated whether the Seahawks should blow it all up and start over. Click here to listen to tonight's episode and subscribe to the best daily NFL podcast. It took 13 weeks but I think Pete Prisco is actually starting to accept the fact that Patriots could be good. For the first time in the entire season, Prisco has placed New England in their top 5, and in one twist, placed them right behind Tom Brady's team. With that in mind, here's a look at the top five teams at Prisco starting in Week 13: * The biggest jump of the week went to the Las Vegas Raiders. After watching the Raiders upset the Cowboys on Thanksgiving, Prisco decided to reward them by moving them 10 places from 22nd to 12th place. I don't have the official records in front of me, but this could be the biggest jump in the history of Prisco's power rankings. The crazy thing is that this week, in fact, TWO teams went up 10 places. The Broncos also jumped 10 places from 24th to 14th after defeating the Chargers. * Two teams saw the biggest drops this week: the Chargers and Colts, both of whom lost six spots. On the flip side, if Colts fans were to want to email Pete Hassmail, I would totally understand, as it seems mean and wrong to lose Indy six spots for a narrow loss to the defending Super Bowl champions. * The biggest fall in the NFC went to the Rams, who fell five spots. After being dominated by the Packers, the Rams dropped from second to seventh place. If Pete had had a sense of humor, he would have lowered the rams to six in honor of all the picks Matthew Stafford threw. * Lions still come last on news that probably won't surprise you. If you want to know where your favorite team landed in Prisco's power rankings in Week 13, click here. If you would like to argue with Prisco about its rankings, you can do so on Twitter by clicking here. It's Tuesday and that can only mean one thing: it's time for my weekly picks. If you're going to ignore my tips today, I'm not going to blame you and that's because I went 7-8 last week. I practically transformed myself into the Rams: After a hot start, I completely fell apart in November. The Rams are glad November is over. With that in mind, here are three of my tips for week 13. * Dallas (-4.5) New Orleans: The Cowboys won't have Mike McCarthy in this game after testing positive for COVID-19, which may not be Bad thing. In addition to running the offense, Kellen Moore will have Dan Quinn as his interim coach, which is a good thing because no one hates the Saints more than Quinn, as they were his greatest rival during his time in Atlanta. Also, I should probably point out that the Cowboys dominated the NFC teams this year and the last time I checked the Saints were an NFC team. The Cowboys are 5-1 straight and 6-0 against the spread against NFC teams, and I don't dare go against any of those trends. SELECTION: Cowboys 24–17 on Saints. * Washington in Las Vegas (-2.5): In August, someone on Reddit was trying to predict the course of the Raiders season by predicting every game with a coin toss, YOUR GAMES. The coin says the Raiders are going to win this week and considering I pick 5-6 Raiders games this year I'm not really in a position to argue. SELECTION: Raiders 30-23 over Washington. Reid has a career record of 19-3 so it would be crazy to lose him here and I'm not crazy. The thing about the Chiefs is that it looks like they figured out what was wrong with them before parting, and now they've had two weeks to fine-tune things. SELECTION: Chiefs 30-17. To see the rest of my tips for week 13, click here. Every year in the NFL we see multiple coaches being laid off at the end of the season, and there's a good chance this year won't be any different. While we haven't seen any layoffs in the season this year (Jon Gruden has stepped down) it could still happen, and that's because a lot of guys are in the hot seat at week 13. With that in mind, here's a look at our hot seat rankings compiled by our Patrik Walker. If you want to know why Culley is at the top of the list, you have to click here so you can read Walker's full explanation of how he was ranked. Here's a look at who went down and what they've been up against: It's been 24 busy hours in the NFL, and since it's nearly impossible to keep track of everything that happened, I've put together a round-up for you. * Taysom Hill could start the Saints on Thursday. Hill took first-team reps in training on Monday, which could pave the way for him to start over Trevor Siemian, according to multiple reports. If Sean really liked Payton Hill, one might have thought he would have been named a starter after Jameis Winston was overthrown, but that wasn't the case. With Oklahoma apparently interested in Kingsbury, the Cardinals coach was asked several times on Monday about his possible interest. And each time Kingsbury refused to rule out the possibility of accepting the job. * Dan Quinn will serve as the cowboys' interim trainer. With Mike McCarthy out this week, the former Falcons coach will act as the Cowboys' coach against the Saints on Thursday. Quinn has trained against the Saints many times, which makes him a better option for this game than McCarthy. Trysten Hill was suspended for two games for throwing a punch at Raiders security guard John Simpson in Dallas after winning Thanksgiving Day in Las Vegas. Hill's suspension begins Thursday in New Orleans. * Hall of Famer Curley Culp dies at the age of 75. The defensive lineman spent 14 seasons in the NFL with three different teams (Chiefs, Oilers and Lions) and was dominant in almost every one of those seasons. Culp went to six Pro Bowls, was voted All-Pro four times, and finished runner-up in the 1975 Defensive Player of the Year Vikings Vikings, 23-7, 12-point underdog in Super Bowl IV.

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